First Impressions

Sat. 11/9/2250 – By Rebecca Green.

 

The black sports car pulled up to the curb and just missed the exuberant fifth year, Cleo Sommerfield, who was beating a much less enthusiastic fourth year, Leslie Marksen, with a rolled up jacket. Its owner, fifth year Teagan Dunn, scrambled after her in a frenzy. Cleo’s younger sister, Desiree, laid cackling on the ground, seemingly immune to the layer of snow beneath her thick coat.

“Stop screwing around, Sommerfield!” barked a small redhead clad in a long black trench coat, belt tight around her waist. She eyed them with suspicion over the small pile of textbooks she carried.  A white-haired librarian trailed behind her, weakly trying to take the books as she approached. “You’re going to give Marksen whiplash, I’m not filling out any more paperwork to parents!”

She was met only with a grin and a wave from Cleo. Leslie looked up with nothing less than horror on his face. “Who’s that?” His voice rose high in a shaky whine as he picked his head up from where he lay in the snow, staring wide-eyed at the car and the man emerging from the driver’s seat.

No one answered him. The redhead followed his gaze with narrowed eyes, distaste apparent on her face as she straightened her head up and began toward the car. The man was a rather handsome fellow and seemed to be in his mid-thirties with sandy hair and was only an inch or two shorter than the tall librarian.

“Who are you?” she demanded, adjusting the books in her arm and slowing as she got closer, only briefly peering toward the car to take note of its plate. The man hardly glanced at her with more than mild amusement and annoyance, before turning instead to the man behind her.

“Hey, are you a professor? Mind telling me where I’m supposed to be headed? I got a job as a history teacher and none of these squirts seem to know anything.” A grin accompanied his words as he ignored the several students now curiously looking in their direction. Leslie kept his face buried in the coat while Cleo and Dee watched eagerly. Inside the Primary Building across the lawn, more students were pressing against the front windows, pushing the door open to look out.

“So you’re the replacement for Professor Burdette?” the librarian asked, edging forward to save the textbooks that the woman had disregarded, the texts dangerously teetering toward the ground before he slipped them into his own arms.

“Yeah, Ross Blackhall, Murdoch must have been pretty desperate to call on me.”

“Are you getting Burdette’s House too?” the girl interjected, raising an eyebrow at the man, Ross’s, comment. “The Eagles aren’t the sanest of groups, not the best to head if you’re so incompetent.” She knew from experience; the past few weeks had been interesting for the remaining two heads.

Ross blinked down at her, eyebrows knitting in confusion and surprise, “What are you talking about, kid? No one said anything to me about being a head-”

“I’m not a kid,” the redhead snapped, her chin tipping up as her eyes flashed. “I’m a teacher.”

Ross burst out laughing with one glance down at her. “I’m sorry-” he snorted. “That’s hilarious. You’re just so tiny, you see.” Helpfully illustrating his point, he waved one hand out and clear over her head. Beside them the otherwise passive librarian finally took a step forward, raising his free hand in an attempt for peace.

“Rhea’s actually the defense and battle professor-” he faltered as Ross only snorted again in disbelief, “-and she’s been here for four years- and she’s the Owl’s-”

“She’s so angry, like a kitten!” Ross cackled as the librarian’s words only spurred him on. Rhea stepped forward again, trying and failing to signal the man to shut up.

The students behind them were shuffling closer, one tall blonde snickering as she stage-whispered, “Ten bucks that Professor Vander kisses Hottie McHottie by the end of the semester.”

“Nooo, I’d rather Calver. Look at him!” another girl immediately replied, sighing dreamily as she looked at the white-haired librarian. “Aelita, you know he’s only twenty-eight?”

“Oh get over it!” Aelita rolled her eyes as she stepped through the cluster of students and craned her neck to watch, always interested in anything that made Vander look so angry, as well as the new guy, who didn’t seem to care.

“Ten on Professor Vander putting new guy flat on his back. He so just called her a student,” Desiree called, having rolled over to prop up on her elbows.

“No! Professor Vander wouldn-” Aelita exclaimed.

“I say twenty on Vander slamming into the new guy. Breaking a window,” countered Cleo as she sat on the ground next to her sister, dropping a ball of snow onto Dee’s head.

Which, as it turned out, made Cleo a good twenty dollars richer. Sort of. Ross paid little heed to Rhea’s anger. Her fingers flexed and her eyes swept down him. Ross was feigning to wipe a tear from his eye when she lurched forward. Both of her hands secured themselves on his arm and she dropped her body weight, using his own with the intention of flipping the man onto his ass.

Laughter morphed into surprise as Ross instantly tried to jerk back, but he was unable to shake her loose.  A moment later, they vanished.

Students jumped up, yelling in surprise and excitement. “What the hell?” Aelita cursed as she strode across the grounds. Calver jumped back.

“Where’d they go?” Teagan exclaimed, as Leslie groaned, “God no” into the jacket beside him.

“There!” The girl who had been fawning over Calver extended her arm up. Rhea and Ross were twenty feet in the air and falling fast until they crashed into the car below. Girls and boys shrieked, until a great screech of collapsing metal and the car whining in protest introduced a short moment of shocked silence. Amongst the following uproar, Ross gave a long sort of moan, holding the smaller professor tightly as she lay on top of him. He could feel a sharp pain in his back that nearly made him regret twisting in the air. It would heal itself soon enough, but even so, it wasn’t enjoyable.

Rhea’s one arm was hooked around Ross’s, her hand smooshed between them and gripping his shirt tightly as her head spun, eyes blinking rapidly and gasping for breath. Still dazed by the bright light that had enveloped and pulled her through, shoving her mind into a funnel- smashing together thoughts and memories and every experience before squeezing her out once more.

“Professor!” Aelita shrieked in unison with other students, pushing forward between the students to get to the front of the group.

“What the hell was that?”

“Don’t you know, demons teleport!”

“Oh my gooood. She’s deaad, she’s deaaad!”

“Angels teleport too!”

“Ah- oh fuck,” Rhea groaned, very much alive but feeling she must be dead. There was a sharp pain in her leg, her foot mindlessly flopping down against the car, tangled with Ross’s legs. She tried to pick up her head, but her eyes swam with tears and her head thumped with such ferocity that she instantly laid it back down against Ross’s chest, her face pale.

“Rhea- Are you-” Calver exclaimed, taking several steps toward the car before students could swarm. He leaned over, reaching out to touch her shoulder and try to get a look, however he was interrupted as Ross barked at him, “That’s all fine and dandy, boys and girls, but will someone get this woman off me before she gets sick!”

Rhea pressed her eyes shut and turned her head to the side, managing to throw up off of him – mostly. Ross squirmed, both hands twisting to push her away.

“Adrian-” Rhea rasped towards Calver, and he quickly responded by carefully turning her over and picking her up. The woman tested her senses as she managed to wiggle the toes in one foot and could feel pain in the other. A good sign, if not pleasant.

“Oh my god, you could have killed her!” Aelita shrieked once more, reaching the front of the crowd and ranting, “Are you okay, Professor Vander? Of course you’re not, he was such a dick, this is ridiculous, he can’t teach here, he’s insane-”

Ross lifted his head before speaking loudly, “Well now that the midget here has destroyed my car, will someone please tell me where the hell I’m-”

Rhea sighed heavily, closing her eyes at the continued jests but caring much less. She opened them again as she felt Adrian lowering her to the ground, the man glaring up at Ross with a glint of gold in his eyes as he lurched forward, grabbing Ross by the shoulder and jerking him up with one hand. His other yanked back and then forward to crack square against Ross’s nose.

“Fucking hell-” Ross yelled. “What the fuck man-”

The students roared with excitement, a distinct ‘oooooh’ reverberating between them as Aelita shrieked, one hand covering her mouth. While the sight of students holding up their phones to record the situation was obvious, Rhea hardly seemed to notice, laying her head in the snow and griping, “Can we not right now.”

Adrian didn’t reply as Ross swore to himself, a hand holding his nose as he leaned back and looked up toward the sky to stem any blood. “This is what Jay sends me to- it’s a mad house. Covered in blood and vomit, I’ve only been here five seconds.”

“You look horrible, Vander, are you going to throw up again? You should definitely sue him, he can’t just pull you through like that! Do we even allow meta beings here? Wait- we have two of them don’t we, but that’s beside the point, Vinci and Muya aren’t insane- I think.” Still rambling on,  Aelita dropped to kneel in the snow beside the defense professor. “See this is why I need to be in your class, I need to be able to protect myself in this insanity.”

“No, Aelita,” Rhea replied dimly, turning her head to tune the talkative girl out and address Adrian, who had begun to turn anyway. “Adrian, love the heroics and all but can we go to the infirmary already? I don’t think I can walk.

He flushed brightly, glancing down at her. “Ah- yes- of course.” Flustered once more as he quickly leaned down and picked the woman up. “Sorry!” he nearly shrieked in apology as she winced a little at the movement and his ears heated up. Students were cackling to themselves, staring, and he knew that this would be all over school within hours, if not minutes.

Adrian pushed through the crowd quickly, asking several students to move out of the way and for the most part they made room, though several still stretched for a good look. One was nice enough to open the door, allowing him to disappear with Rhea toward the infirmary, leaving Ross still leaning back on the car and groaning to himself.

Aelita stood up, hands on her hips as she sniped, “Well I hope you’re happy!” She glared at him once before turning to watch as the professors escaped toward the infirmary, taking a few steps herself and chastising students who didn’t move out of the way fast enough or kept trying to get a look.

“Very,” Ross retorted slowly as he straightened, rolling his shoulders back to check himself over. His back was healing on its own and from what he could tell it would be fine in a couple hours. Ross rubbed his nose one more time, glad to feel it stronger, before slipping down from the car to stand and wrinkling his nose in disgust at the remnant of vomit on his shirt. Raising both arms to keep from touching it, he was quick to wiggle both into his shirt and pull the fabric off, soon shirtless and throwing the soiled fabric onto the hood of his car.

Taking a deep breath, Ross ran one hand through his hair as he tried to figure out what to do next. Peace was yet to be had, however, and the blonde girl was shrieking in a tone Ross was coming to recognize as painfully high-pitched and reminiscent of nails on a blackboard.

“What the hell!” She whipped toward him, taking several steps forward, “That’s disgusting- you can’t just strip it’s the middle of November, you’re going to die of frostbite and ugh, put something on!” She turned her attention toward the crowd, and it was poor Teagan who had just gotten his jacket back on and come over to get a look that had the article torn off once more, as he protested uselessly.

She paid him no mind, throwing the jacket aggressively toward the man. “Honestly have some decency!” Ross glared back, gripping the fabric and ready to retort, but another voice interrupted.

“Professor Blackhall, is it?” Aelita’s eyes went wide and she turned to grin sheepishly at the older man standing there, the headmaster she knew quite well. His eyes were tired, but he was well acquainted with this sort of chaos.

“Yeah, that’s me. Is it always like this?” Ross answered.

“Sometimes. Miss Rede, I see you’ve acquainted yourself with your new head of house?” The simultaneous “Wait, what?” from Ross and Aelita had Rodney raising one hand to silence them, but Aelita went on anyway.

“You can’t mean to tell me that this sexist pig is supposed to be my head of house? He’s a goddamn idiot and was totally egging Vander on! This is an absolute outrage and I demand a recount of the votes, there has to be absolutely ANYONE who’s better than him- Professor Burdette would be appalled that her house passed into the hands of someone like him!” She was prepared to go for much longer, but faltered once as she looked up and saw Rodney watching her with a patience that came only with experience. Huffing, she crossed her arms. “This is ridiculous,” she insisted.

“Given that I’m still employed here,” Ross spoke up, “is there a better place I can park my car until I can get it repaired?”

“Of course,” the headmaster said. “We have a staff parking lot round back, there’s a map of the school and lists of all the students in your house and classes here in this folder for you to prepare yourself.” He held out a manilla folder that was filled with a thick pile of papers. “Miss Rede, you are a prefect, aren’t you?”

“Yes.” She deflated back onto the heels of her feet.

“I’ll handle Professor Blackhall here, rest assured both he, as well as Professors Vander and Calver-”

“It’s not their fault! He just-” Her hands flew out to rage once more, but Professor Murdoch stopped her again.

“I will handle it. Please send these students on their way, we’ve had enough excitement for the day.” After a moment of stubborn resistance, Aelita turned and stalked away, waving the crowd of students back to where they had come from and chastising Cleo as she took the opportunity to try and jump Leslie once more. Rodney watched her go for a moment, before looking at Ross.

“I’ll speak with Rhea and Adrian first, though I’m sure this was nothing more than a misunderstanding. Professor Vander can be quite testy towards jabs on her size, and no one was yet aware of you being a demon. You can find anything you need in that folder and, while she’s yet to accept you as a new head, Aelita will still be happy to answer any questions or show you around if you ask nicely, I’m sure.” He nodded once toward Ross and the demon gave a tired, mock-salute before turning around to lean over his car, investigating the damages and having complete intentions on making Jay pay for all of it.

 

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2 Comments

    1. Thanks for the comment! We definitwly agree with you on this, and are hoping to soon make an effort to add clarification on characters, as we know our style creates a wide range that a new reader might not be able to keep track of as well as us! Thanks for reminding us, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the story. Feel free to offer any and all other suggestions!

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