“You have everything, right?”
“Well, if you forgot anything, just give us a call and we’ll bring it straight to you.”
“If you get homesick, call us and we’ll come get you.”
Alex’s blue gaze shifted back and forth between her mother and father. Her mother, Mary, was worried and sad to see Alex leave. Her father, Andrew, was less than thrilled, but he was proud of her and excited she was able to get such an opportunity.
As Andrew tried to reassure Mary yet again that this was the best decision and that Alex had wanted this, Alex lost interest in the conversation. She looked over her shoulder.
The small family stood in front of Union Academy, a prestigious high school for the gifted. Alex wasn’t entirely sure why the school had chosen to give her a full scholarship to the school. Academics came naturally to her and she was a straight-A student. Her junior high school mentioned Union Academy to her parents. Apparently it was linked to all the prestigious universities.
Her parents had taken the brochure to be polite to her guidance counselor, but when Union Academy got in touch with them about a full scholarship, they weren’t in any position to say no.
It was a boarding school and while Alex was nervous to be away from her parents, she knew this was the best decision. They didn’t have a lot of money and this was a free ride. Not to mention that she would be able to basically get into any college she wanted to.
Alex looked around the campus. Today was move-in day, but there didn’t seem to be any parents around. She sighed suddenly feeling like the black sheep. She already knew she would be since it wasn’t often someone got a full scholarship. Her classmates were all going to come from rich backgrounds.
“Mom, Dad,” Alex whipped back around to face her parents. They stopped arguing in hushed whispers and turned to their daughter. “I, uh… I think I can take it from here.”
“What?” Mary looked appalled.
Alex shrugged. She noticed her father looking around and then he nodded. He understood what she meant.
“Mary, maybe we should let Alex check in on her own.” Andrew said gently. He put a hand on his wife’s shoulder. She stared at him in shock in response. “I’ll explain in the car.” He whispered.
Mary’s bottom lip jetted outward. Alex looked around quickly hoping no one was watching. The last thing she needed was her mother to start crying in the middle of campus.
It took a little convincing but Alex was able to get rid of her parents. After a long hug and a couple kisses goodbye and some reassuring to her mother that Alex would call later on that night Alex stood in the middle of the campus watching her parents get to the car and drive away.
Once her parents’ car was out of site, she turned around and looked up at Union Academy. She drew in a deep breath not realizing how big the building was up until now. She picked up her suitcases and she started walking towards the front door of the building.
When she crossed through the front doors of the main lobby she stood in the middle of the room in awe. She had seen many pictures of Union Academy on its website and in the brochures but she never expected it to be this fancy.
The main lobby looked as though it was a castle from a fairytale story. The tile flooring was gold and shiny from a new coat of wax the janitors had probably just done and there was a large crystal chandelier hanging right above her. She shattered wondering what would happen if the chandelier had fallen. Then she wondered if that had never happened before.
“Good afternoon, are you new here?”
Alex looked over her shoulder upon hearing a female voice. Sure enough there was a tall blonde woman standing right behind her. Alex nodded her head to the woman assuming she was talking to her.
“Are you a freshman?” The woman asked and Alex nodded her head once more. The woman looked down at her clipboard and flip through some pages asking, “What’s your name?”
Alex cranes her neck to see what was on the clipboard, but the woman held it closer to her chest. “Alex Berry,” she said meekly.
The woman flipped back a few pages and scanned the list. Alex assumed it was some sort of attendance record that was listed in alphabetical order.
“Right,” the woman sighed, “I’ll show you to your room.”
Alex nodded her head once again, slightly intimidated by this woman, and she followed her through the lobby pushing her way through the many kids that were already flooding the room. It was hard to get by saying she was carrying all of her suitcases on her own. She was a little annoyed that the woman didn’t bother to ask if she needed help carrying anything.
Alex tried to stick close to the woman, who now that Alex thought about it, never introduced herself. There were so many people in the hallways, students and faculty alike, that it was hard for Alex to really take a good look around the place.
The woman led Alex over to an elevator and together they went up to the third floor. Alex stood in the back of the elevator, putting her bags down on the ground by her feet. She let out an exasperated sigh. She hadn’t realized how heavy her bags were until now. Her father was gracious enough to carry them for her earlier.
When they made it to the third floor, the elevator beeped and the doors opened up.
“Follow me,” she grunted.
With a heave and a hoe, Alex picked up her bags once again and staggered along behind. She stepped out into the hallway and was immediately forced into the wall. She looked over her shoulder, but whoever knocked her to the side was walking away as though nothing even happened. She rolled her eyes, picked up her bags again, but when she turned around, the woman was gone.
“Great…” she muttered.
Alex continued to walk down the hall in hopes that she would run into the woman again. She ended up making it to the end of the hall and sure enough, there was the woman staring at her clipboard.
“Excuse me?” Alex said. She put down one of the bags and was just about to poke the woman in her arm when she abruptly turned around.
“There you are,” she grunted. “This is your room, 3R. Quickly, now. I have many other freshmen to see and help.” She pulled a key out of her pocket and handed it to Alex, who took it.
She didn’t want to be with this woman any longer than she had to, so Alex quickly unlocked the door and stepped through the threshold.
Alex took a look around the room. It was smaller than she thought it would be, but it was much bigger than her bedroom back at home. When she looked over to the right, she noticed one reason why the room seemed so small. There was a second bed. On the website, she thought the dorm rooms were individual. She turned around and the woman shook her head.
“You’re on scholarship, honey. Your roommate should be along shortly.” With that, the woman left shutting the door behind her.
Alex tossed her bags onto the bare bed to the right. The room was empty, so she assumed her roommate didn’t know that this was her room yet. That meant Alex had first dibs on everything in the room. And she wanted to have the bed on the right side of the room. It was farthest away from the door and probably had the most chance of privacy. For what little privacy she was going to have.
After Alex had made her bed and began unpacking some clothes into one of the closets, the door opened up again. She turned around and there stood a young woman, around her age. She looked Alex up and down and then narrowed her eyes at her.
“Who are you?” She demanded.
“Alexis Berry, but you can call me Alex.” Alex forced a smile. She stepped forward with her hand stretched out to shake. “You must be my roommate.”
“Oh, no.” The girl stepped back shaking her head with disgust. “There is a mistake. You need to leave.”
Alex slowly brought her hand back down to her side not knowing what else to do with it. She wiped her hand on her jeans as the sweat in her palms started to build up. “I’m sorry, but one of the professors or someone brought me up here. She had a clipboard with my name on it and sure enough, this is my room.”
“Well, then there’s a mistake.” She snapped. “I’m supposed to be roommates with Kay.” She folded her arms across her chest and glared harshly at Alex. “I am going to go back down stairs and fix this. I suggest you pack up your things and follow me down stairs.”
Alex opened her mouth to protest, but the girl had already turned away and stormed off down the busy hall. Alex stood in the doorway to call to her, but she was already gone in the mass of people.
She sighed. School hadn’t even begun yet and she already knew this was going to be a long year.