Letters to Romeo: Bad boy good girl

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Warning of the Ghost

Music Recommendation: Bad guy- Billie Eilish

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Julie watched Roman or Rome as his friends called him, leave the bonfire place with his clique while she stood with Melanie and Conner. Roman’s last words to her resounded in her mind, and her lips pursed. Roman Moltenore was indeed a trouble that she would need to avoid.

It was only a while ago, did she realize that she had been played by having another round with him. The scent of his cologne continued to linger in the place where he had been sitting until now, leaving a light whiff in the air.

“It was a fun night, wasn’t it?” asked Conner with a grin as they started to make their way towards their dormitories. “Some of them were good.”

“What do you think was Victoria’s problem?” questioned Melanie with a frown.

“I don’t know,” Julie shrugged her shoulders because she had never met the girl before this evening. “Maybe she wasn’t comfortable with me being there,” because she did mention it.

“It still was rude,” muttered Melanie. “After all, Maximus was the one to invite us and not the other way round.

“That’s fine,” said Julie. Now that the game was over and they were away from the place where the bonfire continued, the way Victoria had behaved with her didn’t bother her as much as it had the first time when she answered Simon’s question. “People are protective and don’t like strangers joining their said group. Though I must admit that I did enjoy watching Conner dance around the fire,” and the two girls laughed remembering it.

“Julie, you were brave to talk back to Roman. For a minute I was worried,” said Melanie and Julie nodded her head.

“Me too,” said Julie while remembering the shark bite.

When Julie reached her dorm, she closed the door and went straight to lay on her bed without removing her shoes nor changing her clothes. Being around people was exhausting, and she was not used to it. In the past, she had always kept to herself and was always found sitting in the corner of the room.

She removed the glasses that she wore, stretching her hand to place it on the nightstand while she continued to lay in her bed, staring at the ceiling.

The following day, Julie arrived at the lunchroom later than her friends. Before she could reach her friends table, Eleanor appeared in her way, walking towards her with a smaller smile than yesterday.

“Who would have thought that you were smarter than you appear,” commented Eleanor, stopping to stand right in front of Julie and blocking her from walking forward.

“Good afternoon to you too, Eleanor. I thought it was given that most people who wear glasses are smart,” responded Julie with a polite smile. “But what are you talking about?”

Eleanor sized Julie up and down before looking up at Julie’s face, “You innocent girl. You don’t know what you did yesterday?”

“I spoke to you?” asked Julie in humour. She was about to step aside and walk, but Eleanor raised her hand, stopping her from walking.

Eleanor took a step closer to her, and Julie wondered if the girl had heard something called personal space, “You think your joke is funny? Right now you are the only one laughing, but beware in the end it isn’t you but others who will be laughing at you. So stay away from him,” warned the girl.

“I am sorry, but I don’t think we are on the same wavelength because I am not getting you,” replied Julie, and Eleanor glared at her. The girl was wearing heels that made her appear taller, while Julie wore the same sneakers.

“Let me spell it out for you then, Jules. Stay away from Rome.” At Eleanor’s words, Julie wasn’t sure if she was supposed to take it as advice or a threat. “After that little stunt you pulled in the bonfire, don’t think you will be let off the hook easily.”

Julie held a thoughtful look on her face and said, “I think there has been a misinterpretation of the situation in-”

“I thought we could be friends but then you did pick to hang out with those two unworthy people. You were only invited out of Maximus’ kindness, so don’t get it in your head,” said Eleanor, offering a sudden bright smile as if she hadn’t tried to threaten Julie and walked away.

Julie stood in her place, realizing people were looking at her, and they didn’t hide their stares. She made her way to where Melanie and Conner were.

“Was it about being friends again?” asked Conner when Julie sat down at the table.

“It was about Roman,” replied Julie and noticed Melanie had got her meal, “Thank you, Mel.” Picking up the fork, she stabbed the green leaves of the salad before putting it in her mouth.

“Oh, no,” whispered Melanie. “What did she say?”

“Just to watch my back and to not talk to him again,” replied Julie before taking another bite from her salad.

“Julie, you should be careful with her. Don’t take her threat lightly,” said Melanie looking slightly worried. “Remember that art student whom I told you about? Eleanor was the reason why the person broke her hand. Everyone in the bonfire must have seen you sharing the chocolate stick with Roman and she’s obsessed with him. Actually there are many envious girls here.”

That ghost? Asked Julie in her mind. But Eleanor didn’t look like she could harm a fly and seemed to be more of words, or maybe it was just that she didn’t know about it.

“I will be careful,” assured Julie, and she carefully looked around and saw the students had got back to doing whatever they were doing before Eleanor had stopped her. “How come the administration here doesn’t do anything?”

“The students who like to bully are clever enough to not leave any evidence behind for their actions,” shrugged Conner. “No proof means no justice and students here are spawns of satan,” he said in a low voice.

Julie hoped that whoever that girl was, who had broken her arm, had been compensated well without her academic year being damaged.

After a few minutes, when Julie was half done with her meal, she caught sight of the five seniors who stepped into the lunchroom like movie stars, and most of the new students stared at them from their seats. She noticed Roman walking at the back with Maximus while the rest of the three walked in the front.

On seeing the group, Julie turned her face away from them to avoid eye contact that could insinuate ideas from the jealous girls at the bonfire. The five popular seniors took a seat at the other side of the lunchroom.

Julie picked up the fries from Melanie’s plate and stuffed them into her mouth.

“By the way, Julie, are you going to visit your uncle next Sunday?” asked Melanie.

“I haven’t planned it yet. How about you both?” Julie returned the question.

“We are going to visit our family. The university has a bus that leaves from here to go to the town,” Melanie let her know, and Julie nodded, picking up the water bottle and taking a sip from it.

“I will keep that in mind,” Julie smiled while internally realizing that she would be spending her Sunday all by herself. Which was alright, she thought in her mind. She liked to spend some solitary time by herself.

It was good to have a place to return to, but it was as if the doors were not locked in Julie’s case, but they were non-existent. She wondered what her mother would have said if she was here today.

“If you want you can always come with me,” offered Melanie as she sensed something not to be okay with her, but Julie was thankful that Melanie didn’t question her. “I am sure my parents would be happy to have you over at my place. They would also appreciate having a new face and not just Conner.”

“I wonder that too,” agreed Conner, and he asked Julie, “Do you miss your friends where you used to live before?”

Before Julie could answer Conner’s question, a commotion broke in the lunchroom. Hearing the table and chairs screech, everyone’s head turned to look at what exactly was going on. When Julie stood up like some of them, she caught sight of Roman, who was involved in a fight with another guy.

“It is going to be messier,” said Conner. Whoever the other guy was, he seemed like he wanted to run away, but Roman got hold of the back of the guy’s shirt.

“What do you mean?” asked Julie. It had been only a few minutes since the group had appeared in the lunchroom. What happened?

Conner whispered, “If it is inside the buildings where the teachers are present, the fights are usually more contained, but away from the faculty’s eyes usually ends up in one person visiting the infirmary.”

Julie noticed the students move away from where the fight was taking place. The other friends of the group did nothing to stop Roman and stood there watching. She flinched when Roman pulled his hand behind before it hit straight into the boy’s face, and the boy fell on the lunchroom floor.

A few hours ago...

In the boy’s dormitory, in one of the dorms that had a door with the darkest wood, Roman’s inked hand reached for the white T-shirt that he had earlier placed on the bed. He wore it and picked his jacket without putting his hands into the sleeves while letting it rest on his shoulders. Walking to stand in front of the mirror as he chewed gum, he brought the chain around his neck to rest on top of his shirt.

Stepping out of the room, Roman ran his fingers through his thick locks of hair and closed the door behind him. Taking two steps closer to the long window, which was at the end of the corridor, he looked at the students who walked past the building.

“I am envying that spotless white shirt now,” came Maximus’ voice from the left side. Roman’s head turned in the direction of the voice and footsteps, seeing his two friends walking towards him while he leaned against the wall. “What will you do if someone drops something on it?”

“You can try if you want to know,” replied Roman, bringing his hand up to cover his mouth, yawning.

“Didn’t sleep enough?” asked Simon.

“I am fine,” replied Roman before pushing himself away from the wall.

Most of the boys on the floor had already left the building to either study in the library or elsewhere or have lunch or involve themselves in extracurricular activities. The three boys left the corridor, making their way outside the building.

“By the way, did you hear the latest gossip going around since yesterday in the university? There have been people questioning if we are looking to expand our group. Not to mention they are wondering who the new girl is,” chimed Maximus with a mischievous smile.

Simon’s gaze shifted to Maximus, and he said, “You put her on the map.”

“I did?” asked Maximus in an oblivious tone and then said, “Dante told us that we should find this student who isn’t here to study but to cause a mess. Wasn’t that the intention?”

Roman responded, “We cannot be sure that it is someone who was admitted this year. If the plan about exposing us was set in motion months or years ago, whoever it is, that person would have joined last year, or a year before that. And speaking about the girl, scratch her name from the list.”

“Hm?” Maximus’ eyebrows raised.

“It seemed like last night she caught your interest,” stated Simon, his eyes holding a look of curiosity in them. “Have you decided on her to be your next treat?”

“Who knows,” replied Roman with a chuckle.

When they reached the building of lunchroom, Olivia and Victoria had already arrived, and together they stepped inside the large building. Stepping inside, they walked towards the empty table, taking a seat.

“How was your night in the dormitory? Tori looks upset about yesterday,” said Simon when Victoria and Maximus left the table to go to the counter.

Olivia’s eyes shifted from Simon to look at Roman, who stared at her before looking back at Simon, “She isn’t particularly fond of the kind Maximus invited.”

“For a person who depends on that kind for survival, I am surprised,” replied Roman. He pulled out the can from his jacket, hooking his finger in the ring and tearing the strip. Though the can had been labelled with a soft drinks name, inside it was human blood.

“Didn’t Dante tell us not to carry blood in the crowded area?” whispered Olivia, noticing her friend’s lips getting a hint of colour before he licked it away.

“And since when did you listen to everything she says?” questioned Roman, unbothered by Olivia’s frown. “I have never dropped anything. Relax.”

“She’s the headmistress of this place,” stated Olivia.

One table away from them sat another group where one of the boys overheard what Roman said, and he commented, “Looks like someone is going to be expelled today. Let me inform the headmistress about what you are doing. This should be enough reason to earn a higher punishment.”

Roman barely seemed fazed by those words, and he continued to enjoy the contents inside the can.

Once he emptied the entire can, he placed it on the table without letting it go and turned his head to look in the direction where the person had commented. At the table sat people he didn’t get along with, people who believed they were better than him. But Roman believed the other way round.

“Is that all your lapdog can do, Griffin. Bark for you?” asked Roman. The bubble gum he had been chewing had turned red because of mixing with blood. He looked directly at the next person and not the one who wanted to tattle-tale.

“He was only stating the rules that you are breaking. I don’t think he did anything wrong with that,” stated Griffin.

But the first person who had spoken earlier seemed offended because Roman had associated the person with the word ‘bark’, and he got up from his seat, walking to their table. “Fucker, whom did you refer to as bark?!” he demanded in a low voice and his hands clenched.

“You,” Roman didn’t bother to beat around the bush and stared at the person. The person seemed like he was a freshman and had been recruited by Griffin. “Go back to your seat if you aren’t looking for trouble.”

“What’s going on?” asked Maximus, who had returned with food in his hand. He placed it on the table, watching the stranger at their table.

The next second, the freshman banged his hand on the table, and the plate shook with the drop of ketchup that fell on Roman’s white shirt. The guy leaned forward and said, “I have heard a lot about you, you are a half and you think you own this place. Let me-”

Roman grabbed the boy’s shirt at the front and punched his face. The guy staggered back. He got up from his seat as the person came to return the punch, but Roman only twisted his hand from the front and used his head to smack the person’s head.

“Should we stop?” asked Simon in a whisper.

“The last time you went to stop you ended up fighting too,” muttered Olivia.

The person was no match to Roman’s strength because, after the sixth punch, the boy fell like a dead log on the floor, but unfortunately, still breathing.

Roman’s knuckles had blood, and now there were more spots on his white shirt because of bloodstains. Tilting his head, he got down to sit on his heels, and by then, many students had scattered away while some stood up from their seats.

“Next time, arrange your thoughts before crossing me, before I decide to permanently rearrange the bones in your body,” advised Roman, and he stood up. He was ready to sit back at the table when one of the faculty members arrived at the lunchroom.

“In the headmistress’ office now, Moltenore and Griffin,” ordered the female teacher.

“The fuck? I wasn’t even part of it! It was Ricky,” said Griffin, receiving the teacher’s glare.

“Bring him along with you. Now,” she emphasized the word ‘now’, and she turned around, leaving the place.

“Looks like a detention is on your way,” sang Maximus.

Roman didn’t bother to pick up the person lying on the floor, and instead, he started to walk. On his way towards the lunchroom’s entrance, his eyes met the eyes of Julie, and he disappeared behind the door.

When they reached the headmistress’ office, as expected, the woman sitting behind the table didn’t seem one bit pleased with the students who had appeared in the room. “What was it this time?” she asked as if her patience had worn thin.

“Roman started beating the freshman for no reason,” Griffin explained to Ms. Dante.

“Why don’t you ask the injured boy,” suggested Roman calmly.

“You sent him to the infirmary and he’s lost consciousness,” Ms. Dante glared at the two people who stood in front of her. “All year I see the same people and most of the time it is you, Roman.”

“I cannot help it if people see me as a benchmark when it comes to popularity and strength. Don’t blame it on me,” deadpanned Roman as if it wasn’t his fault.

Hearing this, Griffin snorted, “You think you are stronger than all of us? You are weaker than us.”

“Is that what you tell yourself when you go to sleep?” asked Roman, running his tongue over his even teeth.

“Why don’t we fight right now and decide that?” Griffin turned to face him.

Ms. Dante’s hands shot straight on her table, and she glared, “Behave both of you. Tell me which one started it so that I know which one to punish more.”

“Roman. I was sitting at the table eating my sandwich when the fight started,” explained Griffin. “He even brought a can of blood in the lunchroom.”

“Where’s the proof?” Roman raised his eyebrows and offered him a smile. When the headmistress turned to look at Roman, he said, “Do you see this,” he pointed his finger to the front of his shirt, where there were red spots. “Being the good senior I am, I told him to leave and not cause trouble. But the boy went ahead and smudged my shirt.”

“Both of you will clean the entire Blue block today. Every single room. One more toe out of the line and I will have you locked up in the dungeon for a week,” she said in a stern voice before Griffin could try to protest another word about it. “You can both leave now.”

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