Chapter One: Anderson Prep
Kennedy Hunter hid in the bathroom stall and cried. She hadn't even made it through half the day yet and already, she hated it here. Every single thing about it was despicable: the luxurious buildings and the expensive furniture to the ridiculous uniform and school rules. She even hated this very bathroom stall.
All she wanted was to be at home, playing her beautiful piano, running around with her old friends and boyfriend, or just hanging out with her brother. She wanted to be with her brother, anywhere away from here. But regardless of how hard she wished, she knew that it would never happen, and the thought simply brought on even more tears. How had she ended up here, in utter misery? Life was far too cruel.
The words of her roommate rang through her head. They were the only words her roommate had said to her and so far they were the truest and most sympathetic words any student had said to her.
"The people here at Anderson Prep are ruthless, don't expect anyone to be nice to you," her roommate had warned on Kennedy's first and only night.
There was neither malice nor kindness in her voice. Right then, she knew Emma Gold didn't hate her, but she also knew the girl would not be bothering to make her feel welcome in the school.
The students simply hated her. Those who did not speak cruel words to her ignored her altogether. She really couldn't care less if she made friends in this unknown place or not, but she didn't want to be scrutinized and judged and tormented in a place she didn't want to be in the first place. After just one day, she simply didn't want anything to do with them at all.
Kennedy had been popular at her old school. She had done sports, participated in clubs, co-led the dance committee, and was class treasurer. Everyone there had liked her; everyone there had been nice to her. She had a group of good friends and a sweet boyfriend. Her brother had been her best friend. She felt happy.
But happiness is just an illusion. After the accident, she broke up with her boyfriend and broke all ties with her friends. Fear and pain had caused her to flee her past. As far as she was concerned, they were a part of the life she had lost that night.
As soon as she said her goodbyes, she moved in with her overly eccentric aunt and refused to leave her room, let alone the house. She had spent the entire summer completely secluded from the world. Right now, she wished she could've been in that room, the only place she felt safe these days.
Frustrated, her aunt had decided to ship her off to boarding school, to a world and society she had never experienced. She remembered that awful conversation perfectly.
"Kennedy, dear," Aunt Lila had called, knocking on her door.
It was so rare for her aunt to come to her room; so of course, she brushed out her hair and opened the door immediately, "Yes auntie?"
Lila seemed nervous, "I have some good news for you."
Kennedy didn't speak. She had to admit that she was deadly curious to know what this news could be, but lately, her tendency had been to not speak unless necessary.
"I got you enrolled in Anderson Prep," Lila suddenly smiled brightly and lightly patted Kennedy's hair.
"Anderson Prep?" she asked, slightly flinching at her aunt's touch. The relationship between the aunt and niece was nearly nonexistent. Aunt Lila was practically a stranger to her, but Lila honestly tried.
"Yes, it's a very prestigious boarding school. It's beautiful there. No place is better," she replied proudly, "You'll be going there in August."
"A boarding school? I don't know," Kennedy sighed, groaning inwardly.
"Well dear, this isn't really a choice," was her aunt's curt reply. Her tone and attitude were so different now than it had been when the middle-aged, wealthy widow first entered the room, "I'm sorry Kennedy, but it's for the best."
Kennedy's temper soar, but she didn't speak or move until her aunt left the room.
She knew it was her own fault for closing herself off from the world. She knew her aunt was trying to force her back into the world, regardless of the means, but she didn't want this. She wanted everything to be the way it was. She wanted her life back. Suddenly, she felt lonelier than she had ever felt before, and she knew it was because she truly was alone.
Once upon a time, Kennedy Hunter had been a strong and confident young woman. Wiping away any stray tears, Kennedy slipped out of the stall and looked at her reflection in the mirror. Nowadays, her blue eyes were puffy and red; they seemed to have lost their sparkle and life. Though naturally thin and tan, she had lost a lot of weight and had grown pale, making her look slightly ill. Even her dark brown hair looked messy and dull. She thought she looked much older than her 17 years. The girl that everyone had once called beautiful was now frail and lifeless.
She could almost hear her friends nagging her to gain some weight and her brother teasing her about getting some sun. She missed them so much. A sudden wave of shame and guilt caused her to shiver.
"They wouldn't even recognize me now," she thought gingerly. She knew they were angry with her for pushing them all away. If they knew her state, they'd be so very disappointed in her. She hoped they'd all just forget about her now, because it had never been her intention to cause them any harm.
Determined not to cry anymore, she shook her head gently. She didn't want those awful people to see her vulnerability. They didn't deserve the satisfaction of her tears. She was absolutely miserable here, but she had to survive. She had no choice but to survive.
The people here were nothing like the people she had been surrounded by throughout her life. They all seemed so extraordinary. Many of the girls were quite beautiful, graceful, and poised, and many of the boys were tall and attractive with an air of refinement and dignity. On top of it all, every single one of them had an important last name and a lot of money to that name.
Gently biting her lip, she suddenly felt like an ordinary person walking down the red carpet surrounded by gorgeous and wealthy celebrities. It made her feel lower than dirt. Everyone was either rich or beautiful or both and she was a sickly looking person with no money to her name.
These people seemed to be on a whole different level from her. She understood why she was such the outcast here. She couldn't help but wonder if she was doomed to spend her lunch periods in the bathroom stall.
She debated whether or not she should attempt to enter the school cafeteria. Her stomach answered before she could. She hadn't eaten all day and hadn't eaten much the day before. She pulled herself together and gathered up her things.
As she stepped in to the school cafeteria, she felt all eyes on her. Once again, she heard the whispers and rumors about her. Suddenly, she regretted her decision to come here. The temptation to turn around and go back to the bathroom was great, but she didn't know how she'd survive the rest of the day without something to eat.
She felt foolish standing at the entrance of the cafeteria with nowhere to go. She truly doubted that any of them would invite her to sit with them. With a sudden burst of determination to show that she was strong and refused to let the cruelty of others affect her the way they wanted it to. There was no way she would show weakness. She would not allow them to run her out of the school.
Kennedy Hunter would survive the torment of a bunch of ridiculous high school students. After what she's been through, she could not allow herself to be affected by the pettiness of teenagers.
From where she stood, Kennedy spotted her roommate, Emma, towards the center of the room. Beside her sat a red head that Kennedy recognized as Gina, a girl in a couple of her earlier classes, along with a couple other girls. Emma twirled her blond hair around her thin finger and giggled as she gossiped with her friends.
Kennedy felt a twinge of jealousy. She wished she could've had that illusion of happiness. She wished she could be with her friends without a care in the world. Feeling ever more miserable, she found her way to an empty seat at an empty table.
"So that's her? She's the transfer, right? Who is she? Where is she from, anyway? What's she doing here? Look at her, she'll never last here." The whispers about her echoed through the room, the voices were cruel and uncaring. Expressionless, Kennedy ignored them and picked at her food.
It was truly a shame that she hated Anderson Prep, for it was a truly beautiful place. It was a boarding school of nearly 600. Every year level had 150 available spots. Kennedy Hunter had been lucky number 150 of year 12.
Four large buildings served as the campus living quarters. It reminded Kennedy of four hotels clumped together. At far right, there was the boys' freshman and sophomore building, then the boys' junior and senior building. A large walkway separated the girls' buildings, with their freshman and sophomore building at the far left. Each building was identical, but within, every room was uniquely beautiful.
The cobblestone walkway led to the cafeteria and east gardens in one direction, and the two classroom buildings and west gardens in the other. The cafeteria was actually a grand ballroom with a large kitchen attached. Both classroom buildings were three stories high and styled much like an old Victorian castle. Even the gardens were beautiful and well kept.
Yes, Anderson Prep was definitely designed for the children of the elite.
The first day is going to be the hardest, she reassured herself, everything after this will be a breeze; it will get easier.
After all, she sighed softly, taking another bite of her food, it couldn't possibly get much worse.
The room suddenly grew hushed and Kennedy noticed that all eyes and attention was directed to the attractive male standing at the entrance of the cafeteria. He was tall, dark, and handsome; a truly gorgeous young man. Kennedy found herself staring at his captivating green eyes, which seemed so intense and piercing.
Excited whispers filled the room; it was as though a celebrity had just graced their presence. Kennedy wondered who he was and why she hadn't seen him earlier. Anyone who exuded such confidence could not go unnoticed.
A pair of girls, who must have been freshmen, approached him confidently, and silence seemed to fall over the cafeteria, in order to watch and hear this encounter. Even Kennedy found herself listening intently.
"You must be Harrison Chase," the tall, blonde girl said in a sultry voice. Her uniform skirt had been hemmed to look so inappropriately short. Every guy in the room seemed to notice as much and was eying her long legs with desire.
He raised an eyebrow in amusement, "I must?"
"I heard about you, that you were absolutely gorgeous, the hottest guy on campus," she replied, sidling up beside him and touching his shoulder, "They weren't lying. My name is Carol, and this is Susie."
Poor Susie looked terrified. It was obvious that Carol had forced her to come along. The girl looked like she desperately wanted to go back to her seat.
"Well, I don't know about that, Carol," he chuckled, glancing around the room, "But you were right about one thing, I must be Harrison Chase."
"Oh trust me, I was right about it all," she was blatantly checking him out.
"I'm glad you like what you see," he replied sarcastically.
Gently running her hand across his lower back, she purred, "I do."
Harrison finally found the laughing faces he had been looking for and pulled away from Carol, "Well, it was great meeting you, freshman, and your little friend too. I'll be sure to call you if I'm desperate."
The girls looked stunned as he patted their heads gently and began to walk away from them, before saying, "See you around, ladies."
Harrison approached a table full of people who greeted him happily. Laughter and conversation intensified for several moments, before three of the guys sitting down got up and joined Harrison who sat down at an empty table near Kennedy.
"Man Harrison, we were just wondering when you'd get here," the blue-eyed, blonde young man chuckled as he sat down beside Harrison, "You were a bit harsh to those poor girls, don't you think?"
"Now Maxwell, haven't you guys got anything better to do? What did you guys do without me?" he said with a grin, stretching his arms languidly, "I'm glad you missed me so very much."
"Shut up," Max replied, playfully punching Harrison, "It's good to have you back, now just stay in this country, will you?"
"I plan to, guys," he replied, "I even told Giselle that I didn't want to go back, so we're over for good."
"Like that really makes a difference," the one beside Maxwell chuckled, shaking his head of light brown hair, "You two never really had a relationship to begin with, other than the family stuff."
"Shut up Dylan," Harrison returned, "Just because we had a very open relationship, doesn't mean it wasn't a relationship."
Dylan simply snorted in reply, though his brown eyes were sparkling with mirth.
"Anyways, I wasn't harsh. That blonde one had it coming," Harrison shrugged. He couldn't believe the nerve of some girls. He liked to consider himself a gentleman to a certain extent, and didn't quite see why some girls had to act so trashy. There was no respect for girls like Carol. When he did decide to date girls like her, he never took them seriously. If anything, they were good for a night of good fun and nothing more.
"Yes well, in one day, she's hit on all three of us and even a couple of others," Max chuckled, "But she's been dying to meet you."
Dylan seemed to shudder at the reminder of her hitting on him, "She kept rubbing against my hip. She's filth." Like Harrison, Dylan preferred girls with class. In fact, they all did. It was a quality they took pride in but did not necessarily advertise or even prove it when it came to choosing their dates. In their defense, they figured that high school and college was made to find some frivolous fun, and definitely not to find someone you'd want to spend the rest of your life with or even love.
A forth boy with brown hair laughed at his friends, "I've met her dad, Joshua Lawson. I think he's a lawyer or something. He's pretty raunchy, complete slime."
"Daddy must be so proud," chuckled Max.
"I'm so sure. Promiscuous daughter and raunchy dad, I didn't really need to know that, Spence," Dylan groaned.
"You guys are insane," Spencer commented, scrunching up his nose, "So when did you get back, Harrison?"
"We're all insane," Harrison replied, stretching a second time, "I got back this morning so I'm still a bit jet lagged."
The entire school knew these four boys who have been friends since their privileged childhoods. On the surface, it seemed like they had nothing in common but their wealth, charm, and good looks, but those who knew them well knew better.
Ignored by their own parents, they formed a bond as strong as any family. They lived for one another. Since childhood, they have been fiercely loyal to each other, and trusted one another more than anyone else. One could say that they even balanced each other out, and in the end, they successfully kept each other in check.
"So how was business overseas, anyway?" Dylan was the only one who would genuinely want an answer to that question.
"Same as always," Harrison replied dryly, "Excruciatingly boring, but I made dear old dad happy. I closed the deal with Mr. Alexander, finally. The man adores me."
"Well, congrats on the deal, at least," he said, grinning proudly, "It's a tough thing to do. Good for you."
"Well, that's enough about me, what's going on here? I miss anything?"
"Actually, you have," Maxwell drawled thoughtfully, "A senior transfer."
"Really?" Harrison said, raising an eyebrow in intrigue, "From where?"
"No one really knows, actually," Dylan answered.
Max grinned, "Longo's gone nuts."
"Yeah, we've never had a senior transfer before. I wonder why she let in this one," Harrison mused curiously.
"The old lady has probably spent too much time in the sun this summer," Max snorted.
Spencer shook his head reproachfully and suddenly looked like he was ignoring the conversation his friends were having around him. Principal Longo was an old family friend of the Emery's, a rare one that he actually respected.
"Have you guys met him?" Harrison asked, stifling a yawn.
"Actually, it's her," Max countered.
Harrison raised an eyebrow curiously, "It's a chick?"
"Yeah, Kennedy Hunter's her name, and no one really knows anything else about her," Max informed him.
"She's been really quiet, and keeps to herself. She's a real mystery," Dylan said, "I've got a couple of classes with her."
"Same here," Max added, "There's tons of rumors of course, but I'm sure they're all bull shit. Emma Gold is her roommate, and even she knows nothing about her."
"Interesting," Harrison replied, "What does she look like?"
"Like she doesn't belong," Max offered, lamely.
"She's really skinny and looks like she never sleeps," Dylan replied, "Trust us, you'll know it's her when you see her."
Harrison nodded, trying to picture this new girl, before turning to the silent Spencer, "Hey Spence, you're awfully quiet."
Spencer chuckled and then shrugged, "I haven't seen her yet either. I haven't had any classes with her, so I have nothing to contribute."
Harrison looked up and his gaze immediately fell on the unfamiliar brunette sitting nearby. In an instant, he knew exactly who she was.
Dylan had been accurate in his description; she was too thin and almost sickly looking. Max had been right to say that she didn't belong. Harrison's mouth twitched in amusement, the girl must've easily been able to hear every word they had said about her.
Kennedy's icy blue eyes flickered up at him and though she was startled, she did not look away. Much to Harrison's amazement, they simply stared at each other for a moment. Irritation, anger, and pain flashed in her eyes before the hardened and became unreadable. As if waking up from a dream, Kennedy blinked several times before getting up from the table. With a final glare in his direction, she walked away.
Suddenly, Harrison started laughing, startling his friends.
"Harrison, are you ok?" Spencer asked, concerned, "What's so funny?"
"The time change must be getting to him," Max muttered, patting his friend playfully on the back.
"I actually agree with Max," Dylan added much more solemn, "You might as well take the rest of the day off and catch up on your sleep."
Harrison waved away their concerns, "I'm fine. You act like I don't travel all the time. Don't worry."
The transfer, this Kennedy Hunter, thoroughly intrigued him. No one had ever looked at him like that, especially not of the female sort.
It was only the very first day and already, senior year was promising to be very interesting indeed.
So, this is all very new to me, but I hope this is a good first attempt.
Constructive criticism would be appreciated.
Thanks for taking the time to read!