Elite, p.4Part #1 of Eagle Elite series by Rachel Van Dyken
Monroe was right. It was okay to cry. Grandma’s happy smile stared back at me through a picture we had taken last summer. I touched the glass and allowed myself a few selfish tears. What would her advice be? What would she tell me?
“Keep your head high. Ain’t nothing to look at on the ground,” I mumbled her favorite phrase and laughed through my tears. Tomorrow would be hard, but I was chosen, I was here, and I was going to earn it. Nixon better watch his back because I, Tracey Rooks, was here to stay.
The sound of music catapulted me out of my bed at lightning speed. Monroe was standing in front of the mirror dancing and singing while eating Cheerios. Now why hadn’t I thought to bring my own food?
“Want some?” she asked as a Cheerio dropped out of her mouth. Well, beggars can’t be choosers.
“My stash is under the bed, take what you want, you’ll need your strength today. Oh, and this came for you.” She went to the door and picked up a large box.
“Huh? Who from?”
Monroe took another bite of Cheerios and shrugged. “I don’t know. One of the Resident Directors dropped it off like at six AM. I almost punched her in the face.”
I laughed. Yes. I could totally see that happening. At least she wasn’t a total morning person. Though I wasn’t sure I would ever get used to her off-pitch singing in the mornings.
“Open it, whore!”
“Whoa, okay, fine.” I pulled apart the box. A note fluttered to the floor. Picking it up, I read the scribble and gasped.
They aren’t your grandma’s shoes. So I know they don’t have the same meaning. But I wanted you to have something to make you smile on your first day of classes. Sorry about last night.
“Oh my hell, Chase Winter just sent you a present!” Monroe clapped her hands together. “I can’t believe this! He never does things without Nixon’s consent.”
I shrugged. “Maybe he asked permission from Nixon?”
“No, this has Chase written all over it.” She beamed and pointed to the box. “Do you have any idea how much all of this stuff costs?”
“No.” I looked at the school uniform in the box, the knee-highs and Italian leather boots. I’d briefly forgotten that the brochure had boasted about E.E. making students wear uniforms to keep everyone, well, uniform.
“At least ten grand I’d say…” Monroe looked inside the boots. “Yup, they are an original Win.”
“W-i-n,” she said slowly. “As in the beginning of Chase’s last name. His parents dabble in fashion design. They make high end accessories, boots, and scarves. Lucky you, last time I got a pair of these I was twelve, and it was because I promised Chase I’d get my friend to French kiss him.”
“I can’t accept these.” I pushed the box far away from me.
“Sure you can, and when you see Chase you give him a giant hug in front of everyone. I’m proud of him. He’s finally grown a pair.”
“A pair of… what?”
“Balls.” Monroe threw me a wicked smile and pointed to the outfit. “Put it on and get ready, Boots.” She clapped her hands together. “Perfect, now I really can call you Boots. You know, because he got you over the knee, one of a kind leather Win boots that will make every girl on this floor want to murder you where you stand.”
“Great, more fans.” I pumped my fist lamely into the air.
“Just wear them, whore, before I help them kill you and steal them off your cold lifeless corpse.”
“Fine,” I grumbled. “But first food and then coffee.”
She threw the Cheerio box at my head. “The breakfast of champions. Eat up.”
“Right.” I snorted. “Especially considering I only have two meal passes.”
Monroe froze. “What did you say?”
“Your idiot brother gave me an access card with two meal passes. Remember? I told you that yesterday.”
She squinted as if trying to remember and then asked. “What lunch are you in?”
I shrugged. How was I supposed to know?
She rolled her eyes and held out her hand. I snagged the card from my desk and put it in her hand. She flipped it over and typed the bar code into the website on her computer.
“I can’t believe it.” She shook her head.
“What? What’s wrong? Don’t tell me he lied! I’m going to starve!” I yelled toward the ceiling and stomped my foot. I was from Wyoming. I liked my food.
“He, um…” Monroe scratched her head. “He put you with us.”
“What do you mean?”
“Nobody sits with us. It’s a private lunch period only for…” Monroe snapped her mouth shut. “You know what? Nevermind. Let’s get you ready so we’re not late.”
Monroe wasn’t with me in my first class which was some sort of politics class. I hadn’t really been one for politics, but because most of the people who went to school here ended up being world leaders, it was considered core curriculum. I looked to my left where a kid pulled out a flask.
On my right a girl texted someone and giggled behind her hand. The guy in front of me was reading a porno.
Safe to say the world of tomorrow was not in good hands.
Once the rest of the kids poured in, the lights flickered once, then twice. I learned quickly that meant that it was time to quiet down.
The door to the classroom opened. Nixon walked in.
You have got to be kidding me.
I looked around for an empty seat. There weren’t any. Curious, I watched as he went and stood behind the desk in the front.
“You all know me, and if you don’t, well then, ask someone next to you because I’m not repeating my name. Professor Sanders had a death in the family, and because I’m doing a business internship for him, he asked me to fill in. Many of you are seniors that have put off this class until the last year here. Welcome to Freshman Politics. This class is going to suck, it’s hard as hell, and if you don’t get a B, you basically flunk the class. But…” He stepped around the desk and leaned against it. “If you listen, do your homework, and keep your head out of our asses long enough to pay attention, you may just learn something.”
Okay, so as a person he sucked. As a teacher, I kind of dug the honesty.
“Trace,” Nixon called my name.
Just kidding, I wanted to feed him to a hundred piranhas.
“Yes?” I stood. Monroe had filled me in that every time a teacher called on you, you stood. At least I knew that much before being thrown into the lion’s den.
“Name all the Presidents of the United States. You have three minutes.”
I smirked, mainly because I had known the answer to that question since I was in sixth grade when Grandma made me memorize the presidents to the tune of a song.
I could bust them out without the stupid song. “Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams…” I rambled off all the names within two minutes. When I was finished, I sat down.
Every student in the room was gaping at me as if I was an alien or something.
Nixon walked slowly and purposefully toward my desk.
Crap. I probably pissed him off because I was smart and not stupid. But what else was I going to do during home school? Watch TV?
His boots clicked against the smooth concrete floor. Finally, he stopped in front of my desk. I looked up and waited for his reprimand.
He smiled. A real smile. Not one that made me want to inflict harm on his person, but one that revealed to me how ridiculously handsome he was. Man, that lip ring was distracting against his white teeth and dimples.
“Nice boots.” He looked down and then walked back up to the front of the class.
“First person who does exactly what New Girl just did earns an A for the day.”
Hands shot up around the room. Apparently I wasn’t Trace anymore. Well, that was short lived.
For the next hour I watched while other students tried and
Class was finally dismissed.
I grabbed my book bag. I’d ordered it online a few months back in hopes that it would help me fit in. It was leather and cost way more than I knew Grandpa could afford. I shuffled out the door but Nixon’s voice stopped me.
“Are those Win’s?” he asked.
I paused in the doorway. I was the last student to leave. I turned on my heel and glared at him. “Yes.”
“Are they from my sister?”
“No.” I felt my nostrils flaring.
“Did you buy them?”
“Who are they from?”
“Mature.” He snorted and threw his hands in the air. “Can’t we have a simple conversation? Who bought you the boots, Trace?”
“The boot fairy,” I replied and stomped off suddenly, glad Chase gave me something so awesome that even Nixon would take notice.
The next two classes were easy. I’m happy to announce that Nixon made no appearances. I looked down at my watch. It was already time for lunch. Monroe instructed me to walk to the cafeteria and hang a left immediately before I came to the main two doors. I did as she said and noticed a small door on the side. I waved my card across it and the door opened.
To a restaurant.
And not just any restaurant. This was no McDonalds. No. A chandelier hung over my head as I walked through the curtain. Leather wallpaper lined the walls. Beautiful wood coverings went halfway up each wall. The lighting was dim. It seriously felt like I just stepped into a different country. Candles were lit, and I nearly crapped myself when I saw a violinist sitting in the corner playing music. This was a joke, it had to be.
Phoenix, Nixon, Monroe, Tex, and Chase were sitting at a large table in the middle. Chase waved me over. I gulped and followed him.
Nixon kept his eyes down.
Monroe nudged him in the side but he still wouldn’t look up.
“Holy shit!” Phoenix slapped his hand on the table. “Don’t tell me those are from the 2013 collection! What the hell, man! You been holding out on us?” He threw his fork at Chase.
Chase’s eyes warmed as he met mine, and then he pushed away from the table. I looked at Monroe for support. She nodded her head.
I bit my lip and stepped right into Chase’s arms. Crap. I was breaking another rule, but maybe those were more Nixon’s rules than Chase’s. Shaking, I pulled back and finally gaining courage, kissed him on the cheek. “Thanks for the boots.”
“Sweet. Imagine what she’d do if you bought her a car.” This from Phoenix. I heard clattering of more silverware.
Chase smiled and licked his lips. “I’m sorry about…”
I waved him off. “I’ve got boots, we’re even.”
He inclined his head and led me to my seat.
“So, a restaurant? At a school? Really?” I direct my question to Monroe. She blushed and looked at her lap.
“Nobody really knows about it.”
“We like our privacy.” Nixon interrupted our conversation and snapped his fingers. A waiter appeared to take our order.
Nixon ordered in French. Of course he would.
But then everyone else followed suit. When it was my turn. I opened my mouth, but all that came out was a cross between a grunt and a whimper. Great.
Chase said something to Monroe in French. She laughed and then rapidly fired off orders to the waiter who gave me a warm smile and disappeared.
“French?” I squeaked. “How many languages do you guys speak?”
“Three.” Tex held his water in the air as if saluting me.
“Two.” Phoenix shrugged.
“Five,” Chase said.
Nixon cleared his throat.
“Tell her man.” Chase nudged him.
Nixon cursed and refused to make eye contact as he mumbled, “Ten.”
“Ten?” I exclaimed. “I can barely speak English.”
“We know.” Phoenix laughed. I thought it appropriate to throw my fork this time.
He ducked and then hit Nixon on the hand. “I like her.”
“Yeah, well, I like kids. Doesn’t mean I run around screwing everything I see in order to have one,” Nixon spat.
The table fell silent. How did they deal with his crappy attitude all the time? Monroe shrugged at me and began asking questions about my classes. Before I knew it hot food was in front of me.
“I’m afraid to ask what this is.” I poked the hot meal with my fork. It smelled delicious.
“Heaven. It’s heaven. It melts in your mouth and makes you scream with ecstasy. Girl, if you don’t have an orgasm after experiencing that particular meal, then you’re a hopeless case.” Phoenix bit hungrily into his food and winked.
I felt my face heat severely.
Monroe nudged me. “Don’t worry, Trace, Phoenix always talks like that. I think it’s because he’s never really had—”
Phoenix pointed his fork at Monroe and glared. “Don’t even finish that sentence.”
Tex and Chase laughed.
And again Nixon was silent.
I ate the meal. Correction, I inhaled the meal and promised myself I would start running so that I wouldn’t gain ten pounds my first day here.
“So.” I looked at my cell and back at the rest of the table. “Who eats here next lunch hour?”
Everyone looked to Nixon. He sucked in his lip ring and put his hands behind his head, leaning back on the legs of his chair. We were all in uniforms, but he had taken off his jacket, so I could see the outline of his dark tattoos underneath his crisp white button up. The shirt stretched over his muscles in such a way that I couldn’t stop staring. I mean, the other guys were attractive, but Nixon was a step above the rest. He was chaotic perfection.
“Huh?” I was still staring at his bulky arms.
“Eats here,” Nixon said pointedly. “It’s just us. Just this lunch hour.”
“But…” Confused I looked around. “Then why am I here?”
“We like to slum it sometimes.” Nixon grinned smugly. “Now run off before you’re late.”
I didn’t move.
Chase put his head in his hands and groaned. “I hate it when Mom and Dad fight.”
Phoenix burst out laughing. I had to admit to finding it quite funny myself. Nixon, however, was not amused.
He pushed his chair back and stormed out of the room, the door slamming behind him.
“Is he always like that?”
“Actually…” Tex leaned forward. “No. I think you bring out the worst in him.”
“Yay me,” I said sarcastically.
“You’re the first outsider who has ever eaten in here,” Monroe said to my right. “He hands out key cards to control the cliques. To make sure fights don’t break out between the kids from different countries at war and stuff. I just assumed he put you in one of the normal lunches.”
“What do you mean?”
Chase shrugged. “He’s not just in charge of the key cards, he’s student body president. He makes sure that access is limited for each student. Take for example, a kid from North Korea going to school here. You think they’re going to get along with a South Korean? Or better yet, some ritzy American kid?”
Phoenix shook his head. “That’s a hell no, New Girl.”
Chase crossed his arms. My mouth went dry at the sight. His dark hair wasn’t as unruly as Nixon’s, but he still had that dangerous look about him. “What if some sheik’s kid goes to school here but he’s from a different sect than some other kid? What if those same kids eat in the same lunch room that serves pork?”
“Oh.” I huffed. “I guess that makes sense, but then doesn’t that segregate everyone?”
Monroe laughed. “Boots, it’s college. We’re segregated regardless, whether it be by major or class. This is just the way things are here. It keeps everyone safe. Keeps the figh
The table fell silent again.
I looked up at Chase. “But if he hates me so much why would he want me here?”
A clock chimed in the restaurant causing everyone to push away from the table and stand.
My question remained unanswered as we all shuffled to the door.
I made my way out down the hall, but Chase caught up to me and whispered in my ear as we walked. “Protection.”
“See ya!” He waved and walked down the hall, leaving me to wonder what in the heck I needed to be protected from? Or whom?
“So tired…” I mumbled, swiping my card across the elevator door. Okay, so I knew it was lazy for me to use my one pass on the first day of school. But my brain was fried. I was chosen to speak during my last three classes. My final class had been a KI elective which was basically like PE. I had no idea colleges forced exercise!
Lucky for me, I had it all wrong.
They don’t do P.E. at Elite.
No, they did defensive arts. Seriously. That’s what they called it. As in, not dark arts from Harry Potter, but defensive arts. It could have easily been the same thing with how my body felt.
For the past hour, I swear, my soul left my body and I was victim to some guy named Spike brutally attacking me.
At least now I knew how to gouge someone’s eyes out, which I knew was going to come in handy if I had to sit and eat with Nixon every day.
I chewed my lip. The elevator doors opened. I stepped in and leaned against the wall. Why would he be so mean to me and then make sure I was always around him?
The elevator stopped. Great. I hit my floor again. It still didn’t budge and now a shrieking noise began coming from above me.
I hated small spaces. Panic set in. I was just about to use the little red phone to call the fire department, or the SWAT, or something when the elevator moved again.
“Thank God,” I mumbled as the doors opened to my floor.
I shuffled to my door and stopped in front of it.
On my door was a picture of my face on a cow’s body.
Should have known that was going to happen sooner or later.
Elite by Rachel Van Dyken / Romance & Love / History & Fiction / Young Adult have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes