“So that’s why I don’t recommend any of the vending machines. If you’re in dire need of a snack or drink, just check the expiration dates first.”
Ellie was trying her best to give a fully comprehensive tour of Rosefell to Richie and Miki, which not only included the official academic locations, but also referenced the unofficial good, bad, and the ugly. These were tips about what days to avoid in the cafeteria, places where each clique tended to congregate, teachers who’s good side you wanted to be on and more. Her goal was to be honest with them about what they were getting themselves into, and if she could save the two of them from a few bad experiences or situations, the brunette would consider that a job well done. At least that’s what she would have wanted if she were attending a new school.
“That’s the library,” Ellie gestured to the double wooden doors on their right as the three of them passed by, glass paned windows looking into a lackluster variety of novels and textbooks with tables and chairs in between. “Ms. Bennington the librarian tends to be a bit… harsh, so just don’t talk loudly or chew gum in there or she’ll kick you out.”
Miki felt extremely underwhelmed by the tour so far. The vending machines seemed to be as basic as one might expect from an underfunded school such as Rosefell and the Library equal to it on the disappointment scale. But she didn’t have any interest in either of those. “What does this school offer in terms of extracurriculars? Or is your school so poor, that it can’t even afford that much?” It might not seem like it, but Miki was being nice when she asked her question.
The brunette girl sighed, the topic a sore subject amongst most Rosefell students. “We do have a few extracurriculars, but the majority of the funding goes towards the sports teams we have. Football comes first and then basketball, but the rest are underfunded like soccer, track and field, and even the cheer team.” Ellie explained, waving to some of the kids she knew as they passed by them. “As for the arts- which is my wheelhouse- the school gives us the space and the classes, but we’re expected to provide our own supplies. It’s similar to when any student-run club wants to go to a competition or trip, they have to fund it themselves.”
The girl stopped in front of the Nurse’s office, motioning to it with a flair of her arm. “Great place to take a nap in the middle of the day- just say you have a headache and they’ll let you spend the rest of the period there. However, I don’t suggest going to them with any real injuries or serious medical concerns.” It was an ironic comment, as her own mother was a school nurse, but Ellie knew that they selected more qualified nurses for the younger kids as opposed to the older ones thinking that the teens could better fend for themselves. Which was false.
Miki glanced at the nurses office for a quick moment, grimacing at the state of it, then she turned away, going back to what Ellie said about the cheer team. “If I’m truly going to attend this school on a daily basis -- for a year -- there’s no way the cheer team will be underfunded. Daddy will hear about this!” She declared, smiling at her surprisingly-helpful tour guide. “I think I was wrong about you, Ellie. You might have the looks of a plain jane, uninteresting girl and you even speak like one, but you provided me with some valuable information.” Without warning, Miki pulled Ellie into a forced hug that lasted for three seconds, no more and no less. “Thank you.”
Richie who had silently following along with the tour tried to keep a happy face as he nodded along to what Ellie was showing them. Though inside he shared most of what Miki was spouting but not wanting to step on any toes, he kept his mouth shut. An opinion he definitely did not share was that Ellie was plain, from where Richie was standing she looked very interesting, from her outfit that she obviously meticulously had picked out to the way she carried herself. She for sure was interesting. “Yeah! Thanks for this really, now we don’t have to get lost in this… uh… quaint labyrinth.” He chuckled quietly more to himself than anything. “So you’re into art? My sister is at NYU and living her artist dreams, we could probably donate her extra stuff that she left behind… if you’d like.” he mused.
Ellie wasn’t sure whether to feel insulted or flattered by Miki’s words, but didn’t have the time to process as she was pulled into a tight and uncomfortable embrace. The brunette remained stiff as a board, completely taken aback by the previously harsh girl’s sudden change in demeanor, and was thankful that she was released from her clutches a few moments later. God, where was Lil when you needed her? “Uh… you’re welcome.” She managed to muster, glancing around awkwardly trying to and switch gears, but was brought back by Richie’s smooth voice.
“Yeah, I’m into art- I’m trying to go to art school after graduation. Not sure if it’ll happen though, but a girl can dream!” Ellie explained, her eyes lighting up at the mention of her future aspirations. Anyone who knew the brunette was aware that she worked her ass off at the Diner and the after school program in order to save up for tuition fees to fund her education. She had the skill to easily get into any school of her choice, but it was financial aid and scholarships that would determine her fate. At the mention of donating his sister’s spare supplies, Ellie raised her eyebrows in shock.
“Wow... that’s so generous. You totally don’t have to, but I’m sure a bunch of the art students here would really appreciate and benefit from that.”
“Honestly I don’t think that she’d even notice” Richie shrugged his shoulders. “And I think that dad would love to get it out of the house anyway.” he added with a wink and a smile. “And speaking of the cheer squad, I think I saw the captain outside commanding some poor dude. So I guess you’d have to fight for the top of the pyramid Miki…” he mused and turned to face the high strung princess.
Ellie tried her best to keep her composure and not swoon as Richie winked at her, a barely noticeable flush tingeing her cheeks. “Well then, that’d be great.” The girl replied, offering the boy a smile back before realizing who he was talking about as he flipped the subject. “That would be Melissa...” The brunette laughed before providing Miki with more context. “Melissa Elliot: captain of the cheer squad, top of the Rosefell food chain, and queen of thorns. If you want to be a cheerleader, you’d be smart to impress her and not step on her toes. She can be… finicky.”
Miki could only stare at Ellie. It was the kind of stare that verged on glaring -- the kind that shot daggers at the poor girl. Miki was short, but she had the poise and potential of someone far greater and the fact that Plain Jane Ellie implied that she would have to impress Melissa was, at best, laughable. “Honey please,” she said with a hairflip, “if there’s anyone who’ll have to impress, it’s that Poor Man’s me you Rosies call a queen.” Her words came out sharper than she intended, but she meant every word. “She thinks she’s hot shit. And maybe all these years of surrounding herself by people who affirmed that notion is why, but she hasn’t had to deal with me on a regular basis. I’ll prove the only thing hot about the Queen of Thorns is the hot air that leaves her less-than-stellar lips whenever she decides to speak.”
Although her advice was from a genuine place, and she had every good intention by trying to help the new student out, Ellie found herself dry mouthed and caught off guard as Miki tore into her and ripped Melissa to shreds. The brunette was not expecting such a visceral reaction, one that came from a place of pure elitism, so she struggled to find the proper words to respond with. “Um… I, uh…” She stammered, trying to form a coherent sentence after being on the receiving end of such fiery tenacity. The girl’s previously tinged cheeks swelled with more heat, simply embarrassed that she had suggested such a thing moments ago. After taking a small breath, her lips finally enunciated words. “Well… good luck with that. I doubt Melissa will give up her crown very easily.”
”No self-respecting queen would. But it’s okay because I enjoy a good challenge. It’ll make for a satisfying victory when I utterly crush her until all of her rose petals are burned.” Miki stood firm in her stance regarding Melissa, but even she had the self-awareness that her attitude just might be too much for the poor girl. ”I suppose that’s enough. I think I’ll take a rain check on the rest of the tour, though.” She offered Ellie the most sincerest, apologetic expression she could muster. “Thank you for showing me this much, though. Truly.” Miki brought in Ellie for another impromptu hug and took off into a strut away from the two.
The Rosefell girl was convinced that she had just witnessed the rebirth of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. How could someone be so cruel and conniving one moment and sweet as candy the next? After only spending a short time with her, the brunette determined that Miki was easily worse than Melissa, way worse. At least she was on the dark haired girl’s good side... possibly? As the future queen strode away, Ellie exhaled the breath that she didn’t realize she had been holding and turned to Richie, a confused expression gracing her delicate features.
“Is she always like that?”
Richie turned his head sideways as he watched Mike saunter away before looking down at Ellie “You mean dramatic beyond compare?” he gave her another smile “Yes.” he crossed his arms over his chest as they both stared after Miki’s shrinking figure. “Anyway, I have AP Chem this morning, you wouldn’t know where the lab is would you?” he asked with that famous Diedrikson eye-sparkle.
The brunette tried to hold back a laugh, but couldn’t help it as Richie summed Miki up in the few words that seemed to fit her to a tee. “Hopefully neither of us will be around for the blood bath that will be Melissa and Miki’s first meeting…” The girl commented before the blonde haired boy inquired about the location of his first class. “Ooh, AP Chem… someone’s a smarty pants eh?” Ellie teased with a smirk, surprising herself as her demeanor shifted to one that was a bit more playful. “]“I’m headed towards there anyway, I’ll show you.”
“Smarty… pants?” Richie whispered to himself “I don’t know about that… I just need a science class to get my dad off my back, ever since I quit lacrosse he’s been on me to focus on school. Says I have a family name to uphold” he offered an empty laugh, even though he was the one who enjoyed school the most out of the golden trio, he’d much rather take an extra shift at The Spirit to focus on his passion. “And chemistry was the one thing that seemed interesting enough!” his voice pepping up again.
The brunette motioned for the boy to follow as she pivoted and began to walk in the direction of the Lab in question. She was admittedly not going towards the science wing (her first class was English), but she didn’t mind. Besides, he was nice to look at, and if walking him to class meant that she got to spend a few extra minutes with him... it was a win in her eyes.