About Good Girls Lie
The website showed rooms that were small, dingy, and dark, similar to the one across the hall, but this—this is practically sumptuous. Light gray walls, wainscoting, bright white crown molding along the ceiling. Spacious. Lovely.
The beds are bunked, one on top of the other, towering with fluffy pillows and warm down comforters. There is an overstuffed sofa, the windows have gray velvet hangings, two dark wood desks that look like priceless antiques sit side by side on the other end of the room.
This palace is mine. Mine, and Camille’s. It takes me a moment to focus back on my new roommate. Camille has been prattling on, ignorant to my awe.
“Are all the rooms like this?”
Camille pops a hip. “Ugh, yes. They redecorated last year and went with this neutral crap, and it’s soooo boring. It’s like living in a hotel. It used to be so cool, sort of dark and gothic, had its own personality, you know? Really old-school. More European flair. Granted, the building is super old, so it was probably time for an upgrade. I mean, nothing worked, the windows were stuck shut, and the bathroom pipes creaked and moaned. But this…it’s, it’s…”
“Yes, that’s it, exactly. Monotonous. Monochromatically monotonous.” She giggles at her alliteration as I move to the window. The view is pretty, the quad a green expanse stretching out in front of the building, lined with old oak trees and pathways. A large sundial stands in the center, circled by a stone bench.
Camille is still talking. “You’re allowed one painting for above your desk, but we can’t even put things on the walls outside of that. It is so 1984 here. Rules, rules, rules. Big Mother is always watching, too.”
I bite back a laugh. The moniker fits. “
Anyway, I was saying, I never got your letter. I’m from DC. You’re from England?”
“Yes. Oxford. It’s northwest of London.”
A full-blown eye roll. “I’ve been to Oxford. My father was ambassador to France for a time, and we traveled all over Europe. But you already know that from my letter.”
“Yes. How nice for you.”
“I took the top bunk and the left desk.”
Camille promptly exits the room, I assume to insist on a different roommate. But she returns a few moments later with two more girls in tow.
“Ash, meet Vanessa Mitchell and Piper Brennan. Vanessa’s mom works for State, her dad’s off on some submarine somewhere for the Navy, and Piper’s parents own like half of North Carolina. Ash is not short for Ashley, ladies.”
Is she mocking me? Her smile seems genuine, but her tone is off.
I greet the two new girls, quietly assessing, being assessed. Vanessa is petite like Camille but athletic, with muscled calves like a runner or dancer, brown skin, and natural, riotously curly hair. Piper is almost my height, with red hair and freckles. Both seem friendly enough.
“You’re from Oxford? Talk. I want to hear your accent. I love a good British accent.” Vanessa is the imperious one. Piper only nods her agreement.
“Um, hullo? Care for a cuppa?”
The girls look at me impassively.
“Oh, stop torturing her,” Camille says with mock severity. “It’s rude. You’ll hear her talk plenty. Vanessa and Piper are in the suite next door to us. We’re going to convocation. Would you care to join us?”
I can think of nothing I’d like less, the jet lag is catching up to me and I’d like the bathroom and another cup of tea, but in the spirit of international relations, I agree and start toward the door. Camille clears her throat.
“Um, Ash? Aren’t you going to change?”
I stop in the doorway, glance down at my outfit. I am wearing travel clothes, comfy ripped skinny jeans and an oversize plaid shirt.
Only then do I realize the three girls are wearing dresses. And holding robes of some kind, cloaks, maybe, over their arms.
“We dress for convocation, always. Westhaven’s orders. She likes us looking put together.”
Oh, you idiot. Of course, they would. Whatever were you thinking?
“No one told me. I didn’t pack any dresses. Just the white shirts for our uniform.” There is a momentary silence.
“No dresses?” Camille looks stricken, her head whipping between my ruined jeans and her own immaculate hose and skirt as if she can’t believe she’ll have to go out in public with her new miscreant roommate, but it is Piper who saves the day, crooking a finger.
“Come with me. I have something that will work for you. You’ll never fit into any of Camille’s things, she’s a teensy little stick.”
Camille tosses her head. “Rude. Shut up, Piper. We can’t all be Amazons.”
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