Cerise Hood stared up at the enormous, castle-like entrance to the enormous, castle-like school in front of her. Grimm’s Preparatory Academy was the finest school in all of Virginia. Many rich, famous, and powerful people had graduated from Grimm’s. It was nearly impossible to get into, you had to know someone who knew someone who knew someone. Or you had to be very wealthy with a slightly terrifying reputation. Either way, it was the best school in all of the United States. This was a fact, something everyone knew.
Looking at the gothic style building in front of her, Cerise wished to be back at home, sitting at the kitchen table as her mother gave her work to do. She wanted to be back in Kansas on the farm with just her mom and Ramona. But she couldn’t go back. She could never go back.
Cerise sighed and glanced at her sister beside her. Ramona was what her mother had liked to call ‘rebellious’. She was almost always dressed in leather, with dark makeup, her long brown hair highlighted red, and some strange sort of earrings with ear cuffs attached on her ears. For all that Ramona was rebellious, Cerise could tell that at this moment, she was nervous, just like Cerise.
“You ready?” Cerise asked with a weak smile.
Ramona scoffed. “I was born ready,” she said. Cerise rolled her eyes. Unlike herself, Ramona hadn’t enjoyed being home schooled. She had thought that it was a bore.
“You know what room you’re in?”
“Floor two, room twenty-eight,” Ramona recited, “You?”
“First floor, room thirteen,” Cerise smiled at her sister. “I’ll see you at dinner, then?”
“Maybe,” Ramona said with a shrug and headed towards the girls dormitory, shiny, new, red suitcase in tow.
Cerise started after her, lugging her battered brown suitcase behind her. Unlike Ramona, she hadn’t let their dad buy her a new suitcase. This suitcase was hers, and had been hers since before the move to Kansas, and definitely before the move to Virginia. Cerise and her suitcase had been through alot together, and she wasn’t about to let anyone take it away from her.
Cerise was so lost in thought that she stumbled over a girl wearing a pair of paint splattered jeans carrying art supplies. The girl fell to the ground, and Cerise rushed to help her pick the art supplies up. “I’m so sorry,” Cerise apologized.
“No problem,” said the girl, “I’m used to getting run over.”
“Yeah,” she shrugged before sticking her hand out, “I’m Cedar, by the way. Cedar Wood.”
“Cerise,” Cerise said, standing up and handing the art supplies to Cedar. “I’m new here.”
“I know,” Cedar said with a grin, “I mean, I haven't seen you around here before. So, I figured you were new. You a Senior?”
“Cool,” said Cedar, “So am I. I’m sure everyone keeps telling you what a great school GPA is, but it is. The arts program is amazing.”
“That’s cool,” Cerise said as she began walking towards the dormitory. Cedar fell in step beside her.
“What room are you in?”
“Thirteen,” Cerise answered.
“That’s great!” Cedar exclaimed, “I’m in twelve with Raven.”
“Raven Queen,” Cedar said, as if that explained everything. Taking in Cerise’s confused expression she continued, “She’s the daughter of Senator Queen. You know, the democratic senator.”
Cerise shook her head. “I just moved here,” she offered.
“Don’t worry,” Cedar said, “You’ll figure it out soon enough. This school practically runs off of status. All that matters is who your parents are. Luckily, I’m a scholarship student. I don’t have to worry about all that mess.”
“All that mess?”
“Yeah, you know...Here we are,” Cedar stopped mid sentence as they stopped in front of room twelve. The door was open, and the room was decorated perfectly. The right side of the room was bright yellow with artwork covering every available space. The left side of the room was purple with band posters hung up all over the walls. Sitting on the bed, strumming an electric guitar was a girl with black hair. Cerise could only assume that this was Raven Queen. She looked up when they stopped, then glanced from Cedar to Cerise then back to Cedar then back to Cerise.
“Who are you?” Raven Queen asked.
“I’m Cerise,” Cerise said, “I’m living across the hall.”
Raven snorted. “Good luck with that,” she said.
“What does that mean?”
“It means,” Raven said, pausing for dramatic effect, “that Apple White is going to be your roommate, and that, my friend, in a hard knock life.”
“What’s so bad about Apple White?” Cerise asked.
Raven was about to answer, but Cedar cut in. “She’s a bit extreme. She wants what she wants, and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Take being class president-for example. Last year this girl, Maddie, ran against her for class president. Maddie hasn’t been seen or heard from since.”
“I heard from her,” Raven interrupted, “She moved back to Wonderland.”
“Yeah,” Cedar said, “It’s in Maine. The point is, don’t get on Apple’s bad side.”
“Okay,” Cerise nodded, not quite understanding what the other girls were trying to tell her. “Anything else I need to know?”
“Don’t get on Headmaster Grimm’s bad side either,” Raven said.
Cedar nodded in agreement. “Basically,” she added on, “stay under the radar. If nobody sees you, then nobody can stop you. Also, don’t end up on Blondie’s.”
“School gossip website,” Raven explained.
“There’s a school gossip website?”
Raven grinned. “They didn’t have one of those at your old school?” she asked sarcastically.
Cerise shook her head. “I was homeschooled.”
“Then you are in for a big shock.”
Daring Charming was, to say the least, tired of rooming with Sparrow Hood, and they had only been in the same room for the past five minutes.
Daring had been in the same class as Sparrow since kindergarden. He was selfish, narcissistic, and annoying, at the best of times. At the worst of times he was a downright toolbag. Sparrow was the complete opposite of Daring. He didn’t care about school, or sports, or anything else for that matter. The only thing that he cared about was that stupid band of his, ‘The Merry Men’, and they weren’t even the best band on campus. Raven Queen’s band, ‘The Rebels’, blew them out of the water at the last competition.
Daring glanced at the redhead, who was currently jamming out to the worst music Daring had ever heard, and sighed. He was never going to survive rooming with Sparrow for an entire year.
“Dude,” Sparrow said, turning the music down a notch so that Daring could actually hear him, “Do you think that you could get me a date with your sister?”
“No,” Daring said as he finished unpacking his clothing.
“Because she’s my sister.”
Sparrow shrugged and went back to rocking out to his music. A second later, however, he interrupted Daring again, “What about Apple White?”
“What about Apple?” Daring asked.
“Could you get me a date with her?”
Daring studied Sparrow for a minute, trying to figure out why he wanted to go on a date with every girl that Daring knew. He didn’t stand a chance with Darling, and Apple would walk right over his heart in her high heels. On top of that, Apple and Daring were practically dating. Didn’t he know that?
“No,” Daring said.
Sparrow groan. “Well, what about-”
“The answer, Sparrow, is going to be no. If you want to go on a date, ask the girl out yourself. I’m sure that Duchess Swan would be happy to go out with you.”
“Not cool, man,” Sparrow said, “Duchess is my best friend.”
“That doesn’t mean that you can’t go on a date with her.”
“Yeah, it does,” Sparrow muttered.
Sparrow shook his head. “Just wait until you find a girl that you really like. Things won’t be so easy for you then Prince Charming.”
“Things are always easy for me, Sparrow.” Sparrow muttered something under his breath but Daring didn’t catch it. He tuned out the boy and his music as he returned to unpacking. Things were always easy for Daring Charming. After all, he’d had his entire life planned out for him since he was three. Things really were easy when all that you were doing was following a guidebook.
If Cerise could describe her roommate in one word it would have been ‘extreme’. Apple White had extremely blonde hair and an extremely high pitched voice that she used to sing extremely annoying songs while tidying their extremely tidy room. Oh yeah, everything about Apple White was extreme.
“So, do you do any extracurricular activities?” Apple paused from her singing to ask.
Cerise shrugged as she made her bed, placing a patchwork quilt that her mother had made on the top. “Well, I’m good at sports.”
Apple squealed. “Oh, that’s just wonderful,” she said, “We have a very successful equestrian team.”
Cerise snorted. Equestrian team? When she said that she was good at sports, she meant football and track, not horseback riding. “Are you on the team?” she asked.
“Of course I am,” Apple said, sitting down on Cerise’s bed, “It would be just wonderful if you were to join.”
“I’ll think about it,” Cerise said, tucking her hair behind her ear.
When she turned back to face Apple, she was staring. It took Cerise a second to figure out what she was staring at. A second later, Cerise covered her ear with her hair. She had to remember that the prep school kids wouldn’t be used to it like her mom, Romana, and even her father were.
“What happened?” Apple asked, her voice more curious than concerned.
“Accident when I was eight,” Cerise shrugged it off. She grabbed a red hoodie and tugged it on over her plain t-shirt. “I’m hungry,” she said, “I’m going to head to the mess hall.”
“We call it a cafeteria.”
Cerise nodded. “Okay,” she said. She paused at the door, “Apple, could you not tell anyone about...you know?”
Apple smiled. “Of course not.”
Cerise left the room and walked to the cafeteria. Her sister was waiting outside, scrolling through her phone. She glanced up as Cerise approached. “Do you know this school has a dress code?” she asked.
“Don’t most schools?”
“Yeah, but here we have to wear uniforms,” Ramona groaned, “how come no one told me this?”
“Why else did you think we ordered uniforms?” Their father had ordered uniforms for them earlier that summer, and they’d come in about a week ago. Both of the uniforms were too short for the tall sisters. The jackets barely fit across their broad shoulders.
“It’s still stupid,” Ramona mumbled.
Cerise shrugged, there really wasn’t anything that she could do about the school’s dress code policy. “How’s your roommate?” she asked.
“You mean roommates.”
“You have two?”
“Three, actually,” Ramona said, “Apparently it’s tradition for Juniors to room in groups of fours.”
“Are they alright?”
“Well, there’s the princess, her daddy’s a senator or something, but she seems to be a work out freak, and then there’s the dancer, her mom owns like seven ballets, and then there’s the activist who’s already gotten me to sign four petitions.”
“So, you like them.”
Ramona shrugged. “There okay. How’s yours?”
“I don’t know,” Cerise said, “The girls across the hall seem to think that she’s evil, but she seems okay. I’ve been told not to make her angry, though. I think it’s good advice.”
“That’s good,” Ramona said, pulling a piece of paper out of her bag and handing it to Cerise, “I’ve got to go. I promised my roommates I’d meet them for dinner.”
Cerise watched her sister’s retreating form then glanced down at the paper. School didn’t start for another week, but it seemed that football tryouts were tommorow. According to the flier, everyone was welcome. Cerise smiled. Ramona knew her too well.
Tucking the flier into her back, Cerise walked into the cafeteria to join Cedar and Raven at their table.