The car came to a stop at the top of the driveway; a young woman stood at the top of the steps in front the grand front door, her hands behind her back and a smile on her face, her short dark hair falling around her face. Behind her the giant gray stone building that is now a school, it looked magical and bewitching in the fading light.
As Dad turned off the car, I opened the car door and stepped out onto the pebble drive. The woman moved down the steps, walking over to us as Mom and Dad got out of the car and closed their doors. “Welcome to Watch Tower Academy.” The woman greeted us, taking hold of Dad’s hand then Mom’s before moving to stand in front of me. She looked down at me, her eyes meeting mine. “You must be Alizziebenth?” she asked.
I stood watching at her, my voice not coming when I called upon it, I had no idea what was wrong with me. I shouldn’t be nevus at starting a new school. It is not like I haven’t started a new school before. If anything I should have been excited, coming to this Watch Tower Academy was a dream coming true for me.
I tried to remember that as I swallowed the lump in my throat and nodded my head. “That is me but most people just call me Lizzie.” I said at last, my voice shaking just a little bit. The woman smiled at me, easing my nevus just a little, she held out her hand and I took it, her hands were cold and soft. With a quite shake she dropped my hand and looked at my parents.
“My name is Katella; I will be Alizziebenth’s head teacher.” She clapped her hands together, jumping on her heels as she spoke. “We were expecting you yesterday, what happened?” she asked, looking at me once again.
“The plane was canalled so I had to wait for the next one. By the time I got here it was three in the morning so my parents took me home, saying they would drive me up in the morning. I didn’t mind though, I wanted to spend some time with them before I came here, I don’t get to see them that much.”
Katella smiled and nodded her head. “I understand. It can be hard for anyone being away from their family.” I just shrugged, not saying anything. Over the past few years I had grown used to being away from them, I spent most of my time in Watch Tower. Katella gave me a smile then looked back at my parents. “I am sorry but all parents have to say goodbye here. I will give you a few minutes.” With that said she walked back up the stairs, turning back to face us when she was at the top, her hands were behind her back again.
Dad walked over to me and put his arms around my shoulders, kissing my cheek. “Be good, do you hear me?” he held me at arms length and I nodded. “I love you.” He pulled me back into a hug.
I put my arms around him, holding him tight. “I love you, too.” I told him. I let go off him and took hold of Mom, pulling her into a hug as well. “I love you.” I whisper to her as well.
“I love you, too, sweetie. Be good and do all of you work.” We pulled away as Dad walked back over to me, he handed me the two cases in his hands. I gave them both a smile, told them I love them once more, then walked up to steps, stopping when I was standing in front of Katella.
I turned back around and saw my parents getting into the car. Dad started it and begun to drive away, Mom looked out the window, a small tear in her pretty eyes. I waved as I watched them go, my heart hurting only a little. When there was nothing left of them but a tyre track on the pebble road, I turned my attention back to the school and Katella. She patted my shoulder and gave me a sympathy smile. “I will give you a little tour of the school before I show you to your room.” She said as she opened the great doors and led me into the hallway. “Just leave you belonging here; I will get someone to take them to your room later.”
I dropped both of the cases on the floor by the door, looking from left to right, taking everything in. The hallway was the same as all the others, old, beautiful, and marble flooring. On the right was an open archway, leading into the dining room. At the back of that was a small brown door with the words kitchen written on it. On the other end of the hallway was the art department, next to that was the music department. The ballroom was to my left. The staircase was right head as soon as you walk through the main door, leading up to the other class rooms and dorm rooms. Katella closed the door behind me, cutting off the sunlight that flowed in the open hallway.
I turned around to face her, still a little dazed by everything. “So if you follow me I will take you around. As you can see this Watch Tower Academy is not all that different from all the other Watch Tower Academy’s. On this floor you will find the dining hall, the art department, the music department, and the ball room.” she said as she pointed to each door in turn. When she had finished she lead me over to the stairs. We began to climb them as she said, “This floor you will find most of the class and study rooms, English is to your right, Math is on your left, and History is down the hallway and to the left. You will find my office at the end of the hallway as the other head of department’s offices. Everything else, including the library, is on the third floor.” By the time she finished talking we were standing at the end of the hallway, looking at a small gap in the wall, three steps lead up to an open doorway. Katella walked up, telling me to follow her. I walked up the steps and into a big open space with chairs and a few T.Vs. a door sat at the end of the room. “This is the common room, you can study, talk to friends, or just past by time in here. This room is open to all students. The door at the end will lead you to the student’s dorm room.”
Katella looked at me and I nodded, telling her I understood everything she was telling me. “Well that is it for the tour, I will show you to your room.” she said. We walked over to the door, she opened it and we went through, leaving the door open. I stand in a small hallway, at the other end the hall broke off in two directions. Katella showed me down the hallway. “Turn right for the girls’ dorm, left for the boys’.” We turned right; doors lined the wall, each on with a different number on it. “You are in room one-one-eight. You carry on following this hall around, and then turn right when you are meant to; you will find your room on the left.” Katella said as we walked down and stopped when we were outside number 118. Before she opened the door she handed me a small welcome pack to the school with the Academy’s logo on it, to watch towers with a smaller building in the middle of them. “In the pack you will find your school schedule, a map of the school, and the times of the school day. Your school uniform is already in your room. Have you got any questions?”
I nodded my head. “Yeah, at the other school I didn’t have a roommate but they said I might have one here, do I?”
“Yes, her name is Tabitha Bashla. You should like her but I cannot promise anything, she doesn’t get on with a lot of people; she keeps to herself when she can. Do you have any other questions?” I shook my head. “Well in that case, you start classes tomorrow.” She knocked on the door, opened it and walked down the hallway, not looking back. I took a deep breath and walked in the room.
A young girl was sitting on a bad when I walked in, she didn’t look up, and her eyes stayed on the book that was spread out in front of her. I closed the door and hovered by it, not knowing what to do now that I was in the room. “You must be Tabitha, my name is Alizziebenth but most people call me Lizzie.” Tabitha looked up at me then looked away again. Her head nodded towards the bed over by the window. I walked over to the bed and sat down, looking around the room. “So-” I said but I was cut off.
“Don’t talk, I am busy and it has to be handed in tomorrow.” Tabitha said, looking up at me before going back to her work.
“What you working on? Maybe I can help you.”
“No.” she said shaking her hand, running her pen on her page. Her voice was sharp.
“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked hurt.
She looked up then, her pen on her notebook. She looked annoyed. “It means I don’t want your help, I don’t want anyone’s help. All I want is peace and quiet, it that too much to ask for?”
Just then the door knocked. She sighed, looked at the door with hatred and got up from her bed, opening it. “What do you want?” but as soon as her eye fell upon the person the other side of the door she blushed. “Sorry, I though you was someone else.” She moved out of the way and the person walked into the room.
“That is alright, I am only here to drop of some bags for an Alizziebenth Billington.” She looked away from Tabitha and to me. “That must be you.”
I got up from the bed and took my bags from her, placing them by the side of my bed. “Thank you.”
The women held out her hand to me. I took it, shook, and then dropped. “I am April; I’m the head of girls and class president of the first years. If you have any problems or just want to talk, I’m here.” She said. She stepped back, turning from me to Tabitha. “I better go; I have got a lot of things to do. Welcome to the school and good luck.” She added over her shoulder as she walked out the room. Tabitha shut the door behind her. Going back to her bed, she sat down and began to study again.
I gave Tabitha a look, waiting for her to say anything but when it was clear that she doesn’t want to talk to me I opened the first suitcase and put its contents on the bed. There was nothing but some old school work, a few notebooks, old textbooks, pens, and my old school uniform that I will no longer need in the case, I looked from the things on my bed to the things around the room. When I found nowhere to put them I looked over at Tabitha. She was looking at me, a frown on her face. “Where should I put this lot?” I asked, pointing to the stuff I brought with me.
Tabitha got up from her bed. “I will have to move some of my things, just give me a few minutes.” She walked around her bed, over to the bookcase and took her books from the top shelf, then her textbooks from the second shelf. She put it all on her bed then walked to the other side of the room where two desks sat, she removed the paper and notebooks from off the desk closet to me. “That desk is yours, and you can have the top two shelves over there.”
“Thank you.” I said, picking up my textbooks and taking them to the bookcase. I began to fill it up, adding everything by subject, then by title, the way I had done it since I was a little girl.
“Your clothes go in the dresser next to your bed.” with that said she sat back on her bed, putting her books on the floor, and went back to studying. I rolled my eyes at her and finished unpacking everything and adding them to the right place. With the first case out of the way, I put the empty case under the bed, and then opened the second one. This one held my clothes, a few books I took from home the day before, and my old laptop that I knew I wasn’t meant to have. My phone was in my jean pocket.
I put my underwear in the top draw of my dresser, my tops in the second one and bottoms in the third one. The last draw, when I opened it, contained my school uniform. I put my PJs with them. I put my laptop in the last draw also, hiding it under everything. With everything out of the way and unpacked, I sat on the bed and looked through the welcome pack Katella gave me.
The first few pages contained a welcome message from the head teacher, a small map of the school, and the school rules. On the fifth page I found my school schedule, and on the last page I found what I was looking for, the times of the day. Although I have been to a Watch Tower Academy before, all the times were different, or so the teachers say. If I am starting school tomorrow I need to know what I am doing and when I am doing it.
7:00- 7:45- Breakfast is served in the dining hall.
8:00-8:15- School starts, we are to report to our homerooms where we are to do any unfinished homework and get ready for the school day ahead.
8:15- 9:15- First lesson.
9:15- 10:15- Second lesson.
10:15- 10:30- Break, where we can go to the dining hall to get something to eat and drink or we could go to the library and get work down.
10:30- 11:30- Third lesson.
11:30- 12:30- Forth lesson.
12:30- 13:30- Lunch, where again, we could go to the dining hall or the library.
13:30- 14:30- Fifth lesson.
14:30- 15:30- sixth lesson.
15:30- School ends.
18:00- 17:00- Dinner is served in the main hall.
23:00- All students must be in their rooms.
Any time that students are not in class, we can do whatever we like as long as none of the school rules are broken.
I sighed and rubbed my eyes, all the reading had hurt them. I put the welcome pack on the desk by the window and noticed for the first time that there was a little balcony outside the window. “Can we go out there?” I asked.
Tabitha didn’t look up but she must have known what I was talking about. “Yes, but they don’t like us too, they think it is too dangerous which makes no sense if you ask me.”
“Why do you think it makes no sense?” I said, looking from the window over to Tabitha. She sighed and dropped her pen, her eyes turned to me with a slight frown.
“One, they have done nothing to stop people from going on them, second, they haven’t took them down, and third, how can a balcony be dangerous to someone like us?” she had a point. People like us didn’t have accidents, we knew how to look after ourselves, and if the balcony was to fell we would have been able to protect ourselves. But nevertheless, I didn’t go onto the balcony, instead I picked up one of the stories I have packed and laid on my bed, turning to the first page and began to read.
I didn’t go down for dinner, I wasn’t hungry and I wasn’t in the mood to face the students of my new school. Tabitha didn’t go down either; she was too engrossed with her school work to bother with food. We didn’t talk; I got the feeling that Tabitha was used to quiet and I wanted to keep it that way. I didn’t want to make my roommate my emery on my first day of school now, did I?
At half-past ten I got ready for bed, there was a small bathroom attracted to the bedroom. I walked in and closed the door. I got dressed as fast as I could; I tried not to look in the mirror. I already knew what I would find there, a tired fifteen year old girl that needed rest. When I went back into the room Tabitha was in her PJs, her school work finished and away. She was on her side, facing away from me.
I smiled at myself as I made my way to my bed. I got in and pulled the covers over me, and then I turned off the light. I closed my eyes and let sleep come calling to me.
Just before I fell asleep, Tabitha’s voice come calling to me from across the bedroom. “Welcome to the school, Lizzie.”
“Thanks, Tabby.” I knew she and I would be great friends to come.