Roman Violets and Ash chapitre Chapitre 9

As I waited within the lunch line, I couldn’t help but scan the Dining Hall. There were rows upon rows of padded booths, each one pristine and new. Circular tables, much like the ones you’d see in a public school, filled the empty spaces.

From afar, close to the wall of spotless glass that overlooked the back half of the courtyard, I could make out a salad and fruit bar.

With a tray in my hands, I steered past the busiest part of the Dining Hall and towards the one empty table nestled in the back of the room. The Lobster Risotto and Chipotle Garlic Seaweed Butter spewed an interesting assortment of scents into the air. Each one was a different colored shred of silk, weaving around one another until their shades muddied and turned into something new.

As I approached the table, I realized I’d been wrong. There was a single person perched on one of the round seats, an Asian girl with granite eyes and choppy layered hair. When she turned her head to stare me down, I noticed a few strips of green woven within the dark strands.

“Mind if I sit with—” I began to ask, my voice warm and full.

The one that cut me off was the opposite.

“Absolutely not.” She said harshly, yanking the headphones back from one of her pierced ears.

“Okay.” I hummed, trailing off as I moved to the opposite side of the table and plopped down. Hurt swirled in the pits of my stomach, laced with enough embarrassment to make even the strongest of wolves’ surrender.

The light scent of pineapples and whipped icing floated up to reach my nose as I pulled out the little container Norma had given me and removed the cupcake inside. The perfect swirl of icing on top had settled a bit from the long day, but still looked presentable with its sugared pineapple perched on top. I could feel the mystery girl’s eyes on my face as I licked some of the icing from the top and took a small sip of what the lunch lady called Dom Perignon champagne.

I only had alcohol a total of two times, and each were miniscule sips of Jackie’s fruity wine coolers. The dry and somewhat bitter flavor raced across my tongue, coupling with the sting of alcohol, which was strong enough to make me gag.

A soft but audible snort came from the granite-eyed girl, but when I turned and looked her way, she had her head tilted down at her salad.

“Might want to lay off the cupcakes.” I heard a male voice say, followed by the raucous laughter of his friends.

When I turned my head and saw him, with his golden-blonde hair, crisp football jersey, and dimpled smile, I knew it couldn’t have been him who tossed the callous insult my way. A sigh of relief lingered on my lips when his friend and obvious sidekick stepped forward with a smirk on his face.

“I’m not taking diet advice from a guy who only eats boiled chicken.” I observed, pasting a sunny expression on my face.

The rest of the guys surrounding the two, who also wore various football jerseys in shades of deep blue and black, began to hoot and shove at their rude friend. I glanced down at the rice and pale-looking chicken on his plate before turning back to my cupcake.

A tingling sensation raced along the back of my neck, and Lacey’s warning that someone was staring at us had me turning around—only instead of another insult, I found a dimpled grin aimed my way.

“If you keep looking around like a confused idiot someone is going to get pissed off, and I really don’t think you could survive a verbal battle on your first day, especially with someone smarter than Kota.” The girl with the headphones frowned, staring down at me past her slender nose.

I ignored her rudeness, because other than Roselle, she was the first person to willingly talk to me.

“I don’t understand why everyone looks so tense. It was just a cliché fat-shaming insult.” I lifted a shoulder in a half shrug and took a bite of my cupcake, which tasted much better after sitting in the fridge all night.

“They looked tense because they didn’t know how’d you react. Not sure if you know this, but scars among our kind send a message.” She huffed, a look of disbelief on her face. “…please tell me you’re not this naïve…or stupid.”

“I’m not naïve or stupid.” I reassured her, even though most of my knowledge came in the form of books and not real-life experiences. Either way, she didn’t need to know that. “I’m actually really nice once you get to know me.”

Ignoring my matter-of-fact tone, the girl fixed me with a blank stare. “You might want to hold off on telling everyone how nice you are. Once they find out—and they will, they’ll take that niceness of yours and use it against you.”

Chapter 9 1

Chapter 9 2

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