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My dad insisted to send me to the institute but I convinced him that I will take care of myself and I don’t want him to cancel his meeting with his client. He hugged me and wished me well before I took the train. I drop by at Bottomville station and waited for a shuttle bus. The letter I received three days ago had mentioned about free shuttle service around the small town. A black and white bus with the name of the institute arrived at the station. A few teenagers got in and I followed them in. I sat at the window seat and watched the passing city as I traveled to the institute. I saw a few girls sitting at back of the bus. Each was engrossed in reading something. I brought my favourite novels but I had no heart to read any now. I was more curious about this spy school. Never in my life, I thought about getting involved with something like this. I was nervous to go to this new place. I checked my phone for any messages from my friends but found none. I’m sure they are there already. The shuttle bus dropped me at the compound of the institute. I stepped back after the bus left to take a good look at the giant building in front of me. It was unique. The entire building is faced with marble striped in white and grey. The roof was designed like the white house manner but the two towers with coned roof at the each side gave the building old touch of architecture. The institute was the combination of new and old design. I stepped on the white shiny marble as I walked into the place. The walls were painted in white. Though the building was beautiful, the colours were dull. It’s all white, grey or black. The entrance was a small hall lead to the mid section of the building. I dragged my luggage as I passed the long pathway. I saw colourful notices were sticked in the notice board. I stopped at the corridor and found myself standing at the middle of a very long corridor with many rooms. There was oval shaped green garden in front of me. I turned to the left of the corridor and saw a room with a sign board, ‘Office’. I knocked and entered. An old lady with a very tired face looked up from her desk. “Miss Adrianna Andwill?” She guessed. I smiled and sat on the chair opposite her. “Yes, that would be me.” “You’re late.” She snapped. “Oh.” Was all I could say, maybe they should have sent me a timetable earlier, I thought to myself.

“Miss Adrianna, your registration process is over. This is your timetable and your room number. The school session had already started fifteen minutes ago. You better hurry now, I’m sure you don’t want to miss the weekly briefing.” Great, I’m late on my first day and who have weekly briefing? “Thank you, Miss.” I looked down at my three bags and sighed. This is going to take some time. I grabbed my bags and rush out of the office room. I stopped at the corridor and looked around. This place is huge. Where am I supposed to go next? I took out the timetable. First, I should go to Lecture Hall 1. Okay, now where is Lecture Hall 1. I walked along the corridor while looking for some sign to the hall. “Excuse me. You’re going in the wrong direction.” What? I turned and saw a guy standing a few feet away from me. He was wearing a grey t-shirt with faded blue jeans. He approached me with a polite smile. His black hair looked as if he has just gotten out of the bed. “Need some help?” he asked, looking at my bags. “Yeah, where is Lecture Hall 1?” I asked him. “Why don’t you follow me, I’m going there too.” He said and picked up my two bags. “Okay and thanks.” I said. We started to walk towards the office room again. He stopped right in front of a door, before the office room. “Do you mind?” he gestured towards the door. I looked at him for a few seconds. So, the hall is here? I opened the door and it’s the staircase. “So, which floor the hall is?” I asked while we climbed the stairs. “Fourth.” I followed him quietly and it’s getting awkward. Since he’s helping me carrying my bag and showing me the way, maybe I should be friendly. “I’m Anna. I just joined this institute. Are you a student here?” He stopped and looked at me as if I just spoke in mandarin. His eyes were green, the colour of deep forest pools with a hint of grey. The colour complimented his striking black hair that fall around his eyes. He brushed it to the side with the back of his hand as he stared at me in confusion. “What?” I asked him. Did I say something wrong? “Nothing, I’m just wondering why are you joining now? Isn’t it kind of late to start your lessons.” He asked curiosity burned in his eyes. “Oh that, well I sort of got into this college all of a sudden.” I said while he continued to climb the stair. He stopped again and stared at me. I had to stop abruptly when he stopped walking again. I sighed. “If you have something to say, you should just say it.” I stated. He shook his head and made his way to the red door. “We’re running late.” We walked along the corridor until we reach the door with “LH1” board. Before I opened the door he cleared his throat, “Don’t get me wrong, I was just curious. Anyway, I’m Ray.” Curious? “About what?” I asked. “Let’s talk later.” He brushed the topic off and we both entered the room. The hall was enormous. Apparently the weekly briefing was attended by all the students. The lady with the microphone stopped talking and glared at both of us. “Good morning, Mr. Raymond. How great it is for you to join us.” She said with a small smile, I sensed sarcasm. Ray smiled sheepishly, “I’m sorry Miss Phoebe.” He quickly walked to the back of the hall. I followed him without looking at any of the students. I could feel their stare intensely as I walked behind Ray. My heart was beating loudly. I always have problem when it comes to the first day of school, especially here, a place that I have never even heard before. The whispers are getting louder now, it sound more than just some “new student” gossips. If I’m not wrong I think these kids are not happy with me being here. I tried my best to avert my gaze from the students that are staring at me. As I was trying to calm my nerve and follow Ray, I heard someone calling my name. “Anna, over here.”

I was so relief to see my friends’ faces. I smiled widely and rushed to them. Thank god they saved a seat for me. As I settle down, I heard some of the girls behind me whispered, “What was she doing with Ray?” I looked at my friends pointedly and they just shook their head in confusion. I could see them growing uneasy with all the stares. I for a matter of fact hate attention. This is just the worst first day of college ever.

“Okay settled down.” The lady said sharply and that’s it the whole room felt silent. It was so quiet that four of us actually looked around and saw all the students were looking at the lady expectantly. Wow, she sure has some power over them.. I take a good look at her. She has a motherly look but her eyes were fierce. She does look like a middle aged lady but her high pony tail and body shaped suit in grey made her look younger. She adjusted her spectacles and looked directly at me. “Miss Adrianna Andwill, don’t you have anything to say to me?” She asked with her sardonic voice. I was terribly nervous that I lost my voice so I just shook my head slowly. Jane kicked my leg under the table. I looked at her and she mouthed “say sorry”. Sorry? Why should I say that? “That was quite an appearance you made. Don’t you have anything to say for interrupting my speech and wasting your friends’ time for the last five minutes.” She said without averting her gaze on me. I could feel my cheek turning red. Did it took five minutes for me to settle down? Now that’s just exaggeration. I wanted to say that I didn’t do it on purpose but I bit my tongue. I could hear the girls behind me muttering about how stupid and arrogant I am. I cleared my throat and said loudly, “I am very sorry Miss for interrupting you and wasting my friends’ time for the last five minute.” “Good, okay now I’m sure everyone would be wondering what Miss Adrianna and her friends are doing here in the middle of our semester. They are being recruited here under a special circumstance. I hope everyone could cooperate with them.” The whispered started again. I sighed, I have to get used to this. “And girls, I hope you will cause us no trouble. Get to know these institute’s rules and regulations. Remember you will be treated the same as the others and we will not tolerate your excuses for being the new students.” She went on. We nodded obediently. She continued her briefing, I tried to get hold of what she is explaining about but it’s so confusing. Naomi nudged me, “Hey, Anna.” “Yes?” I whispered. “Who was that guy that was carrying your bags?” Guy? “Oh, that’s Ray.” Just as I recalled him, I remembered that my bags are still with him. I tried to look behind if I could see him anywhere but my gaze fall on the angry brown eyed girl, who was sitting behind me. She hissed at me that I turned away quickly. I guessed she’s the one who wondered about me being with Ray. I ignored her and concentrate on the scary lady’s speech. She was announcing something about change of activities in this week. I gazed around the room and saw all the kids were listening to her intently. Their faces were serious and focused. Some were clothed in casual clothing, some in sport attire, and large number in black elastic suit. I assumed that would be the uniform of the institute.

The briefing ended in twenty minutes time, I rushed to the back and found Ray waiting for me. My bags were at his feet. “My bags.” I said, stupidly. He looked down and picked them up. “I know, let me carry it for you.” He walked past me and stopped when he saw my friends were standing few feet away watching us. “Your friends?” He asked me. I nodded and introduced them. “Guys, this is Ray, I met him at the corridor. He was helping me with the bags. And Ray, this is Naomi, Ivy and Jane.” “Hello.” He nodded at them politely. “Hi, nice to meet you Ray.” Naomi said, flashing her bright smile. Ivy and Jane simply nodded. “So, I’m guessing all of you are here because of sudden notice.” He added. “Yes, we are. A very sudden notice.” Naomi said and I could sense her irritation. “The kids here are very welcoming and friendly.” She went on, now no longer hiding her sarcasm. Ray chuckled at her. “Oh that, well I was surprised too but it’s expected, we are not used to sudden appearances of new students in the middle of semester.” He explained. “Why would it be a surprise for new students to enroll, isn’t it normal for colleges?” I asked. “No, not in this institute, new students come in at the start of semester and not as old as you.” He answered. “Old?” Ivy asked in shock. “I did not mean in the bad way, 15 is the only age for kids to enroll in this place. Clearly you’re exceptional or you’re transferred from somewhere else?” He asked. I could see the same curiosity in his eyes. We were not supposed to tell anything about our recruitment so I cleared my throat, “We’re late for classes, right guys?” My friends immediately nodded.

“The bags, my friends can help me to carry it.” I told him. He placed it down, “Okay, I should go as well, nice meeting you, Anna and others.” He smiled and nodded awkwardly at my friends before walking away. “Please, tell me we are in the same room.” I turned to my friends but my gaze fell on the two girls that were glaring at us. They were standing by the entrance, one of the girl was the one hissed at me just now. She noticed us staring at her. She muttered something to her petite friend and turned away. She walked out as she tossed her long straight blonde hair over her shoulder. “What is up with her?” Jane asked. “I’m sure we will find it out soon.” I muttered.

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