VII

The next day, Friday, I walked with Harry to school. I woke up late and he was the only one still in the dorm other than Karen. So, I walked with him.

"So we haven't really had very many chances to actually talk, have we?" he asked as we walked along.

"Are you always late like this?" I asked. A funny way to start a conversation, I know, but I just felt like asking.

"Actually, yeah, haha," he replied, scratching his head. I found myself looking at his eyes. They were brown, unsurprisingly. Probably contacts. After looking at his eyes, I started staring him down, looking closely at his face and hair and hands. I looked at all of the places I could see skin, to see if I noticed anything abnormal. And after a few moments more of careful inspection…I found something. As he scratched his head again, I caught sight of an abnormally-colored lock of hair. In the brief second I saw it, it looked like the lock of hair was…pink? I was dumbfounded. Pink hair? Were…were his eyes pink, too? Was he wearing a wig? Did he dye his hair? I was so confused.

"—So that's why…hey. What are you staring at? Is there something in my hair?" he asked, sounding nervous. He put his hands on his hair, slowing his pace a bit.

"Uh, no, I was just thinking about something," I replied. He sped back up to catch up to me and continued messing with his hair. I watched, and caught sight of the pink hair once again as he moved it around.

"Seriously, is there something in my hair?"

"No, nothing," I replied quickly. I regretted it immediately, feeling like my quick response probably gave away the fact that there was something in his hair. Another color.

"Uh…so what's your favorite color?" he asked, obviously wanting to change the subject.

"Huh?" I asked, not expecting the sudden random question. "Um…red, I guess."

"Heh, that's my favorite color, too," he said. We both gasped as the school's big bell was rung. We looked at each other. "Crap!"

"We're gonna be late!" I said worriedly. After the first warning bell, we had five minutes to get to our first class. Five minutes to get from where we were, to the school, and to our first class. Oh, great.

"I'll race 'ya!" he exclaimed suddenly, bolting ahead at full speed. I gasped again and ran after him, almost tripping.

"Hey, no fair!" I called, trying to catch up to him. "You had a head start!"

"Well you should pay more attention!" he called back.

Unfortunately, I was a half a minute late to the science class. Harry had made it in time to his class, since his was only on the second floor. But getting up the stairs, including an almost-trip, and to the science classroom proved too time-consuming in my case. The door closed just as the bell rang, right as I neared it. I knocked on impulse, even though I knew what he would say. Unlike on my first day when he automatically dismissed the person at the door, Mr. Watkins actually opened the door for me.

"Oh…Ms. Bailey…"

I was panting. "I'm sorry, I ran the whole way here! I slept through the alarm…"

"I'm sorry, Ms. Bailey, but I can't break the rules for you just because you're a new student. You'll have to go the study hall."

My mood deteriorated a bit. Feeling kind of sad, as well as embarrassed once I noticed the students in the room looking at me, I asked quietly, "Um…where…where is that?"

Apparently sensing my discomfort, he replied in a hushed tone, "It's on the first floor. Go down the hallway to the left of the faculty office and it's the only door on the left side. Once this class is over, continue your day normally. And let me tell you something…all we're doing today is notes. You're not missing anything important."

"Okay…thanks," I said, turned away and starting down the hallway toward the stairs. I was grateful I wasn't missing anything important, but still kind of upset that I had to miss the class. Heading back down to the first floor, I followed Mr. Watkins' directions to the door on the left side of the left hallway. Opening it slowly, I stepped in quietly, looking around. There were only about fifteen other students in the study hall, along with a teacher, a young woman wearing a light blue suit with a really pretty necklace. Her brown hair was in two braids.

"Oh, hello. I take it you were late to class?" she asked. Her voice was high. I nodded in shame. "You're Wendy, right? I'm Ms. Moore. Don't look so down. It's only your, what…third day here? I would have been surprised if you weren't late to a class at least once. Why don't you take a seat at the first table, there? You're allowed to talk during study hall, but please keep it quiet."

She directed me to a seat at one of the long tables with her long finger. Nodding, I went over and sat down, placing my bag on the floor beside my feet. Another girl was sitting near me on the other side of the table, just a little bit down the table. Noticing me, she scooted over so she was directly across from me. She leaned closer so she wouldn't have to talk too loudly, and said, "Hi. You're the new girl, right? You look just like Ro."

"Um, yeah," I replied.

"Oh, that's right, you're twins. I'm sorry about what happened," she said. I nodded. Getting a sudden idea, I pulled out one of my three empty notebooks from my bag and opened it to the first page. Pulling out my pen, I started to write down everything I knew so far about the dorm's secret. The girl seemed a bit curious, but didn't attempt to look at what I was writing. "Oh, sorry. I'm Helen Goodwill."

She held out her hand and I shook it. "I'm Wendy Bailey."

"The whole school was talking about you coming for like, a week before you got here. A lot of the boys are still blabbing about how hot you are," she said with a smile, obviously trying to lighten the mood. I couldn't help but smile at her comment, and she laughed quietly. I continued to write down everything, from the secret meeting and the little things about everyone that I noticed, like the different colored hair and eyes. "So how do you like the school and the city?"

"I really like it here," I replied, looking away from my notebook to reply. After I wrote down the last thing about the strange letters and 'Aliis,' I closed the notebook. Before I put it back in my bag, however, I took the pen and drew a medium sized question mark in the upper right corner of the cover, where I always wrote titles of the notebooks, like 'science' or whatever. Again Helen seemed curious but didn't say anything, just watching as I returned the gray notebook to my bag. "The dorm is great, and everybody is so nice. And I can't lie…the ice cream is great."

"Ohh, yeah, I heard you went to the ice cream store with Dexter!" she said, pointing her finger. She had said it a bit loudly, and Ms. Moore shushed her. She smiled and quieted down. "A lot of the girls hate you for that, you know."

"I don't care," I said. "He invited me."

"I didn't say he didn't, I'm just saying a lot of girls are super jealous," she replied with a giggle. "Wait…I heard you're in a dorm with him! Is that true?"

"Yeah, why?" I asked, cocking my head.

"Oh, jeez, what any girl in this dorm would give to be in a dorm with Dexter!" she said. "Have you seen his room?"

"Uh, no," I giggled.

"Use that to your advantage, girl!" she said. "Oh, wow…there are so many girls in this school who would do anything for you if you could just sneak them something from his room…"

"No!" I cried. We both laughed, and Ms. Moore shushed us again. We quieted our laughing to giggles. "I wouldn't do that."

"Not yet, you wouldn't."

We continued to talk until the bell rang. We agreed to hang out again after school. I didn't know where she would take me, but I liked her. She was really nice. As I was walking up the stairs with her heading for my homeroom, we continued to talk a bit. When we were on the second floor, I saw Harry walking. Another kid ran up from behind him and asked him something, and Harry grabbed his hair close to the place where I had spotted the pink hair. Quickly, he said goodbye to his friend and speed-walked to the bathroom while pulling out his cell phone, rushing in and out of sight. Hmm…obviously, that lock of pink hair was not supposed to be there. I stopped for a minute before continuing up to the third floor. Helen and I separated as we went separate ways toward our classrooms. When I was near Mr. Michaels class, Wesley rushed out, almost bumping into me.

"Oh!" I exclaimed.

"Sorry!" he said.

"It's okay. What's the rush? Isn't the bell about to ring?"

"Uh, yeah, but…I just got a call from a guy friend, he's having a, uh…girl emergency. I gotta go help him. You know, us guys, we help each other out," he said nervously as he inched away. "I probably won't be able to make it back in time. See ya!"

He turned and ran. Jeez, could he have made it any more obvious that it was all a lie? Clearly Harry was panicking about the pink hair and had texted Wesley asking for help. I'm not stupid. Once I was in the classroom and at my desk, I pulled out my notebook with the secret stuff in it and wrote down what happened. I returned it to my bag just as the bell rang, ignoring the girl who was staring me down once again. I'd just have to get used to it, it seemed.

Wesley never did make it back to class.