Summary- Maggie- a slave in disguise. Jez- an unwilling student. David- an over the top jealous stable boy. Watch as the story of the soulmates unfolds in the halls of Hawthorne Academy.
Takes place in the past (slavery is still legal, but other than that, I don't have a particular year in mind.)
I own only Hawthorne Academy, the characters all belong to L. J. Smith (except for Mel)
EDIT: Please note that this was written a while ago. It is riddled with clichés and cheesiness. So if you can stand that stuff, then by all means, read on. But if you can't: you have been warned!
Chapter One: A New Semester
"They're sending me away," Jeanne whispered glumly. "Hawthorne Academy."
"They can't!" Maggie cried, outraged. "They wouldn't."
"I'm a slave, Maggie, of course they can and of course they will."
"But, your whole family works here! They can't just tear you away from them like that." Maggie paced the room, as she often did when she got upset.
"Have you completely forgotten the meaning of 'slave'?" Jeanne rolled her eyes and continued folding clothes.
"But it isn't fair—"
"Does that matter?" Jeanne cut in. "You can pretend slavery isn't like a grocers market, but all a slave really is is meat and muscle."
"It isn't right!" Maggie fumed, still pacing.
"Just let it go, it was bound to happen eventually." Jeanne sighed. "There's nothing you can do about it. The school is offering a handsome amount of cash; your father would be a fool not to sign the deal."
"He would have been a fool, but now that he has agreed, he is a monster." Maggie slumped onto the bed. "I'll think of something. I promise."
It was dark, so Mr. Neely had no idea that the girl he was handing over was, in fact, not Jeanne, but his own daughter.
Meanwhile, the real Jeanne—running the path to freedom but swimming the river of guilt—looked back one last time. Maggie was being herded into the carriage and being driven off while her father pocketed the cash.
Eat or be eaten. Jeanne thought, trying to lessen the sudden weight on her shoulders. The law of this world. One that Maggie foolishly broke. One that will allow me to survive. Eat or be eaten.
Eric groomed Mel's mane as she pranced around nervously. "Stand still, you mangy beast." He muttered.
"Talking to the horses again?" Gillian Lennox asked as she entered the stall.
"Don't judge," He joked and continued to comb through Mel's thick brown hair.
Gill scanned the area quickly for the other stable boy, but David was nowhere to be seen. "How is she?" Gillian stroked Mel's muzzle affectionately.
Eric smiled fondly at the horse and set down the brush. "I give her two months, though David's betting the foal will be born in three." Eric leaned in close and whispered, "Speaking of David…"
David watched as Eric leaned in close to whisper something in Gillian's ear. His hands clenched into fists as her eyes widened, her cheeks flushed, and she shook her head. Her lips moved, and it looked as if she was saying 'No, no, I couldn't.'
This seemed to be happening a lot lately. David would look up to see Eric whispering something—David didn't know what—and Gill would blush and shy away.
Under other circumstances, David might have thought the words Eric spoke to Gillian were of sexual nature, but no, Eric knew David loved her.
So what was he saying?
David and Gillian had met several years before, when David had pulled her out from under a pile of snow. It wasn't until a year later, when David was walking a horse and stumbled upon her frozen, half-dead body, that their correspondence really began.
Gillian Lennox stayed at the school all year round. The only home she had ever known was her dormitory at the academy. She wasn't an orphan, though she might as well have been. Her parents never had much attention to spare for her, her mother being an addict and her father always away on business.
The only people she had ever really loved like family were Angel, Eric, Mary- Lynnette, and David—although, truthfully, what she felt for David was more than what one felt for a brother. Only Eric knew, and he teased her constantly. "Go and tell him!"
She blushed and murmured, "No, no. I couldn't."
Eric grimaced and pulled away. He had only just met her a year ago, but he loved Gillian dearly. He wanted her to be happy, but she wasn't making it easy. "Why not?"
"What if he doesn't return my feelings? What if I'll only ever be a friend to him?"
"He adores you!" Eric whispered. "Just tell him how you feel!"
Gillian huffed and stalked out of the stall, shaking her head. She froze when she saw David waiting by the stall door.
"Who adores you?" He tried to sound curious, but really his insides were roiling with jealousy. So that's what they'd been doing. Gillian had a fancy.
"I-i-i-i… ummm…" Gillian tucked a strand of light blonde hair behind her ear, "No one, probably," She hurried out of the barn.
"Who?" David turned to Eric, who was scrubbing the water bin. He just chuckled and continued to work.
Mary- Lynnette frowned and took in the new professors. One had deep black hair and cold black eyes. The other was his complete opposite, with light blonde hair and grey orbs that were kind and calming, he looked rather likable. But, there was something wrong with the both of them…
"They look a bit young, don't they?" Her friend, Claire, muttered and cleaned another window pane.
Mare grunted in agreement, although she wasn't sure Claire was right. Yes, they looked young, but something in the way they carried themselves suggested otherwise. But that was ridiculous, right?
Mare wrung the mop and began to clean the floor.
"I hear we're also getting new companions." Claire continued conversationally. "Jeanne, a slave, and Rashel something or other."
Mare nodded and answered, "Jordan. Rashel Jordan."
"Quinn!" An obnoxious voice sounded from the foyer. Ash Redfern. Mary- Lynnette hated Ash Redfern. Always acting as if he was above everyone else, so overly confident it was all Mary-Lynnette could do not to strangle him.
Mary-Lynnette had been working at Hawthorne Academy since she was 13. After her mother died, the family had desperately needed money, and Hawthorne had needed a new maid.
It wasn't a bad job. The pay was good, and Mare had access to every book an aspiring astronomer could need. Yes, she knew women were not generally encouraged to take on scholarly careers, if any career at all, but she was determined. That was another thing she hated about Ash. While she had to work to get what she wanted, all he had to do was snap his fingers and it was his.
Mary-Lynnette looked up to see Redferns crowding the hallway.
Delos, Kestrel, Jade, James (He wasn't technically a Redfern, he was still their cousin and was therefore treated like a Redfern), and Rowan (She'd graduated the year before but stayed on as a tutor). Rowan was by far Mare's favorite).
Gillian slipped in the front door, unnoticed in the commotion. Unnoticed by all but Ash.
"Gillian!" He exclaimed over the din, "What's wrong? You're red as a tomato!"
Snickers came from the Redfern's, But Gillian didn't seem to notice. Mare and Gill locked eyes and Mare motioned her over.
She walked across the foyer and over to where the two servants were stationed.
"If I have anything to say about it, that bloke's going to get a taste of his own medicine." Mary-Lynnette muttered under her breath.
"That's what you say every year." Gillian pointed out.
"This year I mean it." She promised. "Really!" She exclaimed at Claire's doubtful look. "You just wait."
"You say that every year too." Claire said with a wave of her washrag.
"But this year, I have an actual plan." Mare said while wringing out the mop.
Claire and Gill exchanged secret looks, both knowing Mare had no actual plan but to sit and wait for someone else to punish him. Mare was smart enough to know messing with the Redferns, Ash most of all, was a bad idea.
"How are Eric and David?" Claire asked, changing the subject.
"They're good. Mel's baby should be born within the next couple months." Gillian shrugged. "Nothing much is new."
"Except," Eric said as he walked past, "Gill's secret admirer." He winked as he rounded the corner, probably to get fresh washrags to replace the dirty ones in his hand.
"And what has little Miss Lennox been keeping from me?" Mare raised an eyebrow at Gillian.
Gillian grew red again. "Eric's kidding. There's no way he likes me."
"Mmmhmmm." Mare said, scrutinizing Gill. "Who is it?"
Gillian grew even redder. She shook her head and started to walk away.
"No," David said from behind her and she froze. "Who is it? I've asked Eric about a billion times and he won't say a word." She slowly turned around. "It's been driving me crazy." He added.
"Ummmm… I-it really d-doesn't… ummm…" Gillian trailed off; her face had taken on a stricken-animal look.
"Why does it matter to you?" Mare swept in.
"Gill's my friend. If anyone wants to court her, I have to approve." David flushed a bit, but still wasn't nearly as red as Gill.
"Are you really that blind?" A voice sounded from behind David. Ash.
"Are you really that interested?" Mare shot back.
Ash grinned and was about to say something when a squeal came from the foyer.
"Gillian!" A petite girl that quite resembled Gillian flug herself at Gill.
"Iliana," Gillian sighed, very unenthusiastically.
"Wow, this place is amazing!" Iliana looked around, "do you think we'll be roommates?"
Gillian backed away slowly and said, "I don't know, but I have to be somewhere."
"Where?" David demanded.
"Eric might need help with something." Seeing the pointed looks she was receiving, she shrugged. "Reaching the washrags…?"
"And you of all people could help with that?" Ash rolled his eyes.
Iliana, however, deflated. "Promise to give me the tour later?"
"Umm… I don't know." Gillian shrugged giving her a guilty look, and turned the corner, glad to get away from her overly energetic cousin.
"Who likes her?" David turned on Ash.
Ash gave David a long look, smirked, and shrugged. He then walked back to the other Redferns.
"Who?" He turned to Mary-Lynnette.
"So, Iliana, right?" Claire asked.
"Yes, I'm Gillian's cousin." Iliana grinned. She was about to say more when Olaf Harman, the headmaster, appeared behind them.
"Girls, you have no time for chitter-chatting. The new semester begins next week and you have much work to do." He eyed David. "Remember what I said about using the servant's doors."
Hannah looked up to see Eric Ross, a stable boy, strut into the kitchen. He sauntered over, a wide grin threatening to crack his face.
"What did you do?" she inquired with narrow eyes.
"Nothing…" He slid the dirty rags over the counter at her, "Clean ones, please."
"You see the new professors yet?" Eric asked as Hannah threw the dirty pieces of cloth in a wooden bucket to be cleaned later. She reached into the nook that contained the rags and pulled them out.
"No," She slid clean rags over the counter. "I've been cooking all afternoon."
As he pocketed the clean rags, Gillian came storming in. She marched up to Eric and punched his muscled chest with her delicate fist. "You could have told me David was right behind you."
Eric shrugged innocently and smiled. "I had no idea David was behind me."
"You did!" Gillian shrieked. "And now, on top of that, Mare and Claire suspect me too! Don't you know how much they like to tease?"
"No," Eric corrected her, "They suspect every young boy on campus. I said someone admired you, not that you admire him back." He turned to Hannah. "But, she does."
"Eric!" Gillian cried. "You are the worst!"
Before Eric could reply, the door swung open and three people walked in.
Hannah gasped and ducked under the counter. "This is the laundry room. Not that you'll ever need to find it again." The headmaster was saying, but Hannah wasn't listening. A man with light blond—almost white—hair and stormy grey eyes. Rough hands, spiteful glare, decomposing cart.
She came out of the memory at the sound of Eric's voice. "Hannah, what…?"
"Who were they?" Hannah asked breathlessly.
"The new Professors, why?" Eric's hands were still on her and she sunk against his chest.
"The blond one," she whispered, glancing around to make sure the laundry room was empty of them. "He was the one to sell me into slavery."
"You've reached the limit, Jezebel. I've had all I can take and will have no more."
Jez grimaced as her uncle Bracken dragged her by hear ear through the house and to her room.
"We're Redferns!" She exclaimed as they reached her door. "I thought this kind of attitude towards vermin was encouraged." Her uncle winced as she said 'vermin'. He always did, but she didn't know why. He's weak. Her mind always came to that conclusion.
"It is, but we still have a family name to uphold! I will not have you soiling it by frolicking around alleyways with a homeless thief! Vampire or not!" With that, he slammed the door.
Jez threw the nearest item she could find, a vase, at the door. "His name is Morgead, and he's not that bad!"
Bracken, who had been standing outside the door called back, "I don't care what his name is, Jezebel. You've snuck out with him one too many times! You start Hawthorne Academy at the end of the week. Maybe they can teach you to be a proper lady!"
Jez screamed and threw another vase.
Morgead, who had been outside the whole time, smiled as she screamed he wasn't that bad. He knew she didn't mean it; though, it was nice to hear the words.
Hawthorne, huh? That rich Academy out in the countryside? Plenty of rich, young pockets to pick. Although, the Redferns practically lived in herds out there.
Morgead picked his way through the thick bushes surrounding the neighborhood. He scowled at the house with the warm laughter coming from it. He scowled at the house with the sent of baked bread. He scowled at every house except Jez's. Filthy wealthies. They had everything, and most didn't think a second thought about it.
While Morgead snatched morsels of food from stands, they bought everything by the dozens. That's why he took blood without remorse. He deserved it. They had everything, didn't he deserve just something?