"Sweetie, are you feeling ok?"
I poked at the pile of scrambled eggs on my plate, wondering if I could fake being sick to delay my first day of senior year a little longer.
Maybe I could claim food poisoning from the takeout I ordered yesterday?
Nah. My mom would never buy it, and even if she did, I really didn't want my favorite Chinese restaurant to be slapped with a lawsuit.
Hmm…what about the flu? Mono? Strep throat? Sudden amnesia? My mind raced through a million fake excuses as to why I wouldn’t be able to go to school today, but I had a sinking feeling my mom would see through all of them in a minute, and I'd just earn myself a nice grounding instead.
I jumped, my fork clattering against the plate. "What did you say?" I asked, trying to regain my bearings after being lost in my thoughts for the past ten minutes.
"Are you feeling ok?" my mom repeated. "You've barely touched your food."
I looked down and realized she was right. The scrambled eggs and bacon—usually my favorite breakfast—were far from gone.
I took a deep breath, about to lie and say no, I didn't feel ok and I'm not up for classes today, but unfortunately, my conscience kicked in at the last minute.
"I'm fine," I said, pasting a smile on my face. "I'm just not really hungry."
My mom arched her eyebrows and took a sip of her coffee. She's like Lorelai from Gilmore Girls—a total coffee addict. She had at least eight cups a day, despite my insistence that so much caffeine was not
good for anyone. You would think she'd know that, since she works in the health industry and all.
I shrugged. "Yeah, I guess."
That's one way to put it, although “nervous” didn’t seem like an adequate description for the Texas-sized pit of anxiety in my stomach.
"You'll be fine, sweetie," Mom said soothingly. "You were fine last year. Straight A's! And you're not even new anymore."
That's precisely the problem. I'm not new, which means after a year at Valesca Academy, I know how it works. Trust me, it's not pretty. But more on that later.
"You're right," I agreed. I valiantly spooned some eggs into my mouth, my mom watching closely. They tasted like cardboard, which I knew was more me than her cooking. Nevertheless, I managed to eat about half before I couldn't take it anymore.
If I had to go to school, I might as well just hurry and try to finish this day up as quickly as possible.
"Ok, I'm heading out," I said, slinging my bag over my shoulder. "I'll see you later."
"Have a good day, honey. Love you."
"Love you too."
When I got outside, I was relieved to see that even though the sky was overcast, it wasn't raining—yet. Hopefully the rain won’t start until I'm safe and warm inside Valesca's walls, with safe being a relative term.
I guess now is a good time to back up and explain everything to you. My name is Maya Lindberg, and up until a year ago, I was happily living in San Francisco with my parents, doing all the things a normal teenager does and attending a normal
high school that, while it had its clique problems, was paradise compared to Valesca.
Then, at the end of my sophomore year, my dad got promoted to his company’s headquarters in New York. By the time we found out, it was too late for me to apply for any of the good schools in the city. Unluckily for me, his new boss knew the headmaster of Valesca Academy, located two hours from New York. He pulled some strings so I could apply for late admission, and not only was I accepted, I also received a hefty scholarship, which was how my family uprooted itself to settle into one of the richest towns in the U.S. I mean, the only school there was private and cost $100,000 a year to attend.
Objectively speaking, Valesca wasn’t bad. In fact, it was considered the best school in the country, and boasted enough Nobel, Pulitzer, and Oscar-winning alumni to fill a ballroom (like the one on school grounds, which was usually used for dances).
Unfortunately, it was also filled with the snobbiest, most superficial, and most materialistic people I've ever met in my entire life. What makes it all the more worse is the way they all cower before the Scions, who are a whole other story unto themselves.
The Scions is the nickname given to the four hottest guys in school: Zack Perry, Carlo Tevasco, Parker Remington, and their leader, Roman Fiori. Their families, some of the wealthiest in the world, actually founded the town and the school, which means everyone is terrified of them. They usually keep to themselves, unless they are terrorizing some poor kid who looked at them the wrong way.