The Quiet Sound of Pride
Author Tabitha Grey
Authors Note: Yes, I know San Meridia does not exist. I live in California - I just needed a city... I like California, I'm enamored by the ocean, and it just works - cool? On to the story.
- Oh one more thing: it's a pride and prejudice retelling. Just had to tell you that - thanks, bye...
Chapter One: Beginnings
It had been two years since I had come to St. Mary's Academy, a boarding school in the beachside town of San Meridia, California, and I was now in my junior year at this institution. St. Mary's was one of the most prestigious college prep schools in the country - with a tuition that matched the reputation. I had worked unbelievably hard to get into this school, as well as get a scholarship to attend. My family had been so proud the day that we'd found out that I'd be heading off to St. Mary's.
That first day of my first year at St. Mary's is a day I will not soon forget. Because of my grades in my junior high, I had placed in the Honor Society. The Honor Society had a class period to meet and have an individual study hall. It also hosted dances and other social events every year. Most importantly, it had a 100 college acceptance rate. 99.9 had gone on to Ivy League schools (the remaining .1 went to Stanford, USC or Pepperdine - to stay in state, of course).
As I walked into the classroom that first day, I saw twenty or so students milling around, chatting about how their summers had been and what fun they'd have this year. You could tell the underclassmen from the older students - they were sitting silently waiting for something to happen. In some of them you could see the discomfort and uncertainty of being in a new situation, a new school. Then in those few others you could almost hear the quiet sound of their pride - their confidence sitting at a desk in a room surrounded by strangers. They were the ones that knew why they'd been accepted into the Honor's Society and what an honor that was.
I hadn't completely realized the honor of being accepted into the Honor Society, and yet I was not in the least uncertain of myself. I had confidence in my skills and intelligence, but that day, I took a seat and sat quietly waiting for something - anything - to happen.
Just as I had been wishing that something would happen, he walked into the room and sat down next to me.
Though I was from a small town, quite a ways from the school, I knew the name of Kent Darcy. The Darcy family were the owners and operators of one of the largest coffee chains in the country, and quickly expanding to the world. Darcy Coffee was quickly becoming a household name. You couldn't even go into a grocery store without seeing one of their kiosks selling mochas - or walk down the aisles and not see their gold bags of ground beans sitting on the shelf.
Kent Darcy was to attend the prestigious St. Mary's Academy like all of his family had before him. The term legacy was taken very seriously at St. Mary's. Almost as seriously as it is in the Ivy League. I had done my research. I knew he'd be in the same class as me, and I'd assumed he'd be in the Honor's Society. I wondered what a famous son of a famous family would be like. Would he be stupid but pass all of his classes because of who he was? I had decided that was probably the way of places like this.
At first I had no idea who he was. He came into the room innocently enough. He chose a seat in the third row almost center, to the right of my own desk. He sat down and pulled out a book and began to read. Curious, I looked at the cover of this work he was seemingly casually reading: Marx's Communist Manifesto.
I nearly stared at the young man with shock and awe, as he lounged back in his seat reading as though it were any random book and he were sitting on the beach relaxing. Apparently feeling my eyes on him, he glanced up from his reading, lazily. His blue eyes were heavily lidded giving the impression that he was bored - even though it was the first day of class. His golden brown hair was shaggy, but cut short. The way his uniform hung on him made him look like he was a muscular runway model fresh from Paris. He didn't look as though he were wearing the same clothes as me - the ones the school issued. It looked designer quality on him.
"Can I help you?" he said, lazily, an eyebrow cocked.
"Um, no, sorry - I just noticed that you were reading Marx. Is that for class?" I asked, hoping to sound conversational.
"No, just for fun," he said, going back to his book.
"Sure," I said, softly. He didn't look up from his book this time. I turned to face the front of the classroom and wait for the Society's advisor to come in and welcome us the way all the other teachers had so far that day. I was more than a little curious about this freshman who read the Communist Manifesto as though it was light, recreational reading. My mind whirled with possibilities: could he be a revolutionary waiting to try and overthrow our government? Maybe he was a communist. Maybe he wanted to study philosophy later on... Or maybe he really was just reading it for fun.
During my musings over this strange young man who took a seat next to me, the advisor walked in and asked the class to be seated. Her name was Ms. Richman. She was a sweet, older woman who apparently was also the Dorm Mother. She began to call roll and I perked up. I'd be able to find out the name of this strange guy next to me. Maybe someday I'd be reading the paper and see an article entitled: Revolutionary Arrested! And below the headline would be a picture of this young man - maybe a little older, struggling against the FBI as they carted him away for flag burning - or because he was a threat to our national security.
"Elizabeth Camden?" Ms. Richman said, looking up from her sheet.
"Here," I said, slightly raising my hand.
She smiled in acknowledgment and went back to calling names. "Kent Darcy?" she said, with the same motion of looking up.
"Here," came the bored voice from my side.
I'm sure my jaw dropped as I stared at Kent Darcy out of the corner of my eyes. Kent Darcy was reading Marx? Now I was sure that he would be trying to overthrow the government. Something else about this bothered me - his pride. It was his first day of high school and he was acting bored out of his mind.
I had no idea how terrible his pride was at the time. Later that first week, we had a trivia contest amongst the freshmen. I ranked second. Kent Darcy took first. "Good job, Number Two," he said, with a smirk. "Maybe next time you'll give me a little more of a challenge."
I glared at him, too irritated to say anything. Give him more of a challenge?! Ugh!
In the two years that followed that day, I found that Kent was exactly as prideful as he seemed that first day. I also found that I wanted nothing more than to rank higher and do better than he did.
"Lizzy!" came the call from my right. I had been looking for a seat in the dinning hall when my friend Kat came running up to my side.
"Oh my gosh - you have no idea what I just heard!" Kat said, her brown eyes wide with excitement.
"You're right," I said, sliding into a seat, finally. "I have no idea what you just heard."
"Darcy's friend from junior high is transferring here this week!" Kat said, sitting down next to me. "He's gotta be hot!"
Kat, though my best friend, could not get over the physical attractiveness of Kent Darcy. I, on the other hand, was well over it. So over him was I, that I didn't even call him by his full name. He was known to me only as Darcy. I felt to call him by Kent would be giving him respect. And that was something that I didn't feel he deserved.
"I hope he's nothing like Darcy," I said, stirring my oatmeal. "And why is he transferring in October? Isn't it a little late in the year? I bet he just wants to put St. Mary's on his college applications."
"Probably, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that we're getting a new student who's probably hot!" Kat was way too excited for her own good. "Aren't you in the least bit excited?" she asked, exasperated that I hadn't reacted exactly how she wanted me to.
"No. I can honestly say that I'm not," I said with a smile. I glanced around the room looking at the giant butcher paper signs that were hung on the walls. More of the usual: blood drive, go spartans, cultural festival coming soon, and the last one really caught my interest: golf tournament. "Huh," I said, looking at the poster.
"What's that?" Kat said, turning to see what I was looking at. "You play?"
I did. My grandfather had taught me from the time I was six. Granted, I was a little out of practice - being in school, I didn't have the time to practice lately. "Yeah. I think I'll play in it."
"You should. Maybe Darcy and his friend will be there..." Kat said. One track mind, as usual.
It was at that moment that Darcy walked in with another young man. I did not recognize his companion. This must be his near famous friend.
"There he is..." Kat said in awe. She was staring. Sometimes she was a little embarrassing to be with.
The friend was attractive. He was tall - even taller than Darcy. His dark hair and tan gave him an exotic look. His grey-green eyes stood out from the rest of his dark complexion. The two of them sat at a table not far from the one that we were sitting at. Kat was itching in her seat, wanting to stare at them but trying not to.
"He is handsome," I said, finding myself trying not to stare. Darcy looked up at me and I quickly turned away. "But - he's still Darcy's friend. I bet he's just as much of a jerk as he is."
"I hope not," she said, dreamily.
I rolled my eyes. Figures she would be in love at first sight. Though, there was something about his eyes... I glanced up again hoping not to catch the attention of Darcy. Those light grey-green eyes were smiling at something as he chatted with his terrible friend. He looked even more attractive when he smiled. As if hearing my thoughts and feeling my eyes on him, he turned at met my eyes. Embarrassed, I smiled quickly and looked away.
Great - they'd both caught me...
I did not look toward that table again during breakfast. When I was done I grabbed my plate and deposited it at the kitchen window in a bussing tub. As I made my way out of the dinning hall with Kat on my heels, I heard my name called for the second time that day.
"Camden!" came the deep, voice from behind me.
I turned slowly, recognizing the voice. "What do you want?" I asked, my eyes narrowing. Once I had turned, I noticed standing next to Darcy was his friend. Almost immediately I blushed. God, I hoped he didn't notice.
"I just thought you might want to be introduced to my friend," he was smirking. He had apparently mistook my glances for more than just innocent interest. I could tell from the way his eyes danced as he smirked at me.
I blushed even more. "Uh, sure," I said, turning to his friend. "Hello, I'm Elizabeth - you are?"
"I'm Brian Charles," he said, his voice was not as deep as Darcy's but it was more musical. "Nice to meet you, Elizabeth."
I could feel my cheeks redden as he said my name. "Nice to meet you," I said, smiling.
"So," said Darcy. "You playing?" he asked, nodding towards the sign advertising the golf tournament.
My smile instantaneously vanished. "Yes, I am."
He smirked again, "Well, don't plan on being anything other than number two, Number Two." He turned to Brian and said, "We should get to class. See you later, Number Two."
"It was a pleasure meeting you," Brian said, a little confused at what had just passed.
"Same," I said, seething from Darcy's flagrant use of his heinous nickname for me. Number Two... Ugh!
"Oh my god," said Kat who'd been silent this whole time. "You totally just met him!"
I rolled my eyes again, but inwardly I was marveling about it as well. "Brian Charles," I said. "What a fine thing for our girls..."
"What's that from?" Kat asked.
"Doesn't matter," I said.