[Summary: Pure-hearted maiden and princess of Stockbrunn Academy Ellie Navarrete has been sentenced to a cruel fate: a partner project with Shreya Azima, a scoundrel belonging to a school gang known as the Wolves.
How is she supposed to manage that on top of a Vice President who hates her Treasurer’s guts, a cousin vying for her Presidential position, and Shreya’s sister who wants her dead? All in a day’s work for a high school princess!
A Wolf, a Princess, and a Kiss Part I: The Redwood Crossing Shoujo AU]
Being the Student Council President of Stockbrunn Academy took balls.
You had to be big-league, no-room-to-sit-next-to-me-on-the-bus-because-of-my-spread ballsy. Anything less than that, and your fellow students would walk all over you. Not many people were cut out for what her job required, but Ellie Navarrete rose to every challenge that came her way.
Someone scribbling lewd drawings of hairy “rocket ships” and “cherries” on the lockers? Scrubbed away and dealt with. A clogged toilet in the third floor girls’ bathroom? Five pestering phone calls to the janitorial department later and it was gone. The badminton and tennis teams fighting over court time? Scheduled hours. Lock to a deserted classroom too flimsy, causing it to be an illicit make-out spot? She fixed that one herself.
Today’s challenge: demand the Wolves to stop smoking on school property.
Nasty pieces of work those Wolves were. They had no respect for anyone but themselves. Smart mouths. Blatant disdain for the laws of the land. Their disciplinary rap sheets were miles long. Bullies to the core, they reveled in making people’s lives miserable and not caring who they hurt. They acted like they ruled the school and, frankly, that pissed Ellie off to no end.
This batch of them hanging out by the chain-link fence that perimetered their fine institution were in her grade. Adikavi, their all muscle and no brain guy who was kicked off the wrestling team for getting in his coach’s face. Oydis the heartless and her twin sister Chinaza the soulless. Firouz, never to be trusted. Danilo, who seemed like he would be okay outside of the group but was definitely as bad as the rest of them.
He dated Shanti, the leader of the pack. Shanti had no sense of shame whatsoever. Ellie had once seen her make a teacher cry, and Shanti openly laugh about the incident with her friends. She was violent, belligerent, and altogether not one to mess with. The last kid that tried stepping up to her ended up with a broken nose.
And then there was Shreya Azima, Shanti’s twin (yes, somehow two sets of twins were in their hellraising group). Someone needed to stop her, like full-on throw a stop sign in her face STOP her. Her face, her shampoo commercial hair, her blue-gray eyes, her smooth brown skin, the way she fit into her pants—c’mon, her middle name had to be “dat” with a figure like that. It had to be!
Shreya had an Instagram page that Ellie spent one too many nights scrolling through.
It wasn’t even like Shreya was in most of her pictures. She just seemed to like hiking a lot. Every weekend, there’d be new photos of Shreya’s latest adventure. And whenever Shreya was in the frame, Ellie would take a screenshot, open the saved picture and mash the heart button to safely “like” the photo a thousand times.
Then she’d delete it from her gallery, chide herself for being creepy, and call up her best friend Zinnia to cry about straight girls together.
So maybe protecting the school’s beautiful grass wasn’t the only reason why Ellie stormed up to the Wolves to tell them off.
“You guys can’t smoke here,” she said, hands on her hips. Ellie proudly wore her Student Council lanyard around her neck. “It’s against the rules.”
Adikavi laughed, low and booming. He held up a palm-sized metal box. “It’s a vape.”
One of the girls, either Oydis or Chinaza Ellie didn’t care to discern, took it from him and popped its stem into her mouth for a hit.
“Are you serious?” Ellie stared at her incredulously, watching the girl exhale the fumes. “That’s illegal! And you, you’re smoking an actual cigarette. Put that out right now.”
The ‘you’ in question, Shanti, just smirked at her. Her burning stick dangled out of her mouth. She stuffed her hands into the pockets of her leather jacket as she leaned against the fence behind her, the very image of nonchalance.
Oydis or Chinaza passed the vaporizer to Chinaza or Oydis, and then to Firouz who took a short drag. Shreya was next in line for a turn, but she seemed too occupied with her phone to take it. Firouz clicked his teeth in annoyance, skipped her, and passed it along to Danilo.
“It’s nicotine,” Danilo explained.
“Like hell you’re all eighteen,” Ellie said. “I’m confiscating it. Hand it over.”
Shanti removed her smoke to talk. “Fuck outta here. We ain’t giving you shit.”
“If you don’t give it to me, I’m reporting you to the Principal.”
Another thunder of laughter from Adikavi. “She’s gonna tell on us, guys. Scary!”
“You won’t be laughing when you get an in-school suspension for this,” Ellie warned.
“Go ahead and give us one,” Firouz said, shrugging. “It’s not like we care.”
“We have to sit inside and read all day, big whoop,” Oydis or Chinaza said.
A chorus of angels sang in the form of Shreya’s voice. “You should go.” Her icy tone was less than angelic, but that was fine. She didn’t look up from whatever tapping she was doing on her touchscreen. A game? Insubordination.
“I’m not going until she puts that out, and all of you understand the rules. Page 57 of the Student Handbook clearly says—”
“Oh my God,” Shanti interrupted. “Can you not? Can you just fucking stop already?” She inhaled more of her cigarette, the end brightening as she did so. She let out a thick puff of smoke. “God, it isn’t even homeroom yet and you’re all over our asses. Go away.”
“I don’t care if the homeroom bell rings and we’re still out here. No one’s going anywhere until you get rid of that.”
“It’s my last one so I’m going to savor it, bitch. Stand there all you fucking want to.”
Ellie’s hands tightened into fists at her sides. “You know what? I’m going to write everyone up if you don’t throw that out. I know who you all are, and I’m really going to do it.”
“Do that and your little friend’s dead,” Shanti said.
“Now you’re afraid of getting suspended?” Ellie wasn’t going to fall for that threat so easily.
“Oh, we’re not afraid. I just wanted you to know it’s going to be your fault when I kick your VP’s ass. Hm…or maybe I should fuck up your puppy dog. What was her name?”
“Sunny,” Firouz answered. “She’s in my pre-calc class.”
“Yep,” Shanti popped the ‘p.’ “So write us up, take our shit, or tell your Mom about us and say goodbye to Sunny. It’s your choice.”
“You’re just adding demerit after demerit to your sentence,” Ellie said. “Say whatever you want. You’re all talk.”
No, Shanti wasn’t. Ellie had to will herself to believe that so she wouldn’t turn tail and run. There was a definitely high likelihood that Shanti would follow through on her threats. She’d make sure to go down the roster of people Ellie cared about.
Sunny and Zinnia in a fight, yeah, that wouldn’t be pretty. Marietta might hold her own for a bit, but she wasn’t a rough and tumble sort of girl. She’d probably get tired out a couple minutes into it and get taken down. And Ellie herself…no. She could barely open a jar of pickles. The rest of Shanti’s goons would handle Ellie’s male friends. All she could say to that was good luck.
It wouldn’t be the first time the Wolves wrecked someone and their friends.
Shanti puffed out a ring of smoke, and then clenched the stick.
“I’m going to give you ten seconds to lose that cigarette.” It was a wonder Ellie’s voice didn’t shake. “Ten, nine, eight…”
On the four second mark, Shreya tore the cigarette from her sister’s mouth and flicked it away.
Away and onto Ellie’s shirt.
Ellie shrieked, brushing it off and jumping up and down like someone poured a jar of spiders on her.
The Wolves erupted into a burst of laughter. Adikavi mimicked her scream. Firouz whooped. Oydis and Chinaza nearly fell over, they were laughing so hard. Shanti slapped her sister on the back for a job well done and Danilo brought up the time like what they just did to Ellie didn’t even matter.
Before Ellie could recover and retaliate, the homeroom bell rang, loud enough to be heard outside. The Wolves grabbed their backpacks and scattered. One of them patted her on the shoulder as they passed.
She stomped what remained of the cigarette.
They were so going to pay for that.
Revenge would be sweet.
~ * ~ * ~
Zinnia talked her ear off at lunch about all of the reasons why vengeance was a stupid idea. Chief of all reasons being that they were too young to die over some relatively harmless rulebreaking. Sunny was in agreement. Henrik pointed out that it wasn’t exactly harmless to the Wolves’ lungs, and Marietta told him to shut up. Their bodies, their problems.
Ellie made it to eighth period without running into any more altercations. No Wolf sightings in the hallway. She took her seat, her desk next to Sunny’s. Mr. Gaurin’s Honors English class was the only one they shared together. Most of the time they just passed notes to each other while Mr. Gaurin squawked on and on about the richness of the literary canon.
She leaned back in her chair, waiting for the lecture to start.
“What’s she doing here?” Sunny asked. Ellie followed her gaze to the front of the classroom. She caught herself just in time to prevent a bad fall.
Shreya Azima. Standing there in her black skinny jeans, camel-colored Tims, and a zipped-up bomber jacket she should’ve been arrested for wearing. The way she made Ellie’s breath catch in her throat, that had to be illegal, right? Somehow she looked even better now than she did this morning when she was a huge jerk! Get out of here.
“She probably left something here and is looking for it,” Ellie said, “like her umbrella or something.”
“She’s not here to hurt me, is she?” Sunny snuck a potato chip out of her backpack. Some crumbs spilled out onto her floral romper. Her white cardigan off-set the pattern, giving her a cutesy look that played well with her fluffy strawberry blonde hair.
“Can I get one?”
“Yeah. It’s cheddar and bacon flavored.”
“Only the best kind,” Ellie said, taking a chip. “Okay, I’m thinking she’s here to get in our heads. Don’t pay her any mind.”
“She’s talking to Mr. Gaurin about something.” Sunny chewed as she talked. “I think they’re looking at us.”
“Hey, what happened to us ignoring her?” Ellie palmed her forehead.
“Um, she’s kinda hard to ignore.”
“I know… She’s so pretty. I hate her.”
Sunny giggled. “No, I meant she’s hard to ignore ’cause she’s coming this way.”
Sure enough, Shreya was making her way down the aisle that separated Ellie and Sunny’s desks. Her steps were slow, deliberate. It was like she knew the extent of the torture she was inflicting on Ellie. Oh no. Did her hips sway as she walked? They totally did. Did the room increase in heat by about ten degrees? Yeah. Oh no was right.
Shreya passed them. Ellie didn’t dare turn around. There was a noise behind her. A shifting of a backpack. The clack of a pen or pencil on wood. Someone softly clearing their throat. A chair creaking as that someone sat down.
Shanti didn’t have to kill her with her fists. Shreya’s presence was a finer way to die. It’d be a slow burn death, the kind where the flames would gnaw at her from the inside out. RIP.
Tell Beanstalk I love him.
“Attention, everyone,” Mr. Gaurin called out. “We have a new student joining us thanks to a schedule change. Her name is Shreya Azima. I look forward to your contributions, Shreya.” He turned around to write HAMLET on the chalkboard. “And Sunny, put the food away.”
“Sorry, Mr. G.” Sunny zipped her backpack closed.
“For the past few weeks, we’ve been reading through and going over Hamlet. If there’s time today, we can start watching the modern reinterpretation starring Ethan Hawke. If not, we’ll save that for tomorrow,” Mr. Gaurin said.
Great, a movie. That’d be the perfect distraction from the fact that Shreya was sitting behind her.
Mr. Gaurin went on, “I’d like to talk to you about the Hamlet project I mentioned at the end of class yesterday.”
Someone raised their hand to ask if it would be an essay.
“You can choose to do an essay, but I encourage you to do something creative. You will be creating an artistic representation of a character or scene in the story. This could be a change of setting, like we will see in the Ethan Hawke film where Denmark is traded for New York City. You could make something more character-based.
“In the past, I’ve had a student who made a book of pressed flowers dedicated to Ophelia, and another who made a progressive metal mix tape for Claudius. I’ve even had play performances and interpretive dances.
“You have a wide range of possibilities for what you’d like to do, but I will be approving your ideas. You must send them to me by e-mail Monday morning at the latest.” He chalked the due date on the board. “No matter what you choose to do, you will do a presentation showing it and explaining it to the class. I’ll hand out the project guidelines tomorrow that will go over that in detail.”
Making a song playlist would be so easy. Ellie planned on making it the weekend before and slam dunking a minimal effort easy A.
“This is going to be a partner project, and no, you may not choose your partners this time. Learning how to work with different kinds of people is an essential life skill you must learn.”
The class collectively groaned.
Mr. Gaurin took a clipboard from off his desk. “I’ve assigned your partners via a randomizer program. Shreya joining us means that we no longer have to have any groups of three, so that is good. Listen up. Group 1 will be Damali Yida and Sergi Puig. Group 2, Hae-il Muk and Charlotte Hastings. Group 3, Bonnie Abogado and Hana Shields.”
Ellie crossed her fingers. Maybe luck would be on her side and she’d get paired up with Sunny.
“Group 8, Shreya Azima and Ellie Navarrete.”
No. No luck at all. She laid her head down on her desk. Sunny knocked on her desk to get her attention.
“You can have the rest of my chips if you want,” Sunny whispered in sympathy.
Ellie would need a lot more than a bag of chips to get through this one.
A/N: Haha, let me know if you guys want to see more of this AU. Pretty sure I gummed up the “shoujo” label by not censoring Shanti’s potty mouth. Whoopsie daisy.
Also, Sunny’s last name may or may not be Fleur, Flor, or Blume. I’ll walk myself out of the door.
Has September 30th at 11:59 PM EST passed yet? If not, be sure to read Chapter 32 and vote on the poll!