Tessa Gray didn't know what to expect when she transferred schools. From the loud bustle of New York City to the dreary and rainy London, Tessa was always slightly shy. So to shy Tessa, moving to the most prestigious school in the world, the highest rated academy in the whole universe probably, and the home of the rich and famous was probably a little intimidating. Okay. A lot intimidating.
The Institute was home to the wealthy, the beautiful and the talented – and Tessa Gray was entering that school.
Of course, Tessa wasn't rich or beautiful, but she was talented and had scored a scholarship for English Literature and Creative Writing. Her mother, Elizabeth Gray, insisted on sending Tessa there. Not for the good of Tessa, but for the prestige and the fame. Elizabeth Gray was probably more focused on the neighbours back in New York, fawning over Elizabeth's young daughter.
It really was a good opportunity for Tessa as well, though. The Institute focused on your strengths, plus the basic things you need to pass high school – like maths. It was like university in a way. You majored in your strengths and your minors were the mandatory things you had to take to enter university.
Tessa had seen the brochures and pamphlets that her mother had brought home. There were many different classes you could take. There was English Literature and Creative Writing, of course, and there was a class for modeling, music, fighting, painting and many other things. At the Institute, thousands of people – maybe millions – applied, and only select few get to attend. The school wasn't as big as it could have been and it was very picky with its students.
It was every parent's dream for their child to enter the Institute and Elizabeth Gray's dreams had come true – materializing in Tessa.
Tessa eyed herself in the mirror unhappily. The grayness of London were already taking a toll on her, taking Tessa's limited colour away from her cheeks, making her look pale and colourless. Tessa was taller than most of the girls her age, though her height didn't make her graceful. She looked awkward in the school uniform. Tessa had no idea why you would wear a skirt that went down to your mid-thighs in the middle of the London weather and knee length stockings with two gold stripes going across the top.
Honestly. Why not just wear a skirt that goes to your ankles? Why reveal that strip of skin on your thigh? Tessa rolled her eyes at the stupidity of it all. Admittedly, she liked the gold and red plaid skirt, though hated the length.
The crisp white dress shirt, which her mother had ironed several times painstakingly, was almost see-through. Tessa wore a formal black blazer, with one button buttoned at the center. Her mother had forced her to dress impeccably, saying that good first impressions were important. Tessa missed her old school in New York, where she could have worn sweatpants and no one would have cared.
Her name stitched onto the left breast pocket declared her name: Theresa Gray. But Theresa was such a long name. Three syllables! So Tessa resorted to calling herself Tessa instead.
"Tessa, honey! It's time to leave!" Elizabeth called from the bottom of the stairs. Tessa eyed her room for her bag, frantically looking around for it. Boxes half-opened were scattered around her room. She hadn't finished unpacking yet. Tessa snatched up her backpack from her bed and rushed down the stairs.
She was greeted with her mother, smiling widely at her. Elizabeth's smile was so wide that it looked like it hurt. Tessa wasn't sure about any of this though.
"Mother…" Tessa said hesitantly. "Are you sure I should go to the Institute? My old school was completely fine…"
"Nonsense!" Elizabeth shushed her as she guided Tessa to the door. Tessa slipped in her shoes as Elizabeth continued speaking. "We already applied and everything is settled. Also, why would you not want to go anyways? The Institute is the best school in this world, Tessa!" Elizabeth clapped her hands. "Think big! Dream big!" Elizabeth offered Tessa a hair tie and Tessa tied her light brown hair into a loose bun as she opened the front door. It was easy to tell that Tessa had gotten her looks from her mother, but her personality was definitely of her father's. Calm, quiet and gentle.
Tessa was not as bubbly as Elizabeth Gray. Not at all.
Tessa gave into her mother's wishes. She always did. "Off you go dear!" Elizabeth waved to Tessa as Tessa left her new home.
Tessa sighed as she walked to the Institute. She missed the hustle and bustle of New York City, the loud taxi drivers that seemed to come in a flash at one single taxi whistle, the blinking city lights and her adopted brother, Nathaniel Gray. Nate had stayed in New York for his girlfriend and he found a perfect job.
Tessa's parents already found jobs in London and Tessa hated how it all fit together perfectly.
With every step Tessa took, her mind began to focus on the Institute instead of missing her home. What would the Institute be like anyways? Prestigious? That was a given. Original? Fancy? What if Tessa didn't make any new friends? Tessa was probably going to fade in the background again – just like she did in her old school.
All Tessa wanted to do then, was get through her senior year courses and get to a good university – preferably New York's. Maybe… the Institute wasn't all bad. Tessa wanted to be a writer with all her heart and her dreams just might come true, with a little help from the Institute.
Tessa shook her head again, trying to clear her thoughts, as she continued to walk the rest of the four blocks to her new school. The second Tessa saw the Institute, she gaped.
Of course Tessa had seen pictures of the school, but the sheer size of it made Tessa want to run away. The school looked like a gothic church, except it was larger than any church she had seen before. The formidable building had taken up an entire block by itself. The gray stone of the building made it seem like the building could have been found in the medieval times.
Enormous and intimidating, the Institute loomed in front of Tessa Gray, not inviting at all.
Students were already going through the tall iron gates, all wearing similar attires to Tessa, except the other students were all talking amidst each other.
"Like my new diamond bracelet?" a blonde girl said to her brunette friend. "Bryce got it for me for our three week anniversary. He said it costs two million pounds and that it was made out of diamond and real gold!" Her friend fawned over the bracelet on the blonde girl's wrists.
Tessa wanted to roll her eyes. Three week anniversaries? Who in the name of the Angel had three week anniversaries? Two million pounds? Tessa scoffed at the waste of money. She could have lived off two million pounds for the rest of her life.
"Do you like my tie?" a freshman boy said to the other people surrounding him as they admired his tie. "I bought it from the same place the Shadowhunters shop at. It was nearly a thousand pounds – but so worth it. Nothing but the best for the Shadowhunters, am I right?" he grinned.
Tessa's mouth dropped open. A thousand pounds for what? A tie?! Who the heck were the Shadowhunters? Tessa rolled her eyes at the stupidity of the students. Who wasted a thousand pounds on a tie? Who bought two million pound bracelet just for a three week anniversary?
Tessa felt out of place immediately as she entered the school. Snippets of conversation flew around her and all of them involved high class items, bragging, money and the Shadowhunters. Tessa wanted to give everybody a talking to, to tell them that you shouldn't waste so much money just to buy a freaking tie. But who was going to listen?
As she continued walking, Tessa realized she was completely and utterly lost. She groaned to herself, scanning her surroundings for a big sign that said: SCHOOL OFFICE THIS WAY! Nope. No sign. Just lockers and students. Tessa tried asking people for help, but they ignored her outright.
Frustrated but determined to try again, she tapped the shoulder of a boy standing near the lockers. "Excuse me?" she asked. He was talking to three other boys, but Tessa really needed to get to the office for her schedule and things, even if it meant being a little rude.
And immediately, every conversation in the hallway stopped. Every person glared at Tessa, mouth frozen but eyes wide as they stared at her. Tessa shifted under all the stares, not used to all the attention.
Tessa didn't know what was going on, but she dismissed it as the boy turned around to face her.
And he was beautiful. He had pale skin, maybe even lighter than Tessa's skin tone and he looked gentle and fragile. Tessa had an urge to just embrace the boy, but that would've been strange. The boy possessed a calming aura around him and Tessa couldn't help but relax at the boy who looked like a work of art. She noticed the boy had silver hair and silver eyes – a strange combination, but Tessa didn't really mind it. It only enhanced his ethereal beauty.
Snap out of it! Tessa thought in her head. The boy in front of her had a violin case in his left hand. A musician, Tessa mused.
"Yes?" the boy asked.
"Sorry to interrupt," Tessa apologized immediately. "But can you point me in the direction of the school office?"
The boy smiled down at her, warming Tessa's insides. "Of course." Everyone around her was still silent. "It's kind of confusing in this school, huh? It's way too big," the boy chuckled easily. Tessa wanted to squirm under all the gazes that were thrown in her direction. "Just swing a left at the end of this corridor and turn left again. At the end of that hallway, turn right and the office will be right there."
Tessa nodded, memorizing his instructions. "Thank you," Tessa said, before turning to leave. But the boy stopped her, reaching out and grasping Tessa's forearm gently. Tessa looked at the boy who held her wrist.
Some people in her audience seemed to gasp at the contact. What in the name of the Angel was going on? The boy's silver eyes seemed to be laughing. "Shouldn't you introduce yourself to me?"
"Ah, right," Tessa said, straightening herself before extending a hand. "I'm Theresa Gray, but everybody calls me Tessa."
"I'm James Carstairs, but everybody calls me Jem," Jem smiled, grasping Tessa's small hand in his and shaking it. "I'll see you around," Jem waved. Tessa nodded at him, acknowledging his wave, before disappearing in the crowd of students and walking to the school office.
Whispers erupted around Tessa. "Who is she? How did she get the attention of the James Carstairs? She's so ugly though. Is she new?" Speaking to Jem had caused huge disruptions around Tessa and everybody seemed to glare at her. Shrinking from their gazes, she almost broke into a sprint to the office.
The moment she entered the brightly lit office, Tessa almost gasped with a breath of relief. Finally, the angry glares seemed to disappear. "Excuse me?" she asked the receptionist. The receptionist looked up from her papers. "I'm Tessa Gray… new student. I was wondering if I could have a map of the school and my schedule?"
The receptionist smiled at her. "Of course!" Handing Tessa's schedule and map over, the receptionist flashed her pearly whites at her. "Have a nice day!" she said, waving Tessa away.
Tessa opened her map in the office, but even with it, she was hopefully lost. Tessa groaned, stamping her foot in frustration.
"Need a little help?"
Tessa looked up to see a beautiful girl look back at her, with a kind smile. The girl had dark hair and luminous hazel eyes, immediately making Tessa feel self-conscious.
"Are you new here?" the girl asked and Tessa nodded immediately. "I'm Sophie Collins," Sophie said, extending a hand. Tessa shook it shyly.
"Tessa Gray. I'm hopelessly lost," Tessa said, gesturing to the map. "Even with this, I wouldn't be able to find my way around."
Sophie chuckled. "I was like that too. What are you majoring in?" Sophie asked, steering Tessa out of the office and into the crowd of students once again.
"English Literature and Creative Writing," Tessa responded, without missing a beat.
"Arts department. Most of our students go there. I'm one of them," Sophie laughed. Tessa smiled with her. Her first possible friend. "What do you have first?" Sophie asked.
Tessa checked the schedule clutched in her hand. "Maths."
"Great!" Sophie cheered. "I'm in that too!" Looping an arm through Tessa's, Sophie guided her around the crowd. Sophie was overly friendly, but Tessa was extremely grateful for it.
"Just a heads up, Tessa. There are things you need to learn at the Institute and if you don't, you're probably going to be eaten alive."
Tessa eyed her new friend, to see if she was kidding. Nope. Sophie looked solemn.
Tessa chuckled nervously as they walked to their class together. "Please tell me you're just trying to freak me out."
Sophie shook her head, but a smile graced her lips again. "It's alright Tessa. It's not hard to learn. Maths is usually a blow off class because Mr. Treason, weirdest name ever by the way, can rarely get his students under control. I'll explain later. Anyways, what's your locker number? We don't really need our Math textbook until the second day of class so don't even bother going for it," Sophie said.
"1214," Tessa said, checking her papers.
The pair of girls entered the class, settling at the very back of the room. "First days of school are usually introductions. No work to do," Sophie explained. Tessa nodded, soaking in the information.
Mr. Treason began to talk in a monotone voice and Sophie began to speak again. "In our school," Sophie whispered, "are social classes. At the bottom, there are the nerds and geeks, who major in things like Maths and Sciences. Often, they come in on scholarship."
"But I'm on scholarship," Tessa said, slightly offended.
"So am I, but it's best for other people not to know that you are. You won't believe the snobs in this school, who make fun of you because you get in on a discount. Everybody here looks down on the people without as much money as they have," Sophie said grimly. Tessa nodded. "In the middle class are the regulars. Often majoring in Arts and Business or things like that, they are alright. They just have one fault."
"What's that?" Tessa asked, curious.
"They worship the ground that the popular people walk on. That's the next social class. Famous for their wealth and beauty and nothing else, they are complete brats and pricks. They think they are so important because they are rich and pretty," Sophie rolled her eyes. "Screw them." Tessa couldn't help but chuckle at Sophie's face, which had absolute disgust on it.
"And at the top are the four boys. The Shadowhunters."
The Shadowhunters. The group of people that everybody couldn't stop talking about. Tessa listened on with interest. "Never offend them. They can ruin your life. Once, a regular accidently tripped over one of the boys. I believe it was Will Herondale. The next day, the regular was expelled."
Tessa gaped. How awful could these boys be? "Their names are William Herondale, the leader of the group. He majors in Fighting and English Literature," Sophie said.
"Fighting?" Tessa asked.
"Fighting," Sophie nodded. "Best fighter in our school. He's known for that. He's the leader of the Shadowhunters and the most rude, arrogant prick that I've ever met," Sophie declared. Tessa smiled at Sophie's defiant look.
"There's Gabriel Lightwood. He majors in Art and Fighting. People love his art, really. His paintings are good, but like Will, he's way too arrogant. Less than Will, perhaps, in his arrogance, but," Sophie shuddered. "He's still bad news."
Tessa chuckled softly at Sophie's disgusted look. "There is Gideon Lightwood, who's doesn't speak as much as Will or Gabriel, but judging from the girls that are in love with him, he's a romantic. Anyways, he majors in Business and Fighting. He's Gabriel's twin, by the way."
"Lastly, there's James Carstairs," Sophie said. Tessa gasped.
"But Jem is so nice! He helped me this morning," Tessa protested. Sophie raised an eyebrow at Tessa's use of the nickname.
Sophie shrugged. "He is the nicest and by far, the smartest of the Shadowhunters. He majors in Music and Fighting. Notice that all these boys are in Fighting. They are strong, fierce and merciless, Tessa. Don't go near them. I don't want to see you hurt," Sophie said grimly.
"Have you…" Tessa asked hesitantly.
"No. They have never hurt me outright, but my friend… Never mind. Anybody related to the Shadowhunters is immediately cool or popular. Their girlfriends or their siblings. Cecily Herondale, who's Will's twin, is very popular. Admittedly, she is very pretty and she actually has at least half a brain, unlike the other popular brats – who only rely on their beauty and wealth. None of the boys have girlfriends, currently. But Will is often known for having flings."
Tessa absorbed the information.
"Class, this is Tessa Gray!" Mr. Treason announced. He gestured for Tessa to stand. Tessa stood, waving a shy hello to the class before sitting down. She caught the eye of four boys, sitting off to the side, staring at her.
Gabriel Lightwood. Gideon Lightwood. James Carstairs. And Will Herondale.
Tessa shivered under their stares before sitting down again.
This is based on a Korean drama I watched, by the way. And I solemnly swear that this is a Wessa fiction. Get it? I solemnly swear? Harry Potter anyone?
REVIEW! FAVOURITE! FOLLOW! More drama is coming up ;)