Chapter 2: New Dawn

Acceptance in a family was inevitable, no matter how wrong your choices in life were. That's just how it worked.

But not for us.

In our family, we didn't need anyone getting in our way to success because we had it all. But not for long. Once my father's hard work was put in the hands of the traitor, everything would fall apart. The new CEO would be Mom's biggest advantage now that my father was gone. But still, she wasn't assured that Hansel's loyalty would forever give her benefit, now that I was here to sabotage her evil alliance with Jones' enemies.

Yesterday, we had champagnes for the celebration of Hansel's success. They introduced me as the youngest member of the company— another lie they had to tell, so paparazzi would not suspect anything to put Jones' reputation at risk. Some officers thought I was a celebrity which I found absurd. They didn't even recognize that I was the long lost daughter. Fortunately, I had only been in the company twice when I was still a kid.

The party was exhausting that I almost forgot I would be having my first day of school. It was kind of bizarre going back to a campus after being homeschooled a few years ago, and this was what I asked William when he granted my freedom: to live normal. Considering the fact that I needed at least a high school diploma, it didn't strain to convince him. He even got me a scholarship so I wouldn't bother paying my salary to school's expenses. Since I didn't like depending on my family, I would be paying all my necessities. Hansel was happy with my decision which I found sincere and certain.

Earlier, I was startled by the ceaseless noise of the alarm clock, causing my mood to aggravate. I wasn't used to waking up early in the morning because I was always tired from work and barely got a chance to school online.

When I got up, sunshine peeked through the blinds of the window that stood a few inches away from my bed. As random thoughts crept in my mind, I shook my head and shuffled out of bed.

I bathed and prepped myself for the day and wore Kingsley's uniform: plain white long-sleeved blouse, above-the-knee pleated jet black skirt, a tie, and a knee-high black socks. It just felt odd wearing something like this again. It took almost forever, I wasn't used to it.

I strolled downstairs, as the freshly cooked pancakes penetrated my nose. Because of my eased mood, I waltzed down the hall, my feet leading me to the dining area where mother and Hansel sat comfortably.

"Goodmorning," Hansel greeted, curling his lips to a nice smile. Mom took a glance and simpered, hinting a bit of annoyance by my presence.

"Goodmorning Hans and Mom," I pretentiously greeted back, sitting in front of her.

We were busy having breakfast, and I felt Mother's uncomfortable glances at me. The entire meal was quiet; the awkward atmosphere began to diminish as they left the dining. Since I was the only one itching to ventilate anything, I just left and drove off to school.

I followed my GPS, my hands tightly gripping the steering as I hit the road. I didn't know how was I going to face everyone, and I wasn't used of hanging out with people my age since I was surrounded by adults my whole existence.

I'd arrived at school and parked my car to a free space on what seemed like forever. I traipsed to the main entrance and had a quick glimpse of the beautiful landscape outside the entryway before stepping my foot inside the Kingsley High. I saw its luxurious foyer with a great panther statue in the middle of the hall. I was astonished and mesmerized by everything, maybe because I missed school a lot.

I had my office box with me, filled with my textbooks to put in my assigned locker. They had this number cards they gave right away so you could find your locker immediately. I didn't have an idea on which way to go in this humungous building, as cackles and chitchats resounded the place.

My ankles were aching, and I started to feel exhausted after walking for a few minutes. Remembering the fact that I was new and attended school to its second semester, I felt totally fazed.

"I figured you might need a hand." Someone suddenly spoke, distracting me from my thoughts. He carried my box without hesitation and willingly joined me in my marathon.

I looked at my side, a tall guy stood next to me. He had a messy ginger hair, fair skin, some freckles layed on his nose and cheeks, and emerald eyes. Let me guess, he was an English man from his accent.

"Thank you for your kind gesture," I replied respectively and smiled in gratitude.

"No need to be formal. What's your name?" he spoke with an accented manner.

I composed myself and sheepishly cleared my throat.

"I'm Lala Preston, and I'm kinda new here so I barely know anyone. You?" I casually asked, glancing at him.

"Nicholas Augustine, by the way. You can call me Nick. I transferred last year if you might ask," he nicely responded. "I'm not quite sure where we're heading at. Mind telling me your locker and first class?" he added.

I pulled out my schedule outside my sling bag and gobbled up. This would be coincident if he would be having the same class as me but I highly doubt that.

"The number they gave me was 104 and my first-period class is English. I really don't have any idea where I'm heading at so thank you for joining me." I sheepishly smiled, feeling a bit embarrassed about being new.

"No problem. The second semester already started, you're fortunate the school considered your late enrollment. By the way, I'm willing to help newbies since I've been tutoring students for a while," he suggested, as we diverted our way to the west section.

"I kinda don't have a problem with coping up but thank you for your offer," I nicely responded, a little too confident.

It was sudden, and I didn't expect anyone initiating to hand me a help. I couldn't even picture myself being approached by anyone.

We were walking for quite a few minutes when we finally reached locker 104. Coincidentally, it was only a few feet away from my first subject which gave me relief, knowing the class would start soon.

Nick helped me out, and I started to arrange my things inside my locker. The uneasiness still hadn't left me, knowing I had missed a lot of topics throughout the first semester.

"I really appreciate your company. But don't you have a class to attend?" I asked hopefully, so I could escape another conversation. I placed my English textbook inside my bag before facing him again.

"It's my vacant and I wasn't really bothered by the time. After this, I'm going to attend an SC meeting that will start at nine so I still got plenty of time," he casually responded, as I shut my locker.

"SC? What's that?" I asked curiously and leaned on the locker door, creating a slight thud.

"Student council. I got chosen to be a part of a fundraising activity," he answered.

I nodded in response, not really sure what to say next. All of a sudden I felt uncomfortable. I was that anxious though, and I wasn't raised to make friends.

All of a sudden, the silence was filled by chatters, making us avert our gaze to the horde of students beside our area. There were only a few of them, standing in front of the bulletin board placed beside the array of our lockers.

One student glanced at us and beckoned Nick to join them. I looked at him, quite confused and smiled.

"I should probably go to my first class. See you at lunch," I bid goodbye before walking passed by him and strolled down the hall to my English class.

I entered the room, feeling a little eased after one encounter. Was it supposed to feel liks this? Like being worried about what to utter? It was a different feeling, unlike talking to your family or relatives. It just made me really uncomfortable.

I walked down the aisle, searching for a perfect spot to sit in. But suddenly to my unfortunate timing, the teacher suddenly arrived, causing me to jolt and sat on a chair closest to me.

I sighed in relief as the teacher started approaching her desk. She had a kinky dark brown hair that was quite breathtaking from its volume, same with her glowing caramel skin. She was wearing a pencil skirt and a blouse that hugged her figure. She looked at us with a smile that could light up day and started writing something on the board.

There was a guy sitting next to me, writing down on what seemed to be a homework. I began to fidget my foot, remembering the fact that I had forgotten to bring my pen. From all the things I could've forgotten, why was it the most valuable one? At this point, I wanted the earth to swallow me already.

"Oh god," I mumbled, putting my hand on my forehead.

"Anything wrong?" the guy asked, sounding kind of familiar. Probably because my brain sometimes messed with me whenever I was stressed out.

I looked at my side, a familiar guy was staring at me; dreamy chocolate, brown eyes with thick lashes, curly dark hair, and perfectly tanned skin. I was mesmerized by him, not because of his appearance, but the way he looked at me in a familiar gaze.


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