The Girls of Canby Hall #8: The Big Crush

Anyone who would like to discuss early admission to college, academic difficulties, or personal problems should make an appointment with Mr. Michael Frank, Ext. 37. All appointments will be kept confidential.

This is the note on the bulletin board outside Alison's apartment in Baker House. Dana sees it, and at just the right time. She's been feeling depressed and unable to concentrate for no reason. Still, she doesn't call.

One morning while out running, Dana trips over a tree root and falls. She decides that she has to figure out what's bothering her. Her grades haven't been good lately. Her father married Eve instead of remarrying Dana's mother. She's still upset about Bret and wishes she could like Randy more. She can't get excited about anything and she's been a bad friend to Faith and Shelley. She tries to talk herself out of feeling this way and decides to give Mr. Michael Frank a call.

The next day is the first snow of the season. (It's November. The last book took place in September, mabye stretching into early October. I guess they don't do Halloween at Canby.) The girls decide to walk into Greenleaf to enjoy the dusting of snow, but when they get to the door they see that a lot of others have the same idea, including Pamela Young. That kills Dana's interest and she tells the others to go on without her. Running back up to her room, she almost knocks Alison over. Alison wants to talk, but Dana, on the verge of tears, just wants to be left alone.

On Monday, Dana makes an appointment with Michael Frank. He asks her to meet him at his house on campus because his office isn't set up yet. The school provides housing for its teachers? Not a bad setup! I wonder if they pay rent or if it's considered a benefit.

That afternoon she goes to her appointment.

He looked something like the Marlboro man, rugged and devastatingly handsome. He was only about thirty, Dana judged, with dark, almost black, curly hair, worn a little long in back, and rich brown eyes, underscored with laugh lines.

<sing-song voice>Dana's in love!</sing-song voice>

They make small talk, getting to know each other. Michael has a master's degree in psychology from Berkeley but he's from Chicago. He jogs and he worked on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico once summer while recovering from a short marriage.

They talk about her parents' divorce and her father's remarriage and how it has affected her. Before she leaves, Michael gives her an assignment for next week: write down some things, even if they're just little things, that tick her off.

Michael was clearly an exceptional person -- maybe the most exceptional man she'd ever met. He was wise and mature and he had a way of putting things that made them seem sensible and even comprehensible.

Told ya!

Everyone wants to know what Michael was like when Dana joins them in the dining hall, but Dana wants to keep it to herself.

It was almost as if she would give away something of her own by describing him.

Casey and the girls of 407 are soon joined by Pamela, Mary Beth Grover, and a third girl named Ellie who I know has been mentioned before. Pamela has heard that Michael is around thirty and unattached. Many of her friends in California date older men because they bring more experience to the relationship.

Yeah, but they're also OLD. Now, I say this as someone who's over thirty myself. I would find myself with very little in common with a teenage boy.

Shelley decides to go see Michael. She's concerned that, now that she's lost some weight, she's at risk for developing anorexia. She's started to be afraid to eat, scared that she's going to gain back the weight she lost. They talk for a while and Michael doesn't seem to think she's truly at risk, but he advises her to weigh herself daily so she can see that she's maintaining her weight and not gaining. That way she won't be so scared.

Shelley's so relieved that she runs back to the room and gushes about Michael. Faith jokes she'd better go see him too, so as not to be left out. Dana's a little jealous that others will be seeing Michael, even though she knows that's why he's at Canby.

Dana's father calls. He and Eve will be in New York next month and want her to visit them. They have some news but will wait until they're all together to share it.

Sunday night, Dana receives a note in her mailbox from Michael inviting her to go for a run with him the next afternoon. Returning to her room, she decides to join Faith to do laundry. Her hot pink sweat pants are grungy and she has to look good for Michael.

Dana wears a ribbon in her hair instead of a sweatband when she goes to meet Micheal. Really, Dana? That's not obvious or anything. I don't see why should couldn't wear both, actually. It's not like they serve the same function. A sweatband goes around the head and a ribbon usually goes around a ponytail. Oh, wait. Is it possible she's wearing a ribbon as a headband? That's not good for running, Dana. Just wear the sweatband.

Michael conducts Dana's counseling session while they run. They discuss Alison, who Dana says she did not go to with her issues because Alison knows her too well, and Dana's parents' divorce again. As they near Baker House, Dana is dismayed to see Randy Crowell sitting on the front steps waiting for her. Michael runs off alone, back to his house/office.

Dana blows Randy off when he asks her out for the weekend, but feels bad and agrees to go to Canby's midwinter dance with him. As she goes inside, she knows she's going to blow him off again the next time he calls. Come on, Dana, he's such a nice guy and he really likes you. Dana looks around at the other girls in the Baker lounge and feels older and more mature.

Michael understood that -- nobody else really knew her, but he did.

A romance for the ages, no doubt.

The Canby Hall library must be on some alternate version of the Dewey Decimal system. Faith and Casey are looking for Huguenots at the Brink in 677.25, which my friend Google tells me is for textiles. History is the 900s. After they leave the library, the girls walk past the conference room, where they see Michael arranging pillows on the floor. He has pillows instead of furniture. Is this really a good idea? Pillows all over the floor of an "office" of a young male counselor at an all girls boarding school?

They introduce themselves then turn to leave and see Alison running toward them with her arms full of overdue library books. She trips, dropping her books. Faith, Casey, and Michael help her pick them up. Faith and Casey are surprised that Alison and Michael have already met.

"We're still in the acquaintance stage," Michael said. "Let's see, there were the three faculty meetings, and the fire drill at the faculty houses, and then there was the time Alison spilled her cup of tea all over my hand in the faculty dining room."

So what you're saying, Michael, is that you're faculty? But seriously, HE'S FLIRTING WITH ALISON. Michael offers to return Alison's books for her so that she can make her meeting with Ms. Allardyce. How sweet.

Casey is all over that, but Faith takes some convincing. She admits, however, that they didn't seem like mere acquaintances. Back at Baker, they share the news with Shelley and Dana. Dana is incensed that they are gossiping about her man! She's practically in tears when she stalks out to go for a run.

Faith and Shelley realize what's going on: Dana has a crush. The three girls are afraid Dana is going to be in for a real letdown and that Dana's going to be badly hurt again.

Pamela Young approaches Dana and ask for a favor. She's noticed that Michael and Dana seem pretty tight, and she's just received a note asking to meet him to discuss her grades. They're bad, bad enough that she's worried about flunking out and wants Dana to put in a good word for her. And why would Dana do this for her, after the way she acted in the last book?

Dana tries to put Pamela off, but Pamela is persistent.

"Please, just say you'll mention my name. I know you have more influence on him than anybody -- I mean, it's obvious, isn't it? A faculty member wouldn't go jogging and stuff with a student unless their relationship was very special."

Run, Dana, run! She doesn't, though. She agrees to bring up Pamela's name and hopes that Michael will be impressed by her kindness.

Dana does mention Pamela, but Michael doesn't respond in any way. Pamela is sullen and nasty to everyone following her meeting with him, so it must not have gone well.

Dana continues to blow Randy off every time he calls. Poor Randy. I wonder why he doesn't give up. Michael has become the most important person in Dana's life and there's just no room for Randy.

A week before the midwinter dance, the girls sit on the front steps of Baker discussing what to wear. Shelley is still hoping to lose three pounds before the dance. If she was just a little thinner, she could borrow something from Dana. As they start to go back inside, Alison pulls up and gets out of her car. There's something different about her: a new haircut and no glasses! She got contacts.

"Alison," Shelley said, "I love your new look." She glanced at Dana's sullen face and then at Faith's. They all knew -- or thought they knew -- the reason for Alison's transformation. And the reason had dark brown hair and laugh lines under his perceptive eyes.

The next day after chapel, Dana runs over to Michael's house. He's outside standing by his bike and planning his garden. Dana invites herself in. He offers her some tea and dried apricots -- he no longer drinks the soda or eats corn chips that they shared on previous occasions. Dana knows exactly who could have convinced him to give up junk food: her health nut housemother.

She invites him to the midwinter dance, not as a date (she already has one) but just so he will feel included. Michael says no worries, Alison already asked him. Dana's upset and knocks over her chair as she rises to leave, but her mood changes when Michael asks her to save him a dance.

Dance night: Shelley has skipped enough meals to lose four pounds. She's borrowed pants from Faith and boots and a sweater from Dana. After Shelley leaves with Tom, Dana and Faith decide to wait in the Baker lounge. Dana's hoping that Randy will meet another Canby girl he likes better than her at the dance. When they reach the lounge, the guys are just coming in the door. Faith greets Johnny with a brief kiss. Randy has to settle for a "hey," from Dana.

While dancing, Randy wants to know why Dana has been so distant lately and wonders if she's thinking of moving on to "other pastures." Dana gets angry; she doesn't want to talk about it. She watches Michael dancing with Alison and then Casey, followed by Mary Beth Grover and a parade of other Canby girls. Finally, as the band starts a slow song, it's Dana's turn.

Was this the first time they'd ever touched? she wondered as her hand began to tingle. No, that first day, when she came to his house, he'd given her a friendly handshake in greeting. But tonight, his hand was warmer, fonder, as though it almost knew how important this moment was to her. And would be to her, forever. When she was old and gray, when she had accomplished what she intended in her life, when she had retired from her successful career and had children and grandchildren of her own, this evening would still be one of her most memorable experiences. Tears of joy stung her eyes as she realized how lucky she was, how wonderful it was to be Dana Morrison.

Okay then. I think this calls for an intervention. Also, Dana's about 45 in 2013 and certainly has had children by now if she's going to. I wonder if she still thinks this is one of the most memorable experiences of her life.

Their dance is interrupted by Tom's shout. Shelley has fainted. Alison and Michael take charge, getting her to the infirmary with Dana, Faith, Johnny, Randy, and Tom trailing behind. Shelley admits to Michael that she's been skipping meals. He sets up a weekly dinner for him at her house and invites her to bring Faith and Dana along if she wants. I'm pretty sure Dana's going to be all over that. She wouldn't want her roommate to be having private dinners with HER man.

Dana ponders her problems: Randy, the possibility of Michael and Alison, her own lack of perception when it came to Shelley's eating disorder. She decides to take care of one of them and calls Randy and invites him to meet her for pizza so that she can break up with him. On her way back to her room, she runs into Pamela, who expresses deep concern over Shelley's problem then drops a bomb: She's heard Michael is on his way out. When Dana asks for clarification, Pamela says it's against the law for him to betray confidences and implies that he did that when he and Dana discussed Pamela. (Only they didn't, because he didn't respond when she brought up Pamela's name.) Dana flips out and rushes off to see Ms. Allardyce.

On her way there, Dana runs into Faith, who wants to know what's going on. When Dana explains that Pamela asked her to talk to Michael, then turned around and accused him of breaking the law, Faith points out that Dana probably isn't the most unbiased person when it comes to Michael. Unfazed, Dana continues her trek, accompanied by Faith.

Dana opens the conversation with Ms. Allardyce by saying that Michael is the subject of some untrue rumors. Faith says that Michael and Dana should have the chance to tell her their side of the story. Ms. Allardyce asks them to return the next day.

At the pizza place, Dana and Randy order a small mushroom pizza before she tells him that she likes him but she needs her privacy right now. Randy takes it well, but he's clearly upset. He leaves her money for the bill and walks out just as the waitress brings their pizza to the table. The waitress says it's okay, another couple just ordered the same thing, and when Dana looks across the room, she sees it's Michael and Alison.

Dana returns to her room to find Shelley eating a soft pretzel. Dana fills Shelley in on everything she's missed -- Pamela's accusations, her visit to Ms. Allardyce, and her breakup with Randy. They have to hurry to make dinner before the dining hall closes, and Shelley stuffs even more food into her mouth. That was the quickest eating disorder recovery ever. Shelley invites them to go with her to dinner at Michael's.

The next day, Dana, Pamela, and Michael meet with Ms. Allardyce. Pamela lies and says that she met with Michael about her grades, nothing serious. Um, I'm pretty sure the headmistress has access to every student's record and that Ms. Allardyce KNOWS it's serious. She continues, saying that Dana told her that Michael had talked to her about Pamela's grades. Dana starts to defend Michael but Ms. Allardyce cuts her off. Michael asks Pamela the date of her appointment. She doesn't know, but he does. He has it written down: three weeks ago on Tuesday. He asks Dana when she mentioned Pamela to him. Dana doesn't know either, but says she only brought up Pamela's name because Pamela asked her to and that Michael changed the subject when she did. Michael shows Ms. Allardyce his appointment book. He and Dana saw each other the day before he saw Pamela and again a week later. He says, and has shorthand notes to prove it (couldn't he have faked them?), that Dana only brought up Pamela's name once and he didn't respond to her.

Michael tells Pamela that they will have a lot to talk about in future sessions. Ms. Allardyce takes his side.

"I think counseling is in order. Deal with it as you see fit."

Wow, that's kind of cold. Pamela threatens to call her mother, but Ms. Allardyce has already done so. She advises Pamela to listen to what Michael has to say. While I agree that Pamela needs some counseling, is it really a good idea for it to be with someone she's already made false accusations against? The next time they could be far more serious, and I don't think anyone wants that.

Pamela storms out. Michael and Dana leave together. Dana apparently hasn't learned anything, as she tells Michael that she's glad someone finally got the best of Pamela and that he's not in trouble. Michael once again ignores Dana and asks if she's coming to dinner with Shelley.

When the girls arrive at Michael's house, they see Alison in the kitchen helping him cook. Dana is despondent watching Alison and Michael together, so Faith and Shelley try to cover for her.

Dana travels to New York to see her father that weekend. She's glad to get away from Michael and Alison, to be in the city, and to see her father again. He's expecting to be finished up with his work in Hawaii soon, but Eve says they may stay on for the summer. She invites Dana to visit. Dana's father then announces that Eve's pregnant and due in July. So they're staying on for the summer because she won't be able to travel then?

Dana is shocked by the news but pretends to be as happy as her father and Eve are. She reveals the truth to Shelley and Faith, and then to Michael.

And then:

"Oh, Michael, I love you!"

Obviously she runs away.

She feels better after admitting that to him, even though she knows nothing will ever be the same between them again. Shelley and Faith notice the change in her, and Faith asks about Randy. Dana says she hasn't heard from him in a few weeks, but she hasn't called him either. Shelley and Faith have finally decided to talk to Dana about Michael. Faith points out that he needs a woman, not a teenager, and that he's fallen for Alison.

Dana catches a ride out to Randy's parents' farm and finds him mending fences. She apologizes for her behavior and they spend the afternoon together before he drives her home. Dana then goes up to Alison's, where Alison apologizes for not being there enough when Dana needed her and says that Michael has room enough in his life for both of them, just in different ways.

A few weeks later, weeks in which Dana avoided going anywhere near Michael's office, Michael invites her jogging. They agree to be friends.

This is one of my favorite books in the series. I just adore Alison and Michael and, while we only get glimpses of it viewed through the eyes of the Canby girls, this is the beginning of their story.

The Cover: "Three hearts break harder than one." What? Dana's was the only heart that was broken. Shelley and Faith weren't interested in Michael!

Let's move along to the back cover.

The fall term looks promising, with a new guy on campus.

Dana, Faith and Shelley find that they have yet another thing in common -- they all have a crush on the new guy. What's worse, Michael isn't from the prep school down the road; he's Canby Hall's new guidance counselor, and he's too old for anyone at school.

Or is he? Dana can tell that someone has captured Michael's interest, but she's sure that she can win him over. Then she realizes that Michael's romance is with one of the best friends Dana ever had...

Again, Faith and Shelley did not have a crush on Michael. THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED!

The Girls of Canby Hall #7: Four is a Crowd

It's September 5: back to school time! Dana's arriving by train and van again, wishing her family could have driven her to Canby. Her sister (too young to drive anyway) is already back in school and her mother has to work. I guess she couldn't take ONE day off to take her oldest daughter to boarding school. Come to think of it, this is how all the girls arrived last year, too: alone.

Dana is in for a surprise when she reaches Baker 407. Someone painted it over the summer. Instead of last year's "Insane Asylum Green," it's now a bright electric peacock blue. Sherwin-Williams has a slightly darker selection, and this site offers a look at fully furnished rooms done in peacock blue, although I would not say any of them are bright or electric. Maybe peacock blue has changed over past three decades. Anyway, it's not really my taste either, way too dark and depressing for me.

"Gadzooks!" is Faith's reaction. Maybe she thinks she's in a Scooby Doo cartoon. It turns out that Faith and Dana were on the same train, just different cars. You would think they might have discussed travel arrangements? They unpack as they wait for Shelley's arrival. Faith is feeling a lot better since her illness, but she's still down ten pounds. Johnny visited her in DC one weekend, and got to spend some time with her family, who he had met in July when they picked her up from school.

Dana hasn't seen Randy, but he did write her some letters while she was in New York. These girls are talking like they haven't seen each other all summer. It's been maybe three weeks.

Shelley declares that the room is "incredibly, amazingly, unbelievably, atrociously awful," and wants to paint it black. She thinks it would be dramatic.

Shelley's gained some weight during her time at home (which she says was two months but I've done the math and it just doesn't work) but is still down at least ten pounds from her chubby self of last fall. Actually, she calls herself a "little tub of lard." OVER TEN POUNDS?

As the group makes plans to go into Greenleaf for banana splits, Dana looks out the window and sees a navy blue limo and matching Cadillac pulling up in front of Baker. Two uniformed chauffeurs start unloading: a color TV, a video-recorder, an expensive stereo, skis, four tennis rackets, an electric typewriter, seven baby blue trunks, and nine baby blue suitcases. I hope this girl, whoever she is, has a single room.

Faith points out that the cars have California plates. What? They drove all the way across the country? I do not think the "willowy blonde girl in white pants and a black new wave shirt" who emerges from Baker was part of that road trip. Even Shelley flies in from Iowa.

"Miss Young" is on the third floor. And she has a maid named Nanette to put away her stuff. I wonder if Nanette gets a room.

Miss Young, whose first name is Pamela, has decided to take the Cadillac into Greenleaf to find some food. She instructs Nanette to find someone to do something about the two girls who think they're sharing her room. She's going to require a private room, of course.

Casey comes into the room with exciting information about their new dormmate: She's the daughter of none other than the famous movie star Yvonne Young.

Every time I read the name Yvonne Young, I think Yvonne DeCarlo.
I like to imagine that Pamela's mother is Lily Munster. Also, this book made me hate the name Pamela.

Casey joins the girls of 407 for ice cream and when they return to Canby, they take a walk around the campus. As they pass the headmistress's house, they glance into her window and see her get into what seems like an argument with a good-looking younger man, who then takes a crying Ms. Allardyce into his arms. It's oh so mysterious.

Shelley goes to breakfast early and is surprised to see Pamela already in the dining room. She decides to be friendly and goes over to Pamela's table.

She sure didn't look like the typical Canby girl. Her blonde hair was long and smooth. The front was a sweep of an even lighter blonde. She was wearing quite a bit of makeup, but so perfectly applied that it seemed almost natural. Her nails were long and polished a bright red. She was wearing a black silk shirt with the short sleeves rolled up. One one arm, she was wearing about ten thin silver bracelets. On the other wrist was a big old man's watch with a brown leather strap.

She's overdressed for Canby, which trends toward the preppy look. Pamela is annoyed by the no smoking rules, the no car rule, and the thought of having to walk anywhere.

In California, nobody walks anywhere.

Well, Miss Pamela, you're not in California anymore.

Shelley plays dumb and pretends she doesn't already know who Pamela's mother is, asking if Pamela ever sees anyone famous in the supermarket.

"Wellllll," Pamela said, coyly, "Sometimes I run into them in my very own kitchen. My mother knows a lot of them. She does a little acting herself."

When Pamela finally reveals her mother's name, Shelley plays it cool and doesn't gush all over the table. Bet she would have if she hadn't had advance warning. Pamela says her mother is a jerk for continuing to send her to schools like Canby (that she keeps getting kicked out of). Shelley's shocked that anyone would refer to their own mother as a jerk.

Pamela admits that some things about being the daughter of a famous actress are good. She gets to shop on Rodeo Drive and go to private movie screenings and meet actors like Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, and Michael Jackson.

When Faith comes over to the table and asks Shelley if she's done eating (they have plans), Pamela mistakes her for a bus girl. Faith gives her a Look and walks away.

"Boy," Pamela said. "And I thought we had trouble with servants in California."

"That wasn't any servant," Shelley said, jumping up. "That was my roommate!"

"Oh," Pamela said, not sounding particularly sorry, "well, I suppose she must be used to people making that mistake."

No, Pamela, I don't believe she is.

Shelley runs after Faith and says that Pamela's just a jerk and that no one is going to let her get away with acting like that at Canby. Faith wants to know what Shelley said to Pamela after she left. Shelley now realizes that she should have defended Faith, so she tells Faith that's what she did.

Casey is the first to see the new black walls of 407. She says it's going to be the most talked-about room on campus. Alison is the second to see the room.

"Tell us it's the sharpest decorating idea you've ever seen."

"No. I went to the palace at Versailles, outside Paris, one summer, and the Hall of Mirrors there was sharper than this room."

She's not sure she likes it, but she has a contribution: a black light and some day glo posters from her brother's dorm in the sixties. I had to wait many years after reading this book before I saw a blacklight and day glo posters in college. Finally I understood! You better believe I flashed back to this book, too.

Alison asks them to keep their door shut in case Ms. Allardyce comes through on a dorm check and then heads down to the second floor to find a homesick freshman. Before she leaves, though, Dana pulls her aside and asks what she knows about Ms. Allardyce's mystery man. Alison seems to know something but won't open up.

You know, I don't see any reason why Alison would know. Why would Ms. Allardyce confide in an employee? I mean, we don't know much about either one of them, but they don't seem like besties.

A week into the school year, Shelley returns to her room to find Pamela waiting for her. She wants Shelley to show her where the creek is located so she can go swimming. Shelley is flattered that Pamela picked her out of all the girls at Canby to ask.

By now, word has spread about Pamela's identity, and the campus is split on whether she's cool or not. She really does know Michael Jackson, Matt Dillon, and Jennifer Beal; she has the pictures to prove it. Shelley's friends, though, fall into the group that think Pamela is a snob and a show-off.

"Our pool isn't really big enough for laps. I'm trying to get Yvonne to put in an Olympic-size. Now what me mostly do is work out with Jane Fonda."

"Oh yes, me too," Shelley said. "I have the book."

"Not the book, dope, I mean Yvonne and I go over to Jane's and work out with her."

Pamela's looking for someone to do her homework for her. She needs to pass to keep Yvonne happy, but she has a lifestyle to maintain: dinners at Greenleaf's French restaurant, shopping in New York, at least two hours a day of tennis practice to keep up her game. She simply doesn't have time to do anything as mundane as homework. Plus, she's met someone: Bret Harper.

Dana's Bret.

Shelley tries to warn Pamela about Bret's womanizing ways, but Pamela isn't having it. She's better than the typical Canby girl, after all.

And then Pamela lays it on thick, telling Shelley that she's the only girl Pamela's met at Canby who has any real sophistication.

Randy picks Dana up early Saturday morning to see the sunrise. They go up to Lover's Leap, which is usually deserted when Randy goes there -- but today there are two cars. One is a beater. The other belongs to Ms. Allardyce! As Randy and Dana try to decide whether to stay or go, Ms. Allardyce comes running out of the woods, chased by the same man who was in her house that first night. There's some awkward small talk before Ms. Allardyce tells Dana and Randy they'd better get going if they're going to see the sun rise.

Pamela's taking the 407 girls to dinner at Auberge, Greenleaf's French restaurant. Shelley is excited but Dana and Faith are only going for Shelley. Pamela, however, is an hour late and the girls are getting hungry. When she does arrive, she's underdressed and does not apologize for being late.

Auberge is the fanciest and most expensive restaurant Faith and Shelley have ever been to. Pamela shows off as usual, speaking French with the employees. Faith and Dana are not impressed by anything she's said or done so far, and when Faith makes a rude comment to her, Pamela starts to cry.

I'm pretty sure those were crocodile tears.

Yep, that becomes obvious when Bret, who's there with his parents, stops by their table. Pamela's frown turns upside down and her tears disappear real quick. Really, Bret? You SEE your ex sitting there with your current girlfriend and you can't hide behind a menu or a potted plant? You have to approach them?

After he leaves, Pamela gloats over being with Dana's ex. Dana and Faith decide to head back to Canby for dinner in the dining hall and leave. Shelley, however, decides to stay. She wants shrimp cocktail. I remember shrimp cocktail sounding soooo sophisticated when I first read this book. I can't get fresh shrimp locally, but there's a recipe for shrimp cocktail in homemade cocktail sauce that I have to try sometime.

Dana asks Casey to help her find out info on Ms. Allardyce and her younger man. The plan is to set up a borrowed telescope on the roof of Baker to look into Ms. Allardyce's house, then sneak under her windows when they see he's there. When even Casey is skeptical of your plan, you might want to rethink things.

Five nights later, Dana spots him in Ms. Allardyce's house. Dana grabs Casey from her room and they sprint to Ms. Allardyce's. Aren't there assigned study hours at Canby? I seem to remember that from the first book. When they get close to the house, they keep running into other students and teachers. Finally they're able to make their move, sidling up to the house the crawling around to the right room.

Once they're in position, they immediately hear some good stuff. The guy's name is Yale and he feels like Ms. Allardyce abandoned him -- when he was in prison!

"Patsy," he said, getting up. "I just can't listen to this anymore. If you'd really loved me, you would've been there."

He storms out, with Ms. Allardyce following, leaving Casey and Dana enough time to get back to the dorm.

Shelley's been spending a lot of time in Pamela's room since the incident at the Auberge. Pamela gets movie tapes from her mom each month, so they spend most of their time watching the movies. Shelley likes it because she can spend time with Pamela without having to talk to her and get to know her better. She's finding out that she doesn't really want to know any more. Pamela's negative attitude is wearing thin. But Shelley's also started to feel sorry for Pamela. She's noticed that Pamela doesn't have any close friends and never gets mail from home except for packages from her mom.

Gee, could her attitude be a reason for that? If NO ONE likes you, maybe it's not them, it's YOU.

Shelley's waiting outside in front of Baker for Tom when Pamela comes out. She's on her own for a while because Bret's gone home to Boston for the week. Shelley doesn't mention that she saw him on campus with another girl ten minutes ago.

REALLY, BRET? AGAIN? This guy never learns!

Pamela weasels an invitation to join Shelley and Tom for pizza. She runs inside "for a minute" to get ready. Thirty minutes later, she's back. I don't know why Shelley and Tom (who arrived 10 minutes into the wait) didn't just ditch her and go by themselves the way they had planned. Somebody has to teach this girl that their time is just as valuable as theirs.

Tom is VERY angry about the wait -- until he gets a look at Pamela. It's not spelled out, but I'm pretty sure he drools. Now it's Shelley's turn to be angry, as Tom and especially Pamela flirt right in front of her! So obviously the thing to do is go to the ladies room and leave the two of them alone. When she returns, Pamela's moved into Shelley's seat right next to Tom.

Shelley runs out. Tom chases her down and says he knows what Pamela's up to, that he was just trying to be friendly, and he's so earnest about it that Shelley knows he means it. He warns her that she should dump Pamela as a friend.

Back at Canby, Shelley tells Dana and Faith what happened and adds that she and Tom had gotten to talking and forgot to go back to the pizza place for Pamela. They didn't remember her until they were almost back to campus, but when they returned to pick her up, she was gone. As far as Shelley's concerned, their friendship is over. Faith warns her that Pamela is going to want the last word.

Shelley has a bad play rehearsal, and by the time she returns to Baker, Faith and Dana have already gone to dinner. Shelley decides to start her homework and goes over to Faith's desk to borrow Dana's typewriter, which is used by all the roommates. She sees that Faith has started a letter to her sister, and for some reason Shelley decides to invade Faith's privacy and read the letter. It contains complaints about Dana and especially Shelley, calling her insufferable and making fun of her acting abilities.

Shelley starts to cry. Soon enough, Dana and Faith return from dinner having a laughing fit over a girl slipping on a pea. It sounds hilarious (really) but it's difficult to believe a slip on a single pea would cause such a sight. Shelley shows them the letter, which Faith denies writing. Shelley doesn't believe her, and Dana's not sure she does either.

Two days later Faith's developing film and looking forward to meeting up with her boyfriend Johnny when she gets a message asking her to meet Shelley. She cancels on Johnny (and it's his birthday!), explaining that this is her chance to make up with Shelley.

Faith hikes out to the falls, which is where she's to meet Shelley, but there's no one around. Faith lays down to wait in the warm sun and falls asleep. It's almost an hour before she wakes up, and she's angry that Shelley lured her out there and then didn't show up. She's ready to go tell Shelley off but ultimately decides not to mention it, thinking that it will drive Shelley crazy if she thinks she didn't get to Faith, or that maybe Faith didn't show up either.

The next day is Wednesday: Room Check. This is the first we've heard of Room Check. I suspect it's the first ever Room Check. Alison checks each room in Baker for 25 infractions. The girls in 407 have never had a perfect score, averaging around a 15 and they once had an 11. They're always near the bottom of the list of rooms.

These rules are strict! Alison's not checking for hidden puppies or illegal hot plates. She's checking to make sure they emptied their wastebasket, dusted their furniture, and made their beds correctly.

Shelley rises and leaves first and because she doesn't wake Faith the way she usually does, Faith oversleeps. She's running late so it falls to Dana, who's still asleep, to make sure the room is ready for inspection. To make it very clear to Dana that she has to clean up, Faith breaks it down to the basics:

Faith knelt by the side of her bed and gave it a shake. Dana opened one eye.

"Me Faith. Me late."

Dana kept her one eye open.

"Today Wednesday. Room Check. You clean."

"Okay," Dana said. "No problem."

When Faith returns to the room that afternoon, there is a problem in the form of a note taped to the door.


The room is a mess: soda cans on the windowsill, crumpled paper around Shelley's desk, Dana's bed unmade and with an open package of cookies in it. That actually doesn't sound that bad to me. I was expecting it to be trashed. I suppose that's why they earned an 8 instead of a 0.

Dana enters right behind Faith, who shows her the note and reminds Dana that she asked her to clean up. Dana insists that she did but Faith doesn't believe her.

Dana goes up to see Alison, and they're joined by Casey. Ms. Allardyce knows they've been spying on her and wants to see them the next day at her house. As Casey and Dana head back to their rooms, Casey says they're in big trouble, but at least Ms. Allardyce hasn't called their parents yet. Casey thinks someone told on them. She hasn't told anyone what they've been doing, and Dana only told Shelley and Faith. She doesn't believe either of them would have told, even with all the problems they've been having lately. Casey says it must be someone that one of them told.

Dana confronts Faith and Shelley about it. She no longer believes that Faith wrote that letter, nor does she believe Shelley called the newspaper office to set up a meeting with Faith. It has to be the same person, and it's probably also the same person who tattled on her and Casey.

Who could it be? Who out of all the students at Canby would hold a grudge against the girls in 407?

They're stumped. REALLY?

Finally Shelley says that she told Pamela about Dana and Casey. She did it to impress Pamela.

The next day, Dana and Casey go to their meeting with Ms. Allardyce. Dana takes the blame -- it was her idea -- and says that Casey was just going along with her. Ms. Allardyce points out that they would be outraged if she listened in on their private conversations. They both apologize and Ms. Allardyce sentences them to campus restriction for a month.

Then she brings the guy in and introduces him as her brother!

Later Dana questions Alison about him. Alison says that Ms. Allardyce raised her brother after their parents died. They were close in childhood, but when he started getting in trouble and stole a car, she had to distance herself from him for the sake of her career. Now that he's out and has a steady job, she's going to introduce him to the school at the Harvest Holiday dance next week.

Dana, Faith, Casey, and Shelley have a plan to get back at Pamela. Casey places a note "from Bret" outside Pamela's door. The not apologizes for being inattentive and asks her to meet him at the Auberge restaurant. Tom's in on the plan too. He calls the Auberge pretending to be Bret and asks her to meet him on campus instead. When she gets there, Tom's friend Ed, pretending to be Bret's friend, has her go out to the skating pond. The girls race out to the pond to prepare a romantic setting, then hide for a while to give Pamela time to arrive. Then they pretend to stumble upon the scene while out birdwatching, embarrassing Pamela who is sitting there alone.

The girls go back to 407 to wait for Pamela to contact Bret and find out he doesn't know anything about the day and to realize that they were the ones who set them up. She's furious when she confronts them. They tell her they know all that she did to them. She's pleased that she almost split up their perfect friendship and says that she's not done with them yet.

The Cover: WHAT is Dana wearing? It looks like a typical polo shirt (except the buttons seem to go all the way down?) under a weird blue blazer. Why would a high school junior be wearing a blazer to get ice cream in September? Shelley is wearing a thin long-sleeved shirt (nice touch on the Canby Hall insignia on the breast pocket) and Faith is in short sleeves.

The picture of Pamela reminds me of Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Mary Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie.