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A very familiar notification noise chimed, and a small square window popped up in a teenage girl's computer screen. 



good ·.·´¯`·.· man : guys!!!!! 

> have u heard???

 

r·a· d : what?

 

good ·.·´¯`·.· man : sycamore is doin a scolarship program

> *scholarship

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : WAAAT?

 

¤ G.Gold ¤ : yup, i seen it

> they're makin a test

> the top 3 grades will get in for free

 

❀::º°˜ Ƒҽßɾᥙαɾყ ˜°º::❀ is typing...

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× is typing...

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : THAT'S RIDICULOUS!

 

❀::º°˜ Ƒҽßɾᥙαɾყ ˜°º::❀ : thats so nice! *u*

> *i mean lame

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : its not fair!!!

> we pay a lot to go there

> and some randos will go for free???????

 

r·a· d : i'm looking the school page rn

> they're saying its a program to give opportunity to the underprivileged or smg

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : ew

 

❀::º°˜ Ƒҽßɾᥙαɾყ ˜°º::❀ : it means like, tom huston culd make the test? 

> i mean, cuz his dad is poor

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : fuck tom huston

 

❀::º°˜ Ƒҽßɾᥙαɾყ ˜°º::❀ : eeeewww

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : not like that!!!!

 

good ·.·´¯`·.· man : LMFAO

 

¤ G.Gold ¤ : OMG LINDA HAHAAUAHAYHAYAHAYHAYHA

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : shut upppppp

> i have an idea!!!!!

> WE should do this test

 

¤ G.Gold ¤ : y?

> u cant afford the school anymore?

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : bitch of course i can

> but if we pass it we wont have to share our school w/ lowlives

 

r·a· d : That's mean

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : tnx 

 

¤ G.Gold ¤ : wait a sec

 

❀::º°˜ Ƒҽßɾᥙαɾყ ˜°º::❀ : but wat if we dont pass it?

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : i mean, you wouldn't pass anyway…..

 

good ·.·´¯`·.· man : buuuuuuuuuuurn

 

❀::º°˜ Ƒҽßɾᥙαɾყ ˜°º::❀ : now u sound like krayonder, howie 

 

good ·.·´¯`·.· man : NOOOOO

 

¤ G.Gold ¤ : we coulndt do the test

> not even tom, btw

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : y the fuck not?

 

¤ G.Gold ¤ : im reading the rules rn

> its not open for who already goes to sycamore

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : aaaaaaaagh

> thats so stupid!!!!!!!

> this school has really gone to the dogs

> maybe we should look for a better one n ask to be transferred

 

r·a· d : linda chill out

> its just 3 ppl

> i bet we wont even interact w them

 

❀::º°˜ Ƒҽßɾᥙαɾყ ˜°º::❀ : yea, n i bet their gonna b like nerdy prudes 

> n we gonna make fun of them

 

׺°”˜`”°º× £indα ׺°”˜`”°º× : yea, at least we'll have that

> fuck im late to my hair appointment

> bye guys

 

Linda didn't even bother closing the MSN Messenger and the other windows that were open, she just slammed the button to turn off her desktop computer. The tech guy said that doing that would end up burning the pc, but she honestly didn't care. Especially today, those news left her fucking pissed. 

She's just had the worst vacations ever . She and her parents had planned to pass the summer on France and she's been super excited for it, but they had to cancel the trip because her parents' Company was having stupid financial problems. It was a bummer, she spent the whole summer rotting in Hatchetfield, there was nothing fun to do there besides shopping and boating, and after two months she was tired of the same fucking mall and the same fucking boats. 

And now, just because she was getting excited that her classes would return soon, this stupid scholarship happens. Those financial problems her parents were having already made her feel her privilege and wealth threatened. Now, having poor people inside her school, occupying the same space as she did? It was revolting!

But her friends were right, even inside their school, those people wouldn't belong there. And, most important, they wouldn't take away her privileges. She would make sure of it. 

 

******

 

Becky Barnes was barely able to contain her happiness. Today was the day, she would start her first year at Sycamore School, the best school in Hatchetfield, maybe one of the best in the whole state. Also a very exclusive private school that Becky always thought was beyond her reach. When they announced their new scholarship program, she decided to take the exam just to test herself, and never even imagined she would get in. 

But there she was, hugging her mother goodbye on the Hatchetfield docks. She would miss her, of course, but going to a boarding school on a smaller island sounded like a worthwhile adventure. Her luggage had just been sent to the school on a large boat along with the other students', and now it was time for her to go. 

She said goodbye to her mom and approached the small yacht with the Sycamore crest on its hull. There were two school employees coordinating the children that were getting aboard, and the loud, excited chatter filled the air. This boat made two trips to get all the students to the island, and the school staff advised the new students to go on the first trip, for them to have time to get used to campus before classes started the next day. 

That meant most of the students in that boat were elementary and middle schoolers. It made her feel awkward, like she was out of place, but Becky kept optimistic. She'd be with her peers soon enough, and she was super excited to know the campus. As she approached the entrance to the boat, one of the school employees greeted her and asked for her document. The guy checked the id with a list on a clipboard he was holding.

"Welcome to Sycamore, miss Barnes!" he said as he marked the list with a pen and handed back her id. "You're one of the scholarship students, right? The other two are already onboard, you'll probably find them inside." 

Becky's face lit up and she thanked him, turning around to wave to her mother once more before hopping on the boat. It seemed larger inside than she would have thought, and the chatter noise was even louder, as it was full of children and pre-teens running around. The cabin was full of very comfortable-looking benches, and the deck area was also spacious. 

It wasn't hard to find the other high school students in there, sitting on the deck and looking at the commotion. Becky knew the scholarship was given to the first place in each of the high school years, except the senior. She was a junior, so the two boys she saw were going to freshman and sophomore years.

She didn't recognize the freshman one, he was tall and thin with sandy brown hair, and had a kind of average appearance that would make him pass unnoticed in most situations. But the other boy, dark skinned and short haired, was a face Becky knew, and she honestly expected to see him there, since he was the most intelligent student in Hatchetfield High. She approached the duo with a friendly smile on her face. 

"Hey! You're Xander, right? I remember you killed it at that math contest last year." she greeted, and the boy's face opened up in a smile. 

"Oh, thanks! And you're... Becky Barnes, right? I didn't know you were the junior scholarship winner." he sounded like Becky wasn't exactly the kind of person he would expect to be in that position. 

It bothered her a little, that most people would see her just as a stereotypical cheerleader and get surprised that she actually has a brain. But it was a common misconception and she didn't actually think Xander was at fault here, they barely knew each other, after all. 

"Yeah, honestly even I didn't expect this!" she joked, with a grin, and then turned to the other boy to introduce herself. "Hi, I'm Becky Barnes, nice to meet you!"

"Hi, I'm Paul." he sounded a little uncomfortable. 

"So, are you guys excited too?" Becky was super happy, and she wanted to share it. But the younger boy wasn't so enthusiastic. 

"Honestly, I didn't really wanna come, I'd rather go to Hatchetfield High with my friend Bill." he confessed in a low voice, scratching the back of his head. 

"Don't think like that, buddy, going to Sycamore will open so many doors for us." Xander argued, but the face Paul made to his words was enough for Becky to realise he'd probably heard something very similar from his parents. 

"I'm gonna miss my friends, too. I really wish my best friend Charlotte was here with me… but we can call and text them, and we'll get to see them on holidays and vacations, right? So I'm thinking about this as kinda an adventure." she tried to cheer the boy up, but he looked unconvinced. 

"I don't really like adventures..." he said under his breath, and then Becky was the one feeling uncomfortable, not knowing how to answer that. 

As if on cue, she noticed someone about her age approaching. It was a boy with dark hair, a blue headband, and he had a huge smile on his face.

"Hey guys! Man, I'm so glad there's someone else my age here! You guys are new, right?" 

"Hi! Yeah, we're from the scholarship." Becky said, still with a friendly smile, and the boy's face lit up even more. 

"Cool! My name's Bug, nice to meet you guys!" Becky and the two boys introduced themselves, and she hesitated to ask about the boy's name, afraid it would be rude. Paul didn't seem to have those worries, though

"Is Bug your real name?" he asked, frowning, and the boy let out a laugh.

"Might as well be! I got this nickname when I ate a bug back in third grade, and it stuck…" 

"Isn't this kinda mean?" Xander asked, frowning, and the taller boy shrugged.

"Nah, I like it better than my real name, actually." he said, before looking down for a second, seeming a bit uncomfortable. "I mean, there's a million 'Joey's out there but just one Bug, right?" 

"Yeah, I totally get it." Becky said, sympathetically, and the boy looked up at her, brightening up as they shared a smile. She, too, preferred to be called by her nickname than her full name, that she felt was too formal, so she thought she could empathize with the boy's sentiment.

"Hey, you were a cheerleader, right? I think I remember seeing you on the games…" Bug asked. 

"Yeah! Did you go watch them? I don't remember you on the team…" 

"No, I'm the mascot!" he had a huge and proud smile on his face, and Becky's eyes widened in a joyful surprise. 

" You are the Timberwolf? No way!" she teased. 

His answer was turning his face up to the sky and howling, which made Becky laugh and many kids on the deck cheer, some screaming things like "go, Timberwolves!". Paul looked extremely uncomfortable with the sudden attention on them, while Xander seemed mildly amused. 

"So, you're gonna flip sides and come cheer for us?" the two schools had a long history of rivalry in the sport, and Charlotte was already calling her a traitor for being transferred to Sycamore.

"I gotta say it'll be hard to change my loyalties, but I love cheering too much to let it go." 

"That's my girl!" He raised a hand for a high five, and Becky slapped it with a smile.

The boat started moving then, and the teenagers kept on talking, getting to know each other better. Paul seemed a bit shy and not the most optimistic person, but Becky liked how he, even in his awkwardness, stood by his opinions. Xander was very assertive and chill, and even in a casual conversation it was clear how brilliant  he was. And Bug was so fun to be around, he was bright and spontaneous, and he and Becky  had many interests in common.

The trip was about two hours long, and Becky was glad they were at the deck, so she could appreciate the view as they interacted. The sun gave the water a golden glow, and admiring it as she talked to her new friends, she was full of hope that she was heading to a good direction.

 

"Welcome to Sycamore Island!" Bug announced when they finally arrived, a big smile on his face. "I think we can tour the whole campus before the cool kids arrive." 

"Why did you come on the first trip?" Xander inquired, and Becky had the impression he was just waiting for the right cue to make that question. Honestly, she was curious too, since he was the only other high school student to do so.

"I-- it's silly." Bug shrugged, putting his hands on the pockets of his jacket. "I don't really like my house…" he trailed off, looking uncomfortable, and Becky put a hand on his shoulder.

"It's ok, you don't have to share if you don't want to." she said kindly, and he raised his eyebrows at that.

"No, it's not-- it's not abusive or anything! It's just that my family is really, really big, and everyone has a defined role in it… there's just no room for being myself there, I have to be just what they need me to be, you know? I mean, I'm a loser here, but at least I have some freedom." he shrugged again, and Becky squeezed his shoulder a bit before letting it go.

"It's not silly, Bug, it's really special to have a safe place where you can be yourself." 

He let out a small, jaded laugh that caught her off guard. "This is far from a safe place." His words made her raise an eyebrow.

"What do you mean?" up until that point, he'd just said positive things about the school, and now Becky was getting worried. 

"You'll understand when you meet some of the people here. But don't worry about it now, we have a tour to make." he brushed it off. 

It was kinda ominous, but it was easy to take that out of her mind when they started to know the campus. Sycamore was small for an island, but huge for a school. The buildings were wide and spread out, with a touch of colonial style on their architecture. The first building they went to was on the center of the island and looked almost like a town hall, with a square and a fountain in front of it and everything.

"We call here 'the Hall', the kitchen and the dinning hall are here, so it's the center of everything, of course." Bug explained, as they entered the building. "The upper floor is basically the administration, principal and teachers' offices, y'know, all the places we want to avoid. But the ground floor is cool, see that room there? It's a big group study room, great to hang out and pretend we're doing shit. The extra-curricular classes are here too, music room here, painting room over there…" 

Despite the colonial style on the outside, the inside of the building had a very modern taste and everything looked brand new. Around the Hall, were the classroom buildings, one for high school and a bigger one for elementary and middle school. The library was a separate building, across the square from the Hall, and it was magnificent. The living quarters were a bit further away, the boys' dorms to the west and the girls' to the east, with the bulk of campus and the teachers' dorms between them. 

Then there was the sports area, with a football field, a tennis court, a softball field and two multi-sports courts, surrounding a building with the locker rooms, which also had a swimming pool and a small gym. There was a playground for the smaller kids near that, and all those areas were connected by vast and well kept gardens. The rest of the island was a preservation area, and Bug explained they went there eventually for biology or geography projects, or to illicit escapades. 

It was really a lot to go  through, and they got back to the port just in time to see the yacht arriving with the rest of the students. This time, the vast majority of the people getting out of the boat were high schoolers, and most of them seemed to immediately notice the four teens that arrived first. 

"That's gonna be interesting…" Bug said, taking a pack of red vines from his pocket and biting into one. In just a second, Becky understood what he meant, as they were overwhelmed by people approaching. 

Everybody seemed to know they were the scholarship students, and while most people just passed by saying a short welcome, some of the bolder ones actually stopped to introduce themselves. 

"Welcome to Sycamore! I'm Drake Chasity, nice to meet you all! You should come join our Bible Studies group…" the short boy stood out for how formally he was dressed.

"It's so nice that the school finally stepped up to give opportunity to people who need it!" This one was a beautiful girl with olive skin and long dark hair, and she made an eloquent monologue about the socioeconomic inequality for two whole minutes before going away, but she didn't even ask their names.

"Wow, that was something." Becky said when she left, still a bit weirded out. Xander had a confused look on his face, and Paul looked too overwhelmed by all those people since the first one to approach them.

"Yup, that's Jasmine. We call her princess behind her back. She loves to talk about capitalism injustices, but her dad owns an oil empire." Becky raised her eyebrows,  and Xander rolled his eyes.

"Hey Bug!" they heard, as a girl with wavy brown hair and thick glasses approached, waving. By her side, was a guy with shoulder length hair who looked a bit distressed.

"Hey dude, are those Red Vines? Can I borrow some? Em's almost passing out." The boy said almost in a single breath.

"Sure, Grant, take the whole thing." Bug immediately offered, staying with just one candy on his hand as the guy took the package with a quick thanks and went back to where he came, running. 

"What happened, Mel?" Bug asked the bespectacled girl, who stood there.

"You know, Emberly's low blood sugar… she's brought cookies for the trip, but somehow they're at the bottom of the lake now." She explained.

"Oh, it started already, huh." Bug sounded resigned, and the girl nodded. "Anyways, lemme introduce you guys!"

The girl's name was Melissa, and she seemed pretty nice, but they didn't have much of a chance to talk, as more people were approaching. This time, it was two guys that looked very much the default of 'male white and rich', one of them with short dark hair and the other blonde with a baseball cap turned sideways. Becky only needed one look at them to recognize the stereotype, they were the local jerks.

"Hey there, gang! I just wanted a chance to introduce myself." said the dark haired one as they got closer. "My name is Junior, maybe you heard of me." he was met with three blank stares "Or my dad. He's the mayor of Hatchetfield." 

"I heard of your dad." Paul said, adamantly.

"I'm his son." the boy bragged, but nobody looked impressed. 

"And I'm Joe Krayonder!" the blonde boy waved.

"Nice to meet you…" Becky said, hesitantly, not wanting to be rude just for her face-value first  impression. The guys were just introducing themselves, after all.

"Nice to meet you . I gotta admit I thought the new kids would be like lame nerds, but you are fine ." Junior said to Becky, with a sly smile and a flirtatious tone that made the girl very uncomfortable.

"Ew, Junior, don't be so gross!" Melissa stepped up, getting slightly between Becky and the boy.

"What's wrong with complimenting a girl?" Junior tried to defend himself.

"You weren't complimenting, dude, you were just being an asshole." Bug interfered.

"WOOOW!" Krayonder cheered loudly, his eyes growing wide in an exaggerated expression. He was clearly that kind of loud boy who was always cheering up the clowns.

"I wasn't talking to you, was I?" Junior retorted. Becky wasn't liking all that fuss because of her, but she had no idea how to interfere without  making things worse. Looking at Paul and Xander, she could see both of them also looked unsure of what to do. 

"Back off, Junior." all the teens gathered there turned to look at where that came from. The boy who said it was handsome, with curly light brown hair and an athletic build. Becky recognized his face from the football games against Sycamore, but didn't remember his name.

"Here comes the hero!" Junior mocked, rolling his eyes, and the other boy shrugged.

"I don't know if I'm a hero, but I'm pretty sure my journalist aunt would love to know about your extracurricular activities." he said, making a slight gesture with his hand at the end of the sentence, one that Becky recognized immediately as the smoke club sign, so popular in Hatchetfield High. Junior immediately looked startled at that.

"Chill, man! I'm out!" he said, as Krayonder raised both his hands in a surrendering gesture, and both of them immediately left. 

"Thanks for that, dude." Bug said, as they greeted each other with a fist bump.

"It was nothing, guys. What the commotion was about?" he asked.

"They were being assholes, as usual." Melissa stated, matter of factly. 

It was just then that the boy seemed to notice the presence of the three new students, and he turned to them with a wide and friendly smile on his face. "Hi guys, nice to meet you all! I'm Tom Huston." he said, and the three introduced themselves.

"So, any of you guys play softball? We're really needing more people for the league…" Melissa started a conversation, but something else caught Becky's attention. 

The prettiest girl she's ever seen was getting out of the boat, and Becky couldn't help but stare. She has climbed on the top of the boat hull with her arms open on a T pose, the wind blowing her shining blonde hair that looked like gold on the sunset light. Two boys on the pier held her arms, one at each side of her, and lifted her in the air bringing her to stand in the pier in a very theatrical way, laughing as she landed.

"Wow. Who is that ?" She asked, not taking her eyes from that scene. 

"Oh my God, don't stare too much!" Bug warned, nudging her in the ribs to call out her attention, and she begrudgingly looked at him. "That's Linda Freemont and her goons. Remember when I said this place isn't safe? They're the reason why. They're the elite."

"I thought everyone in Sycamore was elite." Becky questioned, frowning,  and Tom let out a loud laugh.

"You're right. But they're the elite among the elite." He explained.

"Yeah, they're all old money, and they flaunt it . Have you never heard of Freemont Enterprises?" Melissa said, and just then Becky connected the dots, her chin dropping in surprise.

"Oh, she's from that Freemont?" That was the biggest company in the state, with many domains in their hands.

"Not just that, she's the heir of the whole thing." the girl explained, but Bug waved his hands in a dismissive gesture.

"No, guys, you're missing the point! Her money isn't what makes her so scary, it's… her!" 

"What do you mean?" Becky wasn't liking the way that was going, and she could see Paul and Xander were also paying very close attention. 

"She's evil." Tom said, plain and simple.

"Have you seen that new Lindsay Lohan movie?" Bug tried in a more colorful explanation. 

"What, Mean Girls? Of course!" Her and Charlotte went to see it on Cineplex when it premiered last year.

"Yeah. Think Regina George, but worse." Melissa said, and she didn't sound like she was joking. Could it really be like that?

"She kicked me once, it was awesome." Bug referenced, with a dorky smile on his face, and Melissa glared at him. "I'm kidding, but she did kick me." 

"Guys, shut up, she's coming!" Melissa warned in a hushed tone, and they all turned to see. 

Becky noticed the cacophony of banter and laughter on the pier suddenly became a quiet whispering and curious glances as the group approached the three new students. Linda Freemont walked on the center, two people at each side of her. 

On her left, an athletic boy with shining dark hair with an arm lazily on her shoulder, and another blonde girl, taller and with a more innocent smile than Linda's. On her right, the two boys that lifted her by the arm, one of them thin, with light brown hair, big glasses and clear blue eyes, the other a bit more chubby, his hair was dark blonde and he had braces on his teeth. 

Even without the context Becky just learned, she'd probably still think they looked intimidating, not because of their appearance, but for the way they walked and moved, like they owned everything. 

They stopped in front of the group, and Becky could feel everyone collectively holding their breaths. Completely ignoring Bug, Melissa and Tom, Linda stared each one of the new students, head to toe. She took her time on that, predatory, and although Becky's hands became very sweaty, she didn't cower or change her posture in any way. The blonde girl raised an eyebrow at that, glaring more firmly into her eyes, and the whispers around them got more frantic. 

Becky met that stare, feeling more anxious, but not wanting to show weakness. She was a cheerleader, for God's sake, she knew how those mind games worked. But she's never met someone with an aura of power as strong as that girl, and after a second staring into her almond brown eyes, she had to look away. Linda scoffed, disdainfully.

"Scholarship kids, huh? Let's see how long you'll last." Her voice rang loud above the whispers, and she didn't wait for an answer, walking away, her little crew at her heels. 

Only when they were many steps away Becky let out a deep breath she didn't even realize she's been holding. 

"Oh my God, Becky! You stared her back, what the fuck?!" Melissa whispered, shocked.

"I shouldn't have looked away…" she breathed out.

"Are you nuts? She'd have killed you if you hadn't!" The girl didn't sound like she was exaggerating. Bug, on the other hand, was looking at Becky with a wide smile on his face.

"You're a tough one, huh? I like it!" He said, putting a hand on her shoulder, and the girl smiled, blushing a little.

"Thanks, I guess." 

"Right, but what about her friends, should we worry about them too?" Xander asked, looking like he was taking mental notes of everything.

"Oh yeah, definitely! You saw how Junior was bragging that his father is the mayor?" Bug asked, and the three new students nodded. "Yeah, he's nothing. That guy with his arm around her, that's Howard Goodman, the governor's son. His family is in big politics since probably the founding fathers or whatever, the guy was born in a campaign trailer."

"Rumor around is he knows everyone's secrets. And he's so goddamn charismatic everyone still kinda trusts him." Melissa said, cleaning her glasses. 

"Well, he may know all the secrets, but they only get spread if they reach February, right?" Tom interjected.

"There's a deadline for keeping secrets?" Paul sounded as confused as Becky felt, but the others laughed. 

"No, February is that girl that was by his side." Tom explained.

"She's basically the dumb fake blonde, and she's the source of gossip in the school." Melissa said.

"She's--" Bug started, but he hesitated for a second. "Her name is Carol." it looked like he would say something else, but he left it at that. Becky got curious, but it seemed too personal to ask. Instead, she tried to keep the conversation going.

"What about the other two?"

"The one with glasses is Gary Goldstein. All his family is involved with law. Don't ever get in an argument with him, he'll make you contradict yourself and incur in five felonies before you even realized what happened." Tom said, and the others nodded.

"And the other one is Gerald Monroe, his parents own St. Damien's Hospital." said Melissa "I guess he's the least bad of them all, he would probably be in the nerds group if Linda wasn't his best friend since always." 

"Nah, he's an enabler, and he's not above doing any of their bidding." Bug contradicted. 

Then, a loud bell rang, and Bug threw his arms up, excitedly.

"Finally, let's go to dinner, I'm starving!" Honestly, Becky was very hungry too. As they walked towards the Hall, the three new students stepped a bit behind, getting the chance to talk just amongst themselves for a bit.

"That's a weird school, huh?" Paul said, hands in his pockets.

"Yeah, it's so much smaller than Hatchetfield High, it's like everyone knows each other, and they all have nicknames and stuff." Becky agreed.

"You're right, but even though, it all sounds like the same old high school dramas. Popular kids being mean, petty grudges… it's all about being smart enough to choose where to walk to stay out of it." Xander assessed, and the other two nodded, taking in his insight. 

He was right, Becky mused, but she wasn't  so sure if she would want or even be able to stay out of that drama. If she really wanted to keep on being a cheerleader, there was no escaping social dynamics. More than that, she really liked Bug and his group of friends, and if she ended up sticking with them, she'd be in whatever drama they got in.

And then there was Linda Freemont, the girl who showed so much hostility towards her… was she as bad as those guys pitched? Was she some kind of threat? That remained to be seen. Becky wouldn't lie to herself: she was much more excited for that new social environment than to the actual classes.

 

The dinner was plentiful, many different types of food served without limitation, in a hall large enough to host all the students at once. It meant, of course, that it was very loud with all the chatter and laughter, to the point it was hard to keep a normal conversation. 

Tom explained that it wouldn't be like that every day. Each level of education had a different time schedule for their classes, so only the first and last meals of the year were had with all the students together. Even with the noise, though, it was fun, and Becky could get more acquainted with that group that embraced her. 

She was already fond of Bug, and she quickly clicked with Melissa too, who seemed very witty and sweet. Tom was very nice too, though he was dividing his attention between their group and his other friends from the football team. They were joined too by that boy from earlier, Grant, and his girlfriend Emberly. She was very energetic and talkative, while he was more chilled out and kinda dorky, which made them a really funny pair. 

They went to their dorms after dinner, the boys heading west while Becky, Melissa and Emberly went in the opposite direction. The entrance to the dorm building was a large loft, with couches to hang out and tables to eat or study, but when they came in, the girls were all standing up, organized in a line for two school employees handing out dorm keys. 

And there was a commotion at the front. At their spot on the end of the line, they couldn't see properly what was going on, Becky just heard a girl screaming.

"DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO YOU'RE TALKING TO?" the room was too loud with the other girls gossiping and gasping to hear the other side of the conversation.

"What's going on?" Melissa asked  the girl in front of her in line.  

" She 's got a roommate." the girl said, like it was scandalous, and Becky frowned.

"I thought everyone had a roommate?"

"Not Linda, she makes her parents pay extra so she can have a room to herself." Emberly explained, rolling her eyes.

"YES, THERE IS SOMETHING YOU CAN DO! YOU CAN CALL THE PRINCIPAL RIGHT NOW!" 

"It gets worse, though." Another girl, further in line, said. "She's furious 'cause her roommate is the scholarship girl!" she was apparently too focused on the gossip to realize the scholarship girl was right there. 

Becky froze when she heard that. Shit. Things were really going too well to be true, finding nice people right on the first day was too easy. Of course she'd have to share her room with the girl everyone described as the devil. 

A few more shrieks on the front, and then Linda Freemont came walking down the hall with long, firm steps. Her eyes found Becky on the line, and they straightened on a cold glare. She didn't stop, or acknowledge her in any other way, but Becky couldn't help but shiver at the pure hate she saw in that stare. 

She was fucked, for sure.