❝ everybody loves cool ❞

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And the camera flashes,
Make it look like a dream.
You had it figured out,
Since you were in school.
Everybody loves pretty,
Everybody loves cool.

"The Lucky One" - Taylor Swift

My school was a pretty dangerous place, but not in the way you might think.

      Yeah, there were attacks sometimes. Common knowledge, even if they never told us, since everyone was stopped by the gate or guards or cameras. They weren't what really made the school dangerous, though.

      The real danger was already in the school. Everyone here was special, special enough to stand out at any school but ours. Everyone, from the nerds to the rebels, was crazy rich. Blaire Academy was a prestigious private school for the kids of the wealthiest, and most powerful people in the world.

      I hovered by my locker for a second before joining the flow of students walking to the cafeteria. It was easy to slip by unnoticed here. Almost everyone was starved for attention or spoiled rotten. Usually both. It was like a war. And the thing about attention here, it was guaranteed to come back to bite you. Most people wanted it anyway.

      My phone buzzed in my pocket so I ducked into an empty washroom to answer it. "Hey Raine," I said after checking the caller ID. Raine Fleming was my adopted mom, though I didn't really think of her like that. She was more of an older sister, or friend. Right now she was overseas finishing the filming for her new movie. Kaden, her husband and my adopted dad, was with her, working on an important case.

      "How's everything?" she asked.

      "Fine... Is everything okay?"

      They had never called while I was at school before, even though they checked in at least once a day when they were both away. I think it was because they felt bad about leaving me alone -and something about how Kaden had grown up- but I didn't really mind. As nice as they were, I couldn't really think of them as my parents, despite having spent five years under their care.

      "Yeah, can you just go to Devon's for lunch for the rest of the week?"

      I blinked. "Is something wrong?" Devon was Raine's best friend. He worked as a pyschiatrist, and his office was just a block from the school. I didn't mind Devon, but I usually didn't leave school for lunch.

      There was a pause, and I imagined Raine shaking her head, something she usually did when she was on the phone even though the person she was talking to couldn't see her. "He just wants to see you more."

      Raine's an actress. Which means she's had a lot of practice faking emotions and making false lines sound true. But even with the sincerity in her tone, the lie fell a bit flat. Devon visited our house every other day when I was there alone.

      I let it drop, though, since I didn't mind going to Devon's for lunch. At least I could talk to him. "Okay."

      "Great! We'll be back in a week, okay?"

      I blinked again and stared at the wall across from me. "I thought you were coming back on the seventeenth." Which was a five day difference.

      "Kaden's case finished early." There were some voices in the background on her side. "I gotta go, Lena. See you soon, okay? Love you."

      "Love you too." I clicked the phone shut and stared at it. Usually Kaden's cases finished late, not early. I shook my head and shoved the phone in my pocket. Not your business, Lena, I told myself. After returned to my locker to grab my jacket, I headed to the front gates. We were allowed to leave the school for lunch, but most people chose not to, since the lunchroom was fully equipped.

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