A/N: I am soooo sorry about how long this took.
Disclaimer: Do I look like a balding sixty-something-year-old American man to you? Yes? Well, that was a bit rude.
I sighed and turned to look behind me. I frequently did this; it was an old habit I'd gotten into as the Whitecoats were teaching us that paranoia was the key to survival. However, there was clearly nothing behind me but a wall, a pile of sky blue pillows and my room key sitting on the nightstand.
I was sitting cross-legged on the end of the crinkly bed in my hotel room, resting my chin in my hand and thinking over my situation again. I applied for a job, so I'd be able to make some money without having to resort to my pick-pocketing skills. What was next… ah! I needed to find some high schools. This required a computer that I would have to go out and find, and I would've preferred not to as I was only in a pair of black short-shorts and one of those baggy white V-neck T-shirts that are about 2.6% invisible so you can just make out the colour of my skin but you can't actually see through it. Get what I mean? No? Well, search for it on that site called Giggle or something. I've heard they know everything.
Luckily for me, I didn't have to change because the hotel had a library with computers in it on the ground level, so I pulled on some furry white slipper boots (I did some shopping – shudder) and headed out. After making sure my door was shut, I pressed the lift button and was pleasantly surprised when I only had to wait 5.4 seconds for it to open. There was no one in it, so I stepped right in, pressed the 'close doors' button and stood there for a minute trying to figure out which button I should push next. I finally decided on the one that said 'G', because nothing bad can happen with the letter 'G' involved. Gravy, granola, guacamole, guinea pigs, you name it - as long as it doesn't stand for gouge because that could be dangerous.
For about 10.2 seconds (I didn't count, my brain is just wired to be able to instantly tell time and direction etc.), my stomach felt like it was being thrown upwards before the lift came to an abrupt halt, the doors clanked open and there was a rather chilling and most definitely British female voice telling me that I'd reached the ground floor. Ohhh, so that's what 'G' stands for: gnome! JK, JK (Rowling), it stands for Ground floor.
I carefully navigated – or clumsily found my way to out of pure luck – myself to the library of the hotel and typed my room number into a computer. That was their login system: you had to put in your room number so that they knew which searches and website visits had come from whom, in case you were planning a bank robbery or something. Since I wasn't doing anything harmful or suspicious, I was only going to look at some high school websites; I decided it would be fine to play by the system and type in my OWN number (just FYI, if I had been planning a bank robbery, I would have put in a number from a completely floor, so that I wouldn't become a suspect, just a witness).
I quickly typed in 'Miami high schools' into this Goggles website or whatever it was called and clicked through some, brushing off quite a few of them because they were too far away or for rich snobs or similar reasons. I took a pen out of the stationery pot on the table and began to sense a presence behind me. Quick, what would a normal girl do? Hmm… first of all, they wouldn't have been able to sense someone's presence, so I decided to ignore it until whoever it was spoke up.
Clicking the back button, I scrolled through the first page, writing down the names of the schools I liked best on the back of my left hand. Then, just as I was about to go back and compare them to see which would be best, the person behind me finally decided to stop being so nosy. "Do you go there?" they asked as I clicked on the first one, which was called Miami Evil School (anyone might have been repelled by this name, but to me it sounded interesting), in a deep but friendly voice. I decided that the most appropriate response would be to let out a squeal of 'surprise' and drop my pen on the floor in 'shock', so that's what I did.
I let out what I dubbed to be a convincingly exasperated sigh as I went to pick up the pen, making them chuckle, then swivelled around in my spinney office chair. The person was a teenage guy, maybe a year or two older than me and very good-looking [see: male model]. Why does Miami have so many cute guys? Ahh, reminds me of home. The Erasers were all engineered to be very aesthetically attractive, and a while ago (before they discovered that Erasers were indeed able to breed amongst themselves) they only made Eraser guys, so the majority of us are male. But anyway, I digress.
He had a typical beach-boy tan, and I noticed that two beads of either sweat or water were running down his face (he looked like he just came off the beach so it could be either), and were slowly getting smaller as if he was so hot that it was evaporating straight off his face – which was, by the way, totally possible. His golden blonde hair was styled forwards and swept off to the left in a wavy fringe over his forehead. It glistened with water and looked scruffy, but in a cute way rather than a hobo way. He was wearing a pair of black cargo shorts, black flip-flops and a white V-neck which was drenched in water so that it was slightly see-through and clung to his abs, of which I could clearly count six. Then, oh, his eyes. They were a sparkling Caribbean ocean blue, brimming with emotion and so deep that I could metaphorically drown in them (I seem to be thinking this a lot lately).
"No, actually, I'm looking to enrol." I replied casually, clicking the pen closed and leaning back against the table. "Is it a good school?" He examined me thoughtfully for a moment.
"Well, it's not exactly peachy. I mean, it is a high school after all. But it does have one thing going for it." He replied in a tone just as off-handed as mine.
I cocked an eyebrow, half curious, half sceptic. "And what's that?"
"It's my school." he grinned, showing off his pearly whites with a dazzling 1000-watt smile that could make any girl melt at his feet. I rolled my chocolate orbs (eyes, genius) but felt slightly relieved that I'd already met someone from my potential school that I could get information out of, for example why the Graham cracker was it called Miami Evil? "In case you were wondering, it's called Miami Evil because the guy who founded it was called Jebediah Evil."
I made a sound of realisation, which earned me a lip-twitch from the guy. "My name's Max." I held out my hand for him to shake, which apparently was what normal people did, but I didn't get it. What was the purpose of shaking someone's hand? It's not a can of spray paint, people. It doesn't have a 'shake well before using' label.
He took it and shook it (I'm a poet!), "I'm Dylan," he replied. That's a fitting name. Very… jock-y.
"So, think I should apply?" I asked, spinning the chair back around and looking at the homepage as his cue to come stand next to me. He nodded immediately.
"Totally. You live in this hotel, right?" I nodded, wondering where this was going, "So do I, and it's always good when your friends live really close. Plus, I don't have many friends there anyway." I turned to him, gaping like an unattractive fish, possibly a trout (they're ugly, right?), before snapping my mouth shut and fixing a no-nonsense look on my face.
"You're a really bad liar, you know. You have a whole herd of sheep following you around and probably a ton of girls jumping at you too, right?" I added with a raised eyebrow.
He chuckled and shook his head with a politely incredulous look on his face. "It's called a flock of sheep. But seriously, I don't have any friends, and there are no girls 'jumping at me'. Where did you get that from?" he plops himself unceremoniously down on the spinney chair next to mine and rests his head on his fist, looking very pleased with himself.
"Well, you're charismatic enough to come and talk to me. If I was you, I would've stayed as far away as possible. I am not a people person." I informed him, turning back to the screen and scrolling through the information page. He grinned at me again, sending waves of heat onto the side of my face. "By the way, do you know where the sign-up sheet or whatever it's called is?"
Dylan leaned forward, clicked on the 'Enrolment' link at the top of the page and for the next half hour he helped me fill out my information (which I had to think of on the spot, since he had no idea about my current predicament). By the time we were done, we knew quite a lot about each other, and I had made my first school friend. Along with Ella, my work friend, I was all set in terms of people to talk to. I didn't have to make an effort to communicate with people, which was brilliant for me.
I am not a people person.
As I waited for the lift to clunk open, I inspected the button panel. The floors went from 'B', being Basement, to 'P', being the Penthouse. I decided to check out the Basement to see what was there when I was next free. I could see my distorted reflection in the panel, and was glad to see that I still looked completely unremarkable and unnoticeable. The same light brown/blondish hair, tanned skin and dark brown eyes as I'd always had glinted back at me through the grimy gold-coloured metal. The doors creaked open and I skipped (yeah, you heard me) up the hallway in my bouncy slipper boots, taking in the green floral wallpaper, peeling at the corners, as I went by. I stopped outside Room 105. That's when I realised.
I'd forgotten my room key on the nightstand. Crap! How am I supposed to get in now? Well, I guess I could've asked a member of staff, but they were all really creepy, so that idea was quickly added to the pile of all the useless ideas I had.
I turned and slid my back down the door until I was sitting on the varnished wooden floor. Ah, well. At least this would give me time to rethink my priorities.
At first, my list of priorities had been pretty simple, as they were all linked to survival in some way. Now, they were linked to creating a normal – if temporary – life for myself. I was going to settle down in a way that was not too permanent, so I would be able to quickly sever ties if necessary, and then get down to finding Ari.
Find a place to stay. Check.
Find a job. Check.
Apply for an education. Check.
Make friends. Check.
Make sure no one finds out about my past. Check so far.
Create a backstory. Not check.
Find Ari. Also not check.
So, I'd already done most of the stuff on my list, but I wasn't sure what I was going to do after I found Ari. Would we enrol him at Miami Evil, get him a job, live happily ever after? Or would we set out to find the other members of Batch 105, then with the help of our fellow Erasers-in-training, find our way back to the School?
Well, whatever we were going to do, I would have to complete steps 6 and 7, and uphold step 5. That, my friends, was easier said than done. Especially when I hadn't even figured out how to get back into my room.
A/N: There are a lot of twists I'm planning for this story, and there are also a few hints in this chapter. Follow, favourite, and review to give me suggestions/encouragement/feedback!
FYI: Max knows that she has timing and directions built into her brain, but she's unaware that she's doing it when she's using exact numbers (2.6, 5.4, and 10.2). This is just another thing to remind you of her Eraser-ness, because a normal person would've just said 2, 5 and 10 without the decimal numbers, and this feature might come into play later on in the story. ;)
Q&A: Have you ever been locked out of a hotel room? I haven't, but I hope it happens to me sometime when I'm older just so I can sit and laugh about it afterwards. :P