The Good, The Bad & The Evil
Bringing her trolley to place it on the bed, she started unpacking the things. This place looked much better for a dorm than she had expected, making her wonder if every other room of this building was furnished with cupboards and drawers. Maybe they were, thought Julie to herself because this was a reputed institution. A university where thousands of applicants applied, but barely a few made it through.
Her clothes went into the cupboards, and her books now sat on one corner of the table. She took the framed photograph from her bag, placing it on the table.
After almost three hours, someone knocked on her room’s door. On opening it, she caught sight of a girl.
“Uh, hi. I live next door and thought to come and greet you. I am Melanie Davis.” Compared to Olivia’s loud clothing, this one looked more toned down. The girl had brown hair and a friendly smile on her lips.
“Julianne Winters,” introduced Julie.
“Did you need any help? I finished my assignment and thought you might need some help to show you around,” offered Melanie trying to be friendly. When Julie turned around, the girl said. “You are fast. When I first came here, it took me nearly a week to get my things sorted out.”
“I didn’t know what else to do. Would you like to come in?” Julie politely asked as it was rude to have the girl stand outside.
Melanie nodded her head and stepped inside, “I never thought this room would be turned into a dorm.”
Hearing this, Julie asked, “Was this the janitor’s room?” Considering how she had arrived late, Julie wouldn’t be surprised by it.
Melanie shook her head, “No. The room was always kept locked. At least since I joined this place and remember.”
“I see,” replied Julie, somewhere glad to have privacy. “What year are you?”
“Junior year,” on Melanie’s reply, Julie’s eyes brightened. “You too? I guess we’ll be sharing some of the classes together.”
Julie smiled, more than glad to know that there would be a friendly face to look at in the class, and she wouldn’t feel like an outcast. Her previous plan of keeping a low profile had gone out of the window with a crack in her glasses, and she was somewhere apprehensive on how the next few days would go.
“This place is really strange. I went to get my schedule and these two delinquents started to fight in the middle of the hallway. It was scary,” the last words came out as a whisper as if someone would hear her.
“I am sorry to hear that. In time you will get used to it. It is only a few of the seniors who often get into fights outside the buildings, but very rarely in front of the teachers. It even freaked me out initially. Me and my friend Conner, we try to stay away from it,” said Melanie, and she then looked at the picture frame that Julie had placed on the table.
Julie asked, “You wouldn’t mind if I borrow your notes to catch up with the lost classes, would you?”
“Of course not, let me go and get them. I finished most of my classwork and won’t be needing them this weekend,” offered Melanie and slipped out of the room to get her notes.
Julie was grateful for Melanie’s help, and with nothing else to do, she decided to spend her time going through Melanie’s notes. After dinner at night, she had tried to call her uncle to let him know that she had settled in, but her room had the worst network reception. It wasn’t just her room, but the entire building that had bad network coverage.
Stepping out of the dormitory, Julie hugged herself because the temperature had dropped more than the time in the evening. Walking away from the building, she looked down at her phone while tapping it at the side.
“Oh, God! I should have known this place would have a bad network,” muttered Julie to herself.
Raising her phone in the air, she tried to see if she would be able to find a signal, but nothing worked. Some of the few options were to walk towards the entrance gates where the creepy watchman was, and the next being climbing a tall tree.
Not too far away from where she was, on one of the trees, the boy whom Julie had met earlier that day outside the main building hung himself upside down on a branch.
A grin appeared on his lips as he watched the new girl jumping up and down, “Looks like someone failed to read the rules about this place. I don’t know what Dante was thinking by having a student join this late, when the girl isn’t even a freshman.”
The girl continued to walk around with her hand in the air.
“Olivia told me that they gave her the only spare room in that dormitorium,” said Maximus while he watched things upside down, his body slightly swaying back and forth. He saw the girl finally give up and return to the building. “Did you go to sleep, Rome?” he asked.
Maximus moved up to sit upright on the branch and turned to look at his friend.
On one of the nearby branches sat the dark-haired boy with his back leaning against the bark, his legs stretched and eyes closed. Even though his eyes were closed, he was still listening to Maximus.
“I would be if you weren’t annoying me. Go find another tree to hang on,” said the dark-haired boy.
The grin on Maximus’s lips widened, “I would, but this one looks s-” in the next second, the dark-haired boy placed his hand on the branch where Maximus was sitting, and the branch broke. Maximus landed on the ground on his feet. “Fine fine, I am going,” and he left.
The person on the tree turned his head, looking in the direction of the girl’s dormitory.
Back in the girl’s dormitory, Julie stared at the failed message that she had tried to send to her uncle because of the network problem, she dropped the phone next to her. Thankfully, her uncle had dropped her here today, and he would possibly guess that she was busy settling in here.
The next day, Julie tried to catch up with the basic things regarding the classes she had missed until the time of lunch. Both she and Melanie walked to the campus’ common lunchroom. It was located on the ground floor of one of the many buildings that the Verteris owned. The floor had large windows and seating arrangements for students and the staff of the university.
On her way, Julie felt the eyes of people on her, and she pushed her glasses closer to her face.
“Is it my imagination or can you also sense some of the people looking at us,” whispered Julie to Melanie as they made their way to stand in one of the two queues like the rest of the people. How much of an impression had she left on everyone in the main office that people remembered her?
“They must be curious after what happened,” replied Melanie, who stood behind her. Julie had already mentioned what happened yesterday, and the girl had offered her sympathies.
“The students here like to stare,” murmured Julie, taking one step forward when the students in front of her moved forward. It wasn’t that the previous place where she studied didn’t have students who weren’t curious, but this was a little more evident. “Even yesterday, when I entered the dormitory floor.”
“Oh, that,” Melanie’s eyebrows raised, and she said, “I think most of us were surprised to see Olivia walk you to your dorm door. Everyone knows that Olivia has never made an appearance in our block. It was possibly the first time she entered our dormitory. I think that is why the girls are curious if you are somehow related to her,” explained Melanie.
“Seems like she’s popular,” Julie responded, and Melanie nodded her head.
“Not just her, but her entire group is. Many want to associate themselves with them,” replied Melanie.
It made sense to Julie now that a nobody and a new student like her had been helped by one of the popular people of this university, thought Julie to herself.
When the students in front of her cleared, it was finally her turn to get her meal, and if there was one thing she had to praise about, it wasn’t the ambience or the architecture or the vast grounds on which the university stood. It was the variety of food that this place had to offer. The food in the lunchroom lived up to the reputation that this university held, and Julie approved it from the bottom of her heart.
“Mel!” someone called from one of the tables, and Julie saw a lean boy with curly brown hair, who seemed like he had reserved seats for them.
“I was worried we would have to wait after looking at the full table, for seats,” said Melanie when they reached near the table. “Julie, this is Conner, my friend even before we entered Verteris. We have studied in the same primary school. Conner, this is Julianne, a new student who arrived only yesterday and lives next to my dorm.”
“Conner Lee,” the curly boy introduced himself. “Welcome to the university.”
“Julianne Winters, thank you,” Julie thanked him with a smile. She took her seat along with Melanie next to her and Conner at the front.
“I am surprised to see that the university is still accepting students this late,” commented Conner, his eyes curiously looking at Julie. “A person I knew in my town had applied here around the same time Mel and I did. Considering how the guy’s grades were better than ours, I believed that he would be accepted here. But he received the rejection letter because the time had passed, even though the letter did go through.”
“Maybe they stopped accepting students,” said Melanie, who started to eat her noodles.
Conner waved his spoon, “I think it was because he applied it late.” He then turned to Julie and asked, “So what brings you here, Julianne? Like us, was it your dream to study in this renowned university or did you get through with a recommendation?”
“Two months ago, I moved to my uncle’s house,” she said as she had rehearsed in her mind many times, “And decided to apply here along with the rest. I just turned lucky in getting accepted here,” answered Julie and Conner nodded his head.
She asked, “How long have you both been studying here?”
“For three years. Students who belong to the elite family have been studying here for around five to six years compared to us ordinary students, who started here late. But then that is only because most of us were not able to get admission,” explained Melanie, and Julie stopped her.
“I didn’t know the students here were divided into two groups,” Julie voiced her thoughts.
“You would be surprised with how things here are,” chuckled Melanie.
“Two would be wrong,” said Conner while he picked up the Pepsi can to take a sip from it. “But we have the good, the bad, and the evil.”
“I don’t think I have ever heard this version before,” said Julie, leaning slightly forward as her interest grew. “Aren’t bad and evil almost the same?”
Melanie shook her head at Conner’s words but didn’t stop him from explaining it while she continued to eat her meal.
Conner explained, “The good students are the people here, who mind their business, and are busy studying. Well everyone study because if you don’t pass the mark then you will not be detained in the year, but told to leave this place at the end of the year. The good students try not to get into trouble, but are often subjected to trouble. Then there is the bad, who fight and get involved in causing trouble to the good ones. Then there are the evil one’s or the bullies. They will turn your life to living Hell here and no one will know. Some evolve like pokemon, and the evolution never goes backwards.”
“Seems like I applied to a university I didn’t know well about,” muttered Julie. Every school or university had those kinds, but this seemed to have two extremes of the worst, she thought to herself.
Julie couldn’t help but smile at his words, and at the same time, as she looked around the lunchroom, she wondered which of them she had to steer clear away from.
“Not everyone is like that, Julie,” Melanie assured her. “It’s just a few of them while most of them here are good people. Don’t go scaring her off,” she lightly scolded Conner.
Julie was glad to sit with them, and though she had spent only one day with Melanie and a few minutes with Conner, she could see herself spending the next two years with them. While they continued their meal together, she learned from their conversation that Conner had chosen arts as his major.
She was on her last few bites, finishing her plate clean, when she caught sight of three boys entering the lunchroom. On catching sight of the mohawk boy in the middle, her eyes went wide, and she ducked her head.
This was evitable as it wasn’t like they attended different universities. One or the other day, they were going to cross paths, but she felt it was better to do that after a few days than now. That way, his memory about the embarrassing moment would fade, and so would his temper.
While her head was still ducked down, Melanie noticed it and frowned, “Are you alright?”
Julie carefully lifted her hand to look at the boy, who made his way to one of the nearest tables where they were seated. “I think so,” whispered Julie, placing her spoons on the table. “What’s that guy’s name? The one with porcupine hair?”
Both Conner and Melanie turned to look at the side where Julie had nudged her head.
Conner started to laugh at the way Julie had described the person, his shoulders shaking, “That’s Mateo Jackson. Good one at that. Porcupine,” he snorted.
“Shh, you will get into trouble if he hears you,” Melanie hushed Conner, who continued to laugh. “Julie got into trouble with him yesterday.”
“That doesn’t sound good,” Conner cleared his throat. “It was only last week did he break one of the freshman’s fingers.”
“Thank you for the information. It is truly encouraging,” said Julie, as it didn’t make her situation any better.
Melanie said, “I don’t think he would hurt a new student. Especially a female.”
Right at that moment, Julie and the other students who were sitting near Mateo’s table heard him threaten a junior,
“You! What do you think you are staring at?” Mateo looked extremely angry.
“We’ll find her and bring her to you, Mat. She can’t hide forever,” said one of his friends.
Mateo smacked his hand on the table, “If it wasn’t for Borrell’s interruption I would have broken her hand,” he gritted his teeth. “Julianne Winters, she better run or leave this university.”
“How bad was the fall?” Melanie asked in a whisper.
Looks like she had hurt his pride and reputation, thought Julie to herself. “I will see you later. I am going to go and complete copying the notes.” She offered them a smile, who in return gave her a look of worry mixed with pity.
She had replaced her glasses with her spare ones, and right now, she was nowhere looking forward to breaking them. It wasn’t like she hadn’t stood up against people in the past, but she had learned that it was better to pick the peaceful way if something could be avoided. Thankfully Mateo’s back was facing where their table was, and she could see only part of his face. Quickly getting up from the table, she darted towards the doors of the lunchroom.
While Julie hurried, making her way past the doors, she almost crashed into a person if she hadn’t stopped herself from moving forward. But that didn’t stop her from coming to stand right in front of the dark-haired boy who had been involved in yesterday’s fight.
Because of the sudden shock of unexpectedness, a soft gasp escaped her lips.
But something told Julie that he had stopped walking to avoid being crashed into her.
Unconsciously she took a step back, her neck craning to meet his black eyes. Because of his dishevelled hair that fell on his forehead, it created a shadow on his face. Straight nose, cheekbones slightly high. Standing just a couple of breaths away, she could smell his cologne.
Wow, that was a nice smell, thought Julie. What brand was it? Realizing him staring at her with a hint of annoyance, she quickly apologized
“I am sorry,” breathing the words.
“No damage,” he replied, and when she didn’t move, he asked, “Are you going to move now?”
Julie quickly stepped aside, bolting from there to head towards her dorm to turn to a hermit for the next few hours.