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Dirty Laundry

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Don’t care about what you did
Only care about what we do

It was a Monday afternoon, in early March, when they collected their mock results.

Each student, lined up outside the college canteen, had taken their A Level mocks across the months of January and February. And now, with every subject graded, it was the time to receive their results.

The atmosphere was thick – dripping with tension as students filed into the room in clusters of friend groups. Rows of white envelopes, ordered alphabetically, stared back at them. To no surprise, some students were much, much more terrified than others.

By this point in the year, almost everyone had gotten at least one offer (or rejection) from the universities they’d applied for. They also had entry requirements. And at this point, if they weren’t at least close to those…

Well, that would be an issue.                                                                                

Of course, there were only the mocks, but that didn’t eliminate the nervousness coursing through their veins, as they picked up the envelopes with their names, and flocked into their respective groups.

As usual, the first students to collect their results were Oz, Gilbert, and Alice. (And Vincent, who was Gilbert’s brother… who followed Gilbert in every step he took.)

Behind the façade of a beaming smile, Oz trembled internally as they gathered in one corner of the theatre, Gilbert beside him and Alice just ahead of him.

Alice, without a single millisecond of vacillation, tore open her results. Her eyes only had to scan over the sheet once, before she flung it into the air, and clenched a fist in victory. “Aha! Suckers! I only failed one thing!”

“Ah, well done…” Oz said, albeit he couldn’t quite grasp she was marvelling over failing a subject. However, he found it difficult to trust that luck was on his side instead. As comfort, with slightly shaking hands, he and Gil both peeled open their envelopes at the same time, shooting each other the odd, nervous glance.

It only took one glance for him to register his grades: Bs in Psychology, Sociology and Business, and C in Biology.

Unable to stop it, Oz felt a disappointed frown tug at his facial features. If he wanted to get into university, he had to get at least one A. But then, his gaze averted to Gilbert, the raven smiling. And that beaming smile was contagious; enough to make Oz smile a little too.

Gilbert, his smile fading slightly, scanned over Oz’s grade sheet. “Hey, you passed everything. A-Are you not happy?”

For a few seconds, Oz’s gaze appeared to be locked on the paper. Then, after staring in contemplation for a little longer, he simply folded the page in half, glanced up, and smiled at Gilbert. “No, Gil. I’m happy.”

Although he suspected the blonde was lying, Gilbert didn’t question him; he didn’t want to upset him.

“So, what did Gil get~?” Oz chuckled, now back to his usual ‘happy-go-lucky’ attitude.

“Oh, just…” Gilbert gave a bashful smile, scratching the back of his head in avoidance. “C in Physics, an uh, A in Maths, and… t-the same as you in Business.”

Only as Oz complimented him did Gilbert realise how quiet Vincent had gone.

“Vince? How… did you do?”

When Gilbert spoke to him, Vincent’s gaze instantly reverted from the floor, following the deceiving smile donning his lips. “It seems as though I am on track for History. I may, however, have to work somewhat harder at Computer Science and Literature if I want to reach my offer of ABB.”

“I’m… sure you’ll do fine, Vince…” Gilbert said, words dripping with uncertainty. He was fairly certain Vincent bunked half of his lessons – even more as of late – and most of his teachers hated him. Nonetheless, that wasn’t his concern. He couldn’t be concerned. Concern never went well between the two of them.

“Yes. I hope Gil gets into uni, too,” Vincent smiled the smile which no one trusted. “Though, I must leave now. If you’ll excuse me.”

Without another word, he spun on his heel, and promptly took off.

“Ah…” Oz stammered. “Do you… think he’s disappointed?”

“Hm…” Gilbert’s face was the epitome of confusion. “I have no idea what he’s thinking.”

“Hehe, yeah...” Oz laughed, albeit nervously. “So… did you get any more offers?”

It took a few seconds for Gilbert to know what he meant. But when it finally clicked, he couldn’t resist as a slight smile tugged at his lips. “Yeah, for Experimental Physics. But it’s AAB, so…”

“You’ll be fine. Gil is super smart.” Oz grinned at him, before scanning the room, and laying eyes on three of their other friends. “Ooh! Let’s go see how they did!”

The group Oz excitedly ran over to, with Gilbert and Alice trailing behind, was another sub-group within their main group. And, once again, it consisted of a mere three people: Sharon, Reim, and Break. (Oz always called them the ‘glasses squad’ considering every single one of them wore glasses).

Reim and Sharon were both incredibly hard-working, and as a result of that, each had offers at Cambridge university; Sharon would read Medicine, and Reim would read Classics. They were also well-known as a couple, but hanging around them never felt at all awkward.

Break, on the other hand, was the polar opposite. He was lazy, and definitely not aiming as high. Oh, and why he’d taken Sociology A-Level, no one knew.

“How’d you guys do?” Oz asked as he bound up to them, waving his result sheet around.

“Ah, Oz. It seems as though you’re here for the grand opening~” Break chuckled, clutching his envelope between two hands. But he had yet to open it. “Sharon? Ladies first~”

“Gladly,” Sharon said, bold and proud. With little hesitancy, she slit open the top of the envelope, and pulled out the sheet, reading over it briefly. Her confident expression remained unchanging as she read them out. “A* in Psychology, A* in Biology, A in Maths, and A in Chemistry. I think I'll be okay getting into Cambridge, don't you?”

The chorus of “congratulations” she received from everyone was nothing new.

From beside her, Reim smiled, although seemed slightly intimidated at the same time. (Nothing new there). Nervously, he proceeded to open his envelope.

After reading the grades listed, his face conveyed a mix of emotions, but the positivity woven into his smile didn’t falter even once.

“And Reim?” Sharon grabbed his attention rather abruptly, folding her results sheet over and pocketing it. “How did you do?”

“Well first of all, I obtained an A* in Latin, which I am very pleased with. I also achieved A’s in French and Sociology, so this is on track as well.” He paused speaking for the sake of cleaning his glasses frantically. “However, I appear to only have obtained a B in History, but that’s okay! To me, that clearly provides something to work on. If I am to get the grades for Cambridge, that is.”

With everyone marvelling over the couple’s extraordinary success, no one noticed that Break had already opened his results.

Oz was, as expected, the first to notice.

His face was the picture of disappointment, though. And his gaze, locked on the page, seemed fixated on one single grade.

“Break? How’d… you do?”

Break didn’t answer; the circle fell silent.

“Break? Are you… okay?”

The second Gilbert spoke, as opposed to Oz, Break’s gaze shifted from the page to meet his eyes. His expression now nonchalant, he discreetly adjusted the part of his fringe which lay over his glasses, before a sad smile crept onto his lips. Whether it was out of regret or self-loathing or something else entirely, no one would know. “Ah, yes, I’m okay. I could have done better, though, but they could be worse, right~?

“Yeah, maybe…” Reim’s eyes fell to the floor, as if he was unable to bring himself to look directly at the other. “W-What did you get, if you don’t mind sharing?”

Initially, Break seemed reluctant to read his results aloud. However, after a few seconds, he glanced at the sheet again, and then said with an indecipherable tone, “C in Chemistry, D in Physics, and E in Sociology~”

Silence returned once again.

“I… really thought you had a chance with Sociology…” Reim said quietly, unable to force a smile upon his lips. “But… I’ll help you catch up, i-if you want.”

“A-And if you want help with Physics, I’d be happy…” Gilbert attempted to flash him a smile, however it came across as an awkward attempt at sympathy, rather than sincerity. “I know you don’t have Maths as well, so there’s some stuff that’s more-“

“You needn’t worry about me,” Break cut him off, slipping the sheet into the shirt pocket of his jacket without another glimpse of it. “I can assure you that I am fine with how I did, despite what it seems~”

“Well… ok…” Reim seemed totally unconvinced, but at the same time, he didn’t want to start any arguments.

Oz, on the other hand, seemed mostly unfazed by the tension in the air; a breath of fresh air for them, really. Excitedly, he waved at the other two main members of their group – Elliot and Leo – before running over to them. “Hey! Guys! How’d you do?!”

“Tch, don’t be sound loud,” Elliot winced exaggeratingly, earning a discreet chuckle from his partner, Leo.

Elliot and Leo weren’t your average couple. In fact, if you hadn’t ever seen them interact, you wouldn’t think they had any compatibility whatsoever. They were total opposites; Elliot was from a rich, aristocratic family, whilst Leo was living with foster parents and about seven foster siblings. And, of the two, Elliot was much, much more hard-working.

But Leo was significantly smarter. Somehow. No one really knew how or why.

“Ah, Elliot’s just bitter,” Leo chuckled, nudging his boyfriend and earning a glare in response. “Why don’t you tell Oz what you got, Elliot?”

“Stop mocking me,” Elliot scolded him, albeit lightly. With a second scoff, he opened the results sheet again, and read them aloud. “Biology: B. Literature: B. Music: A. Drama: A.”

“Well… well done on Biology!” Oz was beaming, sure enough. “Ah, hehe… I only got a C… anyway! Leo?”

“Gladly.” Leo’s grin was ever smugger and more arrogant than Sharon’s. “Biology: A. Literature: A*. Music: A*. And Drama: A.”

“Ah! Leo, you did amazing!” Oz gawked. “Oh, and… congrats on getting into Oxford! Hehe, I don’t know if I ever said it formally…”

“Thank you, Oz,” Leo’s grin, much to Elliot’s apparent irritation, only widened. “It’s nice to know someone isn’t jealous.”

“Oi! Stop makin’ shit up!” Elliot said, as he folded his arms over his chest and pouted. “Tch, I’m still going to a Russell Group uni…”

“Hm, yes, but it’s not Oxford, is it?” Leo replied with a derisive snort, pulling his phone out of his pocket discreetly.

Watch it, shorty.”

“Insult my height again, and you’re getting punched.”

Needless to say, that argument quickly (and irrationally) progressed, until Oz and Gilbert were having to jump in and separate them, as per usual.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, there was the “popular kids” group, you might say.

Everyone knew who they were, everyone knew their gossip, and everyone knew who and when they’d each slept with each other, or another random member of the college.

They relished in such attention.

Primarily, the group consisted of Levi, Oswald, and the girls – Domi, Lottie, Jeanne, Lacie, and Ada.

In terms of grades, they were all fairly similar, achieving anything between A* and B, usually. And if their college days could be summed up in one slogan, it would be “work hard, play hard”.

Really, in almost two years of A Levels, that had yet to change.

The first of them, Levi, managed to get into all five universities he’d applied for to read Law without doing a single bit of extra reading last year. Thus, boldly, and with no nerves or hesitation, he ripped open his results sheet and read the grades aloud. “A* in Philosophy, B in Psychology, and A in Law. Woah, crazy shit.”

“I have to say, I’m surprised you got an A in Law~” Lottie said, her tone condescending, as she wrapped her fingers around his arm. “Ah, but you haven’t beaten my A*, I’m afraid~”

Levi smirked. “Language and Latin?”

“Let’s not pay attention to the trivial things. For no revision I’d say a D and C is passable.”

No one – not even Domi, who was Lottie’s best friend since childhood – knew what Levi and Lottie were to each other. Partners? Friends with benefits? Partners in crime?

Who knew?

All they really knew was that the two had slept with each other on multiple occasions.

Speaking of Domi, she was undoubtably the next to tear open her results, shamelessly like everything else she did.

Domi had never been a favourite of the teachers. She was arrogant, problematic, argumentative, but also incredibly smart. Not hard-working, mind you – she had yet to actually complete an assignment. And yet, still, the references from her teachers were apparently enough to get her an offer for Politics with French, at AAA.

“Congratulations on that A*~” Domi bound up to Lottie and engulfed her in a tight hug, her own slip of paper falling open. “Who really cares about English Language?”

“Not me, evidently, although I do have offers of AAB,” Lottie said, winking at her best friend. “So? Yours~?”

“Nosey,” Domi teased, but read them out with no qualms. “Bs in History and Drama, and an A in French. Considering French is technically my first language, I should have gotten A*. Ah, it sees I’m out of practice, though.” Her gaze then fell on Jeanne, as she nudged her arm suggestively. “Tu pourrais peut-être m'aider~?

Jeanne immediately flushed of colour. “Eh?!”

“I’m messing with you, of course~” Domi purred. Delicate fingers brushed over the paper in Jeanne’s hold. “How’d you do?”

“A-Ah…” Jeanne stammered, clearly flushed by the random display of… affection, maybe? “Um, I got an A in law, and eh, Bs in History and… French.”

“Oh~?” Domi’s fingers, laced between Jeanne’s, only tightened. “Maybe I can help you?”

Her face now bright red, Jeanne instantly tore her eyes away from Domi. “T-That won’t be necessary.”

“Domi, you’re very off-putting,” Lottie shook her head, teasingly scolding her. “Is Lacie coming in today?”

“Oswald said she would,” Levi said, “Although I don’t see him anywhere.”

Lottie’s mouth dropped open to retort with some snarky, derisive comment. But before she could, Ada arrived, running over to Domi and engulfing her in a hug.

Domi was, of course, beaming. “More female attention, aye? I’m on fire~”

Oh, and that was another thing – Domi was totally shameless about being bisexual. Albeit most of the group were convinced she hadn’t been with a guy even once. And everyone knew her and Jeanne had each had a thing for each other back in year 11.

“I got a B in Art!” she squealed, eyes almost glazed with tears of joy. “And I passed History!”

Sure enough, the chorus of “congratulations!” commenced.

Ada wasn’t necessarily a main member of their group. Really, she was popular with everyone. She may not have been the brightest of them, but anyone you asked would say she was the kindest, most earnest person they’d ever met.

A few moments later, the final two – Oswald and Lacie – arrived, Lacie strutting ahead of him into the canteen like her attendance was above 50%.

To tell the truth, Oswald and Lacie were quite the enigma amongst the group. They were twins, and if you brushed aside appearances, they were total opposites. Oswald was studious (to some extent) whereas Lacie showed up to college less than half the year. And, although he claimed to care, Oswald had never lifted a finger in telling her otherwise. In fact, Oswald never lifted a finger to do anything, really.

Their parents were, for some reason, hardly in the picture. To the group’s understanding, they worked long business trips away from home, thus the twins themselves never had to work for themselves.

“Nice to see you showing up for once,” Domi snorted, as Lacie finally reached the group, the envelope ready to be opened.

“It’s nice to be here, too,” Lacie responded with a sarcastic grin. Dutifully, she tore open the top, and pulled out the results which everyone waited eagerly to hear. “B in Philosophy, B in Psychology, and an A in Computer Science. So my teacher can suck my dick.”

At that, Lottie, Domi and Jeanne erupted into a hysterical fit of laughing. Truly, they would never be able to get over how Lacie managed to do so well without showing up to the classes.

“And you, Oswald?” Levi smirked, nudging the noirette on the shoulder discreetly.

His gaze, stoic as usual, lifted slightly. He opened the results, and, after very little time to read them himself, he passed them to Levi.

“AAA. Smartass.”

“Our UCAS points add up to the same,” Oswald said bluntly, pointing at Levi’s sheet.

“Are you proud of your sister, Oswald~?” Domi said. Of the group, she was the only person who ever dared to piss Oswald off.

Not including Lacie, of course. “Even if he was, he wouldn’t say.”

“I’m sure he’s beaming with joy inside,” Levi replied as sarcastically as everything else he said. “If not, I’ll treat you to a reward myself.”

“No, Levi, I will not sleep with you,” Lacie politely rejected, albeit the devilish smile donning her lips suggested otherwise.

Levi shrugged, and grumbled under his breath in misery, “Worth a shot.”

“Any of you hear how Jack did?” Lacie asked, as she slyly scanned the room for the blonde.

Jack was Lacie’s ex, who she’d dumped last year because of the multiple accusations he’d fired at her. Since then, he seldom interacted with them, but every now and again, an awkward encounter would occur.

“Well…” Ada piped up, keeping her voice low. “Vince just told me he, eh, failed everything, I think…”

“He can’t have passed when he didn’t show up to any of the exams,” Domi said, smirking. “Anyway~ If that’s all the business I have here, I think I’ll go and pay a visit to my dear Noé~” she then declared, finally letting go of Jeanne and leaving her alone. She turned on her heel, sending a dismissive wave their way as she headed towards the centre of the room.

Noé was Domi’s brother, and even though they weren’t related by blood, they’d known each other since they were 11. They lived with Domi’s grandfather, who had been and will always be a catalyst to their ever-growing sibling bond.

It wasn’t entirely mutual, though – Domi was a lot more protective over Noé than the other way around.

She didn’t exactly approve of his group, either. But nonetheless, for Noé’s sake, she still forced herself to interact with them.

“Domi!” Noé yelled the moment he spotted Domi making her way over. “How did you do?!”

“Amazingly, my dear Noé,” she said, flinging an arm around his shoulders and peering over at his results sheet. “I want to know about you!”

“Domi, I’m glad you asked!” Noé was genuinely beaming; to compare him to an excited puppy would be… actually pretty accurate. “First of all, despite how badly it went for all of us, I got an A in French! Can you believe it?! Ooh, and I got an A in Literature, which really surprised me actually, because that exam went horrifically! History was a B, and I’m happy with that too! Particularly since that paper 1 was also horrendous! And lastly, I got a C in Sociology. But! That doesn’t matter because I only need AAB to do French at the Univers-“

“Noé, that’s enough,” Domi cut him off with a finger over his lips and a smile he always fell for. “I have to say, though, I am surprised even you didn’t get an A* in French. Did anyone?”

“Yeah, one person,” Noé answered, before waving to the others. “Flo! Come here!”

“Tch,” said person he gestured to snorted, blatantly unimpressed. “Who’re you showing me off to this time?”

Flo – technically Florence, but you’d get punched if you dared to call her that – was most likely the smartest of that group. (Although that wasn’t difficult when there were only four of them). She was also two years younger than the rest of them, having moved to England from France a few years ago, and consequently ending up in a different year group. And even since then, she’d skipped a year.

But, to let her age and pastel pink hair fool you would be naïve. She was by far the most savage of them, and when that group included Vanitas, you knew she meant business.

“Domi hasn’t seen anyone who got A* in French,” Noé said.

Tension lingered; Domi and Flo had never liked each other.

Noé, of course, was oblivious to such tension.

“Anyway, I’ll be off before that rat Vanitas shows up.” Ah, yes, Vanitas. Noé’s boyfriend. Another person Domi hated.

Sure enough, though, the moment she said his name, Vanitas showed up. A fleeting second passed where he didn’t acknowledge it was her, but the moment he did, he froze in his tracks, before exhaling a disgusted ‘huff’. “What the fuck is she doing here?”

“Vanitas, be nice,” Noé scolded, rolling his eyes.

A little like Elliot and Leo, without seeing them together, anyone with half a brain would take one look at Vanitas and Noé, and just know they weren’t compatible. After all, Noé was hard-working, enthusiastic, and well on his way to a Russell Group university, whereas Vanitas was moody, feisty, and… currently failing everything.

But, of course, that didn’t stop them from having a four-year relationship, which was still going strong.

“I see you failed everything, then?”

Vanitas shrugged, and then proceeded to tear the paper in his hands in half. “I passed French. And I care fuck all about Literature and Art.”

Ignoring Vanitas and flat-out refusing to comment on his mass failure, Noé turned to Flo again. “Where’s Roland?”

“Why would I care?” Flo snorted, but reluctantly answered anyway. “He’s gone to flaunt his A* in R.S. to everyone.”

“Asshole,” Vanitas muttered under his breath. He hated Roland more than he hated Flo. “So, you beat your boyfriend in R.S. or what?”

“He is not my boyfriend!” she refused through gritted teeth, clenching the fist which was dangerously close to decking Vanitas in the fact. “And no, I got a B.”

“Ha.” Vanitas snorted.

“Better than your one C and two Es.”

“Hey, hey, stop,” Noé, once again, found himself in the middle of another dispute. However, his assistance didn’t last long, as Roland soon came bouncing over to him. “Roland!”

Roland’s eyes were sparkling.

It made Vanitas want to vomit.

“Well done on the A*!” Noé congratulated, his eyes wide like Roland’s, as they switched papers and continued gawking over each other’s results.

Across from them, Vanitas simply rolled his eyes, slipping out his phone and kicking back against one of the tables. “They’re at it again.”

“I don’t see why Roland is so happy. He failed art,” Flo commented. “Oi, ass, listen to me.”

“Sorry, all I hear is droning,” Vanitas drawled, and then flashed her a brief yet patronising grin.

At that, the pair entered round two of their bickering.

That was completely normal for them, though.

In fact, for every single person who stood in that room, none of this was really any different. All it consisted of was pretend grades on a piece of paper which, in a few months’ time, when the real thing came around, would probably dictate each and every one of their futures.

Fortunately, they still had a long, long way to go before then.

And long it would be.

Dirty laundry
Looks good on you