"On this day October 7th one of the greatest writers of 18th century passed away from his heady alcohol problem. He is most acclaimed for his poem The Raven, yes we are of course speaking about Mr. Edgar Allan Poe." Professor Carroll pressed the small center button on his remote and a black and white photo of Poe was placed up on the screen.
In the third row to the back a girl of sixteen listened, rapt in the lesson. She unconsciously reached into her desk and stroked the surface of her leather-bound Edgar Allan Poe published in the year 1927 by Walter J. Black Inc. Professor Carroll himself had informed her of this lesson prior to her peers, fore she had included in her application as a scholarship student many a quote by Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. You see the school she attended, Avalon Academy was a school deemed only for the extremely wealthy or the highly intelligent. Melanie Smith was deemed the latter. Avalon only accepted five scholarship students a year, and Melanie had never thought a petty fifteen year old from the Bronx would ever be taken under the academies wing of prominence. But alas, there she sat. She considered it so much a privilege. Her family had very little money and having the Avalon Academy stamp within her transcripts to college would be like having a beacon shining beckoning "take me!"
Melanie couldn't help but let out a small chuckle under her breath as she took her attention away from the lesson for a moment. You could so easily spot a scholarship student. "We might as well have a big sign on our backs saying torment me I don't belong here."
She was looking at Grace Lee another scholarship student in her year. She wore her big baggy knit sweater with a designer scarf around her neck, and leggings and a beat up pair of leather boots, which might have been in style at her old school. Seated directly in front of her was a girl with shining blonde hair cut into a stylish bob, tight ringlets of gold treading down to the nape of her milky white neck. She wore around her head a leather band with a peacock feather stuck into the side, a tight black long sleeved dress with two overly large pockets to the side, and a pair of pumps with red staining the underside of the soul. Every piece name brand, every piece artistic, ever piece a compliment, and every piece only enhancing her rich beauty. Her name was Olivia Westwood. Her family had attended this school since Hennery Westwood the 1rst, she was the beauty wolves pack leader. Unlike Grace Lee they did not torment Melanie they just didn't acknowledge her existence and in a way that hurt more. But often Melanie reminded herself she wasn't here to make friends she was here to make a life for herself.
The door opened, and Melanie thought to herself Oh, Professor Carroll hates when students are late. She glanced around the room to see who was missing, no one was and as she looked back up her jaw actually dropped as if in a cheesy melodrama. Standing just to the left of Professor Carroll's desk was a girl. She looked out at the class with a calculating gaze, her gaze traveled and when her eyes passed over Melanie she swallowed and closed her mouth blushing at having been caught like that. She ducked her head before glancing at her class mates they were all having similar reactions. She looked cautiously back up at the girl. She was smirking slightly in an amused way.
"Class please welcome Andrea Williams, she will be joining us as of today." There were a few gasps and a bunch of badly hidden whispers especially around the front row where the pack sat.
"Would you like to say anything to the class Andrea?" Professor Carroll asked.
"Pardon?" Professor asked.
"Pardon? Very proper aren't we?" She chuckled softly. "I prefer to be called Andy."
"Alright… Andy you can take your seat next to Melanie." All eyes were looking around as if to see who this Melanie was, their eyes eventually locked with the only open seat. Olivia gave her a dirty look as their eyes locked and Melanie was amazed as this was the first time she had ever taken notice of her. Andy seemed to have noticed where everyone was looking. She pulled her large leather bag tighter over her shoulder as she strode toward her seat. Her knee high lace up leather combat boots clacking against the floor was all that was heard. Melanie sat like a deer in headlights. Andy's bleach blonde, almost white hair shone in the flouresant lights of the room it exposed her black roots, which it didn't appear she was trying to hide. Her blue eyes were trained on Melanie and were surrounded by heavy black eye liner and shadow. The silver beaded rosary around her neck swung back and forth over her overly large Led Zeppelin t-shirt that she wore as a dress leading down to lace thigh highs with little silver bones clipped to the tops. Her lips which were as red as snow white's poison apple were still held up into a little smirk. She approached the seat and slid the chair back and flopped into it throwing her bag down beside her.
"Andy, please open your gothic literature textbook to page 144."
"Getting right on it," she said before going into her bag pulling out the book in question and dropping it on her desk and flipping it open to a random page. Professor Carroll went on with his lesson. Once he turned his back Andy reached into her back and pulled out a black Ipod and put one bud in her ear. Melanie stared at the board and thought about the strangeness of what was going on about her. Yes Andrea, no Andy, dressed a bit… differently than the others girls in this school but if Melanie knew anything about the way Avalon was run this would simply cause a few snickers, nasty looks that could singe the tips of the girls white blonde hair, and than simple ostracism and torment. No there was more to this than Melanie was grasping, and once again she was on the outside of what ever it may be.
"Hey." Melanie's brow crinkled that 'hey' sounded awfully close to her. Melanie turned her head slightly towards the spoken word. She was surprised to see those bright blue, black enshrouded eyes set on her. She took the girls face in at the close distance; she was quite pretty with her heart-shaped face, high cheekbones, and pouty poison lips, even in all her eccentricity. She realized she should probably respond.
Andy chuckled softly her lips curling up in a small smile. "Oh good I thought you might be deaf, I was about to start signing." She pointed her fingers out in three small motions ending in what looked like the surfs up sign. It took a few moments of recalling the sign language lessons Melanie had taken when she was volunteering at the school for the deaf that Andy had just said 'hey' with her hands.
"Oh no, I was just paying attention to Professor Carroll's lesson," Melanie said softly blushing a little. Andy put her foot up on the silver bar beneath the desk and tilted her head back.
"Glad someone's paying attention, what is he rambling on about?" She said in a bored tone.
"Edgar Allan Poe he's…" Andy cut her off.
"It was night, and the rain fell; and falling," Andy said softly before turning her face back to Melanie; "it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood." She reached up and flicked her bangs from her eyes. "Silence…"
"A Fable." Melanie cut in awed and her hand automatically went in her desk to her decrepit leather bound book.
"The way I see it, I don't need this Professor Carroll to tell me about Poe, nor does anyone else, they," Andy gestured around the room with a hand, "just need to reach down a hand and pull their head out of their ass and use that same hand to pick up his book, use the newly dislodged head; the eyes to read the words that make up his poems and tales and their brain to decipher their meaning and beauty. But alas, they won't. Wait I may be wrong!" her voice raised only a fraction. "There's a scholarship student, right there." She brought up her hand again and quite rudely pointed straight at Grace Lee who was furiously scribbling down the notes that Professor Carroll was dolling out. "In a school such as this scholarship students are as easy to spot as broken chameleons on a couch of rich black leather don't you think?" Andy turned and grinned slyly at Melanie.
"I'm a scholarship student, is there a problem with that?" Melanie shot out and wasn't sure where that sudden spark of indignation had come from. Something shimmered in Andy's eyes her smile widened showing off a set of perfect pearly white teeth made only brighter by the surrounding red.
"As I said, scholarship students are too easy to spot in a place like this, and you my dear seem like your not even trying to hide it. Sitting there in your yellow and blue flannel with the sleeves rolled up, mom jeans, light brown hair tied back in a sloppy bun, pretty green eyes hidden by those thick-framed glasses. What you don't even want to try to be a part of Avalon's high society?" Andy put her chin in her hand and leaned toward Melanie her lips pouted and what looked like real curiosity in her eyes.
Melanie was taken aback by Andy's analysis of her and she thought for a few moments before answering. "The fact is I couldn't if I tried no one around here talks to scholarship students unless their insulting them and the scholarship students don't even stick together because we're all so caught up keeping up with our grades seeing as we must keep a B+ average, so to be plain you are the first person to talk to me at this school other than my professors and my advisor." Melanie paused to take a breath before continuing. "Plus I'm not here to take part in some sick form of social climbing to be friends with people who will never see me as an equal because I don't have seven cars and my own pool with a mini bar and barstools in the water."
At the end of her speech she finally looked up from where she had been staring at her lap. She found Andy staring intently at her as if she had actually been listening to every soft spoken but passionate word she had spoken, as if she actually cared.
"Okay guys; pack it up, lunch time." Professor Carroll said turning of the projector. Andy turned away from Melanie and packed up her bag. She threw her Ipod in and Melanie realized at some point she must have taken the ear bud out. Melanie quickly began to put together her stuff and place it in her bag.
"Hey." Melanie looked up immediately. Andy was stood in front of her desk bent over her elbows on the desk top.
"We'll be in touch Mellow Yellow." Andy grinned before turning and strutting out the door.
Melanie kept looking at the door before shaking her head and reaching down to pack up her bag. Once she was all packed up she looked around and realized she was the last student left in the room. She put her back pack over her shoulder and began walking toward the door trapped into her own little haze.
"Melanie." She heard Professor Carroll call softly.
"Yes Professor?" She turned and faced him.
"What did you think of the lesson?"
"Umm it was really good. I learned a lot."
"I don't think you did. You seemed a bit distracted by Miss Williams," he said simply.
"Oh that. I'm sorry about that," she said softly dropping her head.
"It's fine, you're a great student and I know you know Poe like the back of your hand. I just wanted to give you a piece of advice."
Melanie raised her head and looked at him curiously. "Yes?"
"I would stay far away from Miss Williams, that's all I'm going to say." He said before looking down at the papers on his desk shuffling through them. Melanie's lips became pursed and her brow raised.
"I appreciate the advice sir." She nodded before turning and walking at a slow thoughtful pace out the door.