I tugged my luggage up the fancy stairs of the girl’s dorm room, heading for the one that I would be living in for the next 2 years. I passed the A’s and B’s, headed to the door at the end of the hall with C1 on it. The dorms are alphabetical; my name is Carter, Cara Carter.
I raised my hand to knock when the door swung open and a brown-haired girl in the burgundy-red uniform of St. Catherine Academy spared me a hateful glance before pushing me aside and ran out. I watched her disappear down the stairs.
“You must be Cara.” Said an Irish voice. I turned around. A girl―more like a woman―of African descent stood at the door dressed, too, in uniform; white button-down shirt, deep-burgundy skirt and blazer of a lighter shade, white socks, and black shoes. She was tall, nearly six-foot, and was all curves. She seemed grown up. Her eyes held a mischief glint and sisterly wisdom.
I shook her hand. “Cara; and you are?”
“Marianna Cate. That was Emma, she’s in an odd mood today, don’t mind her. Come on in.” She gestured me in and closed the door behind me.
The dorms were like apartments―or flats. This one opened into a circular hangout space complete with a couch, two armchairs, and sandy-coloured walls. There were six doorways, five of which had doors. The door-less one, I saw, led to an extremely small kitchen/dining room. And the two boxes mom mailed three weeks ago sat to the right.
“The first door to the right is yours, bathroom is through the kitchen, and the fridge is stocked by the housekeeper, Madame—that’s what we call her and nothing else-- every week. We are responsible for our own breakfast and supper; lunch is at 12: 15, just follow the herd of hungry students to the canteen, any questions?”
“Bathroom? As in singular?”
“Yes, I know; one bathroom for four people.”
“Classes start at nine till five-thirty, so you don’t have to wake up too early.” She glanced at the clock hanging above the kitchen entrance, “You have one hour to get ready. Have you eaten?”
I shook my head.
“I’ll make you an omelette while you unpack; are you allergic to anything?”
“Alright, go unpack.” She went into the kitchen.
“Wow,” I exhaled. My room was small but had midnight blue walls and ceiling with drawn-on constellations. The previous person in this room must’ve redecorated because from what I’ve seen of the school, so far, the cheap, ugly brown paint was all they could afford after building the school. I unpacked my suitcase of clothes and two boxes of blankets and school supplies, and then grabbed my iPad to check my schedule and memorize the school grounds; I had lost my printed schedule and map somewhere along the way from Netherlands to Ireland.
In my closet, there were five skirts, and two blazers and five white dress shirts with the school crest embroidered on it. The school regulations stated that students must be in uniform during school hours except for PE, so I had brought with me two dozen miscellaneous-lengths of white socks, two pairs of black shoe wear, two pairs of sneakers, and a dozen pants, shorts, and shirts that are not red―the uniforms are enough, thank you very much.
I dressed and got out of my room. Laid out on the couch was a guy in only boxers, head resting on his hands. The front―main?―door opened and in walked an ethereal blonde, holding some fabric in her arms.
The guy on the couch jumped up and gathered her in his arms. The two French-kissed and I, feeling awkward, quietly tiptoed into the kitchen.
“Marianna,” I whispered.
“Yes, hon?” She replied, not turning around.
“Please don’t tell me that those two out there with their tongues down each other’s throat are loud at night.”
“Who? Oh!” She turned around with a plate of omelette and placed it in front of me. “That’s Jill and Aiden out there; sorry I forgot to warn you. It’s a nearly nightly thing but unless you have super hearing you’ll sleep like the dead. They usually just talk and cuddle and sleep.”
“Why is he in only boxers?”
“’Cause Jill ripped my clothes off last night,” answered Aiden.
He―now fully clothed in the boy’s uniform but for the blazer―and Jill sat down beside me at the tiny dining table.
“Hi, I’m Jill.” She gave me her hand, “Sorry I wasn’t here for the welcome committee; I had to fetch clothes for this beast over here.” She pointed a thumb at Aiden. And he, in turn, grabbed her around the waist and placed wet, slobbery kisses over her neck and face, making her giggle and squeal.
I smiled, enjoying the couple’s joy, and dug into my breakfast.
“Pens, check. Notebooks, check. Tablet, check. Water, check.” I recited as I riffled through my bag. “Textbooks, check. Now where’s that map?” It was beside me on the bedside table and I made to grab it but I cut my nails last night so I had to drag and slide it―and it fell. I made to snatch the paper but it floated like a feather to and fro and under the bed. I bent down to get it and spotted something else under the bed. I grabbed the ‘something else’ along with the map of the school.
It was a yearbook, and it had a page bookmarked. I flipped to that page; a large photo of 2 girls with these words below it: Theresa (Tessa) and Jessica (Jessa) Catherine, tennis, girl’s double, silver medalists at nationals. It probably belonged to one of the previous tenants of this room.
A knock sounded aT the door. Marianna’s rich voice flowed through the door “Cara, time to head to class.”
“Okay,” I replied. “Thanks!” I put the map in my bag and the book, too (I might need it) grabbed my blazer and off I went.
Author's note: there will be grammar, spelling, and plot error. This is the first draft and I will be editing once the book is complete.