Walking into my dorm, I came face to face with Lana. She was sitting at the computer table, head down, writing something but when the door clicked open, she turned to look at me. A vague smile graced her face and she swirled around on the chair to see me completely.
"Is there any reason why you're looking so bloody depressed?" Lana asked me, voice still as angelic as before but her face showed signs of stress and problems.
I paused. "It doesn't..." I trailed off but then spun around to face her, "My life has been one big roller-coaster of problems! Ever since I was born, I was the child that nobody wanted, I didn't have anything and then I met Bette, the one person who ever believed in me and she died! She died! And it was my fault! And Dana died! Again, my fault!
How many more people are gonnah die before they learn that all I bring is trouble and pain! And don't even get me started on Shane, the one true girl I've ever loved and here I sit, doubting our relationship, scared that we're mess this up and I can't mess this up, I love her too much and to top it off, I've just been told my real brothers and sisters want to meet me and maybe take me away from Shane and everyone else I love! And I hate my life, my fucked up, stupid, life!" I let out a deep breath, "And that, is why I'm so bloody depressed!".
Lana stood and took one step toward me. In the same even, graceful voice, she said, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I've only ever loved one girl and she fled the Country because she blamed me for putting our best friend into hospital.
When I was 15, I was a drug addict and a prostitute, I only got out of that because my rich aunt didn't want me to ruin her precious reputation and shoved me in here. I haven't seen my father since I was 7 and my mother... Well, she's still in her mental institute. My sister refuses to talk to me because of the mistakes I've made in my life and my daughter? She's in care, the last place I want her but I've got no choice because I've basically got no-one.
The people I talk to and hang about with and have lunch with are only there because of my Social Status, plus the fact most of them think I'm a cold-hearted bitch who'll spread rumours about them. But at the end of the day, I'm stronger for going through all of that mess of crap and still coming out the other end. And I cope by reminding myself that no matter how hard I've got it, there's always one person close to you who's got it worse" she picked up her notebook and walked past me towards the door.
When I heard the door click shut, I let out a deep breath I didn't know I'd been holding and slowly crawled towards my bed. Silently, I let out a single dreadful tear.
I'd just been told my long lost siblings had tracked me down. Lily. Anna. Alejandro. Juan. Jose. They had names. Names. That made it all the more real. I must had fallen asleep after returning from Miss Chattin's office because when I woke up, it was just darkening into the afternoon. I sat up and looked around. I was on my own. Oh well. I got up and walked over to the door. I began down the hallway, occasionally passing other girls. I jumped down the stairs, heading into the big hallway. Everyone was eating dinner and I stopped for a moment just to take it all in. I only had the rest of this year and then I was out of here. What did that mean exactly? Would we all go our separate ways? Would we still see each other after we graduated? What would I do? I'd always had an interest in music... but... I was still lost. And there was the long lost siblings to meet first.
I did want to meet them but... Where would that go? So many things, so little time... The noise of the chatter hummed around me and the girls all round carried on their business as I watched. So many people entered these doors yet hardly any of them touch our lives... Is that ...right? Shouldn't we be looking out for each other? If we can't look after each other how are we supposed to look after ourselves? Then, I see them. Shane, Alice, Jenny, Becky and Joanie. Shane's so cute when she's laughing. I make my way over and sit down next to them.
"Carmen" Shane grins and leans in to capture my lips. I'll never get tired of her doing that.
I can see Jenny react slightly but I ignore her anyway.
"So, what did Miss Chattin want?" Shane asked, pulling back.
I tensed, looking down. They all stared now.
"My eh..." I started, "My siblings... have... eh... found me" I whispered the last part.
"Wow, Carmen, that's amazing!" Shane grinned, "This is so cool, you can finally get to know them!".
"Yeah" I shrugged, "I mean, yeah, I suppose".
"Carmen, you're not happy?" Jenny frowned.
"If my social worker sees fit to make them my legal guardians, they can pull me out of this school" I eye Shane importantly.
"But..." Becky started, "Why would they do that in the first place?".
"Maybe..." I shrugged back, "Maybe they live far away, maybe they won't like this school, I don't know but... Miss Chattin said to take my time so... I... Don't really know what I'm going to do".
"I think you should meet them" Alice smiled, "They might have some memories of your parents before they died".
I leaned back against my chair and sighed, "Yeah...".
"And Carmen" Shane leaned over to touch my hand, "We can always cross that bridge if it comes to it".
"Yeah" I began to feel better. Maybe this was a good thing. I could meet them, finish my education, get a job, and Shane and I could stay... Shane and I? I suddenly stood up, "Yeah, you're right, I'm gonnah go back to Miss Chattin, thanks guys" I turned and walked speedily to the stairs again, heading for her office.
"Are you sure about this?" Miss Chattin asked seriously.
I nodded firmly, "I want to meet them".
"Okay" Miss Chattin's lips formed into a smile, "I'll arrange for them to meet you tomorrow".
"Thanks" my stomach rolled over and I left her office, walking back to the stairs. But, before I could walk down them, suddenly, a petit girl fell down the higher set of steps and crashed into me. We landed on the floor with a thud and I looked up to see Violet; the girl who'd helped me with my lost timetable.
"Hey" I grin, "Do you always sweep girls off their feet?" I smirked but she didn't smile back. In fact, she looked... out of it? Drunk? I sat properly and leaned in.
"Violet?" I asked her loudly, "Can you hear me?".
"No, don't" Violet grabbed my wrist, "I see them!".
I frowned, "What?".
"I only left my drink for a minute" Violet whispered, her head lolling back and forth.
"What?" I ask again. What is she talking about? "Have you been drinking?".
Violet mumbled something again, which I couldn't hear so I managed to get her sitting up against the wall. Okay, so it was harsh but it had to be done. I gave a light slap and her eyes jolted open.
"I was up in—in the Tower and they said they needed me for something—I was important—and I refused and they... said it was okay! So I stayed for a little while, dancing, and then my drink... someone gave me a different cup and I drank it and!" Violet stopped for air, then breathed deeply, "Carmen, Carmen, Carmen... They did this to me!" suddenly, as if the burst of energy in her had gone out, she slumped against the wall; unconscious.
"What..." I gasped breathlessly. Just as I was about to get help, Miss Chattin opened her office door and walked out. She down at me and Violet and stopped abruptly.
"What on earth is going on!?" Miss Chattin cried.
"She fell down the stairs" I explained, "She said something about a Tower—" at this Miss Chattin's eyes grew big, "—I think someone spiked her drink".
Miss Chattin gazed at Violet sadly, "Not another one" quiet, but not quiet enough for me to not hear it. So... this has happened before? I watch as Miss Chattin rushes back into her office and uses the phone. "The nurses at the Sick Bay will be here in a minute" Miss Chattin said as she walked back towards me.
"Miss Chattin, what is the Tower?" I blurted out, "Violet mentioned it before she passed out, that's where she said she was".
Miss Chattin paled at this and grew suddenly quiet. Then like fast-motion, the nurses rushed towards us with a portable stretcher. They put Violet on it and rushed her off, Miss Chattin and I staring after them.
"I suggest you enjoy the rest of lunch" Miss Chattin said quietly.
"I suppose Violet will be staying overnight" I began slowly, "At the Sick Bay, I mean".
"Yes?" Miss Chattin frowned.
"Well, I can go up to her room and get some fresh clothes for her, y'know, a book, or her make-up..?" I desperately need her to say yes. Please say yes, please say yes, please say—
"What a good idea" Miss Chattin replied.
I forced a smile and began climbing the stairs but then stopped. Shit. I didn't know Violet's room number. I saw a bunch of girls on the steps and took a chance, "Hey, eh sorry to bother you, do you happen to know where Violet's room is?".
"Violet..?" they asked.
Shit. I forgot her name. She did tell me it but I forgot, "Eh, I can't remember, but she's skinny, big red glasses, pretty, small—".
"Room 14, 3rd floor" a girl from behind the crowd stepped forwards. Did she look angry?
"Thanks" I eyed her weirdly as she held her glare at me. I began to turn the corner but then stopped and waited. Come on, open you're pretty little mouths and start talking.
"I don't like this" one of girls worried.
"Why was she going to Violet's room?" one of other girls asked.
"Do you think she knows?" their voices all blended into one.
"Of course she doesn't" that girl who answered me said, confidently, "If she did, she'd have said something already, I've heard all about her; Carmen De La Pica Morales, apparently she thinks she's all that, doesn't back down from a fight or nothing... Or... that's just what I heard... To me, she looks just like all the other girly, girls out there".
I refrained myself from going over there and showing her just how not so, girly, girly I am and turned away. So they were hiding something. And it seemed like they knew what happened to Violet. I followed her instructions, not expecting to end up at the right door, but I did.
"Violet's not here right now" her roommate said.
"I know" I sighed, "Can I come in?" she opened the door and I walked in, looking around, "Violet's at the Sick Bay, I think somebody spiked her drink... I'm here to get some overnight things".
"Oh my god!" the girl cried, "Are you serious?" she looked worried, "I have to go see her!" without another second, she ran from the room and left me alone. Thank you.
I closed the door behind me and looked around. Everything seemed in order. I moved over to the bed that had pictures of Violet on the wall and assumed it was her bed. I bent down and pulled out her drawers. Now normally, this wasn't something I would do but it was obvious that no-one was going to listen to me. I ruffled around, sighing when I found nothing. I pulled out Violet's school bag and stuffed some clothes inside. Then I moved over to the chest of drawers and began sifting through. Apparently, Violet's roommate still owed some company money. Then I came across a fancy red piece of card with ribbon attached. I opened it and there were the words; Meet us where the Black Widow sings – TT
I frowned even harder. Why was I starting to feel like I was in a mystery novel? I quickly stuffed the note into my jeans pocket. I made sure there was nothing else to find and finally grabbed Violet's bag, leaving the room. I was going to get to the bottom of this. Whether they liked it or not.
As I walked on, I saw that girl. She was staring at me.
After I had dropped Violet's bag off at the Sick Bay, I left and headed for my dorm room. And now, I was watching as Jenny and Becky laugh at me. I don't know how Shane was reacting but I'm pretty sure she was smirking.
"I'm being serious" I growl, "Something is going on, Miss Chattin said herself this wasn't the one time! Someone is going around spiking girl's drinks and I don't wanna think about what for" I pause, "Violet said The Tower—" just then, the door opened and Lana strolled in. She looked at me sharply.
"Did you say The Tower?" she narrowed her eyes.
"What is with everyone's reaction whenever I say The Tower!?" I sigh.
"What is The Tower?" Shane asked the room.
"It's a Secret Society" Lana replied, "Only certain girls are asked to join and only for specific reasons".
"And you weren't because...?" I frowned. I was under the impression Lana was Queen Bee.
"I was, actually" Lana replied coldly, "I did my research and I declined... They're like this power-hungry group of girls; like building an army; the girls with wealthy daddies so they can pay, the girls who add the glamour and use their sexuality to get what they want and then, there's the girls that are the brains behind it all; the calling card".
"But..." I pulled the note out from my pocket, "Violet's not... They gave this to her but... She's not power-hungry, she wouldn't do that" okay, I've only met the girl once but I honestly don't believe she would be involved with that.
"Well, obviously" Lana rolled her eyes, "It's most likely the group just need another brain; Violet is one of the smartest girls around... With their money, and her mind, they could be very dangerous" she held her hand out, "Lemme see the note" I gave it to her and watched her read the words.
"Wow, she was sloppy" Lana looked up, "The Tower's known for its secrecy, I wonder what they would do if they knew Violet slipped up" she frowned, "I've got it... Black Widow; that's a type of bird—".
"Spider" Becky corrected her.
"It's also the nickname of a type of bird that lives here" Lana said; annoyed, "And the birds sings... They're talking about around the back of the school, where the garden is, the birds are most popular there... Obviously the TT stands for The Tower" she handed the note back to me.
"Do you know anything else about them?" Jenny asked.
Lana shrugged, "Mostly rumours... The spiking thing... Well, let's just say if someone refuses to join, they obviously drug them to make them forget they were ever there...".
I frown at her, "But you said no...".
"I'm smart enough not to go meet them on their territory" Lana replied, sitting down, "I explained if I found anything misplaced in my memory, I'd get my father to hire someone to hunt them down and kick them out of school".
I frowned again, "But you said you hadn't seen your dad since you were 7...".
Lana's eyes turned into slits and shit; I shouldn't have said that in front of Shane, Jenny and Becky, "I haven't... My aunt and father married a while back... Like I said, I was... damaging their reputation with my wild party life and she stuck me in here; I don't speak or see any of my family... It's a little family agreement; I stay out of trouble, they leave me alone".
I suddenly felt stupid for even bringing it up.
"But..." Shane suddenly started, "I know dealers and stuff but... that type of drug, to make you forget stuff... Where would they get that from?".
"Hello" Lana rolled her eyes, "I mentioned the wealthy girls, didn't I? Rich and connected".
"Okay, so we kinda got the who, when, what, where, all we don't know is why? What's the purpose to all this?" I paced the floor, "Yeah, okay, they want to be powerful but... what, how can they be powerful in here? It's a school, this isn't like a company".
"They can get anyway with doing whatever they want" Lana folded her arms, "With the right smarts, they can rewrite records, change anything, do anything, as long as they cover their tracks, of course... Apparently, The Tower's like an ancient society".
"Well, what gives them the right to act like that?" I felt anger rise in me.
Lana shrugged carelessly.
"Don't you care at all?" I started, "You may not like or speak to your father but he started this... And they're ruining it".
"Carmen, maybe we should leave this, for now" Jenny spoke up.
"What?" I spun around, "No, they have to be stopped".
"Aren't you seeing your siblings tomorrow?" Shane frowned. Oh yeah, that's right. I was. Oops.
"I can stop this evil group and still have time for long-lost siblings" I force a smile.
"No, you can't" Jenny replied, "I know you're all about the justice, Carmen... But maybe, you should learn when to quit".
"Okay" I nodded back, "But now's not the time".
Okay, I know. I'll get Shane to back me up. "Shane?" I start, "You think we should do this, right?".
Shane looks away, sighing. Okay, feel free to jump in at any minute.
"Shane?" I blink.
"I just think you're taking on too much" Shane said quietly, "This isn't a good idea".
I fold my arms, just standing.
"I should get back to my dorm" Shane said suddenly. She leaned into my cheek for a kiss and then headed for the door.
Jenny must have felt uncomfortable because she excused herself and left, even though I share this dorm with her. I was left with just Becky and Lana.
"I think we should totally do it" Becky grinned.
"Really?" I asked, surprised.
Becky nodded, "Yeah, fight the power".
Lana glanced up at us.
"Lana?" I asked nicely.
"Please?" I begged, "You're like the only one who actually knows things about them".
"You're insane" Lana stood, "It would take weeks, months, to break into The Tower, or to even know who's in it... And it sounds like your busy tomorrow, by the way".
"I can fit them in" I babbled. Okay, I couldn't, but I could try, right? No one hates a trier.
Lana stared at me.
"Look, we need to do something" I added, "Look, please, just, please".
Her stance faltered and she sighed, "Fine".
"All we have to do is find out who's in The Tower and get a confession, or evidence" I announced, "Any ideas?".
"We should probably talk to Violet first" Becky started, "You're lucky you caught her when you did... It sounds as if she won't remember anything now but... worth a shot, I suppose".
"I could see if there's any gossip on the grapevine" Lana added, "Or start some rumours myself, see if The Tower retaliate".
"Great" I grinned, "Lana, you start your thing tomorrow morning, Becky and I will over to Violet, see if she can remember something, then we should question her roommate, see if she noticed anything odd about Violet's behaviour... Then, while I'm off meeting new family members, you two head down to the library and see if there's anything—anything at all on the database about The Tower".
"What are we, Carmen's Angels?" Becky smirked.
"Look, don't mock me" I laughed, "I'm deadly serious... Go get some rest, we'll all meet up tomorrow morning".
Becky said goodnight and then left, leaving me and Lana alone. The tension wasn't as bad now; I figured I'd broken down some barriers but knowing her, they'll probably be back by the time this is all over.
Now, I just want my bed. I've got a feeling I've got a very long day ahead.
Author's Note: I know I said two chapters left but I think I'll make it three; rap this up here in the next chap and then do an epilogue of the future. Reviews are love! xxx