JULIA AND ALISON’S REVENGE WAS COMPLETE. They’d taken out the biggest threat at school.
Jasmine King had been expelled from Canterwood Crest Academy.
I’d been standing in Jasmine’s empty dorm room for a long time. Just staring.
I leaned my back against the wall and drew my knees to my chest, lowering myself to the bare wooden floor—shaking my head in amazement. It had happened so fast. I’d gone to the indoor arena to practice and had been using Mr. Conner’s camera to film my session. Jas hadn’t known the camera was on and she’d started to brag about how she’d framed Julia and Alison by making it look as if they’d cheated on their history test. I’d texted Julia and Alison about the tape and they’d taken it to the headmistress. I’d just left the Trio’s suite after a this-close-to-tears Heather had thanked me for saving her friends.
Jas was gone. I remembered her moving into my dorm and how I’d felt—I’d hated that she had transferred from Wellington Prep to Canterwood. It felt like she’d done it just to torture the Trio and me with her presence. Now, there was no trace of her in her old room. It was as if she’d never existed. Part of me felt a little sorry for her that she’d been yanked away to a new school, but mostly, I didn’t care. She deserved what she got for everything she’d done to us.
I reached for my phone to text Julia, Alison, and Heather. Everything had happened in an instant—Heather probably had no clue that Jasmine had been expelled. But before I could start a text, my phone buzzed.
Come 2 r suite & celebrate. ~H
That almost made me laugh out loud. Of course Heather knew. I should have known that. She was aware of everything that went on at school.
K. B there in a sec. I sent my text.
I got up and stuck my head of out the doorway and looked down the hallway toward my room. I’d planned to spend the rest of the evening with Paige, my BFF and roommate, but I couldn’t say no to celebrating Jas’s departure—something I’d hoped for since the day she’d arrived. I stepped out of Jas’s old room and left the door wide open behind me.
I left Winchester and walked back toward Orchard. I hurried, then caught myself. I surely wasn’t excited about hanging out with the Trio—it was just glee over Jasmine. Right? But maybe a tiny part of me wanted to hang with them. We still weren’t friends, but things had sort of changed.
I walked across campus and marveled at how gorgeous it was, especially with the fiery orange-red sunset. The manicured lawns were trimmed like golf course grass and the dark lacquered fence rails gleamed. Every inch of the winding sidewalks looked as if someone had just swept them. No matter how many times I crossed the campus, it never felt any less prestigious. There was a reputation to uphold as one of the top East Coast boarding schools.
When I got to Orchard Hall, I stared at it for a minute. The brick building was four stories tall and each window had a stark white frame with a small ledge underneath. Black shutters on either side contrasted with the frames and the rooms on the top floor had peaks over the windows. Two chimneys rose from the back of the building. A black old-fashioned street lantern was on each side of the front of the building. Soon, their light would illuminate the heavy wooden door that led into the dorm hall.
I took a breath before opening the door. Callie, my ex-BFF lived here, and the last thing I wanted was to run into her. But I pushed the thoughts away—tonight wasn’t about Callie—it was about celebrating Jasmine’s exit from Canterwood.
I walked down the glossy wooden floor and stopped in front of the Trio’s door. I’d barely knocked when a bouncy Alison pulled the door open.
“Sasha!” she said, grabbing me in a hug.
“I’m so happy for you,” I said. She let me go and I walked into Julia, Heather, and Alison’s living room. “You can start riding tomorrow.”
From her spot on the couch, Julia smiled at me. “Yeah, I bet we can.” She took a breath, glancing down before looking back up at me. “Thanks.”
I nodded. “I’m sorry I didn’t believe you before.”
Julia shook her head. “Don’t be dumb. You’re the one who saved us—you don’t have to apologize for anything.”
Heather appeared from her room and motioned for me to sit on the couch. On the coffee table in front of us, there was a bottle of ginger ale and four plastic champagne flutes.
“Let’s toast,” Heather said. She tossed her long blond hair over one shoulder and sat beside me. Julia poured ginger ale into all of our flutes and we raised them.
“To Jasmine,” Heather said.
“To Jasmine,” I echoed with the Trio.
© 2010 Jessica Burkhart