Victoria Chase really didn’t know how to react when she saw her enter the campus for the first time. Kate Marsh. The girl to replace Lyla Lee, an old vortex ‘friend’. She was torn between disgust at the unfashionable clothes that really didn’t compliment her body; envy of her hair which, though messy, seemed to be perfect for the young Christian… and fear of the feelings that she was already waking inside of the most popular girl in school.
“Hey, my name’s Kate Marsh, I’m new here. Can you show me around?”
The question took Victoria off guard. “Oh… Umm…” Come on Victoria, she’s the new girl, right at the bottom of the pyramid and you’re the very peak. “No, I’m busy right now. Bye. Maybe find someone with less going on to bother?”
A gasp came from Kate’s mouth and Victoria glanced her clearly upset face before swivelling round. As she sped away she debated going back, apologising, and trying to become friends with this new arrival, but she knew for a fact that being nice would never keep her on top and she couldn’t let her parents and herself down yet again.
She couldn’t even remember the first time she had seen Rachel Amber, it had been so long ago. However, she knew precisely when that bitch first flagged up on her radar. It was at a stupid class awards gathering. The vortex club was planning to go out partying afterwards but they all had to be there, just in case one of them (ok, Victoria) won yet another award. But it wasn’t Victoria who ended up being presented with the prize, it was Rachel. But she was far too clever to brag, patronise the other students, or even just act like she always knew she was going to win. Instead, Rachel thanked all the staff (even the ones that hadn’t played any part in the judging), told jokes, and provided all the students with uplifting messages. As the undisputed ruler of the student body, Victoria decided she needed to control this new threat person and she went over with Courtney tailing close behind.
“Hi… Rachel was it? Nice speech. You seem like a cool girl.”
“You’re Victoria, right? I saw your entry; it was really incredible; I’m surprised you didn’t win!”
“Me win? Oh please, I already have enough trophies and letters of praise, pretty soon I’ll have to chuck them all out to make room… Do you drink?”
“Only occasionally, I’m mostly just doped up in my spare time. A girl’s gotta relax sometimes. How about you?”
“Trust me, when the vortex parties, we party HARD. Fancy coming along and having a trial go?”
At that, Courtney’s eyes widened but Victoria’s glare made her return to a more natural look before Rachel noticed.
“Sure, yeah, where are you planning on going?”
“Round to one of the Prescott houses, they’re made of money so we can do whatever the hell we like.”
“It sounds great.”
“What the fuck are we waiting around here for then? Some of the staff here give me the creeps, let’s go!”
It was their first photography lesson of the term. Kate looked around the classroom and many new people to make friends with. There was that girl with pink hair (Alyssa was it?); a boy nearby called Kate; the quiet one at the back – Kate thought she was called Max; and of course Victoria. She had been very rude the other day but Kate knew better than most that everyone has the occasional off day and she hoped that Victoria would be feeling better soon.
As for the class, Kate was finding it great! She had always had a great memory and an artistic eye, like with most of the students, Mark Jefferson had been what had drawn her to Blackwell in the first place. However, over the summer she had tried to develop her photography skills and, to put it simply, they were nowhere near as good as her drawing abilities. With the right inspiration, she could make any piece of paper simply burst with colours and life however she lacked the natural talent to perfectly capture a real life moment. But, as she kept reminding herself, that’s the whole point of this class.
“And now we’ve only a few moments left today, let’s get you all around this front table here for a class photo.”
“Ugh, I’ll be next to people who totally ruin my image. Again.”
“I guess… This is ok…”
While the other students were grumbling and groaning at Jefferson’s latest request, Kate smiled. She always loved getting her photo taken and maybe this would help the students bond.
“That’s it, we’ll have you five at the front here, and then… Yes, that looks good. Finally, you, Kate, can go here, behind Max and Taylor.” *Click.*
Just at that moment, the bell rang. “Right, that’s the end of the easy stuff, hopefully you’ll read ahead about this week’s work in your free time, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.” Mr Jefferson finished off the lesson and, as he was saying those last few words, Kate could have sworn that he was looking right at her. She shook off the feeling, grabbed her bag, and headed over to Victoria.
“Hi, you seemed a little flustered the other day, are you feeling a little better now? I’m happy to talk things thr…”
“What’s your problem new girl? You’re following me around all the time, do you fancy me?”
“Umm, no?” Kate clutched her cross and rubbed it. She still didn’t know how she felt about boys, and girls… She also didn’t know if her family and church would accept her if she wasn’t ‘normal’. I… Uh… Just wanted to make sure you were o.k.”
“No, I’m not fine. And you know why? Because somebody needs to learn their place around here. Go back and have tea with your own friends Kate Marsh and stop bothering me.”
At that, Kate ran away. She honestly believed that there was good in everyone but right now Victoria was making her question those beliefs.
At the party, all hell had broken lose. Of course, that was the plan. Little remained of the garden after several fires (some bigger and more destructive than others); people had been smoking pot (or worse) in the shed before somebody decided to set off a firework inside and it fell over; and the walls were literally shaking because of the music and dancing. In the middle of it all was Rachel Amber, and everyone was loving her. Everyone, that is, except Victoria. She was suspicious of the new presence and wanted to watch her carefully.
But over the next few months, Rachel became a semi-official member of the vortex club and partied with them regularly. She became good friends with Nathan and even Victoria, despite her initial distrust and also their professional rivalry.
Victoria remembered that period of time and vowed never to allow her emotions to cloud her judgement. No matter how many times Kate tried to be nice to her over September, she just brushed her away. Victoria knew that inside Kate’s warm, loving exterior was a cold, heartless bitch just itching to screw here over and she didn’t know if she could take it again. Not from that face… The one that would be very pretty if Victoria didn’t know that it was hiding something.
At the party on the 21st of April, they were both drunk and ready to have a lot of fun. Rachel went over to Victoria.
“Hey, can I talk to you alone for a minute?”
“Of course, everything o.k.?”
“Yeah… I just wanted to say… You look really nice tonight. And I especially like you hair. When we first met, I thought short hair was perfect for you but now it’s grown out it suits you even more.”
“Oh well I just set the styles around here.”
Rachel giggled. “You know, you’re not a bad catch Victoria. I don’t think either of us will be sleeping tonight…”
Victoria didn’t know what to say. Nobody before had ever realised she was a lesbian, or if they had they hadn’t said anything. But that was the thing about Rachel… She always broke boundaries, and at that moment Victoria felt herself fall in love with her.
“And what… Um… Makes you so sure of that?”
“This.” And with that, they kissed. It was long and had and by the end Victoria was very flustered. Then Rachel tried to drag her out. “Come on, let’s show everyone how we have a good time!”
But Victoria wasn’t ready to be completely public yet, despite her exponentially growing attraction to this girl. “No, I want to keep this between ourselves. Makes it more special.”
“How stupid is that Victoria? If you’re not game, I’ll find someone else who is!” With that she was lost in the crowd.
A few moments later, Nathan walked up to her. “You upset, Vic?” He was the only person allowed to call her that.
“Yes… That bitch, Rachel… She won’t go along with what I want. I’m just her puppet, her plaything to use then discard. Well I want her discarded.”
Nathan gulped at that, but his face took on a stony expression. He knew what he had to do.