The Willow Society

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Chapter 18

Chapter 18

Lou nodded at Izzy. The idea of the Society sounded great, at least to her, having never been a real part of anything except the MMA team at Juvie. She wasn't really sure about Izzy, the girl was a polar opposite of her. Worse, Izzy was everything in a nutshell Lou despised: vapid for no reason, obsessed with her looks, dainty, soft, and rich. Well, Lou didn't despise the rich part so much as envied it.

“Well, Lou,“ Sue-Ann tasted the name, clearly not sure Lou's masculine bearing could bear the equally masculine name and not somehow be aberrant, “You and Izzy should see about finding a few others. Mind you, Isabel and I will need to investigate potentials before you even speak to them about the Society. It must remain a secret and you should not discuss it, not even with each other, where you can be overheard, or in public. Be on the lookout for others at Willow Prep or around the city who might be suitable. We need a computer genius quite badly. Of course, we prefer girls.“ Lou didn't now why that was “of course” but she nodded anyway.

Isabel smiled and said something similar to what Sue-Ann had said and the two older women left the room, talking quietly to themselves as they did. Izzy twittered on the edge of her seat. She was the same age as Lou, both of them sixteen and in their junior year of high school. But they were not friends. It was slightly uncomfortable to be alone with her, in her house.

“So... do you know any computer geniuses?“ Lou asked.

Izzy sighed. "Yeah. I took a class last year with that yeti of a computer science teacher Mr. Tate and I met a few. I swear I was the worst in the whole class. My only B ever.“ She sounded scandalized. “But there are these twin girls, they are incredible with computers, and smart about everything else too, plus they are super-rich and well connected, if we got them on board they could bring all kinds of expertise and connections to us. But they're kind of...”

“Kind of what?”

“Mean. Horrid. Snobby. Insular.” Izzy said.

"Oh?“ Lou said, clinging to a hope she was wrong about the guess in her mind. "Who are they?“

“Their names are Philomena and Phaedra Behrstable.“ Lou growled. She knew the Behrstables. She assumed it was those two Izzy talked about, but Lou had hoped otherwise. There were four sets of twins at Willow Prep - only one fraternal, a girl and a boy - although Lou had yet to meet any twin boys who both attended the school. Her experience with the Behrstables was slim but distasteful, she had only met them twice. An epiphany struck. Lou remembered the small dark girl who had joined the paltry Willow Prep MMA team: Myth. She had said something about being in Tate's computer class.

“What about Myth?“ Lou offered. "I mean, um,“ she struggled for a second to recall the girl's given name. “Myra Smith. She's a freshman. Short. Dark. Crazy hair, red highlights. Boots.“

At first Izzy blanked but slowly she nodded.

“Yeah I believe I've met her. She knows computers?“ Izzy sounded uncertain.

“I think so.“ Lou really wanted to say she would want almost anyone besides the Behrstables. They had been quite cruel to her at first, before they realized Lou took insults as threats. Physically neither girl was a match for Lou. It had only taken one time of slamming Philomena into a locker - after she had condescendingly called Lou a “charity case in need of a new orphanage, and a make-over...“ to get the Twins to ignore Lou entirely. At least they pretended to. At times Lou caught Philomena staring at her, but the other girl would look away if she noticed Lou watching her.

“Well, I guess we can ask Isabel and Sue-Ann to look into her. It probably wouldn't work with the Behrstables anyway, they are the wrong kind of bitchy.“ Izzy said. Lou gave a short bark of a laugh before her face returned to its implacable normal.

“Sorry. I try not to use language like that. It makes Isabel angry.“

Lou cocked her head to the side. What sixteen year old girl thought bitchy was bad language? “If bitchy is the worst you've got I don't think you need to be worried. It's all I can do not to say fu...“ Izzy gasped and Lou sighed, letting the word slide away, “Well, it's hard for me to keep it in. I've learned, since coming to Willow Prep, but it's not easy.“ Lou had almost said it ain't easy. She had put considerable effort into language herself. Since coming to Willow Prep, it had seemed necessary in order to not stand out.

“So I guess you don't like them?“ Izzy said.

There was no reason to ask who she meant. Lou nodded.

“Well, I really don't think I do either.“ Lou was pleased if somewhat taken aback. Maybe Izzy isn't as vapid as she comes off. Lou could have added more about the Behrstables, Despite the fact she had shoved Philomena into a locker neither twin actually seemed afraid of Lou, but they were bullies. Bullies don't waste time on people who fight back, as Lou was well aware. They Behrstables seemed cold and haughty, which was weird to Lou, she was very much used to making people her age fear her, it had been necessary in group homes and Juvie. The twins seemed above it, which was daunting when added to their looks, their brilliance and their wealth. They were an unholy mix: they possessed everything a person was supposed to want, supposed to spend their life pursuing and they seemed to have no natural predators at Willow Prep. Lou knew neither girl would work well under Sue-Ann and Isabel, much less Izzy or herself.

Weeks later Izzy and Lou had observed Myth more, Izzy once again attending MMA practices and the three girls having a few friendly after-school get-togethers. They decided to test Myth. Lou intentionally downloaded a virus to a laptop Izzy procured and asked Myth if she could fix it. It took the girl less than ten minutes. Lou and Izzy were suitably impressed. Two days later they floated the girl's name to Sue-Ann and Isabel. It was two weeks before Christmas.

“We'll see.“ Isabel Chatham said patiently. Sue-Ann said nothing.

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