Chapter 1 - New Beginning
The storm was over long over but I was just now getting the sad feeling that some people get when it rains. The news guy said that we were going to be doused in storms for like an entire week. Yeah, I thought, pressing my head against the cold glass window. So much for that broadcast... There was nothing but dark blue skies, bright white stars, and billions of city lights to be seen for miles. And, lucky me, the view from my bedroom went on for that long. Our house sat at the edge of the city on a large hill over-looking a nearby lake.
I sighed. Great, my aunt Jennifer had finally made her appearance. "About goddamn time," I muttered aloud.
"Camryn Elizabeth Reed! Answer me!" I couldn't help but giggle; she used my full name... "I'm in here," I called.
I heard her footsteps first. The eerie sound of her high heeled stiletto boots clicking against the cold marble floor. I attempted to surppress the shiver that threatened to tear through me. It wasn't that she was scary or anything, in fact, she was anything but actually. She had a thin figure, which I thought went well with her small heat-shaped face, soft golden blond hair and faded light blue eyes.
"Ah, there you are," she peered around my large and empty room. It wasn't always empty. It used to look like any other teenager's room; filled with posters of different bands and celebrities, a couple of ten-drawer antique dressers, a four poster king sized bed with pale black curtains between each poster. At the end of the bed was a bench made from bamboo and next to that was a silver chest. The chest was my mother's. She gave it to me for my fifth birthday. It was absolutely beautiful with intricate carving and symbols on the lid and along the two sides. I couldn't read them though. That was the only problem well, except for the fact that I couldn't open it. That was a problem also.
There was a large flat screen television with a few different gaming systems in the far right corner opposite of my door, in the corner nearby I had three medium sized elm bookcases. I filled them with all different kinds of books; horror, thriller, action, adventure, fantasy, sci-fi, you name it.
"I don't believe that I've ever had the pleasure of being allowed into your lair," she commented, a bit dazed. I noticed the stress on the word lair.
"Really? I wonder why-"
"What was that?" she snapped.
"Nothing," I replied.
"Good. Now, before I take you under my wing and allow you to walk the grounds of my boarding school, we must cover some ground rules."
Oh god..., "Here we go," I muttered under my breath. She ignored my comment and continued, "First of all, when you address me, you will not call me 'auntie' or 'aunt jenny' or any of those other little names that I let slide when you were younger-"
"Don't you mean when grams and my parents were still alive?"
Her head, instantly, snapped in my direction. The light in her light blue eyes disapeared; replaced with a darkness that sent a shiver down my spine and left a cold, hollow pit in the center of my stomach. She lowered her head so that she was eye level with me. The glare she was sending my way was deathly. I tried to inch away from her, which proved useless; the large window blocking my retreat. "Listen to me you ungrateful little brat," she spat at me, "Your parents and your grandmother may have let your little attitude slide in the past but no more. I was gracious enough to adopt you and grant you permission to attend my school but don't think that because you are my niece that I or any of the staff will give you any special rights-"
My eyebrows nit together and the pit in my stomach was replaced with a white-hot anger, "Oh please don't. As a matter of fact, while we're at it, why don't we just keep the little fact that we're related a secret?" I put my hand to my heart, "I wouldn't want anyone to think badly of you or anything. Oh and by the way, they were your family too. Stop acting like you're a step-aunt or something."
Jennifer straightened her posture, "Yes, they may have been my sister and mother but they were never my family."
I couldn't help but scoff, "That explains why you were never seen around the holidays."
"Now that we understand one another, why don't you gather the rest of your junk so we can leave this place."
"Am I going to be getting the rest of my pep talk in the car or do you just want me to shut up till I'm eighteen and out of your hair and your school?" I asked as sweetly as I could manage.
"No," she said, "I'll leave that in the hands of someone more capable." She turned, and with her nose held high, gracefully stomped out of my, well, the room. It was hard to resit the urge to just stay there. Get my things and live in the old house by myself. Sadly, with my parents gone and no one to give me permission to live on my own, I was stuck with only one choice: pick up the small backpack laying on the floor near the window and follow the she-devil.
Heaving a heavy sigh, I laced my arm through one of the straps and followed after Jennifer.
“Hurry up, I don’t have all day,” Jennifer snapped. She was standing next to a slick, black limousine. A hummer limousine, I corrected myself. She was talking to a man. He was wearing limousine driver attire. There’s nothing more I can really add to that... He had everything; the suit, the hat, a tie. Wait, she has a chauffeur? How much money does she have?
“Camryn!” I jumped slightly. I’m not going to like this... I thought, dragging myself to the destroyer of the ozone.
“Good evening Miss Reed.” His voice sounded, surprisingly, younger than I thought it would’ve been. He sounded like a teenager, or at least someone in their early twenties.
“Don’t bother to greet her, Javier,” Jennifer called from inside the depth of the hummer. “She won’t be a continuous appearance. Will you Camryn?” There was a secret message hidden within the question. Surely if I answered wrong, I would be punished.
I chuckled at some of the things I make jokes about, “Sure thing Aunt Jenny. Your wish is my command. Along with,” I paused. Oh boy, am I going to get an earful... “Javier.”
There was a short laugh, “Funny. Get in the vehicle,” she warned.
“Yes, ma’am.” I obeyed like the good niece I was. I got a smirk from Javier and an evil glare from Jennifer, but I was having fun so I disregarded it.
The ride was long and silent. Well, it was before I turned my iPod on, anyway. I was in luck, the limo had a wireless internet connection. Every now and again I would look away from my screen to peer out the window and every time, Jennifer was staring at me. I don't mean like glaring or simply glancing at me. She was full on staring. The weird thing? She didn't look pissed or even remotely angry. Actually, a couple of times, I thought she looked sad or something.
Subtly, the car lurched forward. We have arrived. Turning the device off, I looked at my aunt, "So, should I get out first or should you? If you exit the car first, I should be able to slip away unnoticed." Sometimes my attitude was a little to much...
She shook her head, "No, you will be first. I want you to be familiar with the grounds so you are not in my office for tardiness. I will need you by me so I can assign you an ambassador."
"Yes. You do know what those are right?"
"Yeah, sure. They are upperclassmen who show the new kids around, tell them the rules; all that stuff."
She nodded, approvingly, "Good."
I was just about to ask her a question, when the small door began to open and the young voice of the chauffeur rang through the interior, "We're here Ms. Callaway."
Jennifer stepped through the open door, into the sunlight.
"Oh, I'm coming," I said. Why am I getting dazed? Boy did I get a surprise when I stepped into the light...
The sight was breath taking. Light shined from the smooth Verona Cobblestone, making up all the buildings. Two large dark oak doors stood between a large archway, an ornate light fixture hung from each side of the main archway. The metal was a green-black and ancient looking. Behind us, the limousine drove away and I thought I heard the sound of moving water.
In the middle of the vast, open space was a huge water fountain. It was a three story fountain made up of tile the color of the sky. The clearest, bluest water spouted from the finial. It spilled into the middle bowl before pooling in the last.
"It is a beautiful sight," my aunt admitted, when she caught me staring, in awe. "I tried my hardest to make this school beautiful."
"There's more to a school than just appearance, Jenn," I commented. "There's the quality of the education, respect of the students and staff. A lot goes into running a school. Especially one as renown as this," I added under my breath.
"What do you know of running a school?" she questioned.
I was surprised, she was pissy or giving me hateful looks. She didn't even seem to notice when I slipped up and called her Jenn. What is with the attitude change? "Next to nothing," I admitted. "But, it's common sense."
"Yes, I suppose so," her voice was light and distant.
"Jennifer! Jennifer!" A hurried and panicked voice called to my left. I tuned in time to see a woman dressed in formal business attire rushing toward us. I barely had enough time to move out of her way before she pushed past to reach my aunt.
Jennifer wasn't fazed by the pushy and crazy person running at her. By the look in her face, you would think that this happened frequently. "Excuse me," I muttered under my breath.
"Yes, Shelia. What is the matter?"
Shelia, as Jenn had called her, had to be around her late 30's early 40's. Her bob of short dark brown hair was laced with strands of silver grey also, her roots her fading and the wrinkles around her eyes were just beginning to show. "We're a mess. The cooks refuse to give me the menu, I can't find the forms for the new children and there are angry parents in the main hall," she finished in one breath.
"Alright Shelia, I will take care of it. Have any new students arrived yet?"
Shelia nodded. "Yes, of course. I have assigned them ambassadors. They are being showed around as we speak."
"Good. What are those?" She nodded her head to the clipboard and the papers inside.
Shelia looked down, "Oh, yes. I nearly forgot. These are the papers you asked for; regarding the staff," she added whilst handing over the stack.
Finally, Shelia turned her small head in my direction. "Who is this ma'am?"
Before Jenn could say something, I answered. Stepping forward and extending my hand, I said, "I am a new student. My name is Camryn Reed. It is very nice to meet you. Headmistress Callaway was trying to find me an ambassador but I can see that she is very busy," I added, feeling quiet proud for my quick thinking. From the corner of my eye, I swore I saw Jennifer smile and nod. But I couldn't have.
Shelia smiled sweetly, "I see. Well Camryn, it is very nice to meet you also. I am Professor Onyx." She took my extended hand. "I am the head of the ambassador program. I'm sure we can find you someone."
"Thank you, Professor, but you really don't have to. I can find my own way around," I began. I didn't think my attempts at persuading were working...
Professor Onyx placed her hand on my right shoulder. She began to lead me away from Jennifer. I thought I was home free; until she spoke up that is, "Shelia, I believe I have someone in mind." Oh no. I dropped my head as Professor Onyx turned around. I was so close...
"You do? Who?"
I turned my head. The smile she was displaying was cruel. "Why who else but Victoria?"
"Yes! That is a wonderful idea!" Professor Onyx was practically glowing.
Victoria? "Who's she?" I questioned; although I probably should've just kept my mouth shut.
"She is my student assistant," she replied.
"And this school's best student," Onyx continued.
"I believe the two of you will become very close friends." I didn't like the smirk on Jenn's face. Onyx seemed sweet and honest enough, but I knew how Jennifer could get. I got a first hand look back at my -- the house. She was up to something. I just couldn't place my finger on on what that something was.
"She sounds nice," was all I could think of to say back.
"There she is now," Jennifer put her hand in the air. Waving it, she called to a student. "Victoria dear. Please come over here." I refused to to turn around and greet my new ambassador. I'm not scared to meet new people. It's just that I was getting this really weird feeling. A cold washed over me and I could feel myself trembling.
"HelloHeadmistress Callaway, Professor Onyx. How are you today?" Without even looking, I knew that this Victoria girl and I were not going to be very good friends. Amazing, isn't it? Telling any future friendship by the sound of a person's voice.
"Victoria," Jenn placed her hands on each of my shoulders and spun me around, "This is Camryn. She is a new student and I would like for you to show her around the grounds."
As she, quickly, looked me over, I swear I saw a flash of disgust race across her eyes. I rolled mine. What a snob. She was tall and slender with strawberry blond hair and deep blue eyes.
"I would love to headmistress."
"I am happy to hear it," Jenn said, pushing me towards Victoria. "Have fun you two."
Both her and Professor Onyx walked in the opposite direction, leaving Victoria and I alone. As soon as the adults were out of sight, she let her inner bitch come out. "Understand something new girl; I may be your ambassador but I am not your friend. I will show you the grounds and to your room but we will not hang out." She stopped to wave to someone behind me. I wanted to turn around but decided not to. I wouldn't want to ruin her .
"Just because Jenn -- I mean Headmistress Callaway asked you to show me around doesn't mean that you have to. Why don't you just go to your friends? I'm sure I can find my own way."
Victoria looked at me for a few seconds, "Really?"
"Yeah. If she asks any questions, I'll just cover for you." I paused, Why would I lie for someone I didn't like? "Deal?"
She nodded curtly, her long, blond hair moving with the motion of her head, "Deal." With that, she walked off. Sighing, I began my journey into the halls of Cravenhall Prep.