I was awoken in the dead of night by pots clattering. I shot up in bed and grabbed the first thing in my reach…my alarm clock. I chucked it into the darkness and heard a feminine cry.
“What the hell! Who throws an alarm clock?” the girl voice cried out angrily. Then the pot clanks stopped and another girl giggled.
Now I was already confused, but now I was angry. Who the hell breaks into someone’s dorm in the middle of the night? They’re lucky I only had an alarm clock to my disposal.
“Vivian King of Verona California you have been summoned by the DOM of Maddie Dale. Do you accept her invitation?” a faceless girl asked in an overly dramatic manner.
“Hell no!” I growled throwing the covers over my body.
“B-but it’s tradition.” Another girl stammered floored by my attitude.
“Screw tradition!” I snorted snuggling deeper into my sheets.
“Alright it looks like we’re going to have to do this the hard way.” someone muttered.
“What? But what if she’s heavy! I’m just a girl not a muscle clad wonder woman!” a girl cried out.
“Pretend this is a role for a movie about a woman with bionic powers. Now help us grab her!” A boy whispered sarcastically with an edge to his tone.
This time I sat up in bed and looked at the trio of people at the end of my bed. I turned my bed side lamp and glared at the two girls and my soon to be dead roommate.
“We’ve been bamboozled!” the red head cried. Antione and Lewiza rolled their eyes.
“Nu uh sweetie, that’s not what that word means.” Lewiza sighed patting the red head. The nameless fire truck oohed and smiled sheepishly.
“Okay you caught us. Now are you coming willingly or shall we do this forcefully? But I seriously don’t think Chloe can carry you herself.” Antoine said crossing his arms over his chest nodding towards the red head.
I noticed Antione was still in his silk pajamas as were the girls. Lewiza the British blonde I met earlier, and Chloe the red head were both in night gowns.
“Not to be rude but….what are you all doing in my room in the middle of the night!” I exclaimed going from zero to sixty in a snap.
“This is tradition Vivian. We all went through initiation when we came here. So are you coming with us walking or by force?” Lewiza asked. I looked at Chloe and Antione and they nodded in agreement.
I could make this easy on them and just go. But they did wake me up and let me tell you, I am not a pleasant person when woken. Think of Sandy Cheeks waking up from her hibernation. That’s an accurate picture of me when I’m woken up without warning.
So with that thought I smiled to myself and raised my arms. “Take me away girls….and err Antoine.” I announced, everyone groaned but lifted me out of bed anyway.
The girls grabbed my arms and Antoine grabbed my legs. I dangled in the air and felt like a pig on a rotating rod.
“Stick an apple in my mouth and call me Wilbur.” I muttered sarcastically.
“Maybe later babe, but we have a full night.” Antione snickered.
My teeth grinded in pain and I had long ago lost feeling from the neck down. I knew my lips were chapped and tinted blue…but I had something to prove to these witches.
“Which British designer mainstreamed the mini-skirt?” The DOM asked.
I squirmed under the bathtub of ice. I knew this answer…but the pain shooting up my body was distracting. “M-Maaary Q-Quant.” I bit out my teeth chattering uncontrollably.
Antione, Lewiza, and Chloe looked impressed-however the DOM’s face gave nothing away. She hadn’t said a thing when I was carried in. She wached in a stoned expression as I was dunked in a tub of ice. This is what they reffered to as the test of death.
I was asked fashion trivia questions until I gave up or got one wrong. Apparently it’s initiation and a test of the strong willed.
I’ve been in here nearly an hour and a half. My determination was strong but my body was screaming for help.
“What does VPL stand for?”
“V-visible pant-ty l-line.” I croaked.
“Who founded fashion house Max Mara in 1951?”
“Who designed the New Look of 1947?”
“Where do you wear a Hotxton Fin?”
“Head y-you wear it on the h-head.” my eyes started to droop and I knew what was coming next. But I wasn’t finished yet.
“Dom, I think she’s done for.” Antoine said worridly. The Dom turned her cold calculating gaze onto me. She was the epitome of intimidation.
“Is that so Vivian?” she asked in a real posh tone.
“N-no. K-keep g-go.” at this point my sentence structure was out the window.
“Your wish is my demand.” she nodded then contined firing questions at me. I answered them all right. The two hour mark struck upon us and my eyes were half way close permanently.
“Final question.” The Dom finally said. She paused and sat at the edge of the tub, leaning closer towards me. “What does ‘Pret-a-porter’ translate to?”
“Ready t-t-to wear.” I said my voice hoarse and barely there.
“Congratulations Vivian King, you have not only impressed these girls-” Antoine cleared his throat at that “and Antoine.” The Dom rolled her eyes, “But you have also impressed me.” she said with a small smile.
I only managed a small nod. Then everything went black and my body went into a shaking seizure.
“I said put her next to the fireplace not in it!” someone hissed.
“She rolled away!” another retorted.
“I’m working with idiots.” a third sighed in exasperation.
“If she dies…do you think she’ll haunt my room?” that was totally Antoine.
I let out a shaky breath and shivered. I wasn’t numb anymore, I had partial feeling back in my limbs. With as much strength as I could muster, I cracked my eyes open.
“Where am I?” I asked my voice barely there. Only four people were in the carpeted room with me. Antoine, Lewiza, Chloe, and the DOM.
“We’re in the commons. ” Chloe answered softly looking at me like a wounded puppy.
It was then that I realized I was wrapped in blankets and currently too close to the fireplace. I rolled over a couple inches and let out a shaky breath.
“What happened?” I asked my voice- I realized was raw.
“You passed intimidation initiation. Broke the record even.” Antoine told me proudly.
“Who is she?” I nodded towards the DOM.
“That’s the DOM.” Lewiza answered before adding, “You should probably give your vocal chords a rest. The ice nearly put you in shock. It’s a good thing we took you out before you had a seizure.” she explained. I nodded and studied the DOM. She wasn’t as intimidating now, in fact she wore her emotions all over her face. She was worried.
The DOM was a girl who saw her game go too far and now she was scared. Her big brown eyes were wide and her raven wavy hair looked out of place. Like she was pulling her hair out of her roots. I gave her a reassuring smile and she returned it with a weary one.
“I’m sorry Vivian.” she mumbled quietly. “My name is Dominic Locklin but everyone calls me Dom. You did very well with your initiation…so well we’d like you to join our group. The intimidation nation.”
I looked to Antoine, Lewiza, and Chloe. They all smiled shaking nodding their head excitingly. Then Dom took the reigns again and explained who they were.
“We are Maddie Dale’s highest ranks. We run the arts here. Lewiza is an accomplished dancer. Antoine is the greatest method actor Maddie Dale has ever seen. Chloe is believe it or not a music protege. And I am the artist. Together we run the school and everyone either fears us or hate us. Either way we are coined the intimidation nation for a reason….we are very good at what we do.” Dom explained.
“Why me?” I asked my voice coming out softly and less scratchy.
“Chloe works in the main building sometimes and saw your portfolio. Your designs are very impressive. After the rest of us saw the designs of your work and your essay. We had to recruit you.” Lewiza said.
“Did you all have to sit in ice and answer trivia questions?” They all looked around sheepishly and shook their heads.
“I was forced to dance an entire recital bare assed in the quad for the whole school to see. Thirty minutes.” Lewiza blushed as the rest of them chuckled.
“I had to push my grand piano from one end of the school to other blindfolded. All the while I had to recite all the composers from the 15th to the 19th century. Fifty minutes.” Chloe chirped before adding,”BTW, there’s like a ton of those guys.”
“Well you guys were lucky. I had to go into the city and hit on chicks all night! Do you know what that does to my sexual identity? An hour, but only because some girl was trying to send me to her bed. Now that took some acting and protecting.” Antoine cringed at the memory, I cracked a small smile at this.
“You guys were let off easy.” Dom rolled her eyes. “I was brought in by old seniors. They were incredibly boring with their initiations and broke my hand then made me paint my semester final with a cast. I nearly got kicked out…but luckily my skills proved I could hold my own.The beating was quick but brutal. Twenty minutes.” she boasted proudly.
“That all sounds horrible.” I chuckled.. Well I tried to.
“What we did wasn’t funny.” Lewiza frowned.
“Tonight we all pushed the limit dangerously to the edge.” Chloe added.
“It was reckless and we didn’t think it through. If we did then you wouldn’t have…you know.” Antoine sighed.
“I’m really sorry Vivian. I should have known that was hazing because those girls did the same thing to me…they hurt me. Like I hurt you. But you stood your ground and answered everything and even broke the record for withstanding the initiation the longest. Two hours of pure torture and you took it to the end. That’s dedication that’s exactly who we are in intimidation nation.” Dom told me. By then I sat up, curling the blankets around me. I felt weak but I knew I’d be alright.
“I didn’t almost die for nothing. Count me in.” I smirked. Then someone’s phone went off. Antoine pulled out my phone and looked at me sheepishly.
“I didn’t want you to ruin your phone in the ice?” he shrugged innocently.
“Idiot.” I grumbled taking my phone and saw it was a video call. I frowned when I saw the time. It was nearing five in the morning. Who could be calling me at this time? So I pressed answer and his face popped up.
“Blake?” I raised my eyebrow. “Did you know it was me?”
Blake looked dressed and prepped for practice. His confused expression matched mine. I hadn’t seen him in three weeks. Something in my stomach stirred and I willed my hormones to stay in check.
“I thought this was Sawyer’s number…oh shit did I wake you?” his blue eyes widened in shock. I looked at the intimidation nation who were obviously eavesdropping.
“No, I can assure you that you are not the reason I’m awake.” I said trying to hide my hoarse voice.
“Are you sick?” Blake asked.
“No we stuck her in an ice bath and kept her there for two hours and nearly killed her. But I think she’ll be fine. I mean look her lips aren’t blue anymore.” Chloe rambled nervously poking my face.
“What!” he shouted, “Are you crazy lady! Vivi call the cops right now!” he demanded.
“Hey I wouldn’t call me a lady! I bet I’m younger than you…you old fart!” Chloe cried out.
“Chloe.” I said calmly.
Antoine wielded her away from the screen and calmed her down. “Down girl. No need to go all rogue on us.”
“Why did you tell him!” Lewiza sighed.
“And why did you have to say it like…that.” Dom cringed.
“I have a guilty conscience and my sensei says that a clear mind is a healthy mind.” Chloe huffed crossing her arms over her chest. She looked like a pouting kitten. It was too cute really.
“You’re karate instructor gives you life advice?” Lewiza raised her eyebrow. Chloe stared at her blankly.
“Yeah doesn’t yours?”
“I don’t take karate.”
“Neither do I.” Chloe said.
“What?” we all said in unison. Even Blake was confused as he listened to all this. I turned back to my screen and smiled sheepishly. This was the oddest encounter.. Ever!
“I don’t need to call the cops Blake. Believe it or not I’ve grown fond of these murderers.” I chuckled.
“Attempted murderers.” Chloe corrected. We all chuckled at this, except Blake of course.
“Just be careful okay Vivi?” he said softly his blue eyes boring into my brown eyes.
“I guess I have to go to your house to remind your brother of our deal. It’s been a couple weeks since we actually practiced one-on-one. Surprisingly enough though, your brother suddenly started catching the ball.” he chuckled and I choked. Of course he got better, Sawyer could always catch a pass. It was me who couldn’t. “Don’t be a stranger.”
“I won’t.” I muttered softly before the screen went black. My eyes snapped to the intimidation nation and they wore the same look of mischief.
“Who’s Blake?” Dom smirked.
“No one.” I mumbled my cheeks blushing.
“Look she has color again!” Chloe giggled pointing at me.
“Pointing isn’t nice.” I frowned.
“Neither was he but you like like him.” Chloe smirked wiggling her eyebrows.
“Oh my god-“
“Is what I thought when I saw that boy.” Antoine cut me off.
“Forget to mention that Blake is a sex god?” Lewiza cut me off too and chuckled.
“Are awesome!” they all chorused together.