AN: [Aug.28.10] I did some light editing to this chapter, so I hope that it flows a little bit better. Please review.
Chapter One: Static state, or Di sotto in su
"Things do not change; we change." - Henry David Thoreau
Sunday, October 7, 2029
She never really thought about her time at Constance Billard School for Girls. Why would she want to? All the drama and problems that month and a half had caused led her to turn away from the Upper East Side and to never look back. She moved to Ithaca, but after a while she had realized that as traumatic as her experience was, she missed living in the city. She missed the constant buzz of human life, and so after five years she came back when she got a job at The Fieldston School in the Bronx.
Despite the painful memories she spent the weekends in Manhattan, and wandered around the tourist hot spots and rediscovering places long forgotten. As a side job she tutored students from various private schools, and it was only recently that she was hired as a tutor for a group of sophomore girls who attended Constance Billard. The first tutoring session brought her back to the courtyard of the brick prep school, and facing a group of unimpressed teenagers covered in designer clothing.
Just like old times, she though dryly.
She introduced herself as Rachel Martin (she had decided to keep her ex-husband's last name), and tried to get down to business but found it difficult when the girls were just so apathetic. She understood that their parents were the ones who had hired her, and that all five of them were probably thinking about ways to melt the magnetic stripe off of their black cards with overuse, but she was determined to teach them about the impact Shakespeare had on their culture.
It was now their third week of tutoring, and if she was being honest with herself, she would have to say that there was minimal improvement. Clarice Edwards, the leader of the pack, was currently picking lint off her coat while the twins Diana and Delilah Evans were adding a fifth layer of lip gloss. Kossandra Argenti had out-right fallen asleep on her copy of 'Twelfth Night', and Winifred Ostergard was writing the name of a St. Jude's boy over and over again on her lavender notebook.
"Please, girls, let's try to get something done today. If we…"
"Well, well, well. What do we have here?"
The rich, mocking female voice must have been very familiar with the girls because they all immediately snapped to attention. Looking behind her, Rachel watched as a beautiful blonde girl approach them. All the shopping bags that the girl carried didn't diminish her arrogant swagger as she got closer to the table, and she noticed that her students were looking more-and-more agitated.
"Morning, Eve." Clarice said with a forced smile.
The blonde girl didn't reply, instead she put her bags on the ground and grabbed the brunette's notebook. She quirked an eyebrow at the content of the notebooks pages before tossing it back to her.
"You all need help in Shakespeare?"
It was a rhetorical question, and the snide tone didn't go unmissed. Rachel couldn't believe what she was seeing, it was like she was transported back twenty years.
This girl, Eve, was obviously the true leader of the pack. She looked down on all the girls with bright blue eyes which were framed in an exotic shape and thick, black eyelashes. Her long blonde hair tumbled onto her shoulders in perfect curls, and her full lips were set in a devilish smirk.
Rachel decided to break the silence.
"Hello, my name's Rachel Martin, and I'm the tutor for your friends." she said as she stood and extended her hand.
Eve was noticeably taller than she, and she didn't make any motion to shake her hand. Instead, Eve chose to cross her arms and lean her weight on one high-heeled leg.
God, why me? Rachel thought as she put her hand down and sat back down. She was close to her breaking point in tolerating the spoiled princesses of the UES before the blonde came along, and now she felt herself teetering over the edge with dislike.
"My name is Evangeline, and I think you're fighting a lost cause." she said bluntly, that patronizing smirk still on her face.
Christ, the gall of these people.
"What are you doing here, Eve?" Clarice asked, trying to find a way to get the intimidating girl to leave.
"I was shopping with the siblings. Maman and Papa are out for their vacation, and Tristan and I thought it would be nice to take Bea and Isaac out." Eve replied with a quick glance behind her.
Rachel looked at what Eve glanced back at and found three people standing by the gate to the school. A tall brunet boy was leaning against the brick wall while he carried a small boy of about three. He was looking at the group of girls with the same pompous expression as Eve, and Rachel could see the glint of superiority in his sky blue eyes from her place on the stone bench.
Next to him was a young girl with long dark brown hair and dark eyes, which contrasted sharply against her pale skin. She didn't have an arrogant expression like the older boy, but she was looking impatient. She stood with her arms crossed and tapping one foot, surrounded by the purchases made from the fashion houses along fifth avenue.
The small boy that was being held let out a joyful giggle before squirming, and when the older boy put him down, he ran around the courtyard laughing in his tiny pressed trousers and matching button down, tripping occasionally on the uneven stone floor.
"I just came over to see what you all were doing here. I mean, you five have a difficult time as it is going to school on the weekdays, so imagine my surprise when I saw you here on a weekend."
Diana and Delilah each gave a hesitant giggle in response, while the other three looked as if they were biting their tongues.
"Daddy said Di and I can't go shopping unless we go to tutoring, Eve. You know how it is." Delilah said.
The comment made the beautiful girl frown.
"Actually, I don't. You know I have the perfect GPA."
With that, Delilah blushed a bright pink, and she lowered her head to partially cover her face with her dark red hair.
"Anyways, I also wanted to inform you five that the annual costume party is on. Tristan and I decided that school night be damned, it's going to be on the thirty-first. The theme is Versailles and the eighteenth century French Court. Invitations will be out by next Tuesday."
Rachel had never seen the girls look so enthusiastic about anything else before. Immediately Kossandra and Diana began whispering about where to get their costumes, and Clarice looked as if she had just found out that she was given full access to Tamara Mellon's shoe collection.
"We can't wait, Eve, really. Your Halloween party is always one of the highlights of the year." Winifred said as she began to bounce in her seat from excitement.
"Evangeline, êtes-vous fait? Isaac veut aller au zoo d'enfants." a deep voice said from behind Eve.
It was then that Rachel realized that the group of three had made their way to them and were now standing right behind the tall blonde. Looking up at them, Rachel noticed how beautiful they all were. Sure, she had noticed how good looking they were from their position by the brick wall, but up close they all looked like models. I'm sure anyone can look better when they're clothed in custom Dolce, she thought. Clarice looked as if she was going to faint from just looking at the tall boy, and Rachel was sure that that just fed his ego.
Glancing at the brunette girl, she was suddenly struck with the mental image of the worst student she had ever had. Up close the pre-teen's dark brown eyes and vibrant pink lips, framed by chocolate brown curls, made her look like a younger version of Blair Waldorf.
"Oui, je fini." Eve said before picking up her shopping bags and walking away with the others.
"Au revoir mes esclaves!" she called back to them as they passed the gate and disappeared from sight.
Immediately after they left her five students burst into conversation about the upcoming party. At this point she realized it was a lost cause and resigned to her curiosity about the group that just left.
"So, who were they?" Simple enough.
The girls stopped and looked at her in disbelief.
"Those were the Basses of course. Only the richest people under eighteen in the city… if not the continent." Clarice said.
"And your friend Eve… she's the oldest?"
"Oh no! Her brother Tristan is; he's a junior at St. Jude's. Isn't he scrumptious? I just melt whenever he speaks French."
"Eve is a sophomore like us, and she already owns the school." Diana said.
"And all of them speak French. The family used to live there, before Constance was born."
"I heard they named her that because Mr. and Mrs. Bass got it on in the Headmaster's office during their ten year reunion." Winifred said in a scandalized whisper.
Listening to the girls go on a round-robin of gossip laced with sycophantic adoration, Rachel now realized why the girls put up with Eve's abuse. They loved what Evangeline represented: beauty, brains and more money than God, and being seen in her presence bolstered their own reputations. She remembered Blair Waldorf's group of minions, but they couldn't really compare to these girls. She had a feeling that Clarice would give her right arm if it meant being in good favor with Eve (and her brother), and she knew that none of them would rat her out like Nelly Yuki had done to Blair.
"Did you know that I used to teach here?" Rachel asked, finally reinserting herself back into the conversation. She wanted to find out if her hunch about Constance Bass was correct, and she was going to wheedle it out of them.
"When? Did you know Mr. and Mrs. Bass when they went here?"
"Well I don't exactly remember the last name Bass. I may not have had him as a student. What was Mrs. Bass's maiden name?"
"Waldorf." All five of them answered simultaneously.
"As in Blair Waldorf?"
"As if there is any other Waldorf who matters."
Damn her and her curiosity.
"Well then yes, I did know her." she answered. It had been twenty years, but the memory of that brat's smug smile still made her angry.
The ringing of a phone interrupted her train of thought and Rachel watched as Clarice jumped off the stone bench to answer her phone. Less than two minutes later she hung up and began to gather her things.
"I have to go. Eve just called, and I need to pick up Isaac's bear from their house and bring it to them."
The girl scurried away before Rachel could stop her. Sighing, she realized that the remaining girls were too distracted to ever get anything done.
"All of you can go, too. We'll just continue this next week."
Four hours later found Rachel wandering around Central Park. She had been lost in thought and had run the day's earlier events over-and-over in her head. She couldn't believe that Blair Waldorf was a mother, much less a mother to four children. In her mind the manipulative girl she knew years ago was still that: a girl. Now she had her own daughters that seemed to be quickly becoming a new version of the same model. If Eve hadn't looked so different, Rachel would have picked up on the similar attitudes (who would forget the iron grip Blair had on every situation surrounding her?), but as it was, Evangeline Bass looked more like Serena van der Woodsen's daughter than Blair Bass's.
As she neared the Met she caught sight of the familiar little brown haired boy as he ran around the first landing of the steps. He had in his left hand a large white polar bear and a bag of green cotton candy in his right. The girl who Rachel thought was a clone of her mother stood close by, laughing at her younger brother's antics. Sitting side-by-side on the top of the steps were Eve and Tristan, who were talking quietly while keeping an eye out on both children.
They almost look like normal kids, she thought.
It was then that a gaggle of girls walked by them, and slowed down when they caught sight of Tristan. An angry frown marred Eve's face and she quickly approached the group. Rachel watched as Eve confronted the girls, as Constance watched from where she stood. There's nothing like learning from example. Whatever Eve said had worked because soon enough the group of girls all sported scandalized looks, and Evangeline returned to her seat next to her highly amused brother. Rachel could almost feel the waves of superiority radiating from them as they looked down on everyone else from their place on the steps.
Nothing ever really changes, does it?