Justine tapped her blinged out pencil furiously on her fuchsia notebook. Fighting to keep her eyes open, she exhaled loudly with a yawn to boot. The teacher, Miss Lola Ruby threw her a reserved look that made it clear she was one flinch away from snapping at her. Justine didn't care. Real world problem solving for Sirens class was the last class of the day and she was so ready to jam it out of there. Not only was she bored to death, but she had things to do, places to go and a hot teacher to harass after school.
Peering around the room, she realized no one else was paying much attention. Maybe she could get out early today. Somehow she had to trick Miss Ruby into letting her go, but how? Justine strained her mind, tapping her temple as she concentrated on the task at hand. She’d have to feign injury for sure. Or sickness. Either would do. But she had to be convincing.
She remembered a charm she’d scan over in the library, one of the few times she ever stepped into that wretched place. It was a skin color shift charm, perfect for when one was in peril and had to act normal to entice their prey in. Such a charm was rarely needed nowadays with the ban of using a siren’s magic to lure men to their doom, but its existence was there nonetheless. It was perfect. She’d modify it though, change it to make her sickly instead of the picture of health.
Good thing her photographic memory came in handy at a time like this. Not many other girls could recall a spell or charm in a millisecond like Justine. It was her saving grace. She never studied but she made sure to scan the books at least once. That’s all she needed for perfect recall later in a test.
Placing both her hands over her face, she mumbled the spell softly into her palms. The clamminess of her breath against her palms made her face sweat and she could feel her skin tingle underneath her fingers.
“Justine?” Miss Ruby’s voice cracked as she called to her from across the room.
“Yes, Miss Ruby?” Justine’s came out muffled from behind her hands. She wanted Miss Ruby closer, enough to see just how sickly she was.
“Are you alright my dear?”
Her voice wavered in and out, like she was suffering from laryngitis. But she wasn’t. It was just an annoying tone that felt like fingernails against a chalkboard. It made Justine shudder.
“I’m not feeling so good.” Justine felt her teacher’s presence near her and finally pulled her hands away from her face.
There was an audible gasp shifting about the room, including from Miss Ruby. The petite strawberry blond woman lifted her fingers to her lips while her eyes bulged out like a bullfrog as her mouth dropped open.
“Oh, dear,” she said, paling before their eyes.
“I’ll just…go to the nurse’s office.”
“Yes… of course, do you need an escort?”
“No, I’ll manage.” Justine threw her a weak smile, making sure to hunch over her binder as she headed out the room as quickly as a slow pace would allow her. She had to make it agonizingly slow or they would know she was faking. That wouldn’t be tolerated.
Finally shoving the door shut behind her, she breathed out a deep, rapid breath, blowing away the charm from her insides. Just as fast, her complexion cleared and the vibrant creamy rose skin appeared where once was a sickly green reptilian color.
She’d done it. She was free.
She practically skipped down the hall, filled with an eagerness to pop a cigarette into her soft mouth and puff to her hearts’ desire. Screw the no smoking policy on campus. She knew just where she could tuck herself away and not be seen by anyone. There was a small staircase that led down to the shore where the crashing waves had dug out a minuscule cave that when the tide was right, like now, one could sit comfortably in it and spend the rest of the day huffing whatever drug was available.
She dumped her binder underneath the stairwell in a natural shelf of rock. Making her way down the stairs, she cursed at wearing high heels and yanked them off before she managed to kill herself on the steep, metal stairs. Halfway down, she heard a voice behind her.
“What are you doing?”
Justine swerved around and squinted into the sunlight. She pulled her sunglasses out of her purse and slapped them onto her face staring hard at the intruder.
“What the hell? Blane, Blandy, whatever your name is. Get lost.”
The girl folded her hands and narrowed her beady eyes at her. “It’s Blair and you’re skipping class, aren’t you?”
Justine rolled her eyes and waved Blair off. She turned back and made her way down to the sandy strip of beach where she tossed her shoes against he rock and headed toward the cave.
“Wait! You’ll get in trouble you know.”
“Oh shut it. They don’t give a damn where I am. I’m sick today.”
Justine shoved her skirt down and sat down against the edge of the cave. The inside was despicable, full of cigarette butts and garbage. Someone was going to have to have garbage duty and sure as hell wouldn’t be her.
“You’re not sick. You look fine to me.”
Blair crossed her arms and hovered near the edge of the cave. Her long blonde hair fluttered in the ocean breeze, messing up the half ponytail she had slicked back. She tried in vain to hold her skort down, it kept flipping up against the turbulent wind.
“Oh for crying out loud, move! You’re blocking the view.” Justine spoke through her closed lips, a cigarette already pressed between her red lips. Lipstick stained the edges of the cigarette as it hovered, barely gripped in her mouth. It stuck to the lipstick like glue.
Blair moved, heading to stand against the wall opposite from Justine.
Justine lit the stick and sucked in a deep breathe before pulling it from her mouth and blowing out the stinky smoke up toward Blair. It didn’t touch her; the air fluffed it away toward the sea.
“What’s it to ya?” Justine inhaled again and studied her new classmate. The girl was god awful plain without any make up and her straw like hair in disarray. She needed an emergent makeover in a bad way.
In an uncharacteristic movement, she held out the cigarette. “Want a puff?”
Blair’s eyes widened as her eyes moved toward the stick. They lingered for a moment looking hungry yet apprehensive.
“Oh come on, one hit won’t kill you. You have to have more than a pack. It’s not weed either so what the hell you all jumpy for? Lord knows I could use a hit of that.”
Justine hacked out a cough and waved Blair down. The girl complied and slipped down into the cool sand beside the senior student. She dusted off the gritty sand already sticking to her legs and moving up her thighs. She pulled her legs to her chest and peeked over to Justine.
“Take it. You can do it.” Justine smirked, a wicked look pasted on her face as she watched the newbie take the stick and place it to her pretty little mouth.
What a freshie. So uncorrupted. So naïve. Maybe she needed some corrupting.
Blair sucked in a breath and choked, hacking out a lung as she held the cigarette back to Justine.
“You’re just dreadful.” Justine shook her head and laughed.
They headed back up the stairs in silence. Both unsure of what the other’s motivations were. Still, It had been a refreshing afternoon and if they hurried, they would be able to blend into the crowd as the day’s classes ended.
When they reached the top of the corroded metal steps, they hurried towards the building, keeping an eye out for teachers. Once there, they swiftly took the corner toward the main entrance when an abrupt voice stopped them in their heels.
“What are you girls doing over here?”
Justine’s eyes narrowed as Blair’s did the opposite. Both began muttering their answers in unison.
“Just got lost, Justine was helping…”
“Nothing, I have no last period. I don’t know about this here freshie.”
They both stopped and glanced at each other in disdain. Well there went their moment of connection. It was already back to the way it had started.
Mr. Powell, aka Mr. Dreamy eyed them both full of suspicion. The rush of students could be heard behind him as they exited the building and chatted without a care in the world. Justine clenched her fists, hoping to join the crowd than get written up for skipping class. The way things were looking, she had to think fast and do something or she’d be in huge trouble.
Justine doesn’t get in trouble. She’s a good girl.
The thought brought a wickedly seductive smile onto the girl’s face and she stepped forward, placing a hand on Mr. Powell’s shoulder and flashing her deep blue eyes.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Powell. Or is it Richard? I can call you anything you want. Fresh…err…Brandy got lost and I was showing her back to the main hall through an alternate route so she won’t get lost again, that’s all.” She fluttered her eyelids and sent a submission charm into Mr. Powell. No man was immune to the power of Sirens. Even a School of Siren’s teacher. Just in case, she shoved a lot more power into the charm as she kept eye contact with the gorgeous man.
Come on…work already!
Mr. Powell gave Justine a confused face as he studied her eyes. He then proceeded to flick his gaze toward her slender pale hand pressed softly onto his favorite blue button down long sleeve shirt. He didn’t melt under her gaze or stupefy. In fact, he pointedly returned her look and smiled, flashing the whites of his teeth as he gently reached up to take her hand and moved a step away to let her go.
“I understand, Miss Justine. It’s mighty generous of you to show Miss Blair around. Please try to stick to the scheduled classes in the meantime. No sense in rubbing off bad habits on the new girl on the first day.”
With that he turned toward Blair, gave her a short nod and grinned. “Welcome to the School for Sirens, Miss Blair.” He spun on his feet and marched away back around the front of the school, disappearing around the corner.
Blair flicked her eyes toward Justine, hoping the girl would thank her. Instead, Justine threw her an acid stare and huffed away before calling over her shoulder while leaving Blair behind.
“Don’t be a sucker, freshie.” And flipped her the bird.