Okay so this isn't a sequel to my first story, Hollow Secrets. (Even though eventually I hope to write one) but for now I thought I'd try something a little different :)
This is the story of Summer Harris and the events she faces at Willow-Bank Boarding School after the death of her boyfriend Jack, with quite a few surprising twists haha,
I thought I'd upload the first chapter already and get people's opinions and what not :) If it seems to be going well I shall continue to write...
Thanks for reading, Love Ella x
I stepped slowly out of my parents black Jeep and took a deep breath as my foot hit the pebbled ground. I was finally here. Here at the prestigious Willow-Bank Boarding School, just a few miles north of Stoke-on-Trent.
Granted, I was only moving from Hyde Park in London, so I couldn't really get homesick only being a 3 hours car ride from home but still, it was a huge step for me. I'd never left home since, well… since the day it happened. I shivered as the memories came flooding back to me and I felt unshed tears well in the corner of my eyes. ..
"Come on Summer, we're going to be late!" My boyfriend Jack shouted from the foot of the stairs in my house.
"Hold on Jack, I'm just grabbing my purse!" I lied, rummaging through my drawers to find the two gig tickets I'd bought him for his birthday surprise. A few moments later I found them and I shoved them into my back pocket and raced down the stairs towards him.
"Always the last one, isn't she Mrs. Harris?" Jack grinned at my mother who flashed him back a hearty smile.
"She is Jack dear, I'm forever telling her…"
"Come on then" I laughed ruffling his dark wispy hair, "We better get a move on or we're going to miss the film."
He took another look at my mother and rolled his eyes and she tutted loudly.
"Have a nice time you two! And Happy Birthday Jack!" she called as we headed out of the driveway and into my car.
"Thanks Mrs. H." he grinned and I smiled to myself, I was really lucky that my mum loved Jack so much. She'd never been as accepting towards my older sister; Stephanie's boyfriend's when she was my age. There were many a time I'd come home from being out with my friends and Stephanie would be crying in her room over something that my sharp tongued mother would have said to her 'then' boyfriend. I smiled at the fact that she'd instantly liked Jack from the moment I'd brought him home, there was something about his smile that was so honest, and of course his good manners and politeness ticked all the boxes in my mum's list, personally I thought the fact that he was insanely good looking was an added bonus.
"What are you smiling at?" he quizzed as I put the car into gear and reversed out of my driveway.
"Nothing" I smiled coyly. "Just thinking about stuff...Happy birthday."
"Thanks" he grinned, leaning forwards and gently kissing me on the cheek.
"I've got you a nice surprise, I'm sure you'll appreciate it" I told him feeling proud.
"Oh what is it? Can I have it now? Please?" he begged, his enthusiasm brimming like that of a child and not an 18 year old boy.
"Nope, you can wait till we get to the cinema" I said matter-of-factly.
"Ah Sum, you always have to be a tease" he sulked – in all honesty, that was one of his downfalls, he'd sulk when he couldn't get his own way and was probably the most stubborn person I'd ever met. He'd never be the first to apologize and was always the last to admit he was wrong.
"Well you should learn to be patient, besides - Anna and Joe are meeting us at the cinema, and you kind of need to have their present before I give you mine, it sort of follows on…"
"Oh like that is it?" he smiled. "I see, I see."
"Good" I laughed.
"I love you Summer," he smiled and I looked at him quizzically with a confused look on my face.
"That was a bit random Jack."
"I know, I just don't tell you as much as I should… and today's my 18th birthday, and you've gone out of the way to get me a really nice present and, well… I just thought you should know."
"Hey you don't even know what the present is yet!" I laughed.
"No, but I can see something poking out of your jean pocket and I think I've got an idea…"
"Jack!" I scolded him "That's unfair! You can't do that – that's cheating!"
I took my hand momentarily off of the steering wheel and swivelled my hip in order to push the envelope back into my pocket.
"SUMMER, WATCH OUT!" Jack's voice boomed loudly and I whipped my head back around to face the front of the car suddenly realizing I'd ran past a red light and a huge speeding lorry was hurtling in our direction. I put all of my force and threw my whole body into trying to swerve the car out of the path of the fast approaching vehicle but it didn't matter. It was too late. There was a huge flash of light and a deafening roar of the lorry klaxon and then…
"Honey, are you okay?" My mum dashed out of the car and flung her arm protectively around my shoulder.
"Just…thinking of…him" I sobbed and she cradled me tightly in her arms, mopping my tears with her handkerchief.
"I know baby, I know this is hard for you, but we all think it's for the best." She shot a worried glance at my father who remained still in the car and he simply gave her an encouraging nod to let her know they were doing the right thing in leaving me here.
"I miss him so much, mum."
"I know sweetie, we all do." She smiled sympathetically "I know you blame yourself but you can't continue living like this, Jack wouldn't want…"
"It is my fault" I said stubbornly cutting her short. I hated anyone mentioning his name, it was too painful and I was too full of guilt.
She sighed heavily, realising nothing she could say would make me change my mind. I tried to pull myself together and keep a stiff upper lip.
"Well, I better get going to reception...I've got roommates to be meeting" I shrugged.
"Ok darling, are you sure you don't want us to come with you?" My mum asked kindly.
"No. I want to do it alone. Start fresh" I nodded confidently although deep inside I was terrified.
"Alright, well... we'll miss you" she hugged me tightly and my dad jumped out of the car and placed his arm around my shoulder.
"Be good, and have fun" he whispered.
I smiled as I walked away lugging my two black suitcases behind me. I followed the arrows to reception and was quite surprised at how amazingly posh the place looked. The photo's I'd seen on the internet really hadn't given it as much justice as it deserved.
There was a girl stood outside the reception and on first impressions I assumed she was one of the teachers, on second glances I realised she was probably no older than me. She was wearing a pair of five inch Jimmy Choo heels along with a short navy skirt and a white cropped top showing off the bottom of her perfectly flat tanned stomach, I hung my head feeling quite embarrassed with my own choice of attire- plain black skinny jeans and a t-shirt. 'Hmm, she looks a bit too slutty for school' I thought to myself and she whipped her face around to look at me as if she had just read my mind. Her long blonde curls hung down to her waist and were pinned back at the front delicately around her ears. She had a really pretty face, perhaps slightly too much make up on but still, she looked like model material. Her eyes widened as she scanned me up and down, finally settling her gaze on my scruffy Converse pumps.
"Ok, Veronica here's your key..." a chubby old lady bustled out of the reception door looking slightly annoyed handing the girl a golden key -"Be careful with it this time."
"I will, thank you Mrs Duval" she smiled a sickeningly sweet smile and flounced off in the other direction, her heels clicking along the hollow corridor.
"Oh, why you must be Summer Harris" the old reception lady smiled at me politely.
"Yeah, that's me" I nodded.
"Right," she placed on a pair of spectacles and began to scan a sheet of paper. "It says here you will be living in Cedar Court House 3, that's the last house on the far right of campus, it shouldn't be too hard to find...here are your keys" She handed me a golden key similar to the one I had just seen her give the girl named Veronica as well as a small silver key. "...and here is your timetable" she pulled out a sheet of paper and thrust it into my palms. "We hope you enjoy your time here at Willow Bank."
"Er, thank you" I smiled, wheeling my suitcases back out of reception and down the hall. I began heading right; just like the reception lady had said, hoping I'd find the house I was to live in from now on without much trouble.
The campus seemed to go on forever, it felt like I'd been walking miles but in reality it must have only been a few hundred yards, the weight of my suitcases were now really weighing me down and I was evidently struggling.
"Need any help with those?" A deep friendly voice echoed through my ears. I spun around sharply to find a tall, good looking fair haired boy grinning at me.
"Uh, sure" I smiled gratefully handing him the lighter suitcase of the two.
"Where are you heading?" he asked as he followed me.
"Cedar Court, number three."
"Snap" he smiled, flashing me his perfectly straight white teeth yet again. "So you're the new roomie huh?"
"I er, guess so..." I laughed, "Summer Harris" I stretched out my hand towards him.
"Will Dawson" he nodded, politely taking my hand and shaking it firmly.
"So, boys and girls share together here?" I asked in confusion.
"Yup, well not in the first year... but because we're older they don't mind as much" he shrugged, "It's pretty cool really, and this means that I'm the only male in our house this year now."
"Really?" I laughed "That's odd. So there are two other girls in 'our' house then I'm guessing?"
"Yeah, Becca and Elisa" he smiled "They're really nice. They're quite excited to meet you, they assumed we'd get another boy to even the numbers out, but hey I aren't complaining." He laughed and adjusted his scruffy mousey blonde hair. Instinctively I looked down to see what he was wearing as my confidence had recently taken a huge knock from the model like girl I'd just come across in the hallway. I was relieved to see he was simply wearing a black zip up jacket, with slim denim jeans and a pair of white Vans shoes.
"...and welcome to Brentwood House" he grinned as we approached a small cottage like building covered in ivy and pink blossom. It looked really cosy and homely. I smiled as I approached the foot of the green door.
"I'll allow you to do the honours and get the first use of your golden key" he smiled politely as I nervously twisted my long brown straight hair between my fingers, I hoped the girls I were about to meet were nice. Reluctantly, I placed the golden key into the lock and flicked it around, causing the door to creak open.
"OH MY GOSH IT'S ANOTHER GIRL!" A girl's voice came from the living room and then I heard a few more footsteps and two pairs of arms were flung around my neck.
They took a step backward and scanned me similar to the way the girl in reception had just done, but with friendlier more pleased looks upon their faces.
"I'm Elisa Scott" an extremely tan girl beamed at me, her chocolate coloured eyes wrinkled with the force of her smile. She had long dark brown wavy hair that fell past her shoulders and even though her face lacked any trace of makeup, she was still naturally very beautiful.
"Nice to meet you" I smiled "I'm Summer Harris."
"Ooh Summer, what a lovely name" the other girl called, flicking back her long fiery hair, it was such a deep luscious red there was no way it could have been natural "Becca Van Day" she nodded at me politely.
"Hi" I smiled. "It's good to meet you all."
"Let's show Summer her new room guys" Will interrupted. "Elisa and Becca share a room, but don't worry you don't have to share with me, we have our own rooms"
"Oh" I voiced, feeling quite bad... "Are you sure that's OK? I don't want to be rude and mess up the system or whatever..."
"No, you're fine" Elisa assured me "Bec and I have always bunked together anyway."
I smiled as the gang led me up the stairs to my room, I opened the old oak door with the small silver key I had been handed by the reception lady and gasped as I entered.
"Wow, the house is sure deceiving on the outside!"
"I know right!" Becca grinned at me "The rooms are ridiculously spacious, wait till you see mine and Elisa's."
I took a few steps forward into the room; it really was huge, perhaps two or three times bigger than my bedroom at home. There was a king sized bed pushed up against the wall in one corner of the room and a walk in closet at the other. Fitted into the wall was a widescreen television set and I noticed that I also had my own en-suite bathroom.
"You have got to be kidding me!" I thought aloud "I'm not even sure this is the right room... there's no way my parents could have possibly afforded this..."
Elisa let out a little laugh "This school sure knows how to take care of its students."
"It certainly does" I replied, still mesmerized by the vast size of my new living arrangements. I skipped towards my new bed and jumped upon it.
"So this whole closet is mine?" I raised my eyebrows at the double saloon doors.
"Yes. The whole thing" Becca laughed.
"Talking of clothes, you better have a hot outfit planned for tonight, it's the first day of term... there is ALWAYS the BEST party in the Oakwood quarter, almost everyone attends." Elisa told me.
I looked at her in complete confusion; I had no idea what the hell she was talking about...
"Oakwood what now!?"
The three of them let out a gentle laugh.
"Oh I love Newbie's!" Becca beamed, running up to me and bouncing herself to sit beside me on the bed. "Right, there are four quarters to this college. The East wing is Cedar Court... that's where we live. The West wing is Oakwood Park – that's where the richest of the rich live." She rolled her eyes as she said uttered the last few words.
I nodded to let her know I was up to speed, I could tell this whole system was going to get extremely confusing.
"The North wing is called Maple Grange, and the South wing is Birch Grove. Every year at the beginning of term, the Oakwood boys and girls throw this huge welcome back party."
"Oh I see!" I exclaimed "Sounds good, what type of thing do we wear?"
"Something sexy" Elisa giggled "The Oakwood boys are like, really gorgeous."
"...and off limits" Becca sighed sadly.
"They're not that special" Will tutted. "You guys are so obsessed with Adam Riley and Nathan Bell; I don't see the big attraction personally."
"Well you wouldn't William, you're a guy... Veronica Stanley's more your end of the bargain" Elisa pushed his arm playfully.
"Veronica is a babe. But she's a total slut. I wouldn't even waste my time with her." he replied earnestly.
"I think I know that name..." I said slowly but surely remembering the girl I had come across moments earlier in reception. All three pairs of eyes looked up at me. "Does she have long blonde curly hair? Short mini skirt, wears too much make up?"
Elisa laughed loudly. "I like you already Summer, but yes. That would be Veronica Stanley. The biggest bitch on campus."
"Oh, I saw her at reception earlier, the office lady was handing her a new key."
"Yeah, she pretends to lose them all the time. Lord knows what she does with them. By the way, her hair is completely fake, she wears extensions." Becca breathed seeming quite proud of herself. "Anyway Will, when are you and Lewis going for tonight's alcohol?"
"In about five minutes" Will looked at his watch. "Write me a list of what you want."
Becca pulled out a notepad and a pen from her pocket and began to scribble a list down immediately. Elisa rolled her eyes at me and laughed;
"She's such a neat freak."
"I am not..." Becca frowned and pushed the notepad onto Elisa's lap. "At least I'm organised."
"Damn Bec, are you getting wrecked tonight or what?" Elisa's eyes looked alarmed at the huge list of alcohol Becca had requested for tonight's party.
"Hey I've had a tough week!" she smiled as Elisa handed the note to me. I scanned the paper, reading what they were getting first so I knew how much to have.
2 bottles of white wine, 1 bottle of vodka, 4 shooters and a crate of lager – and that was just Becca's. I also choked back my shock and looked up at her as if she was deluded.
"What? I'm a good drinker..." she stuck out her bottom lip and rolled her eyes.
I looked further down the list and saw that Elisa had opted for 1 bottle of red wine and 4 alcopop's. I sniffed to myself, I was a bit of a lightweight when it came to drinking myself, but it was my first day at a new school, I'd had a tough year and I wanted everyone to like me. Surely I deserved a good drink... Foolishly I scribbled down 1 small bottle of vodka, a crate of alcopop's, 1 small bottle of dry whiskey and 4 shooters. After I signed my name at the bottom of the paper I handed it over to Will.
His eyes widened and he laughed "You could give Becca a run for her money Summer!"
"I'm not usually a massive drinker, but it's my first Oakwood party – I think it's time to make an exception." I laughed.
"Well, I better be off... Lewis will be waiting for me in the car park, catch you girls later." Will waved as he exited my room, leaving just myself, Becca and Elisa.
"Do you want us to help you unpack?" Elisa quizzed politely, her eyes darting towards my two large suitcases.
"Oh, sure... if you want to" I smiled jumping up from my bed and unzipping the first case. Immediately Becca got up and walked into the closet pulling out a bunch of coat hangers and dumped them on the floor. The three of us began rifling through my things, placing them onto the hangers and hauling them into the closet.
"Oh my Gosh, you like have to wear this tonight!" Elisa squealed, staring down at my one shoulder blue sequinned cocktail dress. "This is to die for, where did you get it?"
"My uh, my boyfriend bought me it for my birthday last year..." I bit my lip trying not break down again as I gently prised away my dress from her hands.
"Ooh, you have a boyfriend?" Becca joined in, equally as excited.
"...Had a boyfriend" I told them glumly.
"Oh, did you have to end the relationship because you were coming here? That's exactly what happened to me, I was gutted, but now I don't mind as much, the boys here are so much fitter..." Becca began to ramble, I had to stop her or she would only feel worse in the long run.
"Actually no, my boyfriend died..." I said, trying my best to sound as fine as I possibly could.
Elisa's mouth fell into an 'O' shape and I heard Becca whisper "I'm sorry."
"It's ok" I smiled faintly, "You weren't to know... it's not the usual boyfriend trouble is it..." I tried to let out a little laugh to relieve the tension but it was to no avail.
"How did he...?" Elisa began, but was cut short by Becca nudging her in the ribs, warning her not to ask.
"Car accident" I said almost robotically.
"Damn, that's awful... I can't imagine the pain you went through when you found out."
"Actually, I was there... I was the driver..." I gulped, feeling the guilt snap inside of me once more.
"Oh Summer, I'm so sorry" Elisa dropped the pair of jeans she was holding and rushed over to hug me as I tried to pull myself together.
"No worries" I smiled at her politely and did my best to change the subject before I broke down completely "Um, do you want to start on the second suitcase?"
"Sure, sure" Elisa obeyed as if she was somehow sort of under my command.
A whole thirty minutes later we had finished unpacking my two large suitcases and my closet was looking full and impressive.
"Thanks for the help girls!" I grinned. "What time do we go to Oakwood?"
"Usually seven o clock... have you decided what to wear yet? You have so many nice outfits, Summer..." Elisa replied.
"Actually, I think I am going to go ahead and wear the blue cocktail dress" I looked at her and saw her inhale heavily... I knew she still felt bad for bringing it up earlier "It's an important event and I think Jack would have wanted me to wear it..."
"Jack" Becca smiled kindly "That's my little brother's name too."
I smiled back at her and asked her what she was going to wear.
"I'm thinking my red Gucci dress; my dad bought me it for the new semester. What about you Lise?"
Elisa took her time and hummed thoughtfully for a moment or two. "Maybe my bright green off shoulder dress, it's eye-catching but that's what we want on the first day back right?"
"Sure is" Becca winked playfully.
"Well, it's like five o clock already, that gives us two hours to get ready, shotgun for the shower first" Elisa grinned.
"Shotgun second" Becca added then quickly frowned, "Oh sorry, you're new... you can get the shower before me if you like" she looked at me.
"No worries" I laughed, "I'll go last its fine."
"Well, catch you later then, we'll meet in the lounge for seven?"
"Absolutely, see you there" I laughed as the two of them left my room.
I sighed and fell backwards onto my new bed completely exhausted. I reached for my Blackberry phone and set the alarm to half past five, it wasn't much time but I felt like a little nap wouldn't hurt and that way, I'd be fully refreshed for the party later.