Moving to a new school isn't always easy... especially when you're a vampire
The school wasn’t so much an institute of education as a dumping ground for the misfits of society. Those whose didn’t, or chose not to, fit in. Most of the students here didn’t have a choice over their residency. I was no exception. My adoptive parents, Kate, a semi reformed flower child, and Pierce, an investment banker, had decided to drive me here themselves. Opposed to the shuttle the school offered. No one had said anything since getting into the car. No one had the desire to say anything besides what had been said already. Corrine, their biological daughter, had chosen not to come. It was just as well considering she had always hated me.
The school grounds were surrounded by a high wall and gates. “Ooh this is nice.” I commented from the back seat. “All they’re missing is barbed wire for that homey touch.”
“Bella!” Kate gasped.
My Father sighed wearily. “We’ve already explained why you’re coming here.”
“Because I’m a drug addict and you’re embarrassed of me?”
Kate began to cry for the millionth time. I simply rolled my eyes. Why should I feel bad for her? They were banishing me from our comfortable home in New York to come to here. No longer did my social status, hair, clothes, or any of those trivial things I had worked so hard to perfect mean a thing.
“Fieldgate Academy.” The intercom at the main gate crackled to life.
“We’re the Smiths, dropping off-”
“Arabella? Great, we’ve been expecting you.” The gates buzzed then opened.
The main building was old and covered in vines. Red brick peeked out from under the plant growth along with the aged blue of slate tiles. Pulling my duffle out with me, I slammed the car door and waited for the trunk to pop open. Dad pressed the button from inside the car. Picking up my two suitcases, I shut the lid. “Don’t bother coming with me.” I called, knowing Kate had her window open. Then I went inside and, yet again, shut my parents out.
The main hall was dimly lit. “Hello?” I called looking to either end of the corridor for some sign of life. “Is anyone here?”
One moment, there was no one. I turned to the right, when I moved to look to the left, she was there. Out of no where a tall, blond woman appeared. “Holy sh-”
“Ms Grimassi-Brujah? I’m Principal Fern.” She reached for my hand but found it full. “Why don’t you leave your bags here? They’ll get put away. We’ll go to my office to have a little chat.”
Her office which was just down the hall was plush and comfortable. I took a seat on the small leather love seat placed across from her desk. There was just something about her that was different. I couldn’t place it.
“Welcome to Fieldgate Academy. This is a place for individuals who are special.” She smiled and folded her hands across the cherry wood of the desk. “We accept people from all walks of life making this a diverse and open atmosphere.”
I snorted. “So drug addicts, alcoholics and other losers abound?”
“Arabella, why do you think you’re here?”
“Because of David Owen.”
Principal Fern nodded. “What happened that night?”
I closed my eyes and tried to remember. All I could feel was hot splashes, my actions were quick and frenzied, screams rang in my ears. The cops had asked me. My lawyer had bargained with me. My parents had begged. Nothing brought my memory back.
“Would you like to know?”
My eyes snapped open. She was grinning at me like the Cheshire cat. “You know? How?”
“Lets just say we pride ourselves on knowing our students’ backgrounds here at Fieldgate.” She opened a file on her desk. “Arabella Carmen Grimassi Brujah. You were born June 25, 1987 to Alastair and Sophia Grimassi Brujah. Your were orphaned at the age of two and a half when your parents were killed in a car crash.”
I stared at her, too stunned to speak. My hands clenched the edge of the sofa, my knuckles turning white. Everything was becoming more intense, feelings, smells, sounds. Worst of all, I could hear her heart beat in my ears and it was driving me insane. The thought that it was slower than it should have been registered in some part of my mind. I wanted to stop it.
“Control the beast. Do not let it control you.”
My eyes slipped from her throat to her face. “Huh?”
“That night, Arabella, you lost all control. You allowed your need to overcome your logic. Not that the boy didn’t deserve it.” She smirked. “If we hadn’t been there, you would have killed him. We got you tranquillized and him off to the hospital. We spread the rumor that you had a bad acid trip and when Mr Owens tried to rape you, you hallucinated and cut his throat and chest with some foreign object. That object being your fangs but only you, the staff here and the Smiths know that.”
“Fangs?” I repeated slowly. I bit David Owen? This whole story was ridiculous.
“Yes, Ms Grimassi Brujah. You are a vampire after all.” The Principal of my new school opened her mouth wide, revealing two long, slender eye teeth. “One of us.”
Horror coursed through me as I looked at her mouth. Fearing I actually was having some kind of acid trip, my mind began to reel. Before she could say another word, I passed out.
“Come on, Miss Fern, her? Do you really see us getting along?”
My eyes were closed, dark blobs danced across my eye lids. Whoever was whining was very lucky I was catatonic.
“Rhiannon, play nice.”
“Is that an offer, dear?”
“Ha ha.” You could hear the sneer in her voice. “Well you better hope this socialite doesn’t get on my nerves.” The door slammed shut and I assumed my new cell mate had left.
“Does she know that her voice would walk the dead?”
“The undead too apparently.”
I opened one eye to see if she was joking. Just my luck, she wasn’t. “So, is she a leach like me?”
“No. Drink this.” She handed me a cup. “Don’t refer to us as that. Other vampires will take enough offence to rip out your throat.”
“Pointed taken.” I sipped from the cup and then spit it out, red droplets spattering in every direction.
“Blood does take some getting used to.”
“Oh my God, are you insane?”
“No but if you don’t drink this, you will be, Arabella. We can’t have our students blood lusting on others, now can we?”
I managed to gulp down the second sip, heat forming hot and sickening in her stomach. “So, what was wrong with her?”
“Ms Halek was none too pleased with the pairing.” Ms Fern said with a slight smile. “As you probably heard.”
“So, what is she?”
“Don’t you think you should ask her?”
I snorted. “You heard her, she doesn’t want me stepping on her last nerve. I’m afraid she’d yell at me.”
“Rhiannon is an witch.”
In my mind, I saw a woman with green skin, a crooked nose, warts flying across the sky on a broomstick. “She didn’t sound like a witch. Her voice was normal.”
“And all vampires are seductive and trolls brutish.” She sighed like she had explained the downfalls of such stereotypes all the time.
I took another sip of blood, not knowing what to say. It was thick and dark, coating my mouth and throat with the taste of copper. “So if this is all real...”
“Which it is.”
“How long have I been, you know, like this?”
Principal Fern smiled. “One of us? Since you were born. There are two types of vampires. Those of us who are turned by a maker and those who are sired by a vampiric father. I am of the first persuasion.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Made vampires can succumb to sunlight. They can be controlled to certain degrees by their makers. Blood is needed regularly or they can go into a frenzied state called blood lust. Born vamps can also experience this, especially the young or those who try and abstain from blood. Ultimately the biggest difference is it is much easier to kill made vampires.”
“K-kill?” I stammered.
“Not everyone is as tolerant as your parents were once they find out.”
She nodded, “After the incident, a representative from the school contacted them. Kate and Pierce are good people, Bella.”
She interrupted me. “I don’t think you do know. That display when they dropped you off was disrespectful. I expect you to write them a letter of apology.”
“And if I don’t?”
Principal Fern’s eyes flashed dangerously. Apparently not doing what she ordered wasn’t an option. My anger and its accompanying adrenalin rush were the only things that kept me from shrinking back under the covers. “There are worse punishments, dear.” She said simply with an ominous undertone. The air was rife with tension. She was waiting for me to back down, to prove herself alpha. I refused. My freedom had already been taken away. I wouldn’t lose my pride. A smirk slowly formed in the corners of her mouth. “Very good, Ms Grimassi-Brujah. Not many students can face me.”
“I guess I’m just extra special.”
“I will ignore the sarcasm this time.” She told me then set a yellow covered book in my lap. “Tomorrow we will get your classes settled including what the student refer to as your ‘creature feature.’ In that class you will be with your own kind. That manual is your student handbook. Please read all the rules and regulations before our meeting tomorrow. Your roommate, when she returns, will take you on a tour of the school. Are there any questions at this time?”
“When can I get out of here?”
“That, Arabella,” the smile returned, “is up to you.” She nodded once more at me then left.
My roommate returned just before sunset. I had been reading my handbook and there only seemed to be three major rules here at the school: No hard drugs, respect the staff and no harming another student or staff member. Under harm biting, slicing, setting afire, rearranging, altering, eating, etc were listed. Oh my God.
She didn’t acknowledge my presence.
“Principal Fern said you’re supposed to take me on a tour. You want to go now?”
“Why, so you can bite me?”
I made a face. “I’m not really into that.”
“You’re a vamp.
“And you’re a sorceress.”
“Its witch and that’s none of your business.”
“Whatever.” I flipped the page. “You should just ask for a new roommate since you hate me so much.”
“I don’t hate you.”
“Really? From that cheery welcome you gave me I never could have guessed.”
“I’m not a people person.”
I watched her carefully as she moved across the room to her bed. She seemed just as angry as me. “Did you turn someone into a toad or something?”
“Why are you here?”
Rhi shook her head. “You don’t give up do you?”
“I hacked into a computer at my old school.”
She gave me a small smile. “I planted a virus so teacher’s files were accessible to everyone. Including their email. The Headmaster was having an affair with one of the instructors and was less than happy when some photos leaked.”
I laughed. “I wish I was here for something like that.”
“What are you here for.”
“I wish I knew.”
“No, really. I don’t remember.” I sighed, nervously fidgeting with the handbook pages. “I thought Fieldgate was a rehab centre when I got here.”
“Are you a junkie?”
“No but that night I was at my boyfriend’s annual beach party, I was totally wasted.” I admitted bashfully. “I stumbled away from the group. The rest is a blur. Next thing I know, I was in the hospital and the police were there. So was my lawyer.”
“Oh my God. What happened?”
“This guy who had been at the party was in a coma. He had been found with me. Only he was in rougher shape. I was the only suspect.” I looked away from her widened eyes. “People from Fieldgate had been watching me. Fern said that after I bit him they tranquillized me and took us to the hospital. Then they started this rumour that it was a bad acid trip.”
“You’re not going to try biting again are you?” Her hand moved up to her throat.
I rolled my eyes. “I’ll let you know if I feel hungry.”
An awkward silence followed. No surprises there. Getting out of bed, I got my suitcases and put them down where I had been laying. The empty dresser looked banged up, not at all like the one I had at home. Throwing socks and underwear in a drawer, I heard Rhiannon laugh. “What?”
She crossed the room and gingerly picked up something red and lacy. “This cannot be comfortable.”
“Its not.” I told her, placing it at the back. “And, if you wear it right, you don’t have to wear it for long.”
“You mean you’ve...”
“Had sex? Yeah.”
I didn’t really want to go into too much depth with her. I wasn’t always proud of my past. Some days, it was hard to think about the night before and what I had done. Not that it ever stopped me from doing it again. My body was my own and I’d do whatever I wanted with it. For better or for worse.
“Did you love him?”
Looking up from the drawer, I asked, “Who?”
“Whoever you slept with.”
“Which one?” I replied snidely.
“There’s been more than one?”
Rhiannon began to laugh. I was surprised and taken aback by her reaction. “Finally!” She exclaimed. “A roommate who isn’t perfect!”
“You’re a little crazy, aren’t you?”
“A little. Maybe.” She shrugged, smiling friendly. “Want some help unpacking?”
Smirking, I nodded. “So I’ve passed the test?”
“With flying colours.”
It took us forty five minutes to unpack the rest of my clothes and to put them away. Mostly because she kept looking over every piece like a hungry kid at a clothing store. Fawning over a Dior tee, she looked like she was in awe. “You can have that.”
“No.” She dropped it on my bed. “Its too expensive.”
“I have three more.”
“Really?” Her voice softened.
“Don’t make me beg...”
I smiled, “Just don’t complain when I ask to borrow some of your stuff.”
“Right, like you’ll want to use mine when your’s is ten times better.”
“You never know.”
Rhi smiled at me. “Ready for that tour now?
The school was divided into three seconds: the main building that included classrooms; dorms divided into male and female and the rec building leading out to the soccer field. The structures were basic in layout and built, besides the elaborate front facade. I was surprised that not many people were out roaming about. Rhi explained that security tightened at night to prevent accidents.
“So what’s it like here?” I asked, wanting a real person’s opinion. “Fern says it’s ‘an institute for special people.’ Does that translate into psych ward?”
She laughed. “Unlike you, Bella, not all of us have had successful social lives. We can be normal here. Whatever that may be.”
“Are there any hot guys?”
“Bad boys, good boys, dorks, you name ‘em, we’ll have some somewhere.”
“How about the first group?”
“Haven’t you learned your lesson yet?”
I smiled. “Never have, never will.”
“You’ll want to look under the bleachers then.” She looked at me, her eyes clouding over with worry. “Be careful, ‘kay? You took out a mortal guy but don’t expect such an easy fight next time.”
Her words caught me off guard. Maybe I had a reason to be scared. If I were smarter, my next question should have been where the nerds hung out. But I wasn’t. My head had never quite learned to rule my heart. For better or for worse.