Moving to London for university sounds like a somewhat daunting prospect for some. If uni hadn't been a dream of Pippa's since she had began to crave independence, she was certain she'd have been more nervous.
However, seeing as her parents were brought up in the 1200s, or so it seemed on many occasions, she'd lived the most sheltered and isolated life of any teenager in the world. Ever.
So therefore, she was practically on the edge of her crisp leather seat, gazing out of the window, soaking up as much of the crazy city as she could. She was a child in a sweet shop, a starving man being offered food, a shopaholic with an unlimited credit card... basically, she was incredibly, incredibly excited.
The way that the chaotic people went about their flustered lives was alien to her. The endless destinations of their journeys, the array of colours and faces, the multiple modes of transport. Everything here was beautifully mad, crazily formed to be a taste of urban life.
Everything was alive.
Pippa's parents were very overprotective, very rich, very important people. Her father was a very prestigious businessman, one of the most well known in Britain, leaving her to always be in the shadows.
He was always busy at his office (perhaps notably too often as soon as his busty new secretary landed her job), her mother spent more time under the plastic surgeon's operating table to even notice, and her teenage twin sisters were completely submerged in possible suitors, horse riding, and gossiping.
The pure loneliness was something that crushed Pippa often. This loneliness was regularly followed through with an intense feeling of guilt over her pointless whining, due to other people in the world living much harder lives than her, she being nothing but a poor little rich girl.
However, it seemed no matter how uncaring her family were, they forever managed to notice her actions. She always had to perform a certain way, always had to dress a certain way, and under no circumstances was she to step out of line.
Living a life that way left one wanting to scream. It left her wanting to tear down all the boundaries of social classes in society, all the pointless gossip and country club chatter, all the endless hours of excruciatingly mundane functions and dinners.
To be always expected to do things one way without any leeway to be herself felt trapping...suffocating. How was one expected to go anywhere in life without any individuality? Without anything that defines them as different from all the other smartly dressed, primly pressed, well put together beings?
She wanted to be liked for herself. She wanted to be someone that no one forgot, that people cherished, that people loved.
Therefore, university had always seemed a place of freedom, a place where she could reinvent herself, be whomever she wanted. Call her over the top, but this was literally the most exciting day of her life.
From now on, her name was not 'Philippa Cecilia Alexandria Sophia Kensington III' she was just Pippa.
No longer a blank face behind a mask of pearls.
The idea of being able to do what she wanted sent thrills through her body. An underlying feeling of anticipation thoroughly excited her, however it symbiotically made her incredibly nervous that her expectations were too high and that she was going to be ruefully disappointed.
She came away from her internal chatter and heard the end of her mother's tiring speech. '…Your father and I are very anxious about this little trip of yours, and we do not want to hear of any miss happenings otherwise you shall be straight home, am I clear?'
Pippa groaned and pretended to repeatedly slam her head against the window (when her mother wasn't looking, of course). But alas, she endured it; gave an irritated sigh and muttered, 'yes mother.'
Aaaaaannd queue the waterworks… 'It's just that you're our little girl,' she sniffed. 'I can't believe you're off to university. It seems like only yesterday that...'
Pippa let her mother's voice fade away again, and interjected with a 'Yes, I'll be careful,' and a, 'No, I'm anti drug' where appropriate. She pondered that her mother did not truly care about her eldest daughter pursuing a university education, as long as she could bask in the drama of it all, and especially as long as driving her down there didn't clash with her weekly yoga classes.
The artificiality of Pippa's life up until now struck her again as she realised this.
Upon finally arriving at Pippa's accommodation, she simply sat up and gazed at it in awe. As if daring to exit her plush automobile would rip the dream from her view.
Nevertheless, with admittedly shaky legs, she opened her car door with a decisive click and placed one foot outside. She felt like Dorothy finally entering a world of colour as she shuffled out of the luxurious car and stood for the first time on her own two feet upon the dirty pavements of London.
She could tell by her mother's slight raise of eyebrows, and wrinkle of nose that she found it to be a less than adequate place of living, but Pippa just ignored her. To her, it was perfect, this plain grey building was her dream home, it was – ooof
'Do you mind not blocking the entrance all day?' a deep irritated voice hissed as he pushed past her. All she surveyed was a glimpse of black unruly hair as he stormed off into the housing.
'Okaaaaaaaay,' she muttered under her breath. Someone had obviously fallen out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. She had no idea who he was, but she humorously named him, Wanker-At-The-Door, if you'd pardon her crass language.
She wanted nothing to do with people like that... people who were rude didn't deserve any common courtesy in return. It simply wasn't right.
However, she was on such a high that she would not let his attitude foul her day. She simply turned to her mother, who looked as though she'd been thrown into her biggest nightmare, and snapped at her, 'You can leave now, we're here.'
The mother and daughter, ironically complete opposites, exchanged a teary goodbye. Well, the elder was teary, and the younger, impatient. And then Pippa was finally left alone.
Pippa grabbed her suitcase and walked into the reception hauling it behind her, tugging on its stubborn wheels up the stone steps leading to the looming front door. She spotted a small group of people standing in the corner talking amongst themselves and assumed that this was the part where the new-comers conversed and got to know each other.
So, like a trooper, she marched over there and introduced herself with a cheeky smile and a seductive hair flip. Or so she wished. What actually happened was that she stumbled over, managed to trip on her own two feet but caught herself just in time, pushed her hair off her flustered face and stood there awkwardly waiting for a pause in conversation where she could commence with the introducing.
A pause that didn't come. For rather a long time...
Finally, a ridiculously beautiful girl turned around and spotted her stood there awkwardly on the cheap tile. You know, those girls that are so pretty that you just want to crawl into a corner and cry? Yeah, one of those.
'Hey sweetie! So sorry, I didn't see you there!' Her slight Irish accent, dirty blonde hair, and casually sexy outfit stared down at Pippa, scrutinizing her. Pippa wondered how unfair it all was that this goddess was graced with such good looks and an apparent charismatic personality, it seemed pointless to wish for things like this upon herself as she could never change her appearance or her true nature. However, you can still wish and dream.
Admittedly, Pippa was dressed up in the posh-put-together-look she had to mandatorily wear around her family, and probably looked like an eighty-year-old woman. With her long mahogany hair neatly curled in loose ringlets falling smoothly down her back, her modest blouse and her knee length pencil skirt, she felt incredibly out of place.
Luckily, she had refrained from wearing pearls and a hair band. That would not be a good look.
She knew this attire was clashing with the 'new me' thing she was attempting, but she had to dress this way until her mother left. It was that, or risk enduring a screaming lecture from the shrill woman, and Pippa just couldn't deal with that this morning.
Hopefully no one would really take notice. Besides, she was planning to go upstairs ASAP to change into something more socially acceptable.
Pippa attempted a cool-casual demeanour as she answered the blonde bombshell. 'Oh, it's okay. I wasn't here long. Well, I was, but not that long. Quite long. But it's okay.' Well, she did attempt to be casual.
She often found herself stuttering and saying stupid things under pressured circumstances. You'd think that after years upon years of functions and meetings that she'd be an expert at public speaking, but admittedly she was awful at talking to people she didn't know. She tended to avoid everyone when in a situation with unfamiliar faces, lest risk an awkward encounter that would leave her and her converser wincing at the unpredictability of her embarrassing mumbling mouth.
The rest of the group turned around also, and she finally managed to wedge her name into the conversation. 'I'm Pippa Kensington,' and she proceeded gave a ridiculous little wave, which she was sure made her look completely stupid.
The pretty blonde went on to introduce herself, 'Hi, I'm Bridget. And this is Jack, Michael, Kayley, Lola, and you've just missed Dexter, he must've wondered off somewhere.'
Lola's colourful outfit and pink highlights, Jack's casual jumper and tousled brown hair, Kayley's innocent glasses and Michael's combed blond head all welcomed her warmly.
They exchanged niceties and Pippa was able to inform them that her Dad was a lawyer, her Mum didn't work, and that she had two twin sisters Annabelle, and Julianne.
Well, they didn't need to know the extent of her father's real job, and the rest of it was actually true, so she didn't feel too guilty for lying to her newfound friends.
The group scattered – as she was the last to arrive, due to her mother's need to 'stretch my legs' every five minutes of the car journey up there – and everyone wandered into their rooms to order and place their possessions and clothes.
Pippa's room was nice, nothing special, but that's what she liked about it. She managed to get her various clothes items into the cramped wardrobe and arranged her miscellaneous photographs and books where appropriate.
She hadn't brought many things with her, due to the fact that her parents had sent some staff down with her bedding, shelves and kitchen items last weekend. 'Much less hassle' they insisted, although it became evident that this was in order to simply reduce the labour induced upon them by helping their daughter haul the items up the many stairs to her room. Why do something when you can pay someone to do it for you?
Pippa resented their attitude; she found it a silly way to live. How could you possibly proceed if you're not willing to do some good old manual labour?
The weekend before last, Pippa had managed to get her family butler to reluctantly agree to cover for her at home whilst she went into the nearby town and bought as many 'trendy' clothes as possible with what little cash she had saved over the past months.
This resulted in mainly jeans and jumpers due to her having no idea what was fashionable and what was not and instead going for safety and comfortableness in her choices.
As her mother was no longer present, she was able to slip into the 'new me', by stripping off her pretentious outfit and shrugging on a jumper and some jeans. Hopefully nobody had surveyed her previous outfit and would not notice the drastic clothes change. Again, one can wish and dream.
Pippa walked into the shared kitchen to find Bridget, Kayley and Lola talking, slumped against the kitchen counter. They turned around and spotted her, and Bridget smiled, 'Hey girl! Okay, so Fresher's week is upon us! And so therefore, we must go out tonight!'
Pippa replied with a only nervous grin, not really knowing what this night would entail.
Lola chimed in, sensing Pippa's possible reluctance attitude, 'It's a tradition! And I am itching to get my hands on your wardrobe to see what I can create for you!' She ended her sentence in a sing song voice, she was obviously teasing, yet excitement was still heavily evident in her tone.
Perhaps this girl wanted to be a fashion designer? It sure fit with her extravagant yet tasteful outfit and hair – and was an occupation which fascinated the her, having always had to pick her clothes herself and felt she frequently came up lacking with her not-so-stylish choices.
It would be undeniably helpful to have a budding fashion designer to aid her throughout her university life.
Bridget nodded in agreement whilst Pippa stood there helplessly.
She was filled with nervous anticipation about this evening. Her first night as a university student was not a night she, or the other housemates, would be likely to forget. She really hoped she didn't stick out like a sore thumb.
Bridget continued with their partnered speech. 'So tonight, we are going out and hitting the clubs. And we are going to party like there's no tomorrow. No buts!'
Pippa admired Bridget and her confidence (seeing as they'd known each other all of two minutes, and yet she was acting like they were lifelong friends) but she was nevertheless still incredibly intimidated and scared of the girl. This was heightened with the trepidation for their plans for tonight. Pippa had never gone to a club, drank any alcohol (more than a tasteful glass of wine at dinner), or stayed out all night.
That's not to say that she wasn't incredibly excited, because she was, but she was still new to this! She had a right to be a bit nervous.
However, she shoved it all aside and agreed instantly. The two girls squealed and told her that as it was already five, 'we only have three hours to get ready.' Pippa found that a bit over the top, but she wasn't going to argue.
She did notice Kayley roll her eyes with a sympathetic smile as the two extravagant ladies pranced off in a haze of tasteful perfume in the direction of Pippa's wardrobe.
'New to this?' Kayley asked.
'Don't worry me too. I'm not exactly a party animal, as is probably obvious by my 'nerd alert' image.' She gave a graceful laugh whilst Pippa stood and wondered what a suitable reaction to this statement would be – if she laughed, would she be laughing at the girl? If she didn't laugh, would she be seen as ignoring Kayley's humour and therefore acting rude? It was all very confusing. She felt on edge, like she had to watch what she said, lest it deem her a horrible person as a first impression.
She wanted these people to like her for herself, yet ironically she was so nervous she couldn't even act as herself.
So she kept with a polite smile and nodded her head sympathetically as they wandered in compatible silence towards her room – in which the other girls were already rifling through Pippa's wardrobe.
The excited energy from Lola and Bridget became overwhelming as Pippa sat, a willing subject, in her trap of torture... or her desk chair. She spent the next three hours feeling as if she was in hair and makeup on a film set.
Kayley had simply changed into a flattering skirt and blouse, and was sat on Pippa's bed reading a novel. Bridget, it seemed could just pull on anything and look like a supermodel. And Lola had conjured up a dress full of colour and print which brought a smile to Pippa's face upon inspection; she liked how Lola didn't hide herself, she was expressive through colour and style – something she often wished she was able to do.
Pippa, however, was slumped in her desk chair, already knackered, whilst Bridget worked her magic with her brushes, lotions and potions. Admittedly, she loved the relaxing feel of the soft brushes on her tired face, making her even sleepier.
What kept her awake however, was when Bridget was not so gentle with the yanking and pulling of Pippa's hair, regardless of the moans and glares from the increasingly regretful model.
She could hear Lola muttering and sighing as she delved deeper into Pippa's wardrobe. This was followed by a distinct ripping sound, and an audible gasp from Kayley's direction. Pippa itched to turn around to check everything was alright but stopped herself on account of Bridget's threat to 'kill you if you dare move a muscle.'
When Bridget was somewhat pleased with Pippa's look, she allowed Lola to dress her. She felt like a Barbie doll as material was shoved over her head, and her arms pulled through the sleeves. She was finally complete.
If this was what 'girl time' was Pippa couldn't decide if she enjoyed it or not.
Perhaps it would grow on her, like mushrooms did. Wait, she still didn't like mushrooms. Bad example.
She was allowed a chance to see herself in her full length mirror in her room – an item which the girls informed her they were not in possession of, and would need to therefore always get changed in her room – and Pippa was pleasantly surprised. She looked different. Extremely different.
She was dressed up, but not in the way she usually did. The sexy waterfall of hair, the smoky eye makeup, and the slightly uneven end of her short red strappy dress added up to make her look spontaneous and mysterious.
No longer prim and proper; she was exciting and dangerous. Ironically, echoing the feelings she was experiencing at this very moment in time – dangerously excited. She now recognised her ensemble as her summer maxi dress, an item which she was allowed permission to wear (only when on holiday) as its long modest length was deemed acceptable by her overbearing parents, which Lola had apparently shredded without permission.
When Pippa questioned the pink haired girl, the latter had just shrugged nonchalantly and stated, 'What can a stylist do when presented with limited choices? Improvise.'
Pippa let it go – she hadn't much liked the dress anyway, and she greatly liked the adjustments. She thanked the girls graciously for their hard work (she wasn't quite sure if she should find it insulting that it took them hours to do her up, whilst they all were ready in mere minutes) which they modestly shrug off as nothing.
The four ladies sauntered out of Pippa's room, a cloud of hairspray and makeup, giggling and chatting on their way down the stairs ready to venture into London night-time.
All was going well, until Pippa literally walked right into something… something hard and warm, which gave a low grunt on impact.
She peered up, apology on the tip of her tongue, but words froze on inspection.
Good god. That was her only thought for a while. His dark black hair was a mess, and his deep, black eyes stared at her with clear irritation. He also had beautifully tanned skin, and chiselled jaw line with a slight hint of stubble.
She had never seen such a good looking person. It was notable that she had never actually seen that many men outside of her country club, in which were only pretty boys with carefully combed hair and golf jumpers and so didn't have much room to compare.
But this guy, it was like he was fabricated from her dreams – or, most probably, she thought wryly to herself – half the female population's dreams.
She did manage to notice his eyes rake over her body twice, stopping just south of her face momentarily on the way. The sly grin that touched his face was something that thrilled her deep inside, as innocent dimples became just visible on his sculptured features.
Normally, she would have found his obvious inspection rude and obnoxious but she honestly couldn't find a bone in her body that cared. This was supplemented with the fact that it would have been incredibly hypocritical for her to complain about him staring when she was doing the same thing, and probably doing it much creepier than he was.
In fact, she was internally happy dancing due to the fact that he found her somewhat attractive enough to look at at all.
Then again, he was probably one of those boys who went for anything that breathed just because he could – she'd read about men like that. She quickly scolded herself for that thought; she should not presume his character when she hadn't even spoken to him yet.
So there she stood, helplessly gazing at his flawless skin, unashamedly, not even caring that she looked like a complete loser… well, not caring that much.
'Do you want to take a picture? It lasts longer, kid.' He sneered. Aaaaaannd the spell was broken.
Hold on, she recognised that deep voice…
Well, she supposed it would have been too much to ask for a beautiful face and a beautiful personality for once.
No, that would just be too easy.
So, she looked at him in disgust, and snottily replied 'My name is not kid. It's Pippa.' And then, for good luck, she added, 'Prick.'
And with no hint of dignity intact, she scrambled out of the door, with her girlfriends sniggering behind her.