8:30AM. The bell rings. A sudden urgency and tension filled the air as students rushed to their classes from the other end of school. All but two that is. Hidden away in a rarely used storage room, they were making a deal. Matteo finger-combed his hair backwards, as he pulled out a couple folded notes from his back pocket while staring at the student before him.
“Knock it off. You’ll get the stuff, Matt,” the boy told him.
“I know I will, I just need it now,” he replied, stressing the word ‘need’ to show great importance. He thrust the dough into his hands.
The boy looked at it, satisfied that it was the correct amount. “I know how desperate you are for it. You’re a loyal, I’ll always look after you, dude.” So long as you have the money, he thought. Then, he moved around Matteo and reached for a small metal box, hidden behind a box of paper. Stepping back and offering the box, he told him, “Don’t get any ideas, I never use the same location more than once.”
Matteo snatched the box out of his hand, eyes fueled with a sudden fire, and left the room quickly, without another word.
“I hope you like it here at Amherst, Miss Petersen.”
Sitting in the Principal’s confined office, listening to her go on about the school and such nonsense, when all that was running through her mind was how much of a dickweed her cousin had been. All she had heard Principal Davies say was her name, which brought her back to reality. She stood and took her new timetable, standing a few inches taller than her superior who was in heels.
“Miss Petersen, please send in the next student,” Davies told her as she left. Out of the door, she looked around the even smaller, windowless reception, and set eyes upon the next student waiting. “Your turn,” she told him before heading for her first class. In the corridor, she had almost immediately got bowled over by another student running out of an old storage room.
The student who was waiting had now moved into the Principal’s office, but stood close to the door until she spoke to him.
“William Andrews, so you had a truancy problem at Northside High?”, Davies asked as he took a seat in front of her desk, which was heavily stacked with paperwork.
“Yes, ma’am.” He smiled gleefully. “The teachers weren’t interesting enough to keep me in class.”
Her tone grew colder, “You will address me as Principal Davies, nothing else.”
He sat up, speaking seriously, “Yes, Principal Davies Nothing Else.”
Chloe sat at a desk in the centre-front of the room, smirking at Mrs Anderson as she wrote on the chalkboard, which took up most of the front wall. Bay walked through the door and instantly rolled her eyes when seeing Chloe, then took a seat further back. Chloe’s smirk only grew when she saw Bay, noticing how constricted her pupils were. She turned to her and asked, “Where are you buying from? Or are you the product tester?”
“Why do you want to know? Finally realise you need something to improve your below average cheerleading ability?”, Bay snapped.
Chloe’s smirk faded quickly, but her attention was grabbed before she could retort. Along with the others who had been entering the classroom, Jason walked in and sat at the desk to the right of Chloe. “Hey, good weekend?”
She rolled her eyes and faced the front. “Shut up, Jase!” He sighed and flipped open his book.
Mrs Anderson walked to the door, closed it, then cleared her throat to get the attention of the class. The noise started to die down after thirty seconds and she started to speak, walking back to the centre. “Good morning. Continuing on from last week; Integers and rational numbers. I’ve written 15 equations on the board, write them down and try to solve-” She’s interrupted by a knock at the door. She walked back over and opened the door, showing a fresh-faced, gum-chewing Keira to the room. “Yes?”
“New! I’m in your class,” she said, rolling her eyes and entering the room after handing her the class slip she was given. He frizzy, brunette hair sat out and hanging at the sides, but held back off her face by a fluorescent orange headband. She wore loose orange and white, geometric-patterned dungarees, made of the same material (cotton). She also had a thick, black belt/band around her waist, which matched her black canvas shoes. Her narrow eyes looked bored and even slimmer as she scanned the room, though her freckles were youthful and made it harder to distinguish her age.
Keira’s attention was drawn to the two girls sleeping on their desks at the back of the room. One had long blonde hair, while the other had long ginger, slightly dirty blonde hair. They were the school writers - ran the newspaper, Yearbook committee, and the school’s gossip mill.
“Alright class, this is Keira Carter, she’s joining us from Jefferson. Please take a seat, Miss Carter. Take out your book and do these exercises along with the class.” Keira took the empty seat to Chloe’s left then took out her notebook, but continued to search her bag.
“FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!”, groaned the ginger sleeping girl, without lifting her head. The whole class turned in shock and disbelief that someone would use such language in Anderson’s class! Though many were sniggering as well, including Keira. She dumped her bag next to her, then leaned over to Chloe and whispered, “Hey, so that I can at least pretend to do work, do you have a spare pencil?”
Miss Anderson snapped her ruler on the table. The class died down and Chloe handed Keira her own pencil. “Good start to the day, new girl. But trust me, you’ll soon learn that you won’t even need a pencil.”
“I don’t even know you,” Keira muttered a reply. Chloe just smiled at her and shrugged.
Blake took his assigned seat in the science lab, as Jack sat down on the stool to the left of him. Not long after, Charlene entered the room confidently and sat down on the right side of Blake. The three had filled the bench in the third row and took out their books in silence. Usually, Blake wouldn’t speak to Charlene, she’d never seemed all that welcoming to him and Jack had never been fond of her either. But something was different today. The fact that the captain thought he needed backup had rattled him. It implied that Blake wasn’t capable of closing this case on his own; that he hadn’t been doing a sufficient job. As the room started to fill up with other students, Blake turned slightly to face Charlene. “So… did you do anything spiffy over the weekend?”
Almost simultaneously, Jack jerked his leg under the table to kick Blake, looking at him with widened his eyes, mentally pleading with him to stop the conversation with her. He’d already had to deal with Isobel this morning, and now Blake was going to willingly interact with this mall-maggot.
“Were you talking to me?”, Charlene replied, a little taken aback. He turned back to face her, ignoring the look Jack was still giving him and nodded.
“Yes, did you get up to anything mondo?”, he rephrased his first question.
She looked him up and down. He was wearing a pale pink button-down shirt, with a pink cardigan tied around his shoulders. The checkered bow tie he had added stuck out to her like a sore thumb. It was bad enough that she was forced to sit next to these two hosers, but now they wanted to find out about her social life. “No doy,” she scoffed sarcastically.
Before Blake could make his second attempt, Ms Frizzle had entered the room. A hush fell over the classroom. She was the most interesting and well-loved teachers. Her adventurous, hands-on teaching approach was what gave her the highest yearly student attendance rate, but also the next highest pass rate below Ms Elliot’s English class. Students never returned to her class the following, because, after one year with her, they’d be able to take a specified science.
Today was no different than any other, Ms Frizzle’s frizzy red hair was up in a messy bun, and she wore one of her signature 1950s circle dresses. Each one always had some kind of science-related pattern. “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!”, she exclaimed, clasping her hands together.
Ms Elliot remained seated at her desk as the sophomore class filled the room. Students quickly made their way to their seats, not wanting to agitate her by taking too long. Brooke took her seat in the second row, directly next to the window, where she would be able to catch a glimpse of the P.E. class if she was lucky.
“You’re going to stare out that window fantasizing about Jason during Ms Helliot’s class?”, Kiona queried, turning around from her front-row seat to face Brooke. She knew better than to get distracted in Helliot’s class and she thought Brooke was smarter than that too.
Brooke just rolled her eyes. “He doesn’t even have P.E. until second,” she hissed back.
Ms Elliot stood up from behind her desk and her navy blue and red jersey dropped, hanging from her frame. “Miss Langley, Miss Jensen, is there something you would both like to share with the class?” Elizabeth waited for an answer.
“No, Ms Elliot,” Kiona said sheepishly, slumping back into her chair.
“Very well, then please turn around,” Ms Elliot then faced the entire class. “If that’s the case, Miss Langley, you won’t mind collecting the homework I assigned over the weekend from the rest of the class.”
Kiona reluctantly stood up and made her way through the aisles, collecting everyone’s papers. When Kiona was halfway to the back of the room, with a half-stack of papers, there was a student who tumbled into the classroom; Tamara. Tamara caught her footing and stopping herself from landing on the floor, then announced to the room, “Sorry about that, it’s just a cheaper and faster trip than going by plane.”
Many students snickered at her comment and there were a couple who groaned, but fell silent when Ms Elliot spoke firmly, “Who are you?”
“Tamara Petersen. Transfer,” she replied quickly.
Ms Elliot stared at her. “Very well, find a spare seat.” Then Ms Elliot realised there was only one spare, Matteo’s usual seat. Maybe Kylee was right to be concerned. No, no, he’s just your usual dropkick, she thought.
Tamara walked to the spare desk beside Brooke. “Is this one free?”, she asked her.
Before Brooke could answer, Kiona had returned to her spot. “That’s Matteo’s seat.”
Brooke rolled her eyes at the mention of Matteo. “Please take it,” she urged Tamara. “If Matteo even bothers to show up for class, I don’t want to sit near him anyway.”
Tamara was slightly confused at the stigma about Matteo, but she sat down regardless.
“Funny how you never seemed to mind sitting next to him when you were dating him,” Kiona pointed out.
“Ignore her,” Brooke warned, smiling at Tamara. She didn’t need the new girl to find out she was once foolish enough to date Matteo, especially since she still liked him.
Ms Elliot cleared her throat loud enough for the three girls to hear. “Miss Petersen, I suggest you don’t come in late and disrupt my class again.”
Brayden swung around the door frame five minutes after the bell, a little happier than normal today. Mr Tales still hadn’t arrived. Must not be midnight yet, he thought. The class was already seated, only a few spaces available. So he dumped his books down on the desk to the right of Christopher, sat in the chair and kicked his feet up over the table. Resting his hands behind his head, Brayden gave Chris a nod and said, “How is Princess Chloe’s best henchmen today?”
Chris chuckled. “Funny, man, but don’t quit your day job!”
Brayden raised a brow. “Job? What’s that now? Who wants one of them?”
Zig slid into the classroom, still scuffing the cuffs of his pants. “Now, now, enough of that.” He placed his books down on the teacher’s desk. “I know I’m late, I actually had a very important meeting to attend to. Now which boring part in history were we talking about last week?”
“Sit down, Zachary, don’t be a tard,” Brayden called out. Zig smiled, picked up his books and went to take his seat behind Chris, high-fiving kids on the way past.
Mr Tales walked into the classroom. “Now, now, enough of that.” He placed his briefcase on his desk. “I know I’m late, I had some car trouble.”
Some class member called out, “Don’t you think it’s time for a new car, sir?”
The class roared with laughter, but Mr Tales simply ignored them. “Now which part in history were we talking about last week? Who can tell me?”
Chris raised his hand. “Revolutionary war, sir.”
“Of course you would know,” Zig said quietly enough that Mr Tales wouldn’t be able to hear. He waited for Brayden to jump in and add something like he normally would, but Brayden’s attention was elsewhere. He was fixated on the student sitting behind him who had made the comment about Mr Tales’ car. Anyone that could beat Zig to the punch was someone Brayden could get along with.
Mr Tales had turned to write on the board. “Now open your books and get this down,” he directed the students. The longer his back was turned, the more restless the class grew, until the idle whispers had evolved to talking rather loudly in groups.
“Zachary, where was my weekly newsletter?”, Brayden asked.
“What are you talking about, dude? You were only suspended for a week. Nothing interesting happened.”
Brayden gestured again for Zig to look next to him, this time widening his eyes until Zig finally turned to see for himself.
William looked like a true hessian, wearing black from head to toe. His knees were exposed through the holes in his jeans, with tall combat boot and a worn, well-loved leather jacket, that if it had patches then he’d fit perfectly into a gang.
Brayden swivelled in his seat and pushed himself back in his chair, using only the two back legs to support him, then leaned his arm on William’s desk. William’s pen dangled from the corner of his lip as he smirked at Zig.
“S’up?” Zig grinned cheesily.
William pulled the pen out of his mouth as if it were a cigarette, as Brayden began to speak. “I’m Brayden, that’s Zig,” he gestured. “Who are you?”
“Will, short for William, but no one calls me that,” he answered. He preferred Willie, but that just wouldn’t suit the cover.
Chris spun around in his spot, having heard their conversation. “I’m Chris Hughes, did you transfer in today?”
Hughes… William nodded in response to Chris. So this was the captain’s son. He thought, ruling him off the list of possible suspects.
“Just turn around and go back to copying notes, Golden Boy, your princess wouldn’t want you talking to us,” Brayden teased and Zig chuckled. “Though this kid,” Brayden continued, giving a nod to Will. “This kid doesn’t seem like a nark, right Zachary?” Zig nodded gleefully.
Matteo left speedily, not even seeing who he’d almost bumped into when exiting the storage room, or if they’d seen him. Flying along the corridor, he sped into the closest male bathroom, checking that was empty first. He went into one of the stalls, shut the door, and put the toilet seat lid down. Matteo hunched over, he got his wallet out of his back pocket and placed it on the lid, and then opened the metal box. Inside was a powdered substance, opioids, in a small plastic bag. Emptied the bag into a line, grabbing his library card, he ingested the substance.
Moments passed, he didn’t have his normal reaction. Something had gone wrong. His body convulsed and he lost consciousness over the toilet seat.
RPers with characters...
@Beth_Episode, @Etherwalker, @Wingsoffire, @areyouaqueen, @Lizard, @arielbelles, @candyxcx, @Ella, @KBaldi93, @themaystorms, @amaiaxx21, @Annaliese_Clairemont, @QueenChid
Based on the characters, their personalities, and the story far, who do you think should find Matteo?
(You may vote for up to three characters.)
- Blake Brown (Brooks)
- Keira Carmona (Carter)
- William Adamsen (Andrews)
- Brooke Jensen
- Kiona Langley
- Tamara Petersen
- Bay Kendall
- Brayden Cole
- Chloe DeJuior
- Christopher Hughes
- Jack Williams
- Jason Predetti
- Zachary “Zig” Hill
- Isobel-Rose Davidson
- Caroline Moore (Librarian)
- Katherine Miller (Lunch Lady)
- Mrs Anderson
- Mr Matta
- Ms Coda
- One (or both) of the sleeping girls (in maths)