Twenty minutes later, Rachel went down stairs and found Joey yelling curses at the TV, controller clutched tightly in her hands as she tried, in vain, to survive sailing bullets from the enemy. Her character fell to the knees and then face first in the muck.
“Well, that was graceful.” Rachel teased
Joey turned around with an annoyed expression which softened immediately, “Raich! You look good.” Rachel smiled and sat down on the bean bag chair next to her. Joey reached forward and handed Rachel another controller, “Wanna play?”
“Nah, too bloody.”
“Girly girl.” Joey smirked
“What? No!” Rachel denied the accusation.
Joey grinned and handed her a second controller, “We have half an hour. Prove it.”
“Person to take down the opponent first, wins.” Joey explained.
Rachel grinned and pressed play. She mercilessly took down Joey once.
“Two out of three?” Joey tried
And Rachel took her down again, “Three out of five?” Joey asked, gritting her teeth.
Rachel just nodded. By the end of their half hour, Rachel Fayne held the new high score.
Joey puffed out her cheeks in annoyance and Rachel smirked. They shook hands.
Rachel nodded and smirked. Joey stretched and bent over the back of the bean bag chair, she pointed to the wall right behind them, “See those?”
“Well, every one get’s to put up a poster of whatever they want to over here. Mine’s the Naruto one.” She finished with pride, “You could get yours tomorrow.”
“Well, every other Sunday, we get to go to the town nearby and we can spend our pocket money. We get like 50 bucks but doing certain chores can double the allowance. And tomorrow, we get to go and you can come to the mall with us.”
Rachel thought about saying no and just staying in her room or touring the place but she was desperate to fit in as soon as possible and not have people talking about her the whole time.
A tall boy who must have been a few years older than Rachel came running through the door. He was carrying a water gun. He bounded right up to the girls and squirted Joey [who still had her head hanging off the chair] right in the face.
Joey gasped and sputtered and rolled off the chair. She grabbed a cushion and heaved it at the boy who just ducked and continued laughing. Joey brushed her wet, clinging hair out of her eyes, “Raich, meet Mark. Our lovely Cabin Head.”
“Hi, Raich!” he extended his hand and smiled, “hope you like it here.”
“Rachel.”, she corrected
“Right, so Rachel – I see you’ve met Joey. So I suppose you’ve only got six more people to meet. Wait, you met Jess right?” Mark narrowed his eyes and continued talking, “yeah, no, I think you did meet Jess. She gave you the tour, right? I think so…”
“She’s about this high” he motioned to his shoulder, “has dead straight blonde hair? Very bossy- also my younger sister.” He finished, “Okay – so now you have like five people to meet.”
Rachel nodded with a polite smile and shoved her hands into her pockets. Mark’s gaze drifted to screen that still had Rachel’s score flashing on it. His grey eyes widened comically, “you beat her?! YOU BEAT JOANNA RIVERS!? OH MY GOD!” his grin widened and he extended his hand for a fist bump, “Come on, don’t leave me hanging!” he tilted his head as if saying ‘Pleeeease!?’
Rachel laughed and bumped his fist with hers.
So far, this place wasn’t that bad, the people were friendly and she decided that the small bag pack that she shoved under her bed was no longer needed. She wasn’t running off anywhere soon.
Exactly an hour and a half later, Rachel woke up to the sound of a man, presumably Jacob Wesson, calling everyone downstairs “ALL RIGHT! ALL OF YOU! CABIN MEETING!”
She rubbed her eyes and opened the door and almost walked into Joey, “HI RAICH!” She beamed
“God, Joey, do you want to give me a heart attack?”
She laughed and took her by the wrist, half dragging her down the stairs. The girls entered the living room where everyone was casually lounging on furniture and Jacob Wesson stood still in his suit.
“So, Rachel – I see you’ve met Joey”
Rachel nodded slowly. Mark, who was standing next to Wesson, pointed to everybody one by one and said their names and they, in turn, said a “Hey Rachel” in the same droned tone.
First was Jessica, the blonde haired girl who gave her the tour, who smiled knowingly.
Then a bespectacled eight year old with crazy curly hair, who was Jake
An intelligent looking eleven year old, Anna
Connor, the teal eyed, freckled boy who apparently had to carry Rachel’s luggage to her room
Joey, her enthusiastic friend
Anthony, the olive skinned, nine year old who looked like he was constantly worried about something …
And finally, Ben. The twenty year old who never talked much and had a tattoo of a dragon on his arm.
Wesson had to go back to his office and everybody sat back down in their chairs the minute he left. Joey and Rachel chose the chairs that they had been playing videogames in a while ago and Jake got up to get everyone a can of Coke.
“I hope we all have a good time” Mark smiled
“Yeah, that’ll be hard” Anna snorted
“Why is that?” Rachel asked
“Well – Dana might try and switch you with Ruthie”
“I’m sorry – who will what with who?”
“The Pink Cabin head, Dana Wilson Aka Super Snob has probably found out that you of all people are the latest addition to our cabin and will try to switch you by giving us Ruthie and inviting you to her Cabin”
“Ah, well – you guys should worry because a. I’m not a big fan of pink and b. I’m not gonna let her switch me with anyone. I am very happy here, thank you very much.” She finished, taking the can from Jake’s hand with a smile.
“She’s gonna bribe you or something. Dana is very particular about who gets to stay in her Cabin. She wants all the popular people-” Anna began.
“I’ll stop you right there” Rachel held up a hand and grimaced, “They don’t sound like the group I’d hang out with.”
Then, as if on cue, there was a knock on the door, Anna opened the door and there stood, who Rachel guessed was, Dana Wilson.
A fifteen year old with very shiny hair, clad in a denim skirt, pink tank, a lot of bracelets and a short dark pink jacket walked inside, uninvited.
Rachel raised her eyebrows at the excessive use of pink and looked at Jess, who mouthed “Dana.”
“Is this like Mean Girls 3?” Rachel whispered
There was a collective, silent laugh.
She walked right into the living room, “Alright, so, which one of you losers is Rachel Fayne?” Her accent was weird, posh and out of place - forced at most.
She lazily raised her hand, smirking slightly.
“You?” Dana said, “You’re Rachel Fayne?” she made no attempt to cover up her horror.
“What? Not bratty enough for you?” She said stepping up.
“Wow. Who knew the daughter of Davis Fayne dressed like that?”
Her accent made Rachel wrinkle up her nose; she looked down at her jeans and button down and didn’t seem to see the issue, “You got a problem?”
“No, it’s just - well, darling, you don’t look like a Fayne.” She said, “But that can be dealt with.”
“As if you’ve ever met a Fayne. Sorry I didn’t live up to your fantasy, sweetheart, but this is me.”
“Attitude too? God, she is going to need a lot of work.” Dana said rolling her eyes.
Rachel snorted. Dana held out a piece of folder paper. Rachel took it and opened it up. It was a brochure of the Pink Cabin. Rachel pretended to read it and looked at Dana.
“Really?” she asked skeptically
“How is this even allowed? You need to take this all more seriously, Dana … this isn’t a game or some competition. We all have our homes and I’m happy in Blue. I don’t wanna be part of Pink cause the Student Head thinks people are possessions and she’s gotta have the best of the best and complete her collection. I’ll pass.”
“Well, what’s wrong with that?” She asked, crossing her arms, flashing her perfectly manicured nails.
“Dana” Rachel said, carefully holding up the paper. And then ripped it in half.
Her mouth opened and closed in disbelief before she mumbled, “Miss Evans never said anything. She’s fine with it.”
“How many of these … “switchings” went well?”
“Yeah well, it’s far from reaching five. I’m sorry, bud, I’m not game.”
Dana gasped in the way the popular girls on TV do and Rachel grinned, “Thank you so much for your offer, Darling, but I’m good here.”
Dana narrowed her eyes, turned on her heel and stomped out of the room.
“Friendly advice, Darling,” Rachel began, mocking her accent, “Stop using your face as a coloring book. Easy with the makeup, ’Kay?”
Rachel’s Cabin members laughed and Dana turned around to stare daggers at Rachel.
She smiled and waved. Dana huffed in anger again and turned on her heel, slamming into the front door. The whole cabin burst with laughter and Dana slowly opened the door and walked out.
Rachel turned around, grinning at her Cabin members. She took a sip of her soda, and dramatically took a bow, “And, thank you!”
Her fellow members erupted into applause and laughter, Joey gave her a pat on the back, “Welcome to the family, Raich.”