Author's Note: If you feel like checking out the prequel (Low Places), here's a link: fanfiction.net/s/5821828/1/Low_Places
The cool September air ruffled Olivia's dark hair as she drew her knees up to her chest. She sat under the tree planted in James Monroe's honour, her eyes scanning the quad of his namesake academy.
Her gaze fell abruptly on a girl standing under the arched entrance to the quad; her red and blue kilt moved gently about her knees with the wind and her blonde hair shone in the sun. The girl's head was turning, searching for something. When Olivia stood up, the blonde's eyes found her and she broke into a run.
"Alex!" Olivia said as her friend approached. They threw their arms around each other and hugged, laughing giddily.
"It's so good to see you," she said with a radiant smile. Alex returned it, sitting down next to Olivia's previous spot.
"It would be so much better if we weren't at school," Alex said, waving her hand. "The quad is nothing compared to the cottage. Or Central Park," she added as an afterthought with a nudge at Olivia's arm.
"I'm actually kind of glad to be back," Olivia said as she slid down the tree to join Alex on the grass. "It was getting unbearable without your company."
Alex smiled appreciatively and a contented silence fell over the two. They watched the rest of the students arrive and noisily reunite with friends, squealing and jumping.
Without warning, a thin pixie-like girl appeared in front of Alex and Olivia. She, too, wore a school uniform and an expensive backpack hung off one shoulder.
"Hey, Allie," she said with a sideways smile. Alex jumped to her feet and Olivia watched the two girls hug.
"Oh my god, Cam! It's been forever!" Alex said, turning to Olivia. "Liv, this is Camilla. She was on an exchange in Spain last year."
Olivia stood and brushed off her skirt. "Hi," she said pleasantly. "Nice to meet you."
Camilla's green eyes sparkled as she tucked an auburn curl behind her ear. "Yeah," she agreed. "You're new, right? I don't remember seeing you around here."
"Well, she's hardly new," Alex jumped in at Olivia's defense. "She went here all last year."
"Oh," Camilla said, eyebrows shooting up. "That would explain why I haven't seen you, I guess. Where did you transfer from?"
"PS 196 in Queens," Olivia answered.
"The public system?" Camilla asked, mildly shocked. "Wow. There weren't many students from the public system going here last time I checked. You must be really smart for them to have accepted you."
"Yes, well… I try," Olivia said in mock humility, shooting a sideways glance at Alex. The comment, while flattering, had somehow seemed backhanded. She had the feeling that she wasn't going to like this Camilla person very much.
Alex caught Olivia's gaze and smiled reassuringly. "Do you have your schedule yet, Cam?" she asked, taking a piece of folded paper from her backpack.
"You know what? I don't. I should probably make a visit to the office before the bell goes. See you later, Allie! Bye,Olivia." Camilla flashed one last smile at the girls before sashaying off into the school building. Alex turned to Olivia and unfolded her schedule.
"I completely forgot she was coming back!" she said as she scanned the paper. "She'll grow on you, I promise. I do think that Spain has gone to her head, though…"
Olivia rummaged through her bag for her own schedule and shrugged. "Well, I don't know her as well as you do, but I'm sure she's fine."
Alex smiled reassuringly as she took Olivia's schedule in exchange for her own. "She is. Mostly… Oh! We've got law together!"
As Olivia pored over her and Alex's schedules, mused about their teachers and the way the year would take shape, all doubt floated from her mind. This year– their last year– was going to be the best one yet.