Beware of the Dog

"You might get bit," he snarls into my ear as he takes a step closer. I feel my back hit the wall. "You might get hurt." Adrians hand grabs hold of my shoulder with a feral touch, so hard I felt ripples of pain emit from my shoulder. "Are you not scared?"

Kelly Wains just moved to the cold and drizzly Scotland, home of runny noses and men in kilts. Her new high school is Idenloch Academy, and boy is Kelly dreading it.

There’s more to the place than school uniform and strict rules - there’s Adrian, the head boy and captain of the rugby team

There's one warning that sticks in her mind the most; Beware of the Dogs.

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1. Chapter 1

It was like my parents were dead set on ruining every waking moment of my teenage years. It seemed the only thing left to comfort me was my bed, and even then my mom tried to take that from me as well each and every morning, 6am on the dot.

 

I suppose all good things come to an end eventually.

 

Just like my American Dream back in the states. Sure, all my friends will get to live that life for the rest of their existence, but me? I’m Kelly Wains, and by that I mean nothing ever goes the way Kelly Wains wants it. A life in california, chilling in the sun with my best friends? No, lets move to Scotland instead.

 

Staring out the car window, I tried to catch a bit of the Scottish scenery, spot a bit of iconic and mind twisting features that we didn’t have back home. Unfortunately, that failed. Everything looked the same and as we passed by in speed, I mumbled under my breath, “Tree, tree, tree, tree.”

 

“Stop being so negative, Kelly,” my mother scolded from the front of the car as my ten year old brother laughed to my left.

 

I sighed, letting my head hit the damp window. Bad things always happen to good people.

 

***

 

“Well, that’s us here!” Mom was as excited as my brother Noah on Christmas day. Speaking of Noah, I looked over at the indifferent ten year old and wondered why he wasn’t kicking up a fuss? If he at least caused a scene, It’d give me an opportunity to do so as well.

 

I think my parents would react worse if their sixteen year old daughter went on hunger strike for moving than their still-too-young-to-know-better son.

 

The doors around me slammed, leaving me in a deafening silence, and peace to observe the house; it was big, and it didn’t look bad, I give it that, but had Scotland ever heard of contemporary, or were we all stuck in the victorian era? I can’t wait to see what the locals look like.

 

It was a brick house, and it had been painted several times, that much was obvious. White. I wasn’t sure if I liked the house white - it was a sitting duck in a field of green for axe murders. God knows who was hiding out there in the blanket of trees.

 

As I get out the car the damp air hits me like a brick wall, certainly not any good for my hair, I think as I hold up a few strands observing the already frizzy uphold. No, not good at all.

 

“Mom, where’s all our stuff?”

 

My mom turns around a good distance ahead with the house keys to hand. “Soon, the trucks not here yet.”

 

“Oh, thanks, I hadn’t gathered that,” I mumbled.

 

How am I supposed to freshen up now? I’d been in the same clothes for well over twelve hours on a small compact plane headed north half way across the globe.

 

Seeing as I could do none of that until the truck came, I’d sleep it off. “Ugh, where’s my room, mom?”

 

This time, my dad replied as he slammed the car trunk. “It would help if you went indoors first, sweetie.”

 

What was this, Sarcasm central?

 

I frown as my dad laughs, hauling a few bags we had on us onto the path towards the house. “Just playing, Kelly, don’t look so glum.”

 

“I’m not in the mood.”

 

He gives me a sarcastic sympathetic look once more. “Aw, sweetie, will I fix you some hot cocoa later? Makes everything better.”

 

Despite my attempts not to smile, the sides of my mouth began to twitch.

 

My dad smiled, swiping some of his long blonde-grey hair from his face and disappeared indoors.

 

I followed after some conflict with the mud, entering, I notice the smell of mothballs and thought, oh great, I’ll die of chemical poisoning before I can escape back home.  “Is there a reason we’re living here?”

 

“It’s awesome!” Noah shrieked from the first floor, as he jumped on top of the stair rail and let himself slide down it.

 

“Get down from there, you’ll get hurt!” my mom jumped in to pull him away from the rail and away with her to organise what we already had in the other room.

 

“Can you show me my room now?” I asked as I ran my finger along the windowsill coming back up with an almost black finger. Forgetting I was wearing white, I wiped my hand across my thighs.

 

Did the last owners at least not clean the place before they sold it?

 

I look down at my feet and see the bare wooden ground, that should at least have a carpet or laminate over it.

 

The tall ceilings done nothing for the matter with cobwebs on every corner.

 

“We haven’t looked in all the rooms, honey, but feel free to go choose your own just now?”

 

I get to choose my room?

 

Forget cobwebs, forget dirt that even the most powerful of bleach can’t scrub, I get to choose my own room, meaning I’ll choose the best.  

 

I ditched my purse on the floor and run up the stairs. Suddenly I’m reminded how unfit I am when an intense searing pain hits my side. Stitch. Yeah, I should work out more.

 

It was then I realised there was yet another flight of stairs, realising I forgot to ask mom how big the actual house was. Surely we couldn’t afford a house this big? The staircase stopped on the first floor landing but around the corner I could see it went up again for at least another floor.

 

I could hear my family talking downstairs, and with that I decided I didn’t want to be kept awake all afternoon as they unpacked. A room on the very top floor would do fine.

 

By the time I reached the top floor, I was panting and realised maybe the top floor wasn’t the best, but I was here now, and I wasn’t moving any further if I could help it.

 

Plus, I thought, there was only one room on the second floor.

 

A floor to myself? Who was I complaining to? To make everything better, I realised what I thought was a cupboard on the landing was in fact my own personal bathroom - claimed so by me. My brother wasn’t gettign anywhere near my bathroom in this house, no way. It sure beat sharing a bathroom back in California.

 

Kelly nodded to herself. Everything in Scotland would do fine, as long as I locked myself in my room and didn’t go outside.

 

Then suddenly, standing there on the musty landing, I remembered an important factor in this whole ‘moving to a different country’ situation; I’d have to join another school.

 

What struck me the most was that I’d read and watched enough dramas to realise schools over here had uniforms.

 

“Fuck,” I grumbled under my breath before hastily opening the door to the bedroom and looking around before even setting a foot inside. Just making sure no Scottish demons lurked inside.

 

I peered around the doorframe and saw no more than an empty room with an old fashioned bed frame in the center. I hope to god they ordered us furniture or so help me. There isn’t even a mattress.

 

Closing the door behind me, I moved slowly one foot at a time until I came across a shaky floorboard, hoping that if I didn’t die from chemical poisoning, I also wouldn’t die from falling through the floorboard. Light streamed through the closed but useless curtains that highlighted the amount of dust that floated through the air.

 

That’s it, I’d not even been in the house ten minutes and I’d already found three things that could kill me. New addition; asthma attack- thanks, dust.

 

My grandma back home would be yelling so much at me if she was still around, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ she’d say, but I’m pretty sure she stole that from Kelly Clarkson.

 

I couldn’t help but pout as I looked about. It was spacious, it had character, but I wasn’t looking for character - I was looking for cleanliness, a room I wasn’t scared to catch a disease from.

 

***

 

“No, no, no, no, no,” I wailed as I tugged at my skirt and blouse, watching my mom hold out a maroon woolen sweater. “I’m not going, you’re homeschooling me, mom. It’s official, I’m a homeschool freak.”

 

School; 9am sharp. Idenloch academy. It was public, but going by the brochure I was handed I was beginning to wonder what their definition of private was. “Plus I can leave school now, can’t you leave school at 16 here?”

 

My mom stared me down, telling me her firm answer was no. she folded my sweater and left it on the kitchen table that had a worn down country feel to it. Not the cleanest if I say so myself, but it was better than my still empty room - considering no truck had turned up yesterday or so far today with our stuff.

 

It was either wear this school uniform and go to school, or go to school naked seeing as I wasn’t getting out of this one.

 

I’m sure I’d fit right in going to school in the buff, I snort to myself, aren’t scots renowned for publically flashing?

 

“Sweetie, you didn’t even graduate high school back home. At least go to school here and get some qualification to your name, huh?” My dad had a way of putting everything in a nicer way than my mother. Unfortunately for me, it worked convincing me more often than not, because after all, I didn’t want to be a bum for the rest of my life.

 

“And think on the brightside; over here you won’t be the youngest - you’ll be in the highest grade.” My mom lightened thing up.

 

My brother came bustling in with his backpack with an animated picture on the front. “They don’t call it grade here, mom.”

 

My dad was only half listening as he responded, “Oh yeah?”

 

“Yeah, I saw on the internet - they call it ‘year’. Weird, huh?” He bore a huge smile as he stood back on his heels and giggled.

 

“Yeah, real weird,” dad replied, as he finally opened the jam jar.

 

It was getting too crowded in here, I thought, as the noise became almost unbearable.

 

I sat down at the table and leant on my hand. I couldn’t even do my hair this morning - the straighteners were with all my other things. So much for making an impression on my first day, I thought as I eyed up the strands of hair dangling in front of my face. I blew them away.

 

“Honey, elbows off the table please,” my mom asked as she ran about like a headless chicken trying to locate things. “It’s toast for breakfast or nothing, we didn’t have a chance to go shopping,” she explained as I waved my hand in dismissal.

 

“Just give me a few dollars, I’ll buy something at school.”

 

Noah appears over my shoulder, spilling crumbs from his mouth onto my stiff blouse. Shoving him away, he said, “Pounds, Kelly, we use pounds now.”

 

“Ugh, whatever,” I shout over the chaos as I get up from the seat. My dad was reading a Scottish newspaper with a piece of jam covered toast hanging from his mouth. “I’m going out to the car,” I told him.

 

He takes a big bite and pulls the toast from his mouth. “You go out and wait then, sweetie, I’ll be right there,” he tried to speak through a mouthful of food. I grimace and get out of there as fast as I could.

 

Slamming the front door behind me, I heard it echo inside. I glared up the the three stories and wondered why here of all places.

 

The garden was huge though, not that it’d come in any use, because Scotlands summer could be compared to california's winter. How does anyone survive here?

 

I’d have to meet the locals first - step one, first day of school.

 

Wherever school may be, I frown, because it sure enough was no where around here. All I’d seen were trees on the way here earlier - maybe a village or two somewhere back.

 

“Right,” I heard my dad say as he appeared beside me. Swinging his keys around his finger he strolled towards the car across the lawn.

 

“Is Noah not going to school?” I ask.

 

“Your mom’s walking him to school a little later. Don’t worry, no favouritism in this house,” he cheerily shouts as he shoots a friendly wink over his shoulder.

 

“But you love me more than Noah, I’m the oldest, so of course I should get some benefits over him?”

 

He gave me a look from the corner of my eye as we got into the car. “Because you being driven to school is on the same level as him walking. Which, by the way, won’t be happening everyday. I expect you to walk when the weather is good.”

 

No, walking to school wasn’t on my agenda, especially in this wet country.

 

“Don’t think of skipping either - your school report has always been good. I don’t want that to change just because we relocated.”

 

The car began, and we were soon out sight of the house but that didn’t ease any worry. “Which was stupid, dad. Moving here was stupid.”

 

Dad sighed as he sped up the car. “Kelly, I know this is hard, but it would have been stupid to pass up on my promotion - my pay has almost doubled, the house came with the job. A free house - you don’t get many of those these days.”

 

Free so long as you kept with the job. Which won’t happen. My dad was a regional planner, which meant he’d have the task of efficiently making use of the land they were planning to build on. Why they couldn’t have promoted someone from their Scottish headquarters, I didn’t know.

 

We were here now, but we wouldn’t be here long no matter what my parents said.

 

“Everything was fine back home, we had enough money, we had connections and friends.”

 

“I’m only human, sweetie.” so then that ended that.

 

***

 

“I’ll pick you up right here after school, ok? Be safe, bye!” Then the car sped away out the lot. Be safe? Was a missing out on something?

 

I sighed in a way no teen had ever sighed and stared up at my misery under my frizzy full fringe almost blocking my view. Idenloch academy. Around me students bustled, wearing a similar uniform but they’d added their own take to it. I would have done so too if I actually had my possessions, unfortunately I did not and instead I still looked like a homeschooled freak.

 

The masses of people was huge, too many people to take notice of a new kid. Kid? Who was I kidding, I’m sure I’d be one of the oldest in school.

 

Plugging in a headphone, I made my way into the red bricked building and up the steps. The automatic doors slid open easily and let me through, the school crest printed on the door by a window sticker. Inside, it looked fairly modern but aged, and many pupils went about on their own business, some with friends and some a loners but already I could see the stark difference between here and home.

 

Nobody seemed bothered by my presence and nobody noticed a ‘new girl’. I was silently thankful I could escape to the office that happened to be directly in front of the entrance.

 

I cautiously approached, unsure of what I was supposed to do. Hey, I’d never moved schools before.

 

Not to mention it was probably halfway through their school year.

 

“Hey, I’m wondering where to go, it’s my first-.”

 

The lady behind the desk cut me off before I could finish and said, “Kelly Wains? The rector has been waiting for you.”

 

Oh, I wonder what gave my identity away? The clueless American attitude or the accent?

 

“The who?” I mumbled as she unlatched a hook on the desk to her left and lifted the wood up opening a pathway behind the office desk. Right in front sprawled across a door was the word ‘rector’.

 

The wide woman knocked quickly on the door then lead me inside.

 

The room wasn’t as bright as the outside, but it was like any other old musty room in any old building. It just so happened that this one was filled with aged decor and looked more like the interior or a casino than an office.

 

The office lady nodded and went on her way leaving me standing across from an aged man with a small bald head, far too small for his body. “Have a seat, Kelly,” he said, signaling to the seats behind me.

 

I sit like I was told, but if I had even the remotest backbone I would have got up and done the exact opposite. It seemed I got the lack of backbone from my fathers side. My mother wore the pants in their relationship.

 

“A welcoming is in order, so first on the agenda, welcome to Idenloch academy,” he greeted, as if I didn’t know where I was.

 

I give him a quick smile in return but otherwise sit in complete silence.

 

“I’m the rector of the school, Mr. Jackson. You can address me by either.” He stared at me expecting something, but whatever that was he didn’t get and instead awkwardly moved on. “I realise this’ll be a huge change from your American schooling system, but I assure you it’s all the more enjoyable. Questions?”

 

“What grade am I in?”

 

The ‘rector’ looks down at his papers before pulling out a single sheet and scanned it with his eyes. “5th year,” he replied. “The years work from 1st to 4th then 5th and 6th,” the teacher explained, “it’s rather unusual to have a transfer this late in your schooling and at this point in the year.”

 

I was too busy thinking, however, to pay much attention to his rambling, and instead I thought, How old are the first years if I, a 16 year old, was a 5th year?

 

She aired her thought, and he immediately replied, “it depends on your birthday, but anywhere from ten years of age to twelve.”

 

Great, she thought, It’s exactly like being back in middle school.

 

As he shoved a ton of folders from his desk and dug about some more, I gathered he was most probably the principal. They just so happened to call him a rector instead. Weird.

 

The door to the rectors office is suddenly opened and slammed so hard back on the hinges I’m sure it left a dent. Then hell itself entered the office in the form of a shouting teacher down the neck of a tall and possibly older-than-eighteen student.

 

The office woman appears behind them, mumbled a quick sorry and shut the door again leaving the teacher and student in the room.

 

I couldn’t help but admire the student. He was daringly tall, almost pushing the ‘I-like-tall-guys’ class and into the ‘green-giant’ label. He wasn’t lanky, though, oh no he wasn’t lanky. His arms were thick, that much I could tell through his shirt that went all the way down to his wrists.

 

“Mr. Jackson, please deal with him. I have no room for a student like him in my classroom.”

 

The teacher was about to leave, but Mr. Jackson said, “Ah, could you wait a second, Mr. Anderson, please meet your new student, Kelly. I’ll send her along to your class in just a second, we still need to settle some papers.”

 

The teacher looked down at me, turned back from the door handle and gave me a once over. Well aren’t they polite here.

 

“Hey,” I said, causing both the student and the teacher to give me curious looks.

 

The teacher was nice enough to say nothing apart from what subject he taught and he soon rallied it out of there. Can’t say I blamed him.

 

“Sit down, Adrian, I’ll deal with you in a second,” Mr Jackson grunted, like he’d seen this scene one too many times.

 

This ‘Adrian’ looked the part, anyways.

 

I gave him a once over again, for confirmation purposes, of course.

 

“Right, to finish this off, Kelly, I just need you to fill in a few forms.” The rector handed me a clipboard from over his desk with a few leaves of paper.

 

I read over the questions. Basic stuff that my parents should have already filled in. “Where was it you said you were from?”

 

I replied without even thinking as I began to fill out the boxes one by one. “Small town California.”

 

and that’s about as far as that conversation went before the rector moved onto scolding the towering boy who hadn’t stopped staring since he came in.

 

I always hated that, how new kids were stared and treated like shiny new toys.

 

What’s your nationality?

 

Was I still a US citizen or was I now American-Scottish?

 

Thinking over the question, I used it as an excuse to discreetly listen in on their conversation.

 

“Look, Adrian, I know you have a lot going on right now and  lot to deal with, but this is a public school - people here don’t know who you are, they don’t know what you’re dealing with. You have to understand,” Mr Jackson pleaded in a very un-rector like fashion.

 

I quickly finished the form to listen in on their conversation a bit more, putting myself down as American-Scottish. That’s what I was from now on; Scottish.

 

“I can’t deal with this, I really can’t. I swear, I’ll be gone by the months up,” Adrian growled out. His voice was a low baritone, a low sexy baritone.

 

I eyed him from the corner of my eye.

 

But what really stumped me out of all of this - was Adrian and the rector having a nice casual conversation?

 

I can’t say that ever happened back home, not that’d I’d been in the principles room enough to find out for myself.

 

“Just go back to class, Adrian. If anything happens, come to me first before you cause a scene, ok? We need you on the team this year.”

 

“Sure, James,” Adrian replied with more sarcasm than my father. My father was the king of sarcasm. He got up, ready to go back to class.

 

The laughter broke out before I could stop it, and before Adrian could leave the room.

 

“Is something funny, Ms. Wains?” Mr. Jackson asks.

 

I shake my head. “This school is a joke,” I mutter.

 

“See, not just me who thinks so,” the guy replies, intent on pissing off the rector.

 

I turned my head to look at him, only to find him looking directly down at me.

 

He finally left the room, leaving the rector and me alone once more. I sighed for the billionth time today and gave him what I could only describe as an unimpressed look.

 

“Where were we?” he mumbled awkwardly under my stare. I could tell already he was all talk and no action, and looking at it now, it could be all that more useful.







 

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