All around us, the crowd cheered. Nearly the entire campus had turned out. Purple and gold banners graced the main auditorium, decorum usually reserved for annual graduation ceremonies. I didn't applaud. It all felt surreal to me. A farm of tiny ants, scurrying in their little glass aquarium. Security personnel in purple t-shirts rushed to connect wires to the microphones. At the front, on the podium, just beyond the Saint Bartholomew's Eagle Mascot, stood a tiny wisp of a woman. Our new university president, Regina Rivers. She had a dark-ish tone to her skin. I wondered if there was a touch of the Egyptian blood in her genes.
I'd just been to Egypt actually- with an arrogant pain in the ass vampire I now counted as a very dear friend. His name is simply "Marcus", and it does him no justice. He's as complex a person I've ever known, not that it's possible to ever truly know Marcus. Suffice it to say that he does whatever he likes, but his little black heart is usually in the right place.
Since entering college at Saint Bart's, I'd acquired a very interesting set of friends. We were presently all perched in the second level balcony. Probably it was filled to capacity, pregnant with enough weight to tumble and crush the many scores of people below.
This new president piqued my interests. (Considering I'd nearly been killed by our previous president, I figured she had to be a notch or two above the cut) She began to speak. Perfect vernacular wouldn't even describe her voice. She was obviously well-educated. She wore a black pantsuit and a strand of expensive looking pearls. Like so many public authority figures, everything about her screamed politician.
I sat in the second row, playing air drums on my armrest. Nikita was directly in front of me, sending text messages back and forth with Joanna. I watched them in mild amusement. Assuming no one could see, they made goofy faces and obscene gestures galore. Then sights would turn back to the little phones. Always the clown, I could only imagine the kinds of things Joanna was saying. For seemingly no reason at all, Nikita chuckled to herself, and punched the keys rapidly with her thumb without even looking. Did I appear that insane while texting? Surely not. I hoped it was a good conversation, since it was costing them a fortune in minutes and in dignity.
Walter, on my left, was holding my hand and watching the commotion in the crowds below. Walter was my boyfriend, who'd recently died and came back as a vampire. He'd been doing pretty well since his recent life change, considering. He appeared the same, yet different. In the three months I'd known him before his change, he'd been boyish and incredibly sweet. Now, though still sweet, he carried an unmistakable mystique, reminiscent of preternatural wildness. Walter still wasn't quite as mysterious as Marcus, however. For some reason, Walter still smacked of nerdy interests and down-home wholesomeness. Perhaps this was because I'd known him as a human, or maybe vampires just retain a lot of their human nature, and let's face it, Walter was as safe and wholesome as any human could have been.
"As many of you have now heard, President Villceau has left indefinitely, and we do not anticipate his return." Was that a redundant sentence? I wondered.
"Now, unfortunately, we, here on this campus, must do what we can to strengthen the university's assets and also increase efficiency." She formed a ball with her tiny fists. She gazed upward at some unseen heaven.
"Thus I am henceforth performing efficiency audits all over campus, from consolidating our educators to possibly revoking scholarships. The Saint Bart's flag framed her silhouette as she shouted "Unity!". For some reason, I thought of Hitler giving his famous speeches in old black and white films.
Nikita shot me a look of concern and Walter squeezed my hand. Hold on- did she say she would be taking away scholarships? Uh-oh... even for poor little orphans like me who could barely afford to wash their clothes as it was? When you have no home to go back to, college is something you cling to. The only reason I was here was because of my full-boat scholarship from the school. On account of the fact that I had no parents or family, and no money to my name, my heart began to ache in my chest. Was I having a heart attack? Some people did at eighteen, but my chances were pretty good. I just needed some money. I immediately began figuring out ways to get some quick cash- maybe I could sell a kidney on e-bay. In a daze, I realized the place was clearing out. Was the speech over already? We got up together and headed back for the townhouses.
"She seemed nice." Joanna shouted sarcastically. "I mean, really, most people wait till you're down to kick you, but ya gotta respect someone quick enough to just pull the rug out completely while you're still standing."
"Can she even do that? I mean, is it legal and everything?" said Samantha, our sensible roommate.
"As long as it's not the money from the Feds, she's allowed to change campus expenditures as she pleases." Nikita sighed
"Hang on a sec, guys" I spotted a discarded newspaper tumbling down the sidewalk. With my excellent werewolf reflexes, I grabbed it up. Ah-ha! Only a day old. I flipped it up to the classified section, which was slightly wet but perfectly readable. "I'm officially looking for a job now" I stated to my friends, who answered me with stares of bewilderment. "What? I can get a job you know- it'll be fine." Inside I wanted to hide in the dark and cry.
"Of course you'll be fine Molly" Nikita said, though I wasn't sure if she believed it herself.
"I'll ask around campus" Walter promised. "Maybe someone still needs a work study student."