Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread II

Maybe it's my old age, but it's "normal" to be flirting with expulsion? I can appreciate that not everyone gets great grades, but....
I'd say its not normal, but then again they're upper class, had quite a lack of consequences and I'd imagine they were also a lot stricter back then. So I dont find it odd they've been flirting with expulsion.
I think that the problem with the twins is unlike their older brothers and sister they have no real direction in their life.
They have shown with their pranks and other hijinks that they are highly intelligent and creative but little unfocused.
Unlike Kiki they are much more comfortable in being princesses but do not quite understand that there are obligations and responsibilities that go along with it.
Hopefully their stepmother Charlotte, Aunt Cecile, and Kat can come up with several different possibilities that will interest the twins in doing something positive in their life.
Part 87, Chapter 1342
Chapter One Thousand Three Hundred Forty-Two

1st September 1959

Ramatuelle, France

The final week in Ramatuelle definitely felt that way. The first day in September had dawned with an overcast sky and it had started to rain mid-morning though it wasn’t particularly cold. Instead, it felt like they were under a warm, heavy blanket and they just went through the day in a sleepy fashion.

Zella had talked about going down to the beach but thought better of it. Instead, she and Aurora were in the parlor listening to the radio and completing the neglected paperwork for when they registered for the autumn term on Monday. As a returning student, Kiki had completed most of that before she had left Berlin, the only parts remaining were what she would need to do in person. This year she had been encouraged to take a few elective classes as most of what remained to get her certification as a Medic was practical instruction and not in the classroom. Doctor Berg had suggested that she take an art class or something of that nature. To challenge herself, or at least to do something that Kiki found enjoyable.

That was how Kiki found herself sitting on a couch next to one of the bay windows looking out the window thinking about the book that she had just finished reading. Kat had lent it to her before she had packed up Josefine and Tatiana to return home the previous Friday. It was the final book of a fantasy trilogy that Kiki had read the first two books of a couple years earlier. She had meant to get to this book when it had come out but had never been able to find the time. Over the previous days Kiki had been reading it every chance she got and reached the conclusion a few minutes earlier.

It was a somewhat silly story featuring hobbits, elves and dwarves but Kiki had seen that the author had managed to make it a parable of something larger. As the story neared its climax, the real action had not taken place on a battlefield but in a far-flung wasteland where Frodo and Samwise had found themselves captured by their enemies. Before they were captured, Frodo had swallowed the one ring to keep it from falling into the hands of Sauron’s minions and had grown deathly ill as a result. Samwise was forced to ask for mercy for his friend from those he could least expect it from.

Kiki recognized the obvious symbolism of humanity’s fate hanging by a slender thread over an abyss of their own creation. Having to appeal to that same humanity from your enemies… At the conclusion of the book, Samwise went home once they had reached Mount Doom and destroyed the ring at an extreme cost, Frodo didn’t. Having doomed himself the instant he swallowed the ring. The entire message of the trilogy was that power corrupts and those who touch it are corrupted themselves. It also contained the idea that only thing that countered that corruption was simple decency. It was something that shouldn’t have even needed to have been said, Kiki thought to herself as she looked out the window at the raindrops that were hitting the flagstones on the path in the garden. Which reminded her of a different book that she had read.

Before Kat had left, Kiki had gotten a chance to talk to her about what she had read in her biography. The part about how she had partially put the experience of past trauma behind her by taking part in a somewhat risky drug trial using experimental drugs that radically altered the perceptions of the person who had taken them. Kat had done it willingly and had found a bit of peace in the process. Though she had told Kiki that she felt that talking openly about the what had happened to her had probably been what had helped her the most. The only thing the drugs had done was lower her inhibitions enough to be so open. Later Kat had said that she had watched raindrops hitting the puddle outside her window, the ripples in the water had become sounds that echoed through the universe carrying her with them. Making it so that Kat was acutely aware that she was a part of everything. By the same token. Kat had said that outside a carefully controlled environment, such drugs were potentially dangerous and that she would be wise to avoid Albert Brandt because he a reckless idiot who had somehow gotten a Doctorate.

“What are you thinking about Kiki?” Zella asked.

Had she been that obvious?

“Just the books that I’ve been reading lately” Kiki replied.

“Anything that I would like?”

“Not really” Kiki said. She couldn’t imagine Zella reading J.R.R. Tolkien and her reading about Kat’s life would probably not end well. Zella had a habit of asking one question too many.

“I’ll need something to do on the train this Thursday” Zella said, “I was bored out of my mind when we were coming here.”

That was a reminder that the holiday was down to the last few days. It had all been so wonderful that Kiki just wanted time to stop. Now it was rushing towards them going back to the lives they had taken a temporary break from.

“If its sunny tomorrow, we can go down to the beach” Aurora said, “One last afternoon in the sun.”

That did seem like the best way to spend last full day in the villa.
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Maybe it's my old age, but it's "normal" to be flirting with expulsion? I can appreciate that not everyone gets great grades, but....
They're not flirting with expulsion, at least not the way it was worded. It seems the Gymnasium they are enrolled in does not see them on track for passing their Abitur, the German secondary school leaving diploma that qualifies you for university enrollment.*

Not having the Abitur is indeed something you could call perfectly normal for your average person. In the late 50s, less than 20% of all students graduated with it.

Of course, for kids with rich parents the statistic -and parental pressure- looks completely different.

* Not to mention that even if they were to squeeze by on a poor passing grade, they would still have lost a lot of career options. Most prestigious university courses have harsh minimum grade requirements.
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Part 87, Chapter 1343
Chapter One Thousand Three Hundred Forty-Three

15th September 1959

Tempelhof, Berlin

“Is she Marie Cecilie or Victoria Augusta?” Vanessa asked when Rea entered the room. When Rea didn’t react to mention of the proper name that she hated or mention of her twin sister beyond weary resignation Kiki realized that Rea must have come to her for help. Just that last detail was cause for worry.

It wasn’t until Kiki had gotten back to Berlin that she had discovered that her little sisters had spent the entire Summer Holiday as unpaid drudges at a convent in Baden. Seeing how serious her father and stepmother had been regarding the matter had been the only thing that had kept Kiki from laughing about it. The twins had never done anything that could be described as hard work in their entire lives, until now. The Nuns had not cared about who Rea and Vicky were, to them they were just two children full of pride and arrogance who needed to be taught a valuable lesson. That hadn’t been the real surprise for Kiki though, it had been the almost palatable anger that Vicky had towards Rea. The two of them had been inseparable for their entire lives, now it seemed that they could hardly stand to be in the same room with each other and that had extended into the school year with Vicky demanding that she attend classes separate from her sister as much as possible. It was a deliberate slap at Rea by Vicky, one that their educators were overjoyed to make happen which didn’t help matters.

That was how things had stood a week earlier. Since then Kiki had been too busy to pay attention to what her sisters were doing. She had discovered that she would need to apply to the War Academy through the University next year if she wanted to be on an Officer career track. It was something that was necessitated by the promotion to Gefreiter that had come through while she had been on holiday. She hadn’t expected that promotion yet, not until she had completed the initial training to be a field medic. That also meant changing her electives and jumping through a lot of hoops in a process that was still ongoing.

“What do you want Rea?” Kiki asked.

“This is as close as I’m ever going to get to University, isn’t it?” Rea said looking at Kiki’s bed and the shelves that contained her books, photographs and other personal mementos.

“No” Kiki said knowing that Rea was just feeling sorry for herself. The Headmistress of her school, the same one who Kiki had many dealings with had clearly been trying to get Rea and Vicky to take things seriously. “You still have time to straighten things out. Just everyone is disappointed with you right now because you’re far smarter than you’ve been acting over the last couple of years.”

That was the truth, as much as Rea didn’t want to hear it.

“That won’t bring Vicky back” Rea whined. For Kiki that was too much.

“Victoria isn’t dead” Kiki replied firmly, “She’s angry because you talk her into doing things that get you both into trouble. She’ll forgive you eventually.”

Looking at Ria’s face, Kiki could see that as upset as she was about the things going on in her life none of these things were enough to send her running to Kiki for help. There had to be something else going on, something that only she could help Rea with.

“What’s really going on Rea?” Kiki asked, “All those other things are difficult sure, but they are old news. What’s changed?”

Rea stood there looking at Kiki with her lower lip quivering for a long moment before rummaging through her book bag until she pulled out a crinkled-up piece of paper. She handed it to Kiki who read it and almost burst out laughing, but she didn’t because Rea would take it the wrong way. It was an assignment sheet from a Composition class that Rea would be taking and the essay she was being asked to write was the sort of thing that would get the class into the swing of things after a holiday.

You are to write 1000 words about the fun things you did over the Summer Holiday.

One thousand words, basically two pages double spaced. Kiki knew that Rea could bang it out in an hour if she wanted, so that wasn’t the problem. Even so, Kiki noticed that Rea was starting to cry. Upon seeing this, Vanesa left the room without a word. Dealing with a distraught girl wasn’t something that she wanted to deal with. Vanesa had complained in the past about how it was nothing but drama with her younger siblings, something she despised.

“Everyone is going to laugh” Rea sobbed as Kiki sat Rea down on her bed. “The holiday was awful. We were tricked into going there willingly. Then we found out that we just had the clothes we were wearing, so we had to wear these horrible dresses that were made from sackcloth. That isn’t a joke. We spent the entire holiday working. Pulling weeds, scrubbing pots and doing laundry…” Rea trailed off.

“Why don’t you write about that?” Kiki asked, “Just say what happened, the truth.”

The only thing that might surprise Rea’s classmates about what happened is that she didn’t land in a reform school.

“You didn’t hear me!” Rea wailed, “Everyone saw what you did and expect that I had a holiday like that. When they learn the truth, it will be the funniest thing they will have ever heard.”

That meant that after being rejected by her sister, Rea now had the prospect of being rejected by her classmates as well.

“Please calm down” Kiki said repeatedly, not even succeeding in getting Rea’s attention. Instead she just found herself sitting on her bed with her sister who was sobbing uncontrollably.
When Rea comes up for air I’m sure that Kiki will be able to reframe her views on her summer. If she was to write how she spent the summer in helping the good Sisters rather than being mere indentured labour it will go over quite well. It may give her classmates and teachers pause and elicit a positive response. Being looked at in a positive light will not be lost on either of the twins(they are certainly bright enough). But they have to be willing to see the lesson.
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When Rea comes up for air I’m sure that Kiki will be able to reframe her views on her summer. If she was to write how she spent the summer in helping the good Sisters rather than mere indentured labour it will go over quite well. It may give her classmates and teachers pause and elicit a positive response. Being looked at in a positive light will not be lost on either of the twins(they are certainly bright enough). But they have to be willing to see the lesson.
Exactly so. It's all in how you frame it. You volunteered to spend the summer serving in a convent. No one needs to know you didn't volunteer yourself. It's not what happened, it's how you tell the story
I like that Vicky and Rea are beginning to develop into their own persons and later that will make them grow closer.
Maybe when Crown Prince Friedrich is at university he will start to learn how to be friends with Princess Suga and we will see what happens next.
I think that while some of the more unscrupulous tabloids tried to make Kiki's vacation a scandal, the vast majority of the public was unconcerned about it and thought that she had earned it.
Part 87, Chapter 1344
Chapter One Thousand Three Hundred Forty-Four

19th September 1959

Mitte, Berlin

The line about twin sisters was that there was a smart one and a wild one. They made that assumption about Rea and Vicky. However, Kat had known them from time that she had been holding Rea minutes after she was born and they were waiting for Vicky, so she knew better. They were both of equal intelligence, just they expressed it differently. Rea was the far more the imaginative of the two and far better at coming up with ideas. Vicky was better at putting those ideas into practice. Vicky was actually far from being the wild one in that she seemed to want far more structure and stability than Rea did. Generally, there was a push and pull between the twins where the strengths of one generally made up for the weaknesses of the other. Now though, with Rea and Vicky separated for the first time in their lives, Louis Ferdinand and Charlotte were finding that things had taken a disturbing turn.

Of course, as soon as Kat arrived in the solarium that had become the unofficial office space of the Empress in the Winter Residence, the subject of the twins was the first thing that Charlotte wanted to talk about after tea was served.

“The twins are not particularly well liked” Kat explained, “In the past, everyone has been afraid of what would happen if they were provoked. Now that they are at odds and that has clearly changed.”

“I take it that there are many looking to get even?” Charlotte asked.

“These are teenaged girls we are talking about” Kat replied, “There is a line forming to the left.”

Charlotte frowned when she had heard that. While everyone had agreed that something had needed to be done regarding Marie and Victoria, there were a number of unforeseen consequences that they were having to deal with. The meeting with the Headmistress of the gymnasia about the growing backlash against the twins was one of those things.

“This did cause Marie to turn to Kristina for help” Charlotte said, “So it isn’t a complete disaster.”

It was Kat’s turn to frown. That wasn’t exactly a great outcome either. Kiki helping her sister with a carefully worded essay was one thing. Having a fourteen-year-old leaning on her for emotional support was the last thing that she needed right now though. Kat thought that Kiki was taking on too much, she had already suffered health problems that stemmed from overburdening herself the previous winter. Just how resilient was Kiki mentally? Kat couldn’t begin to have the first clue. Her own experience was that no one really knew until they reached the point where things simply fell apart. That was especially true with overachievers who don’t ask for help until they were flying off into the void.

“Even so” Kat said, “We need to find a way to get the twins to reconcile, they are much stronger together as opposed to whatever this is, even separate they’ll muddle through. I’m more worried about Kiki though, she takes on too much.”

“You would know” Charlotte said.

Kat didn’t want to hear that. How many times had Aunt Marcella talked to her about how she was burning the candle from both ends and that the day would come when she would regret it?

“What do you think of Louis’ latest idea?” Charlotte asked, changing the subject.

“Which one?” Kat asked in reply.

“The Electors.”

“Oh” Kat replied. She had heard that Louis had had proposed a series of reforms in the Reichstag regarding the royal succession. The same proposals had the Royalists on the far right completely outraged, from Kat’s perspective that meant that they probably had a great deal of merit. One of the ideas would be that the next Emperor wouldn’t automatically be the heir of Prussia. Instead, they would be going back to something like the election of the Emperor in the Holy Roman Empire with a modernized spin. Kat knew history well enough to know that whoever got appointed to the role of “Prince Elector” would be granted a tremendous amount of power within society.

“It’s still a secret but Louis is planning on retiring in favor of Freddy when he turns sixty-four, like his grandfather did” Charlotte said, “We would need to have the system set up by then.”

A decade hardly seemed like enough for that task.

“He also wants all the regions of the Empire represented” Charlotte said. No wonder the Royalists were outraged, a democratization of that process was the antithesis of everything that they believed in. What many had dubbed, the lucky sperm club was more in line with their thinking. “Do you have any idea of who ought to represent Berlin as Elector?”

“I wouldn’t wish that upon my worst enemy” Kat said, “I love this city and have spent almost my entire life here, but I know the reality. Too many factions pulling in different directions. Whoever gets the job will either try to please everyone or they will know that its impossible and try to please no one. Either way they will need to be patient until the very special presentation of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in the Reichstag with real knives and blood.”

“Surly that is an exaggeration” Charlotte said.

“Ask Friedrich Ebert Junior if I am wrong?” Kat said, naming the Governing Mayor of Berlin. The City’s politics made the actions of the teenaged girls who Charlotte worried were going to be coming after the twins seem very tame by comparison.

“You can make that happen?” Charlotte asked, only half seriously.

“He owes his entire career to my family” Kat said, “If I call him, he will pick up the phone.”

Charlotte was a little surprised by that. Kat was telling the truth though. There was a reason why her father had avoided getting arrested during his long career. Knowing where all the bodies were buried and which up and coming politicians were already bent was a part of that.
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It is a good thing that Rea and Vicky are taking some time off from each other in order to develop their own interests.
This may be a time for them to get their own mentors just as Kiki has Dr. Berg, Rea can have Gerta help develop her creativity and for Vicky I think Nessa von Schmidt-Faust will be a good choice.
They should also be sent to different schools in order to escape the wrath of their peers from the school they are now attending.