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Bookworm

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With the enrollment process officially ended, and Miss Susan long gone, Franky was left in the hands of the new student welcome wagon.

“I trust you can make Francesca feel welcome, Miss Novak?” The Governor asked as they stepped in front of the same blonde she had chastised moments before for sitting improperly.

“Of course, Governor,” the blonde smiled, tight lipped. Once she was out of sight, her posture relaxed. “Hi, I’m Allie,” she said, extending her hand.
“Franky,” Franky introduced herself with her preferred name, taking Allie’s hand into her own.

“Well Franky, it’s nice to meet you. I’m your biggest fan already, you and this tour got me out of Calc class,” the blonde smiled appreciatively at the new student.

“I guess, you’re welcome?”

“Ready for the grand tour, newbie?” Allie extended her hand dramatically towards the staircase.

“Lead the way, blondie,” Franky fired back.

Allie took Franky on an extensive tour of Lawrenceville's campus, indoor and out. It seemed like just when Franky thought they’d seen it all, there was another building to explore.

“Jesus Christ, is this a school campus or a city?” Franky adjusted her backpack on her shoulder, feeling it’s weight pressing against her shoulders.

“You’re telling me. My first day I made the mistake of losing my map and couldn’t find the loo. I had to piss so bad I ended up going in the bushes. Got a week’s worth of detentions out of that,” Allie admitted sheepishly. Franky couldn’t hold back her laughter. She had expected the students to be as stiff as the Headmistress, yet Allie was anything but. Maybe she could be a good person to have in her corner as a little fish in a big pond of stuck up arseholes. Maybe an ally could help pass the time and keep her out of trouble.

“Don’t piss in the bushes, got it,” Franky pretended to write the note down on her palm.

“We’re almost done I swear, the dorms are just right behind the stables,” Allie pointed ahead.

“Fucking stables? Seriously?” Franky stopped and asked, completely shocked. This place had horses?

“No, I’m just fucking with you, newbie,” Allie winked and approached the steps of the nearest building, “the girls' dormitory is here, boys’ over there.”

On the grassy space in between the dorms, Franky saw several couples cuddled up on blankets. Some were pretending to read and study together, and some were too focused on each other to notice anyone around them.

“Aren’t there rules against PDA here?” Franky raised a questioning eyebrow.

“For some people. Not for kids of Board members,” Allie whispered as she ushered Franky up the stairs of the building. She quickly peeked at Franky’s paperwork and led her to the appropriate room.

“Home sweet home,” she smiled sarcastically. Franky entered the room and noticed how everything was in pristine condition. It put any group home she’d ever had the pleasure of crashing at to shame.

“So which are you?”

“I’m sorry?” Franky asked, confused.

“Trust fund or scholarship?” Allie leaned against the wall and crossed her arms over her chest.

“Scholarship,” Franky decided to leave out the details of her arrangement. Best not to frighten anyone away just yet.

“Me too. I bet your parents were stoked when they found out,” Allie sat down atop Franky’s small desk against the wall.

“No parents, just me,” Franky shrugged off the comment as she set her suitcase on the newly made bed. All of her things had been provided by the school so they were the proper royal blue and crimson colours. Perfect, she thought. It would be the first time she wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb to her peers. Normally her clothes were big in all the wrong places and always too short for her tall frame.

“You’re a foster kid?” Allie whispered softly, her eyes bulging slightly.

“Fuck off,” Franky warned her as her line of questioning continued. Immediately her defenses were back. Just when she thought she could trust the blonde.

“Sorry, I just... I didn’t think the Freak was letting anymore-” Alli attempted to backpedal swiftly back to safer territory, but there was no going back.

“Anymore what?” Franky snapped. “Any more rough trade like me?”

“No, I just meant-” Allie stuttered.

“I think I can figure it out from here. Thank you so much for your gracious hospitality, blondie,” Franky stood at her open door and waited for the nosy girl to leave.

“I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. I would just be really careful who you share that information with,” Allie appeared sincere. Franky scoffed and motioned for her to leave once more.

“If you need anything, I’m just down the hall in 401... I really am sorry, yeah?” Allie said softly as she exited. Franky sighed and turned back to finish unpacking.

 

 

In addition to her courses, Franky would be completing fifteen to twenty hours of work study in the library throughout the week and weekends as a condition of her admission. She was warned if she couldn’t maintain high marks, she would be quickly shipped to a cell in Juvenile Corrections.

Franky’s head was already aching from sitting through a full day’s worth of lectures on subjects that she hadn’t touched in ages. She’d already logged a few hours worth of homework for that evening which she’d have to finish after restacking the shelves.

After school, the library was like an absolute desert. Only the truly dedicated students would stay past four unless otherwise forced to by study groups or looming exams. Franky didn’t mind the work so much. It was quiet and it gave her something to do. She didn’t do well with lots of idle time. That’s usually when she found herself in trouble. One thing she did mind, however, was how terrible the students were at putting their own books back. Instead, the restack shelves on each row overflowed from sheer laziness. Kids at this school were most certainly smart enough to figure out the Dewey fucking Decimal System. But that was it, wasn’t it? They knew it, they just didn’t care. Not when there were people like Franky around to pick up after them. It was nearing seven when Franky had finally made it to the last row. Triumphantly, she returned the last book to its correct spot and was home free! She hoped she could swing by the cafeteria to grab something to eat before starting her own studies. Just as she tugged her backpack over her shoulder, however, she heard the familiar thud of another book hitting the restack shelf.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” she muttered. As she turned around, she watched the petite blonde culprit moving towards the exit.

“Seriously?” Franky said loud enough for her to hear. Confused, the blonde turned around and removed an earbud from her ear.

“Sorry, I didn’t catch that?” she smiled softly. Franky sneered and prepared herself to deliver the best serve of her life.

Watch it Doyle, she reminded herself. Free food, free bed.

“Nothing. Just forget it,” Franky mumbled and dropped her bag on the carpet to reshelf the last book. gently

“Oh, I’m sorry, I would have returned it myself but-”

“Too much work?” Franky interrupted her sarcastically.

“I-I can’t reach the top shelf,” the blonde admitted with embarrassment painted over her red cheeks. Franky’s anger immediately dissipated.

“Now see, you have a reasonable defense,” Franky smiled gently, “in that case, allow me.”

She snagged the rather thick novel and spotted the number along the side. “Developmental psychology, eh?” Franky spotted the break in the books on the top shelf and slipped it back into place, “just a bit of light reading for a Monday evening?”

“It’s interesting,” the blonde shrugged, dismissing Franky’s comment, “are you new? I haven’t seen you around here before.”

“Psychology and detective work, colour me impressed. Yes, I’m new.”

“I’m Bridget,” she extended her hand with a coy smile.

“Franky,” Franky introduced herself and shook the girl’s hand. Franky noted her bright blue eyes peeking from beneath her long lashes. She was stunning. Franky did her best not to be caught ogling. Better to fly under the school’s radar in more ways than one.

“Well, thank you for your help with the book, Franky,” Bridget wrinkled her nose before turning to leave.

“Anytime, Gidget,” Franky teased as she grabbed her bag from the floor.

“It’s Bridget,” the petite blonde paused at the door, correcting Franky’s error.

“I know,” Franky wrinkled her nose in response. She could have sworn she saw a deep red blush begin to appear on Bridget’s high cheekbones.

“Bye, Franky,” she shook her head and disappeared out the door.