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High School Never Ends

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 One

 

Trent Lane thought that Monday mornings should've been illegal.

He reflected on how nice it would be to have an extended weekend while he scrapped himself out of his computer chair. He'd fallen asleep at his desk, again, and the only fruits of all of his effort were two verses and a series of gibberish. He always got a random burst of inspiration late at night only to wake up and wonder what was going on in his head. It was one of the many bad habits he'd formed over the years and he knew it wouldn't be changing anytime soon. He grimaced at the trail of drool he'd left on his keyboard before wiping it away with the edge of his t-shirt. He reread the lyrics several times before closing the Word document completely, deciding to pick back up on the song writing after school.  He glanced over at his hand, noticing the ashen remains of what was formerly a cigarette. He really needed to stop smoking before bed, if only so he didn't burn the house down. He brushed the ashes into the trashcan along with a pile of crumpled pieces of paper before he headed over to his dresser. He didn't have much in the way of clothing which is why he didn't mind the Fielding school uniforms. It took most of the guess work out of it for him. He pulled out a pair of khaki pants, a white button-down, and his red and gold striped tie - most of the clothes wrinkled but otherwise clean. He wasn't sure where his blazer had run off to and he wasn't too worried about finding it. It was Monday, after all.

He yawned loudly as he trudged out of his room and into the hall, taking a moment to reflect on his current life status. It was the beginning of his senior year, he was seventeen years old, and he had no idea what the hell he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He had the luxury of living life on his own terms, a product of his parents lackadaisical parenting style, but that was coming back to bite him in the ass. He didn't have responsibilities or expectations to uphold; all he had to do was be. His parents were both successful artists: his mom's bizarre pottery unique enough to catch the attention of the big name art curators while his dad got paid big bucks to photograph landscape covers for magazines. In short, it was because of them that the Lane family was loaded. Trent knew that he was more well-off than plenty of other people but he didn't go out of his way to flaunt it. The money was nice but it didn't define who he was. He would be damned if he ended up like the rest of his peers, using their money and status to get by in life. He had dreams of being a successful musician someday...if he could ever get himself to actually produce something good.  It wasn't for lack of trying but everything he put to paper turned out to be utter garbage. He'd tossed most of the work he slaved over and he wasn't sure that he would ever be satisfied with anything he made. Creativity was in his blood but with it came all of the headaches of turning that creative energy into something tangible. Unlike himself, Jane had no trouble turning her ideas into works of art. 

Janey was his baby sister and the only one of his siblings that he had a close relationship with. He supposed being a mere two years apart had something to do with it. Jane didn't just sit around and talk about things; she made them happen. It was that tenacity that set her apart from the rest of the Lane clan and it was a trait that Trent was hoping rubbed off on him. They were the only two left in Casa Lane which meant that they had free reign. Food, booze, money. They had express access to it all. Funnily enough, neither of them made much use of it. To him, it was nice to have the option but he wasn't itching to throw a house party anytime soon. 

He didn't rush as he showered and got dressed, even though he knew that he'd overslept. He always did. He headed back to his room to slip on his Dr. Martens (definitely against dresscode) and grab his backpack before he headed downstairs. Jane was seated on the couch, quietly eating the last remnants of Captain Crunch that was in her bowl while 'Sick, Sad World' played on the flatscreen. He breezed by her to grab his car keys from the coffee table. 

"The recluse has arisen!"

He rolled his eyes before reaching for the remote to switch off the TV, "You ready?"

"I've been ready for the past thirty minutes"

She stopped off at the kitchen to drop her bowl in the sink before snatching her burgundy sweater vest from the back of a dining chair. He followed her out the front door, mind already preoccupied by what the first day of school would hold. If he knew anything about Fielding, it would be tedious and boring. He'd been attending the prep school ever since he was in sixth grade and every year it seemed to get more and more annoying. He passed his classes by the skin of his teeth and he was quiet enough to fly under the radar. Most people left him alone which suited him just fine. Soon, he would be home-free. He quickly unlocked the doors to his red Camaro, an unlikely birthday gift from his dad, before sliding into the driver's seat. Most people found it odd that he'd willingly drive such an 'old car' but it was a classic and he appreciated it for that alone. In his opinion, nothing could beat old school. He wasted no time cranking the volume on his radio, filling the small space with the sounds of The Cure. 

"Another school year begins", Jane said with faux enthusiasm as she fixed her lipstick, "Do you think it's too late to fake my own death?"

He chuckled before he pulled out of the driveway and started down the road. It was another day. 


Fielding Preparatory Academy was every bit as regal and prestigious as the name would suggest, the school first established back in 1811. It had a long and fruitful history, most of which Daria Morgendorffer read on the flight from Texas. According to several lists, it was one of the top ten best private schools on the East Coast. It was impressive and she could see why her parents were practically drooling over it during the orientation. Headmaster Daniels, a balding man with a terrible taste in suits and an even more terrible laugh, wasted no time praising the institutions many perks. There were the educators, all excellent in their areas of study and dedicated to hammering every ounce of information available into their feeble brains. The facilities were updated: brand new computers, extensive library collection, and a lacrosse field that would impress even the least sports savvy. He boasted about their 'competitive academic environment' which was the one phrase she had to hear her mother repeat, over and over again, on numerous occasions. It was the main selling point that sealed her fate. She needed to be somewhere that would test her skills and push her to improve. In essence, it was the closest she could get to a punishment without it actually being referred to as such. She knew that she'd screwed up, big time, but her schoolwork hardly suffered. St. Elizabeth's was a pathetic excuse for a school and she had no choice but to find some way to occupy herself. It was a poor choice anyway; they weren't even Catholic. 

"You've been awfully quiet". 

She briefly glanced away from the window for long enough to meet her mother's heavy gaze, part of her wondering if she could jump from a car moving at this speed and still make it out okay. 

"As opposed to my normal, talkative self". 

"I know you're not happy about this but I think it'll be good for you...for all of us". 

"Nice save, Mom". 

"I think it'll be nice", came the cheerful voice of none other than her sister, Quinn. She was busying herself with adjusting and readjusting her hair, an act that was starting to drive Daria crazy, "A change of scenery and all. New people, new places". 

"It's a shame you'll still be the same". 

"And these uniforms are pretty cute", she continued, blatantly ignoring her sister's comment, "I was worried the red would clash with my hair". 

"You never lose sight of what's important". 

"Girls, please". 

They pulled through the front gates marking the entrance to the school and Daria mentally prepared herself for the carnage that would await her. She was no stranger to prep school, having attended them ever since she was ten, but she never got used to the unspoken social code. She was supposed to act a certain way, dress a certain way, and it simply wasn't the way that she operated. She wouldn't play into the popularity politics and it was this attitude that got her into plenty of problems throughout the years. Unlike Quinn, who prided herself on how many friends she had, Daria couldn't care less if she made a single friend or not. It didn't matter because, at the end of the day, they were all the same. She took a deep breath as the car rolled to a halt, eyes taking in the people milling around outside. There was no turning back now. 

"I want you both to have a good day. And, please, no more fighting". 

"Bye, Mom!"

Quinn was the first one out of the car, practically beaming as she shut the door behind her. Daria was less enthusiastic about leaving though she knew that she couldn't sit there forever. She grabbed her canvas bag before pushing open the door, pausing a moment to glance at her mom. 

"No promises"

She left before her mom could respond and made her way towards the courtyard. She kept her focus on the path ahead of her, even as the stares started up. She was used to this; she could handle this. Right now, she was still safe. She was new, which made her stand out, but she hadn't done anything yet. Things could go one of two ways: very good or very bad. The latter was most likely but she held onto a small glimmer of hope that she'd be nothing more than a fly on the wall for the whole day.


 

Jane was busying herself with decorating her locker when she caught sight of the new girl. 

It was difficult not to notice her, even as she clearly tried to ignore everyone around her. She was under-dressed compared to most people, which was an impressive feat when everyone wore uniforms. Hers was far from immaculate: tie loose, shirt sleeves rolled up, skirt wrinkled. There was the distinct absence of make-up and her long auburn hair was completely unstyled. It would've been enough to permanently brand her as an 'undesirable' if not for the fact that she was so pretty. It was the kind of natural beauty that most people could only hope for, the kind that stoked jealous fury in the hearts of girls everywhere. Jane wouldn't have been surprised to see someone like her gracing the pages of fashion magazines. Well, maybe if she was a few inches taller. She came to a halt at a locker that was two down from hers before fishing a folded piece of paper out of her bag. She squinted at the numbers for a moment before fiddling with the combination lock, finally successful after the third attempt. She paid little attention to the conversations going on around her as she placed notebooks into her locker, intensely focused on the task at hand. Jane wasn't sure what to make of her which was curious. She looked like the type of girl to pride herself on popularity but the lack of care that went into her outfit said something else entirely. Someone that was trying to make a statement wouldn't have left the house with one hair out of place. 

"A picture would last longer". 

The flat monotone was completely unexpected, as was the latent southern accent. It took Jane a moment to register the words themselves but she wasn't fazed in the slightest. 

"Silly me, I left my camera at home". 

The girl looked over at her but she didn't say anything more. Jane didn't exactly blame her; she was in the lion's den and it was better to keep to oneself. Fielding was nice on the surface but the people were a whole other story. Most had their own agenda and it could be difficult to figure out exactly what that was. It was painfully easy to be taken advantage of or made the butt of some joke. People were ruthless and you'd stand no chance if you didn't play your cards right. It was a game that she didn't care to be a part of and, so, she spent most of her time alone. Sure, she could've made friends if she tried, but she didn't feel like wasting the effort. If she could get by without them then she would have less to worry about. The slamming of a locker door caught her attention and she looked up, watching as the girl made her way down the hall. Maybe today would be interesting after all.