After watching the taxi drive away, Kelly turned to face a large almost intimidating building. She stood for a moment spellbound by the old world charm beauty of the ‘collage’ she was to be attending for the next few years, which seemed to be something out of a fairy tale.
The gentle splashing of the duel fountains echoed pleasantly behind her as she slowly walked up the front path, bordered either side by sweet smelling red and white roses.
From the looks of the building, the collage seemed to have been built well over a century ago. Kelly began to wonder just how long this ‘specialised collage’ had been operating for.Neither her Aunt or Father had mentioned how old the collage was; she realized that she hadn’t even done her own research on the collage with how fast everything had happened over the last few months. Now she felt a little uneasy as she opened the heavy front door and walked into the entrance hall of the building.
Her breath caught in her throat as she shut the door, which gave a low heavy ‘thud’ as it closed, making her jump slightly as she set down her backpack.
The front hall was the most lavish room she had ever seen; even the museum in Newcrest wasn’t as beautiful as this.
Looking around, she couldn’t see anyone or hear anything.
“Hello?” Her voice echoed softly around the hall for a moment. She knew it was silly calling out, but it was the first thing that came to her mind. The large elaborate paintings on the walls caught her eye; casually she wandered over and looked at one that had a somewhat handsome man staring out, the small golden plaque at the base read ‘Sir Edmond O’Rourke – 18th C Generation Line’.
She frowned slightly at the description, and wandered over to another painting.
This one was of a beautiful dark haired much younger looking woman; ‘Lady Danielle Hunter – 20th C Generation Line’.Just as Kelly was about to move on to another painting ,she heard someone coming down the stairs behind her.
Just as Kelly turned around, a guy with sandy blonde shoulder length hair walked right over to her; he was smiling.
“Hi, you must be Kelly Andrews, right?” He had a warm, deep, slightly Norwegian accent. Kelly nodded wondering how he knew who she was.
“Uh, how did you...”
“Oh, sorry, that must have sounded a little creepy. I am Jacob Steinberg, Resident Student Assistant; I’m in charge of knowing whose coming and going from the collage, weekly menu shopping, organising extracurricular activities and other stuff that no one else wants take care of. You know fun stuff.” He smiled laughing slightly.
“Oh, wow. Talk about a social life buzz kill.” Kelly’s mouth ran away with her and she blushed realizing that she was being rude. ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I’m just nervous and...”
He laughed warmly again shaking his head, his blonde hair swished framing his face almost angelically.
“You are right though, it keeps me busy outside of normal studies and classes.’ He paused looking over Kelly in a matter of fact way for a moment, a small smile on his lips. “So, despite that I can now see that you’re not one for mincing words, do you know what subject you’re studying?”
Kelly pursed her lips not wanting to speak at all now in case she said something else insulting.
“Well,” She wasn’t sure how her answer would be taken but gathered Jacob would find out anyway. “I’m studying Food Science, which seems to have a million extra modules and then some than I was expecting.”
Jacob gave a short but warm laugh nodding. “I can only imagine. I’m doing Culinary Arts, Health and Writing myself.”
“Holy Watcher, that’s a workload and a half!” Kelly couldn’t help but exclaim with astonishment.Now it was Jacobs turn to blush slightly, his tanned cheeks looking sunburnt. “Thank you, that’s nice of you to say.”
A grandfather clock struck noon somewhere in the vast house.
“Oh, you’ll want to get to your room and get settled in, just head up the staircase on the left of the back door, then go to your right and your room should be the last door down a small enclave at the end of the hallway.” Jacob paused looking over at the door to where Kelly had left her backpack. “You don’t have any other suitcases or boxes?”
“Uh no,” Kelly suddenly felt very small. “My things were delivered earlier in the week, I think, plus I’ve always been a light traveller. Thanks for the directions, see you later.”
“No worries. Oh and dinner is at six, bathrooms are at the end of the hallways and if you ever need anything, my room is across from your hallway upstairs, first door on the right.” Jacob gave one last brief smile as Kelly turned and walked off to get her backpack; Kelly looked back for a second giving him a small smiled in return before she headed upstairs to find her room.
Upstairs had another impressively wide hallway seemed to sprawl in front of Kelly, she saw three doors spaced along the right side of the hallway. A screen provided privacy for where she presumed the bathrooms were, and a recreation room took up another large room to the left of her, which seemed to be at the front of the buildings top floor.
Following the directions Jacob had given her, Kelly opened a door that was sort of down an enclave at the end of the hall, closing it behind her she turned to see she was standing in a very generous room that had been set up nicely with a few of her own possessions and even some new things that were sort of her style, no doubt as presents from her Aunt and Dad to help her settle in.
“Home sweet home, I guess.”
She muttered to herself putting down her backpack, then sat on the bed letting out a long sigh as she looking around the room taking everything in, a slight pain of sadness seemed to strike Kelly as she felt quiet alone.
Suddenly there was a quick knock at her rooms’ door and another girl strolled in smiling brightly at her.
She had perfect ebony black hair cut in a fashionable short style, and perfect everything else to match, she sat down with a bouncy 'thud' next to Kelly on the bed still smiling broadly at her.
“Hi, I’m Ellanor but everyone calls me Ella.” Her voice was the same as her smile, bright and bubbly. “I’m just in the room next door.” She tilted her head in the direction of her room to the left of them all the while her genuine smile never leaving her lips. “Hey you look like my size; we could totally share clothes and stuff later.” Ella then launched right into questions. “So, how do you like it here? Pretty cool place huh? Do you a boyfriend or girlfriend back home? Just put both in there, you never know these days. Where are you from? I’m from Sunset Valley, and I’m totes single so I can date, yay me.”
Kelly was a little overwhelmed, but Ella’s warm smile put her at ease.
“Ah, I like it fine here but I’ve not seen much of the place yet. No, no boyfriend, I never really had time with my studies and... A bit of personal stuff; oh, uh, I’m from Newcrest.”
Ella smiled even more. “Brilliant, I’ll show you around later, oh and the guys here are totes hotties’ which is perfect for me and a super-cutie like yourself to get involved with ASAP.”
Nodding Kelly realized that Ella had given her a compliment. “Oh, um, thanks.” She couldn’t help but blush slightly.
“We can sneak out together if there’re ever any parties going on at the bluffs or in town. It’d be great to have someone ‘normal’ to hang out with. You'll come right?” Ella pouted giving her doe eyes.
“Oh, ok sure.” Kelly’s head was swimming from how fast Ella was going.
“Awesome!” She fist pumped the air excitedly then calmed down in the same instance. “I mean, you know, however you feel and stuff; so for now though we’ve got dinner. Tomorrow evening there’s a club meeting of the ‘Coeurs Naturelle’s’ translation aka; ‘Natural Hearts’. Exciting huh?"
The name of the club rang a bell in Kelly’s head; she recalled her mother mentioning something about a club and that Kelly should join if she ever got the chance, inside or outside of school.
“Is there any way I could, you know... tag along to the club meeting? Be great to see it in action.”
Ella got excited again. “Tag along? You’re already a part of the club Hun. Anyone who gets into this collage is an automatic member; after all, since it takes the butt loads of work we all did to show off our genetic skills to even get considered to even be allowed in, it’s kinda like freebie. Yay for us perfecto’s right?” Ella nudged Kelly playfully with her elbow.
Kelly laughed shaking her head. “Oh, my life has been far from perfect of late. Not to mention I’m still finding even being here really, weird.”
Ella looked at Kelly slightly frowning suddenly. “Why what happened?”
Sighing, Kelly slumped a little not wanting to mention her mother’s death so soon.
“Well, I... I was supposed to go to another college in Willow Creek. But suddenly they transferred me, so now I’m here on some all expenses paid scholarship, but, as far as I know, this college doesn’t do scholarships.”
“Hmmm, well I wouldn’t stress. I mean seriously, you have an awesome opportunity that most people would die for. So I don’t know about you but I’m hungry, we should get down to dinner.”
Ella popped off the bed and paused for a moment looking Kelly over.
“Hmm, not to be rude Hun, but you look a little worn out in those clothes. Did you wear those travelling here today?”
Kelly looked down at herself then back at Ella smiling sheepishly.
“Yeah, I did... I guess I should change if I want to make a good impression.”
Ella’s face lit up like a child in a toy store with an unlimited credit card.
“Oh, can I help you organise an outfit? Pleeeaaase?” She half begged making Kelly laugh a little.
“Ok, I guess I could use the help.”
Ella smiled going to Kelly’s dresser. “No, seriously; I'm totes thanking you. Fashion and music are so my life hey! Two central pieces that have shaped Simlish history, what’s not to love right?”
After a few minutes, Ella had Kelly try on a few things until they both finally agreed on one that made Kelly look intelligent but stylish.
Just as Kelly was finishing off doing her hair, Ella rushed to her room, Kelly could hear a bit of banging and fussing, but as she stepped out into the hallway, Ella appeared right behind her redressed in a very chic and unique outfit of her own.
“Oh it’s nothing; you should see me when I’m late for a set, now come on; I’ve heard that Chancellor Hunter hates late Sims.”
“Oh.” Was all Kelly could manage before Ella suddenly sped up her walking speed and seemed to almost fly down the stair case.
Coming into the dining room, Kelly was impressed and saw Ella slip into a chair opposite Jacob exchanging quick hi’s and hello’s to the other students sitting around the table.
There was a slight tapping of heels on the wooden floor and Kelly looked to where the sound was coming from to see a tall, elegant woman standing right beside her.
She emitted a loveliness that caught Kelly by surprise; the only other person she had ever felt such a feeling come from had been her mother.
“Good evening Miss Andrews, I am Chancellor Hunter. Your house mistress, teacher and guide over the next few years here.”
A lump formed in Kelly’s throat, but she swallowed in down and squared her shoulders. “Good evening Chancellor Hunter, thank you for having me here.”
“Ms Hunter is fine dear,” She turned to the rest of the students at the table. “Now everyone, we’ve finally have our final student join us. Kelly is an Andrews’s heiress and a very talented young lady at that.”
“Oh good, it’s about time the chef arrived, I hate cooking.” A blonde girl at the end of the table spoke, her voice was sweet enough, but her comment made Kelly’s genuine smile turn into a forced one.
“Miss Donavon,” Ms Hunter snapped at the girl silencing her, the small laughter that had come from the others also ceased. “There will be no bickering, pranking, bullying over their abilities and above all there will be NO fighting. Do I make myself clear ladies and gentlemen?”
There was a smattering of ‘Yes Ms Hunter.’ around the table and avoidance of eye contact.
With a sigh and polite smile to Kelly, Ms Hunter brushed invisible dust from her gowns skirts.
“Now, I must admit Miss Andrews. As I did not get to see your abilities that apparently got you admitted into the school, I don’t think a small dinner request is too much, do you?”
At first Kelly was slightly bewildered as she walked into the kitchen, but soon she couldn’t help humming and smiling to herself as she began to organise herself. Every herb, cooking utensil, books and more were at her disposal, including a fully stocked fridge. She felt like she was in a playground; she concentrated her hardest to cook her best as quickly as possible. Freshly grilled fish and vegetables she thought would be a simple but enjoyable choice for a good first impression.
When everyone had collected their meals and sat back down, they all began to eat; except the other blonde girl.
“I’m not really a fan of fish, the little bones annoy me. Could you make...”
“It’s a boneless fish, Miss Donavon.” Ms Hunter sweetly told her popping a piece of the fish into her own mouth.
Joshua leaned over slightly to Kelly smiling at her and whispered.
“It tastes very good; you’ll have to show me what you did when we get a chance to do some cooking together.”
Chewing on her own piece of fish, Kelly nodded giving a small smile.
The girl stiffly picked up her fork and then stabbed up a bit of the fish onto it; Kelly could feel the girls’ eyes on her as she continued eating her meal.
“Well,” She gave a small huff. “It’s not restaurant quality, but at least we won’t have to live off grilled cheese and salads while were here.”
For a while no one spoke but idle chatter soon enough started around the table in the usual fashion. Kelly realised today must have been the first day for everyone as talk turned to their home towns, classes they were taking and the usual likes and dislikes everyone had.
Right after dinner without much more conversation, everyone went to bed. It seemed that as excited as everyone was, tiredness ruled the first evening for the entire house.
The next morning, Kelly and Joshua made French toast for everyone. No one complained as plates were snatched up as fast as they were served and soon everyone was sitting at the dining table wolfing down the delicious meal.
Ms Hunter arrived halfway through breakfast. She was still as elegant as ever even though her hair was down and she wore a fluffy pink dressing gown.
“Classes will begin after breakfast everyone. I expect you all to be in your uniforms, neat and tidy. There will be no excess jewellery, hats or make-up. This may be a private collage, but you are still all expected to uphold the traditions and rules of this establishment. Am I understood?”
Again everyone light chimed. “Yes Ms Hunter.”
“Good, now... that French toast smells divine.” She moved into the kitchen and got herself a plate of the sweet breakfast and joined them.
At nine o’clock everyone arrived down in the classroom of the collage. Standing by their seats, they all waited for Ms Hunter to sit down at her desk, she placed a cup of espresso in front of her. Her eyes then looked over everyone before she nodded to them all letting them all be seated.
“Now, it has come to my attention that the majority of you know why you are in such a prestigious private collage, and that some of you do not. This is perfectly fine. Those of you whom do not know, you will find out in your own time you place here, those of you who do know...” Ms Hunter raised an eyebrow slightly, her expression becoming slightly harsh. “You are NOT to tell or try to influence your fellow students in any way as they discover for themselves their place. Again, am I understood?”
Everyone nodded; the silence of the room was so intense that a pin dropping could have been heard.
“Very good, now take out your books and turn to page 240. We will start on the history of the Greek mythology of Aphrodite and her influences on ancient and modern culture.”
Kelly wasn’t really sure what Ms Hunter had been talking about at the beginning of the class and she felt a little nervous as everyone else seemed to be taking notes and writing furiously as Ms Hunter began her lecture; but after an hour or so she easily dived into the literature.
Every chapter suddenly seemed to make sense and soon enough she was taking notes as easily as everyone else around her.
The day was long even with a short morning recess and lunch break, where she found herself wandering around the collages gardens.
After class, the mail bell rang. Kelly offered to get the mail.
Going out to the mail box, Kelly found a letter. Her expression turned from happiness to caution as she read the note.
‘I know what you are; your father is hiding your identity from you.’
Kelly stuffed the letter back into the mail box after scribbling on the front ‘return to sender’ with a spare pen she had in her skirt pocket.
She stood for a while with her hand resting on the closed mailbox door, blankly staring at it, her heart thudded loudly in her ears as jumbled up thoughts raced through her mind.