East Side Academy

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Chapter 33 - Evil Woman

“Ha, ha, woman, it’s a cryin’ shame / But you ain’t got nobody else to blame / Evil woman” – Evil Woman, Electric Light Orchestra


“Just look at her!” Lisa complains to her two friends at her locker. She gestures towards where she can see James and Arya standing very close, talking, smiling, laughing. It sickens Lisa. “She just comes here, out of the blue, and steals him away from me!”

“You guys were never together,” Paulina says to her friend who is delusional to think that she still has a chance with James.

“And now we’ll never be with her here, flipping her hair around him, touching his arm, acting all ‘cute’ around him,” Lisa says irritated. “I don’t trust her!”

“Someone’s jealous.” Isabella, captain of the girls’ soccer team, says, overhearing the conversation of the young Grade 11s as she’s putting her books in her locker.

Lisa turns immediately at the voice and marches straight over to Isabella. “Well did you hear the guys saying she’s the hottest girl on the soccer team and the best player?” Lisa says because she knows it will ignite anger in Isabella, the popular, pretty soccer star of Grade 12.

She slams her locker at Lisa’s comment angrily. “Shut up!” she says in rage. This is not the first time she’s heard something like that said about this Grade 11 who has been nothing but a pain since she stepped foot in that locker room. “She shouldn’t even be on the soccer team!”

“What do you mean?” Lisa asks, curious about any gossip about Arya.

“She just transferred here from West Side.” Isabella says, “You’re supposed to wait a year to play any sport that you played at your previous school, but I guess they made an exception for her!”

“Why?” Lisa asks.

“I don’t know?” Isabella says annoyed, “I’ve asked girls from West Side about why she left and none of them know. They just say that one day she was there, and then the next day she and her sister were gone. When anyone asked her about it, she just said she needed to leave the school and gave no explanation. No one there knows why either of them left, and if anyone does, they’re not sharing.”

Lisa never dug into the mystery of why Arya came to East Side although she always thought it was weird that she came here. And now, hearing that even the West Siders don’t know why she left is even more suspicious. Lisa stares at Arya and James together, happily laughing with one another. ‘What are you hiding, Arya?’ Lisa thinks to herself.

There’s something important to know about Lisa. She’s not like all the others at East Side. She could have easily gone to West Side if she wanted to, she comes from a very rich family and she’s a science whiz, even Diana has trouble keeping up with her. But, despite all this, she still chose to go to East Side. The idea of Religion class and wearing a uniform didn’t appeal to her, even if academically West Side is the better school. For her, going to the ‘cooler’ school would be more fun, and what’s fun about uniforms and Religion?

She has to find out about the real reason Arya left West Side. Isn’t it odd that no one knows? But someone has to know for sure why she left. The person that would have made her leave. The principal.

Lisa steps through the front doors of West Side Academy. She gets some looks from students passing by because she is the only teenager there not wearing a uniform. She makes her way to the principal’s office to see if she can find out something about why Arya left this prestigious school.

“Hello,” Lisa says to the young woman at the front desk, Ms. Pince, who continues to type on her computer.

“Yes?” Ms. Pince says, never looking away from her computer screen.

“I was hoping to talk to the principal?” Lisa asks.

“Not in right now.” Ms. Pince says.

“Do you know when he will be back?” Lisa asks.

“He’s still in a meeting for the next 15 minutes,” Ms. Pince says, her tone of voice never changing.

“Would it be okay if I wait in his office until he comes back?” Lisa asks. Ms. Pince finally looks away from the computer screen to look at Lisa.

“Do you even go here?” Ms. Pince asks, seeing Lisa is not wearing a uniform.

“I’m his niece,” Lisa says quickly.

“Nice try.” Ms. Pince says, “Mr. Filch doesn’t have any nieces.” And then she turns back to her computer.

“Okay,” Lisa says, “I’m honestly just here to find out about a girl that used to go here. Arya Secord?” The name doesn’t faze Ms. Pince at all, she just continues typing at her computer. “Do you have any idea why she left this school?”

“No.” Ms. Pince says flatly.

“There must be something in her file?” Lisa asks, “Her transfer form must give a reason.”

“A student’s file is not something that just gets shared with strangers.” Ms. Pince says, “Now if you don’t mind, I have work to do.”

“Please, Ms. Pince.” Lisa says, “It makes no sense why Arya would leave this school. She and I have become good friends at East Side, but I worry for her. And she won’t tell me what’s going on.”

Ms. Pince gives Lisa a side glance. “She had some relationship issues with another student or students.”

“Can you be a little more specific?” Lisa asks sweetly.

“That’s all I know.” Ms. Pince says, “Now please leave this office while I’m still in a good mood.” This is a good mood?

But Lisa can sense that Ms. Pince knows more than what she lets on. She knows exactly the reason Arya left. She’s the principal’s right hand. Lisa just has to get the information somehow. One thing Lisa has learned from her business tycoon father is that everyone has a price. It’s just finding out what it is that’s the key. Lisa looks at the young Ms. Pince. She looks like she’s in her early twenties. What could a woman like her want? Lisa sees her typing hands and finds exactly what she is looking for.

“That’s a beautiful engagement ring.” Lisa comments, leaning over on the desk.

“Yes.” Ms. Pince says smiling down on it and rubbing her hand across it.

“When is the wedding?” Lisa asks.

“This fall.” Ms. Pince says, “October 27th.”

“Wow.” Lisa says, “Do you have a wedding dress yet?”

“No.” Ms. Pince says longingly, “I’ve been looking around and nothing is right. I can’t seem to find ‘the one’.”

“That’s a shame.” Lisa smiles to herself. “Getting a dress designed for yourself is the only way to find the ‘perfect’ dress.”

Ms. Pince laughs. “As if I could afford that.”

“I might be of some help,” Lisa says and Ms. Pince looks straight at her. “One of my mom’s favourite designers could easily create a beautiful dress for your wedding day at a very good discount.” Ms. Pince raises an eyebrow at her, knowing that this offer is not a gift. “All I ask for is the real reason why Arya left West Side.” Lisa can see Ms. Pince considering her offer. She plays around with her engagement ring, which is a good sign. “You only get one wedding day, Ms. Pince. You deserve to feel like the most beautiful woman in the room.”

Ms. Pince stops fidgeting with her ring and turns to her computer. Ms. Pince never liked Arya. Ever since she purposely ran into her, causing her to spill her coffee that ruined one of her favourite shirts. She also knows the ‘fire breathing dragon’ comments and whispers started from Arya. Why should she let the girl that has annoyed her since her Grade 9 year stop her from getting the wedding dress she wants? “Meet me at Starbucks downtown at 4 pm.”

Lisa smiles to herself. “Perfect.” And then she walks out of the school, happy as a clam.

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