Authors: Tate Layman
sophomore too, so maybe we’ll have some classes together. I’ve been going to Maverick since the third grade, so if you need any help or have questions, find me. Do you want to sit with me and my friends? Meet some more people?” Ellie asked with a friendly smile as she started walking toward a table full of students.
but I better go sit with my aunt. It was nice meeting you,” Whit answered as she searched for Mona in the crowded cafeteria.
I’ll see you around soon, then,” the blond said as she headed toward her friends. Whit watched the girl talk with her friends and felt a bit of relief. They acted normal. Maybe this school wouldn’t be so bad after all. She actually felt a bit better now that she knew someone else here, even if it was just the girl’s name.
As Whit made her way past several tables to get to Mona, a student suddenly pushed back his chair and stood up.
The chair blocked Whit’s path, and she waited patiently for the guy to move. When he didn’t, she tried to scoot past him with an apology. Right as she was squeezing by, he turned around and knocked her tray out of her hand.
“Oh crap! Sorry, sorry, sorry
. I didn’t realize you were there,” he apologized while his friends laughed at his clumsiness. Without looking at the guy, Whit bent down and started scooping up salad with napkins.
“It’s not a big deal.
I’m not that hungry anyway,” she said with a shrug.
“Hey, I’ll clean it
up, it was my fault,” he said as he kneeled next to Whit. Whit glanced up into his face and stared. It was black polo guy – the one who’d given her that look in the hallway. Now that she was closer, Whit knew she recognized him from her dream.
As he dumped the last of the salad onto
her plate, he stood and asked, “You want another salad? I’ll get it for you.”
s completely unnecessary, but thanks for offering,” Whit replied with a smile. She quickly turned around and moved to the chair next to Mona. As soon as she sat down, she glanced over her shoulder at black polo guy. Good grief, he was hot. Mona interrupted her thoughts by talking about how wonderful the school looked and how nice everyone was. It was the sales pitch again. Whit laughed and rolled her eyes at Mona. Man, she was definitely giving her the hard sale on the school. Whit knew her aunt was just trying to make her feel better about transferring by highlighting all the great things she could do here. It wasn’t like she had a choice, though.
After lunch, Mrs. Audley led Whit and Mona though the cafeteria and out the back door.
Before the door could close, Whit peeked at black polo guy once more. He was just so good looking that she couldn’t resist. As she searched the room for him one last time, her eyes collided with his and held for a moment. He was sitting with his friends, but looking directly at her with an unreadable look. Before Whit could turn away, he lifted his hand and waved at her. Cheeks flushing, Whit escaped through the door, embarrassed at being caught staring.
Mona tugged her arm to gain her attention, then nudged her in the direction Mrs. Audley’s was walking.
The next stop on the tour was the student dormitories. The dorms were in a building found at the back of the campus. Mrs. Audley explained that the room assignments were based on age. Each floor in the dorms was grouped according to age or grade. The younger students stayed on the bottom floors closer to the chaperones, whereas the older ones were assigned to the top floors. She pointed out that the boys’ dorms were in the building next to the girls, but assured Mona that students were watched very carefully at night. When Mona asked to see a dorm room, Mrs. Audley quickly unlocked a room on the bottom floor and stepped to the side. Whit thought the room was about the same size as her bedroom at Mona’s house. There were two beds, two dressers, two desks, and a closet area. Mona asked about the bathroom and Mrs. Audley explained that there was a bathroom and shower area at the end of each hallway. Whit grimaced as she thought about sharing a bathroom with so many other girls. She certainly wouldn’t be taking any long showers.
Following the dorms, Mrs. Audley
took them on a quick tour of the athletic facilities. She knew from Mona that Whit loved sports, especially running. Whit watched a class in the gym playing volleyball and thought again how crazy it was that some of those students were werewolves and vampires. Mona had also said something about gifts that Whit didn’t know about, and she wondered what that exactly meant. Everyone looked normal, and it wasn’t like they were being treated any differently.
he Assistant Dean led them out of the gym and hurried them through a large room that contained several large crates and a series of hallways on one side. When Mona asked Mrs. Audley the purpose of the room, she explained that it was a training area and hurriedly left the room before they could question her more.
As Mrs. Audley took Mona and Whit back to the front of the campus, Whit glanced at her watch.
It was already 1:30. She couldn’t believe she had been touring the school for over two hours. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? The assistant dean stopped in front of a big, heavy-looking door. The plaque by the door had an engraving for Mr. Tolman, Headmaster.
With a small knock, Mrs. Audley
opened the door and directed them to go in. The headmaster was sitting at his desk writing. As soon as he saw Whit, he rose from his chair and offered his hand to both her and Mona.
, ladies, I’m Christopher Tolman, headmaster here at Maverick. You must be Whitni Balentine,” he said with a smile.
Both Whit and Mona offered greetings before ta
king seats in front of his massive desk. Whit watched Mr. Tolman with a look of disbelief. She had never seen a man that big and tall before. He had to be at least 6’5” and weigh 300 pounds. His face was round, with a dark moustache and beard, which made him look very rugged and outdoorsy. His dark hair looked fluffy and clean but a tad long, like he needed to get a haircut soon. His eyes were friendly, though, and regarded Whit with kindness.
Whitni, did you enjoy your tour of Maverick?” he asked with a grin that showed his pride in the campus.
“It was very nice,” Whit replied politely.
“Oh yes, the grounds and buildings are so beautiful. It’s changed quite a bit since I attended,” Mona said jumping into the conservation. Obviously she could tell that Whit was feeling a bit tense considering her surroundings.
I’m very happy to hear that you enjoyed your day today. When can we expect you to be joining the ranks of students here at Maverick?” the headmaster inquired.
Whit started to answer
, but given that she didn’t know the answer, she ended up stammering a bit before Mona saved her.
“I think the plan as of now is to let Whit finish up a couple of things at Martin Bradley and then st
art here. Our plan was to move her here in a couple of weeks,” Mona explained.
The man looked surprised.
“A couple of weeks? I’m sorry, but I thought Whitni was having trouble with dreams and visions. If that’s the case, I would recommend that she start here immediately. She can’t continue to go on without help. I’ve seen students delay enrolling because of varying reasons and excuses, and the effects of waiting are usually the same. Those students continue to have problems, and in many cases the issues become worse, which makes it doubly hard for the teachers here to get the problems under control,” Mr. Tolman argued.
more Whit listened to the headmaster, the more fearful she became. She had already decided to start at Maverick in about a month. That gave her plenty of time to accept her situation and the idea of living at school, instead of just going for the day. But Whit hadn’t considered that her gift would become stronger and scarier. She knew that Mr. Tolman was only speaking the truth.
at Mona, she made the decision before she could back out. “I guess a week then. If that will be okay?” she said. Her aunt just nodded her head with understanding and sad acceptance.
Whit stared at the ceiling in her bedroom and thought about the fact that by this time next week she would be living at Maverick with four hundred other students. She still felt confused and lost about the entire situation. Everything was happening so fast, but she knew it was probably for the best, like Mr. Tolman had said. Next week she would be in classes with witches, vampires, werewolves, psychics, and who knew what else. But it would mean that she was learning how to use her own gift. How to control it.
No one at the school had
ever actually mentioned the reason students went to Maverick, but Mrs. McFaddin had alluded to it. She had even tried to get Whit to talk about it, and that pretty much made it official. Whit pulled the yellow piece of paper out of her pocket with a sigh. Mrs. McFaddin had handed it to her and told her to call if she wanted to talk or had questions. She didn’t want to go into Maverick blind, so maybe the best plan was to get as much information as possible. She knew that the easiest way was to call Mrs. McFaddin, but every time she tried to dial the number, she lost her nerve when it started ringing. She wanted answers, but deep down she knew she wasn’t ready for them.
Whit booted up her comp
uter and decided to try searching Maverick Boarding School. Maybe she could get the information she wanted that way, without having to talk to anyone. When the search came up, she saw that the school was mentioned on several websites, but only as an exceptional school with limited openings to students. In other words, it was hard to get accepted there. And Whit knew why. You had to be “gifted” to attend.
In the end, n
one of the websites helped at all. They didn’t even have an address for the school or how to contact Maverick. She gave up on the search and settled into bed, hoping that sleep would come quickly. As she lay there, trying to find positive aspects to the situation, she thought that at least she was moving before she’d gotten comfortable in Martin Bradley. This transition would definitely be easier than the last one had been. That move had been almost too difficult to live through. Whit wondered if she would’ve ended up at Maverick regardless of whether she’d come here. Were there other schools for people with gifts? It was just one more question to add to the pile. As she lay there, she worried about her visions and dreams. Would she ever be able to control them or would they eventually drive her mad? Would she always get glances of horrific events that she couldn’t stop? Good grief, she hoped not. The guilt at not be able to help was awful. How would she live with it? How did her aunt? Her mother? She finally exhausted herself after an hour and fell into a light sleep.
stood in her kitchen, reading the newspaper. She started laughing at something she read, and immediately turned and picked up the phone. She started to dial, but then her face crumpled. Her hands covered her face as she started to sob.
Whit woke from the dream of a crying Mona with tears on her cheeks.
She knew that this particular dream wasn’t just a prediction. It was something that happened regularly. Mona had just wanted to talk to her best friend. Without knowing how she knew, Whit realized that Mona had turned to call her sister, before she remembered that she longer could.
As Whit peddled to school the next morning, she couldn’t believe that in one week she would be living somewhere else, surrounded by monsters. She thought about the vision Mrs. McFaddin had told her about. If that vision was true, she would be happy at Maverick. At least that was something to hope for.
Once she locked up her bike
, Whit glanced at her watch and realized she needed to hurry if she wanted to avoid being tardy. As she walked speedily through the halls, she watched her fellow classmates hurrying to class. She wished she was one of them, with their regular problems and issues, like who their latest crush was, or what they were going to do on Friday. Those were issues that didn’t even show up on her radar. Her issues went far deeper than that.
As she settled into her desk in homeroom, Whit saw Seth race in
, barely making the bell. Mentally, she prepared herself for his questions.
or something yesterday?” he asked, dropping into his seat.
tried to think of something to say. She knew she needed to come up with a good reason for leaving – one that didn’t include him finding out about Maverick – but her imagination was failing her. “Yeah, I wasn’t feeling too good. I’ve been having headaches a lot lately because of the dreams, so Mona took me to see some specialists.”
“Is everything okay?”he asked
“They ran a bunch of tests and plan on running some more next week. The doctors
think I might have a bad concussion or something like that. They even recommended that I be admitted to a special hospital for teenagers with head injuries. It sounds a lot worse than it is though,” she finished, hoping he would believe her lies. She’d managed to give a reason for not only the headaches but also maybe the dreams, and was pretty pleased with how quickly she’d come up with it.
’re you moving?” he asked with a frown. “You at least get to finish cross country season, right? I mean, you’re not moving for a few weeks.”