A Picture Says a Thousand Words
Chapter One: Off to a Good Start

Perrine stared at the boarding school in front of her. What a joy. Another year at this oh-so-lovely boarding school in Plattsburgh, New York. This year, same as every other, she couldn't help but feel like an ant on the surface of a picnic table, or perhaps something infinitely bigger. Nevertheless, she felt tiny and out-of-place and expected to be squashed any instant.

… Yep, any time now.

When it didn't happen, Perrine grabbed her suitcases from the taxi and began to lug them up, one of the numerous small figures. At the check-in desk in front, she smiled a little. "Perrine Daignault," she said, then was nodded into the immense doors once again. This year, she would be in the 11th floor, of course, and sharing it with one of the many girls within her school she'd never heard of, Olivia O'Riley.

Sighing, Perrine grabbed this year's identification card and looked at the room number. Room 11D. People would be coming in all day, so she wasn't surprised that the elevator was empty when she entered it. Eventually, she arrived at her room and opened the door. It was plain, as of yet, painted white and pink, and empty so far. The young girl shrugged, pulling her long, dyed-black hair into a ponytail and beginning to cover all the pink on her half of the room with posters of famous art. Next to her bed, Perrine set a few boxes of pencils and three journals, as well as a pencil sharpener, then began to unload her clothes.

Eventually, Perrine was done. Looking at the half of the room that would eventually become her home (just before the year was over, of course), she shrugged and her ponytail fell over her shoulder. She eyed the long, straight pain-in-the-ass and then grabbed a pair of scissors. It was time to change, if only for her.

So Perrine took a big breath and began to slice through the mass that had kept her company and hidden her for years.

A moment later, something hit the door outside the room with a thud. A short exclamation of frustration followed, and the door opened to reveal a very peculiar girl overloaded with what looked like some seriously heavy luggage. Her brown hair hung down past her shoulders, very plain-looking, her olive green eyes narrowed with the strain of carrying all her bags- and what was very clearly a large bass guitar case, along with a heavy-looking amp for it.

"Lousy amp," she half-muttered, giving a frustrated sigh and pulling everything into the room with her, shoving the door shut with a foot which was covered by a black skateboard shoe. The door shut with an unexpected loud thud and the girl jumped slightly, but shook it off, tossing the bag containing her clothes and the like onto the nearby bed and dropping the bass and the amp at the foot of said bed. Glancing around for the first time, she noted the presence of the other girl and gave a bright grin, if not a slightly apologetic one.

"Sorry about the noise," she apologized, rubbing the back of her neck. "Heavy stuff, gotta lug it up here by myself. Tough job!"

Perrine smiled at the girl, giving her hair one last decisive snip before tossing it quickly in the garbage, her now shoulder-length hair swishing freely. "I could imagine… if I'd known, maybe I would have helped you. I'm Perrine, by the way. I assume you're Olivia?"

"That's okay," the girl grinned, dropping onto the bed beside her bag. Did she just cut her hair? Uhm, yeah. Stupid question. "Yeah, that's me," she confirmed, pushing her brown hair over her shoulder with a friendly smile. "Call me Livi."

"Pleasure to meet you, Livi." Perrine gave her another smile. "You can just call me Perrine," she said with a small grin. "So, you looking forward to the next year?" Perrine crossed her legs, one completely on top of the other, then leaned her chin on her elbow, which was conveniently placed on her right knee.

"Perrine, mkay," she smiled, toying with a strand of her dull brown hair. "Uhm? Well, I dunno," Livi glanced down to her bag, opening it and starting to pull stuff out. Might as well get everything unpacked... and some posters would be good to cover the unsightly pink on the walls. "I figure if I can both stay alive and pass my classes, then I'll have enjoyed the year." she gave another grin, pulling out some folded posters and a roll of scotch tape.

"Heh…" Perrine smiled, then grabbed the top journal and a brand new, freshly sharpened pencil. "Hey, uh, do you mind if I draw you?" she asked, blushing a little. "I like to draw my roommates as memoirs, because we usually get along that year then never talk to each other again…" She trailed off, looking kind of wistful.

Livi, who was halfway-finished taping a Sum 41 poster to her side of the wall, paused and turned to look at Perrine, blushing a bit. "Uh, sure.." she blinked it off and grinned, quickly pushing the poster against the wall and taping it in place. She draws? Awesome... "So you need me to stay still, right?" she returned to her bed, flopping onto it on her stomach and shoving her bag to the side, crossing her legs behind her and turning her head to the side to smile at Perrine. She'd never met anyone who drew people to remember them instead of taking a picture... it was pretty cool, actually.

Perrine smiled. "Thank you! And yeah, it's appreciated…" Perrine had never liked cameras, or, for that matter, most forms of technology. They all seemed to disagree with her and scream 'ha I eat your face bitch!' Besides that, art seemed to capture things photography couldn't about a persons' personality, at least in her opinion. She laid down on her stomach, facing Livi, and first drew a rough sketch, catching Livi's basic body shape, then began to flesh out the picture, adding wrinkles in her clothes and even quick sketches of the poster behind Livi. After around half an hour, Perrine grinned at it. "Okay, done!" It wasn't a perfect replication of Livi, because Perrine wasn't some crazy photographic artist, but it captured Livi's essence remarkably well, as well as her proportions and friendly face, and so Perrine was happy with it. "Do you like it?"

Relieved to be able to move aside from fidgeting, Livi pushed herself up and half-rolled off the bed, catching herself and crossing the room to sit next to Perrine, looking at the picture- not really noticing how close she was to the other girl. Her eyes widened and a bright grin spread over her face. "Wow, that's amazing! You're really good...!" Livi took a little longer to admire the drawing- Wow, it really does look like me...! Even all the little details... I wish I could draw like that...

Perrine smiled and flushed, noticing all too easily just how close they were. Come on, Perr, ignore it, just ignore it! she told herself, and somehow she managed to force a few words out. "Heh, thanks… I'm not that good, though… I've seen a lot better."

Livi grinned playfully, pushing herself up and crossing over to her bag, pulling out more posters and piles of clothes. "I've never actually known anyone who can draw like that," she commented, pushing a Linkin Park poster up against the wall to tape up. "Really, I think you're an amazing artist!" she pushed the tape at the top of the poster down, spun and returned to her bag. As she pulled out a stack of clothes, a small mp3 player connected to tiny headphones tumbled onto the bed. "There you are..." she breathed, pocketing the player and the headphones. "Thought I'd lost it. Whew."

"Hm," Perrine said, shrugging. Personally, even had technology liked her, she wouldn't have been too overjoyed at listening to music… it distracted her. She liked perfect silence, or else the sounds of nature.

"Ellie?" A girl with curly blonde hair came, peeking in. "Hey, have either of you seen Ellie? She's around my height, ridiculously skinny, looks kinda like the wife of the Mafia or something?"

"Not much for music?" Livi asked at Perrine's shrug, but was distracted by the sudden arrival of this other new girl. "Uhm? Uh, I don't know an Ellie, sorry." She spoke distractedly, as she was in the process of putting her clothes away.

Perrine shrugged. "Never heard of her. And by 'wife of the Mafia,' do you mean she looks Italian or something?"

The blonde girl giggled. "Well, yeah! What else would I mean?" and with that question, she left.

Perrine shook her head. "Two more years," she muttered to herself annoyedly. Just two more years…"

Livi sighed, rolling her eyes, pulling down on her plain grey top. "Two more years is right... ugh, some people..." she pushed the drawer of the dresser shut and returned to her bed, dropping onto it with a sigh. "Anyway, before we were interrupted?" she grinned slightly- she wouldn't mind sharing a room with someone sensible for a change, even if they had different interests. It could make for interesting conversation, in the end.

"Um…" Perrine gave Livi a sheepish grin. "I think the conversation had just been dying at that point in time."

Livi gave a slight laugh. "Well, let's give it CPR then. We might as well get to know each other, right? We're gonna be spending a whole year together."

"Yeah, good point. So ah… I grew up in the typical suburban family, went to public school for elementary then started coming here once I was old enough, in fifth grade… my family's almost entirely French, if you can't tell… so naturally I don't like fights." She grinned. "I'm kinda artsy, in case you hadn't noticed, and I'm not a big music advocate. I'm also pretty absentminded, so be warned that this will probably be one of the few days during the year that my half of the room will be clean…"

"Heh, don't worry about that, I'm renowned for being messy," Livi joked, pushing her long brown hair back over her shoulders. She quirked her head slightly. "Not a big music advocate...?" she half-pouted, but it had a joking tone to it. "That's fine by me, people have different preferences and like different things, right?" she grinned before going on about herself. "Similar story, elementary school until the sixth grade, came here in seventh... I'm a big music person, if you couldn't tell already," she laughed, gesturing to the posters behind her.

Perrine grinned. She liked this girl already, although she would have to be careful that Livi didn't get wind of her orientation… things could turn very ugly very quickly, she knew. It had freshman year, after all. "Yeah, I kinda could," she teased. "So what kind of music are they? I've never heard of any of those bands…"

"Really?" Livi blinked with an air of disbelief. Well, some people just weren't into the same things, she supposed. "Linkin Park, Sum 41, my two favorite bands, then Blink 182 and Offspring... They're punk rock-ish metal. Pretty heavy stuff..." she grinned, "Not all of it's heavy, though, they have some softer songs."

Perrine grinned, "Yay, lots of screaming and lots of drumming! … Sounds like home, only instead of real drums they had trash cans and pots. Insta-headache!"

Livi laughed, idly twirling a strand of her hair around her finger. "Yeah, well, that's a matter of opinion. But like I said, everyone's opinion is different!" She stood up, walking around her bed to where she'd left her bass which she propped up against the wall. No use letting it get stepped on by accident.

Perrine smiled. "It's awesome that you can let another person have their own opinion. That's not too common nowadays, unfortunately, and it's nice that you can agree to disagree with someone. So, ah, is that a guitar?" she asked, beginning to display just how thoroughly hopeless she was at music.

"Yeah, nowadays people are so insistent that they're right..." Livi shook her head. It was a shame some people couldn't just have their opinion and let others have theirs. "Yeah," she answered Perrine's question with a slight laugh, "An electric bass, actually. I've played it since the sixth grade..."

"Really? Maybe… maybe you could play something for me?" Who knew… maybe it wouldn't sound horrible.

Livi's face lit up and she smiled at Perrine. "I'd love to." she took the bass from it's case and plugged it into the amp at the foot of the bed, turning the volume down to it's lowest setting- didn't want to break any eardrums. Sitting on her bad with the sleek blue instrument on her lap, she set her fingers over the nylon strings and started plucking out the baseline to Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes, tapping a steady percussion with her foot on the ground. "I'm gonna fight 'em off, A seven nation army couldn't hold me back..." she sang softly, and it actually sounded pretty good. Almost a softer version of the real thing.

Perrine stared at her, impressed. "Hey, without drums, I guess that kind of music does sound pretty good. You have a really nice voice, too, and you're a good player."

"Thanks," Livi said quietly, stopping the sound and blushing slightly. Since she kept her playing mostly to herself, it was rare to get compliments on it. She forced her eyes back up to Perrine and smiled. "Glad you like it."

"Not a problem," she said, smiling. "I only give compliments where they're deserved, and you definitely deserved it." She tucked her newly short hair behind her ear. "So ah… hm. What do you want to do?"

Wow, she's really nice... and artistic... and cute... Realizing she'd been half-staring, she blinked and shook it off. "Uhm? Oh, I dunno," she said, starting to put the bass away in its case. "What is there to do really?"

Perrine shrugged. "Not a lot… usually during the school year I just sit here and do homework, or draw. She turned to face Livi again, noticing that she was being stared at but making no note of it, then asked, "So, what's your family life like? Divorced, normal, what?"

Ack, focus, Livi."Uh... I'm with a foster family right now, parents are having issues." She shrugged slightly, "I don't mind coming here, gives me a chance to get away for a while, y'know?" she offered a slight smile, slouching forward to rest her elbows on her thighs with her hands hanging loosely between her knees, brown hair spilling over her shoulders.

If I didn't know better, I'd think she was checking me out, Perrine thought to herself, biting her lip. But nah, I'm probably just being overly hopeful, especially where she's so damn attractive herself. "Yeah, that makes sense," she nodded, barely paying attention because she loved that pose. "Hey, do you mind if I draw you again, sitting like that?" she asked, sweatdropping. "I don't know why, but I really like it…"

Perrine's request caused Livi's face to flush pink and she grinned slightly, feeling an odd twinge in her chest, but she didn't move. "Uhm, sure, I don't mind..." That means I can look at you and it won't be weird. Livi knew the chances of the other having the same preference were slim, but there was a silent hope that wouldn't quite give up.

The artist grinned and grabbed her journal again, sticking the pencil into her mouth until she found a comfortable position, lying on her stomach with the mattress pushing her decent-sized breasts up somewhat. Taking the pencil out, she eyed the girl carefully. God, I hope she doesn't mind if I draw her all the time! She's so attractive— I'm not sure I'd be able to help myself… She relayed none of these thoughts to Livi, merely continued grinning and began to sketch the girl, admiring each part of the girl's body as she put it on paper. This one didn't take too long because Perrine was so eager to get her onto paper, perhaps around fifteen minutes or so. "There, done!" Unwittingly, Perrine had captured the slightly glazed-over, slightly desirous look in Livi's eyes, but the artist didn't notice it.

Faster this time, Livi noticed, finally stirring and standing up, still faintly blushing- she'd been able to get a very good look at the other girl during the time she'd been required to stay still, and hoped that Perrine hadn't noticed the way Livi had been looking at her. Dropping down to sit beside the artist, her olive-green eyes stared back at the replica of herself on paper and she almost jumped. How had she done that, caught that look in Livi's eyes? "...wow," she breathed, shaking her head lightly in amazement. "You really are a fantastic artist..." she went to brush the drawing with her fingertips, and they brushed briefly over Perrine's hand on the way there. "So lifelike..." she commented again- the drawing captured all the emotion that she knew a photo could never catch.

Perrine tried as hard as she could not to blush as Livi's hand brushed across hers, but it was inevitable with both of them fighting against her in such a fashion. She noticed that Livi's cheeks were somewhat pink, too, and had been a fair amount of the time— perhaps it was just part of her complexion? Nevertheless, it was ador— no, no, no! Perrine thought to herself. She's probably straight and if I let myself get carried away she'll be extremely grossed out. "Th-thank you," Perrine said throatily, obviously having a slight struggle getting the words out.

Oh god, that's so cute... too cute... Twinge in her chest again- her fingers were tingling where they'd brushed across Perrine's hand, and she pulled them slowly away from the drawing, feeling the heat rise in her cheeks. Oh for crying out loud, don't blush, and sure as hell don't look at her, you'll get carried away for sure... "No problem," she said quietly, her voice cracking slightly, and so she cleared her throat quietly as well.

Just then the dinner bell rang, interrupting only briefly the tension between the two, as in the next minute Perrine started and her hand accidentally touched her roommate's breast. "O-oh my God, I'm so sorry!" she exclaimed, yanking her hand away quickly, cheek flushing even more. "So… uh… let's just, you know, go to dinner," she said, face crimson.

Livi's eyes widened slightly at Perrine's hand and her breath caught in her throat. "S'okay," she assured, her voice a little higher than she would've liked. She forced a causal grin onto her face and stood, stretching slightly, clearing her throat again. I wouldn't mind if you did it again, she thought to herself, but of course kept that to herself as well, trying to fight the dark blush off her face. "Yeah, let's go, I'm starving..." Livi tried to eliminate that tension in the air, but it looked like that was going to be a little tougher than she'd thought. At this rate, it was going to be a long year.