It started with a fight. Nothing out of the ordinary; they’d had fights before. Erik had an offer to go work for Stark Industries in the United States and repeated he couldn't let the opportunity pass but Charles retorted he wouldn't sacrifice his promising career at King’s College in London. But it wasn't just that. It was the sleepless nights as their baby twin daughters demanded food and clean diapers. It was the accusing each other of not caring, of spending too much time at work, of not making enough effort.
They didn't talk anymore, passed each other in the corridors of their house like strangers. They were miserable. They weren't a family anymore and they wondered, had they ever been one?
So it happened.
Erik took the job in New York and Charles stayed in London. But they didn't know what to do with the girls. Anya and Victoria, victims of their fathers’ divorce. They were so tiny, so innocent. The conversation about what would happen to their twins was the first calm, actual discussion Charles and Erik had had in months. They considered every option. Of course, none of them wanted to give the twins up. They could have them half time each, but it wasn't fair to the girls to make them endure the long flights every few weeks. There was only one solution. It was a terrible one but it would ensure that both men weren't left alone. They split the twins up.
Erik took Anya.
Charles took Victoria.
They would never see each other again. Or so they thought.
“I'm fine, dad. Stop it.” Victoria snapped as Charles tried to slip more money into her wallet and more warm sweaters in her suitcase. “It's not that far. I'll be fine.”
Charles sighed and stepped back to look at his fifteen year-old daughter. She stood at 5”3’ with curly long brown hair that she'd put in a ponytail for the trip and clear blue eyes like Charles’s. His driver would take Victoria to her new school up in Boston in just a minute. Loyton Private School, the best there could be in the country. He wouldn't see her for a while now. Charles would come with her if he didn't have a class at Columbia in the morning. It was his first few days and he couldn't already take time off. He doubted Victoria would appreciate him accompanying her anyway. She was independent already and didn't really care for his help anymore.
“It’s the first time you’ll be so far away from me. I just want to make sure you have enough.” Charles protested.
“I have enough. I'll be back, dad. Ok, bye. I'll see you.” Victoria said, forced to accept the hug that Charles was engulfing her into.
Then she left for school.
It wasn't a long trip to Boston. Victoria arrived at school with her headphones blasting classical music in her ears. It reminded her, she hoped she could practice her piano at school. Charles had said she could, but she only believed what she saw.
Victoria found her dorm with the help of the front office volunteer and immediately started unpacking her suitcase. It was January, everyone was coming back from winter break but no one was new to the school like she was. Her dorm was more luxurious than she'd imagined, but nothing more than what she was used to. At her house in London, she used to have twice the size of this for her bedroom. And now in Westchester, it was an actual mansion. She had never really cared about it though. She could've lived in a smaller home and be just as fine. The room she was going to live in for the next few months was still of adequate size; two double beds with carved wooden headboards, two closets and two desks. There was also a bathroom attached to it. There was plenty of room for two girls to live. Apparently, the school wanted to promote friendship and community living by having everyone live with a roommate. That was just great. But Victoria was lucky to have a room overlooking the immense garden, with a view on the well-kept lawn, trees and flowers. It was beautiful.
Victoria only hoped that her roommate would be tolerable. She was easily annoyed by people and she'd tried countless times to get her dad to arrange a single room for her. Charles had said it wasn't possible, and that he'd asked but Victoria was 93% sure he'd lied and just wanted to force her to meet someone and make friends. What would making friends do for her anyways? She was doing just fine on her own.
Once everything was unpacked and efficiently put in her part of the room, Victoria sat down on her bed and sighed. She took out her phone realizing she'd forgotten to text her dad she'd made it safe. So she typed a quick message and put her phone on her bedside table. The only decoration she'd arranged was a picture frame of her and her dad at a restaurant at the top of a building that had the most beautiful view of London in the background. It was her favorite picture of them and the only one on which she deemed her face acceptable.
The other side of the room wasn't the same. It had posters of U2 and of various actors that Victoria remembered seeing in some movies. At least she couldn't see any loud speakers that would disturb her sleep or study time and no big mess that would make her sick. It was going to be ok.
The door suddenly opened to reveal a pink-haired girl in black jeans and a black leather jacket. She sent Victoria a look as she walked in, raising an eyebrow. “Anya?” She said. “What are you doing here?”
“My name is Victoria.” Victoria replied calmly, not understanding what was happening, or who the girl was mistaking her with.
“Oh. My new roommate? I'm sorry I thought you were someone else.” The girl said, still looking very confused. But then she grinned. “I'm Samantha. Call me Sami.”
“I'm Victoria Xavier.”
“Can I call you Vicky?” Sami asked.
It was Victoria’s turn to raise an eyebrow, and that was a no all by itself. “My name is Victoria.” She repeated.
“Ok Victoria.” Sami replied, insisting on the full name.
Victoria stood up and walked to the door, thinking the conversation was over and she wanted to give herself a tour of the building and check out the piano. She was a bit stressed by the moving and could use some relaxing playing. But as soon as she saw her open the door, Sami spoke again. “Where are you going?” She asked. “You're a newbie, aren't you? Come on, I'll give you a tour.” She was so excited and enthusiastic it was already playing on Victoria’s nerves.
“Thank you...” Victoria still answered politely, and imagined her dad’s face if she said no like she wanted to and acted like a wild bear. “Sounds good.” she sighed.
“Let's go.” Sami grinned, leading the way.
Sami showed Victoria around the several level of dorms and, with a giggle, also pointed at the boys’ dorms, saying they were forbidden to girls. Victoria shrugged, having no intention to go there. Then the girls went to see some classrooms, the incredibly big dining hall, the theatre, the large gym, the two-story library, several lounges/living rooms and finally, the music room. It featured a large number of instruments from the drums to the saxophone, from the violin to the piano. The piano. It was beautiful and Victoria made a beeline for it. As she examined it, Victoria had the first smile on her face since she'd arrived. It was a good one; not like the one she had at home, but a pretty expensive one. She couldn't expect anything to be like what she had at home, since no one here was as crazy as her dad was. Charles had bought her a very rare and the best piano in the world for her last birthday. It was one of only 25 that existed in the world and it made the purest sound.
“Do you play?” Sami asked, seeing Victoria already seated on the piano bench with her hands on the keys
“I've played since I was 6.” Victoria replied, starting a simple tune just to warm up her fingers.
“We have an orchestra. You could be in it.” Sami said excitedly.
“No, thank you. I like playing alone.” Victoria replied, hands moving faster over the keys.
“Let's go, I didn't show you the gardens.” Sami said, forcing Victoria to leave the piano.
Victoria sighed and got up, following Sami outside with the thought to come back later to be alone with her music.
“So what's with the accent?” Sami asked.
“I'm British.” Victoria shrugged. “My dad and I just moved here.” The garden was just as beautiful as Victoria had seen through her window. Several alleys with benches provided the perfect opportunity to study outside during the beautiful days.
“Well I love it. How do you like the US?” Sami asked again.
“It's alright. It's not London.” Victoria replied with a shrug.
As Victoria had her head turned and was watching the fountain shooting water, there was suddenly a big crashing sound and she almost fell on the floor, holding her forehead as her head spinned. She had obviously walked into someone. Someone who had walked into her as well so she wasn't going to be too apologetic about it.
Victoria raised her eyes to see who it was. It was like looking in the mirror. Victoria frowned, thinking she was hallucinating since her head was still spinning. She’d hit it pretty hard. The only thing differentiating Victoria from the other girl was the hair. While Victoria’s was medium long, brown and curly, the other one had a tie and dye with blond tips and straight hair.
“Watch where you're going.” The girl said.
“It was an accident. How about you watch where you're going.” Victoria retorted with a frown.
“Anya, you're here. I mistook her for you earlier.” Sami said with a smile as if she wasn't aware that the two girls were glaring at each other full force.
“You thought I was her?” The so-called Anya repeated, making a face as if the mere idea disgusted her. “Please.”
Victoria was offended now, and she wasn't going to just let it go. “I would never put half my hair in acid to make it white.”
“I don't know where you went to school, but it's called hydrogen peroxide.” Anya snapped back. “At least it doesn't look like I have a horse tail trailing down my back.”
Sami had to forcefully remove Victoria before she could do anything she was going to regret on her first day. As they made their way back to their dorm, Sami couldn't stop talking about how uncanny the girls’ resemblance was. Victoria did her best to ignore it.
The next day was Victoria’s first day of class, and the first thing she was thankful for was the absence of obligation to wear a uniform at school. She was more comfortable in her own clothes. There was no fight for the bathroom in the morning, and Sami led the way to the dining hall again to get breakfast, chirpy as always. Breakfast wasn't bad, although there wasn't porridge and only regular tea. Now she wished she'd taken some of her favorite one with her.
Victoria checked her schedule and saw she had science first period. She turned around to ask Sami to explain where her class was in these four massive buildings only to realise her roommate was gone.
A321 shouldn't be too hard to find on her own. With no map. Victoria went up to the third floor but it stopped at A315 so she frowned and went back down. She knew there was more to the third floor than what she'd seen but she had no idea how to access it. Going to another building, she found B321 but of course it was an English class, and not hers. Eventually, Victoria found someone who could tell her where she needed to go. It was on the third floor, but she had to access that part from another staircase. This bloody building had made her late since the bell had rung over 10 minutes ago.
Eventually, Victoria stood before class A321 and let out a sigh. She knocked on the door and walked in, immediately having 30 pairs of eyes on her. The teacher looked at her with a disapproving frown on his face. “Miss Lehnsherr, I see being late is a habit the holidays didn't rid you of."
“My name is Victoria. I'm only late because I'm new and no one cared to give me a map..”
The teacher looked confused, wearing the exact same expression that Sami had.
“I'm here, Mr Flanagan.” Anya said, raising her hand and looking as displeased as Victoria was.
“Ah. Yes, um what did you say your name was again?” Now the teacher, Mr Flanagan looked a bit embarrassed.
“Victoria Xavier.” Victoria repeated.
“I remember now. I was informed of a new student. I apologize for the confusion. Welcome to Loyton, Miss Xavier. Please take a seat.” Mr Flanagan said and Victoria didn't need to be told twice. She made her way to the available seat that was the farthest away from her lookalike. That girl was a real bitch.
The rest of the class passed without incident, and so did the rest of the day. This school is pretty decent, Victoria thought as she left AP math, her last class of the day. There was only one problem. That girl people couldn't stop mistaking her for. It was incredibly annoying. Yes, Victoria was willing to admit there was a little resemblance, but nothing more than that. In a day, she'd been called Anya 9 times in total. And the girl was in most of her classes too, to top it all.
“So how was your first day?” Sami asked as she stood in the queue to get dinner with Victoria.
“It was alright.” Victoria replied, taking a bowl of carrot salad and putting it on her tray.
“I can't believe you're taking AP math, that shit is so hard.” Sami complained, running a hand through her light pink hair.
Victoria shrugged. “It's not really. I like math. It looks like it's going to be a challenging class and I need one.”
“You're crazy.” Sami commented before picking her hot food. She got some pork with mashed potatoes and made her way to the table where her friends were.
Victoria followed, but as she did she tripped on something and fell down, her tray crashing on the floor and her food spreading all around. Everyone turned their attention to the noise and laughed at her. What Victoria had tripped on was a foot; a foot which belonged to none other than Anya.
“Oh, you really should watch where you’re going.” Anya said with a small, innocent smile as she withdrew her foot.
If that girl wanted war, she was going to have it.