Jade sat in silence in the back of the car. She hadn't said anything the whole ride. She had nothing to say to these people; her aunt and uncle. They had said some words here and there, but had given up on pretending. Just as well, Jade thought. She didn't want to hear and be annoyed by their voices and what she knew were lies. She hated this and her new guardians, especially for what they were doing to her. They should be sending themselves away, Jade thought bitterly. She stared out the window, a small scowl on her stoic face. She saw the passing greenery, but didn't register any of it. She wondered if she could run off after they dropped her off. She fantasized about grabbing some of her belongings and leaving. She could probably trade food and shelter for manual labor until she figured out what to do. She daydreamed about a variety of escape plans as they drove the remaining distance to the boarding school. She clenched her jaw when the tall, brownstone building came into view. She saw that her hopes of running away were foiled as her uncle kept driving along the gravel road that led up to the entrance. As they got closer, Jade could see some people already waiting for them. He drove around the circle in the middle that housed a small garden and fountain and stopped in front of the entrance. There she saw a priest, two nuns and a groundskeeper, who held on to a dolly. They stood up straight; the nuns had their hands clasped inside their habits and the priest held his intertwined behind his back. Jade rolled her eyes. She already detested them. "Well, Jade, we're here," said her uncle.
Jade turned to look at him and narrowed her eyes. She decided not to waste her saliva on making a remark. She had no interest in the man; she didn't plan on exchanging a single word with him. I can see that you idiot, she thought as she turned back and placed her hand on the door handle. She opened the door and got out, merely because she had no other choice. She would make a run for it, but she had too much dignity and pride for that. She chided herself for that absurd thought. She was too good for this, she thought. For any of them. She straightened her posture and steeled herself; she wasn't going to be a weakling. And at this point she knew she had to resign herself to the fact that this was her fate. She had no other choice...for now. Soon enough they would despise her and want her out of their school anyway. She had a little smirk at the thought. Her uncle went to the back of the car, opened it and took out her suitcases and trunk. The groundskeeper went to help her uncle with her bags. Her aunt got out too and made idle chat about the weather with the priest and nuns. Jade took this time to observe them from the corner of her eyes. The priest was a tall man with graying hair. Despite his graying mane, he looked young. He appeared to be in his mid to late forties. He wasn't a bad looking guy at all. Some women might even call him handsome. He tried to keep himself in shape. The black robe hid most of the contours of his figure, but the sleeves bulged at his shoulders and biceps. Jade had expected something much different; some decrepit old guy that looked like he had an iron rod up his ass. If she saw this guy on the street, she never would have guessed him to be a priest. She briefly wondered if he'd had a couple of affairs before entering the cloth. Or even after.
After the other man had finished placing her baggage on the dolly, he set off with it. Jade watched him for a moment as he disappeared into the building. He looked to be about the same age, or somewhat older than the priest. Except this man was more physically worn than the priest. Certainly he had always been a man of manual labor. Her uncle closed the back door of the car and went to stand next to Jade. "Take care of our Jade," he said and patted her back.
She felt disgusted by his fake concern. He squeezed her shoulder and smiled. "Behave," he said playfully, but underneath it Jade clearly caught the warning tone; which of course she planned on ignoring.
Her aunt then walked over to her and hugged her. Another fake display of affection. She smiled at Jade and told her goodbye. The whole time Jade remained silent with her arms limp at her side. She didn't even bother to turn and watch them load into the car and drive off. "Welcome to your new home, Jade," the priest said, smiling. "I'm Father Eichner and I'm also the principal of the school."
He indicated to the first nun, "This is Sister Mary Rose."
The nun smiled and greeted Jade. She was plump but not fat, she was of average height, her skin was light and her cheeks rosy. She wasn't an ugly nun but Jade probably wouldn't go around stealing glances at her. She was in her early thirties. She was dressed in a brownish red habit. Jade couldn't see her hair but figured she was a brunette by her eyebrows. "She is in charge of the floor where you will be rooming," the priest said.
Then he indicated to the second nun. She was taller, only a couple of inches shorter than Father Eichner, older, slimmer and darker than the first one. She wore the same brownish red habit as the other nun. Her face was serious. Jade imagined by her erect stance and her face that she was a strict, not-afraid-to-deliver-corporal-punishment kind of nun. "This is Sister Amelia."
The tall woman smiled politely and welcomed her to Sacred Heart Academy. Jade was informed that she was in charge of the other nuns, female students and she was also the Vice Principal. This was obviously a woman of importance and rank in the school. Jade wondered in passing if all the new students got a personal introduction to the principal and vice principal. She didn't care either way. So far Jade had stayed quiet and only looked at them with disinterest. Internally she had shortly been mildly interested by their appearance but she wouldn't show that to them. Father Eichner indicated for them to head inside. "Your belongings will be waiting for you in your room. Sister Mary Rose will show you around and to your room. If you have any questions or concern don't hesitate to ask her or any of the faculty and staff. We're here to help," he finished as they crossed the wide, open doors to the school.
The doors opened into a luxurious Victorian style lobby area. Three big sofas sat to the left, surrounding an expensive-looking, thick, oak wood coffee table. To the left of the entrance and next to the sitting area was a door with a yellow stained glass window marked 'Main Office.' "Now if you'll excuse me, my work awaits me," he said and bid them farewell.
He entered the Main Office door and disappeared. "As you can see, that's the main office," Sister Mary Rose explained, "That's where Father Eichner's office is, as well as Sister Amelia's office. You will also find the nurse's office and administration there. We can come back for your schedule if you would like to look around first."
Jade shook her head. "Let's get it over with," she said bluntly.
The sooner she could be done with all of it and be alone in her room the better. Sister Mary Rose was taken aback by Jade's brashness but quickly recovered. She nodded and the three of them entered the main office. Once in there Sister Amelia parted ways since she also had work to do and Sister Mary Rose could take it from there. Jade didn't miss the apprehensive look Sister Amelia gave her. She could already tell Jade would be a problem. Sister Mary Rose and Jade walked toward the woman behind the big, tall, half-moon counter. She was a stern, round-looking woman who did not bother smiling. Sister Mary Rose introduced her as Margaret O'Malley. She did not wear a habit, as she was not a nun. She took on the administrative duties of the school. "Of course there are other staff members to take care of certain duties," Sister Mary Rose explained.
Jade tuned her out. She couldn't care less about the school and its employees. Jade looked at the serious face of the woman sitting in front of her. She could tell they wouldn't like each other but she had to, secretly, appreciate the fact that the woman wasn't pretending to be cheery and that Jade wouldn't be the only miserable one here. Margaret O'Malley probably hated all the students, Jade figured. Maybe even the nuns and priests. She barely even acknowledged them as she pulled up Jade's schedule and handed it over. After acquiring her schedule, they headed out of the office. Sister Mary Rose cursorily showed Jade around, showing her the cafeteria, giving her directions to where her classes would be, showing her one of the gardens and, in between, told her some of the rules. She took this time to mention that Jade would need to remove her eyebrow piercing and rid herself of the blue dyed highlights.
Finally, Jade felt some relief as Sister Mary Rose showed her to her room. Once they arrived at their floor, which was the second level, Sister Mary Rose indicated which door belonged to her. Then she walked to Jade's. Sister Mary Rose left her as Jade entered her new room. She noticed the door had no lock and raised her eyebrows wondering what that was about. Jade looked around the room. It wasn't too big but it wasn't too bad either. The school got good money from parents, alma maters and donations from their patrons, not counting the tuition, so each student had their own room. It also helped that the school wasn't terribly populated. Having a room to herself was the only thing Jade was grateful for. To the right of the room, in front of the entrance, was the twin bed. To the left of the entrance, on the same wall as the door, was a desk placed against the wall. On the left wall, a couple of feet from the desk, was the door of the closet. On the opposite wall from the door was the only window in the room, underneath it was a night stand, part of the bed laid under the window as well. On the opposite side of the bed, to the right of the closet, was a dark wood dresser. Her trunk sat at the foot of the bed, her bigger suitcases were neatly placed by the trunk on the floor and the smaller one was on the bed. She walked over to the bed and moved the suitcase from the bed to the top of the trunk. Then threw herself on the bed. She had no interest in unpacking.