00“Hey… Lisie! Over here!” I felt my heart sink with relief as I saw a pale hand rise above the heads of the other girls milling around the bus. The sea of people seemed to part as a group of four walked past them. They didn’t need to push or shout for anyone to move – the Elite Four simply did as they please, and no one questioned it (well, not in front of their faces, at least).
Sophia, Esme, Frances and Josephine. Without them, it seemed as though the school would collapse. They ran the school council, charity committee and prefects. Only the prettiest, cleverest and best would qualify – Sophia would never settle for anything less than pure perfection.
Sophia Florence: a typical blonde-haired, blue-eyed bombshell. If you didn’t know her, you might make the mistake of thinking she was just that – a silly, prissy girl with no care for anyone except her self. Sophia wasn’t your run-of-the-mill b*tch queen, oh no. She had much subtler ways of ruining someone’s life. Tread on her toe during hockey? She’d laugh that off, no questions asked. But if you made the mistake of trying to get a little too close and infiltrate the Four? You might as well say ‘buh-bye’ to Thornriver, scholarship girl, because there was no way of ever climbing back up the social ladder.
Her old second-in-command, Esme Easton had her arm linked tightly with Sophia’s, no doubt relishing her moment of redemption. Esme was ’old money’, as they say. Her however-many-greats grandfather allegedly worked for Queen Victoria, but not many people believed that. Esme and Sophia got into an argument last term about god-knows-what, no one was sure of the details. But it was enough for Esme to be slightly bumped down in the order of the social hierarchy, which was no doubt why she looked so smug as Sophia linked her arm. Esme was pretty, of course, but she had to work for it, unlike Sophia. Her auburn hair never seemed quite as perfect, and if she didn’t wear as much makeup as usual, the port wine stain on her neck (which she ‘was desperate to get lasered off’) was distinctly visible.
Frances Remington was a fairly plain-looking girl – black hair, average-looking brown eyes. But what she lacked in appearance she made up for in smarts. She could’ve easily got a scholarship to Thornriver without any questions asked, but like Esme, her family had money, and reportedly a lot of it. She boasted of holiday houses in France, her home country of Japan, Switzerland and Spain, her huge house in Kent overlooking the sea, and a wardrobe that sounded bigger than my entire house.
Last, and certainly least, being pulled along by Frances, came Josephine. Don’t get me wrong, Josie was clever, and pretty enough. She was an athlete – with the body to prove it. She originally got into Thornriver on a sport scholarship which was being renewed every year. She’d taken the hockey, swimming and tennis team to regionals; and captained the lower years football team. It wasn’t her fault that her parents weren’t rich enough to pay – but that fact put her at a distinct disadvantage to the rest of us. I was so confused as to why on earth she was accepted into the Four that I asked Frances, who simply said that ‘she and Sophia were closer than sisters’ – although in the weeks I’d spent with them, it certainly didn’t seem like it.
The tensions were obvious when Sophia subtly nudged her out of the way as they came to stand in front of me. Josie was shoved to the back as Frances and Sophia beamed at me (Esme, on the other hand, tried to keep the sneer off her face).
“Hey Lise,” Sophia repeated, giving me a hug so tight it nearly knocked the breath out of me. She stepped back, putting her hands on my shoulders. “You look great. Doesn’t she look great, Es?”
She turned her head towards Esme, who flashed me a brief smile before the stern look appeared back. Sophia either didn’t notice or wasn’t bothered. “Yeah, Lise. Nice… shirt,” Esme mumbled in the way a five-year-old might after being told to say ‘sorry’ in nursery.
“Are you excited?” Sophia always seemed full of energy, stepping back into the line of Four.
“Yeah. And thanks, Es.” I said, trying to catch her eye. Esme didn’t look up.
“Don’t mind her. She’s in a funny mood.”
We all knew the real reason Esme was like that – Sophia had told her, rather harshly, after their argument, that I would be taking her place as Deputy Prefect. Sophia was taking every opportunity to torture her about this fact.
“Shouldn’t we just get on the bus and not waste time? I want to get a good seat,” Esme told us, trying to keep the edge out of her voice.
“Great idea, Es!” smiled Sophia brightly. “I wanna sit next to Elise!”
“And me and Josie’ll sit together,” said Frances, re-linking arms with her. Josie made no protest, and just stayed silent.
I have to admit – it felt really nice being picked out of two hundred girls in our year to make the Elite Four the Elite Five. It felt even better, however, to sit next to Sophia and be her new best friend, even though a part of me always knew that it was just to p*ss off Esme.
“Oh dear,” said Sophia, feigning sadness. “Esme! You’ll be all alone!”
“Don’t worry, isn’t there another girl joining our group? You know, to make it a six?” said Frances.
Esme looked horrified. “Are you kidding? Queen Emo of all people? Do I have to sit next to her?”
Sophia gave her a pointed look, advising her to shut up.
The teacher in charge, a sports coach called Nikki Boswell, stood at the door to one of the coaches. “Everyone, be quiet!” There was still some murmuring. “Everyone!” she said, louder this time, and the Thornriver girls’ chatter subsided. “Okay, I’m going to call your teams one by one, and you’ll sit on the coach in pairs, please. After you’ve arrived, I’m going to give you some instructions, before you can start your walk. Are you ready?”
An overwhelming cry of “YEAH!” filled my ears, and Sophia looked at me and smiled.
“Friends forever?” she asked, slipping her hand into mine and giving it a squeeze.
Hi there! E. here, with a new story. I can't promise all the chapters will be this long, but thank you for choosing this story anyway! Please let me know of any errors, and I'll do my best to correct them. Don't forget to rate and review!
Word count: 1074