HMAc_ryder: Hey…welcome back.

HMAj_montgomery: Thanks. You too.

HMAc_ryder: How was your summer?

HMAj_montgomery: Ok. Yours?

HMAc_ryder: Eh, it was alright.

HMAc_ryder: So how's the girlfriend? What was her name…Stacy? Tracy?

HMAj_montgomery: Lacey.

HMAc_ryder: Yeah, that one.

HMAj_montgomery: We broke up.

HMAc_ryder: I'm sorry to say this, but I kinda saw that one coming.

HMAj_montgomery: You did?

HMAc_ryder: I mean, she seemed like the type that grew up idolizing Barbie, with dim-witted fantasies of pink convertibles and velcro-fastened dresses.

HMAj_montgomery: You didn't like Barbie?

HMAc_ryder: She was a total slut.

HMAc_ryder: Anyway, class starts soon. Lunch?

HMAj_montgomery: Sure.

HMAc_ryder: What a man of few words you are Jackson Montgomery. Very, very few words.

Jackson raised his head up to take a look at the clock tower in the center of schools quad. 7:44AM. He directed his vision from the clock to one side of the campus. A group of students caught his attention. They stood in a huddled formation, all of them looking and pointing at what was probably a campus map. They were more then likely freshmen, trying to find their way around the massive school. The thought of going over to them and giving them some senior 'words of wisdom' had crossed his mind. He dismissed the thought. He wasn't in the mood. He was never one to be social anyway.

Pressing the lock key on the top of his electronic tablet, he breathed out a heavy sigh before standing up. Only one more year, he kept telling himself. He wanted this year to go by fast and was going to do what he had been doing over the past three years to make sure that would happen. Keep to himself, study, play rugby; that plan has worked for him in the past and he intended to make sure it worked for him one last time.

Jackson took a few steps forward heading towards the schools west wing, the academic hall. The vibrating of his tablet made him stop in his tracks, right underneath the shadow of the quad clock tower. It was a message.

HMAl_lord: I hope ur first day at skool is good…no mater wut happnd btween us dis summer, jus rmember I luv u ;-)

He shook his head. He felt like his reaction to the message should have been one of comfort and happiness and he should reply with a 'thanks' or at least a 'back at ya'. He was actually more relieved that these horribly written, childish messages were going to be sent to him less often now that they weren't together anymore. Lacey was a nice girl but the only reason they dated was because their fathers were business associates and they were unfortunately pushed in to it. Although, Jackson did believe that while he was pushed in to the situation, she was more or less willingly guided in his direction. That high pitched, begging voice she always used sounded through his head.

Daddy! Daddy! I want Jackson! Buy him for me so we can date! Pretty pwease?

The thought possibility of that actually happening was so high it made him nauseous.

Though, he did always think it could've worked…if he wore earplugs all day and always kept her three-feet away. It definitely could've worked. But maybe Ryder was right. Maybe she did idolize Barbie. They were more similar then he had realized: blonde and hollow-headed.

Jackson looked at the message again. He chose not to respond, and right after locking his tablet once more, continued his way in to the academic hall.

Bentley grinned, giving himself a once over in the mirror. He adjusted his tie, tightening it as close to his collar as he could without choking himself. His smoothed out his white button-up shirt before glancing at a sleeping figure through the reflection of the mirror. He then lifted up his wrist, looking at the silver watch hanging from it. 7:49AM. He knew he had to wake up his sleeping roommate for the first day of classes. He definitely didn't want him to miss the first day of class. It was just a matter of how Bentley was going to wake him up.

A devious smirk formed across his face and with a smooth turn on his heel, he made his way to the side of his roommates' bed. He could see the other boys head slightly peeking out the top of the covers, his dark brown hair matted against the pillow. His body was sprawled out with one of his arms hanging off the side of his bed and his feet were slightly off of the end of the mattress, his tall stature obviously too large for the queen sized bed.

Bentley moved his head close to his roommates exposed ear, his lips just centimeters away from brushing against it.

"Time to wake up, sunshine." He said, using as soft of a tone as he could.

No response.

He leaned in once more, "You can't be late for the first day of school."

Silence.

Bentley sat there for a second. Maybe he's dead. With that thought in his head, he placed two fingers on the other boy's neck. He's got a pulse.

"That tickles."

"Oh, it speaks."

The boy under the sheets reached his hand up and covered his ear before turning his head completely towards the pillow, burying his face within it. "You're so loud."

"Oh, come on, Dean," Bentley laughed, "You have to get up."

"Just ten more minutes" Dean said, his voice muffled through his pillow.

"Class starts in ten minutes,"

"So?"

"So, you need to get up. Now." Bentleys smile faded and he knew he needed to more aggressive.

"Fine." He didn't move. "Five minutes?"

"No. Get up. Class starts in like ten minutes."

Silence.

"Dean!"

He shifted his head against the pillow, "What?"

"Did you fall asleep again?"

"Talking about school makes me tired."

"Seriously dude, you need get your ass up."

"Just go, I'll meet you there."

"No you won't."

A pause. "You're right, I won't."

"C'mon, you need to get to class. You do remember what they said is going to happen if you don't show up to class on time, don't you?"

No answer.

"They will expel you from school. I can't let that happen."

"Why do you even care?" Dean snapped, pulling the top of the sheets over his head.

Bentley became silent for a second. "We've been friends for over ten years, how could I not care?"

The tone in Bentleys voice had changed. Dean's comment had hurt him. Dammit, why do I have to be such an asshole?

With a sense of guilt coming over him, he slowly spun around on his back and sat up, the sheets that were covering him falling to his lap and exposing his bare upper body. He looked over at his friend who sat at the side of his bed and noticed a small frown on his face, his head hanging low. Dean sighed and awkwardly scratched the back of his neck.

"Look," He watched as Bentley raised his head up, his brown eyes staring right at him. "I'm sorry for being a jerk. I'll get up and get ready."

A classic Bentley smirk formed across his face. He had won. Moving forward, he wrapped his arms around the side of Dean's body with his chin sitting on his shoulder. "You're forgiven."

Dean glanced at him, not able to hold back a smile. "You're really fucking annoying." He shrugged his shoulders, trying to wiggle his way out of Bentleys grip. "If you want me to make it to class on time, you have to get off me so I can get dressed."

Letting go of him, Bentley stood up from the bed and grabbed his messenger bag from the floor. "Alright, but hurry up." He walked over to their dorm room door and opened it up, standing in the doorway. "You have five minutes."

"Yeah, yeah."

"Yeah, yeah." Bentley mocked, using the best deep, oafish tone of voice he could. Luckily, he had stepped out of the doorway and closed the door just before hearing a loud thump against the door, probably a shoe or a textbook. He leaned his back against the wall outside, waiting for Dean and planning to bust back in the room if he hadn't come out in the three and a half minutes he still had left to get ready.

Ryder closed the door behind her as she stepped out of her dorm. She noticed the craziness that was building up within the girls housing wing with everyone trying to make it to class on time. She looked up at one of the round wall clocks hanging in the hallway. 7:53AM. She walked down the hall, not really paying attention to any of the other girls around her. She just wanted to make it to class, eat lunch and then maybe later she would decide to be social.

As she made her way through the large wooden double doors to enter the academic hall, she couldn't help but think about the little chat she had with Jackson just minutes earlier. She felt bad for insulting his now ex-girlfriend instead of maybe consoling him and showing a little sympathy. It got her thinking. Sympathy. It was an emotion she felt was a waste of time and energy and since she lacked both time and energy on the first day of school, she figured she should just save it and maybe entertain him with her non-existent feelings in a couple of days. She will probably just tell him to 'get over it' anyway. He should be used to it by now.

In the middle of her thinking, she was interrupted by almost running in to someone who was standing in front her. She almost uttered out the words 'I'm sorry' before realizing that this someone was a 'he' who purposely stood in her way.

"Hey Ryder," The tall stocky boy obviously thought he was gods gift to women. "How was your summer?"

"Fine," She said, trying to pass him, only to be blocked by his massive build.

"I bet it would've been better if you had spent it with me."

God, really? This is the best you could do? Ryder thought to herself. She couldn't even remember the guy's name. Tom, Rick, Mike…she honestly didn't really care much to think of it past those three.

She paused and just looked at him before opening her mouth. "Listen man boobs," The boys face went from a jerky smile to a pissed-off expression in less then a second. "I don't know who you are, or who you think are, but you best believe you need to get out of my way before I kick your balls so hard, they'll end up in your chest and turn your C-cups in to D's."

Ryder just stared the boy in the eyes for a brief second before he took a couple of steps to the side. His pissed off expression had changed to confusion. He either didn't know what had just happened or was contemplating whether or not to scratch his head or balls. With him out of her way, she walked passed him and in to her home room class. Behind her, she could here him yell out.

"It's okay babe, I like them feisty. I'll meet up with you later so we can talk."

It amazed her how half the guys, and girls, attended this so-called prestigious school. Although a large sized check paid her way in to the academy, she had also pre-qualified to attend by taking numerous amounts of aptitude tests and her previous grades from middle school.

As she wove around the rows of desks to make it to her usual seat; third row, last chair, she noticed one familiar face. Probably one of the very few people she was actually looking forward to seeing after summer vacation was over. After making eye contact with the other girl, she watched as she made her way up from the couple of seats she was ahead of her and walked towards her with a smile going from one ear to the other.

"Hey Ryder," The girl beamed with excitement over seeing her friend. "How was your summer?"

Ryder turned in her desk to face the other girl. "Mom started a new stint in rehab, dad ran off with a new mistress and I got a new nanny."

"Sounds like fun," Her friend, Victoria, responded with a chuckle in her voice.

Not the brightest crayon in the box, Ryder thought to herself, Why am I friends with her again?

"Wait, you still have a nanny?"

"Not really. It's more like a stand-in parent that's hired for three months while I'm on home. This time though, it was kinda awesome. I gotta manny."

"A manny?"

"A male nanny; manny. He's really cool. We would stay up and watch low-budget zombie flicks while downing whole boxes of Oreos and fluff."

"Fluff?"

"The marshmallow kind."

"Ah…"

Victoria just stared blankly at the ceiling as if she was giving deep thought about what she was going to say next. Ryder just looked at her and smiled. This girl is something else…no wonder we get along so well.

"You're totally weird."

It really took you that long to respond back with that? It took everything in her for Ryder not to burst out in hysterical laughter.

Victoria paused for a second before brushing back a strand of her black hair, leaning in close, right next to Ryder's ear. Almost too close. Ryder could feel her personal space bubble being invaded.

"Have you talked to Holly lately?"

Ryder turned her head slightly and looked at Victoria's expression, noticing it to be one of concern, not the blank one she usually had. She shook her head.

"Well," Victoria still whispered. "I saw her a couple days ago when I moved back in and she seemed a little off. Not all odd and quirky like she usually is but…I don't know. Withdrawn? Like, she was pale and had big, black circles under her eyes. I'm worried."

Ryder leaned back in her chair, trying to think about what she had just heard.

Does Vic even know what 'withdrawn' means?

Refocusing her thinking on the main issue, her and Holly had been friends for almost 4 years. She thought if she was having any issues, and she was available, Holly would come and talk to her. Ryder may not be the best person to come to for advice but she could definitely listen (at least for as long as she could stay focused). She over looked at the desk next to hers; fourth row, last chair. It was empty. It was Holly's usual seat.

The sound of the morning bell rang throughout the room causing all the students scattered around the classroom to head to their chosen seats. As if on cue, a loud vibrating noise filled the classroom just as the bell had stopped ringing through the schools intercoms. All the students pulled out their digital tablets from their bags. They all seemed to receive a message at the same time. The chances of that happening were near impossible.

Ryder watched as her teacher tried to figure out what was going on. She then looked at her tablet, unlocking it to check what it was that was sent to not only her but also her whole class and possibly the whole school.

It was message with a link to the school message board.

What could be so important that they had to notify everyone through a message…and right when class started too?

Posted: 8:00AM

campusFOX

Students of the Masters Academy:

Values = Lies

Tradition = Lies

Honor = Lies

If these walls could talk…

Let's just say, secrets are for people who have something to hide.

Warren G. Hayes Masters Academy Eagles

You will be exposed.

Weakened.

Defenseless.

I am the fox.

You, Masters Academy, are my prey.