There were two types of students that went to Octavian Country Day: those who were wealthy and those on scholarship. It was a prestigious school in which only the best of the best managed to attend, a large majority of the girls being daughters of influential men and women. These students traipsed through the halls as if they owned it and if they were the right kind of person, they did. It was easy to persuade the school board to do their bidding- just get a large sum of money from Daddy’s wallet and install a new wing, add a bigger library, or expand the green, lush fields. Stunts were forgotten, punishments lessened. A check with lots of zeros could be a very powerful, manipulative thing.
In the way that only a certain group of people could attend OCD, it took a handful of very special students to get expelled.
One would have to be deaf in order to not know who the members of the Pretty Committee were. Even if you did not go to school with them, you heard about them in passing. The name was always tossed around, either in open conversation or shared as a whispered piece of gossip. Two childish words to describe a group of five, they were the girls everyone revered, the girls everyone loved, and the girls everyone feared.
If anyone were to get in so much trouble, it would be them.
Massie Block sat quietly in her seat, listening to the bickering of the other girls, lost in thought. They were separated throughout the bus, their freedom to choose where to sit taken away because of their actions. She knew she should speak up, to calm the girls down, but she couldn’t form the right words. How was she supposed to reassure the girls when she wasn’t even assured herself?
“This is terrible,” Kristen Gregory moaned, burying her face in the seat’s upholstery. “If my parents find out-“
“If?” Alicia Rivera echoed snarkily. “This isn’t a matter of if, Kristen. They obviously already know.”
“They do?” Kristen coughed, voice muffled. “I’m going to be grounded for years. Months, if I’m lucky.”
Alicia rolled her dark eyes. No one said what they were all thinking. The elephant in the room was the fact that what they teachers know only skimmed the surface of how far their prank went. “Well, maybe if someone hadn’t ruined my life, we would still be on that trip with the rest of our classmates instead of on this stupid bus!” She cast daggers at Claire Lyons who sat in front of her, wiping tears, seemingly oblivious.
“Are you talking about me?” Dylan Marvil half-sobbed, her green eyes rimmed red. “This trip has been a disaster.”
“No, Dylan,” the Claire snapped, a rarity for her. “She’s talking about me. I can hear you, by the way.”
“That was the point, Kuh-laire!”
Claire Lyons scoffed, reaching into her pocket to grab her old phone before realizing that they had been confiscated upon entering the bus those hours before. “Did anyone manage to sneak their phone onto this bus? I need to see if maybe I can explain “
“How considerate of you to ask before you take something that’s not yours. Too bad you didn’t do that with Josh!” Alicia screamed.
“It was an accident!” defended Claire, her hands balled up into fists, nails digging into her skin.
Alicia let out a loud, humorless laugh, a dry sound that seemed to echo throughout the confines of the moving vehicle. “I’d love to hear this one: how can you accidentally make out with him? Did you trip and fall? Were your lips the only things to keep you two from skinning your knees?”
“For the love of God, Alicia-“
The booming voice of Miss Dunkel silence the feuding girls, whom of which looked down at the shiny floor with guilt-filled gazes. The tension in the room soared as the teacher’s light, tired eyes angrily scanned the seats. “I thought I told you there would be no talking on this ride regardless of our proximity to the school. You don’t want to get in any more trouble. At this rate, you’re already hanging by a loose thread.” she scolded.
The quiet that settled amongst the five girls was forced and uncomfortable. Unable to really see each other and interact, it was hard to fathom what really went on in the past twelve hours. It was enough to get them sent home early, away from everyone else.
Massie Block, who had been silently starring out the window, thought of Dylan’s previous statement.
The trip is a disaster. It sure was. It had started as an innocent nature retreat mandatory by school but one simple prank got way out of hand and now look where they were. She didn’t even feel guilt for the prank, at least not yet, she didn’t have the time to. As soon as it had gotten out of hand, they’d been immediately taken away.
Alicia interrupted her thoughts, turning swiftly, making sure Miss Dunkel did not notice her sudden movements, and made eye contact with her. I hate her, she mouthed slowly, crossing her arms over her chest.
Who? Claire or Dunkel?
Claire, the beta answered with an eye roll.
Massie shrugged, replying with you’ll get over it before dropping her head to inspect her cuticles.
But the thing was, she wasn’t sure if Alicia could.
The bus rolled into the parking lot of Octavian Country Day a short fifteen minutes later.
In a single file line, the Pretty Committee silently followed their teacher, who led them through the darkened halls of their school, past the rows of lockers and the one bathroom with the really nice lighting until they were standing in front of a door that clearly read PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE in tiny, white lettering.
Inside, Principal Burns sat behind her desk and nodded at them “Ladies, please have a seat.”
There were five chairs left empty, scattered between the forms of their parents. They dutifully placed themselves in their seats. Len Rivera did not look very pleased with his daughter, his tie left undone and his gaze hard. “I’d like to know what the punishment is before I’m late for a very important case.”
“I understand that this is very last minute, but I needed all of you here to discuss the consequences your daughters will have to face,” Principal Burns spoke.
The girls before her eagerly awaited the punishment. The expected a minimum one week detention. Which wouldn’t be so bad, considering they could probably manage to skip a few of the days. Nothing prepared them for the next few words.
“You are not allowed to attend classes. Effective immediately.” Principal Burns’ voice was void of emotion, monotone, as if she were a robot. The student files before her, full of school pictures and report cards, were open, smiles facing the ceiling. Red, angry stamps were across each of their transcripts. Just one single word. “You will not be returning to Octavian Country Day next year.”
Dylan’s jaw dropped. Claire bit down on her thumb nail, which had already been reduced to a nub. Massie turned to her parents, a shocked look on her face, begging them to do something, anything. Alicia remained silent, frozen in her seat. Kristen let out a startled whimper.
“You have been expelled. Please remove your things from your lockers on your way out.”
Ohmygodddd, ok so I was planning on posting this Friday, but that morning my wifi was completely broken and we had to wait till today for it to be fixed, how annoying.
I am still looking for a PC, yes! So far 3 people have IM-d me saying they’re interested, I just need one more person that would be then we can start figuring things out.
I’m going back to school tomorrow- boo. If you are as well I wish you luck!!