Sunday, May 31, 2015

Jaded: Chapter 5

Chapter 5

“Wow, that’s pretty. But why are we looking at clothes when we have a uniform?” Allison asks, putting down the shirt she picked up.

“Delilah said something about after school clothes and put an envelope in my hand as she left this morning.” I shrug.


“Do you want to pick something out for each of the girls?”

“Really?” She asks, surprised.

“Yes. I don’t need many new clothes. And I’m not a very good shopper. To be quite honest, I’m happy for a couple hours without Finn.”


“I don’t know. I guess it’s just that after not seeing him for so long, it’s a little intense to see him all the time.”

“I can understand that. But is there anything going on between you two?”

I try not to blush.

“Is there anything going on between you two?” I ask back.

“I asked you first.”

“You’re the one who sees him in his natural habitat.”

“What is he, a different species? You’re the one who sees him most of the year.” Allison pauses. “What am I doing? This is not a girl fight. Finn is a brother. That’s why I’m asking."

“For him?” I ask, a little hopeful.

“For me to know what the next two months will be like.”

“Honestly, I don’t know if anything is going on. I haven’t seen him in months. I do like him though.”

“Well, it seems like something is going on.”

“Do you,” I pause and try again. “Do you approve?”

“Approve really, Lizzie? I’m not his mom.” She says adding skirts to our basket. “But yeah, I ‘approve.’ You guys complement each other from what I can tell.”

“That’s good.” I say, smiling. “Do you know Michelle Campbell?”

“Of course. Isn’t she wonderful?”

“I wouldn’t know. I’ve never met her.”

Allison looks up, surprised.

“Really? You’ve known Finn for years and never met his mom?”

“Yeah. His parents don't visit for long.”

That and I think he keeps them away from us.


“She’s the Latin teacher, right? The one who couldn’t come to dinner?"

“Correct. You’ll meet her at school, then.”

Spirant Iustum: I’m done shopping. Are you ready?

“Finn is asking if we’re ready to go.”

“I got clothes for everyone. Is there anything else you need?”

“No, I’m ready. Let’s go.”

Me: Going to check out now.

Spirant Iustum: Ok, I’ll be at the car.

“I wonder why there’s no one here. Isn’t school shopping supposed to be going on?” I ponder aloud.

“There’s a pause between those who prepare before and those who wait for teachers’ special request.” The cashier answers.

“That makes sense.” I say, smiling at her.

“I’ll have to remember that for college.” Allison says.

The cashier nods and tells me the price. I pay and pick up the bags.

“See you at school Monday, Chloe.” Allison calls.

“See you.”

“Why won’t you see her tonight?” I ask.

“I don’t think she’s living on campus this year. It’s a great experience but given the option five blocks from school is not a bad one.”

“Wait, she’s a tuition student? Why is she working?”

“Yeah she is. Chloe doesn’t have to study long and doesn’t have any extracurricular activities so she decided to work part- time.”

“Oh.” I say simply.

Their school is different from ours. Tuition girls do not work. We don’t mingle either.

----- ----- -----

I sit further up in my seat. It’s my first morning assembly. I can’t seem like I’m disinterested yet.

“I don’t think sitting up is going to help.” A girl whispers to me. “My cousin says all her speeches are boring.”

I turn to the girl. She flashes a smile and turns back to the stage.

After another 15 minutes, I have to say something.

“What is she even talking about?”

“The history of the school.”

“We all know the history. Why else would we want to come here?”

“True. But she’s trying to motivate us to uphold it by telling it in the most boring way possible.”

I laugh and someone shushes us.

We sit in silence until the assembly ends.

“I’m Milly Musgroves, by the way.” She says, offering her hand.

“Elizabeth Gent.”

“Well, Miss Gent.” She says, shaking my hand. “I look forward to greatly enriching my education and more importantly my life alongside you.”

“Me too.” I say laughing.

“See you around, Elizabeth.” Milly says, standing up.

I don’t usually like being called Elizabeth but I don’t think I’ll correct her. Maybe if I can get Lindsay to call me Elizabeth, I’ll be her again.



“Uh are we going to change for P.E. Mistr—Lizzie?” Lindsay corrects when I look at her.

“Sure. I can’t believe we forgot the clothes in our dorm.” I say, leading the way.

“Did you make any friends? My section was quiet.”

“I met a Milly Musgroves. She’s the tall brunette up ahead.”

Lindsay looks.

“… charity case?” I hear and immediately slow down.

“No, Milly you weren’t.” Says a girl who looks like Milly.

“Paige told me to watch you but I thought your cousin was exaggerating as usual. You know we're not talking to them.” The first girl says.

“I know, I know. I was just being nice. It’s not like we have anything in common or I really like her. It won’t happen again. Macey, I’m going to class. Come with me or go with Jo. Do what you want.” Milly Musgroves says.

I feel my throat go dry and my eyes begin to sting.

“That door is closer to the dorms.” I say, gesturing vaguely.

Lindsay nods and pulls me over, even though it’s not closer.

----- ----- -----

“Surprise.” Finn says, holding out apply juice.

“Okay… thanks.” Allison says, looking at him confused.

“Don’t mind him. Apple juice is a thing.” I say, putting the bags in the trunk.

“Eliza order apple juice on our first date because she didn’t want to spend all my money.”

“Really?” Allison asks, looking at me.


“No, not really. We went to a café the first day we met. It wasn't a date. But now I habitually surprise her with apple juice.”

“Interesting habit.” Allison whispers.

“Apple juice is the best.” I say, ignoring her.

“Although, the hot chocolate Daniel used to make was amazing.”

“Don’t mention it. I miss Daniel and his creations.”

“You two love the past don’t you?” Allison asks.

“It was a simpler time. Eliza also lives for the future.”

“Whereas, Finn lives in the moment.” I retort.

“It’s what you’ve got with you.”

“You need to plan ahead.”


“But that doesn’t mean you should be focused on the future and miss what is currently happening.”

“Of course but you can’t miss opportunities that will help your future.” I reply.

“I just asked a question.” Allison mutters.

“We’re just joking.” Finn says.

I scowl at him and he smiles back.

----- ----- -----

“I’m walking up to the school now. I should go.”

“Alright. Have a good first day.”

“Have a good afternoon, Lindsay.”

“Be wary of Finn.”

“Bye.” I say rolling my eyes.


I take Jennifer’s hand to the right of me.

“Are you ready?”

“I’m fine, Lizzie. Are you ready?”

I nod.

“Then, I’ll see you and Finn at lunch.”

“Later, Jenn.” Finn says.

Jenn waves as she goes down a different hallway.

“I’m sorry, Finn.”

“For what?”

“For making you live at home for ten weeks and for taking you away from your friends. There must be a reason you don’t go to this side.”

“Not really. My parents wanted me to live in two places. I would have gone to one of the three but I had various reasons for the one I chose. And you didn’t take me away from my friends. Now I’m with some of my less seen friends.”

“But still you’re going to be the only boy in the school.”

“Yes but I get to be in every class with my best friend who disappeared last year. And I get paid for it.”

“You disappeared last year.”

“I was right there for you to find me.”

“I was the same.”

“Eliza, I presume.” The teacher says.

“Lizzie Gent actually.” Finn says.

Once again, the school year starts with tension.

“Sorry. Finn is protective of that nickname.”

“I understand.” She says, smiling. “Well, since you’re early you can choose your seats first.”

Finn looks at all the seats for a few moments before choosing the second to last against the wall.

“Why these seats?” I whisper.

“They’re away from the window. They’re also not immediately after the door.”

“Okay, that’s thorough.”

“Excuse me, Mrs. Campbell. I didn’t get to--- wait, you’re Finn’s mom.”

“Took you long enough.” Finn says and Mrs. Campbell chuckles.

“Yes I am. I wanted to meet you at the dinner but I was visiting my brother.”

I smile as she sits backwards in the seat in front of me.

“It’s fine. How was your visit?”

“It was wonderful. I got to meet my new niece.”

"Do you have pictures mom?"

“Of course. I’ll show you when you get home. Lizzie, you’ll have to come visit the house soon.”

“Okay. Thank you for the invitation.”

“I have to run to the staff room. I’ll be right back.” Mrs. Campbell says.

“You have a cousin?” I ask, getting out my notebook and pens.

“Yeah. She’s actually my uncle’s second child and my seventh cousin overall.”

“Wow. I had no idea. What have we been talking about all these years?”

“I just avoided talking about family.”

“You can talk about your family. It won’t bother me. I want to know everything about you, Finn.”

He stops organizing and meets my eyes. I feel my face getting hot and try to think of a way to make that statement less meaningful.

“Hi, Finn.”

“Hi, Chloe. How was your summer?”

“It was fine. I interned at one of my dad’s offices. How was yours?”

“I spent it touring schools and training. Aren’t breaks supposed to be refreshing?”

Chloe laughs.

“They are. But our parents don’t feel that way.” She looks at me. “I’ve seen you before, haven’t I?”

“Yeah. At the boutique Friday. My name is Lizzie Gent.”

“Hi, Lizzie. Everyone’s talking about you three. Jennifer’s a sophomore, right?”

I nod.

“My sister’s in her grade. If she mentions a Lynn, you’ll know she’s been captured.”

“Lynn may be equally captured.” I say, smiling. “It’s nice to meet you, Chloe.”

----- ----- -----

Delilah: Do you have plans this afternoon?

I ask everyone the same question as I put on my shoes.

“I have work.” Olivia says.

“We have a project.” Mandy says. “Doesn’t everyone actually?”

“I have to wait until Chloe finishes class.” Allison says.

Finn and I nod.

“Well, I have to go. See everyone later.” Olivia says.

“We should go home, then.” Jennifer says.

I text Delilah back.

“How was everyone’s first week of classes?” Allison asks.

“It was fine. I wish we didn’t jump right into projects and such though.” Nicole says. “Summer classes just finished.”

The girls agree. Finn stares off.

“Hey.” I say, stepping closer to him. “Why are you so quiet?”

“Sorry.” He says, shaking his head. “I’m just thinking. Your phone’s lit up.”

Delilah: you don’t mind coming home?

“Why has she been trying to get me out of the house every day?” I mutter.

“Delilah or Belle?”

“Delilah. It feels like she doesn’t want me around. I don’t understand why they invited me to stay.”

“They probably want you to have fun, Delilah especially. Have you explicitly told them you enjoy staying home, watching lame movies?”

“No. I suppose I could though. Maybe then they would stop pressuring me to make plans.” I unlock the car and going to the trunk.

“Did you just ignore me?” He asks as the girls get in the car.

“Oh, I’m sorry. You said something about my movies and I just don’t discuss movies with people who aren’t on my level.”

Finn laughs.

“Well, I apologize for not liking children movies.” He says, patting my head and smiling.

Stop looking. Don’t stare. Continue talking.

“It’s okay. I just feel bad for you.” I say.

“You guys figure out how to drive from the trunk?” Jennifer asks.

I try not to blush as I get in.

I look in the back seat and Jennifer winks at me.

“Did you close the trunk, Finn?” She asks as he gets in.

“Yes. Did you not hear it? She might need her ears checked, Eliza.”

I dig in my purse before he looks at me.

“She had them checked during the summer but maybe the plane ride knocked something out of place.”

“That’s uncalled for you guys.” Jennifer says. “Nicole, are you going to show me the library today?”

Me: Yeah, it’s fine. We’re going to the movies Sunday afternoon.

Delilah: That’s good. Dinner is at 6:30pm. Belle and I will both be there.

“You know the Simm sisters haven’t been at dinner together all week.” I tell Finn.

“I’m surprised they’re eating at home at all. They usually work 12, 13 hour days.”

“That’s crazy. They want me to have fun but when do they take breaks?”

“Well, Delilah wants you to have fun. She had a lot of fun when she was younger. She became more serious around 20.”

“I’m glad she did and the Peyton Empire grew. But my mom always said too much work nullifies the progress.”

“I’ll see you later, Lizzie.” Jenn says opening her door and running into the house.

“I’m sure they’ve heard things like that. I doubt Delilah at least will budge. She just woke up one morning extremely focused. Something changed.”

I wonder what that could have been.

“That’s enough about the sisters. What about the Mr. Simms?”

“They’re nice and respectable. I’ve looked up to them as long as I can remember.”

“That’s it? Really, Finn, that’s all you’re going to give me?”

“Yup. I don’t gossip about my employers. Now are you going to go into the main house or am I still on duty?”

I look around to see we are in the back yard between the main house and his.

“I’m going to take you mother up on her invitation.” I walk toward his house.

“We just got out of school. Is she even here?”

“She has four classes same as us. She said she comes home immediately on Fridays and we delayed today. She should be here.”

Finn stares at me.

“Why do you know my mom’s schedule better than I do?”

“We ran into each other in the ladies room Wednesday. She wanted to make sure I knew when to come by.” I say as I knock on the door.

“I do have a key.”

“Hi, Lizzie.” Mrs. Campbell says, opening the door. “Hello, son.”

“Hello, mom.” Finn says, kissing her on the cheek. “How was work?”


I realize they’ve been speaking Latin and I’ve been translating.

“Excuse us. We should be speaking English.”

“Eliza just noticed. That’s why she was staring.” Finn explains.

“I should have know from your last scores that you could follow the conversation. But we should still speak English.”

“It’s fine. Really.” I say with a start. “I was simply surprised to hear it in every day life.”

“Still. Can I get you anything to drink? Water, coffee, tea?”

“Tea, please.” I say, sitting at the breakfast bar.

“Could I have coffee, mater?”

“Of course, filius.”

Finn drops his bag and glances at me. I need to stop watching him.

“My mom taught me the Latin titles before the English ones.” He tells me.

“I wanted to name him Filius but Timothy said no.”

“I’m very grateful to dad. I’d rather have a fish part than the dead language word for son as a name.”

“Even if people think of fish with your nickname, you know that’s not why we named you Finnegan. ---”

“Mater! Can you at least wait until I’m not in the room?”

“Finnegan?” I ask as he picks up his coffee and bag.

“Yup. I’m going to my room. I'll try to pretend she’s not embarrassing me. It has to happen at some point. I might as well let it.”

“What happened to you being on duty?”

“That ended the moment you stayed on the estate surrounded by guards. Later, Eliza.”

“His first words were finem, mata, and pata.”

“I’m almost there, mater!” Finn calls down the stairs.

“Here’s your tea, Lizzie.”

“Thank you for your hospitality, Mrs. Campbell.”

“Oh, you can call me Michelle, dear. When we’re not at school, of course."

“Alright, Michelle. So Finn’s name is Finnegan?"

This is the person who can tell me the most about the boy I like. I'm sure not planning to talk to Mr. Campbell anytime soon.

“Yes. It’s for my grandfather's name, legends, and the word finem. He was the end or completion of our family. He hates it though."

“I think it’s cool that there’s a family connection and a deeper meaning.”

“Thank you. Would you like to see some pictures?"


Michelle shows me pictures of the family from when Timothy and her started dating until Finn was 14.

“I haven’t had time to put the ones from high school in a book yet.”

It’s beautiful. I remember a lot of pictures as a kid but I don’t take any now. Our dorm should start a photo book.

“How about some videos?”

I nod absentmindedly.

I watch as one-year-old Finnegan calls to his parents in broken Latin.

Spirant Iustum: Have you gotten to the videos yet?

Me: Just started.

Spirant Iustum: Let me know when you’re done. I’ll walk you home.

Is it the job or because he want to?

Me: Okay.

Spirant Iustum:   ;)

“Just breathe?” Michelle asks.

I think about it.

“I don’t mean to pry.” She adds.

“No, you're not prying. It’s simply something my mom used to say. It was the first thing I told Finn about her and he loved the phrase. His phrase for me is strange. It was amicitia, friend but yesterday I saw he changed it. Does amifico benessi mean anything?"

Michelle smiles.

“No. Those aren’t words in Latin. My filius is as interesting as ever.”

I nod.

I don’t have to wait to take pictures. Jenn and I can start here. I’ll convince Mikalya to do it at home.

----- ----- -----

Jenn finishes her antedote about science class.

“I’m glad you’re both enjoying school.” Delilah says. “How about after school?”

“There’s a lot of homework. Well you were Alden girls too so you know. Since this is our first weekend, we’ll see how much fun we can have. Though, Liz will probably just want to watch movies and read.”

“No fair, Jenn. It’s my fun. Let me have it my way. That said, I want to explore and hang out with the girls. You watch, I’ll party it up.”

Delilah smiles at Belle, who misses it as she is looking down.

“Well since you want to party how about a benefit?” Delilah asks.

“A benefit?” Jenn asks excited.

“Yes. Our foundation is having one next week. We’d like for you be our guests.”

“What’s the minimum age?”

“There’s no minimum. Parents can bring their youngest as long as they are well behaved. And the children too.”

Jenn and Delilah laugh. Corny.

“There should be plenty of young people. I’m sorry we don’t know any young men to escort you.”

“I’d rather go unattached and Lizzie doesn’t need an escort.”

“Finn Campbell will be on duty that night.” Belle says, looking at Delilah.

“Of course. Safety first. Lizzie, would you invite him please?” Delilah asks.


If he's on duty, why do I need to invite him?

Jenn and Delilah start discussing theme, attire, and shops. Belle and I sigh at the same time and then smile at each other.

I guess we’re warming up to each other.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Media Friday

To begin Media Friday, I thought it would be to share my preferred media.

TV: Korean Dramas, Anime, and Disney Channel
Youtube: Modern Web series adaptations
Movies: Romantic Comedy and Musicals
Music: Country, KPOP, and Alternative
Books: Teen fiction and manga

So "Media Friday" will be a little haphazard. I'll be posting about things I'm watching and reading. I'll only talk about music if I seriously can't wait until "Music Monday".

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Jaded: Chapter 4

“So what do you think?”

“I think it’s a good idea." Jennifer responds.

“I won’t stay if you don’t want to. It is entirely up to you.”

“And yet you were the one to check it out. Lizzie I said yes. If you decided it has been thoroughly considered. I’ll go out there.”

“I’m sorry. I was thinking too much. I thought you wouldn’t want to.”

“I just don’t want to be separate from you. Like we promised last year. I want to get away and back to you.”


“The nightmares have gotten worse.”

---- ---- ----

“Liz, this is Jennifer. Jennifer, this is Elizabeth.” Roxanne says at my left.

I sigh at the use of my full name and roll my eyes to look at the third person.

“Jennifer is going to be your new bunkmate. Since you’re older show her the way, Liz. I hope you’ll get along.”

I hear the threat in that statement and smile sweetly at Roxanne.

“You almost fool me every time.” She says, before turning and walking away,

“Hi, I’m Jenny.” The little girl says taking a step closer.


“I’m seven. How old are you?”

I open my mouth to answer.

“Do you have siblings? What happened to your parents?”

I glare at the girl.

“Don’t ask those questions here.” I grind out.

The girl jumps back and folds into herself. She’s shaking and keeps opening her mouth.

“I’m sorry.” I say, sighing. “People aren’t going to want to answer you and some might respond worse than me.”

I put my book down and scoot back on my bed.

“Come sit by me and tell me about yourself since you want to talk.”

Jennifer twists and turns. I’m about to pick back up my book when the weight changes on my bed.

“You remind me of my cousin. You’re younger but she was always engrossed with something.”

Engrossed? From a seven year old? Before I can answer she continues talking.

“My mom died in childbirth and my dad died flying an airplane when I was 4. Aunt Samantha took me in. I lived with her and my cousin Lucy until two months ago. They died in a fire. I only survived because L-lucy woke me up and Aunt Samantha threw me out the, the window.” Jennifer starts crying.

I put my arms around her and glare at anyone in the room to keep them away.

“I’m sorry, Jenn. I’m so sorry for all that has happened in your life.” I whisper in her ear.

And just like that I feel like I’m being pulled back to reality.

----- ----- -----

“So you’ve decided…” Delilah prompts.

“Sorry. I didn’t realize I’d paused. I like the teachers, the town,” I look around. “And all of you.”

“Thanks.” Belle says grinning. “What did Jennifer say?”

“She’s cool with it.”

“Yay!” Allison says, jumping up and hugging me.

“I take it you’re happy?”


“She’s been talking of nothing else for two days.” Mandy says.

“Ok, then. We’ll just have to get your transfer papers.” Belle says.

“We’ll go do that and arrange your flight to get your things and your sister.”

Belle glares at Delilah but I don’t think about it long. I’m thinking of all the flying I’ll be doing.

“Yes, we’ll be doing that.” Belle says. “Girls, entertain yourselves. Stephan is a call away if you want to go anywhere.”

“Thank you.” Mandy says.

The sisters walk out.

“So movies?” I ask.

“It’s too bad Finn and Nicole are busy.” Allison says. “They love the home theater.”

These girls spend the summer with him. This should be eye-opening.

----- ----- -----

I feel a tap on my shoulder and look up.

“Finn? What are you doing here?” I ask, sliding off my headphones.

“Flying back to school. Same as you.” He says, sitting next to me.

“Yes but when did you get here?” I ask and then frown. “Obviously you’ve been on the plane the whole time.”

“Yup. Didn’t my dad tell you I was coming?”

“No. He said that a security guy would be flying back.”

Not that I need it but I wasn’t going to argue with Timothy Campbell.

“And here he is.”

“I would feel safer if it wasn't you.” I say, laughing. “Wait, why did you only wave when I said hello hours ago?”

“I was up until three training and then getting lectured. Sorry for sleeping at 10 in the morning.” He says sourly.

“Well, if you want to be like that.” I say, picking up my headphones.

Finn taps me again after a few minutes.

“Look, I shouldn’t have said that. There’s just a lot going on.”

“Anything you want to talk about?”

“Not today. Not yet. I’ll tell you in a couple days.”

“But Jennifer and I are flying back then.”

“I’ll tell you at breakfast. I’m supposed to drive you both to the airport.”

The phrase supposed to isn’t lost on me but I don’t say anything.

Finn starts talking about all the different times he’s been on this plane flying to and fro school and on vacations.

“The Simms must really like your family.”

“I guess. Dad’s worked for them for 10 years. But more than that they just like helping out.”

Yes, I know. I owe them a lot.

“If you know this plane so well can you tell me what’s over there?” I ask, nodding towards it.

“What?” Finn asks, not even looking.

“Seriously?” I stand and pull him up.

“What is that?” I ask, pointing to the blue paper on a chair’s wooden armrest. “It wasn’t there a few days ago. It says don’t remove yet it doesn’t seem like it’s holding anything up.”

“You care about the most random things. Does it really matter?”

“It could be life changing. I will find out.”

“All your secrets.” Finn adds, mocking me.

“Whatever. Hidden things raise the suspicion of curious people.”

“Just remember.”

“Please don’t say curiosity killed the cat.”

“Actually I was going to say revelations may give you more than you expected.”

“That is true.”

“All passengers take their seats. We’re entering landing.” The captain says.

“All? Is there another person on board?”

“Don’t be facetious, Eliza. It was just a slip of the tongue.”

I grin at Finn and ask him more about his summer breaks.

----- ----- -----

“I heard you were leaving but I didn’t believe it.” Milly’s voice makes me stop.

“Just ignore her.” Lindsay mutters as I turn around.

“Is it the clothes and lifestyle we have that drove you out? Or the fear that you couldn’t be first this year, either?” Macey asks, coming to stand next to her sister.

“We have 25 students in our year and you have Milly to tutor you. And yet, have you ever even been on the top 15?” Lindsay asks.

Macey mutters and Milly glares at her. That sure quiets her down.

“I don’t care about money as much as Macey does but that must be it since no one denied it. I thought better of you than that.” Milly shrugs. “Anyway, I’ll miss the competition for second after Lindsay.”

Lindsay blushes and starts pulling me away.

“Probably just about how much I’ll miss having a Musgroves in every class.” I say.

I’m glad I didn’t just let them talk, I think smiling. Until I see Finn’s expression that is.

“Really, Eliza?” He asks. “Do you have to be sarcastic with them?”

“Why do you always come at the part that makes me look like the bad guy?”

Finn sighs and shakes his head.

“Where are the others?” He asks.

“They’re sitting on Jennifer’s suitcase trying to make it close.” I say.

“That’s not going to work.” Finn states.

“And why not?” Lindsay asks, glaring at him as he walks to the car.

“Because it’s full of books if I know her. Sitting not going to make them more compact.” He says. “I’ll go get them.”

I nod and he leaves.

“How’s he going to help?” Lindsay asks.

“Sneering isn’t attractive, Linds. He had a duffel bag with him. I’m guessing he’s going to give it to Jenn.”

“And he saves the day.”

It’s just a bag. But I know it isn’t.

“Lindsay, what now?”

She turns to me and her expression softens.

“You decided you like him when school resumed in January. And then ‘your oldest friend’ disappeared for the rest of the year. You can see why I’m not happy with this development.”

“He was busy.”

“The boys’ academy is 3 blocks away.”

“Fine, let’s just say I agree. What does that have to do with now?”

“His dad works for the Simms family. They offer a slight scholarship for their employees’ children. If he wanted to be closer to home, for I don’t know ten weeks, they would make it happen.”

I don’t see why that would be a bad thing. But I don’t get to voice that.

“Alright, we’re here.” Bianca says.

“What’s this?” Nascha ask.

We all gather around the trunk.

“It’s my luggage.”

“Why is it still here?” Mikayla asks, confused.

Finn looks at them and then me.

“They forgot to tell you?”

“Who forgot to tell who what?” Jenn asks.

“The Simms and my dad asked me to be your bodyguard. I’m moving back. I’m going to school with you two.”

“You’re moving back with your parents for ten weeks to work for your dad and go to the boys’ academy?” I ask.

“You’re right until the academy part.” He replies.

“He is going to school with you and Jenn. He’s going to the girls’ academy.” Lindsay says.

I hear the anger in her voice and hope that it’s as lost on Finn as it is my dormmates.

“You’re going to be the only guy in an all-girl school?” Tess asks.

Finn nods.

“I would not trade places with you.” Rizalyn says.

Nascha says something I don’t hear as I’m being dragged away.

“If I was going to an all-boys school, Nascha.”

“See? And it’s worse than I expected.” Lindsay whispers once we’re a safe distance away. “He’s going to be around you all the time.”

“Not all the time.”

“He’s a senior and your bodyguard. He’s going to have your exact schedule.”

“And if he does?” I ask more confident than I am.

“Just take care of yourself, Mistress."

“We’re loaded.” Jenn calls.

We walk over.

“Line up.” I call.

They get in line, in age order.

“Lindsay and Mikalya are in charge. I will be getting weekly emails so… Yes, Bianca?”

She puts her hand down.

“I’m older than Mikalya. Why can’t I be in charge?”

“You’re only older by a few weeks. And you’re the troublemaker.”

The girls start laughing.

“As I was saying, I will be getting weekly emails so don’t act any differently than you would if I was here. If you don’t, the winter of 2014 will not be a happy one.”

“Yes, ma’am.” The girls say, standing taller.

“Mikalya, I know this is a new position but I’m sure you can do it.”

“Thank you.”

“Tess and Bianca, I expect you to take care of yourself.”

“We will.” Bianca says looking at Tess. She nods.

“Are you saying we can’t?” Rizalyn asks, shyly.

“I know you can. But the academy is a big change so I want you to use the resources you have. I wish Lindsay and I had more than Headmistress when we were your age.”

Nascha nods.

“Otherwise, keep up the good work. And Rizalyn, follow Tess around.”

“Why would you tell her that?” Tess asks, wary.

I'm losing control of this meeting.

“It’s good for you to be together. However, you should try to be more independent, Rizalyn.”

“I’ll try.”

“Thank you.”

“The commander is having anther meeting. They’re so weird.” Macey says.

Ugh, will I ever get through this?

“Do you think they’re actually scared of her?” Bea asks.

“From how they’re standing, I think they are. She can’t even have friends when they live with her.” Macey says, louder to make sure I hear her.

“Nascha, this was going to be my advice anyway but thanks to that, I’m sure you understand why. Don’t let anything said to you or about you get you upset. But at the same time don’t let praise make you egotistical.”

She nods with big eyes. I think she’s starting to understand the dynamics of the academy.

“Lindsay, don’t forget to keep in touch.”

“As if I could.”

I smile and hug her. This ends the meeting and we’re surrounded.

“You’re moving in with the Simms, right?” Bea calls, as we separate.

“Yeah.” I answer back just to be polite.

“Don’t think that just because you look like them, with your big eyes and face structure, they’ll take you in. You will always be, well you.” Macey says.

“That’s not insulting, Macey.” Milly says, leading a driver past them into te building.

That’s the second time today that she semi stood up for me.

“They just had to come back to school early.” Mikalya says.

“We’ll miss you.” Tess says.

“We will too.” Jenn replies as we get in the car.

“Love you.” Bianca calls, leading the group backwards.

“Love you too.” I say.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Jaded: Chapter 3

Chapter 3

The tour of the house was to take 2 hours. Which is already a long time. It’s nearing 3 because these girls are lineage and history buffs. If I hear “and they married so and so bringing this and that into the family” one more time, I might scream.

“Nicole? Mandy? Where are you guys?”

Is that salvation?

“Right wing.” Mandy answers her walkie-talkie.

“Could you be a little more specific?”

“We’re near the black hole.” Mandy jokes.

“Thank you. I’ll be right there.”

How did she understand that? I think, admiring at another rug. Then we hear footsteps.

“There you are. Miss Elizabeth’s tour was supposed to end long ago. She’s supposed to be resting. And we have a meal schedule to keep.”

I stand up. The girl gasps.

"Your eyes are so big and your face." She stutters. "You're beautiful, Miss Elizabeth."

“Thank you. It’s Lizzie, actually.”

“Well it’s lunchtime, Miss Lizzie.” The girl says taking Mandy’s hand and turning around.

“I meant just Lizzie.” I say as Nicole puts her arm through mine.

We follow the girl and Mandy down the stairs. Mandy wiggles out of the girl’s grasp.

“Hey, we didn’t introduce you two. This is Allison, honorary assistant head maid. Allison this is Lizzie.” Mandy says.

“Nice to meet you.” I say and Allison looks at me.

“You, too. What do you mean honorary?” Allison asks, turning to Mandy again.

“I mean Belle created it for you because you wanted it and Delilah went along with it because it sounds cool.” Mandy says folding her arms.

Allison starts to say something but stops because I’m laughing.

“What?” She asks, suspusiously.

“Don’t worry. I’m not laughing at what she said. I’m laughing because I went from ‘Miss Elizabeth’ to ‘you, too’ in about a half a minute.” I say, smiling from the hilarity.

Allison narrows her eyes and I realize that this might not be the girl to laugh at.

“Okay,” She says, smiling and stepping back to take my arm, “You may have to become my only friend as opposed to my dormmates.”

Not the response I was expecting.

“Interesting proposal. What’s in it for me?”

“Pride in a wonderful friend, the envy of every girl at school and most importantly me as a friend.” She says, walking me to the table as the younger girls go to the kitchen.

“I’m sorry but the ego attached made that a sour offer.” I say adding a buzzer sound.

I look at Allison and we both start laughing.

“Laughing? From Allison?” Mandy gasps.

Nicole puts down a couple of plates and grabs the ones in Mandy’s hands.

“Whatever, Mandy.” Allison says, letting go of me and sitting down.

“Hey! Why are you joining us? You’re supposed to be working.” Mandy says, sitting across from Allison.

“And the first thing I was to do was to meet and hang out with Lizzie.” She says.

While I don’t know how I feel about that assignment, I’m glad she’s calling me Lizzie.

“I was wondering, why is there a forbidden area in the house?” I ask as Nicole sits down after bring out cups.

“No one knows for sure but there are a lot of rumors about it. Some say sweet innocent Belle lost it one day and destroyed that section.” Mandy says and Nicole rolls her eyes.

“It doesn’t matter what the rumors are. All that matters is the only one allowed in there is the head maid to dust.” Nicole intones.

“You two are being the quintessential gossiping maids. Stop it.” Allison commands.

They all look at each other. Finally Mandy and Allison smile while Nicole rolls her eyes again.

“It is true that you’re on this trip for an unofficial younger sister?” Allison asks.

"I am mainly here for her, Jenn, but also for myself. My best friend made me promise my decision would be good for both of us.”

“I see.” Allison says as the doorbell rings.

"Allison." Mandy comments.

She sighs but gets up anyway.

“Hi, Finn. Won’t you come in?” She asks.

“You’re going to stop saying that at some point, right?” He asks as he pats her head and enters.

“Just as soon as you stop doing that.” Allison says, adjusting the scarf he didn’t mess up.

“Afternoon girls. I thought I’d join you for lunch.” Finn says, coming to a stop between Nicole and I.

“That’s fine. There’s a sandwich in the fridge Mary made in case you came over.” Nicole says, looking from Finn to Allison.

A staring contest later, Allison has placed a plate in front of Finn and is sitting between me and him.

----- ----- -----

“No, it’s okay. I can show her the grounds and town by myself. You girls enjoy your weekend.” Finn says, standing up from his seat.

“Um, all right.” Nicole says.

“You guys are still attending the dinner at school, right? I want to see more students with the teachers.” I say, hoping they’ll agree.

“Of course. Two formal dinners in one week is a dream come true.” Mandy says.

“We’ll be there.” Nicole and Allison say.

“Thanks. See you then.” I say as Finn opens the back door.

“Bye.” They say as Mandy heads for the front door.

We walk out the back door and Finn closes it. Once we walk past the huge patio/deck area we break into a run. I’m going to see all the grounds before he talks about them.

I stop at a tree about 100 yards from the house and look around. Finn has ‘disappeared.” I roll my eyes and lean against the tree. Next thing I know I’m being lifted and spun in the air like a three year old. I mean the looking at your holder type.

“You didn’t think you beat me, did you?”

“Of course not. I haven’t beaten you in 2 years. Now, will you please put me down?” I ask, faking sweetness.

“Fine.” He says, putting me down.

"I can't believe we're seniors."

“Yeah. I haven't seen you since January. That's nine months. I’ve missed you Eliza.” Finn says, hugging me.

“I’ve missed you too, Finn.” I say smiling and hugging him back.

“So how are you?” He asks, letting me go and sitting down.

“What do you mean how am I? You asked me yesterday and you see me today. What else do you need?” I ask sitting next to him.

“Tell me everything.”

“Nine months is a long time. A lot has happened.”

“Yeah and I asked for everything. I’ve been waiting to talk to you since I saw you yesterday. We have all day. Let’s catch up.”

I look at him and he glares back.

“Alright, fine. Um, February was the start of the new semester and I started working at the yogurt store again. March was the dance, where were you?”

“My parents came to visit that weekend.”

“Oh. Well, it was fun. I would have preferred to stay home but the girls persuaded me to go. April was midterms and spring break. All of us were working and rarely saw each other. May was the other dance, where were you then?”

“Touring colleges with my mom which I did all summer as well. Well between working with my dad. Continue.” Finn says, gesturing as well.

And I was hoping I wouldn’t have to.

“June was lockdown and graduation.”

“How was your lockdown this year?” he asks.

“Same as always: no long phone calls, no leaving campus. Four days of finals followed by three days, excluding the weekend off. Why?” I ask confused.

“We had our three days in between each final day.”

“Maybe they didn’t want you boys having too much consecutive time on your hands. Remember the last two years?”

“Yeah but those people have graduated since. It was a little hard to focus on the finals with parties and hangouts going on everywhere. Anyway tell me about your summer."

“I spent it working, hanging out with the girls and in class. Nascha and I took a poetry class this year.”


"Right, you don't know our freshmen. Nascha and Rizalyn. Rizalyn is Tess' younger sister. They're sweet."

"So it’s finally all eight students?"

"Yup. Oh, Kevin came into my store.”

“What?” Finn asks, his smile dropping. “Why didn’t you tell me when it happened?”

“We only emailed each other a couple times a month. There was more important things to tell you.”

“What happened?”

“Nothing. He wanted to buy yogurt. He said he's going to Northwestern so he was looking for a condo.”

“He’s going to be back in our town?” Finn asks, upset.

“Probably already is. But don’t worry, he called me gorgeous and I ignored him. Somehow that made him remember who I am and he asked what happened. I said I wised up. I think I’m safe from him.”

Finn looks annoyed and I decide to let him cool down. I look at the sky.

----- ----- -----

“Hey Eliza, what’s up?” Finn asks, sitting on a bar stool with Max in tow.

“Nothing really. Just getting used to all the yogurt around here.” I say shuddering.

“Oh, yeah. You don’t like yogurt.”

“Actually, I’m starting to accept and maybe like it.” I whisper feeling like I’m sharing a horrible new discovery.

Finn laughs.

“Hey Gorgeous.” Kevin says coming up to the counter. “Can I get a strawberry frozen yogurt, medium?”

“Sure, just let me get Finn and Max’s orders.” I say.

Finn and Kevin glance at each other.

“Okay.” Kevin says, leaning over the counter to kiss my cheek.

Kevin walks away and Finn looks after him.

“Why are you still dating him?” Finn asks turning back around.

“What do you mean still? We’ve only been dating for a month. How long should I have dated him?” I ask.

“Zero minutes.” Max mutters. When he realizes we heard him, he adds, “Guy’s an idiot. You’re too good for him, Lizzie.”

“He’s third in his class. I’m third in my class. I’m missing the idiot and too good parts.”

“Max didn’t mean Kevin’s uneducated. He meant he makes dumb decisions.” Finn says.

“Well, I don’t know about that. So far he has been nice to me and I’m not going to look at his past to judge his character now. What do you guys want?” I ask.

They give me their orders and I turn to get the three yogurts.

“Are you fine with him calling you gorgeous in that tone?” Finn mutters and I decide to ignore him.

I give them their order and deliver Kevin’s to his table. Then, I go on break in the stockroom. Kevin asked me to sit at his table but it was filled it with rich boys so I decided to be alone. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against 17 year old rich boys. It’s just that they discuss things I don't understand.

Right before my break is up, I remember that Finn said he had something to show me. I leave the stockroom and go back to the store. Kevin and his friends have left.

“You had something to show me, Finn?” I ask walking up to him and Max.

“Oh, yeah. Come on.” He says, getting up and throwing away his trash.

We exit the store and start walking to where he parked his car.

“Hi, Gorgeous. So you’re an Alden Girl?” I hear Kevin say before I see him.

Finn looks prepared to attack him and I hold my hand out to stop him.

“I am.” Lindsay replies, sounding distracted.

“I’m an Alden Guys, twelfth grade…”

“And dating my best friend.” Lindsay says, pushing him aside.

Lindsay sees me and her eyes wider.

“Mistress. I didn’t see you past him. I was looking down. Didn’t even realize it was Kevin.” She says, rushing towards me.

“Lindsay, it’s fine. Remember Lizzie not Mistress. Anyway it’s his fault.” I say as Kevin turns around.

“Hey. That wasn’t what it sounded like.” Kevin says, walking over.

“I think it was.”

“I can explain.” Kevin tries again.

“No, you can’t. And if I believed you, I’d be the idiot. I kinda hope you have someone else so me breaking up with you isn’t that bad. But at the same time I kinda don't. Goodbye.” I say, turning around.

I barely see Finn walk past me. Then I hear a heavy thud. I turn around and see Kevin on the ground. Finn walks back folding his arms.

“Finn why did you punch him?” I ask, surprised.

"He kicked him actually." Max corrects.

“Because he was playing you.”

“I know that but did you have to kick him?”

“I’m fine with it.” Max says.

“Well I’m not. Finn?” I ask.

“What would you say to defending your honor?” He asks knowing exactly how I feel.

“I would say this isn’t the Middle Ages, no matter what you might think.”

“He's a jerk. He deserved worse.”

“Perhaps but you shouldn’t dole out his punishment. I broke up with him. Anything that happened between us was done.” I say, wrapping my arm around Lindsay, “What’s wrong?"

“I’m sorry. He was your first boyfriend and he turned out like that. He was your first kiss.” She adds working herself up. “I understand if you don’t want to work. I’ll tell Joy what happened.”

“Lindsay, I’m perfectly capable of working. So the guy’s a jerk, so what? I’m not going to go home and cry because of it. Finn, it seems like my break is over. Can you show me the surprise later?” I ask turning back to him.

“Yeah, you guys get off in 3 hours, right?” He asks and I nod. “I’ll pick you guys up then.”

“Okay, thanks. See you guys.” I say.

“See ya.” Max and Finn call as I turn and direct Lindsay to the store.

----- ----- -----

I look at Finn.

“Are you okay now?” I ask.

“How can you be irritated at me being mad? Kevin is a jerk and you don’t care. Even when faced with his current existence.”

“He continued existing.” I say, surprised that he would say that. “It was two years ago and it barely mattered then. Remember, you were upset for me.”

“Yeah, why was that?”

“I didn’t know back then. I just knew I didn’t care.” I say, staring at the pool.

“And now?” Finn asks, exasperated.

“Now I realize that Kevin was what I wanted but not what I needed.”

“You’re speaking in code.”

I roll my eyes.

“I mean that he wasn’t right for me. And I didn’t care about him enough for what happened to upset me. We shouldn't have dated.”

Finn nods.

“Now then, are you going to tell me about your 9 months?” I ask.

“Not much to tell but I’ll tell you since I made you tell me.”

“Thank you.”

“Since February was the start of the new semester I got a new roommate. His name was Malcolm. Well is Malcolm he just isn’t my roommate anymore.”

“I get it.” I say laughing. “Did you get along?”

“I got a laugh.” Finn says and I shoulder him. “Yes we did get along. He is about as studious as me and we had a couple classes together so I could actually study in my room for once.”

“Come on. Philip wasn’t a bad roommate, right? You’ve been able to study in your room before.”

“Alright, fine. He was a good roommate. I’m exaggerating. But sometimes I wish my room didn’t change like yours.”

I try to keep from thinking about why my room is different.

“Sorry, Eliza. I shouldn’t have said that.” Finn says.

I guess I didn’t do a good job of keep it off my face.

“It’s fine. It happens. Anyway nothing else happened in February?” I ask trying to move on.

“Um, nothing really.”

“Dude, I didn’t see you all year and you’re telling me you didn’t do anything?”

“Okay. I dated Milly until mid-March.”

“You what?” I ask stunned.

“What do you mean what? I dated Milly Musgroves.”

“You know what I mean by what.”

“Ok fine. I do. Let’s just say it didn’t work out.” Finn says, looking away.

“She broke up with you, didn’t she?” I ask, smiling.

How else do you react to your crush dating your enemy? I mean, without giving away the secret.

“Yeah, because I couldn’t go to the dance with her."

“Well, she’s all about appearance and that probably wasn’t the only reason.”

“You’re talking about the fact that my dad actually has to do his own work, aren’t you?”

“Of course. Milly’s an heiress to an heir. Her family doesn’t exactly have a good work ethic.”

“And she ended up going with Ralph Anderson.” Finn says.

"I don't blame her. He's cute."

Finn stares at me for a long moment.

"Come on. I should show you the actual grounds."

I nod and take his hand to stand up.

I know he doesn't like when I talk about guys. But it's a double standard since he talks about girls.

----- ----- -----

"So much more than a backyard with a gazebo." I say, sighing. "Why in the world do they need this much land and entertainment areas?"

"No idea." Finn says, shrugging. "But imagine training by running it for 10 years and you have my life."

"And I thought Latin was bad. I am truly sorry."

Finn laughs and grabs my wrist.

"Come on. I wanna show you my house."

"Oh, you wanna do you?" I ask pulling my arm back.

"Don't make fun of me, Eliza. You know you're dying to see where I was raised."

"Alright, I am. You could try speaking English, though." I say, putting my arm through his.

Finn leads me to a house towards the back of the property. I turn and look at the main house. Yup, there's my bedroom. I definitely saw him while talking to Lindsay.

"Welcome to..."

Finn trails off and follows my gaze to the main house.

"Oh, yeah your bedroom is right across. Did you yell yesterday by any chance?"

I blush.

"You did! Why? And where did you go?"

"I was surprised and I ducked behind the window."

"What surprised you?"

"Weren't you saying something?"

"Welcome to Campbell cottage." He states, lackluster. "Why did you yell?"

"Does anyone actually call it that?"

"You're going to ignore me. Fine."

"Wait. If your house is behind the main house, why did you use the front door earlier?"

"I was out talking with a few of the other bodyguards."

I sit at the breakfast bar.

"So what do you think I should do?" I ask.

“Whatever's best for you and Jennifer."

"I'm asking for something a little more specific. I want advice."

"I think you should stay. You're going to be in that town until the 9th graders graduate. But then, you'll probably become close to the new girls. This might be your last time to leave Evanston."

"Thanks for dooming me there, Finn."

"You know that town like the back of your hand. It would be good for you to be a little lost. And Jenn would love it."

"Ok. I've decided."

Finn stares at me.

"I'm going to stay."

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fighting Through

So I was miserable this morning. I didn't want to do anything.

It was probably because of how late I got to sleep, 4 am. And then I barely woke up in time for my physical therapy appointment.

I'm happy I'm not seriously depressed anymore. But I don't know if I can stand these random days of misery. How am I supposed to grow if I pause every few days?

But I shook it off. I did a hair mask, face mask, and body scrub. I feel renewed.

I finally started on an assignment that was due Wednesday.

I'm disappointed that I didn't turn my assignment in on time. I'm disappointed that I didn't blog twice this week.

Now if only I can get over my hatred of sleeping so I can wake up on time tomorrow.

But I do see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Goodnight, Owls!

P.S. Yes it's corny but that's the group's name :)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Knight in Shining Armor

Here you are, all built and strong
Wearing armor, some would say you're the one
My life is broken, shattered pieces on the floor
You're a knight, I'm just a damsel in distress

You've offered your hand, from your white horse
They say to take it, it's the only course
Why is that the only way, the only light
I can't stand, nothing will be fixed without your hand

Everyone knows the fairytales, we've heard of the strife
There's a girl trapped in a wretched life
And then along comes a man to change it all
Out of pain, the woman smiles and they ride off

Is that the story I want told
My life summed up in the words of old
Or can I stand without your hand
I'll stop being a damsel but you'll still be my knight

So I know it's not Poem Tuesday but this is something I've been musing about. Why do girls always need a guy to safe them? Why do guys have a hero complex? It's nice in the comics, movies, and books. But in real life you need to save yourself. Then you'll be ready to have someone stand by your side. I've always worried that if I fell in love with the guy who saved me, I'd be getting my feelings mixed up. I want to be good on my own and better with you.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Jaded: Chapter 2

“Lizzie, this is Nicole. She’s a sophomore at the academy. Nicole, could you show Lizzie to her room?”

Nicole nods and Belle starts to walk away.

“I’ll go confirm the plans for the weekend. See you at 6:30 for dinner.”


Nicole leads me out of the foyer.

“Have you lived in Quincy long, Nicole?”

“I was born and raised in Winthrop.”

“I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to school near where I was born.”

“Where were you born?”

“Here. Well, in Plymouth.”

“Wow. So you might not need a tour of the city.”

“I haven’t been here in almost 10 years. It’s probably changed a lot being a metropolitan city.”

“That’s true. Well, your tour guide loves exploring so you’ll see a lot."

I nod and realize we’ve been stopped for a few moments.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll see you at dinner.”

I open the door and pause. It looks exactly like my dorm. The wallpaper, dressers, desks, and beds. It’s like a miniature version of my entire house.

I unpack quickly and go to the phone.

“Hello, Room 501.” Mikalya says.

“Hi, Mikalya. I wanted to let you girls know I landed.”

“Lizzie! I’ll put her on speaker. Calm down, Bianca.”

“Hiya, Lizzie.” Bianca says.

“Lizzie, how was the flight?” Rizalyn asks.

“Hi, everyone. The flight was fine. Finished reading the course guidelines.”

“Of course you did.”

“It’s important, Jenn. It’s our senior year.” Lindsay says.

“Anyway, how’s Ms. Simms? Which Simms are there?” Tess asks.

“Belle Simms is nice. Delilah Simms will be here for dinner soon. I think the brothers live in the north.”

“Well that’s disappointing. I wanted to know if Arthur is as nice as they say and if Caleb is naturally funny or if that’s simply prepared for interviews.”

“Maybe she’ll find out in the months, Tess.” Nascha says.

There’s an awkward silence.

“Some of us have work and others shopping plans so we should go.” Mikalya says.

“Of course. Have a good day.” I reply.

“Thanks.” Rizalyn says.

“Liz, can I talk to you?” Lindsay asks.


“Bye, Lizzie.”  Bianca says.

I open the window.

“Mistress, I’m alone.”

“Lindsay, you were doing so well.”

“Right, sorry. Lizzie, have you made your decision?”

“What? No. I’ve only been here an hour.”

“That means it’s still in consideration.”


“Fine. But make sure it actually benefits both of --.”

“No way!” I shout and duck behind the windowsill.


“Sorry. I thought a bird was coming in the window. Lindsay, I’ll repeat my promise to decide carefully. But I’m going to hang up to unpack now. Have fun reading on your day off.”

“Thanks. Choose well. And remember us.”

“Love you, too.”

It couldn’t have been. Right? That was a figment of my imagination. I didn’t just see him, did I?

----- ----- -----


Apparently I did as he is currently standing in the Simms foyer.

His back is to me. He hasn’t seen me yet.

“Delilah, there you are.” Belle says as her sister comes into the room. “Delilah this is Eliz—Lizzie. Lizzie, this is my busy sister Delilah."

I glance at Delilah and look back at Finn. Who has turned around and is staring at me.

“Hello, Delilah. It’s nice to meet you. I’m sorry I’m late.”

“No need to apologize. I’m late as well.”

“Eliza!” Finn runs up the stairs and picks me up. “Eliza, is it really you?”

I stare at him.

“Come on, Liz. What are you doing here?” A beat. “Did you lose your voice yelling at the girls?”

“No. I was invited. What are you doing here?” I whisper back.

“You two know each other?” A girl asks speaks for the group.

“Yes, Mandy. We do.”

“Finn, why didn’t you say anything?” Belle asks.

“You didn’t say Eliza Gent was the girl. I would have agreed right away.”

“Well, that makes everything easier. Lizzie, Finn will be your tour guide.” Delilah says.

We continue the introductions. Timothy Campbell, Finn’s dad, is in charge of security detail. Nicole and Mandy are sophomores. They are SOS students and work for the Simms.

We sit down to dinner and Delilah asks Finn and me how we met. Finn tells me to relay the story.

“We met when we were 11. I was shopping with the manager of my home. Finn was touring the boys’ school. He was bored because it was the umpteenth time he’d seen it but he had never seen town so he…”

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Finn gesturing for me to stop.

“You were bored? You’re the one who asked to go every year after that. I was done too. Wait, was Lizzie going to say you ran off?” Timothy asks and I realize what I had done.

“I wouldn’t say I ran off. I excused myself, without telling you. Anyway Eliza hasn’t said how we meet.” Finn says, knowing he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

He looks at me asking me to continue.

“So he came into the store I was in. It was a thrift store which was fine. But it was an all-girl thrift store, which was strange.” Kala and Mandy laugh at that. “Mrs. Bachchan, the home manager, asked him if he was lost and he replied that he was. Since we were done with our shopping Mrs. Bachchan told me to escort him and to be home by sundown.”

“Which is why I got in trouble but she didn’t.” Finn says.

“Is that the day that Timothy always talks about? The day when they finally found you, you were sitting by the gate?” Belle asks.

“Yeah, well… anyway that’s how we met.” Finn comments and continues eating.

“Someone doesn’t like being made to sound like a child.” Delilah whispers to me and I nod, giggling.

----- ----- -----

“Isn’t it a little weird?” He asks as Mrs. Bachchan walks out the store.

“Isn’t what a little weird?” I ask putting my hands in my pockets.

“That she would leave you with a stranger?”

“No.” I say walking to the door. “The town always looks out for us and everyone says I can handle myself. Plus, you're a kid too.”

I turn around and see the boy standing there.

“Well, are we going to get you back or not?” I ask, impatiently.

“We are.” the boy says, running over.

We exit and start walking down the street. I don’t even know if we’re going the right way as I don’t know where he is supposed to be. I look over and he is walking with his head down.

“Would you feel better if we introduced ourselves?” I ask and the boy looks up at me surprised. He doesn’t say anything so I put out my hand and say, “My name is Liz Gent.”

“Finn Campbell.” He says, shaking my hand.

“Well, Finn where did you need to go?”

“The Boys’ Academy.”

I nod and continue walking in the direction we were going in.

“Liz, do you want to go in there?” Finn suddenly asks.

I turn around and see the coffee shop he’s pointing at. Now it’s my turn to stare at the ground.

“I don’t have any money.” I say turning away.

“I can buy.” Finn says, quickly.

“No, it’s okay. You don’t have to. And we have to get you back.” I say, flustered.

“I don’t have to be back immediately. I asked so it’s only right that I’m able to pay for both of us. So why not?”

I am a little thirsty from helping Mrs. Bachchan.

“All right.”

Finn smiles and opens the door.
----- ----- -----

After dinner, the next day was planned. Everyone went home. Belle invited me to watch a movie with Delilah and her. But Delilah said she had to work. Belle fell asleep halfway through so I went to bed.