It seemed to Jessica there were two types of people at school. Most were the first type, ambitious, people who seemed they had a grand vision of how their future lives would be. They had a plan. Jessica counted herself in the second group, people who had no idea. Even though academically she did very well, and perhaps others thought she would go on to achieve some success, she herself secretly had no great ambitions, and only hoped that life would not be too difficult.
It was somewhat of a mystery, even to Jessica herself, how her life had ended up as it had. By the age of seventeen, she had already lived in three countries, gained a stepmother and a stepfather, and known friends in her early childhood whom she realized she would probably never see again. Though she had no real conception of her future self when she was younger, she did not expect so much to have changed, that life would be so unpredictable.
Sometimes she envied other girls at school, whose parents hadn’t divorced, who seemed they came from happy, stable families. She felt her own parents’ unhappy marriages had killed any notions of romantic love she might have had. Unfairly or not, she often judged other girls as hopelessly naive when they talked of boys and love and marriage.
However, she had become good friends with Michael, who was now Head Boy, the year before. She herself had been made a school prefect, much to her own surprise, for she wasn’t good at games and didn’t really participate in many extracurricular activities, which seemed to be prerequisites.
The school was originally a boys’ boarding school in Victorian times. As it had expanded, it had come to admit day pupils, and finally, girls. Her father had thought it best, as the family disintegrated, that she become a boarder and that school would provide a stability he could not give her.
It was the first night back. Now early September, it still seemed summer but the beech leaves outside were already beginning to change to golden brown. Classes did not start until the next day but boarders were due back early. Jessica had arrived around three in the afternoon. Her father was a maniac about always being early and therefore Jessica was always one of the first to arrive back at school. She had walked to her new room and felt the usual sadness. This would pass once everyone had arrived.
As a House Prefect, she was expected to attend the new juniors’ tea at the Housemistress’s house at half past four. These were the Year 9 girls who would be entering the House this year. Jessica had finished unpacking and was about to make her way to the Housemistress’s wing when there was a rapid knocking on the door and it burst open.