"Mila," a girl's voice says, shaking me as I slap the hand that was on my shoulder away.
"Five more minutes," I say.
"You said that ten minutes ago," the girl's voice replied, ripping my blanket away from me.
The morning chill hit my legs immediately trailing up my body until it reached my sleep hazed brain and I immediately sat up, making a grab for my blanket.
Elizabeth Saunders stood smug in front of me, with my blanket in her hands. I made an attempt to grab it but to no avail, she kept my warm and comfy blanket a foot away from me. "Time to get up, we gotta head to school," she said with a teasing smile on her face.
I pouted at her, extending my hand and she shakes her head. "Go change first and then I'll think about handing your blanket back," she says, walking out of my room with my prized possession within her grasp.
I frown, making a face at the closed door. Sliding off the bed, I head to the blanket and grab a random set of clothing with me. I quickly do my business and change into the shirt and shorts I grabbed. The white shirt with the dark blue cut off shorts weren't a terrible pick. Next, I tie my hair into a sloppy bun and swipe some random moisturizing lip balm on my lips.
I headed downstairs, slapping a fake smile on my face to give off the appearance that I was fully awake, but internally I was ready to pass out at any moment now. "Ah, here is the most exhausting girl in the world," Elizabeth says, tossing my blanket at me. She resumed cooking breakfast as I took a seat, and folded my blanket before placing it on a chair next to me.
I let out an absent minded yawn, "What are you making?"
"Pancakes," she says, twirling the spatula in her hand, "With some blueberry- peach compote. A side of apple chicken sausage, turkey bacon, and some orange cream scones."
I blink, trying to take in all the exoctic and unfamiliar sounding food items after 'pancakes.'
"That sounds great," I say, as she starts putting plates on the table.
The sight of the finished pancakes activated my mouth-watering skill, which always irritates Elizabeth. Wiping my mouth, I help her set the rest of the plates. Elizabeth, unlike me, knew what she wanted to do with her life. As one could tell, she was a culinary food major while I was still undecided. Being a freshman in college, it wasn't that terrible and unfortunate to have no declared major, but it will be challenging to have no major by junior year.
"This smells seriously good," I compliment as I take a whiff of all the food together, "Thank you for breakfast."
She nods, "Of course, as long as you keep your promise to stay away from cooking in the kitchen, I'll provide us with some decent food."
My smile slightly wavers as a hint of irritation takes over. Okay, so what if I couldn't cook. So what if the last time I tried to make us a meal, I broke the oven and blew up the microwave. I didn't know you were supposed to take aluminum foil off the plate I was trying to heat up. And it wasn't my fault that nobody told me you had to dry a whole turkey before sticking it in the oven. From that point on, we made a pact or rather Elizabeth forced me to promise to never touch the kitchen. In her own words, I "deflowered" the innocent kitchen and left a huge mess behind.
I grab about everything I see onto my plate and begin to shove my face with food. Elizabeth cleared her throat, visibly disgusted at my eating style, "Are you excited for school?"
I nearly choked and grab the nearby mango juice to help wash my food down, "Excited? Nope, I'm never excited about school."
"A shame, since you actually do well academically," she comments, elegantly eating her food in contrast to my barbaric eating style.
"Only because I feel like I've learned about everything the professors taught already, so it's like muscle memory," I say, shrugging.
"Or because it's because you have a photographic memory. Do you know how lucky you are to have that?" Elizabeth says sighing, "While I'm barely passing my classes, the only one I haven't failed is Culinary History which I actually am interested in."
"I could always tutor you if you want," I suggest, eating another pancake.
"No way!" she says, "Last time you so called tutored me, you threw out a kitchen utensil for every answer I got wrong. Half the kitchen was in the garbage by the time we were done."
I try to remember that day, "Oh yeah. I forgot about that."
"Anywho, we have a speaker in class today. So that means no homework, thank goodness," Elizabeth says thankful, and takes a sip of her tea.
"Yay," I say indifferently, eating another scone. Elizabeth checks her stainless steel watch for the time.
"We should probably leave now, or we'll miss the campus bus," Elizabeth says, standing up.
If someone looked upon our relationship, they would probably have no idea why we were roommates. Elizabeth dressed to impress with her fancy silk shirt, medium length skirt, and matching blazer. She was a green-eyed and blonde beauty (at least that's what the guys who've liked her called her). In contrast, I had unmanageable brown hair, that looked slightly copper if it's in the sun too long and dull brown eyes. I wore a shirt and shorts, and barely looked like a proper college student in comparison to Elizabeth.
However, our friendship stemmed from middle school where both of us joined the school's astronomy club, and the rest was history.
"Earth to Mila, are you done with your plate?" Elizabeth points to my plate and I silently hand it to her and she dumps our plates in the sink. I help wrap up the rest of the food.
We both slip our bags on and Elizabeth links arms with me, "I have a feeling today is gonna be a good day."
I nod, giving her a tortured smile as she pulls me to the direction of the bus stop. The campus bus was always prompt, which was surprising because city buses usually never took the time in consideration. Right on the dot, the campus bus pulled in at 8am, and the students including Elizabeth and I got on. A simple ID check was our "metrocard" to get admission to the bus; it had after all one stop which was our college campus.
The thirty minute ride was always pretty peaceful as the student stayed silent and did their homework or continued to sleep. I was part of the sleep group and I knocked out once the bus doors closed, so the ride was extremely uneventful. Once the bus pulled into our campus, I was jolted awake as Elizabeth nudged me awake. River College was pretty prestigious itself with a big campus that was in the center of a thriving metropolis, and was basically the only thing out of place in the neighborhood. There were many houses that were close to the college, so a lot of local people applied to the college. However, the school is pretty selective and only 40 people of the 500 that applied got in.
"Mila, look at that," Elizabeth points to the left of me.
I look to where her finger was pointed and was surprised at the amount of students gathered around the school's study hall. Like literally, people's faces were pressed against the glass wall separating the inside and outside.
"Weird," I remarked, as I headed toward my first class of the day.
"Do you think we should check it out?" Elizabeth asks.
"Nah, I think it might be some sale on some food thing. You know how the sale for ramen ended that one time," I say, waving my hand in dismissal.
"Okay," she says, and we head to our first class.
Being one of the early people, we take our seats. Our freshman schedule was pretty much identical to each other, since the schedules were mandatory and blocked.
"What do you think the guest speaker is going to talk about?" Elizabeth asks, curious.
"Dunno, possible majors or internships?" I say.
"Maybe, I hope they bring up a culinary scholarship or something. I would totally sign up for that," she says excited.
More people started to trickle in, and the conversation among them seemed more livelier than usual. "Did you see them?" a girl whispered.
"Yeah, I did. They are so hot," another girl gushes.
"I like the one with the multicolored eyes, that's so rare," another girl joins in.
Is there a new K-pop group or something?
"They seem to be the same age as us," the first girl says.
"I hope they are transfer or maybe exchange students," the second girl answered. Then the three girls laughed and started to talk more about these mysterious guys that were "hot."
"Did you hear that?" Elizabeth whispered to me.
I nod, "New possible K-pop, transfer or exchange students."
"Oh my gosh, wouldn't that be exciting to have new students. There hasn't been a transfer student in ages," she comments, just as our wonderful professor strolled in.
Despite his nice appearance, and the brand name coffee in his hand, his face contradicted his appearance. A permanent scowl was implanted on his face, and his sturdy yet bulky briefcase was basically thrown on his desk. He set his coffee down delicately before turning his back to us, and wrote something on the board in a quick fashion that allowed everyone to hear the exasperated squeaking of the tormented chalk piece.
"Peasants, err I mean students please welcome our presenters, Malcolm something and Erik forgot-his-last-name who have come to talk to you about something important," the professor says disinterested as he settled in his seat, and placed a textbook in front of him. However, we all knew he was just going to be on his phone the entire time to try his infinite time on some adult dating app.
Two guys came in and immediately a lot of the girls were chattering among themselves and giving each other knowing glances. I looked at their weird behavior, and eyed Elizabeth who was in awe. "Good morning, my name's Malcolm. I'm from the internship program at Nightingale Academy," Malcolm introduces himself with a wave. Malcolm looked like an easy going guy with green eyes and dark hair, his clothes wasn't so fancy but just a light shirt and matching jeans. In all, he wasn't that unfortunate looking.
"Good morning to you all, my name is Erik. It's a pleasure to meet you all," Erik says, "My associate, Malcolm will be passing around some flyers for our internship. We are excited for interested members to help better the society and be a participant in doing so. Please look at the requirements thoroughly." Unlike Malcolm which gave off friendly guy vibes, Erik was the complete opposite and it seemed to know it. But at the same time, he didn't seem to give a damn. His hair was gelled yet his presence seemed to emit a dangerous vibe which interested many of the girl who held to each word that he spoke. His dark eyes matched his equally dark hair. He wore all black attire, and he seemed too pale for a city boy.
Chatter began again, but with more noise and the professor seemed to get more agitated by the second. "Shaddup losers," he yells and the classroom goes dead silent. Malcolm, with a war smile, clears his throat and begins to talk again, "Well, our internship as can be seen is for the rest of your college years. This means you have to balance the expected mandatory requirements of River College along the expectation of Nightingale Academy."
"Of course, accepted students will get the chance to stay in out dorms in the majestic setting of the forest and the infamous Elder Library. This program does require commitment and to do so pays as well. For students on board and committed, involving participation, they will be paid for their hard work," he continues, "For every day a student actively participates in the program, they will be paid $500 per day, excluding weekends. Now, Erik will explain the requirements and the objectives of the internship."
"The requirements of the internship are quite simple. You need to be an active student, attend River College, College freshman, 3.0 GPA, and have a lively or unique personality," Erik says with a charming smile, "In addition, it is mandatory to attend the group interviews so the rest of our scout group can get to know you. Questions?"
A girl raised her hand, "Umm will we be seeing you two if we get accepted?"
Erik smirks, "Of course, dear, we are after all teacher assistants. If you're new at the academy, you'll have to take one of our mandatory starter classes."
A guy raises his hand, "Do you accept guys?"
Malcolm chuckles, "Everyone is welcome as long as they abide by the requirements."
"Hey, Mila, ask them what's the scout group?" Elizabeth whispers to me.
"Why? I'm not interested in applying though," I whisper back.
"Please," she pleads, "I'll do the chores for three months."
"Deal," I say, quickly raising my hand.
Erik nods for me to speak, a smile forming on his face. "What's the scout group? You mentioned it before," I asked plainly.
"Well, aren't you inquisitive, my dear. It simply means that there select students who are internship that exceed the standards that was placed on us and thus, we also take on the responsibility to find others who want to join the internship," he responds, "Are you planning to apply, my dear?"
I shake my head firmly, "Nope, just asking for a friend."
Some girls to look at me disapprovingly, but I shrug, "I think I might be too busy to take on the internship."
"Well, that's too bad," Erik says, "You would probably make an exceptional candidate."
"Any other questions before I explain the goals on the internship?" Malcolm cuts in, sending a quick frown at Erik who keeps smiling my way. Talk about creep.
Nobody raises their hand, so Malcolm continues to talk, "Our goal is to basically help society through various experimentation and understanding of all kinds of things, whether it be a myth or reality. For instance, one of our popular classes is if Santa Claus is a real person or just a myth personified."
"We strive for hard workers who are curious and willing to understand things before jumping to conclusions," Malcolm concludes, "And so I hope, those curious students apply and hope for the best. We would enjoy having new recruits."
Someone in the class began to clap which prompted the rest of the class to start clapping as well. Erik and Malcolm grin at the class, as they do a dramatic bow. They thank the professor before exiting the classroom. Thankful, the creepy Erik doesn't do anything creepy when he leaves.
Elizabeth grabs onto my arm, "I think I'm gonna apply."
"What? Don't you think the whole thing is a bit shady?" I say, "I mean, their objectives were a bit vague in my opinion."
"Don't be so sour, it seems like a really cool internship. It might be one of the easier ones for students who attend a specific school," Elizabeth comments, "And you get paid to be there, basically."
"To participate," I corrected her.
"Right, which can be as simple as raising your hand once in each of their classes and poof, participation is checked off," she says simply, "Come on, it might be fun. And we both get accepted, we can dorm together."
I frown, unconvinced.
"If I get accepted, I won't be able to dorm with you and we'll our college years at different places, you don't want that do you?" she says with a doe eyed look.
"And if you get in and I don't that outcome will still happen," I grumbled.
"But the point is, we can increase the chances of both of us getting in, and then we can both experience something new," she argues, "I mean we basically get paid to stay in a really cool place that has an infamous library by the way and we get to see those two hot guys on campus."
"They do have the Elder Library," I say, slightly swayed, "That would be cool to be able to visit that."
"And they might even have more exotic food," she adds, "I can pull up a list of what they serve in their cafeteria. One sec."
She pulls out her phone, and quickly hides it from sight from the professor who was teaching. Or rather the professor was basically reading his lecture straight from Chapter 4 of the textbook. "See, check it out," she gives me her phone which was open to a menu page.
I skim the list, seeing the usual food until I get to the really interesting food names. Nutella hot chocolate. Milk tea with condensed milk. Earl grey muffins. Pesto and garlic chicken wings. Handmade ramen with pork and chive dumplings. Spaghetti with egg and scallions. Curry rice with soy sauce chicken. My mouth watered as I read down the list of foods that were not served in our cafeteria. "They sound delicious," I tell her, slightly drooling.
"Right? So can we both try to apply?" she asks, eyes pleading.
I sigh, "If I must."
I really wanted to try the Nutella hot chocolate.