Reckless Magic (Page 6)

“I think French. Is that in this building too?” I needed a direction; I needed to get away from the golden boy and his golden retriever.

“No, it’s not; it’s in the History and Language building across campus. But I can take you, since I have Latin this hour,” I was so grateful for Lilly Mason at that moment I could have just hugged her. I slowed down to a normal walking pace when we reached the marble staircase.

As we descended the steps, Kiran and Talbott took positions on either side of us. I could hear Talbott introduce himself to Lilly; she responded back in a terribly shy and shaky voice. I inwardly winced, imagining all of the horribly rude things Talbott would say to her. But to my surprise, he remained perfectly polite and sounded nearly as nervous as she did. Their voices dropped in volume and I tilted my head to listen in on their conversation.

“Did you say you had French next?” Kiran’s languid accent pulled me out of my eavesdropping; I found myself relaxing a little.

“Um, yes. Why? Don’t tell me you have that next as well?” Was this school playing some kind of sick joke on me?

“Yes, I do, actually. It looks as if we are destined to be together,” his grin was back and I hoped that he was only kidding. I replied with a forced smile of my own.

“Does everyone in our class have French?” I realized that he was new too, but for some reason everyone seemed to know him already.

“No, I don’t think so. I think that French is a last resort for us latecomers. The other language classes must have been filled,” his accent was alluring, and I had to remind myself forcibly what kind of person he really was.

We exited the building and found ourselves in the warm sunshine. I hadn’t realized how damp and chilly the building was, until I could feel the sun on my skin. I breathed in the fresh air. I pulled my thick hair off my neck and let the gentle, but humid wind blow through it.

I closed my eyes, hiding them from brilliant light of the morning sun. Lilly had led us out of the building through what appeared to be a back entrance. We were standing in a courtyard surrounded by identical brick buildings on every side. The beautiful campus felt more worthy of a university atmosphere than a horrible preparatory school.

“There you two are! I have been looking all over for you,” a girl’s smooth, but unfamiliar voice forced me to open my eyes and meet yet another student of Kingsley.

“Hello, Seraphina.” Kiran’s voice was all honey again as he addressed the girl approaching us. She was tall, even taller than I was; probably 5’10. Her long, thick, blonde hair bounced gently as she walked and her clear, unblemished skin almost glistened in the sun light. Her cherry-red lips were pursed and her cobalt blue eyes squinted, making a face that was less than happy. If it weren’t for the expression on her face, she could have been a model walking down the runway.

“Hello,” she said, careful to pronounce each syllable. “What is taking you so long?” she gave a disinterested look in my direction, and without waiting for an answer from Kiran, looked at me and declared, “You’re the girl who fainted.”

“Good memory,” I responded sarcastically. I started to walk away, dragging Lilly with me when Kiran interrupted our getaway.

“These lovely girls were just showing us to our next class,” we stopped moving and turned to look at him. I noticed Lilly’s bee-stung lips formed in the exact “Oh” formation mine were.

“How nice of them,” Seraphina slid her stick thin arm through Kiran’s, suggesting some kind of claim she had on him. For the first time I noticed how similar they looked; they could have almost been twins. Despite my disgust for Kiran, and now, Seraphina, I couldn’t ignore the tightening in my stomach that felt something like jealousy.

Chapter Five

Welcoming all students and guests, the Administration Building sat in the front of hexagonally-shaped Kingsley. But leading out from either side of the building was a stone pathway connecting all six buildings. A large grassed courtyard surrounded a tall, brick, bell tower. The same dark, red brick architectural style dominated the buildings at Kingsley.

The English and Theatrical building was placed on the far northeast side of campus, and the History, Language and Arts building was placed on the southeast side. The walk along the brick path was short; we just had to pass the Gymnasium to get to it.

Green grass, green trees, and flowers still in bloom, embellished the beautiful campus. I would have loved to walk this alone, and take it all in slowly.

Unfortunately, I was not alone. I was forced to walk to French not only with Lilly and Talbott, who couldn’t keep their eyes off each other, but with my new best friends Seraphina and Kiran as well. And to my ultimate disdain, Seraphina could not keep her hands off of Kiran, I realized this shouldn’t bother me, and I hated that it did.

The walk was short however, and soon we had all climbed yet another marble staircase to find ourselves on the second floor of the H and L building. I glanced at Lilly who pointed me in the direction of French.

I entered into another class that had already begun; I was apparently unable to get to class on time today. A young, sophisticated, teacher glanced back from the chalkboard to glare at me. Her short, cropped, black hair was the same color as her short, cropped, black skirt suit. She wore bright, red lipstick and dark-rimmed glasses. She reminded me of something out of a bad adult film.

“Vous etes en retard,” although she was speaking French, her irritated tone did not escape me.

“I’m sorry. I’m new,” I tried in English. I had never had a French class in my life. At my previous schools I took Spanish; but that was not even offered at this school and, so I was stuck with French because it was the only open class. Aunt Syl promised me it was very similar to Spanish, but after what Kiran said, I was sure it was the last available space.

“Excusez-nous s'il vous plaît. C'est toute ma faute,” Kiran and Talbott finally made their way through the door behind me and of course, Kiran took the initiative to introduce himself to the teacher; and it appeared he was speaking in perfect French, although I had no clue what he was saying. “Eden est nouvelle aussi et nous avons perdu notre chemin. Pardonnez-nous s'il vous plaît.”

“Il n'y a pas de problème. Je suis heureuse que vous nous ayez trouvé,” the adult film school dropout responded to Kiran in the most pleasant voice. She had completely transformed from the woman who spoke to me only seconds earlier, to another adoring fan of our one and only Kiran. “Accueillez, accueillir.”

“Eden, you look confused,” she turned her to me, and although she was not completely rude, she was not friendly either. Her English was marked by an unmistakably French accent. I wondered cynically if Kingsley had all of their language teachers directly flown in.

“I’m sorry, I just, um, I don’t speak French. I’ve only taken Spanish,” I tried to look as apologetic as possible, while wondering silently if you could be kicked out of this school just for irritating the bejeezus out of every teacher.

“Cela ne peut pas être?” she said again in French, shaking her head. “Why would they put you in this class if you cannot speak the language?” Without waiting for an answer, she continued. “Well, you are just going to have to learn. I refuse to dumb down my curriculum because one student is ignorant.”

She looked at me as if she expected me to fight her on this. I didn’t expect her to “dumb” down the class either. Although, I thought she could have said it in a nicer way; but that was what I had come to expect of this school, of its teachers, and of its students. I just kept looking at her in the same apologetic way as before.

“Well, I suppose the best way for you to catch up is by full immersion. I am Ms. Devereux. We speak only French in this class, and although I will give you some grace, I expect you to catch up quickly. You will need a tutor as soon as possible. You will sit at my desk, until I feel you are ready for a partner. Go quickly,” she waved her arm in the direction of the teacher’s desk and didn’t give me another look. “Kiran and Talbott, I am so glad you have chosen this class. Please sit down anywhere,” she spoke her instructions so quickly and with such a thick accent, I had trouble understanding, but I did as she told me.

I took my seat at her desk and pulled out my French books. I knew that I was the center of attention and again felt completely humiliated sitting in the front of the class, all eyes staring at me. Worst of all, Kiran was barely able to contain his laughter.

I opened my books and forced my eyes on to the page. Even the introduction was written in French. I rolled my eyes and groaned inwardly, while Ms. Devereux spoke rapidly in a language I was afraid would be the reason I would never graduate from high school. All of the students answered her questions without missing a beat; including Kiran whose flawless French rivaled even Ms. Devereux’s.

I tried to avoid staring at him the entire class, but found myself glancing in his direction more than I would have liked to admit. Every time I looked up from my book, I found him staring back, making me blush for reasons I couldn’t understand. I thought I found him completely horrible?

The class flew by; I spent most of the hour just trying to find words in the book that I heard spoken in class, although I was sure not one French word was spelled phonetically. It appeared that all of the students could already speak French fluently, and Ms. Devereux was out of her mind if she thought that I would ever be able to catch up.

When the bell finally rang, Ms. Devereux lectured me again on the importance of finding a tutor quickly. But as the entire class was gone by now, I didn’t see that happening today. Kiran and Talbott were the only two people I recognized in that class and I’d be damned before I asked either of them.

I found history on the third floor of the same building and realized that except for French, the same people were in all of my classes so far. This had to be the entire junior class. I had been hoping to meet new people, to be given a second chance at proving I was not the idiot everyone in my class thought I was. But it didn’t look like I would get that opportunity.

Thankfully, Lilly saved me a seat and I took it, grateful once again that she was willing to be my friend. Mr. Emerson, my “A History of Europe” teacher, was an elderly man, with an all-white beard and all white-hair. He did not even bother to acknowledge Kiran, Talbott, or me, which actually surprised me. He was so far my favorite teacher, although I couldn’t admit that he did much teaching.

We spent the entire hour listening to him drone on and on, not once looking up from his lecture notes. His voice was a gruff monotone that I found very hard to listen to. I struggled to take notes, but noticed that most of the students were either sleeping on their desk or passing notes back and forth.

Several of them ended up on Kiran’s desk, and I observed his smug smirk after he read each of them. I could only imagine the important messages the girls in this class found necessary to send him. Talbott had his fair share of notes as well, although he had abstained from reading a single one. All the while, Mr. Emerson was oblivious to it all.