Liberty Hills Girls Grammar School
Writing Prompt 21.10.20
“Really Father, I don’t want to go. Please don’t make me go there, I’m begging you!”
“Don’t call me that! You know I hate that name. It’s Ari now-”
“You will listen to me, Ariana Gallagher. You live under my house and my rules. As your guardian, I make the decisions in your life, you don’t get a say, not when you proved to me you make bad choices. Whether you like it or not, you are going to boarding school. This is for your education. For the past sixteen years, I have been lenient with you, I sent you to that horrid co-ed school. I let you go to parties, I bought you things, especially those stupid romance novels, I have done so much and sacrificed a lot for you. So be grateful that you’re getting proper schooling. We will not speak anymore of the matter.”
Ariana Brooklyn Gallagher was done. Done with having her life being controlled, despite her father arguing that he’d given her freedom. That was a lie. She was done with lectures about life, how she should be successful and if she didn’t, then she had to find a suitable husband. (Which was stupid because he had strictly told she wasn’t allowed to have a boyfriend.) Ariana didn’t even like guys. Her father was just dense, especially since he was sending her to an all girl’s school. Ariana couldn’t help but laugh at the thought. That was probably the only thing she was looking forward to. She tiptoed back into her room, and sighed, before collapsing face-first onto the bed. On the floor beside her, the suitcase with the school emblem was staring her down.
“What are you even supposed to be?” She muttered to the unanimated object’s emblem and kicked it with her foot.
“Ow, ow, ow! That was a mistake,” Ariana grumbled and decided to start packing because whether or not she wanted to go, she was forced to anyway.
“I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time Ari!” Her mother smiled, her enthusiasm and optimism were drowning Ariana. She blinked,
“Aren’t you sad to see me go, Mother?” She asked, even though she already knew the answer.
“Oh, but why would I, Ari? You’re going on a wonderful adventure to my old school, and when you get there, you’ll see the name “Brooklyn Castiovelli” as Head Girl. You’ve gone to that co-ed school for a long time, but now you’re going to become a proper woman! Who’s so ladylike and mature, you’ll be the perfect bride!” Her mother grinned and Ariana desperately wanted to facepalm and call it a day; she hadn’t even left home yet.
“Ariana, have you finished your breakfast yet? We need to leave now, to be at school on time. Tardiness won’t be acceptable at Liberty Hills Girls Grammar School.” Her father ordered, before heading outside and getting into the car.
“Goodbye, Mother. See you at Christmas.” Ariana said solemnly and her mother laughed.
“Don’t have such a long face Ari. Yes, the school year is long, yes, the school’s name is long, but in the end, you’ll make some new friends and who knows… maybe something more.” Her mother winked before pushing Ariana out the door.
“Wait you know that I like gi-”
“ARIANA! I AM LEAVING. GET INTO THE CAR ALREADY!” Her father yelled, and Ariana sighed.
“I love you, Ari!” Her mother called once she was in the car, and Ariana blew a kiss at her before slumping back into her seat, anything but excited to reach her destination.
“Sit up straight Ariana.” Her father demanded, not turning to look at her from the driver’s seat.
‘I’m not even straight.’ Ari scoffed to herself and her father caught her expression through the rearview mirror.
“What are you smiling at? Do you think school is a joke?”
“Of course not Father. I value my education and will strive to do my best at this school.” Ariana droned on, pretending she cared. Which she didn’t.
“Good to see you’re starting to understand.” Ari looked down at her feet, picking at the strings in the leather’s seats stitching. At this point, Ariana wanted to go to school, only so she could get away from her father. And that was saying something.
“Study hard Ariana. Do not disappoint me.” And just like that, her father drove away.
“Guess a goodbye was too much to ask,” Ariana muttered under her breath and almost as if it were magic, the doors to the school opened.
“Ariana Gallagher?” A young man loomed over her, with chestnut brown hair and emerald green eyes.
“Yup, that’s me,” She greeted informally, picking up her suitcase. The man stared her down,
“Phew, thank God. I’m Mr Hickerson. If you weren’t Ariana, that would be so awkward and then I’d have to tell the Headmaster that you hadn’t arrived,” He sighed, leaving behind all formality.
“So can I come in?” Ariana asked, and he nodded.
“Dr Castiovelli is waiting inside for you… Is it true that you’re related to the headmaster?”
Ariana sighed, she hadn’t been here for more than a minute, and she was already being asked questions.
“Yes. He’s my mother’s cousin. So I’m his first cousin once removed. Please don’t make it any more awkward than it should be,” Ari muttered, before stopping dead in her tracks. A girl with almost artificial-looking copper hair, fair skin and sparkly grey-blue eyes looked over in her direction.
“Miss Klein. Come say hi to the new girl,” Mr Hickerson called and the girl said something to her friends before making her way over to Ariana.
“Hello there, I’m Bianca Rita Klein. A fourth-year student in Year 10, Class Captain of 10P. Welcome to Liberty Hills Girls Grammar School!” She flashed Ariana a pearly white smile that made Ariana temporarily blinded with the girl’s prettiness and enthusiasm.
“Ariana Brooklyn Gallagher, um… but I prefer Ari,” Ariana mumbled, looking down at her feet when suddenly, an icy hand brought her chin back up.
“I like your name, it reminds me of summer nights, lying in the grass listening to music… specifically Ariana Grande. Ari makes me think of the ARIA awards but, oh well, come hang out with me some time, ‘kay?” Bianca winked, before letting go of Ariana’s chin and walking back to her friends. Stunned, Ariana looked back at Mr Hickerson.
“Guessing from the look on your face, you’re shocked about Bianca’s approach?” Ari nodded, still speechless as they continued to walk towards the headmaster’s office. “Her methods are… bold, but she does the job well enough. Now hurry Ari, we need to get your timetable, your lock, diary and then I also need to take you to your classroom. The headmaster is waiting.”
“Hello, Ariana. It’s nice to see you again, it’s been a while,” Dr Castiovelli greeted as Mr Hickerson closed the door behind them.
“Good morning, Dr Castiovelli. Yes, it’s a pleasure to be in your presence once more,” Ari addressed politely and the headmaster laughed.
“Normally, I delight in young women being so formal, but we are family, talk to me like we would at a family reunion. Although, don’t think I’ll let you off the hook, if you ever get into trouble that is,” He smiled and handed her a paper folder full of papers.
“Inside the folder is some information about the school, you’ve only been here once for a tour, correct?” Dr Castiovelli didn’t wait for Ari to reply. “After I finish talking with you, Mr Hickerson will guide you back to Administration and you will receive all your belongings. Then, you’ll be shown to your new dormitory. Is that alright? Good, welcome to Liberty Hills Girls Grammar School, Miss Ariana Gallagher.” Ari nodded and thanked the headmaster before following Mr Hickerson to Administration, trying to remember all the places in this ginormous school.
They finally reached Administration and to her surprise, Ariana saw Bianca once again, who was standing behind the table, organising some papers. She winked at Ari, before looking back down as if she didn’t delight in Mr Hickerson’s presence. Her arms full with all the things she needed, Ariana continued to follow the young male teacher to her room.
“Here we are!” Mr Hickerson cheered, “That took ages. Mind if I sit in your desk chair for a moment?” He asked, and without waiting for an answer, he sat down. Ari blinked, this wasn’t normal, was it? Private schools were… interesting. Stacking her new things, unpacking her new school uniform, textbooks and personal belongings, Ariana cleared her throat.
“Um… Do you wait in all the other new girl’s rooms when they’re unpacking their things?” She asked, though, she already knew the answer to this one.
“Why do you want me to leave?” He asked, sitting up from the seat and towered over her.
“Did I say that?” She challenged, knowing where this was going. Mr Hickerson strode across the room to her and pressed her against the wall.
“How about I stay?” He murmured, and suddenly, an idea ran through Ariana’s head.
“Actually… why don’t you see yourself out?” She whispered, before proceeding to kick him right where it hurt most. There was a yelp of pain as the man crumpled to his knees, and as he did, Ariana’s door opened.
“Oh! Looks like you beat me to it,” A melodic voice rang out, and Ari smiled when she saw the one and only Bianca Klein standing in front of her. “He’s terrible, getting this job just to see girls. Disgusting. I was following you back to your room… ooh, that sounds creepy, sorry. Anyway, us girls all know what kind of guy he is, but the headmaster refuses to believe us,” She paused to laugh, “Luckily for me, I’m not into guys so… Nothing against them or anything but yeah, boys are a no,” Ariana’s heart thumped, her head screeching the words, ‘Abort! Abort! Gay panic has overridden the system! Leave now or prepare to be humiliated!’
“So… did you want me to help you there?” Bianca asked, pointing at the man still whimpering on the floor.
“It would be much appreciated,” Ariana stuttered, as the coppery hair flew around with every step Bianca took.
“I say we drag him to Dr Castiovelli’s office. Oh! What if we threw him into the recycling bin. Actually no, this guy is rubbish, he can’t be recycled!” Bianca laughed at her joke and Ariana bit back a grin.
“You know I’m still conscious right?” Mr Hickerson suddenly spoke up, and Bianca gave Ari a look.
“Any chance you know the penalty for killing a man?” She quipped and both Ariana and Mr Hickerson’s eyes went wide while Bianca laughed once more. “I’m kidding. I mean… do you know?!”
“I know a friend, who knows a guy, who’s girlfriend knows a girl, who’s girlfriend knows a-” Bianca chuckled, continuing to drag the teacher along.
“You’re funny, you know that?” Ariana bowed, tipped an invisible top hat and then stuck her tongue out.
“Why thank you! God, I’ve been here for what… an hour? What’s gonna happen when I graduate?!” Ari thought aloud whilst Bianca smiled.
“Who knows?” She pushed the teacher out of Ariana’s room before slamming the door shut and then proceeded to lock it. “He can’t get in now! He’s gross, but he’s also a coward. He’s going to head back to the staff room, pretending nothing happened.”
“You never answered my question, Ari,” Bianca suddenly said, as she sat on Ariana’s bed while she continued to unpack her things.
“Hmm, what question?” Ariana held up a graphic t-shirt and then another. “Which one do you like more?”
“I asked you if you wanted to come hang out with me since you’re new. Do you want to? Also the Percy Jackson one, I love CHB so much!”
“Looks like someone is educated, and sure, I’ll hang out with you. You’re the only person I know, and the only friend I have so…”
“Do you wanna hear a funny story?” Ariana nodded, indicating Bianca could proceed.
“So once upon a terrible nightmare, there was a girl who was sent to an elite private school when she was thirteen. She told her parents she didn’t want to go but didn’t get a choice. Funnily enough, the girl’s mother used to go to the school, and was known as ‘Liberty Hills Girls Grammar School’s Best in Sports’. So, the teenager ended up going to the school, with a reputation of being the same as her mother. However, the girl didn’t want to be burdened with all these expectations, and just tried her best instead. She got the best grades she could get, was a helping hand and made as many friends she could! Not that it worked. The other girls spoke about her behind her back, saying she did it for attention, and to become a teacher’s pet,” Bianca paused, looking over to Ariana to see if she was still listening, which she was.
“Even though that wasn’t true, the girl played along with it. She didn’t have any close friends, but she did learn to be observant. She noticed how the other girls snickered when she made a mistake when they excluded her from conversations; that was until a new girl came. The teenager had always liked girls, but all the ones in her school were snobby and much too prideful. So when she saw the new girl, she was mesmerised, blown away by the sheer appearance of this girl. Then, she decided to befriend the new girl, help her out a little. And you what the girl found out? She realised this new girl was different, and she wanted to do everything in her power, to be with this girl.” Bianca sighed, “Sorry, that was way longer than I… Ari?”
“I swear Bianca, I thought you said it was a funny story! Are you sure you’re not retelling the story of my life?!” The two girls laughed,
“Last time I check that was the story of my life but-”
“Did you mean it? When you said you were, and I quote, ‘mesmerised and blown away by the sheer appearance of this girl’?”
“Woah, you were listening! How’d you remember so easily?” Ariana shrugged, sitting down next to Bianca on her new bed.
“I’m good at remembering things, I suppose. Answer the question though Bianca,”
“I seriously meant it. I know we just meant, and there’s no such thing as true love, and I don’t want to assume your sexuality or anything! I- What I’m trying to say is, you’re not like anyone else in this school… in a good way! I’ve only talked to you for a maximum of a half an hour, maybe more, but you’re funny, and you seem wise for your age and holy moly, you’re pretty than Aphrodite herself!”
“Was it on your agenda to be killed by the Greek Goddess of Love today?” Bianca burst into laughter,
“I don’t think it was one Psyche’s or anyone’s. It just happened, but to answer your question, no it wasn’t on my plan. I think it’s next month, come back to me on that one,”
“Also, you’re right. I don’t like guys either, and I quote once more. ‘Nothing against them or anything, but yeah, boys are a no.’ And I’m glad you came up to me today. Who knows what would’ve happened? Or how lonely I would’ve been… So, thank you.”
“I should be thanking you. You’re the first proper friend I’ve had in this school, and I’m really glad I met you,” Bianca smiled, and Ariana returned it. “I’m out of line here, I should get going back to my dorm. It’s Room 18, down the corridor, you know where to find me,” Ariana looked at her timetable,
“Fate seems to be on my side, I’m in 10P too,” Ari beamed and Bianca’s dazzling eyes lit up.
“That’s awesome!” She checked her watch, “Yeah, I better get going. You have unpacking to do and I need to head down to soccer training. Nothing like physical activity on a Saturday morning,”
“One last thing,” Ariana suddenly added, “On a scale of one to ten, how high is your lesbian radar right now? We all have one,” She asked jokingly but she watched Bianca fidget, grinning like a loon.
“It’s probably an eleven…” Bianca whispered so quietly, Ariana almost didn’t hear it at first, but then Bianca pressed her lips to Ariana’s. Ari wasn’t sure if it was ‘the spur of the moment’ or Bianca liked her that much in that short time, but either way, Ariana enjoyed it. Time stood still but also sped up, seconds turned to hours, and for a moment, she wondered if it was a dream. Bianca’s lips were soft on hers, and not even the stars could compare to the brightness in her scintillating eyes. And just like that, Ariana was complete, but also empty. Empty in this feeling Bianca gave her, she was like a traveller in the desert and Bianca was her salvation. It felt like she’d been neglected for years until now like the light had made its way through the darkness. So Ariana kissed her back, knowing every order, every demand, every lie her father had told her was nothing compared to this.
When Bianca pulled away, Ariana couldn’t help but watch the way her copper coloured hair shine in the sunlight from the rays coming through the window. She couldn’t help but stare when Bianca bit her lip before laughing that sweet sound and she hugged Ari so tightly like she never wanted to let go.
“Forget soccer training, I’m going to take Ariana Gallagher on a tour of the school, the Bianca Klein way, ready?” Bianca grinned, taking Ariana by the hand, both laughing. “Welcome to Liberty Hills Girls Grammar School, Ari Gallagher.”