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Black Roses (Chapters 3-4)
Ch. 3 Isabella
“It is time to begin categorizing!” Aldrik cried happily. An hour before, Isabella, Demitri and Brielle had taken a personality test to see which of the five Houses they would fit into the best. The five Houses were all named after five of the hundreds of people who helped to found Weeping Willow; Cecilia, for the musically and artistically gifted, Sebastian, for the athletic or outdoors-inclined, George, for the brave or courageous, John Cantius, for the intelligent and Joan, for those who were interested in armed forces. As each new student was categorized into their houses, Isabella’s name came closer and closer until finally:
“Brookman, Isabella!” called Professor Veronica, reading aloud from a large book. Isabella walked slowly and nervously up to the platform, standing in front of the huge Grand Hall, with the house flags flying from the rafters, and each long table seating members of each house. There was the scarlet and grey of the school itself, the yellow and red of the George House, blue and green of the John Cantius House, black and scarlet for the Joan House and orange and purple for the Cecilia House.
“George!” cried Professor Veronica, and the George House- GH as Isabella later learned- cheered. Isabella walked nervously, accompanied by Anna to the table and was greeted by many new faces.
“Hey,” said a voice quietly. Isabella turned to see the most blinding blonde hair she’d ever seen and the same startling blue eyes.
“I’m David and this is my brother Darren,” said the boy. “We’re Demitri’s older brothers. Nice to meet you!” Isabella smiled a silent greeting and tried to take in all the names.
“I’m Emily Lovelace,” said the redhead beside her.
“I’m Emma Jones,” said a jet-black headed girl.
“I’m,” began another, but Demitri’s name had been called into the GH. With a roar of applause, Isabella stood on her feet and welcomed her friend into their house.
“Can you believe this? How lucky are we to be categorized in the same house! It’s like it’s meant…” Demitri’s voice was lost in the uproar as Brielle was called to the GH as well.
“Wow this is cool! We’re all here,” Brielle commented, plopping down in a seat beside Isabella. Anna and Franklin sat by the seats, savoring the numerous pats and strokes of the GH members around them.
Other names were called but few were heard. Brendan Siesta, was one who stuck in her mind because of his amazing sense of humor. Isabella hoped they would all become great friends. Luckily, Lyndon and her cronies were in the Joan House, which was more or less disturbing.
The new students were ushered from the temporary dormitories to the permanent dormitories. The permanent dorms made the temporary ones look like the inside of a trailer. Everything was marble, except the oak or mahogany furniture. There was a pool table, air hockey table, a ping pong- called table tennis in Italy- table, and even a foosball table. There were no TVs in sight, which was something Isabella would have to get used to. Couches, cushions, chairs, and all manner of rugs and carpets covered the floor and took up most of the room. On the ceiling dangled many crystal chandeliers, from which hung banners displaying the coat of arms of the GH- two roaring lions supporting a large red-and-yellow striped banner on which George himself was riding a large stallion. Below this was the simple word, “Courage.”
Isabella looked around in awe of the huge room- students plaid in yellow and red, scarlet and grey were everywhere at once, either reading a book, playing a game, taking a nap or talking to their friends on the comfy-looking couches.
“How cool is this!” Demitri said, flopping down on a couch as much as a 14 year old could, for he was quite lanky and awkward.
“Well, well, well,” Martha Lyndon sneered. “What have we here? A couple of weirdoes and their filthy American friend. Some things never change.”
“Well we won the war sister so step off,” Isabella sneered right back.
Lyndon laughed weakly, taken aback by Isabella’s ferocity. “Yeah well we have the major exports and imports so what now?”
“We are the superpower.”
“We’ve been around longer.”
“Just a fancy way of saying you’re old.”
“Better than being ignorant.”
“Wow you know your vocabulary! Good job, what do you want? A sticker?”
“Jealousy is very common among you Americans,” Lyndon sniffed.
“Funny, I thought you were British,” Isabella said, faking a confused look. “Pathetic…”
“You’re the one who’s pathetic!”
“Oh, grow up, Lyndon. How many times have you used that before?”
“One added time, now.”
“Look at this! You can do math, too,” Isabella exclaimed with sarcasm. “That’s how many stickers now, Lyndon? What’s the matter? Can’t you count them?”
Isabella fell silent, as the room had when the verbal ping pong match had begun.
“Let’s go, guys. This is pathetic. What were you doing here anyway? This is our common room,” Demitri said disdainfully. Without waiting for an answer, Brielle, Demitri and Isabella, accompanied by Franklin and Anna, left the common room and headed for the orchard to chat.
“That was great, Isabella,” Demitri said in a voice filled with awe.
“It was nothing. I just couldn’t stand to let her call me filthy.”
“You did the right thing. But I think you made her angry,” Brielle observed.
“Let her be angry. She can’t do anything to me,” Isabella said in a laidback manner. Demitri and Brielle exchanged looks. They knew the Lyndon family was powerful and influential and knew that Martha Lyndon would certainly do whatever it took to take Isabella down after the humiliation of being out-shouted in a shouting match.
Abaddon turned to better listen to what Demitri had said.
“She WHAT?!” Abaddon roared, infuriated. Demitri shrank back into the shadows of the doorway.
“She…fought back, Your Wickedness. She had a shouting match with your ally, Martha Lyndon. And…she won, sir.” Abaddon turned and sent an unfortunate coffee table clattering to the floor in a fit of rage.
“How could she have won a shouting match with Lyndon? Lyndon is my top shouter and if she fails…”Abaddon’s sentence was left unfinished by its master, who was still in a fury coma.
“Your Wickedness, there is still time…”
“Time for what, Demitri? For her to win more shouting matches and prevail against Lyndon? For her to socially ruin our most trusted spy? Next to you, of course, she is our most trusted. Nothing is more important than insuring that Lyndon stays on top and you stay on the bottom with that girl!” Abaddon’s roaring turned to thundering. Demitri shrank even further into the shadows.
“It will not happen again, Your Wickedness. I will stop her before she can win,” Demitri offered. Abaddon waved his offer aside with casual approval. Then he turned to his apprentice with curiosity.
“Tell me, Demitri. You aren’t…falling for this girl, are you?” Abaddon’s voice was disturbingly quiet in the silence. Demitri looked at him with the blue eyes that seemed to glow within the shadows of the darkened room.
“Your Wickedness may stab me if I do.” Abaddon smiled.
Ch. 4 Isabella
The next morning, Isabella woke up early to watch the sunrise. Anna sat by her on the window seat of the girls’ dormitory that she shared with Brielle, Brielle, whom she met at the feast the night before, and two girls whose names were Lydia Verrocchio and Barbara Herington. Finally, exhausted, Isabella drifted back off to sleep, right there on the window seat, in the perfect view of the mountains in the distance.
Isabella woke to the familiar prodding in her shoulder. It was Brielle.
“Isabella, you know it’s time for class, right? Better hurry- we have Professor Veronica first and she doesn’t much like tardy students,” she said as Isabella gathered her wits about her and began to dress quickly.
“I didn’t know we had classes so early,” Isabella commented to Brielle as they pulled on their shoes.
“We don’t- but I didn’t think you’d want to be late for breakfast,” Brielle said kindly. Isabella grinned. She was beginning to think Brielle was the kind of person you could always depend on making the right decisions three-fourths of the time. Backpacks- really tote bags- in hand, the girls made their way through the door, down the steps into the common room, out that door, down those steps, hung a sharp left and entered the Dining Hall. On each enormous table were platters overflowing with every breakfast food imaginable- muffins, bagels, fruits, fruit bars, energy bars, mugs of hot coffee, cereals of all kinds and flavors, milks of all different percentages and so many things that Isabella did not know the names of that she couldn’t wait to try them all.
“Isabella!” Demitri caught up from behind her. Brielle took the hint and excused herself to grab a bagel before class.
“Hey,” Isabella said, taking interest in a large breakfast cake.
“Yeah so this is pretty awesome, right?” Demitri said casually, trying his best to be cool about what he was doing.
“Definitely,” Isabella said with her mouth full of cake.
“Gross,” Lyndon snubbed as she walked past.
“Better than stuck up,” Isabella shot back.
“I don’t know what you see in her, Soothed,” Lyndon growled. Demitri turned twelve different shades of red in the space of two seconds.
“I do,” Demitri defended himself.
“I don’t,” Lyndon said slowly, as if describing something difficult to a mentally challenged child.
“How about them Yankees?” Isabella intervened, stepping between them. The phrase had been used several times at her old school when someone wanted to change the subject. Isabella realized too late that the Yankees weren’t talked about in Italy. Lyndon sniffed.
“Right now, I am rather revolted by one of them,” she scoffed.
“Better to be a Yankee then a stuck up kiss up like you,” Isabella said, furious now. Despite how cool and calm she’d been since she had arrived at the school, Isabella could make mistakes. Take now as an example.
“TAKE THAT BACK!” Lyndon screamed. Many students looked up. Professor Veronica stood at her seat at the front of the Dining Hall.
“I’ll take mine back when you take yours,” Isabella said, dismissing her scream. “There’s the door. Good-bye, now.” Isabella walked away, turning toward the orange juice table.
“Isabella, you can’t keep doing that!” Demitri said, looking alarmed.
“Why not? Lyndon started it, anyway,” Isabella said sulkily.
“You just can’t. Lyndon’s family is super powerful. You can get in huge amounts of trouble if you keep going back and forth with her every time you see her. It’s dangerous,” Demitri pleaded piteously.
“Alright, alright. I’ll stop snubbing her if she stops snubbing me. If she keeps going at me like that, I’ll return the favor,” Isabella growled, her mood changing suddenly from sunny to stormy.
“Thank you. Now I wanted to show you something. Come on!” Demitri grabbed her hand and pulled her from the building, across the fields and up a hill. There, in the horizon, was the end of the perfect sunrise. The sun was just breaking over the trees, and in the far distance was the ocean. From where they were standing, you could see the white of the sand against the blue of the ocean. The sun danced on the water, and on the dew of the grass beneath their feet. The birds sang, the sky shimmered and it all looked perfectly enchanted.
“Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?” Isabella breathed, sitting on the hill.
“Second most beautiful,” Demitri said, glancing at her. Isabella smiled shyly.
“We should be getting to class,” she said, making no move to leave. Demitri shrugged, still looking at the sunrise.
“Yeah, we probably should,” he said. Then he added, “But that doesn’t mean we have to.” Isabella grinned and stood, holding out her hand.
“Come on, Demitri. Time for class.” Demitri took her hand and they walked back to the castle. Isabella began to think she was really going to like this Demitri kid.
“Abaddon, I have made the first move,” Demitri said, entering the room with a rejoicing flourish. Abaddon turned around, the Lyndon girl’s arm clutched in his hand. Lyndon looked horrified at Abaddon’s touch.
“Demitri,” Abaddon said, fighting to keep his voice calm. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
“You look great today, sir.”
“I’m being serious, Demitri.”
“The girl said she wouldn’t stop winning unless Lyndon stopped.”
“I will stop, sir. I will not like it but I will obey you.”
“Good. Problem solved.”
“What if she tries to anyway? There’s something about her…” Demitri’s voice trailed as he looked thoughtfully out the window.
“Demitri, snap out of it. You are there for one purpose and one purpose alone. To bring the girl to me,” Abaddon said. “So that I may destroy her.” Demitri flinched at the last words. He didn’t much like Abaddon’s plan, but he had no choice. Abaddon had his true love.
“Lyndon, I want you to make sure that Brielle betrays the girl,” Abaddon said, turning to his spy.
“Of course, sir. And how shall I approach her?”
“Lie. Cheat. Whatever you have to do to get her to defect to the dark side.” Abaddon turned back to the window. So far, so good.