I may not be perfect, but I think I'm a good person. I like to believe that there's good in everyone, but here we are. First Day of Senior Year! (Can you hear the sarcasm?) I'm looking at all these kids I've known my whole life, and I can't help but wonder…
Uma looked up from the private domain of her turquoise journal and pushed her glasses back up the bridge of her nose with a single finger. All around her, teens of all grades, races, shapes, and sizes buzzed through the halls like worker bees in a hormone-filled hive. The cliques were pathetically obvious, and the popularity class system worked just like the food chain in the Amazon rainforest. There were predators and prey, and one never changed from one to another. The teachers were supposed to be those tree-hugging hippies who try to save the rainforest, but they were more like the greedy illegal hunters who make life even more difficult for the creatures in the school.
Through all the chaos in the locker-bound forest, Uma could hear the distinct and overused taunts:
She shook her head to herself. It seemed like it was just yesterday that they were all laughing on the playground and napping in the classroom. Now look at them! The nice boy turned into a stuck up, preppy stud. The shy girl is now a young republicanette. Uma knew there was once a time when they were all friends, but things were different. It seemed like everyone found a higher rank in the social hierarchy while she remained on the bottom.
There was a particular incident tied to that, but that's a story for another time…
Uma stood up from her place on the stairs and headed towards the cafeteria for lunch. She kept her eyes trained on the tiled floor in front of her, avoiding eye contact with any of the simple minds around her. More insults flew around her.
Uma blamed growing up. Suddenly people became 'too cool' for others. You were no longer judged based on your character. Rather, you were characterized by your ability to throw a football or your skill with mascara. Uma never cared to put effort into either, preferring to spend her time developing her mind. She wished her classmates did the same, but their insistence on putting others down turned high school into an eternal cage match.
At the very least, they'd all be graduating and parting ways. Uma couldn't wait to go to college, but she'd have to survive this hell until June.
"At least I know that one isn't directed at me." Uma rolled her eyes and sighed.
Uma knew people could change. They could go back to how they were before. The class system could disintegrate. She prayed that people could let go of all this social pressure and archaic nonsense. They could be…beautiful.
Right as Uma entered the cafeteria, she saw the preppy stud–Ben–knock over the hipster dork–Carlos.
"Yeah, that ain't happening today," Uma concluded.
Uma strode over to her usual lunch table. It was in a secluded corner, and no one else sat there. Well, there was one other person. Now, where was he?
"Homo! Homo! HOMO!"
There he is.
"Hey Gil," Uma greeted her best friend as he sat beside her. He had the build of a football player, but he preferred not to use his inherent athleticism for tossing a ball or tackling meatheads. He had a huge heart, but around here, that just wasn't enough. To make matters worse for Uma's blond friend, he was the only outed gay in the whole school.
"Hey Uma," replied Gil. Uma thought Gil coming out was the most courageous and admirable thing anyone has ever done in the history of Auradon Prep, but that didn't save him from bullying and constant ridicule. He put on a brave face, but Uma knew a small part of him hurt every time someone shouted 'Homo' at him like it was a bad thing.
"Don't pay attention to them," Uma advised, comfortingly rubbing his beefy shoulder. "They won't matter in a year when we graduate and get on with our lives."
"Yeah, I know," Gil sighed as he twiddled his thumbs on the table. Anxious to change the subject, he quickly asked, "Where are you applying?"
"Auradon, Atlantica, and Olympus," Uma listed, counting off on her fingers. One of those universities would become her sanctuary. "Hopefully I get into Atlantica so that I can just take my diploma and blow this popsicle stand."
Uma hated where she lived. The kids were animals. The adults were useless. Years of practice in suppressing her anger issues kept Uma from lighting a match and setting fire to this dump.
Uma and Gil stood up to get into the lunch line. They followed the trail of teens without much trouble and picked up their trays. Of course, that was just the calm before the storm. Right before they could actually enter the kitchen to get their food, Uma's tray was roughly smacked out of her hands.
"Oooooooooooooooooops," said a tantalizing voice. Uma's blood boiled at the sight of a blue and gold letterman jacket. Gil, on the other hand, had heart eyes.
"Chad Charming," Gil said in a dreamy sigh. "Third year as linebacker."
"And eighth year of being a huge dick," Uma spat as she crossed her arms over her chest. She said it loud enough that Chad could hear her.
The senior jock spun around and reared on Uma, eyes narrowed and a frown etched into his chiseled face. "What did you say to me, Shrimpy."
"Nothing," Uma said through gritted teeth. She was biting back a whole ton of profane slurs that were sure to go over Chad's rock of a brain. Yes, she had a life of bitterness held inside her, but she kept it capped to avoid trouble. Then again, when you were stuck with a nickname like Shrimpy, it became difficult.
Chad pointed two fingers at his eyes, and then he pointed them at Uma's, giving an unspoken warning that he was watching her. He walked away, and Uma sighed out her frustration in a breath she didn't know she was holding. She turned to Gil, who was staring at Chad as he walked off. Uma narrowed her eyes. "Why do you have a thing for him again?" She asked him, picking her lunch tray up again.
"We have a bit of a history," Gil smirked proudly. Uma let him live in his fantasy, but she knew their 'history' was in kindergarten. That was before Chad became a shallow jock.
They resumed droning through the lunch line, but Uma forgot the basic rule of post-puberty predators: They always travel in packs.
"FAG ALERT!" Another voice hollered as yet another letterman clad arm smacked Gil's tray out of his hands. Uma looked the newcomer up and down, from his tight man-bun to his sneakers.
Jay Kelly. Quarterback. He's the smartest guy on the football team…
Which is kind of like being the tallest dwarf.
"Hey, pick that up!" Uma ordered the quarterback, her annoyance getting the better of her. She stepped in front of Gil and pointed at the fallen tray with an expectant glare. It was an odd sight for sure. The homosexual giant hiding behind the nerdy girl who has at least a head shorter than him.
"I'm sorry," Jay laughed with an arrogant air about him. "Are you actually talking to me?"
Chad decided then to come back, glaring at Uma over Jay's shoulder. "My buddy Jay just asked you a question."
Jay looked at Chad, and they exchanged a knowing nod before turning their sights back on Uma.
"As a matter of fact, I am talking to you," Uma retorted. Gil had a fearful expression. He was worried she might say something that would haunt them later. Uma jabbed her finger into Jay's chest and said, "I wanna know what makes you think you can pick on my friend. You're a high school has-been in the making, a future gas station attendant."
Jay took one step forward, and Uma's flight response made her shrink back against Gil. She was a lot of talk, but she knew she couldn't actually take any of these guys down. Jay stared at her with a scrutinizing expression before pressing his finger in between her eyebrows, making Uma go cross-eyed. "You got a zit right there," said Jay.
Jay, Chad, and a few surrounding kids shared in a chorus of laughter, as if a blemish on Uma's face was the funniest thing in the world. Uma pushed past them with Gil following close behind, and they went through the lunch line as quickly as possible.
After they sat back down at their otherwise empty lunch table, Uma flipped her journal back open and scribbled at the bottom of today's entry:
Suddenly, time seemed to stop in the cafeteria. Uma looked up from her journal to see the double doors opened wide, and three omnipotent figures strutted in. They stole the attention of every student, and even a few teachers stopped what they were doing to watch them. It was their first lunchroom entrance of senior year. They had to make an impression.
They are the Ladies of the Court, self-proclaimed princesses of Auradon Prep.
They float above all the animalistic chaos. They go down the halls in their color-coordinated blazers, school-girl skirts, and high socks, and no one ever bothers them. They were envied, loved, and worshipped like goddesses.
Uma would give anything to be like them.
There's Evie McNamara. Head Cheerleader. Her family is absolutely loaded. Her dad sells engagement rings and her mom is the most successful designer in Auradon. Some argue it's criminal how much money she has.
The young fashionista wore blue to match her hair, and her ruby-red lips curled in satisfaction as jocks all around her drooled at her feet.
There's Audrey Duke. She runs the yearbook committee. She doesn't possess any substance or personality, but her mother did pay for implants.
The pink-clad princess flipped her hair over her shoulder and winked promiscuously at no one in particular, but a pack of nerds passed out, thinking she was looking at them. Uma scoffed at the comical eyesore that was her protruding chest.
And then there's Mal Chandler. The Almighty.
The purple-wearing leader of the Ladies of the Court blew a teasing kiss.
She can be described rather simply…
"What a Mythic Bitch," grumbled Uma as she capped her pen.
They were a sign sent from God. They were the reason to live for almost every student in the cafeteria. Guys wanted to be their boyfriends. Girls wanted to sit at their table. Anything from a Lady of the Court was considered a blessing, a gift which should be cherished.
Uma would have to disagree on account that it was Mal Chandler who bestowed upon her the catchy alias, Shrimpy.
"I wish they were nicer," Gil remarked, shoving another egg into his mouth. Uma smiled at him. It was little comments like that which gave Uma hope for the world. Gil might not be the brightest, but he knew the difference between right and wrong. Some people can't tell the difference. That's why sociopathic murderers existed.
Uma stabbed her fork into the soggy salad. "I wish they'd drop dead," she said matter-of-factly.
Gil nearly choked on his egg in shock. He covered his mouth with his hand and forced himself to swallow his food. He grabbed his milk carton and took a big gulp, washing down anything else that could choke him. After he regained his composure, he looked at Uma in utter disbelief. Uma gave him an innocent smile, seeing just how long she could pull his leg.
"Kidding," she chuckled, punching him playfully in the shoulder. Gil relaxed and went back to eating his lunch.
Even if it was a joke, Uma wondered to herself, "What would life without those upstarts be like?"
After lunch, Uma walked into the bathroom only to hear the vile sound of someone puking up their lunch in one of the stalls.
"Grow up, Audrey." Uma heard the venomous voice of Mal, and when she actually turned the corner, she found Mal and Evie fixing their makeup in front of the mirrors. "Eating disorders are so last year," Mal said admonishingly.
"Yeah Audrey," Evie agreed with Mal. "Maybe you should see a doctor."
"Yeah Evie, maybe I should," said a voice inside the stall that must've been Audrey. Uma really didn't want to make her presence known, so she waited in her hiding spot until the Ladies left. However, makeup and purging take a long time, so Uma found herself standing there way longer than she planned. The late bell rang, and the three girls still didn't move from where they stood.
Uma heard the door open and watched as a teacher, Ms. Godmother, walked in. She didn't notice Uma, but she did notice the solid Teflon standing at the sinks.
"Ah, Mal and Evie," Godmother said in an unsurprised tone. Once again, a guttural retch sounded from the stalls. "And Audrey," she added, holding back her disgust. "Perhaps you all missed the bell. You're late for class."
"Audrey wasn't feeling well," Mal said with a pout. "Evie and I were helping her."
"Not without a hall pass, you're not," Godmother chastised, and Uma pulled out her journal and flipped to a blank page, suddenly getting an idea. She carefully scratched into the page with her pen while Ms. Godmother continued talking to Mal. "One week of detention for all of you."
Mal opened her mouth to protest, but Uma stepped out from behind the corner and beat her to it. "Wait, Ms. Godmother." She ripped out the page and handed it to the teacher while she explained, "All four of us are on a hall pass."
Ms. Godmother inspected the slip of paper before giving it to Mal and sighing, "I see you're all listed. Just hurry up and get to where you need to be."
Uma moved aside to let Ms. Godmother leave. Meanwhile, Evie looked over Mal's shoulder as they both curiously eyed their 'hall pass.' Even Audrey put her vomiting on hold to check out what all the fuss was about.
"This is an excellent forgery," Mal noted, turning her glare onto Uma. "Who are you?" she demanded.
"Seriously, Mal?" Uma asked, unimpressed. "It's Uma. We've been in the same class since preschool."
All three of them looked up in thought, trying to put the name to a familiar face, but they all shrugged. They gave her clueless expressions like they had no idea who she was.
Uma rolled her eyes and grudgingly added, "Shrimpy."
Mal and her triplets erupted into delighted laughter as realization finally dawned on them. Mal clapped her hands together and grinned like a Cheshire Cat. "Oh, little Shrimpy," she cooed maliciously, looking Uma up and down like her next meal. "How delicious."
"Cut the crap, Mal," Uma demanded, pushing her glasses back. "You owe me for the hall pass. I'm here to make a deal."
"What deal?" Mal inquired with an edge to her voice.
Uma didn't actually think she'd get this far. It almost seemed like she rubbed a lamp and now had one wish to be granted by three airhead genies. They could make her senior year less insufferable. They had the power of popularity that Uma lacked. She took a deep breath and said quickly, "Let me sit at your table during lunch. Kids'll leave me alone if they see that you guys tolerate me."
Once again, they all shared a laugh. Uma set her jaw, doing her best not to throw her journal at the purple-haired witch. Mal would crucify her for that.
"I also forge report cards, permission slips, and absence notes," Uma added, and that seemed to peak their interests. They stopped their chuckles to hear her out. "I can also mimic voices and call the school as your parents to say you need to miss a week of school on family business."
Mal quirked her eyebrow and walked up to Uma. She stared into Uma's eyes with her poison-green ones, and Uma returned her glare in spades. Mal chuckled, "For a shrimpy little nobody, you sure have some backbone."
Evie, who was right behind her, pulled Uma's glasses right off her face and held her hand perpendicular to Uma's nose. "Oh my God!" she exclaimed. "She even has a symmetrical face!" Now, Uma was half-blind and very uncomfortable.
"Her style is sorely lacking, though," Audrey added distastefully. Uma really wanted to punch her in her surgically altered nose. What was wrong with a blue-floral dress and a jean jacket?
Well, it wasn't a blazer and a scrunchie.
"We can fix that," Evie said confidently, pulling Uma's arm up and inspecting her like a dissected frog.
"You heard her, Audrey," Mal said, crossing her arms. The three of them surrounded Uma like a prison of mascara and shoulder pads. She had no way of escape, but maybe she didn't want to escape. Maybe she was in for one of those acclaimed blessings. Mal smirked, "Let's make her beautiful."
She tilted her head and asked Uma pointedly, "Okay?"
Uma had no idea what she was really in for. "Okay."
Hey Guys! For anyone who knows me on Tumblr dxscxndxnts, you know that I've been writing some Heathers AU one-shots. They were started by two other users who I tagged in my posts. Well, I've decided to make it a full fanfic and put it up here. It'll incorporate elements from the movie and musical, and of course, Descendants. Let me know what you guys thought of chapter one. Hope you enjoyed it! -JoJo