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Rated: 13+ · Book · Young Adult · #2255848
A girl with an amazing intellect moves to a new school. But can she handle the change?
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#1016245 added September 11, 2021 at 9:12am
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Chapter two
I awoke to the sound of my phone beeping loudly. I sat up in bed and rubbed my eyes. I looked at the black walls with unrecognition as I didn’t remember where I was.
“You’d better get ready soon if you want to be on time for testing.”
I turned my head to the left to see my roommate Annika already out of bed and picking out her clothes. Then it all flooded back to me. The tour, Professor Walker, Victor…
“Come on abeamus! Let’s go!” Annika said as she walked out the door.
“Coming!” I called hopping out of bed and grabbing the clothes I had already picked out the night before. I hurried after Annika down the hall. I forgot to put my slippers on, so my feet felt cold against the smooth granite floor. I shoved past a few girls to get to the last available shower in the bathroom.
“Hey!” Said someone right behind me. I turned around to see a short girl with strait magenta hair, and squinty brown eyes. “That’s my shower, what do you think you’re doing?”
I rolled my eyes. “Look, it is my first day, and I would rather not be late. So, unless you want to share the shower with me, I suggest you wait.”
The girl crossed her arms but didn’t say anything.
I quickly showered and got dressed, although the shower was faster than the dressing. I had never worn a uniform before, and I had a hard time navigating the layers. The shirt sleeves had to buttoned at the elbows which was fun. The leggings kept sticking to my damp body, and the tie took me a good five minute to figure out. Once I was finally finished, I quickly put my hair up in a ponytail, letting one lock dangle free in front of my face.
“Not bad for your first try,” Annika said as she was standing out side of the bathroom doorway.
“Thanks,” I said. “So, I’ll see you later then?”
She nodded. “Yup, I hope you do well.”
As I made my way to the auditorium, I heard someone call out to me.
“Hey, wait up!” I turned around to see a dark haired boy, slow to a halt in front of me.
“Can I help you?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“You’re going to the auditorium, right?” The boy asked
“Why yes, how did you—”
“So, am I. Would you mind if I walked with you? I would feel less awkward here if I got to know someone.”
I was about to say no, but one look at his pleading soft brown eyes changed my mind. “Sure,” I said smiling sweetly.
There was a moment of silence, when the boy said, “Forgive me, I haven’t even introduced myself. I’m Will.”
“Dara,” I said curtly. As we both fell silent again, I looked Will over. He was a few inches taller than me, with thick, messy dark brown hair and thick eyebrows. His skin was just a bit lighter than Annika’s and he had the same sturdy build as her. His attire was the same as mine, except the boots were replaced with sneakers and the leggings replaced with dress slacks and a belt. “So, how did you know I was headed to the auditorium?” I asked.
“You’re lack blazer,” He replied. You only get one once you’ve completed your first Function Evaluation Test.” Once we were right outside the auditorium, Will asked, “You think you’re ready?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know, are you?”
Will looked at me curiously. “What?” I asked giggling.
“The test doesn’t’ scare you?” Will asked raising an eyebrow.
I shrugged. “Not really. It’s just a test like any other.”
“Not really. This test will basically determine your whole experience at this school.” Will said frowning.
I smirked. “You know you’re the second person to say that to me.” I patted his shoulder. “Just relax. I’m sure the both of us will do great.”
Will nodded and smiled. “Thanks, I hope you’re right.”
We walked into an auditorium that reminded me of the one’s that the ancient Greeks used. The place was dark, and the only light was coming from the stage that the dozens of seats encompassed.
“Welcome my new students!” Said an enthusiastic voice coming from the stage. It was Headmaster Walker.
Will and I looked at Headmaster Walker, surprised he was the one up on the stage.
“Please sit in this section of seats here,” Headmaster Walker said as he guided us like a Shepard would do with his sheep. Once we were seated, Headmaster Walker continued. “Right, as some of you know, I am Headmaster Walker. Today you will be taking your Function Examination Test, also known as F.E.T.”
“That sounds like fat!” Yelled a boy behind me. I glanced back to see a largely built boy with red and black hair the same as Annika. That must be Annika’s brother, I thought.
Headmaster Walker slightly scowled. “Yes well, It’s F.E.T. not F.A.T.”
I raised my hand. “Headmaster, can we start with the testing now?”
Headmaster Walker looked at me and smiled. “Of course. I never like to keep eager students from their studies.”
Headmaster Walker stepped to the side, revealing the magnificent computer I had seen a week before. “Alright, may we have Alex Wicker step up here first?” the Headmaster asked looking at a clipboard.
Alex, a boy with blond hair and only a few seats away from me, slowly stood up. His hands were shaking, and his legs wobbled a little as he step up on stage. I saw Headmaster Walker whisper something in Alex’s ear then pat him on the back before walking away. Alex stood there motionless for about a minute. “Come on hurry up Wicker!” Cody yelled from behind me.
I scowled and turned around in my seat. “Shut your mouth!” I hissed at him.
Cody scoffed. “And what’s your problem?”
I just shook my head and turned back around in my seat to see Alex place his feet into two foot shaped clamps in front of the large computer. A second later, two arched metal walls closed over Alex and the computer making a thud.
All the students gasped, and Headmaster Walker chuckled. “Don’t worry kids, everything’s fine.”
For about five minutes we sat in complete silence. No one dared to move a muscle, as they didn’t know what would happen. Finally, the outer shell of the computer popped open and Alex stepped away, a little shaken but happy looking. Alex handed two of something that was strapped around his writs then went to sit back down.
“What was it like?” Will asked him as Headmaster Walker called upon the next person.
Alex scratched the back of his head. “Not too bad. Everything was a little fast passed, but I think over all I did well.”
This happened a few more times before I was called. A brunet girl named Barbra Willis was ok after her test; she was actually super happy and smiling. Cody on the other hand was terrified once he was don. It was actually kind of sad to see someone that big so scared of something that wasn’t even real. Another boy with black hair and dark skin named Deric Albic did alright. He had about the same reaction as Alex did, which wiped any fear out of my mind since, from what I could gather, Deric seemed to have a temperament close to mine.
“Alright, Dara Graybourn you’re up next,” Headmaster Walker said smiling at me.
I walked slowly up to the computer. “You know take as long as you need to calm your nerves before entering, the computer measures stress levels, so I wouldn’t want you to get an improper score,” Headmaster Walker whispered in my hear as he handed me two straps of Velcro.
“What are these?” I asked, seeing two red boxes on either strap.
“They help you interact with the simulation.” Headmaster Walker replied. I put the straps on my wrists and the Headmaster patted my shoulder. I placed my feet in the clamps and watched at the metal halves raised over me to create a dome.
The huge monitor lit up, and I noticed that there wasn’t an assortment of buttons and levers like I’d seen Victor working with. I panicked a little and had to try and calm myself.
“You got this Dara,” I mumbled.
Suddenly there were gun shots behind me and a scream. I turned around to see a woman lying on the ground with a gunshot wound in her leg. “Help me please,” she begged.
I looked around for something to help the woman with. The place was a desert, but there was a nearby flag of some sort. I also saw some string laying close to my feet. “Don’t worry I’m gonna help you,” I said in a calm manor.
I helped drag the woman over to a nearby rock. The bullets were coming from the north, so I hid us on the southern face of the rock. I stopped for a moment to count how many bullets were used before reloading. It was ten, and I waited again for ten shots to fire. Once there was a quick silence, I then sprinted over to the old flag and grabbed the twine on my way back. I skidded behind the rock and looked at the stuff in my hand. I had what I needed to patch the wound, but how would I get the bullet out?
I hear another screech from the woman. “Look behind you!”
I turned around to see a rather large sorption crawling towards us. I looked down at my waist to see a dagger attached to a belt. Instantly, I grabbed the dagger and stabbed the sorption in the back, killing it. I then picked the thing up and cut off one of its pincers.
“What—what are you doing?” The Woman asked.
“Hold still,” I said as I used the pincer to grab hold of the bullet.
The woman clutched my arm and tried her best to hold back her scream.
“I’m done. The bullet is out,” I said smiling at the woman.
The woman smiled shakily back as I used the flag and twine to stop the bleeding.
“Thank you,” She said. I stepped back an inch and immediately started to fall. When I hit the ground, I looked around to see that I was in some sort of lab. Red light was flashing all around me and a voice from a speaker was telling everyone to evacuate. The ground shook and an explosion of flames burst through one of the doors. I was thrown against a glass refrigerator causing it to shatter all around me. It took me a few seconds to regain my senses, but I did. I looked to see a door with an exit sign above it, however fire was blocking the path to it.
I looked around. The first thing I noticed was a plastic bottle half filled with water. I grabbed it and poured some of it onto a bandana that had been wrapped around my wrist. I then tied that around my mouth and nose. Still holding the bottle of water in my hand, I looked around for any kind of chemicals I could use. On a counter close to me was a powder. I tasted it and it tasted like potassium bicarbonate. I then saw a pink liquid in one of the unbroken freezers. I smiled as I realized that it was fluorocarbon. I grabbed the two chemicals and mixed them with the rest of the water into a large beaker. I got a white foamy substance. I then ran over to the fire that blocked the exit door and dumped the foam on top of it. The homemade fire extinguishing foam put out the fire, and I shoved the exit door open.
The exit door didn’t lead outside though. I was now walking through a dark hallway. I put my hand to my face and realized that the bandana wasn’t there anymore. “Where am I?” I mumbled. I froze when I heard voices to my left.
“I can’t wait that long. I need the money now!” Said a deep voice that echoed throughout the hall.
“Well you’ll just have to. We wouldn’t want that detective girl finding us out, now would we?” Said another voice, which sounded female.
Instinctively my hand went to my waist. Clipped to my belt was a badge. I didn’t bother to examine it since it was way too dark to see anything. I kept walking to see light streaming in through a doorway. I peeked my head around the doorway to see a tall dark haired man and a tall blue haired woman. They kept rambling on about how much they hated me, but I wasn’t paying much attention. I was looking for a way to get these two caught, and fast. Scanning the rest of the room, I saw many potential ways to entrap the thugs or whatever they were. However, a plan didn’t really form in my mind until I noticed a ladder the right of the doorway. Looking up I noticed metal bars all along the low ceiling. “I got it,” I though excitedly. I crept behind a barrel and grabbed the thick coiled rope that sat on top of it. I then squeezed behind a rack containing bars of gold. I grabbed two and made my way back to the doorway that I had entered from. Tying the two gold bars to one end of the rope, I slung the coil onto my shoulder and traveled up the ladder. There was an extra ledge that surrounded the entire room, so I was able to get right above the two thugs. I un coiled the rope and slung the end without the gold over a metal bare overhead.
Not even blinking, I dropped the weighted end of the rope onto the head of the man, knocking him out. The gold being heavy enough to hold my weight, allowed me to swing on the unweighted end of the rope over to the other side of the room. I then landed on top of another rack, and kicked it over causing it to fall on top of the woman. I used the rope to break my fall, and voilà! The thugs were down, and I was ok.
Everything went black, and just a second later, light came pouring in from above me. The walls came down, and Headmaster Walker came to my side. “Well done Dara,” He said smiling.
I looked around for a moment, confused. “Wait, that wasn’t real?” I asked.
Headmaster Walker chuckled as he removed the Velcro bracelets from my wrists. “Good havens no. You were in a simulation.”
Then I remembered. What felt like ages ago, I was sitting next to Will, awaiting my turn to take the F.E.T.
“How do you feel?” the Headmaster asked.
I looked up at him and smiled. “Refreshed, and calm. Like I just woke up from a really good nap.”
Headmaster Walker raised an eyebrow at me. “Really?”
“Ok, you definitely got into level amazing,” Will said as I sat down next to him
“Is that the highest level?” I asked.
Will shook his head. “No, Domineering is, but no one’s ever gotten that high before.”
“How do you feel?” Alex asked me as another girl went up to the computer.
I shrugged. “Fine, the same way I felt the entire time I was in there.”
“Wait, you weren’t stressed? Or nervous?” Barbra asked her eyes widening.
I shook my head. “No, at least not enough for it to affect my performance. I actually had fun,” I replied smirking.
The other kids looked at me curiously for a moment, then turned their attention back to the computer.

“I’m sure you did awesome Will, it’s not like you were acting like Cody,” I said at we walked out of the auditorium.
“I guess, but I didn’t do as well as you that’s for sure,” Will sighed.
“I don’t think anyone can top Dara,” Alex said from behind me.
I looked back at Alex. “Thank you for the compliment, however, I’m sure I did just the same as both of you.”
“Doubt that” said Barbra walking past me.
I laughed nervously. It hadn’t been even a full day yet and people were already noticing me.
The group of kids slowly thinned until it was just Will and me.
“So, do you want to hang out for the rest of the day?” Will asked crossing his arms.
“If you do, I hope I’m still involved,” Said a girl’s voice from behind me.
“Annika!” I exclaimed turning around.
“Hey, I was one of the first people to get retested, so I was able to bounce early.” She then looked will up and down. “Who’s this?” she asked.
I put a hand on Will’s shoulder. “Annika, this is my friend Will. We—well we only met a little while ago.”
“And yet, you’re already calling him a friend?” Annika asked raising an eyebrow.
“I don’t mind,” Will said with a smile. Will, this is Annika my roommate, and also my friend.”
Annika rolled her eyes. “Sure you don’t.”
I smacked Annika in the arm. “Hey, chill! Besides, you haven’t known me for much longer, and I consider you a friend.”
Annika perked up. “Wait really?”
I shrugged. “Sure, I do. Now Will, this is Annika my roommate.”
“Nice to meet you,” Will said nodding.
“Same here,” Annika replied.
“That’s better. Now do either one of you have a suggestion of what we should do?” I asked looking from Annika to Will.
“I do. But you’ll need to follow me,” Annika said smirking.
Will and I exchanged glances and shrugged. “OK,” I said.

“Where are you taking us?” Will asked looking around. We were in the school’s huge backyard. Even though there were two soccer fields back there, a large amount of grass was still available.
“Just a bit longer, come on,” Annika said grabbing my arm and picking up her pace.
Just a minute later, Annika stopped. “I don’t see anything,” I said looking around.
Annika rolled her eyes, “You don’t see the huge tree right here?” she asked pointing.
I looked at the tree. “Sure, I see the tree but why would you—” I stopped mid-sentence upon looking up. About seven or eight feet up in the air, there was a wooden picnic table stuck in the tree’s trunk.
“What in the world?” Will asked looking up as well.
Annika rested an arm on my shoulder. “This, for your information, is the tree that the school was named after.”
I turned my attention to Annika. “But how? If you’re saying that this school is named after this tree, then the tree is a silver maple.”
“So?” Will asked.
I now looked at Will, “So, as beautiful as silver maples are, they’re week. If snow was to fall on this tree, loads of branches would come crashing down,” I replied.
Annika smirked. “Sure, it would. That is, if the tree wasn’t mixed with a sugar maple.”
Will’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open. “Really! They did that?”
Annika nodded. “Yep, there used to be a whole orchard of these trees, but once the school bought the place, most of the trees were cut down. Except for this one that is.”
“But why?” I asked coking my head and raising an eyebrow.
“Well, you see that table up there?” Annika asked pointing up to the picnic table.
Will and I nodded.
“That was the only picnic table built out of the wood of these trees. In fact, it was built by the owner of the orchard himself, Jack Silver,” Annika explained.
“Ok, so the guy built a table out of sugar and silver maple wood. Big deal,” Will said shrugging.
“It was probably a big deal to the owner. He most likely said that he would only sell the orchard if this tree and bench could remain untouched,” I said thoughtfully.
Annika looked at me with surprise. “That’s right. How did you know that?”
I smiled at Annika. “Most people don’t like to give up there property especially if something like this has been made,” I replied gesturing to the tree and table.
“Alright, but what was so special about this tree and table?” Will asked scratching his head.
“It was the first tree Jack Silver planted. It’s also the wood that he used to make the picnic table out of,” Said a voice from behind me.
The three of us turned around to see Victor standing there smirking.
“Why hello Mr. Know it all. What kind of insults would you like to dish out today?” Annika growled, glaring at Victor.
I looked stunned at Annika for a moment but didn’t say anything.
Victor rolled his eyes, “You athletes always thing the world revolves around you.” Then his gaze rested on me. “I actually came here to congratulate Dara.”
“Right, because you’re such a gentleman,” Will said crossing his arms.
I looked at Will with confusion. I could understand Annika knowing about Victor, but Will? He’s been here just a day or so. How could he possibly have such a negative attitude toward Victor?
Victor chuckled. “What’s the matter cousin? Angered that someone doesn’t actually hate me?”
My eyes widened. “Wait, what! Cousins?” I blurted out in confusion.
Victor and Will seemed to ignore me and judging by the look of bewilderment on Annika’s face, I don’t think she knew what was going on either.
“Victor please, I could never be jealous of you,” Will scoffed.
Victor crossed his arms and squinted his eyes. “Of course, you can’t. You have everyone wrapped around your little finger. The teachers, our family, our friends…”
“You mean my friends, right? Since the last time I checked, you can barely talk to your own parents without them getting agitated,” Will said smirking.
“Alright that’s enough!” I yelled and placed myself in between the two boys. I looked at Victor. “Victor, what’s going on? Why are you guys even fighting?”
“Mr. egocentric has the delusion that I purposely take the—”
“I didn’t ask you!” I growled glaring at Will.
“I’m not egocentric you dimwit. Do you even know what the means?” Victor interjected.
“Victor not helping!” I said glancing back at Victor.
“Why don’t both of you knuckle heads just shut up, and let Dara talk,” Annika said crossing her arms.
That made both boys shut up. “Thanks, Annika,” I said smiling slightly.
Annika smirked. “Don’t mention it. Now ask what you want to these idiots.”
“Victor. You and Will are cousins?” I asked my full attention now on Victor.
He nodded. “Yes, our fathers are brothers.”
“So, you both are Stones! Oh, have mercy on us!” Annika said shaking her head.
“Ok, and you hate each other why?” I continued.
“I already told you Victor—”
“Will, so help me if you interject one more time I’ll…” I tried to think of a meaningful threat that wasn’t too over the top, but I couldn’t. I just threw my hands up in the air. “You know what, I don’t care! What ever family issues you two have, I don’t want to here about them.” I then walked off.
“Hey!” Annika called. “Come back!”

Back in my dorm, I sat on my bed reading. Annika then burst into the room. I glanced over the top of my book. “You seem upset,” I said carelessly.
“You left me with two Stones, who are complete whack jobs I might add!” Annika seethed.
I only smirked.
“Oh, you think that’s funny, do you?” Annika fumed, her face turning the same color as her hair. “After you left, they started going at it again, and I was right in the middle of it!”
I turned to the next page of my book. “Yes, actually I do think it’s funny. I’m always stuck babysitting everyone around me, and I’m sick of it. If you really wanted to leave Will and Victor, you have two feet, you just needed to walk away the same way I did. I’m not gonna call after you like you’re my pet or something.”
Annika didn’t say anything to me. In fact, she started to calm down. I think she realized I was right.
“So, you actually managed to hit it off with Victor?” Annika asked once she was calm again.
I shrugged. “I would say we hit it off. We’ve only had a few exchanges.”
Annika sat on my bed and stared at me. “But how did you manage not to get on his nerves?”
I sighed and put my book down. “I treated him like a human being.”
Annika scoffed. “Yeah, well I tried that once and it didn’t work.”
I looked at Annika curiously. “What do you mean?”
Annika rolled her eyes. “In our first PE class, I had done really well and he—well he sucked. I went up to him and tried to give him a few pointers on how to get better, but he blew me off. Said he didn’t need advice from a stupid jock like me. After that I just treated him how he did me.”
I rubbed my chin. “And are you the only one he acts nasty towards?”
Annika shook her head. “Nah, I’m just one in a thousand.”
I looked at Annika curiously. “But he wasn’t like that with me.”
Annika shrugged. “Look, I don’t know how his wacky brain works. He probably just thinks you’re pretty or something.” There was a moment of silence then Annika place a hand on my shoulder. “You know, I can guarantee that this peace the two of you have wont last. So a piece of advice, don’t let your guard down when he’s around.”
I nodded. “OK.”

A few hours later I was back in the auditorium with the rest of my group. Only it wasn’t just us in the room this time. The entire school was in the room, and it seemed like every seat was filled. I noticed that the F.E.T. computer was gone, and a silver metal table covered in white and black jackets was there in its stead. Me and the rest of the kids who took our F.E.T. in the morning, were last to enter the room and were told to sit in the same spot we did earlier. I paused for a moment, seeing the empty seat next to Will.
“Well, aren’t you gonna sit?” he asked raising an eyebrow.
I scowled and sat away from Will and in between Alex and Barbra.
“Hey,” Alex said.
“Hi,” I said smiling. I realized that Victor wasn’t the most amazing person on the planet, but the way Will had acted wasn’t any better. And the fact that he expected me to sit next to him only made me even more discussed.
A huge roar of applause erupted in the auditorium as Headmaster Walker appeared on the staged smiling. He held up his hand, and the clapping died down. “Welcome students of Silver Maple Academy,” he started. “Today, we are welcoming several new students to our school.” The professor’s eyes rested on our small group. “We will be determining which class they will be a part of today, thanks to their F.E.T. scores!” Again, the room filled with applause, and I felt like I would go deaf as Cody was shouting a few seats away from me.
Once more, Headmaster Walker put his hand up, and the commotion stopped. “Alright, we’ll start with the people assigned to Lower White, going from lowest score to highest score. When your name is called, please walk up on stage and receive a white blazer,” he said, and then glanced down at the clip board in his hand. “Cody Red, you got into the F.E.T. category of Passing, your exact score being eleven.”
I wasn’t verry surprised that Cody got such a low score. But he seems happy anyway. He bound up the steps and received his white blazer. I was surprised when I saw that the person handing out the jackets was Victor. “Congrats, Cody, go join the others in Lower Whit please,” Headmaster Walker said still smiling. I only really caught the names of the people that I was vaguely familiar with, as Victor keep staring at me, causing me to get distracted.
Deric got into Upper White. His score being, a well-done score of twenty six.
Barbra and Alex got into the class Lower Black, having scores of thirty-three and thirty-five, respectively. They received black blazers from Victor instead of white.
When it was all sed and done, there were only two people left in our area of seats. Me and Will.
“Alright, let’s now move on to the highest class, Gifted,” said Headmaster Walker once more glancing down at his clipboard. “William Stone, you got into the F.E.T. category of Amazing. Your exact score was a thirty forty-one. Congrats.”
Even though I was a few chairs away from his, I could see the utter shock on his face. Will made his way slowly up to the stage. I could see that both Victor and Will were doing everything they could to stay calm. However, you could easily see the tension between the two boys as Will snatched the black blazer out of Victor’s hand.
Once Will was seated with the others in the Upper Black class, Headmaster Walker called my name. “Alright Dara Graybourn, you got into the F.E.T. category of…” his voice trailed off.
Muttering and whispers quickly spread throughout the crowd, as Headmaster Walker tried to find his words. He cleared his throat. “Um, excuse me. Please, everyone quiet down now. Thank you.” Headmaster Walker cleared his throat again, and even Victor now started to look worried. Finally, the Headmaster was able to say something. “Dara Graybourn,” He started slowly, “You—you got into the F.E.T. category of—of Domineering,” Headmaster Walker finally managed to get out. The crowd started muttering and whispering again as he continued. “Your exact score was a perfect fifty, as you got ten points from each aspect of the test,” the Headmaster finished, and immediately took a handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed his forehead with it.
I was still in my seat and found it next to impossible to move. A perfect score? I thought. How is that possible?
Although he seemed to be in just as much shock as I was, Victor got off the staged and came over to my seat. “Come on, let’s get you your blazer,” he replied anxiously.
I took Victor’s hand, and walked onto the stage. I took a deep breath and grabbed my black blazer. The next instant, I heard the loud crash of one of the auditorium doors opening. I turned just in time to see Victor dash out of the room, with the door banging closed behind him.
Frowning, I slowly made my way to the other Upper Black class students.
“Well, that’s it for the announcements. Pl—please make your way out of the auditorium in an orderly fashion and enjoy the rest of your day,” Headmaster Walker stammered and speedily walked offstage.
“Hey, come on,” said someone tugging my arm. I followed the group of black blazers out of the auditorium and outside into the night.
“Where are we going?” I asked a girl next to me who seemed to be a year older.
“There’s a huge bond fire for each of the classes at the end of the announcements. It’s so that everyone can get to know each other,” the girl replied.
I sighed. Great, I thought. A crowd is exactly what I need to deal with right now.

I sat huddled on a log alone, watching the fire burn beautifully. I heard laughing off to my right and saw Will talking with three other kids I’ve never seen before.
“You know this bonfire is meant for people to socialize at. Not pout by themselves.”
I glanced over to my life to see Annika sitting down next to me.
“I’m not in the mood to socialize,” I said still watching the flames.
Annika chuckled and put an arm around my shoulders. “Why are you so glum? You got the best score possible on your Function Evaluation Test.”
I looked over at Annika. “I didn’t really want to come here in the first place. I was happy with my life and coming to Iowa didn’t sound all that exiting. But I convinced myself to come because I thought that I wouldn’t stand out. I mean that’s the perk of being in a school where people’s IQ are all 120 and up right?”
Annika looked at me with sympathy. “And instead of you blending in, you go the best F.E.T. score and stuck out like a sore thumb.”
I nodded.
“Hey Dara, can I talk to you for a moment,” I heard someone say.
I looked up to see Victor standing before me with a scowl on his face.
My heart sunk into my stomach. I just topped his score in the F.E.T. There was no way that this conversation was going to be good. I stood up. “Sure thing.”
I thought that Victor was planning on moving away from the group of kids, but apparently not. “You got a perfect score on the F.E.T.” He said coldly.
I quickly began to speak. “Victor, I’m sorry, I know that you were the highest scorer, I didn’t mean—"
“We can’t be friends,” he said bluntly.
Alarmed I looked Victor in the eyes. though his voice was firm, is eyes seemed to be filed with regret. “W—what?” I stammered not really processing what I just heard.
Victor stared at me hard, and said, “You scored higher than me, therefore we can’t be friends.”
I blinked a few times, my mouth half open. “Are you kidding me?” Annika fumed standing up. “She did better on a test than you so now it’s impossible for you guys to be friends?”
Victor looked at Annika angerly, then back at me in the same way. “Yes, it is.”
I was speechless. I knew Annika had warned me that something like this could happen, but I thought Victor would understand. “Victor,” I began again more slowly. “I didn’t mean to score higher than you, I just—”
“Oh just shut up!” Victor exclaimed. That got the attention of a few kids who were now staring at us. Victor stared at me hard. “You know, I’ve been working at this my whole life. Then you show up and just destroy everything!” Victor smirked. “So now, I’m going to make you pay. I’ll make sure that you don’t even make it to the end of the school year.”
“So you’re saying that you’ll get me expelled?” I asked in utter shock.
Annika stood up. “Are you done?” She growled. “Because this poor girl just got here. She doesn’t need a bunch of flak from you.”
Victor glanced from me to Annika. “Yeah, I’m done. For now.” He then stormed off whacking into his cousin as Will made his way toward us.
Will looked back at his cousin. “Is everything ok? I heard Victor yelling.”
I glanced at Will. “Oh, so now you’re mister nice guy again?”
Will scratched the back of his head. “Right. Sorry about before. It’s not how I usually am.”
I sighed and sat back down on the log. “Don’t worry about it.”
Will and Annika sat on either side of me. “You’re cousin just threatened that he’d expel Dara.”
Will scoffed. “He won’t go through with that threat.”
I looked at Will. “How can you be so sure?”
“Because, his bark is bigger than his bite,” Will replied.
Annika placed a hand on my shoulder. “Will’s right. Victor said something similar to me when I got him angry, but he never went through with it.”
“Yeah, but was he that angry?” I asked gloomily.
Will put an arm around me. “Don’t worry, I won’t let him do anything to you.”

Finally, all the kids want back to their dorms. I was exhausted from the fright and craziness of the day, so I completely forgot that Allen was going to facetime me that night. That’s why I nearly tumbled out of bed when my laptop started vibrating at twelve midnight.
I groggily answered the facetime. “What?” I said annoyed.
“Hey Dara, I’ve been waiting for like a half-hour, why didn’t you call?” Allen asked.
Immediately I was awake. “Shoot I’m so sorry, the day just got away from me. (I paused for a second) Wait, we said that we would facetime at 9:30, why are you calling me at midnight?”
For a moment my brother just stood there frozen, then his cheeks singed pink and he smiled awkwardly. “Oops, I forgot that there’s a two-hour difference. Sorry.”
I rolled my eyes and sighed, “It’s fine,”
“You know I can hang up if you want, I know you must have had a pretty rough day if you forgot to call.” Allen said.
I glanced over at Annika, who was still sleeping soundly. “No, I guess you can stay for a few minutes. I kind of need to get some stuff off my chest anyway.”
Allen shifted in his seat. Something he always did when getting ready for a long talk with me. “Cool, so what do you have to lay on me?”
I chuckled. “Oh, where do I begin.”

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