Inej Ghafa hated Karamzin Academy, with it’s huge stone walls and towering iron gates. It was pointless, in her opinion, to look so intimidating but actually turn out to be incredibly easy to break into. Inej only knew this because, like the powerful gymnast with a knack for mischief she was, she’d made a habit of constantly sneaking inside.
Inej braced herself as she scrambled onto to the dark stone, and then slipped between the iron bars. She easily jumped down, crouching low to avoid being seen by the cameras as she made her way across the grass and toward the school.
Once there, the small girl began to climb. It was easier than it should have been. Inej Ghafa liked a challenge, and this was nothing. She quickly found perfect footholds and windowsills to boost her way up the side of the building.
Finally, she reached she upper floors, and began to count the windows. The fourth one, she almost knew it by heart. She hung from the iron bars under the windowsill, and rapped lightly on the glass.
A moment passed.
And then a pale hand was pushing the window open, and Nina’s smiling face peered over the edge. She reached out to offer Inej some help, but Inej refused and climbed inside gracefully. Leoni, Nina’s roommate, was awake. The girl had her hair wrapped in a scarf that matched the color of her silky pajamas, and she was at her desk, typing away at a laptop. She greeted Inej with a smile before returning to her work.
Inej surveyed her girlfriend. “Nina, you have bruises.” She ran her fingers over the skin on Nina’s rounded cheeks. The other girl chuckled softly. “I’ve had to fight off a couple scary jocks. But don't worry. They won’t be messing with me anytime soon.”
Inej arched a dark eyebrow, brown eyes meeting emerald green, and they both burst to giddy laughter, hugging each other tightly. This ritual was nightly, and yet they were both so excited each and every time Inej visited.
Leoni shushed then hurriedly. “Girls! I know you’re over there being sappy, but keep it down! I’m trying to write my essay!”
They both shot her an apologetic look. Leoni was one of their closest friends, the three making up a perfect trio. But it seemed Leoni had been rather busy that night. She was much more serious about her schoolwork than Nina.
“How is everybody?” Nina hurriedly asked. She rarely got to see her public school friends during the week, and often relied on a combination of Inej and social media for news.
“Well, Matthias got really drunk and made out with this guy at a party the other day.” Inej said.
“No way! I always had my suspicions, but… damn, I guess Kaz is the straightest out of all of us.”
“Right. About that. Kaz totally wishes it was him. It’s really endearing if you think about it. The two most stuck-up and stubborn white boys pining for each other. And also a little gross to think about our former exes getting together.”
Nina nodded sympathetically. She’d tried things with Matthias, but it never seemed… to work out. With Inej and Kaz, they’d both decided to stay friends, and a strong friendship it was. Inej could confidently say that Kaz was her best friend. He’d protested the title, being the wannabe emo highschooler he was.
“What about Wylan and Jesper?”
“Oh!” Inej grinned. “Well Wylan and Kuwei finally moved into their new flat! I’m really glad they found each other, you know. Even if it’s weird having seven of us.”
A few weeks ago, Kuwei had moved into their city, and to the shock of everybody, he had been one of Wylan’s closest childhood friends. Things had been rocky, but now he was settling into their dynamic.
“He finally reached 20k followers on his TikTok! I swear, this kid is gonna go viral.” Inej rolled her eyes. “Even though it boosts his ego, I’m happy for him.”
“Please, we all know it’s Kuwei and Kaz who have the biggest egos. No issues with Jesper.” Nina said.
“He really is just a sweetheart underneath his ‘playboy’ facade.” She agreed. Playboy probably wasn’t the right way to describe it, but she couldn’t think of a better word.
“How are things here at Keramzin?” Inej planted a kiss on her girlfriend’s cheek.
“Well,” Nina began, hands-on-hips. “We finally got Headmaster Morozova fired. Now there’s this new guy named Professor Lantsov in charge, and all the seniors are crushing on him.”
“I know, right?! Anyway, I think Professor Zoya has a crush on him.”
“She’s so mean and distant!”
“Exactly! I was shocked when I first saw them talk! The sad thing is that Professor Starkov and Oretsev are going to be gone for a while because of their wedding and honeymoon, so now we have a weird substitute.” Nina sighed. “I hate it here.”
Inej pattered her back. “There, there. Did you ever make friends with that new girl?”
Leoni piped up. “Hanne Brum? Yeah! We sit with her at lunch now.”
Nina nodded. “I guess she’s kind of cool. Even though her Dad yelled at me in the middle of a Walmart.”
“You threatened to use your wiccan magic on him.”
“He deserved it!”
“So you keep saying.” Inej glanced at her wristwatch and groaned in annoyance. “I have to go, Nina, my love.” She announced dramatically.
“No!” Nina stretched out the word with a whine. “Don't go!”
Nina grinned before she leaned down, pressing her lips against Inej’s. Inej immediately felt warm, and she couldn’t help but giggle. They’d been friends since middle school, but their relationship was so new, she couldn’t help but feel excited at every chance she got.
“Bye Inej! Good luck with your finals next week!”
“Ugh, don't remind me.” Inej began her descent from the school. It was almost too easy. In and out, without anybody batting an eye.