Letters to Romeo: Bad boy good girl

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Boys Dormitorium

Music Recommendation: Crime Scene- Nathan Barr

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Julie didn’t stay there for another second to get detention that she had tried to avoid. She quickly climbed up the stairs, but she didn’t go to her classroom. There was still a lot of time left for the current period to get over, and entering now would only raise questions.

She stepped into the empty washroom, closing the door while hoping no one would come. Her hands were still in fists tightly clenched. She walked to stand in front of the mirror. When Julie opened her palms, she saw the deep marks left because she had dug her fingernails to distract herself.

Her hand turned the faucet, letting the water fall on her palms.

Julie wasn’t comfortable with closed spaces, at least not since middle school. It spiked her heart rate, bringing back the memories she had tried to leave behind when she had moved to Woodward. But having Roman in there today did feel better, knowing she wasn’t alone. She leaned forward, gathering the cold water in her hand and splashed it over her face while hearing the voices in her head.

‘Open the damn door! Do you think you can hide there forever?’ demanded one of the girls, banging on the janitor’s door where Julie had locked herself in. ‘Did you think we would let you go after you complained?’

‘She’s locked the door from the inside,’ Julie heard another girl’s words as the door shook.

‘Open the door now, Julianne,’ said the girl who enjoyed bullying her, ‘You little bitch, get out of there right now or I will make you regret it.’

After two minutes, they stopped banging the door, and Julie heard nothing but silence. To ensure they wouldn’t be waiting for her, she didn’t open the door for the next few minutes as she knew how persistent the girls could be.

But by the time Julie had tried to open the door, the room was locked from outside. As the classes were over, all the students and teachers had already left the building. The small room was dark because of no windows, and there was no switch to turn on the light.

She had banged on the door, shouting for someone to open it while feeling breathless. It was only after two hours did the watchman find her and let her out. Things in the past had not been easy, but two months ago, she snapped, and now she didn’t want to go back to it.

Back in the restroom, Julie continued to splash cold water on her face a few more times before she looked at her reflection in the mirror. Taking a deep breath, she exhaled through her lips. She wiped her face with the paper towels and threw them in the dustbin.

She waited until she heard the bell ring.

When the bell finally rang, she made her way towards the class. She caught up with Melanie, who was carrying both their bags on her shoulders. A frown appeared on Julie’s face, and she asked, “What about the last class?”

“Mrs. Thornton is on leave and they dismissed the class. Where were you?” asked Melanie, knitting her eyebrows together in concern.

“I got caught up in some situation and it took me a while to get back,” replied Julie, taking hold of her bag from her friend and putting it around her shoulders.

When they walked out of the building, Melanie informed her, “You missed the attendance. They usually mail the report directly to the families, letting them know the attendance and grade progress of the students which includes details of detention.”

“How wonderful,” responded Julie. The address she had mentioned was her uncle’s house. Only after visiting them she would find out their reaction to the number of times she served detention in the first month here.

“I was thinking about going and meeting Conner. Do you want to come?”

Julie, who was walking next to Melanie, asked, “Do they allow girls to step inside the boy’s Dormitorium?” and for that, Melanie nodded her head.

“Girls and boys are allowed to enter both of the Dormitorium, but only during day time,” explained Melanie. “By the way, I heard something when you weren’t in the class. One of the girls from our Dormitorium was found dead in the forest. Her name was Stacy Hopkins, who was in her Sophomore year. They didn’t give enough details, but I think it is another animal attack.”

“That is why they were loading her things in the truck yesterday,” murmured Julie. It must have been the same person who had screamed in the forest.

The other teacher with Mr. Borrells had mentioned her name, thought Julie to herself. But if she was dead, why was she recorded as ‘transferred’?

“Mel, do you ever feel something odd in this place?” asked Julie and Melanie’s head tilted to the side.

“What do you mean?” questioned Melanie.

“I don’t know. It is hard to explain,” replied Julie, shrugging her shoulders as they continued to walk, heading towards the boys’ Dormitorium. “I mean, every year, students die in the forest, don’t they? Yet they haven’t taken any action apart from putting up signs in the forest. Not to mention some of the rules are strange.”

“Most of the places have strange rules. Maybe they don’t want to restrict the movements of the animals, thinking we are encroaching their space,” replied Melanie, but Julie didn’t buy it. There was an unsettling feeling which was hard to get rid of.

Before applying to this place, she had looked into Veteris University, and everything about it was a clean slate with no mention of any deaths.

When they reached the boy’s Dormitorium, Julie noticed how the architecture of this place had barely been modified compared to the girl’s Dormitorium. The ceiling was high, and the walls were made of dark wood. It was a three floors Dormitorium which now was occupied by the students. She caught sight of some of the boys at the entrance, who didn’t try to hide them, checking out both the girls.

“Mel?” whispered Julie. “The last time you said it was okay, we met Porcupine,” she reminded her friend.

Melanie pulled Julie inside, walking up the first floor, “I have been here before. Which is why it is okay,” she whispered to her. “Conner is here.”

Their friend, who was injured and recuperating, added Julie in her mind. As they continued to climb the stairs, her eyes looked down.

They finally reached Conner’s room, who seemed a little pale, “Did you fall sick?” asked Melanie when they entered the room.

“You look sick,” stated Julie.

“My muscles feel sore as if my body has been crushed,” confessed Conner, taking a seat on the edge of his head. “But I have been feeling better since morning. The warden brought us food to our dorms.”

“Us?” asked Melanie.

“The boys who took part in yesterday’s game. Also bad news is that I am no longer playing for the team,” sighed Conner. “I knew it was going to happen one day, but I didn’t know it would happen within a day.”

“We are sorry to hear that Conner,” Julie offered words of comfort, and the boy nodded his head.

“We are,” Melanie added, and she asked, “Is there anything we can help you with to feel better?”

“Thanks both of you, but I am okay. At least I know how it feels to play in the team,” Conner put a smile on his face. Julie noticed how he looked weak and tired. Was it common for a person who played on the field to look like this?

“You need to eat more, Conner. You look like you are going to disappear,” joked Julie, and Conner grinned.

“You know whom I am going to haunt if I return as a ghost?” Conner asked her.

“Mr. Borrell?” Julie asked to hear both of them laugh.

“That is who you would haunt. I would haunt Griffin or Moses,” whispered Conner to them.

Julie had never heard of them before, and she asked, “Who are they?”

“Griffin is one of the seniors and Moses is the creepy guardsman you might have met at the main entrance gates,” explained Melanie, who had taken a seat near the window.

“I am glad to know that I wasn’t the only one who found him that way,” replied Julie, remembering the person the first day she had come here with her uncle.

Conner moved to lean against the wall, on the bed, said, “He’s one of the people who looks for students who are roaming and trust me when I say this, he is hard to hoodwink. In my freshman year, I ended up in detention because I was dared to jump over the walls. It was Griffin’s idea.”

After spending an hour there, Julie and Melanie had decided to leave. On their way, they met Maximus, who was with Simon.

“Hello there. I didn’t expect to run into you here,” said Maximus with a curious look in his eyes. “What are you doing here?”

“They must have come to visit their friend,” stated Simon, his eyes looking at both the girls.

“We did,” replied Julie, and her eyes carefully looked behind them.

“Looking for someone?” asked Simon with a smile without bringing up the name, and Julie’s eyes quickly moved back to look at him.

“No,” Julie quickly replied, but Simon’s smile didn’t drop from his face.

“How about you two come and join us? We haven’t found the time to spend with our beloved juniors since the bonfire time. It was a fun day, wasn’t it?” asked Maximus while suggesting his idea.

“We have assignments to complete,” lied Julie and Melanie nodded her head vigorously.

“We do,” replied Melanie.

“Maybe some other time,” proposed Julie, but Maximus was pushy, something she had noticed even during the day of the bonfire.

“We have assignments to do too. Maybe it will be more fun to do it together, won’t it?” Maximus turned to ask Simon if it was alright.

Simon replied, “Of course. It will be lovely to have some company today. But I have to remind you beforehand, you cannot stay over,” and a soft chuckle escaped from the red-headed boy after cracking a joke.

“Let us show you the way to the room,” said Maximus, walking towards the stairs. “Melanie, wasn’t it?” He conversed with her as they climbed up the stairs.

“Milady,” Simon called, and Julie’s eyes snapped to look at him, and she followed.

Looking around, Julie said, “This place hasn’t been reconstructed much like the other buildings.”

“What makes you say that?” questioned Simon.

“I had seen the original designs of the mansions of this place in the historical books. It is almost the same with only a few things changed,” she answered him.

Simon looked at her and said, “Looks like you would fare well if you decide to study architecture.”

“What about Olivia and Victoria? They don’t study with you?” asked Julie to Simon, and the boy smiled.

“Very rarely. And I doubt Victoria would be happy if she found out that you were here,” answered Simon when they reached the top of the stairs.

Julie pursed her lips remembering Victoria’s displeasure towards her, and she decided not to comment. Simon and Maximus belonged to the popular clique of this place, and she was trying to stay away from any limelight falling on her. But every time she tried to swim away, it felt as if the sea was pushing her towards the whirlpool.

Maybe if she didn’t resist, it would be over soon, thought Julie in her mind.

Though Julie didn’t question, Simon could tell that the girl was curious, and as they walked in the corridor, he said,

“You see, all of us grew up together and maybe a little closer than normal and because of this we are very picky when it comes to who we want to talk and mingle. Victoria has been in love with Rome for a very long time and she just happened to open her claws when you were near.”

Julie frowned on hearing this, “She needs a nail cutter. She doesn’t have to feel threatened by me. I have no interest in him and neither does he.”

“Mm,” responded Simon with a faint smile. “I will make sure to deliver your message.” But he didn’t tell whom the message would be delivered and when.

Simon had known his friends for far too long. He went along with Maximus’ suggestion to invite the humans because he was curious. Curious because Roman had not objected to the idea of the strangers joining them in their bonfire night.

On the other hand, what Julie didn’t understand was why girls didn’t confess their feelings and get it over with? Victoria hadn’t done anything to her, but Eleanor, on the other hand, neither did she confess her feelings nor let others live in peace. Forget about Mr. Borrell; she would haunt Eleanor if she were to come back as a ghost, thought Julie to herself.

They walked to the end of the corridor.

“Let me see if he’s in there. Rome?” Maximus knocked on the opposite door Simon stood.

Julie turned to face the other door, waiting for Simon to unlock the door. She had spent enough time with Roman today, and she didn’t want to spend any more time with him.

Thankfully Simon opened the door on time, and Julie stepped inside with Melanie. She heard the other door open, hearing Roman ask, “What?”

“We were planning to study together and complete our assignments. Do you want to join us?” asked Maximus.

“Since when did you and Simon start doing that?” deadpanned Roman in the corridor. “I have other things to do,” and the door shut with a sound.

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