The Undercover Pledge

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
It's a story of a young woman who is a writer and goes undercover to learn about Greek Life at Universities. She experiences college all over again, this time not as the geek (I say that very lovingly) that she was her first time around. She sees this as a great opportunity to further her career as a writer while having some fun in the meantime. As an outsider to Greek Life, she has her misconceptions and stereotypes, which she finds some to be true in certain cases. However, she learns a great deal about the Greek System and the positive along with the negative that young adults experience during college and with going Greek.

I called this miscellaneous because it's the starting of a novel, but I sometimes get writer's block, or get caught up in too many details. Often times I have trouble getting to where I want to go in the story, so I leave it and start work on something else. This is my main problem so if anyone has any suggestions on this, please feel free to share. This is my beginning, however.

Submitted: November 12, 2010

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Submitted: November 12, 2010



"Paul, please send Larissa Pelton into my office."
The man standing in front of Victoria Warner's large mahogany desk nodded and turned toward the door.
"Thank you," Victoria said, and began ruffling through papers in one of her drawers. She looked up when a young woman in a brown and pink pinstripped skirt suit stood in her doorway holding a small notebook and adjusting her thin black Prada glasses.
"Good afternoon, Ms. Warner." Larissa said brightly.
"Hello, please come in, Larissa." Victoria put her papers down on her desk and crossed her hands.
Larissa walked across the room and stood in front of Victoria's desk at the same spot Paul had stood only minutes earlier. She looked slightly nervous as she clutched her notebook and stood stiffly in place. The new ones were always that way for at least several months.
"I like your work so far. You're a great writer, and you're ready for a bigger assignment." Victoria began.
Larissa started wide-eyed at her boss, then a smile spread slowly across her face. "Thank you, Ms. Warner. What is the assignment?" She asked eagerly, ready to get started immediately.

"We want an article that involves some investigation. It will take some time and relocation.We want in on college life, Greek life, parties. Expose some secrets, dig up the dirt that everyone on the outside wants to know."
Larissa nodded and took a pen out of her notebook.She began scribbling notes quickly onto her paper.
"So, you're interested?" Victoria asked, watching Larissa intently for any reaction to the information she had just given her.
"Yes! I can't wait to get started. I can handle the traveling. I don't have any responsbilities here except my writing. How long will I be gone?"

Victoria smiled.This was the answer that she had been hoping for. After all, Larissa was the youngest and most fashionable writer on the team.
"As long as it takes you to get a good story. I feel that will be one college semester. That is a good, set time; enough time to get sufficient information, and most importantly, enough time to pledge a Sorority. You aren't in one already, are you?"
Larissa shook her head quickly. Victoria looked into a folder.
"And you graduated in 2005 from Brown?"
"Yes, Ms. Warner, " Larissa agreed.
Victoria nodded and typed something into her laptop. She looked back up at Larissa.
"Very well then. You will begin on Monday. You can see Emily for details about your trip, what we want in your article, things you should do, and anything else she feels necessary. Any questions?"

"Just one. Why me?" Larissa asked, still surprised to have such a big assignment already.
"I've already told you that I like your work. You are a wonderful writer, and everyone says you are a hard worker. I know you have not been here long, but I believe this is something you can handle, and this could possibly be a beginning to larger assignments for you. Plus, you have the look. You are one of the youngest members of our team who we feel would also be able to make it into and through the Greek pledging process. We've already taken care of the necessary applications and forms for enrollment. Now go, see Emily, and get started."
Larissa shut her notebook and stuffed her pen inside the wire rings. "Thank you, Ms. Warner," she said, and turned to leave.
"Larissa," Victoria called after her. She stopped in the doorway and turned, waiting for her boss togive her something more to do.
"Yes, Ms. Warner?"
"Call me Vicki," She smiled.
"Thank you, Vicki. " Larissa smiled back, then rushed off to get ready for her new assignment.

"You will enroll in four classes. That is the minimum for full-time students, which you need to be to join a Sorority. You are a 21 year old sophomore who just transferred from Brown. You're already accepted, we applied to the university last spring, so your name is Ria Revell. Transcripts were taken care of, my sister works in admissions." Emily stopped and explained smugly. She was quickly explaining everything and seemingly not taking time to even breathe. Larissa stared at her blanky, trying to comprehend everything that was spilling out of her mouth.

"Now write that down," she continued. "You need to remember it. Also, this is what we want to know. What do you need to do to get into the organization? We want you to find out which one is the best, then get in. We want to know about the guys, too. Hazing, partying, their interactions with the sororities. Find out if there is any cheating in classes amonst these organizations, any perks, anything scandalous. Everything you see, hear, are asked to do; we want to know about it. We want to read about it. The university's name will not be included in the article. Fraternity and sorority names and member's names will be changed in the article to protect them and cover our asses, but everything else we want to know. Your plan will leave tomorrow. That gives you Saturday and Sunday to pack, get your books, and move into your new apartment. Hopefully you'll move into a Greek house soon, but if not, your rent is covered for a semester. You will receive your regular paycheck every two weeks for anything else you may need, and your apartment here will be looked after."
Larissa opened her mouth at that moment toask a question but Emily smiled and began to already answer it.

"Yes, your cat will be staying with me while you are away." She stopped and smiled. Larissa sighed in relief. Better Emily than anyone else, she thought. And she was scared to trust Ginger Kitty with her younger sister Lindsay, who had lost every pet she had when they were growing up.
"By the way, your slight make-over is today at three o'clock. We already think you look great; you have 'the look' apparently, but if you're up against these freakishly hot, perky, 18 to 20 somethings, we just want to match you up fairly."
Larissa grimaced at that. She did not want to get discouraged about this assignment, but a bunch of freakishly hot co-eds? How could this not stir her up a little bit?

"You know, just some little things." Emily continued, sensing Larissa's second thoughts about this after all. "A few new outfits, a trendy hairstyle, new make-up. Although, you already dress well..." she added, and seemed to be distracted by her own thoughts. "Whatever," she flicked her hand in the air dismissively. "It's what Ms. Warner wants. And it can't hurt. So..." she trailed off again and checked her watch.
"Let's get lunch. When we get back, you can start your mini make-over, then get home to pack." Emily clapped her hands together, grabbed her purse off of her chair, and the two women left for their Thursday lunch destination; a Chinese restaurant two blocks away from their building.
Larissa's mind was spinning, but she was excited. She never partied much at Brown. She worked and studied hard, and occasionally went out for a drink with friends after she'd turned 21. She was preoccupied with straight As and getting a job most of the time. Sometimes she regretted the all work, no play attitutude when she looked back on it, but now she didn't have to worry about that. Now she was going to party for work, and she could not wait to get started.

Larissa heard the small, clicking sound of the unlocking door as she turned her key outside her new apartment. She stepped inside and looked around. It was not bad. Hallway with a long gold-framed mirror on the wall, glossy wooden floors, and a high ceiling. Several paintings hung throughout the apartment. She did not recognize them, but they were attractive. An eat-in kitchen, complete with a stove, microwave, dish washer, and refigerator, greeted her to the right and led to a decent sized living room decorated in black and white leather furniture, a glass coffee table, and a tall, black metal bookshelf. Her bedroom was connected to the living room, which had a futon, desk, and a walk-in closet. There were two large windows in both the bedroom and the living room with thick, white curtains blocking out some fo the light. The bathroom connected the bedroom to the hall. There was a sink and shelves in the main section of the bathroom which was open to the hall, and another door that led to the shower and toilet halfway between the bedroom and the hall. A small washer and dryer stood in a corner nook of the sink and shelf half of the bathroom.

Larissa was impressed, The Dish had really outdone themselves on this apartment, and she was appreciative. If only she could stay in the apartment for the whole semester rather than in a house full of little Greek goddesses. Sure, she was excited to meet new people and party. She would have to be to do this job well. But she was not so sure about living with any large number of women. She knew from experience that this usually did not result in peace and love for long periods of time.
The driver of the town car stood in the hall with two suitcases while Larissa had quickly toured the apartment. Finally he cleared his throat and began to talk for the first time since he'd picked her up from the airport and asked her where she was going.
"Miss? Where would you like these?" he asked.
"Oh, I'm sorry!" Larissa exclaimed. She had forgotten that he was still there. "Right here is fine, thank you. "
He abruptly placed her luggage on the hallway floor.

She had already dropped one suitcase and a duffel bag into the kitchen. She tipped the driver and closed the door behind him. The sun poured into the living room from the slivers in between the curtains and Larissa smiled. She drug her other two suitcases into her room and walked into the bathroom. In the mirror she stared at her reflection. She recognized herself easily, but liked the changes the make-over had brought. Her old long, evenly cut, straight dark blonde hair now had a shaggy layered style; still long, but short around her face, framing it. She had side swept bangs now, too, with natural looking highlights. She was also equipped with professional makeup. She was wearing the new Jimmy Choos with her own old Seven jeans and Calvin Klein top. She was not wearing her glasses over her bright blue-green eyes; they were only for reading and writing. She was still tan from the summer, and her nose and cheeks were sprinkled with small, light brown freckles. She thought she looked a bit like she did in her senior year of high school, although she graduated college a year and a half ago. She felt confident and good about herself, and she was ready to take on the Greeks...but only after a short nap.

It was dark outside when Larissa opened her eyes. Next to her on the futon, her MotoQ was vibrating and the screen was lighting up. She sat up and looked at the screen. Emily. It had become very obvious that Emily was her contact during this assignment. She answered the phone and tried to sound as if she had not just woken up.
"How was the flight? How's the apartment? You found everything okay?" Emily asked. Larissa told her that everything was fine and asked about Ginger Kitty, who was also doing just fine. She was informed of how to receive her schedule and list of required books for her courses from the university website, and Emily asked her to call on Monday.

Larissa dug her laptop out of her duffel bag and opened it on her desk. She called a nearby pizza place that she had searched and ordered her favorite; a small pepperoni and black olive pizza. As she waited, she unpacked. Clothes and shoes went into the closet, makeup into the bathroom, on the shelves along with toothbrush, toothpaste, and other various toiletries; mostly hair products. Her Tigi shampoo and conditioner was placed inside the shower, she made sure. She could not live without her favorite shampoo, it was her product that she would take onto a deserted island if she had to pick just one.
Several photos; one of Ginger Kitty, one of her and Meg, her best friend from Brown, went up on the bookshelf in the living room next to a few paperbacks and a cherry vanilla candle. A family portrait of her mom and dad, her sister Lindsay, her brother Luke, and herself went on her desk next to her futon.
She looked around. The place was beginning to feel a little more homey. The doorbell rang; her dinner was served. As she ate, she only wished she had her sister to call over and share the pizza with. It was Lindsay's favorite kind, too.
Not to worry, soon Larissa would have more sisters than she could count.

Classes wen twell for Larissa's first week. It did not take her long to get back into student mode, and all of her professors already liked her. She had an English course, an American Literature course, and two other courses on writing and journalism. Leave it to Emily to kill two birds with one stone, giving her classes that would benefit her when she comes back. Some of the material was new, but most of it was review for her, which would make things that much easier for her to keep up her grades while pledging and partying.

Larissa checked her planner. Rush was beginning this evening at the student center located on campus. Posters were everywhere; in every academic building, dining hall, and floor on the library and student center. It was announced in two of her classes, once by a short brunette girl with curly hair after a lecture in English, and once before a test, it was yelled out by a beefier, older looking version of Jesse McCartney. She was texted about it by Emily twice as a reminder, and rolled her eyes each time. As if she did not know the most important thing right now, the date that began the process of getting into a sorority. As if she would miss the thing that she was here for, the thing that determined whether she stayed here to get her story or went back home to hang her head in shame for failing her first big assignment. She could not forget that date even if she tried.
A voice startled her from her thoughts of what she was going to wear to Rush after the announcement by the short girl in English class.
"Hey, you're Ria, right? I'm Isabelle." A tall, thin, red-headed girl was standing in front of Larissa's desk. Larissa looked up at her as she threw her book and notebook into her backpack and slipped her phone and pen into her Dooney and Bourke purse.
"Yeah," she smiled. She held out her hand. "Nice to meet you."
Isabelle shook her hand and hesitated. Then she asked, "Are you planning on rushing this semester? I guess it's kind of a big thing here."
"Uh, yeah. I was going to check it out. " Larissa told her as she got out of her chair and slung her purse over her shoulder. She picked her bookbag up off the floor. "Are you?"
"I thought about it." Isabelle said. "But I'm not too sure if it's something I could get in to." She added.
Larissa noticed that Isabelle stood at least four inches taller than she did, and she was five feet, four inches herself. She thought about the girl's comment, then asked her why as they left the classroom together.
"I've heard stories, you know, about hazing. I don't know which ones are true, but some are kinda freaky. Hazing is supposed to be illegal now, but I don't know if any sorority actually follows that. It's the college's rule here, too. I heard that Delta Chi Omega was booted off campus just two years ago for making girls swim half a mile into the ocean at night and huddle together until the Lambda Phi Delta guys rode out to get them. They would yell at them and make them do stuff before bringing them back," Isabelle explained.
Larissa started to laugh, but managed to turn it into a cough. "What kinds of 'stuff'?" she asked, looking skeptical.
"I don't know for sure, but it just sounds sorta creepy to me. I wonder what else they do to pledges..." she trailed off.
Depending on how true the things that Isabelle had heard were, or how tough the guys were on the girls, Larissa could not tell just yet what she was getting herself into. But she did not think it was going to be unbearable, or even all that bad.
"You won't know if it's right for you until you give it a try. You could always stop if it's too intense, right?" Larissa reasoned.
"Quit? Yeah, right." Isabelle scoffed. "Once you start, hazing is the safer choice rather than live here after dropping a bid. Well, maybe I'll see you tonight. Eight o'clock, student center." Isabelle said in a matter-of-fact way before heading off in the opposite direction. She was just being dramatic. If it was so terrible, why was she going to the Rush event, anyway?

Larissa thought about it all for a minute, then started thinking again about what she was going to wear. The weather was still nice, even at night. She did not have her car here, so she would be walking to the student center. She decided on a simple sundress and comfortable Steve Madden heels. She strung small pearls around her neck and a thin gold chain around her wrist. Simple and classy was probably the best way to go. This was a formal Rush even, so she assumed dressing up was better than dressing down since she did not know exactly what to expect. Emily explained that some colleges are less formal when it comes to Greek events now, but everyone explained and agreed at the make-over that this one, because of it's large size, exclusivity and high standards, and it's being big on Greek life would probably make round one of rushing more of a fashion show than anything else. Appearances seemed to be very important to these types of organizations, did it not? Larissa did not want something stupid like what she wore to the first night of meeting the sororities to be the thing that sent her packing.

The student center was spacious, bright, and packed with students when Larissa arrived at seven thirty. She wanted to be early to make sure she found the right area of the building, and to settle in, but it was very easy to spot. It was the main lobby, as soon as she walked through the front doors. There was a large sign hanging over the second set of doors that said "Welcome To Rush" and the letters of every Greek organization were spaced around it in their respective colors. Tables were set up in an open square where two to three representatives from each organization seemed to be stationed on the inside. They had various items and photos set up to show prospective members and capture their interest.

A beautiful girl with long auburn hair and dark green eyes greeted Larissa and handed her a small neon pink flyer from the stack that she was holding. She wore a white tube top with a pink button up shirt over it, with a few top buttons undone to reveal her tanned collarbone and chest. A pink Marc Jacobs skirt waved down to her knees. She flashed Larissa a bright white smile and pointed to the chairs that were set up along the wall to the left. There were about six rows of twenty chairs there, and six more rows along the right wall and in the center of the lobby, all arranged around the square of tables, about seven feet back from them on each side.

"You can take a seat there while you wait for us to start. Feel free to help yourself to the refreshments to our right. We should be starting shortly," the girl said. It was not apparent what organization she was affiliated with, she did not wear letters anywhere, and Larissa was curious. Whichever one it was, it was the one that Ms. Warner would expect her to join. Clearly, by the look and sound of this girl, it was probably one of the popular sororities here, especially if they were all like her.

She was so distracting that Larissa had not even noticed the guy slightly behind her, also holding a stack of flyers. He had a cute face and a body that any girl could appreciate, so that was saying something. He wore a burgundy button up shirt and a black tie, black dress pants, and black shoes. He had black wavy hair and big brown eyes, and Larissa almost dropped her mouth when she actually got around to looking at him. She smiled, nodded, and adjusted her purse on her shoulder, then headed to the chairs along the wall.
After she was seated, she was able to get a look at the flyer that she held in her right hand. It said:

Rush 2008
Formal Rush- 8:00PM @ the Student Center
Walk the Row-Saturday @ noon (Meet in the Student Center @ 11:45AM)
Top Three-Sunday @ 5:00PM(details at Walk the Row)

Larissa considered this, and realized that this was probably going to take up a lot more time than what she originally thought. But what was the problem? She did not need to worry about making grades to graduate or get a job, this was the job. She just had to keep reminding herself that, and relax and enjoy this experience.
Many more students poured into the student center and took seats, some glancing around nervously at all the tables and the Greeks, some talking excitedly to friends. Larissa realized that she had not actually made a friend here yet, maybe because she was living on her own instead ofin dorms. Could that Isabelle girl count as a friend? Hardly, she decided. She talked to her for the first time today. But she could not help herself as she looked around for the tall girl with the firey hair.

Suddenly a loud, silky voice interrupted everyone's chatter as a curvy blonde girl stepped up ontoa small platform in the center of the square of tables and asked for everyone's attention.
"Welcome to Rush 2008. I'm Elizabeth Myers, chairperson for Recruitment this year, and I want to first tell you how excited we are to see all of yours faces here tonight. We would like to encourage all of you guys tovisitevery fraternity table and the ladies to do the same at the sorority tables. It's important to know all of your options, and we worked very hard to put this together and tell you something about ourselves. Feel free to start visiting tables now, and don't forget about the refreshment tables! Help yourselves and have fun!" she said into the microphone that she was holding.
She began to step off of the platform, and the students in the chairs began to rise from their seats and head for tables. She seemed to remember something else, and turned back to the platform.

"One more thing," she said, and everyone froze in place and watched her. "If you will look at your flyers, Walk the Row begins tomorrow at noon. If you are interested in continuing Rush, please be here at eleven forty five to start the tour of GreekRow and get to know all of our members. It'll be a good time. That's all." shesmiled and shrugged and turned the microphone off. Everyone began to move again.
Larissa stood up and started for the closest table when she saw Isabelle headed straight for her. She was relieved, and waved at her when Isabelle smiled and quickened her pace.

"Hey!" Isabelle exclaimed. "Strange, isn't it? All these students ready to be lead to the slaughterhouse?"she laughed.
"What?" Iasked, shocked at her increasingly sarcastic and negative outlook on the Greeks here. "Why are you here then?" Larissa asked, giving her a weak smile in response.
"Curiosity killed the cat, eh?" She grinned. "I just wanted to check it out, see if maybe I was missing something about all this." she explained.
Larissa just nodded. It was all she could think to do.
"Then what are we waiting for?" she asked after a moment, holding her arm out to escourt Isabelle to the tables. Isabelle took her arm and laughed again as they went to scrutinize the displays.

Larissa felt overwhelmed as she moved from table to talbe, meeting the two or three respresentatives from each sorority and learning some general information about them. She could not remember what colors, founding years, philanthropies, symbols and mascots belongs to which sorority when she was finally done seeing everyone, and did not know if that mattered anyways. At least not to her, because she was only supposed to find the sorority that could give her the best scoop. Ms. Warner wanted her to join the best. But how would she know which was the best? Well is that not the question that every girl there was asking herself, as well?

As if someone had just read her mind, a nasally voice said,"Well that's the trick, isn't it? It's about finding the one that you like the most. Everyone has their first choice. It's about being comfortable and fitting in with the sisters. That's how you choose, you just know." The voice belonged to a four foot eleven, stalky blonde with short, frizzy hair and glasses. She talked with a skinny girl with long, straight black hair who had to be about five feet, ten inches tall.They were a comical contrast to each other.

"Yeah," the tall girl replied with a soft, quiet voice. "My sister said that she knew as soon as she walked into the house. She felt 'at home'."
The blonde nodded and kept walking, Larissa could not hear any more of their conversation. She was left to consider her own first choice. Any by the sound of Top Three on Sunday, she would need to choose two more as well. She decided to wait until tomorrow to make a final decision about her three choices, but she had her first impressions. She decided that she liked four right away. Two she naturally liked because of the girls at the tables, the overall feeling she got from them, and the things she heard about them. Two she decided on because they seemed to be the"typical" sorority, the kind that Ms. Warner would want to read about in her article, complete with princesses, partying, plotting and puking; from drinking or otherwise. The girls at those tables were both bleached blonde, skinny as a rail, and the most provocatively dressed out of everyone, but even then, it was pushing it. They just wore shorter skirts and showed some cleavage. They wore a lot of makeup and seemed to have bags under their eyes.Too much partying? Up late with the boys? Either way, they were pretty and maybe a little snobby, but nice enough to all the girls who visited their tables.

She made sure to make a mental note, however, that the majority of the tables were not comprised of slutty clones and fake bimbos. In fact,each girl there looked to be well dressed, well spoken, polite, and involved in the campus community. Just normal college students, girls who wanted to belong to something. Some were just prettier and had more money than others.
This was going to be a more difficult task than Larissa had planned, and so far it was only about choosing the sorority that would provide the best story. She hoped there would be a story to tell, her career depended on that much...

Would it be right to deliberately choose the sorority that would seem to give the most interesting story when they were not the norm of the campus organizations? Larissa wondered this as she was in the shower the next morning after the first Rush event, getting ready for round two, Walk the Row. On one hand, the story had to be interesting. Readers had to want to read it, after all. What do people like to hear about? Drama and scandal, shocking stories, right? And that is what Ms. Warner wants. But did she not say that people wanted to know what really goes on in the secret life of Greeks? How can they really be informed if it is a biased opinion? If the stories only come from the wildest,craziest girls? But wait, Larissa thought. Is that was makes someone the best? Tons of parties, sex, drinking, craziness? No. She decided that was not what best was. So now she had a new dilemma, reveal the general truth of Greek life from her opinion of what best was, or go for the wildest stories that fed the stereotypes and please Ms.Warner.

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