Author's Note: Chapter one, chapter one, chapter one. :D Thank you so much Mae and centenarian for your kind reviews.
A note of caution: Read this slowly, because 5 new characters are being introduced, and it might become confusing. And the voice of this chapter is still very prologue-y. The next chapter is probably a better reflection of what the story will be like.
Thank you thank you. :)
"All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed." — Sean O'Casey
Half an hour passed in silence. It was now 7:30am.
"What do you think?"
No one took the initiative to answer. The well-rehearsed ritual proceeded in the same manner on the first day of every school year. Five pairs of eyes moved quickly over the large screens that covered the expanse of three walls.
The Viewing Room.
The off-limits studio located on the upper east 4th floor of the Arts and Productions wing. With over five hundred state-of-the-art built-in security camera monitors, the room was gigantic. An understatement, of course. Only five keys were ever made to open its solid oak doors, and even more astounding was that, since the wing was built in 1852, only six had ever stepped foot inside.
One would think that such seclusion would harbor great curiosity among the student body, but in truth, most did not know such a room even existed. It was simply just another locked door among the many in South Merritt Academy, and probably just another storage room for theater props or cleaning supplies. No doubt, that's what it looked like from the outside. And to any outsider who happened to have broken in when one of the five key holders forgot to lock the door, that is exactly what it appeared to be…
"A definite improvement from last year," one finally answered, to which the other four silently agreed.
Of course, while the real-time video footage of South Merritt's new batch of students was very exciting indeed, more so were the five young men who stood watching it. The Elite Five, as they were affectionately pet-named by those of their kind. Tall, hard, and lean, they stood shoulder to shoulder, legs slightly apart, surveying what was to be this year's prey. And what easy prey they would be, considering these five predators. But these alpha males were anything but primitive. For the most part, they were actually quite gentle in nature. Though one can be assured that their tenderhearted dispositions were not what the girls of South Merritt Academy first noticed. No, each one stood more breathtaking than the next in a way that even a selected few of the male students wondered if maybe they were not as straight as they thought themselves to be.
Yet, while they complemented each other in quite a number of ways, they were vastly different in many more, especially concerning their tastes in those of the opposite sex. Five very different guys, but all with one very similar purpose.
"There are seven more redheads than last year," the brunet of the group observed. It was something Stefan Kensington noted every year. There were never enough to satisfy his hunger. But much to his delight, the annual percentage was increasing at a fairly decent rate. Having always been a lover of music, Stefan was the one all the girls and their mothers loved. Even the mothers of the mothers could not resist the magic his fingers produced on the violin.
Choice was never a problem though. Stefan liked to take pleasure in redheads, the feistier the better. There was something instinctively wild and exciting about them—the way they walked, the way they talked, the way they greedily drank out of a water bottle after Phys Ed. Actually, if he was honest with himself, Stefan liked any girl who talked back to him. Being insulted was such a turn on when every girl within a two-mile radius fell so willingly at his feet.
"There are also seven more D-cups than last year," another said in much the same grave tone as Stefan.
But Jesse only grinned, the uninhibited, pearly white grin that had caused countless girls to wish they were promiscuous enough to dally with him. Although Jesse Victoria Voltaire-Koch looked every bit the part of an angel with his golden blonde hair and baby blue eyes, he was as far as could be from sainthood. And of course, it was just his luck that no good girl could truly resist a bad boy – especially when he smiled like that and talked dirty, reeealll dirty.
However, one could argue whether the ladies preferred the bad boy, or the good boy—Theodore Alexander Voltaire-Koch. Or, among friends, simply Teddy. Despite being the splitting image of Jesse, he could not be more different from his twin. Teddy was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He opened doors, pulled out chairs, saved kittens, volunteered at the children's hospital, and above all, never insulted the fairer sex. The boy still blushed when girls, with their perilously short skirts, flashed him an upper thigh. (Yet, he was no more a virgin than Jesse was a saint. It was such a titillating mystery.)
And with such a great proportion of the female student body mistaking him for Jesse, Teddy was often thrown unwillingly into licentious situations of all shapes and sizes. Aside from having the most gentle disposition out of the five, he had but one tragic flaw that surpassed all else; Teddy was nice.
So it should not come as a surprise that maybe, just maybe, some of those girls did not really think he was his wicked brother. After all, no bad girl could possibly resist a good boy.
"Gabe. Don't look so angry. I'll share some of mine with you this year," Jesse said, looking slyly to his right. Besides chasing skirts, Jesse's second favorite pastime was to provoke Gabriel St. Jude. Not because he disliked him, but because he was just so damn serious all the time.
Dark, brooding, and handsome, Gabriel was the stuff romance novels were made of, causing a whole different flood of girls to flock his way. Each had the secret desire to be the one who could break his shell and to make him fall in love. Because even though he was often cold toward the female sex, and although no one really knew how this next fact became general knowledge, Gabriel St. Jude was a fantastic lover.
Gabriel was also smart enough not to rise to Jesse's bait. "Adam?"
All four waited for the fifth's appraisal of the batch. Not because Adam de Reine's opinion was any better than theirs, but because they truly wished to know what he was thinking. He was, after all, the eldest.
After a moment's pause, he sighed. "They'll have to do."
The problem with Adam was that he never fell into any category. Adam was Adam. Depending on the day of the week, he could be serious, or aggravated, or teasing. It drove the girls crazy. Of course, being arguably the better looking one out of the five probably had a lot to do with it. And was he ever a sight to behold. With hair almost as black as Gabriel's and forest green eyes so deep one could drown in, Adam also possessed bone structure to die for. No one could put their fingers on it, but there was just something about Adam that drew people like a magnet.
"They'll have to do?" Jesse couldn't refrain from commenting. Then again, Jesse never made it a habit to exercise much restraint in anything. "Look at the sea of bouncing tits grinning at you."
"You're a born poet, Victoria." Stefan was the only one who ever used Jesse's middle name, and enjoyed it immensely.
"Seamus Heaney's got nothing on me," Jesse agreed wholeheartedly.
"Except his Nobel Prize."
"Shut up, Teddy." The comment was made with no bite. It was obvious to the world, and against Jesse's will, that he loved his brother unconditionally. "Check out the blonde in B44."
Stefan looked at Jesse pointedly. "That's Debbie Fairweather. She's Mariella's younger sister. Their family just returned from France."
"Oh, damn. I didn't recognize her from behind. She didn't look nearly this tasty twenty years ago. Man, check out that ass." Jesse wasn't put off. With any luck, he'd have both sisters at once.
It was then that a very well timed and superbly aimed breeze drifted through the hallway, lifting the hem of Debbie's skirt, revealing a rather shapely butt cheek.
"No panties," Stefan couldn't help noting the obvious, while Teddy averted his eyes.
"Jesse," Adam warned, watching as the cold air swept around Debbie's thighs in the same circular motions as the subtle movements of Jesse's finger. "Let the girl bend over and put her books away in peace."
Almost immediately, the air became still again and Debbie's skirt fell back into place. Why Jesse Victoria Voltaire-Koch was gifted with the power to control the Elements, no one knew. But then again, who knew sweet little Jesse would turn out like this?
And as powerful as Jesse was, he was also smart enough to heed to Adam. While each of them had their respective powers, there was an unspoken agreement that Adam's powers were the only ones no one ever wanted to be on the receiving end of.
With the previous conversation at a close, Stefan took the remote control, zoomed in camera E05 and turned on the volume.
Two girls stood facing the mirror in the girls' bathroom: A blonde, who was fluffing her bangs, and a redhead, who was reapplying her eyeliner. The redhead's raspy voice filled the room, echoing as the sound bounced off the salmon-pink ceramic tiles.
"Do you think it's too heavy?"
The blonde turned to appraise her friend, making an up-close examination of her eyes. "No, it's fine."
"Good. I'm so glad you transferred here with me this year. What would I do without you?"
"You'd forever be applying too much eyeliner and having fun with all the boys without me to compete with."
The redhead smiled. "You know," she began, putting all her cosmetics back into her purse, "They have security cameras in the girls' washrooms."
The blonde halted in the motions of re-adjusting her bra. Her eyes swept around the room carefully. "I don't see anything."
The redhead shrugged. "I heard some guy saying there were hundreds in the school."
"They're just trying to scare people. And besides, why would you care if anyone's watching, unless… well," the blonde gave her friend a knowing smile.
"Sarah." She glanced around quickly before continuing, "Blow jobs in toilet stalls and locker rooms are so tenth grade."
Sarah only snickered. "That didn't stop you from letting them return the favor last year."
Teddy took the remote from Stefan and switched off the volume. "Enough."
"Spoilsport." This, of course, came from Jesse.
Gabriel cut in the drama. "That one." Rarely did Gabriel bother to speak, and when he did, everyone listened.
They all turned to look at screen C15. It was the second floor in the History wing, right outside the entrance of the boy's washroom.
Jesse tilted his head sideways, as if trying to make sense of an art piece in a museum and not sure which way the painting was supposed to go.
"I don't get it," Stefan said.
"Do you need to relieve yourself?" Teddy asked, always the considerate one.
Adam said nothing.
No one was sure how much time passed before a lone figure peeked its head out from the bathroom door. A dark brown ponytail swished left, then right, then left again. The coast was clear. A navy blue pleated skirt and an Academy crested blouse were next to appear. Slowly, then furtively, the girl crept out from her hiding spot, sprinted to the center of the hallway, and then proceeded to walk at an exaggeratedly steady pace.
"What? You want her?" Jesse asked, slightly confused. He was about to say "You can have her" when Teddy spoke up.
"That's Honey Smith. Her locker is next to mine. We have AP Calculus together." Teddy always took the time to remember the name of everyone he met.
"I still don't get it," Stefan said.
"It's her time of the month," Gabriel said mildly.
"What?" Jesse asked, clearly still not following Gabriel's train of thought.
"She panicked and ran into the wrong washroom," Gabriel said slowly, irritated that he must explain any more than he had to.
For a moment, no one said anything.
"What's so great about her?" Jessed asked at the same time Stefan asked "But how did you know?"
"A14 to J01 to C15," Gabriel answered, as if it was just that simple. No one noticed how Jesse's question was ignored, not even Jesse himself.
"That's genius," Stefan said, clearly impressed.
"She ran away from me this morning. I guess this explains why," Teddy said at last.
Only Adam remained silent as he listened to them praise Gabriel, his eyes never leaving the screen. Some might say that his mind was even sharper than Gabriel's, for he noticed what the other three did not. Fore Adam himself had followed the monitors closely, and Honey Smith never passed by Mr. Fornier's philosophy classroom — the door of which was monitored by camera J01. And judging from the split-second look Gabriel slid his way, he confirmed, without a doubt, that Gabriel had lied.
Now the question was, "Why?"