[ TWO ]

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chapter two | the normality of school

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Jean-Luc woke as soon as the sky lightened, and the world came alive with sound, and colour, and movement. He changed and read one of his older sister's books as he brushed his teeth, combed his hair, and waited at the table for breakfast.

Andrè was already there, drawing some of the diagrams he had studied last night and labelling the various parts he could remember.

Michele was cooking eggs, dressed for the day and humming one of her favourite hymns under her breath. Her husband had left for work already, a mug of coffee in his hand.

The smell of food woke Julienne, who slowly dragged herself down the stairs and into the kitchen. She rubbed her eyes and stood in the doorway for several long seconds before anyone noticed.

The family operated as if nothing had happened the previous day.

The children ate breakfast, Andrè and Julienne hurrying to dress for school. Jean-Luc slipped the lunches into their individual bags, setting them at the door and waiting on the stairs as he continued to read his inherited book.

As soon as Michele had ushered the twins out of the house and locked the front door, the children clambered into the machine parked in front of their gate. Julienne sat between the two boys, quiet as they started to joke around.

The machine chugged downhill as it followed the lane into the busy parts of Mireston. When the machine reached the smaller roads that stretched between the tall stacks of brick, it bumped furiously on the under-maintained streets.

Mireston Academy was a large, sprawling heap of bricks. In the front, besides a looping driveway that surrounded a delicate fountain, manicured grounds were fenced by tall, symmetrical trees. In the back, there was a field that extended for as far as any sport deemed necessary.

The main building contained a clock tower and a large foyer, two wings protruding on each side-- one for a numerous amount of classrooms, the other for a library, an observatory, and a greenhouse.

Michele idled the machine behind several others, all of them clothed in black paint and sleek leather, humming loudly.

"Wait here for me after school," she told her three children as Julienne and Andrè clambered over the side and dropped onto the driveway.

Jean-Luc tossed Andrè and Julienne's bags over the side and into their waiting arms before he swung out, his own bag hanging over one shoulder.

"Yes, Mama," Julienne called, the boys nodding in agreement before the melted into the crowd of students filing into the school. She waved goodbye before she joined the throng.

In the chaos of a large school, friends somehow manage to find each other.

Julienne was joined by her best friend, Antoinette, who linked arms and chattered away about the silly things she did last night. They immediately headed to their first class, fine arts.

Andrè found his ragtag group of individuals, a nine-year-old cluster of diverse personalities. He had his arm swung over his closest friend, a fellow class clown with the name of Saville. Unfortunately for the teachers, the two boys had been given the same schedule and would be in the same classes at the same time.

Jean-Luc was joined by his wingmen, three or four teammates from rugby, and an admirer or two. Though he was usually surrounded by many friends and acquaintances, Jean-Luc only had one or two close friendships.

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