Manuel was still settling in to Canterlotte Academy since this was his first year being a student in its luxurious halls. His foster moms, Lilliana and Alessia had sent him to this school after a year of him living with them back in Vancouver, attending a local high school—since in BC high school started in grade 8. He’d never even been out of the province, so being in a different country to attend high school was hard for him to understand. He wasn’t even their real kid, so he definitely didn’t get why they were willing to pay so much money for him to attend this elite school. Maybe it was a way for him to get to know AJ more… Alessia had said that she wanted them to be friends. Needless to say, he didn’t get why he was at this school where he clearly didn’t belong, but he wanted to make Alessia and Lilliana happy, maybe then he wouldn’t have to go to another foster home.
He’d heard from other classmates that today the students were going to lock out the teachers, in the name of tradition, but he didn’t really believe that it was going to happen until it did. Just like the students had said, the fire alarm went off and the teachers took off, following the fire drill procedure. He watched as the students followed the teachers up until the doors, which was where they shut and locked the doors on them. Seemed like he now had to stay here over the break… wasn’t how he originally wanted to spend Christmas but Alessia and Lilliana said he should do it this way, participate in their traditions, assimilate, so that’s what he would do. He didn’t have any reason to think they were sending him into the lion’s den so he should let down his guard.
He began to head to his dorm room when his phone buzzed with a text message. He stopped in the middle of the hall, took it out and read the notification. It was from someone named Dabria… whom he didn’t know, which was odd because he only had a handful of contacts programmed into this phone. Manuel would’ve remembered if he had met someone named Dabria and put her number in his phone. Odder even though, was the fact that this Dabria seemed to know his name.
Manuel, you will not understand now, but these are the rules of the games. You are to follow them or suffer the consequences.
He read through the rest of the message, confusion dotting his features. The whole message rubbed him the wrong way, but he had no reason to believe that it was anything worth worrying about. It did startle him to see himself in the digital notebook that had also been sent to him, especially his life story up until now, but they didn’t really have anything besides the basics. However, he was unnerved because he was a more reserved person and he didn’t like the idea of everyone being able to search him up in the book and read all about him. Looking up from his phone, he sighed. Guess he was going to have to head to the auditorium. As he turned down the hallway, he collided with a boy who was running full speed.
“Hey, watch it!” The boy called at him, his arms crossed.
“Sorry, sorry,” he said, even though it wasn’t his fault. Rubbing his head, Manuel looked up at the boy, then took in a breath as he realized it was no one other than AJ Markinson.
AJ was one of the students who absolutely loved the tradition of locking the teachers out. He’d been at Canterlotte since Grade 6, the youngest grade at the school, and he was probably going to stay there through the rest of elementary school and high school. He liked going here, also liked being so far away from his parents for the majority of the year. Some people found it frightening to be away from their parents for so long but AJ found it relieving.
He waited impatiently for the time to reach the end of the day, and when it did, he pushed his way to the front of the crowd so that he could be one of the students who actually locked the teachers out. A broad smile stretched across his face as he grabbed ahold of the doors and yanked them closing, twisting the lock closed to cheers from the gaggle of students around him. As the large group parted, AJ headed to the bathroom, slipping out of the uniform and into a t-shirt and jeans, which was much more comfortable. He gazed at himself in the mirror, winking at himself. AJ was short for his age, not reaching the 5’0" bracket, but he knew he had other redeeming factors besides his height so it didn’t bother him so much.
He couldn’t wait to get started on the vandalism, so he ran down the halls, and as he turned the corner, he ran smack into another student. He backed up, annoyance producing a scowl on his face. “Hey, watch it!” He called at the boy. The boy mumbled an apology, then looked up, and AJ could see that it was Manuel Guerra, the lastest resident in his mom and stepmom’s foster house. He rolled his eyes, looking up at Manuel, who had a worried look on his face. The two stared at each other in silence before AJ started back on his way, moving around him and continuing on his way.
“…AJ?” Manuel called after him. He made an abrupt stop, sighing as he turned around.
“Did you… did you get the message?”
What is the dude going on about? he thought to himself. He regarded Manuel with a searching look, then took his phone out of his bag. Huh. Turns out he did have a message. He read through it, his eyebrows raising the further he got.
Anthony Jacob, you will not understand now, but these are the rules of the games. You are to follow them or suffer the consequences.
His eyebrows furrowed, then he glanced back up at Manuel, crossing his arms. “So? Tryin’ to prank me or something, is that it?”
“No, it’s not me, I think everyone got it. If it’s real… maybe we should stick together—”
“Stick together?” He snorted, walking closer to Manuel and placing a finger in the middle of his chest. “Listen. We aren’t brothers or anything. We don’t even need to act like we know each other, hm? So you stay out of my way, I’ll stay out of yours.” He left Manuel where he was, turning to go down the hall he’d just come running down. Since everyone else seemed to be heading to the auditorium, he might as well go there as well. It seemed like these next weeks would be a lot more interesting than he’d thought.
ORP: Both approchable