My name is Vanessa and I have just been transferred to the Local School for Fantastic Young Children. That is the longest my school name has ever been. Most of the girls there are either just plain mean or the preppiest people I have ever met. I suppose I should explain some more before I go on. My mother Trisha recently married King Something-or-Other, thus making me a princess. The king told my mother that I had to go to this dumb school to become a 'proper young lady.' As if he cared about me. He said that I would meet my twin stepsisters here but I'm trying so hard to stay away from anyone with the last name Kane, because they would probably end up being my stepsisters. I do not want to meet them, as you could have guessed. My whole first day, a girl named Snow White from the Disney Princess dorm that seemed completely out of it to me, showed me around the school. It's massive, because it's a castle. Then, when it was studying time right before dinner, she showed me to our dorm. Yup, I was going to be living in a dorm full of Disney Princesses. Only the royal ones though, not the ones who masquerade as princesses, who are inappropriately put in the princess category.
"So it appears as though you would be rooming with Merida and Rapunzel, through that door on your left. I'm with Ariel and Belle. Ariel likes to sing with me, but…" I went through the door before she could torture me with any more of her stories.
Once I was in the room, I could immediately tell that my roommates were weird. There was a target shot through with a bunch of arrows, a bow sitting nearby, and a bunch of blonde stringy stuff draped all over the room. Someone was in the shower, singing with a Scottish accent. Someone else was digging through the closet, throwing things carelessly behind her shoulder. Good, so they weren't neat freaks.
"Um, hello?" I called out with my British accent.
A girl with long blonde hair in a purple dress leapt backwards, wielding a frying pan like a sword. That's when I realized that the blonde stringy stuff all over the place was this girl's hair. It was crazy long.
"Oh, you must be Vanessa! I hope you didn't want to take a shower because she is going to be in there for a while. She's a hot water hog."
"I heard that!" exclaimed the Scottish girl from the bathroom, water running in the background.
"So, are you Rapunzel or Merida?"
"Rapunzel. So the girl in there is obviously Merida. How was your first day?"
"Oh, it was fine, I guess, although, between you and me and maybe Merida, Snow drove me crazy with her constant jabbering."
All three of them burst out laughing so hard that a girl with dark skin in a yellow dress poked her head in.
"Are y'all okay? Y'all been laughing harder than I've heard in a while," she said with her Louisiana twang.
"We're okay Tia. Oh, right, you haven't met Vanessa yet! She just got here three minutes ago," I waved.
Tia seemed to be taking in my outfit, a pale blue, puffy but not ball gown skirt, and slight amounts of silver rhinestones at the top, where it was so obviously strapless. She nodded as if in approval.
"That dress is fine quality. Very nice."
"Oh, well, thank you."
Merida chose that precise moment to come out of the bathroom in a green plaid towel, hair wrapped up in one as well.
"Tia, what are you adoin' here? I thought it was just Rapunzel an' the new girl!"
"Oh, Meri! I just stepped in for a minute to check on these two. They were laughing really loud, so I was a little nervous."
"Acause they were alaughin'?"
"Well, yeah. That and I need my frying pan back. Quick question. Why is it in your hand?" her eyes widened. "And you dented this one too! What do you do to these things when I lend them to you?"
Rapunzel put her hand to her mouth and snickered. That was the universal sign for 'I'll never tell.' I didn't even want to know anymore. It might be something awkward. Probably not.
"Well, you owe me six now. Naveen wanted me to bring him some bacon for his birthday present and I can't make him any until Friday now."
Merida came back into the room from the bathroom wearing a simple green dress, her wild mane of curly red hair let loose. She smiled then looked at the clock.
"Oh no! We'll be late to dinner! Round up the troops Tia!"
Tia went out into the lobby and stood right in front of the main door. She stuffed her fingers in her mouth and whistled the loudest whistle I had ever heard. Every girl in the whole dorm ran down all of the five flights of stairs until there was a neat line up in front of Tiana. Rapunzel pulled me in line behind her.
"Alright, who's ready for some jambalaya? Helped make it myself."
She made some good jambalaya, as I would learn later. We made our way down through the main lobby and into the dining room. Once inside, we were allowed to start mingling with the princes from neighboring academy. All of the Disney girls appeared to have boyfriends except Merida and I.
"Well, I suppose we should sit together and eat our grub," said Merida.
"Right you are."
Where was I? Oh, yes! Dinner. Merida and I sat at our table talking, laughing, and just generally enjoying one another's company. We both loved the jambalaya, but Merida said that her favorite meal was haggis. Once she was finished describing it to me, and what was in it, I didn't ever want to eat it. Ever. I told her about my favorite food, spaghetti, and she looked at me like I was insane.
"What on Earth are you tryin' to describe to me? I dunna unerstand."
"Long stringy noodles, covered in tomato sauce. It's not hard to understand!"
"I ne'er heard of it afore. I'm a Scot, not a Brit."
"Spaghetti is Italian, and I'm not British. My mother is, she talked like this when I was learning to talk and so now I talk like this too. I'm from Canada."
"What the blazes is a Canada? I ne'er heard o' that either."
"It's a new country. The Scottish empire was taking a fancy to a little island-like part of it, called… well actually, it hasn't a name yet. We were visiting when my mom met the king, and then here I am now." I looked over and saw two girls with brown hair and violet eyes, just like what's-his-name. They had a princess air about them, so I turned away fast. They had to be Kirsty and Kayla. I looked at Merida. "Are those two girls behind me Kirsty and Kayla Kane?"
"Yeah. What's it to you? Are they atryin' to stick you up an' take yer bangles?"
"No, but they might try to later. My stepfather is King Kane, and they are my stepsisters."
"Ooh, that is a nasty piece of luck. Just dunot talk to them, and they will probably ignore you. They've never seen you, have they?"
"Never, and I never wanted to meet them. They seem perfectly horrid to me."
"Oh, aye! Truer words were never aspoken. Jus avoid them plainly, an' all should be well."
"They don't strike me as girls who'll ignore the new girl."
No sooner had the words left my mouth than they came forward, bombarding me with questions.
"Are you a Disney girl too? They are sooo lame!" said Kirsty with her overly squeaky voice.
"Yeah. You aren't, right? Tell me you're not!" Kayla seemed to be demanding.
I straightened my spine and glared at both of them. "If you think the Disney Princess dorm is lame, then yes, I will proudly admit to being one myself. Now shove off!"
"Losersaurus!" yelled Kirsty so loud that everyone in the room turned to look at her. Merida and I burst out laughing. She was the Losersaurus, merely for coming up with such a word in the first place.
"Um, Kirsty, honey, are you okay?" asked Tiana, putting a hand on her shoulder.
"Get your servant hands off of me! I don't take sympathy from the help!" exclaimed Kirsty.
"Kirsty, I have every right to be here. I paid, I'm from royalty, I…" Kirsty cut her off.
"You're only here because your boyfriend pulled strings for you! You are not from any royal family at all!"
"Three quarters of the girls in this whole school are here on a count of string pulling. Except for a couple, the whole Disney dorm is there because of their boyfriends."
"Exactly! Because you're all just a bunch of street rats!"
Aladdin and Jasmine stood up in indignation, not because they were angry at being called street rats, but because street rat was a horrible term that brought up bad memories for Aladdin. I stood up as well.
"I don't have a boyfriend and I'm not originally from royalty." Almost every girl in the room gasped. "And, no, I'm not a stowaway. My mother married a king. I don't even want to be here. I will say this though. The Disney dorm is the best place in the whole school and I'll tell you why. Because they all had the kindness to like me the minute I showed up and didn't even know me yet."
All the girls from the Disney dorm (and there was a lot of them) stood up and linked arms with me. There, I'd started a revolution, and that day I was destined to fit in with the Disney girls.
"Wait a minute! What's your name?" asked Kayla.
"Vanessa Clemens. My mother is Trisha Clemens." I replied with pride.
"Oh my God! That street rat is our stepsister!" squealed Kirsty.
They ran out of the room yelling that they were going to go down socially until nobody knew their names. When they were way out of earshot, everyone in the room cheered.
"Oh, thank God! They are so annoying, I just want to choke them every time that I see them!" exclaimed Jasmine, putting a hand on my shoulder.
There was a chorus of yeah's and some more cheering. Then a bell tinkled in the kitchen and a girl with long orange hair in a flowing pink dress poked her head out.
"Are they gone?" asked the girl tentatively.
"It's okay for you guys to come out and eat now. Who wants some beignets?" asked Tiana.
"I'll help you make them!" said Cinderella.
Out from the kitchen came a couple of girls. They took a seat on the chairs that were empty and had bowls of jambalaya in front of them. Tiana and Cinderella disappeared into the kitchen. I went up to a girl with white hair in blue tribal wear and asked her what was going on.
"Oh, the only people who are judgmental about the royalty thing are the K Terrors, so these girls make dinner and only get to eat when they leave. Their names are Giselle, Mulan, Charlotte, and Melody. Melody is Ariel's sister, and I'm Kida."
We all ate and had a general good time until Tiana and Cinderella came out with two trays weighed down with beignets each. They set each tray down on a table, and then went back into the kitchen for more.
"We have these for dessert every day, but they never get old!" said Merida, doing a highland dance while eating a beignet.
By the time that the bell tolled seven, time for everyone to go to their dorms, we were all dancing and laughing and mingling. When the bell had rung though, the other students ran like crazy to get to the various staircases and doorways. I didn't get why they were in such a hurry, it was just a bell. It wasn't like we were going to die if we were five minutes late. Soon I was the only one left standing in the lobby. I looked down one hallway in awe as I saw swirling blue mist heading in my direction. What was it? As it was just about to touch me, a yellow rope fell over my head and caught at my waist, tightening, and then I was pulled up above a balcony and into my dorm room.
"What were you thinking?! You can't stay downstairs past seven! You might have got caught in the Mist!" exclaimed Rapunzel. It was then that I noticed that the rope was really her hair.
"What does it do? Is it just for a haunting effect?" I wondered.
"We're not really sure exactly what it does. We only had that spare bed for you acause a girl named Collette got caught in it. We ne'er saw 'er again." Merida said ominously.
"Was she a princess?" I asked.
"No, she was just a rich one. She was dating an heir, so he tapped into his pocket money for her. But we've never seen her since. Good came from it though. YOU'RE HERE NOW!" Rapunzel yelled so loud I jumped back seventy feet.
I heard several girls scream, because, you know, they're princesses. Their nerves are never right. The door opened and a girl with black hair in a ponytail with the same bangs as Ariel came in. She was wearing a white cotton nightgown.
"Hey Melody. Your bed's all ready!" said Rapunzel. She went over to the couch and grabbed the bottom. As she pulled on it, it became evident that it was a futon.
"Why does she sleep here? Doesn't she have a room too?" I asked.
"Because the Disney dorm was completely full when she came. We wanted to do some good in the world so we let her sleep here. We've been doing it ever since," explained Rapunzel.
Melody settled down under the blankets and Merida climbed up onto the very top bunk. Rapunzel left the room and came back wearing a huge bonnet that all of her hair was tied up into. She climbed into the middle bunk. I went under the bottom bunk and grabbed my suitcase. I pulled out my blue silk nightgown and changed into it in the bathroom. I came back out and saw that Merida had the bow I saw earlier in the day in her hands and an arrow notched and ready. She released the string and an arrow zipped straight to the bull's-eye on the target.
"There, I can sleep in peace now." I looked up at her funny. "What? It looked so tempting; I had to do it afore Rapunzel told me to put my bow awee."
"All right, you can put your bow 'awee' now." Rapunzel said with a laugh.
Merida turned and hung it up on a hook next to her. I climbed in the bottom bunk and reflected on the day, as Mom had made me do at home. I felt like family here. I liked it. I rolled over and closed my eyes. And thus ended my first day in the Disney dorm.
I woke to the sound of Melody singing. I rolled over and saw her sitting on her bed, brushing her hair and singing. When she noticed that I was awake, she stopped and blushed.
"I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to wake you up," apologized Melody. Her voice was low, so I knew that my other roommates were both asleep.
"Well, I guess I might as well shower, or take a bath. Big day of classes today, so," I said as I slid out of bed.
"Why get ready for class so early though?" she asked.
"What time is it?" I wondered if it was just six.
"It's seven thirty, but classes for the Disney dorm don't start until eleven."
"Then why are you up?"
"Serenading the sun. It's just a little something that Pocahontas got me used to when we were at camp."
"You went to camp?"
"Yeah, I went to camp. We all did. We go every month."
"When are you going next?"
"Next week. Oh, you get to come with us this time! Merida would like to expand her camp experience by one other friend. You seemed to be getting to know each other last night."
"I did learn a lot about her, and she learned a lot about me. Just do me a favor and explain spaghetti to her. She doesn't get the concept."
Melody giggled softly. She looked around, stood up, headed for the door and gestured for me to follow her. Naturally, I did. She led me down the front steps and out the front door. We arrived at a little building where there were already a couple of the girls from the Disney dorm, like Ariel, Tiana, Belle, Giselle, and Kida.
"Hello again, Vanessa! Care to join me for a cinnamon roll?" asked Kida, patting the bench next to her. I walked over and sat down next to her.
"So where are you from?" asked Kida excitedly.
"I'm from Canada, and you?" I replied.
"I'm from Atlantis. Tia's from New Orleans, Melody and Ariel are from… well, I don't know. Giselle is from Andalasia, and nobody is sure where Belle is from, not even Belle herself. Do you have any siblings?"
"Just two, but they are only related to me by marriage. The K Terrors are my stepsisters. Other than that, nope, none of those."
"I have none either. I personally like it better, being an only child."
"How old are you anyways? I'm fourteen. Fifteen in three days."
"I'm fourteen as well, except I only turned fourteen two days ago. Most of us are either thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen. Except for Ariel and Eric. They're both seventeen."
I was starting to like this place better and better every day, and I'd only been here two days. I could count on both my hands how many friends I'd made so far, which was more friends than at all my previous schools combined. That and I didn't have to do any work until eleven every day! We also had a nifty hangout for those early mornings where staying in bed would be impossible. By nine, all of the girls from the dorm, including the non-royals, were all there, enjoying Tiana's endless stream of various desserts. I'd never eaten dessert this early in the morning, and if being here would allow me to do that, no matter how awful things might get to be, I would stay forever.
I learned more about each princess before eleven. Ariel liked to collect things, but her dad didn't like it so much. Tiana dreamt of opening a restaurant. Belle just wanted to go out and have an adventure. Merida wanted to ride free in the wind and make her own fate. Rapunzel had been dreaming of leaving her tower and having a life for so long, and she was so happy that she'd finally been allowed to go ahead and have one. Cinderella, well, she was all fine and dandy, now that Charles had whisked her off of her feet. Aurora just wanted to find love, which she had. Giselle just wanted her prince to come whisk her away, which hadn't happened yet. Charlotte wanted nothing but to be a real princess instead of Daddy's princess. She'd had her eye on Naveen before she realized that it was pointless because Tiana and Naveen were in love. Mulan had run away and joined the army in the place of her father at the age of thirteen. Luckily she was tall for her age, or they never would have bought it.
The bell rang and we all ran for the doors. I ran faster than was necessary, because I was afraid that Mist stuff was going to come out and kill me or whatever it did. Kida laughed and said that only happened at seven. I calmed down. Kida waved and said she would see me during the next class, Magic, which we both had together. I had Animal Talking 101. Cinderella, Snow White and Giselle were all in that, and so was a whole other bunch of people from the other dorms. I hadn't ever even bothered to learn the names of the other dorms, and I also didn't care enough to bother. There was one prince who sat next to the window writing the whole time that I was intrigued by. I heard the teacher say his name. Derek. I sat staring at him for three quarters of the class and once, he looked me in the eye! Then he immediately looked back down. In that look, I saw something different. I knew he wasn't like other princes at this school. He had to be special. As I was leaving class and heading to Magic, his hand brushed up against mine and I got chills. Maybe he was an elf prince. I saw his ear. Rounded like a human's ear. Shame, elves are so interesting. Kida snuck up on me and wrapped her arm through mine as we were walking. She scared me to death. I almost fell flat on my face.
"Kida, you almost made me fall and break my neck!"
"You wouldn't have broken your neck, but you would have hit your head."
"Why would you say that? I still don't want to hit my head!"
"Well, you didn't so let's just get to class."
We sat next to each other in class and Kida was assigned to catch me up in the gazebo. We just sat out there while she taught me about her Atlantean crystal, and what they did.
"They're all pieces from a giant floating crystal which supplies our city with the power to keep on thriving, even underwater. We give them to our babies the day of their birth and we have them around our necks long after we die. Because of these necklaces though, we live hundreds, sometimes thousands of years before we die. I myself am one hundred and forty."
"But you said this morning that you were fourteen."
"Every ten years that we live, our bodies mature by one year. All of our toddlers are ten or twenty years old in human time. If I were to take this necklace off up here, I would crumble away to dust and be dead. This crystal is what started our life force, and this crystal is what keeps our life force going." The bell rang off in the distance. "And on that note, it's time for lunch. I think Tia made pizza."
"I always wanted to try pizza."
"You've never had it? Didn't you go to Italy?"
"I did, but I wasn't allowed to eat any of the pizza. Mother said it was too messy for a princess to consume. But it looked delicious."
"Oh, it is. Only there are a few of the Disney girls who are to princessey to eat it, like Belle and Snow White. Tia makes them gumbo instead."
Once we were inside the cafeteria, I saw that Mulan and Merida were already deeply engrossed in the pizza. Mulan was taking a bite out of a slice, standing at one end of the table. Merida seemed to be giving her a tutorial on how to take a slice without the cheese stretching. She was clearly on the last step.
"… And, out with a twist!" she said triumphantly as she removed the piece and took a bite. Snow White looked over at them and Belle flicked her hand.
"Ignore them, Snow." she said bitterly.
I laughed and went over to the pizza. I slid off my white gloves and handed them to Kida, who stuffed them in a pouch. I grabbed a piece and took it out, but not without the cheese stretching to unbelievable lengths.
"Och, you're doin' it wrong. Here, just cut it with a knife and it should be all well. I forgot the first step to making sure it doesn't stretch already." advised Merida.
I reached for the knife and cut each little string of cheese. Then, I cautiously took a dainty bite. Merida laughed.
"Nope, yer doin' it all wrong. Bite it like you mean it! Bite it like yer not afraid to get sauce on the corners of yer mouth!"
I bit into it and meant it and sauce got all over my mouth. I resisted the urge to reach for the napkin and finished the whole slice.
"You've done me proud lass. Yer free to wipe yer face now. I would do it fast, afore Derek sees you like that."
I lunged for the napkin and scrubbed my mouth so hard; I probably lost two layers of skin. When I threw out the napkin, Mulan and Merida were laughing the hardest I'd ever heard anyone laugh before. Mulan was leaning on the table, and Merida was rolling on the floor.
"You cleaned up fast enough when…" Mulan had to pause to keep laughing. "When she mentioned Derek!"
I blushed and looked around. Kida explained to me that there were two Derek's, the single one who most people thought were weird and the one dating Anastasia. I was never to confuse the two, because things would just be awkward if I did. I relaxed and then ate as much pizza as I could hold. Then it was back to school work. I had one class left, one that was really long, which almost all of the Disney girls were in, except Merida, Esmeralda, and Charlotte. It was Singing. Almost all of the other girls were naturals, pros and champs, top of the class. Then there was me. I'm not sure exactly how I did. They asked me to sing, gave me some lyrics, and I did my best. What I was really the best at was playing a musical accompaniment. I play violin, and when they told Rapunzel to come up and sing 'Think of Me', I played like a full orchestra all alone. By the end, the people were clapping and cheering, not completely for Rapunzel, but also for me.
Then, to supper. Basically a repeat of the previous night except for one minor detail. Derek was writing and walking at the same time, which he had told me was hard for him to do when he walked straight into the Mist. We hadn't even had the chance to get to know each other yet, so I did the radical thing. I went straight in after him.
It was the strangest feeling I'd ever experienced. I didn't die, I went somewhere. Somewhere where the trees were made of candy and the air smelled of sweet blossoms. A wise old caterpillar (yes a caterpillar) told me that I had approximately twenty minutes to find the mist in this world before I'd be stuck here forever. I found Derek and we both made our way to… somewhere. In this place, it was always somewhere, never anywhere in particular. We found a little girl in a blue dress and wearing an apron. She told us her name was Alice and she begged us to take her with us. What else could we do but say yes? She had a kitten with her and Derek was allergic, so we threw it down a well.
"Mommy's sorry, but I'm going to leave you here to die."
"What the heck is wrong with you? I thought we were going to be together until I died!" yelled the cat, which freaked me out.
"Well, we are, because I'm leaving you here to die!"
So we kept walking. Things were getting, as Alice put it 'curiouser and curiouser' as we walked. There was so much strange stuff going on that I just stopped looking.
"You okay?" asked Derek as we walked.
"Yeah, I'm fine. But you're an idiot for getting us mixed up in this in the first place!" I exclaimed, shoving him teasingly.
"Yeah, stupid of me to write and walk at the same time," he agreed.
"Where are you from?" I asked.
"Oh, from Somewhere."
"Somewhere? Well, that helps. Where?"
"I told you, Somewhere. You know, Somewhere, Australia."
"Really? You? From Down Under? I never would have guessed. Lucky though."
"How is that lucky?"
"You've been Somewhere!"
He didn't catch onto the pun right off the bat, but once he did, he groaned, but he was smiling at the same time, so I knew he didn't mean it.
"Don't tell me you make those stupid puns too!"
"Everyone makes puns, and it's weird."
"Bet you never heard that one before though."
"You're right, I haven't."
Soon, we had found the mist and went straight into it. We emerged in the Disney dorm, actually, which was weird.
"Whoa, this is absolutely strange! Where are we anyways?" asked Alice.
"The Academy, inside the Disney dorm." said Derek. "The girl's side. That means I should probably leave. I'll see you in Animal Talking 101."
My heart skipped for no real reason. I wasn't infatuated, was I? I didn't think so. But then again, what do I know about love? Nothing. Never been in love, never understood it, never wanted it as much as I had today. Or did I? I didn't know! I was so confused! Alice ran around in circles, squealing with excitement at being at the school. Snow White came out because there was someone who was excited. She got excited too, and soon we had two nutcases running around and singing. I face-palmed. They were such Carolines. I shushed them down and sent them both to Snow's room and I went into my room.
"I tell ya, she's not comin' home on her own. We have to go get her!" I heard Merida exclaim.
"Just keep your head; she'll be home so…" That was the point at which Rapunzel noticed me.
It was also at that point that I realized how good of a friend she was. She ran over to me as fast as she could and grabbed me in a hug. I was amazed when she started sobbing on my shoulder, soaking my dress. It was the most touching thing I'd ever had happen to me.
"I was so worried. Where were you?" sobbed Rapunzel.
"I got into the mist. We're fine, and we got another girl for the Disney dorm." I explained.
"Ya found Collette?" asked Merida in awe.
"No! We found a girl named Alice. She's in Snow's room, because their kind of the same. Such Carolines."
Rapunzel looked up at me with bleary eyes and tear streaks all down her cheeks. It was a look of confusion. The Caroline thing was an inside joke that I don't have time nor care to explain just now. Next time I write, I'll explain.
"Well, thank the Lord yer back. I was about to grab ma bow an' come find ya."
I smiled, and then yawned. They both laughed. I guess going around and around that Wonderland was really tiring. I smiled then made my way to the bathroom to take a bubble bath. When I was finished, I dressed; blow dried my hair, and lay down in bed.
"Don't ever go into the mist again!" said Rapunzel.
"I don't plan on doing that again; I only went in because Derek got into it."
"Oh, I see. Because Derek went in."
"I didn't…Good night Rapunzel. I'll give you details in the morning." I said coldly.
I heard her roll over and I did as well. I closed my eyes and dreamed a strange dream of Wonderland. I was running through a candy tree forest, trying to get to Rapunzel. She was calling to me for help, so that's what I was doing. When I went into a clearing, I saw her standing there. She looked at me and said coldly, "I didn't need your help."
Okay, so you all begged me to explain the Caroline thing. It's about a girl I used to know. She was really dumb, and her name was Caroline. Well, she wasn't exactly dumb, she was just a nutcase. She didn't really grasp the concept of anything, and she ran around saying a bunch of stuff that I guess she thought was really impressive and smart, but it was just a bunch of gibberish to the normal people. I was the only person who was even nice to her, but on the inside, she drove me absolutely insane. I was glad to leave her behind when Mom married that king guy. She cried when I left, but I just hugged her and left. Even that annoyed me. There, you've been informed, and we can get back to the story.
When I woke up, nobody was singing, which was a slight disappointment, but no one was even in the room. That was also very disappointing. Then I heard a rush in the hallway and my door swung open. It was the Alice girl that we had saved last night.
"Come quickly! There are two new boys just arriving in the Dreamworks dorm!"
I threw on my housecoat and we both ran down the stairs, Alice holding my hand and pulling me faster than I wanted to go. When we got to the lobby, I saw two boys; neither of them could possibly be older than fourteen. One was barefoot, wearing brown pants and a blue drawstring hoodie, all covered in frost. He'd clearly not changed clothes for a while, which was evident because of the fact that his pants legs only went down to his ankles. The hoodie fit fine. His hair was white, spiked up like he could care less about how his hair looked. He carried with him a long stick with a curve on the top, it too frosted over. He was swishing the bottom of it on the floor absently. As he did, the carpet covered in frost that wouldn't seem to melt. He had slight freckles, not as much as I did, and a mischievous look in his eyes, a look that said, "If you and I are going to be friends, you're going to have to get used to being in trouble." They were a pale, pale blue, so pale you almost couldn't tell whether they were blue or white.
The other boy had brown hair that went down to his chin. It was also messy, and he clearly didn't care how it looked. He had a nervous smile, and I saw that he had a little gap between his top front teeth. He wore a coarsely woven blue-green long-sleeve shirt with a brown fur vest over top. His pants were brown, and he had a brown fur boot over one of his feet. His other foot… well, it wasn't a foot. It was some sort of metal contraption. I immediately insisted in my mind that I would find out how it happened. He kept pointing out the window and mentioning this Toothless guy. When I actually bothered to look out the window, I saw a giant black dragon. From what I could hear of what he was saying, that dragon was his. His big brown eyes said, "I will try and try to do what would make you happy, but I probably won't be able to do it. I hope you're okay with that." There was also a touch of sadness in them and I could immediately see that something really awful had been said or done to him, and recently too.
I didn't feel like flirting with either of them. Before I saw Derek, I used to be a great big flirt, but now that Derek was in my life, no matter how minorly, I didn't want anything to do with any other boy until Derek flat out said that he didn't like me and I knew he meant it. Well, at least, that's how I felt then. Besides, Merida and the brunette were already laughing and talking and seeming to be getting to know each other, so I would stay out of that. Rapunzel was singing that magic song that made her hair glow for the frost kid, and his eyes were glowing. Not from the light of her hair, but from wonder. There was another look in his eyes now, one that said, "I know you and love you already, but you don't know me." Kind of like a stalker's eyes, but with less of a stalker attitude and more of a guardian look, if you understand that.
"What are their names, if you know them?" I asked Alice.
"The frosty one is none other than Jack Frost, and the brunette's name is Hiccup." I stared at her funny. "It's a tradition where he's from. The uglier the name, the less likely they are to be kidnapped by goblins. Foolish of course, but it's his name now, so we'll accept it."
I smiled. This school was like a family tree with only two bad apples. I thought of them like my brothers and sisters. Except for Derek. He was more like… not family. I loved these two boys like family already. I decided to heck with it! I would just go up and hug them both. Hiccup waved at me and asked Merida for my name.
"Oh, that's Vanessa. She came here only two wee days ago."
"Welcome to the school Hiccup. I hope you feel like family here." Then I hugged him. At first he was all shocked, but then he hugged me back. Merida looked at me and mouthed "What are you doing?"
"Thanks Vanessa. I hope so too." Hiccup smiled and I waved as I went over to Jack.
Jack's smile matched his original eye-message, of friendship and trouble. He waved to me before Rapunzel noticed that I was there.
"Oh! Jack, this is Vanessa. She's new too, only came two days ago." Rapunzel cocked her head in my direction.
"Hi Jack. You're not going to get into too much trouble here, are you?" I asked.
"I'm not making any promises." He laughed, and it made me want to start a snowball fight, to have fun, and run around, not give a care about my responsibilities.
I shrugged off the feeling and wrapped my arms around him. He was as cold as I thought he would be. Jack wrapped his arms around me too.
"Welcome to the family Jack." I said softly.
"Glad to be here Vanessa." He let me go and kissed my cheek. Rapunzel told me that little swirly frost patterns appeared on my cheek and stayed for over ten minutes. She also glared at me as if she wanted to burn a hole through my… well, my whole body. I didn't get it.
When I walked away, I touched my cheek where he had kissed it and felt severely conflicted. He had all the wonder and whimsy that I strived to have. If I couldn't be that whimsical, I wanted to be with somebody who was. But what about Derek? Didn't I like him? I was so conflicted. I didn't feel like liking this boy was an option, more like I had to, and was happy to. But still conflicted. If what happened to change that hadn't happened, I still would be. But it did, and now I'm with the guy I want to be with. Oops, almost gave something away! Lips sealed about the future for now. I'm married, don't act all surprised. Back to my memoirs.
So I went through my regular schedule and I found out that I had Magic with Jack as well. He sat next to me.
"I hope you don't mind that I sit here." Jack said with a shrug.
"Oh, no it's not. It's safe to sit there, and … I'd like you to sit there." I snapped out of my stupor. "I mean, because Mrs. Pendragon would like me to catch you up on you studies, most likely."
He looked from side to side, and then he kicked his feet up on the desk and blew a shaft of cold air all through the room. The room was soon occupied with a mysterious blizzard and Jack reached for my hand.
"Where are we going?" I asked nervously.
"Anywhere but here. Come on, Vanessa, let's have some fun."
I smiled and took his hand. We ran out the class door just as the blizzard began to settle. He took me outside. He swished his staff around and the courtyard became filled with snow. While I was looking around in wonder and feeling a lot less homesick, he whipped a snowball at the back of my head. I turned around with a shocked expression and gasped.
"You dare hit a princess?" I asked.
"I saved the world. I can throw snowballs at princesses all day long if I want to."
I made it seem like I had let it go and started to roll a giant snowball. When Jack asked me what I was doing, I said I was making a snowman. He offered to help, so I let him. He touched it with his staff and it became as big as the base of a snowman normally is. I did the best hold-together spell I knew and hefted the thing up when his back was turned. I was strong enough to carry it without struggling, so I walked as a normal person would. He didn't turn around until I had already dropped the thing straight on top of his head. He collapsed into a snow bank and didn't move.
"Jack, are you okay?" I asked, worried as all get out.
He didn't answer for a long while when he did he said, "Help me up. I think some of my ribs are broken."
I panicked and grabbed his hand, delicately helping him up. When he was on his feet, I still had his hand, and I was wrapping his arm around my shoulder so that I could help him in. When it was completely around, he smirked and leaned on me so hard I lost my balance and ended up face-first in the snow bank. He laughed when he saw my face, red and covered in snow.
"Nobody out pranks the master." said Jack. I laughed and held out my hand for him to help me up. When he grabbed it, I yanked him down with me.
He laughed faintly, but then he looked into my eyes with severity. He was so close to my face, I could feel his warm breath on my cheek. For one minute, I thought he was going to kiss me. Then I remembered that we had just met, and I didn't have a crush on him, let alone want to kiss him.
He instead helped me up and asked me if I could stand a long story. I told him my mother used to tell me stories about how grass grew and how to know if it was growing right.
"Wow, your mother is extremely boring. I pity you for having to live with her."
"I know. It was torture, but King… um… what's his face was worse. He took Mom away and didn't ever talk to me." I started to get sad. "Pretty soon Mom stopped talking to me too. Neither of them cared about anything I said or did unless it was something bad." I started to cry. "This school was all his idea and it actually turned out fine, but I'm so confused right now about you name it. I can't stay here and risk losing it all, but if I don't stay, I'm forced to going back to being ignored and neglected."
For a guy as cold as Jack Frost, he had the warmest smile, laugh, and heart of anyone I'd ever met. He put his hand under my chin and tilted my head up so I could look into his eyes.
"Vanessa, I don't age. I've been around for as long as the world can remember, making snow and frost and cold wherever I go. Nothing about my life was warm; I had no home, no friends, and no comfort. I played around with the children and did what I liked to do, telling myself that if I just abandoned all responsibilities, that I would live on this Earth and have fun and never need anyone. That worked out fine, until one day, I found a tower in a clearing of a place I had never stopped in before. In the window, I saw the face of a little girl, which surprised me, because it was the middle of the night." I managed a laugh, and it wasn't even forced. "I flew up to the window and asked the girl what she was doing. She said…"
"You could fly?" I asked in amazement.
"Well, I still can, actually." Jack pushed off of the ground and whooshed in a loop de loop before touching down again. "She told me that she was watching her birthday lights. She pointed, and sure enough, there were little lights throughout the whole sky. She said that one day she wanted to go see her lights in person, but her mother wouldn't let her leave the tower. She looked at me and asked that I come back on the same day the next year. I came on that day every year until she turned seven. That was three years. On the fourth year, I forgot precisely which day her birthday was and was too embarrassed to go apologize. I also didn't want to break her heart further, so I never came again. It was tragic, because I promised her on her fifth birthday that one day; I would take her to go see the lights. When I finally worked up the nerve to go back and apologize, she was gone. I thought I'd never see her again. But I did. I saw her again today, and thank the heavens that she doesn't remember me."
"C'mon, you're killing me. Tell me who it was!" I was eager now, so very eager.
"Rapunzel. Just don't tell her, I'd sound creepy. The point is, for years, I've been in love, and for years, I've had to pretend I was all right. It's not good for your soul, so promise me you'll never do anything that you're going to regret when you grow up. Even if you do, at least you'll die and never have to live with you regrets as long as I have lived with mine."
I didn't want to be like this boy anymore. I thought he was carefree, worried about nothing, but he was more sorrowful than anyone I'd ever met. I didn't think for a moment and, without hesitation or doubt, kissed Jack square on the mouth. Then I pulled away in sadness, because I had a suspicion that I was the first person to ever have kissed him, which I found sad.
"Oh, now I've gone and done it."I ran away crying. One minute we were fine, just getting to be friends, and then I go ahead and confuse everyone, myself and Jack.
I ran until I could see no more snow and it had all melted off of me. I found the only logical place I could think to go; the gazebo Kida and I had sat in yesterday. Was it really just yesterday that my life had made sense? It felt like years ago. When I was inside, who but Derek would be sitting there?
"Oh, Vanessa! Good to see you. I was looking for you, actually. There's a dance tomorrow, and I was wondering if you would…" I cut him off.
"Derek, I can't say yes or no to that. I'm turning my back on our tomorrow and forgetting our yesterday. There will be no we or us for a very long time. I'm never going to be part of an us if all of this keeps up." I ran back into the school and went to my room, sat and cried.
I don't know how long I was up there for before Merida opened the door. Hiccup was there as well.
"…And this is my…" She heard me and ran over to grab my hands. Hiccup came in too. "Och, are ya okay? Are ya hurt?"
"Only in my heart, Meri, only in my heart." I continued to sob and wouldn't explain anything to either of them.
"Okay, well, I'm just going to…Yeah. I'll see you at dinner Merida." Hiccup stood and left.
"Are ya goin' to tell me anything now that he's gone?" I continued to sob. "I take it that's a no. You do realize you've been awailin' for over an hour now?" I stopped as if on cue.
"Crying's overrated." I said with my voice completely normal.
"Wow. I should have done that a while ago." She laughed. She looked at the clock. "It's lunch now. Are ya comin' with me?"
I shrugged. I wanted to see the girls, but would I be able to face Jack after what had happened despite all he'd told me about his love for Rapunzel?
So there I was, sitting in my room, unsure of where to go from here. Did I want to face Jack and Derek, and everyone else that I had let down, or did I want to hide up here forever and run from my problems, like my mother had told me millions of times was never the solution? I wasn't sure anymore. Was going against my upbringing make me a bad person? I consulted myself, and together we decided that it was. I slowly made my way down to the cafeteria and tried not to be seen on my way there. When I peeked through the window, I saw Jack talking with Rapunzel. Apparently, he hadn't told her about the kiss, because when she noticed me, she started waving and pointing at me. Jack turned around and saw me too. He smiled and waved, but there was a look in his eyes that said, "Why?"
They'd all seen me now. Except Derek, he wasn't there. I wasn't sure where to sit, so I just sat by myself. That attracted more people than it repelled, because usually I'm a very cheery, social girl, and I love to be around people. So everyone that I didn't want to be around came and sat down with me. Rapunzel, Jack, Merida, and Hiccup. Even Tiana. I wasn't avoiding her; I just didn't want to be around her at the moment.
"I heard you and Jack had a snowball fight," said Tiana with a laugh.
"Yeah, we did. Well, not really a fight, more like a 'who's the man?' thing," said Jack, his eyes never leaving mine.