Hello. A quick note..
This is one of my earlier fics from around 2010/2011. I brushed it up this year, 2014, and hopefully the minor tweaks made it better. It's not a favourite of mine but it's a step in the writing process right?
Hope you enjoy!
He shot an arm into his blazer and grimaced. The last time he had worn uniform had been back in grade five or six. Turning to look at himself in the mirror, his frown deepened; plain black shoes with plain black pants and a pristine white shirt topped with an infernal, immaculately pressed blazer; all a size too big, baggy. The emblem of his new school, a knight atop a horse, was delicately sown in by his breast pocket—the only ounce of colour adorning his lanky frame. The gold and red of the proud patch made him sigh. No doubt the students were to be of the same caliber—unlike him. So why was it that he was being enrolled in this damned school again? Right, his mother had gotten a new job (he still didn't understand what it was that she did but she bought herself suits and short heels, marched out the door with her hair wrapped tight in a bun and received a paycheck at the end of every week) and she was bent on getting him the best education around. Pendragon College; owned by the highly prestigious Pendragon family whose roots were rumoured to be royal, though no one knew for sure. Their ancestors had originally built the building as part of a fortress like complex, way back when (as the rumour goes) they had executed people believed to be involved with magic. He scoffed. Magic.
He opened his dresser and the door creaked and groaned as if it were in pain. He winced almost every time. The antique was a family heirloom that he had repeatedly swore to drop mercilessly at the side of the road, but to his mom it represented family history—what this supposed history was she never told him, but it was old and besides a few grainy black and white pictures of grim faced people that he was supposedly related to, it was the only thing left of his mother's childhood. Colin had often offered to let her have it since the new house had a closet big enough for a wardrobe twice the size of his. She was silent. The thing had ended up with him anyway.
He fished out a silky black tie with faint ribbons of gold slashing across it and fastened it loosely around his neck. Before leaving he scooped up his bag and slung it over his shoulder. Downstairs his mum was making breakfast, humming cheerily. She smiled brightly at him when he stepped into the kitchen.
"My, my, don't you look handsome!" She gave the boy a look over and nodded in approval.
"You don't think it's a bit dreary?" he asked, looking down at all the dark colours. It was a far cry from jeans and t-shirts he was used to donning for school, but then that was a time now passed. New life and all...
"No, not at all. What did you expect, vibrant blues and greens?" she answered over her shoulder as she gathered plates and cutlery to set the table.
"No, I 'spose not," he said, and sat down at the table, dropping his bag beside him.
A plate of scrambled eggs was placed in front of him with two slices of French toast on the side. He thanked her and popped a forkful of eggs into his mouth. He wasn't particularly hungry, but she'd never let him leave without clearing at least half the plate, not to mention the earful he'd receive about the need of having a 'healthy and protein packed breakfast'. He ate as much as he could and drained a glass of orange juice. The sunlight filtering through the window warmed his cheek and the green leaves of the trees outside were tinted with gold.
"Okay, so you're all packed? Have your lunch money?"
"Yeah don't worry about it," he answered, smiling as his mom hovered around him.
"I'll pick you up after school at around four," she reminded him, leaning her head to one side and sighing.
"Mum, you're being sappy, I'm only going to school," he said with a chuckle and shook his head.
"Be good, alright?."
He gave her a quick grin and stood to retrieve his bag. Not like he was going to kick the front doors open and wreak havoc. "I'm leaving! See you at four!" he called as he stepped through the open doorway.
"Yeah," he answered quietly and walked down the driveway, turning right when he hit the sidewalk. His bus stop was at the corner of the street, a short walk through his little neighborhood, definitely not like the city—no people cramming the sidewalk, no cars stuck in traffic, suspiciously clean air. As he neared he could see a figure standing on the corner; dark skinned, curly haired and with an average build. She turned when she heard his footsteps, smiling politely.
"Hey, you're the new kid." Her wide eyes appraised him with curiosity.
"Yeah, that's me" he said with a tight smile. He didn't know that he was news.
"I'm Gwen," she introduced herself and offered a delicate hand.
"Nice to meet you." She turned to look down the street and then looked back at him with a half-smile. "You're not exactly what I expected."
He raised an eyebrow. Okay...
"Oh! Not that I mean that in a bad way, I only meant to say that I was expecting someone more, well, not as simple. Not that you're simple! Because you're normal and I mean normal in a—"
Colin raised his hand and chuckled. "Uh, don't worry about it, I know what you mean."
The girl blushed and nodded. At length, after her cheeks were no longer dark, she turned back to him. "Are you third year?"
"Yeah, I'm supposed to be in second, but my marks got me into third here." He hoped his modesty came across as sincere because it truly was. Colin was anything but arrogant, no matter the high average he maintained.
"Oh, that's really cool. Here comes the bus. You can sit with me if you'd like," she offered and then hastened to add: "not that you have to or anything!"
Colin nodded in appreciation and watched the bus pull up. Silly him for expecting a typical schoolbus, no, of course not, because that would be just a tad too normal and unimposing. Why do that when you can do this? The bus was painted a dark almost black metallic colour with metallic gold stripes running down its length. The schools emblem was painted on the side and the words "Pendragon" were neatly printed underneath in gold lettering.
Gwen noticed Colin staring and laughed. "Makes quite the statement, huh?"
"Yeah, I'd say so" he muttered and stepped aside to let her board first. He stepped up after her and greeted the bus driver whose attired made him look more like a chauffeur. He had been expecting extravagance (he had seen the bill for one full year of school), but this was taking it to a whole new level. He followed Gwen down the aisle, trying to ignore the curious eyes taking him in. After a moment most looked fairly unimpressed—fair enough really, he wasn't exactly an imposing figure. Colin took a seat beside Gwen and silently observed the people on the bus. He may or may not have been projecting his prejudices upon those seated around him but he imagine in their faces pride and contempt, for each other, for the very world outside. Colin had seen the nouveau-riche of the city, he'd seen that gleam in their eyes. Even Gwen, though much simpler than the rest, had a richer-than-you aura. Many of the students were handsome and of rich families with parents that spent longer hours at work than with their them and sent them to a school that promised a higher education and a secure future. Colin was the odd one out; he and his mum might have the money (newly acquired), but they were average folk; modest, kind, honest and simple. Beyond simple really, the very decor of their house seemed to speak of years when a woman was a house-wife and the vacuum her most trusted friend. They didn't seek luxury, found solace in family—in each other—and enjoyed the warmth of a sunny summer morning—not that Colin thought wealthy folk were vampires and hated the sun.
"You move here recently?" Gwen asked and Colin nodded.
"A week ago," he said, recognizing the question as a pretense for conversation and making an effort to respond. "Have you lived here long?"
"My whole life," she said. "It's a really beautiful place, nice and quiet."
The town, Camelot, had a quaint and homely feel about it. One of the many strong factors of attraction for his mother—she'd wanted something that felt like the country, like warmth. His house was on a long wide street near the edge of town, a little community, perhaps twenty houses in all. It was fifteen minutes from school and around twenty from town centre. All in all Camelot itself wasn't a big town, suburban, fond of its greenery. His mother was never really the big city type, though she'd lived in an apartment building for over twenty years, she preferred the idea of small neighbourhood where everyone knew everyone and you didn't have to worry about leaving your door unlocked. Colin was glad they had found it, though he knew better than to leave the door unlocked. This was a fresh start, new job, new people, less hustle and bustle. Hunith seemed happy, therefore so was he.
"What's your schedule like?" Gwen enquired, bringing him out of his reverie.
He tried to recall his classes. "History, literature, philosophy and biology, if I remember correctly."
Her face lit up. "You're in three of my classes!"
Colin shot her an amiable smile. He wasn't overly excited but it was nice to have made a friend right off the bat and Gwen seemed his type. She was kind of shy and quirky but he could sense determination within her.
With each passing stop the students boarding spied Colin and openly assessed him—all bearing similar unimpressed faces—before continuing on to their seats to chatter with their mates. Now, Colin wasn't one to be overly self-conscious or one to seek out acceptance from others just to get by, but he was slightly discomfited by all their scrutiny. He turned his head toward Gwen.
"Was there a memo about my enrolling or am I missing something here?"
Gwen giggled. "We haven't had a new student in a while so word travels fast. Plus, everyone's always interested in knowing who is rich enough to get placed here, you know it's the higher rated school in the area. No offence or anything, but you're also not exactly the usual Pendragon student," she said and glanced at him apologetically. "It's actually quite refreshing."
Colin knit his brows and leaned back with a sigh. "Good to know," he said sarcastically. Another pair of eyes circled in his direction, bounced up and down his face and turned away with disinterest. He hated to be cliché, but it seemed as though it was going to be a long day.