Because there are always three sides to every story: his, hers…and mine.
Buzz…Buzz…I glanced down from combing my hair to the phone that was vibrating on the dresser, its screen lighting up. Sighing, I exchanged brush for phone, checking the caller id as I did so. Please, I thought, please let it be anyone but…Damn. It was her. Lauren. My girlfriend? Was that even the right word to describe our relationship anymore? I wasn't sure, to be honest. It seemed like all we did anymore was fight. "Hello?" I answered warily, not sure what to expect: a sweet apology or angry yelling?
"Oh, I am so sorry for what I said earlier. Please forgive me!" A sweet apology then, figures. Of course, she was never able to stay angry at me for long. But that worked both ways; I always forgave her as well, no matter what.
"Of course, dear, you know I will," I replied almost automatically. This happened so many times it was almost second nature by now.
"Thank you!" she cried, sounding relieved. But why? She had to have known this would happen; we're such a predictable pair. "I promise it won't happen again." Well, that was a complete lie, but maybe this time…maybe it's the truth. After all, isn't love all about taking chances?
"I know and I love you. I'll see you at dinner all right?" She sighed and I barely suppressed a groan. I should've known she wasn't calling just to apologize. The only question: what did I do wrong this time? "What is it, Laur?" I asked.
"It's just…do we have to go to dinner with everyone else? Can't we go somewhere alone, just the two of us?" Her voice got soft and low at the end and I assumed she was trying to be seductive but it had minimal effect on me. She just didn't excite me the way she used to.
"You know we can't. It's the first night; everyone has to be at dinner." Here at lovely Brookfarm Academy we have the quaint little tradition of a school wide dinner on everyone's first night back from summer vacation. Apparently it's supposed to give us all a chance to bond. Yeah, right. But however lame it may be, we couldn't just ditch. Someone would be bound to notice and we would get busted. And frankly, Lauren is just not the type of girl that I would risk breaking the rules for.
She gave an angry sigh. "Fine, I guess I'll see you at dinner then." The line went dead.
"Yeah, I love you too," I muttered sarcastically. Sighing, I put the phone down on my dresser and decided to go down to dinner. Even though it was still early it was better than being up here where she could call me again. My negative thoughts surprised me. Did I want to end this? No, I found myself thinking, I don't. We had been going out for almost a year and a half now and when we weren't fighting our relationship felt good, natural even and I couldn't help thinking we were meant to be. My footsteps slowed on the stairs, my guilty conscience turning to attack me. I really should try to fix things with her. Chagrined, I made up my mind to do some serious apologizing at dinner. Really, she deserved better than this, I just need to learn how to be more patient. My temper got the best of me sometimes and it wasn't fair to Lauren that I took it out on her. Forgiving her lifted a weight off my shoulders and my step was lighter as I entered the commons area. Unfortunately I was so wrapped up in my thoughts that I crashed right into someone who had just come in from outside.
I heard a gasp and an "Ouch!" which pulled my thoughts straight back into the present.
"I'm sorry!" I said, offering my hand to the girl, pulling her back up on her feet.
"It's all right," she protested laughing, her brown eyes sparkling. "I should apologize for being such a klutz!"
"Hey, are you new here?" I asked suddenly. "I haven't seen you around here before." I don't know why I asked that, only that it was true. The Academy was a relatively small school and you at least were familiar with everyone in your class. This girl was unfamiliar to me.
That set her to laughing again. "What's that supposed to be, some sort of corny pick up line?"
"No," I replied quickly. A little too quickly, I realized as I thought about it. "I have a girlfriend," I added, not sure where all this was coming from. I had no need to defend myself to this girl, I barely knew her.
She went pink. "I'm sorry!" she cried. "You probably think I'm really rude! This was not how I wanted my first day to go at all…" Shaking her head, she stuck out a hand. "I'm Lena. And yes, I'm new here. Wanna help a girl out?"
"David," I replied, shaking her hand. "And of course I'll help you out. Where do you need to go?"
"Ummm," she consulted a piece of paper in her hand, squinting at the small type. "I'm supposed to check in with Headmistress Swelton…But I have no idea where her office is!"
"Oh that's an easy one," I replied. "Just follow this hallway, go up the stairs to the first floor, and it should be the last door on your left."
She closed her eyes for a moment, committing what I said to memory. "Thank you," she said, opening them again. Picking up her bags, she turned to go. "'Bye David, see you later!"
I waved good-bye and continued on my way to dinner. That new girl is kinda cute; I caught myself thinking as I watched her walk down the hallway. Petite, with straight, honey-colored hair almost to the middle of her back. She was rather short for her age but that just made her seem all the more attractive. Her brown eyes were warm and her face pleasant. Not a bad form either, my eyes trailing over her retreating figure. Wait a minute; I shook my head to clear it. What in the hell was I thinking? I had a girlfriend and we had enough drama without adding this into it. Besides, I was in love with Lauren and we were happy together. Well, at least most of the time we were and relationships couldn't be perfect all the time anyway. They all had their ups and downs and so what if we had more downs than ups? That's life. But Lena stuck in my mind as I continued my slow stroll down to dinner.
Gods, he must think I'm a complete spaz, I thought to myself as I walked up the stairs searching for Headmistress Swelton's office. David said it was the last door on the left…The hallway curved a bit so I couldn't see all the way to the end. It was tastefully decorated with wooden paneling on the bottom and forest green wallpaper on top. Old-fashioned, golden lamps were space evenly between the doors all the way down. As I made my way down the hall, I thought about how the first day of my new life had gone so far. Not great, I admitted to myself. The first thing I do when I got here was to run into a boy. A cute boy, I added in my head. But I stopped my speculations there. He already had a girlfriend and I didn't need to start any drama when I just arrived here. Besides, I'd acted like a complete fool in front of him and he probably didn't appreciate being knocked over like that. Ah well, I couldn't spend all night worrying about it. There were plenty of other people in this school that I could make a good impression on. Too bad you had to make a bad impression with the first one you met, a voice in the back of my head added. I quickly silenced it, arriving at last at my destination. Taking a deep breath, I smoothed down my skirt and knocked. "Come in," someone called.
I entered and was greeted by the sight of what I took to be the Headmistress: an elderly lady, her blond hair turning gray at the roots but a kind smile on her face nonetheless; and another girl perched in one of two chairs opposite the Headmistress's desk. She had twisted half-way around in her seat, presumably to get a look at the newcomer, and I saw that her features were vaguely Asian. She had slanted eyes, but her skin was much too pale for her to be one hundred percent. Her hair was long, dark, and positively gorgeous. I felt my cheeks heat up as I realized I was scrutinizing her features but I relaxed slightly when I saw she was doing the same. The Headmistress broke our little staring contest by making the introductions. "Welcome Lena," she started out. "I trust you had a pleasant flight?"
I broke our stare to address her. "Yes, thank you," I replied.
"Good, good," she nodded. "Well, I won't bore you with a speech about what we expect of you here and our traditions and all that jazz. I'll save that for dinner tonight. Right Rene?" she chuckled and winked at the girl conspiratorially.
Rene. So that was this girl's name. I filed it away for future reference. She looked like someone I might be friends with. At least, she didn't seem openly hostile or anything and she was the first friendly face I had seen since I had arrived here.
"Anyway," Headmistress Swelton continued. "I brought Rene here so that she can show you around and help you get settled. You two are roommates so I figured this would be the best arrangement for the both of you."
Rene nodded. "Cool," she said. "Thanks Mrs. S."
Headmistress Swelton smiled. "No problem, dear. Now why don't you show Lena to your room? Don't be late for dinner though!"
"Don't worry, we'll be on time," Rene reassured her, getting up from her sprawled position on the chair and coming over to me. "You ready?"
I nodded. "Thank you, Headmistress Swelton."
She laughed. "Oh, just call me Mrs. S, everyone does!" I smiled and waved as Rene led me out the door.
"So," Rene began as we made our way down the hallway to some stairs at the far end. "What brings you to charming Brookfarm Academy?"
I sensed a bit of sarcasm behind her words which brought a small smile to my lips. "Parents." She shot me a sympathetic glance and I nodded. "They didn't like who I was hanging out with but I could care less what they thought. The fighting escalated and they sent me here. What about you?" Judging from the sympathy she showed me, I assumed it was a reason similar to my own.
She sighed. "My parents want me to get a good education so I can become a lawyer. But my real passion is music," she confessed.
"What do you play?" I asked, curious.
"Well," she started, blushing a bit to my surprise. "It's kinda lame, but…I play the harp."
"That's awesome," I exclaimed. "I always wanted to learn to play an instrument. It's not lame at all!"
"Thanks," she laughed. "You're pretty cool. Wanna be friends?" The question surprised me with its suddenness but her eyes were open and friendly and I could tell she really meant it. And I wasn't about to turn down the first offer of friendship I had received in this unfamiliar place.
"Sure," I said, smiling.
"So," I said, "Why didn't your parents like who you were hanging out with?" Lena hesitated, her eyes guarded. "It's ok; you don't have to tell me if you don't want to, I'm just curious."
"No, it's fine. It's not that big a deal. They were just the wrong crowd you know? Sex, drugs, and rock and roll," she quipped. I laughed. "But no," Lena continued, serious again. "They did do drugs and drink. Nothing serious, pot mainly."
"Did you…?" I let my question trail off. I felt bad for being so nosy but my curiosity was stronger than my misgivings. Besides we were friends now weren't we? And friends could ask each other these questions, couldn't they?
Lena smiled at me, letting me know my questions were all right. I was relieved. I didn't want to alienate the new girl on her first day here especially if we had to live together for the rest of the year. "Yeah, I smoked pot," she stated, no shame in her tone, just stating the facts of her life. "Not a lot though, never more than once a day unlike my friends who smoked probably more in a day then I did in a week. At most I smoked three or four times a month. And I never touched alcohol." I didn't say anything; I couldn't think of what to say. Lena fiddled with the hem of her t-shirt. "You think less of me now don't you?" her voice was small.
"No, I don't," I told her, finding it true. I didn't think less of her; she seemed like a sweet person. "It sounds…understandable." I continued. "Like, I don't think you did it to be rebellious and go against your parents. I think you did it because you were curious." Lena just stared at me for a moment. "What?" I asked self-consciously.
Wordlessly, she shook her head. "Nothing," she said in a low voice. "But it's kinda like you just saw into my head. It was weird." She laughed. "I think we're going to be great friends, Rene." I laughed too and then stopped outside one of the doors lining the hallway, similar to the downstairs we had just vacated. Lena didn't realized I had stopped and kept walking until she saw I wasn't beside her anymore and then she walked back to me, confused.
"This is our room," I explained. "13B."
"Oh," she said. "Cool number."
"I know!" I replied. "I think it's lucky. It's always brought me good luck at least." I took out the key from my back pocket and unlocked the door. "Home, sweet, home!" I sang out. Lena laughed as she followed me into the room. It was a moderately sized room, furnished similarly to a hotel. There were two double beds with a low table in between. A window on the far wall let in the early evening light and offered a sweeping view of the grounds. A table across from the beds held books and papers and a small T.V., something I had brought from home. A closet was tucked into the corner, big enough for the two of us. Lena walked around, inspecting her new surroundings. The wallpaper was cream and gold striped and a generic watercolor hung above the beds sporting a kitten in a basket. "The bathroom is down the hall. We share it with all the girls on this floor. The boys are in the other wing. They like to keep us separated, unfortunately," I informed her.
Lena laughed. "Cool," she said. She put her bags down next to the unclaimed bed closest to the window.
"You can unpack after dinner. I'll help if you want," I offered. "But we should probably go so we're not late."
"All right," she agreed. "Let's go." Lena left first and I turned off the lights before stepping out to join her in the hall. Laughing and chatting, we headed off to the dining hall.
A/N: Yes, I know it seems like a typical boarding school love triangle right now, but there will be a twist! Please review, this story is close to my heart and feedback is much appreciated!