Rosalie smiled to the little freshman whom had asked for directions. “Of course I can help,” she said, placing an arm around the girl’s shoulders and steering her toward the northern stairwell. “The art department is right down these stairs, all the way to the ground floor, and to the left. You can’t miss it.”
The girl thanked Rosalie and followed her instructions. Rosalie’s smile dissipated into a smirk as the girl disappeared down the stairwell. The girl’s skirt was frayed on the side. Not too noticeable, of course. In fact, the boys of Rothwright would be more interested in its length – or lack of it – than the state of the material.
“That’s not the way to the art department.”
“Of course not, Noelle,” Rosalie said. “Anyone who thinks she can pull off an outfit like that deserves to get lost.”
“You’re just jealous of how great her ass looks in that skirt,” Noelle said. Rosalie huffed and returned to her locker. She primmed in front of the mirror hanging on the inside of the door, checking to be sure her red hair was straight, her teeth were free of lipstick or lunch, her mascara perfect.
“My ass is going to be the only one that Flint is checking out this year,” Rosalie said, her eyes glancing at Noelle behind her.
Although Noelle’s gaze was focused on her cellphone, she scoffed. “Please, that hottie can have any girl – and probably any guy, for that matter – in this school with just a wink of those gorgeous blue eyes. The worst part is that he knows it.”
“Which is why I’m going to stand out,” Rosalie said, slamming her locker shut, the clang drowning out the school’s bell. “I’m going to stand out and make him work for my attention.”
Noelle walked beside Rosalie to their class, brushing past other students with her elbows as she returned a text message. “Come again?”
“That’s my plan.” Rosalie beamed to a few young men that she had the pleasure of knowing. She giggled at one’s smirk, but she returned to a more serious air as soon as the boys were out of earshot. “I’m going to become so irresistible that he will become the chaser rather than the chased.”
“Good luck with that,” Noelle said.
“You don’t think I’m good enough–”
“Guess what my gossip ring has just informed me?” Noelle showed Rosalie the series of text messages she had been absorbed with throughout the morning. “New student this year. A sophomore, like us, a somewhat pretty thing with dark hair, eyes, and last season’s fashion trends.”
“Are you taking bets on how long she’ll last?” Rosalie asked, chuckling to herself as she read the texts’ description of the new girl. Apparently, she seemed shy and polite. When she had bumped into one of Noelle’s more reliable ring members, the new girl had ducked her head down and apologized. “With how demure she sounds, I wonder if she’ll stick around even for the semester.”
“It depends, I suppose,” Noelle said. The pair slowed down at the end of the corridor. “Who knows if someone will guide her through Rothwright or if she’ll be left floundering all on her own. Ciao for now, Rose. I can’t keep Mr. Hunks waiting too long.”
“I’m sure Mr. Hanks,” Rosalie said, enunciating the teacher’s proper name with a smirk, “is missing you terribly right now.”
Noelle laughed and strode down the left hallway while Rosalie went to the right. She strutted into her English literature classroom, nodding to the teacher while taking her seat. Miss Lason looked exasperated, as expected, at Rosalie’s slight tardiness, but apparently did not feel the need to scold Rosalie. It would not have done any good, of course; Rosalie was never bothered by being a few minutes late to class.
“Welcome back to Rothwright, students,” the teacher said, gaining most of the students’ attentions. “If you would, please be kind enough to welcome a new student in the area.” Miss Lason beckoned to a young woman in the front row.
Rosalie quirked an eyebrow as she watched the other woman stand up beside Miss Lason, and found it a touch amusing that the new girl would be in her first period class. Sizing the new girl up, Rosalie scrutinized the simple pairing of a black sweater with snow leopard print skirt that reached her knees. White pumps completed the ensemble, and Rosalie wondered if they were to help compensate the girl’s lack of height. Even with the heels, the girl barely reached Miss Lason’s shoulders.
“This is Crystal Bowen,” Miss Lason said. “She’s from Boston, isn’t that right?”
“That was my last city, yes,” Crystal said, her accent light with a hint of a southern ring to it. “I was born in North Carolina. It’s exciting to be in in New York City.”
“We hope you enjoy living here,” Miss Lason said, directing Crystal back to her seat. “Now, class, we’re going to start the year off with To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.”
Rosalie didn’t spare the teacher passing out copies of the novel a glance. Her eyes were focused on this Crystal and the appreciative looks that a few of the boys were granting her. Not that the new girl noticed as much. Perhaps Rosalie will take Noelle’s words into consideration and teach Crystal about what goes on in Rothwright outside of the classrooms…