"Good morning. It is a great Monday morning, at 7 am. to show off RavenOak Academy. I know many of you don't think so because you are up before the birds are chirping, but I assure you, we have a good ride to go on this morning."
Welcome to RavenOak, the school of clean, pristine, and wealthy queens. It isn't an academy that one just overlooks. It's a school that is hard to get into whether you're rich and wealthy or someone with a lot of talent. It is the wealthiest private school where we have upcoming actresses, kids of senators, kids of billionaires and kids who were sent here to be better students of civilizations. We also have more than that, but athletes and art majors on scholarships, which is who I am giving a tour today to.
"I know what you're thinking, how can this girl be so spunked up at 7 am. on practically the worst day of the week. Trust me, once you learn all the secrets of RavenOak, you'll learn to love it just as I have. It is not like your average high school, as many of you have seen, but also not like your regular boarding school. It's the best taste of freedom you'll have before you get to college."
Nina Andrews, Drew, stood before 16 adoring students as she gave the very first tour of her junior year. Before her stood the biggest building and the oldest that the campus has: the library.
"This place will be your baby, your safe haven, your partner-in-crime." She turned and glared at the 16 pairs of eyes on her. "When you have an assignment due, the library is your buddy. When you have to cry and want to hide, those cubicles on the top floor will save you." There were a few chuckles.
"But the best part, is the coffee shop that is inside the library. It is open 24/7 and is accessed by your student ID card."
Pulling out her ID card, she flashed it to everyone and smiled.
"This card is your key to everything. This is probably the most important thing that you will carry on you. And yes, it is more important than your phone and breathing." Turning the card in her palms, she showed the barcode that was written on the back. "Your picture on the front lets campus staff know who you are. It cannot be used by someone else. This card gets you into buildings, into your room and food for lunch.. because that is the most important part of every day."
She looked at them. Some of them looked intrigued and impressed while others looked like they had better places to be at 7 am. on a Monday morning. "Any questions so far?" With no response, Drew turned on her heel and continued forward.
"How does she look this amazing on a Monday?"
"Don't you know who she is? That's Nina Andrews'. She has to uphold appearances. Her mother was the first black woman to become CEO of a fortune five hundred company. Her father-"
Drew turned to look at all the freshly new students. The whispering and chatters stop, as they always do.
"I don't keep secrets and I don't like being talked about behind my back." A few of them sucked in their breath. "Yes, my mother started a company that took off. She makes me look small in my youthful outfits giving tours to people. My father, an amazing man, is one of the highest paid neurosurgeons to ever step foot in any hospital. Names and parents won't get us anywhere. We all make it this far because of who we are."
"Of course someone with money would say that," a kid in the back sneered. Her eyes dart towards him immediately and the smirk that was planted on his face dropped instantly.
Smiling, she met his response with a more dignified one. "And you're right. I have privileges. But they also don't come with a cost. My parents weren't always rich and I wasn't born into this lifestyle. They trusted one another and I trusted them. They were a black couple who defeated all odds and now here I am because of how hard they fought and never gave up."
There were no chatters, no smirks and there would be no more comments.
Every time Drew gave tours, they usually always turned out this way: someone mentioning her parents, someone mentioning money and Drew becoming very uncomfortable. Sure, they had more money than any person could spend in a lifetime, but she also knew that it gave no right for anyone to talk down on her. She tried hard to start every tour without people knowing who she was, but that was idiotic to do seeing as how her mother was on every other magazine with Drew's face in the tabloids whether she wanted them in there or not. Every time I gave a tour, it always turned out this way. I would try my hardest not to mention my name because of this specific conversation, but my script was set in stone.
After Drew gave her final speech, no one said anything against her word - it's not like they ever did. They always stayed silent as she preached her celebrity child gossip.
Throwing her natural smile on her face, she nodded. "Now that that's over, let's continue on with the tour." She turned on her heel. "There's a lot that needs to be shown and we will start at the Chapel. Students aren't required to attend chapel every Sunday..."
Once the tour was over, the students were dismissed and Drew made her trek back up to the Student Collegiate Center (SCC), which was the main building on campus that held the main check in center as well as many official offices and the dining hall, among other things. The school, being one of the oldest of its kind to exist, has been standing for 165 years with many different renovations. The SCC stood right smack in the middle of campus. It has housed many students, wealthy and scholarship alike.
The school was well-known for its arts, but balanced sports as well with it. Swim, rugby and basketball were the only sports that were offered and they each brought a lot of students in through scholarship and competition. Sports were a big thing at RavenOak as well as for the students. They offered a little respite to the uptight-ness of the campus.
The arts offered so much room for growth. Students were told to take up some kind of art their first year on campus to make sure that they were well-rounded. Some students chose writing, poetry, playwrighting or picked up an instrument or theater, drawing, painting, etc. The campus thrived off art excellence.
Drew never would get used to the sound of people actually calling her by her first name. She had never liked it growing up as it never reflected who she truly was. She had thought to shorten her last name down to Drew and that's what people knew her as.
A petite girl with red pigtails and glasses approached her, schedule in hand and backpack hanging from her shoulders. Drew recognized her from the tour.
"Rachel, right?" She looked at Drew as a blush began to creep over her face. "You can just call me Drew. Most people do."
"I didn't think you'd remember my name." I smiled. "I had a question." She held onto the Welcome Folder and began to flip through it. "So, you were telling us what you were involved in on campus. Can you let me know what that was again? I'm looking to get involved into something myself."
"Um, I'm in charge of Special Events on campus actually. It's the only thing I am involved in, but it covers a lot of things such as putting on the Winter Ball, bonfires and the SB palooza, prom and all that. It covers all the major events on campus."
"You're also a tour guide," she corrected.
"I am, yes, but that is all covered under Special Events believe it or not. It's a part of the Student Government Association. That's what really holds us together."
"What else is there to be involved in on campus? Sports-wise, I love swimming and RavenOak has a world renowned swim team." She was new and excited. It warmed my heart.
"I know you're new here, but are you a sophomore by chance?"
At the mention of my question she raised an eyebrow and shook her head.
"Freshman all the way." She flashed Drew a smile.
Drew sighed. "You can only play sports if you're a sophomore or above. All Freshmen are required to have an art as their big elective, not a sport. I'm sorry."
She shrugged. "It's all fine by me." She closed her folder and smiled. "Thank you for your help. Is there a way that you can point me to the main building?"
Drew nodded. "I'm heading there right now."
As they walked, Rachel continued to stare at Drew. Drew acted as though she didn't notice, but she did. She was used to people staring and being nervous around her; she was technically a campus celebrity, as many people here were.
"I wrote a critical essay on your mother in the seventh grade and then another one a few months ago. That's how I got into the school. Your mother is a huge donor and -"
"My mother loves hearing about herself," Drew muttered.
"And who wouldn't? If I were Natalie Andrews, I wouldn't be able to stop talking about myself. She was someone who-"
"Brought herself to the top tier from the bottom." I glanced at her and she looked away, clearly embarrassed.
"I'm sorry. It's silly of me to talk to you about your mother..."
Drew shrugged as we reach the SCC. "There's no need to apologize." Pulling the door open, she let Rachel go in before walking behind her.
"How is it?" She turned and stopped in front of me. "How is it being the daughter of Natalie Andrews."
Exhausting, riveting, annoying... There were so many words that came to mind, but staring into the eyes of this little redheaded girl, I knew those weren't the words she wanted to hear. She wanted to hear that I adored my mother, that I loved being a part of the Andrews' empire. She wanted me to tell her that I adored everything about my mother, which would be partially true, but not the whole truth.
"A word of advice." Drew walked close to Rachel and Rachel's eyes widen. "There will be a lot of different people here that you meet, senator's sons that you've seen on television, the child actress that you know, etc. It'll be hard to act normal around them, but you've got to try."
Drew smiled, pat Rachel on the shoulder and then walked off. Rachel stared off after Drew and that's when Drew stopped and turned around.
"And being the daughter of Natalie Andrews' has been a ride. I'm very proud of my mother - and father's - success."
And then she continued down the hall, leaving Rachel stunned, with a blush creeping across her face once more.
Charlie Mclanahan glanced around at the room she was in. It was the Student Government Association board room that had been built just two years prior. The secretary, treasurer and historian sat before her as well as the head of each committee that kept the school running.
"Thank you so much for meeting with me on such short notice. So, we are all new to this and it's a brand new school year. As you all know, we are still looking for a Vice President as ours dropped mid-June. Our secretary will take attendance."
Charlie turned and looked as the secretary read off her computer the different committee chair names. She looked up as each person raised their hand to their committee being called out.
"Committee of Fundraising. Committee of Academics. Committee of Campus Relations. Member at Large committee. Committee of-"
"Special Events, sorry I'm late."
Charlie looked to the door, as did everyone else, once her best friend Nina Andrews stepped through it, looking daring and beautiful. Just as usual, everyone spotted her and it was hard not to. She commanded the attention of every room that she entered.
"My tour went longer than I thought that it would," she said sliding in beside one of the other committee leaders.
"It's all good, we were just introducing one another," Charlie said, crossing her arms and leaning against her desk.
"Charlie was doing most of the talking," one of the Fundraiser committee-man said. Drew smirked and bore her chocolate eyes into Charlie's green ones.
Rolling her eyes, Charlie turned back to the matter at hand. "This meeting is to clarify where we are and what we have done this summer. It is important that the student body know that we have events planned out for them as well as we are looking for their best interest at heart."
"Events are no problem," Drew said. "Myself and my committee members are all over the big events that are going on this summer." She reached into her backpack and pulled out a notebook and opened it. "We start with the annual Halloween car bash that is scheduled for Friday October 27th and we head into the other events such as the first bonfire after the swim meet next Friday, the Winter Ball which is going to be amazing, if I do say so myself and many other events where we can raise money."
"Drew and I have talked statistics and money," the Fundraising guy noted. "It's all looking good to reach our student goal that we have. We have recorded everything with the treasury as well. We also have different thoughts for how to fundraise this year."
Charlie nodded, looking around the room. Each lead committee member went into grave detail about how they were planning to start the new year. The secretary swiftly took notes.
About an hour and a half later, everyone had finished voicing their ideas and bouncing ideas off each committee member. "I'm very proud. Thank you all for meeting this Monday, this early in the morning. I know school doesn't start for another week and half of you haven't moved all your things in, so it means a lot that you all took the time to come. Secretary Anna will be We're dismissed."
Everyone filed out except Nina. She stayed back, tucking her notebook back into her bag. She glared up at Charlie and smiled. Her hair was straight at her shoulders and she was sporting a gray t-shirt that was tucked into high-waisted jeans. Her beauty stole the show.
"It's so fucking good to see you," she muttered. She stood from her seat and embraced Charlie. "Ugh, three months."
"That's the longest we have spent away from one another since our diaper days." She chuckled and pulled back from me. Her cheeks were covered in highlight, and not the makeup kind.
"How was break with grandma Mclanahan?" Drew glared at Charlie. "Bearable?"
Moving one of the frizzy piece of dirty blonde hair out of her face, Charlie shrugged while rolling her eyes.
"It was.. exhilarating." Sarcasm radiated off her tongue. "Knowing that there wasn't a mall for a mile away, cell service was spottier than a Dalmatian and knowing that I had to endure that country road for three months."
Drew snorted. "We could have had a vacation together. My mom was all for it, but you turned us down."
"I was hearing that poor, old Grandma Mclanahan was dying so I went to see her on her mahogany deathbed." Charlie rolled her eyes. "It was a lie just to have me come visit."
"And that's so bad?" Drew asked. "She's your grandma."
"She's old-fashioned and racist." Charlie waved Drew away as she stood straight. "You see why I keep my distance."
"Probably a good thing I've never met her," Drew said, a smile hinting at her lips.
Charlie pointed at her, giving her a you're-not-wrong look."Enough about me, how was your vacation with the almost-step-daddy?"
Drew's eyes bulged and Charlie could almost see the smoke and fumes rising out of Drew's ears. "Charlie. Mclanahan." She paced furiously over to the door, peeked out both ways and then shut it. "You can't say that out loud."
"Drew, relax. I didn't even say a name."
"It doesn't matter! His spawn could be somewhere close." Charlie all but rolled her eyes.
This was a habit, Drew being over-dramatic. She hated talking about her personal life and feelings. She always put up this facade that she was this badass - which is 97% true. Her opening up is hard, so she usually doesn't. Charlie, knowing Drew her whole life, knew the best ways to push her buttons.
"Plus, the vacation was fine," Drew continued on, as she leaned against the now closed door. "And he is anything but my step-father. He is a man whom my mother is screwing.... for the time being."
"She's been screwing him for almost a year."
"It's a phase," she muttered through gritted teeth.
Drew huffed and threw her head bad, exasperated. She hated talking about her mother as much as she hated talking about things that were personal to her. She always put up a front before people she didn't know about the dynamics of her and her mother's relationship. It was usually people from the tabloids or someone wanting Drew's mother to invest in them or just anyone who is power hungry. The worst part, Drew faked a smile and took their incessant demands daily. Her brashness is all because of the appearances that she has to uphold.
"Have you seen Monty?" Charlie asked.
Drew's eyes met Charlie's and she could see her eyes light up. It had always been this way when it came to Monty. Drew couldn't help that the crush that she claimed was so tiny, grew daily.
She looked away. "He's busy, I'm hearing or something like that."
"You probably haven't even messaged him."
"I didn't think that I needed to." Charlie opened her mouth to reply and that's when Drew's phone began to ring. She fished it out of her pocket and sighed. "I have to go. Another tour awaits."
"C'mon, I'll walk with you."
I am really excited about it as these characters are my babies!! Please let me know what you guys think in the comments!!