Excerpt of Chapter One: Welcome to Lawrencehill
I have this mild obsession with Harry Potter. When I was eleven I made a wish. I wanted to go to boarding school, to a place like Hogwarts. I wanted to have instant friends like Harry’s. Sure, he had to go through some stuff and it wasn’t easy but at least he had friends who were always there when it mattered.
Well, I’m finally getting to go to boarding school. Unfortunately this happily ever after is too late. I stopped making that wish six years ago.
“Aziza!” snapped my mom. “Are you listening to me?” She wore her hair in its usual style, a tightly woven braid that ran down her back. Even though she never took her eyes off the road, I could tell she wasn’t pleased.
“Yes, mother,” I said, taking the time to let every syllable roll off my tongue. “I hear you.” Then I leaned against the hot car window, trying to block my mother as she droned on about the school’s history. After a few minutes I shifted my body to face hers, “I still don’t understand why I have to go there.”
My mother glared at me, bringing the car to a screeching halt at a red light, sending my head straight back into the headrest. “You do not want to come with me, so….”
“I know, mom” I said. “But why can’t I stay at Bardin, what’s one more year?”
“Aziza,” warned my mother. “We’ve already discussed this.” Then she turned to face forward as she waited for the light to change; her way of saying the conversation was over.
My face hardened as I leaned back against the window. I was furious, but it had been my choice. As much as I hated the idea of transferring schools, there was no way I was going to Cairo.
The rest of the car ride was completely silent, until we arrived at Lawrencehill’s front gate. I let out a loud gasp.
With a smug smile, my mother looked at me, “I told you should have come on the school visits,” she said.
Ignoring her, I continued to look at the school. I didn’t have a word in my vocabulary to explain how it looked; the catalog pictures paled in comparison. The main building resembled a huge gothic cathedral complete with flying buttresses. The other buildings were made of red brick and there was ivy climbing up the walls. It was a combination that I would have never expected to work, but somehow alongside the perfectly manicured gardens, that included a fountain, it did. I had wanted to hate the school so badly. Unfortunately, I was already in love with it.
I was about to tell my mother she was right, when I heard her say, “I’m sorry.” I looked over at her, her hands were in her lap and her head was down. I must have been hearing things because there was no way my mother could have said those words. At least that’s what I thought until I heard her say it again, “I’m truly sorry,” she continued, “that you have to go to here but maybe at a boarding school you will find it easier to make friends. I know my work has kept us moving but I really believe that things will be different this year.”
I reached over to her, she was nearly in tears, and I gave her a hug. “I know, mom,” I said, “I’ll be fine.”
Our moment of silence continued for several more minutes until I noticed a woman, near the main entrance, waving at us to enter. Once we had entered the gate, I recognized her. She was the headmistress of the school. She wore her signature crisp navy pants suit, with the Lawrencehill insignia pinned to her jacket. It was the same outfit I had seen her in on all of the catalogs.
“Hello,’ she said, still waving at us, as my mother and I got out of the car. “I am Headmistress Conner; it is so nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too,” I said as I shook her outstretched hand, boy did she have a tight grip.
“I will let you say your goodbyes,” said Headmistress Conner as she shook my mother’s hand. “Then you can follow me; the all school assembly is about to start.”
I looked at my mom, she was already back to her usual self, “Bye mom,” I said.
“Bye, Aziza,” she said, as she brushed one of my thick curls aside and kissed me on the forehead. “Be good and please make some friends; call me if you need anything.”
“I will,” I said as I watched my mother get back into her car and drive off. Then I grabbed my luggage from where it was sitting on the gravel and walked over to Headmistress Conner.
“You can leave your things here,” she said with a flick of her wrist. “I will send someone to get them. Welcome to Lawrencehill, we are glad to have you.” While I wanted to believe her, her words were full of forced emotion. She seemed like the headmistress who cared more about her students’ money than their well-being.
We walked through the cathedral looking, main entrance. After a series of turns we ended up in a long corridor with a large, ornate wooden door at the end.
“Here we are,” she said. “This is the chapel. When we get inside there should be an open spot in the back for you.”
As soon as she opened the door I went to sit down in one of the back seats, hoping to not draw attention to myself. The chapel was a beautiful building, lit by natural light with stained glass windows on each of the walls. Inside were rows and rows of benches filled with Lawrencehill’s five hundred person, student body and faculty. This chapel, much like the school’s exterior, embodied what only wealth could build. Although this school was tiny compared to my previous school, that had over seven hundred students in the eleventh grade alone, I could tell that no expense had been spared.
“Welcome students,” said Headmistress Conner. “I am pleased to announce the beginning of the of The Lawrencehill School’s one hundred and ninth year. Although none of us were alive when it was built, we still uphold its mission to this day. The Lawrencehill School was built to be a beacon of light in the darkness, a place where some of the best and brightest pupils of our time could come together to exchange knowledge. Now years from that magnificent starting date this school still stands strong and does and will continue to push its students toward academic excellence and success. Without further ado it is my honor to introduce to you this year’s student body president, David Lewis.
That was some speech, I thought, much different from the ones I was used to.
Before David Lewis stood up to walk to the stage; the chapel had already filled with claps and cheers. I for one did not understand what all the raucous was about; until I saw him. He was so hot, and hot was not a word I used to describe people. He had the most gorgeous dark brown eyes with a smile that almost made me melt. However it was not only the female population he captivated, everyone seemed to be in love with him. Everyone but me, at least that’s what I tried to tell myself.
As he spoke, I forced myself to tune him out. I had met enough guys like him; spoiled, popular, captain of some sports teams, and hopelessly in love with themselves, to know to stay away. So instead I continued to look around the chapel and watch the mesmerized crowd. That is until I got the feeling that someone was watching me.
BLOOD OF ISIS (Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy; Word Count: 60,000) is an unpublished completed manuscript, I am currently in the process of editing it and preparing to send out queries to agents.