© 2013, Marguerite Grimmett (Marguerite Grimmett is my penname and I, as the owner of this penname, reserve the rights to this story). Except as provided by the Copyright Act 8/2/2013. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the author.

Chapter 1- Cup, Bowl, or Bucket?

"Cup, bowl, or bucket?"

"Cup..." I muttered, rolling over in my sleep.

Suddenly, I felt something ice cold being dumped onto my back. My eyes flew open.

"Dad!" I screamed. "I thought you were going to get me cup of water, not dump a cup of water- ice cold, I may add -on me!"

Dad chuckled. "Should've gotten up at those words. Who brings someone water in a bucket, anyway?"

"You-you- get out!" I screeched.

Dad sauntered out, laughing. Victor appeared at the doorway.

"Don't count on him to not do it tomorrow. Be on red alert, Tori," Victor deadpanned, nodding at me seriously.

I nodded back, noticing him being soaked. He was dripping water onto my floor.

"You chose bucket, didn't you?" I asked tentatively.

"Don't remind me," he grunted. "I gotta go take a shower, thanks to Dad." He walked away.

I sighed, and rolled over again, only to be reminded that my back was soaked thanks to my father. I got up. No sense in giving myself back-ache and a cold.

"High school. Such a great start," I grumbled. "Alyssa and Ivy better not have forgotten me."

Quickly getting dressed, I grabbed some granola bars on the way out.

"Young lady! Where's your breakfast?" Dad boomed, appearing in the doorway.

I waved my granola bars at him.

"That's not proper breakfast! Sit down and eat cereal!"

"I'll get something in Starbucks, Dad. Relax."

"I am not an American dad! We are half Chinese and I expect you to not treat me like dads in those stories you read!"

"HaoDe, haoDe," I muttered in Chinese. HaoDe meant 'Fine' or 'Okay' in Chinese.

"KuaiDianZou! Bie be chidao!" KuaiDianZou was 'Go quickly' or 'Leave now' and BieChiDao was 'Don't be late'. The 'be' in the middle was a result of living in New York—we spoke a confusing mix of Chinese and English.

"That's bad grammar, BaBa," I muttered again.

"Hmph! Just go!"

I hurried out the door before Victor could insist on taking me to West Fields High and embarrass me. Don't get me wrong, he was a junior and had a pretty good reputation, but if a guy got near me-near being within a ten meter radius- he would reprimand them and send them scurrying off. Even if the guy was a senior.

Yes. My brother is that scary.

I kissed the glass door of Starbucks. It was a safe haven to me. I ignored the weird looks from a few middle-aged couples.

"Dude. That's gross. Stop making out with the glass."

That voice was familiar. Very familiar. I stopped with my PDA and turned around. "Al!" I screamed. Alyssa Falcon was one of my best friends. Her pale blonde hair with blue streaks tickled my nose as we hugged each other and jumped up and down, screaming phrases along the lines of 'High school!' and 'Freshmen!'.

Ivy's electric blue eyes were sparkling with amusement. "I don't think that glass door is nearly as hot as Isaac," she remarked. Then, realizing what she had said, she covered her mouth in horror. "Sorry! I forgot! Sorry! I'm really sorry!"

"It's fine, Iz. Don't worry about it." I hugged her gently. "I missed you," I murmured into her hair. Ivy nodded.

"Me too."

"All right guys! I need a chicken pie! Now!" Alyssa clapped her hands together, and grabbed both of us, pulling us vehemently into the Starbucks shop.

We ordered. Mocha for me, my usual, Alyssa's usual Venti Frappucino-seriously, how was this girl so skinny?-, and Ivy's usual order of just a mushroom and cheese pie. She was allergic to coffee. Which was ridiculous.

As we sat down to eat, I checked my watch. "Thirty minutes till school starts."

"But my watch says seven fifty!" Alyssa showed me hers.

"I changed yours. That way you won't be late."

"Oh!" Alyssa laughed. "That's why my mom was so surprised when I showed up."

"She must have been. Imagine, Alyssa Falcon, awake at six fifteen? Who would've guessed?" Ivy teased. She laughed.

Alyssa put a hand on her chest dramatically in mock hurt. "Oh, your sharp words wound me!" she cried.

"Like hell they do," Ivy muttered.

I frowned. Ivy never mutters. She never mutters unless she's really unhappy about something. "Ivy..."

"Hmm?"

"Why were you muttering?"

Ivy sighed. "My parents... they're divorcing." Alyssa gaped at her—only I knew that her parents were divorcing as well, though Alyssa was managing it pretty well.

"What? Fiona and Rick? How?"

"Some bills."

"Oh... Come on, Iz, hug it out!" Ivy stared at me incredulously. I exchanged a look with Alyssa, and we hugged her simultaneously. Ivy's eyes widened before hugging us back. Ivy was never a hugger.

After finishing our makeshift breakfast, we set off to school. The street we were walking on was beautiful—flowers littered the sides of the sidewalk, and the pavement was clean and clear of garbage.

I've always known West Fields. I practically breathe West Fields—I went to West Fields Elementary, West Fields Middle, and finally, now, West Fields High. I've always seen the building, but hadn't been able to enter. It was a grey building, but there was a comforting feel to it, like home.

This was the first time we were staying in a boarding school. West Fields Elementary and Middle wasn't a boarding school, but West Fields High was. Dad's nonchalant attitude about it was because he was assured that I would visit him in the weekends and occasionally the weekdays, and call my family everyday.

I stepped inside, along with my friends. A cold blast of air conditioning hit my face as I continued to walk in. It looked like a hotel lobby, since there was a marble counter, with long aisles at the end of the narrow room to lead to elevators to go up to classrooms.

The secretary looked up with a bored expression on her face. I didn't blame her; intercepting students the whole morning must not appeal to her.

"Victoria Smith," I reported. She nodded, and searched her computer for my files. She printed a file out, and gave it to me, gesturing to go to the left aisle, as the right one was for Juniors and Seniors.

I could hear Alyssa saying, 'Alyssa Falcon' and Ivy announced her name too as I walked down the hallway. The hallway led to a small waiting room, with plush couches at the back of the room while waiting for the elevator. I pushed the button, checked my schedule-sixth floor it is, then-and sat down with a sigh on the couches.

"Get off the couch. I don't need your loser-airness stinking them."

I looked up. A girl with piercing grey eyes and blindingly shiny golden hair stared down at me.

"I was here first," I replied softly.

"Oh? Well, I don't care. Get off. I want to sit."

"Go to the second one, then."

"Psh. As if. I would never sit on that one. Nina Levesque does not," she waved her head and snapped her fingers, doing that thing that girls did to prove a point. "...take seconds."

"Too bad, Nina."

"Ugh! You're unbelievable!"

"Is it that hard to believe that I don't want to give up my seat to some whiny girl who doesn't even have a good reason to make me?"

"Well, I'm popular. I'll make your life a living hell."

"Making my life a living hell because I don't want to stand up and give you the couch while you can clearly sit down on the other one does not give your intelligence brownie points," I deadpanned, shifting my gaze to the elevator doors.

"And who's this?" I heard Alyssa's 'serious' voice float to us.

Nina scoffed. "You don't know my name?"

"Considering you're new, I'm not surprised we don't know your name." Ivy's soft voice stated.

"Well, it's Nina Levesque and I'm going to make sure you losers know that."

Ding!

I see the point in saved by the bell now, though I'm sure it's not the same as most people think.

We entered the elevator, Nina insisting on going first. She huffed indignantly when she realized that we had the same homeroom.

We entered the room. The room stayed the same it was before Nina entered; a few bored glances here and there. Suddenly, the room fell to a silence when I entered.

Whispers began to resound through the room. I could catch a few phrases—'popular', 'pretty', 'such bright hair', 'rare eye color', 'who's that blonde?'

I ignored them and sat down on a three-seat-table with Alyssa and Ivy. Nina looked around, before deciding with a huff to sit down on a table, alone. I wondered where her friends were.

I caught the eye of a blonde boy. His eyes were stormy grey, and he was sitting at the next table over. His hair was curly—really curly.

"You new?" he asked.

"No, I came from Middle. You?"

"Yeah, but I'm surprised I didn't notice a pretty girl like you."

I had to give myself credit for not blushing, and he seemed to be surprised too. "Where'd you get the pick-up lines?"

"Ha... no girl I met has ever said that to me."

"I'm not any girl. I'm Victoria Smith, but you can call me Tori."

"James, but you can call me Jake. In fact, if you call me James I'll have to kill you because I hate that name."

"Why? I like the name James."

"It just sounds so weird..." At my bemused look, he reluctantly added, "...to me."

I shrugged. "Preferences."

"Erm?"

"Never mind."

We sat in awkward silence. Bad sign, I thought. Awkward silences are bad. Comfortable silences are good.

Jake grinned. "You know who's our homeroom teacher?"

I checked my schedule. "Eh... Ms. Lavina."

"I heard she's a hot one."

I blanched. "That's gross."

"Oh?"

"I think you've been reading way too many of those romance novels where the teacher hooks up with the student."

"How would you know what they are unless you've been reading them?"

"I see you're a witty one, then. Avoiding my question, eh? But anyways, I am a girl, so I have an excuse to read them. I hate stereotypes, but it is true that we read sappy romance novels."

"You have nothing to say about that to me, then," he stated smugly.

"Ah, but you're a guy. And you just admitted to me that you did read it."

Jake slapped his hand on his leg. "Damn! You're good. I've never had a girl beat me in a verbal spat before."

"Glad to be your first." I realized that I had set myself up for an opening of many, many verbal traps, and Jake realized that too.

"Do you want to be my other first, too?" He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

"Oh, ew! No way!"

"Are you sure?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows even more suggestively.

"Excuse me, I think you're eyebrows are trying to escape. You sure they're not caterpillars?"

Jake laughed then. The laugh was a full-on, head-thrown-back, causing-everyone-to-stare-at-them laugh. I slapped him on the shoulder.

"I think you need to get medications for that enormous guffaw."

"Sounds don't have sizes, Tori. Thought you knew that!"

"Ah, so you're cute and smart. That's rare." I then realized again that I'd called him cute.

"So you think I'm cute? Well, I'm going to hold that over your head until you go insane."

"Who knows if you're going to still be here when I do? I could've hired an assassin to kill you."

Jake scoffed in mock hurt. "You think that I can't escape an assassin?"

"Hence the word hired, James. He has to be professio-" I stopped because Jake was staring at me with a malicious glint in his eye.

"Oh. Did I call you James? I meant Jake."

"You are so going to get one for this, Smith."

"You too, Miller, for those lewd comments."

"How did you know my last name?"

"I'm psychic," I did a Jazz hand.

"Come on, tell me."

"Fine! I had a friend, her name is Vicky, and she had a huge crush on you."

"So you knew who I was the whole time?"

"No, just figured it out, because her descriptions of you were kind of hard to pin on you."

"What were they?"

"Well, they included 'Tousled, heart-warming golden locks' and 'Stormy grey eyes with such secrets that could melt a woman's heart or make you want to know those secrets so bad'."

"She sounds nice."

"Ha. She is, but there is no way I'm going to hook her up with you, womanizer."

Ms. Lavina chose to walk into the room then. She glanced around. "All right, listen up!" She was wearing a short pencil skirt and a dress shirt. Her bouncy brown curls rested on her shoulders. "I want no funny business in the class, and that includes no sex on the tables even if I'm gone!"

The class burst into laughter at that.

"Quiet down! Now!" Her sharp voice caused us to do just that.

"Everyone is expected to do what I expect you to do, just like that!" she snapped her fingers for emphasis.

Everyone couldn't help but nod.

"Good! So most of you have either Chinese class or Chemistry. Listen carefully." She began to rattle off a list of names. I caught 'Nina Levesque' in the Chinese class and 'Victoria Smith' in Chinese. Alyssa and Ivy were in Chemistry.

Dang it.

Soon, the bell rang and we charged out of the room. Everyone began to head off to Chinese or Chemistry, when I found myself being pulled into a closet.

Nina's bouncy blonde curls were staring me in the face.

"Stay away from Jake," she said in a low, threatening voice.

"Erm... that'll be easier once you back the hell away from me."

"Stay away from him!" Nina did as I asked, though.

"I'm sorry, I would've stayed away, but I didn't see the sign saying 'Property of Nina Levesque'!"

"You know full well what I meant. He was my boyfriend in middle school."

"I noticed the 'was' in that sentence..." I grinned, my voice in sing-song mode.

"That's not the point! He'll want me back. He still loves me."

"Be careful, little Ni, love is a strong word."

"Don't call me that!" she shrieked. "I'm warning you, stay away from him."

"I'm not sure what you can do about it if I don't. I'm pretty sure I was deemed 'Popular' from the second I walked into Ms. Lavina's classroom.

"Who cares? I'm going to be more popular."

"You don't know that. Now get away from me, I need to get to class." I shoved her away, and stalked out of the closet.

"I'll get revenge for that, I swear!" Nina shouted.

Although I didn't show it, I was scared. Scared of what she could do.