“Are you nervous?” Pepper asks as she drives through the Woodvale Academy front gate.
“I don’t know,” Morgan says. “Erm, yeah… I guess.”
“You’ll do amazing, Morgan,” Pepper encourages as she pulls into a visitor’s parking space in front of the administrative office. “I know so.”
“Are we supposed to go talk with the headmaster first or get stuff from the front desk?”
“Headmaster first… at least according to the email I got last week,” Pepper recalls as she puts her car in park. She twists the key out of the ignition and turns off the car.
“Did they say what room?” Morgan inquires before zoning out.
“No, but my gut says follow the crowd,” Pepper shrugs as she unbuckled her seatbelt. She grabs her purse and steps out of the car.
It’s quiet and Morgan doesn’t answer.
Morgan looks over at her Mom then, “Uh, yeah. Mhm, sorry.”
There was a line to speak with the headmaster. About four families were in front of the Potts family... and thankfully each family went through the meeting generally quick-like.
An older man with short light brown hair steps out of the headmaster’s office with a red clipboard in his hands before speaking up, “Are Morgan Potts and her mother Virginia here?”
Pepper quickly raises her hand and stands up from the unbelievably uncomfortable brown bench just outside of the headmaster’s office. “Yes sir, that’s us.”
“You’re up,” is all the man says.
Morgan follows Pepper, who follows the man inside the room.
The headmaster looked tall (at least it seemed so—he was sitting down) and had dusty blond hair and along with blue eyes and fresh stubble. He definitely seemed like he could command a room, compared to the person who brought Morgan and Pepper into his office.
“I wish you the greatest of afternoons, Ms. Virginia and Miss Morgan,” the headmaster is the first to speak as he gets up from his desk. He had a booming Australian accent.
Morgan glances at the nameplate on his desk and raises a brow. His name is Thor… Thor Odinson? Like the myth? Morgan looks around at his office room and spots (hopefully) a replica of the hammer atop the filing cabinet.
He shakes her mother’s hand then. “My name is Thor Odinson, which I am sure you probably already know from the electronic letter my assistant Phil sent off last week amongst other very important details. How was the journey? Your file says you live about forty minutes from this here establishment of learning.”
“It was fine, thank you,” Pepper nods as she lets go of his hand. “It’s nice to meet you finally. In person.”
“Hi,” Morgan mumbles. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Odinson.”
“Oh, you’re a shy one, huh?” he inquires.
“Sorry,” Morgan says.
“That shyness will rub right off, I’m sure of it,” Thor says. “I’ll give it two weeks.”
A few minutes pass of chatter before Thor speaks up again, “Morgan, why don’t you go on and sign in at the front? Come back up when you’re done, I need to discuss some things with your mother.”
“Y-Yes, sir,” Morgan nods before shooting an unsure glance at her mother.
Pepper pulls her keys out of her purse and holds them out for Morgan. “If they give you anything to hold, just sit them in my car until I can help you move in.”
morgan nods before taking the keys and walking out of the room.
She grazes her hand on the handrail as she walks down the old-timey stairwell for two floors until she gets to the first. Morgan veers away from a group of younger kids and makes it to the administration’s front desk.
“Hi, I, um… I’m Morgan Potts, Mr. Odinson sent me down to get orientation stuff or something? I-I don’t know,” Morgan stammers.
“The last four digits of your student ID please?” the woman asks.
“2… um, 1-9-0,” Morgan recalls. “Yeah. 2-1-9-0.”
The woman searches something into the computer before speaking again. “Oh, a new student, are you? Welcome. Do you think you could stand on the blue X on the floor so I may take your student ID keycard photo?”
“Yes ma’am,” Morgan nods before looking down to find the X and stands on it.
“You can smile, you know,” she says. “Looks like you lost your last friend.”
When the picture is completed, the woman presses a button on the computer. “Your ID will take a moment to print.” She then walks away for a second and goes through a hallway into another room, leaving Morgan feeling alone in a sea of unknown.
It’s about five minutes later when the woman comes back. She is holding two brown paper gift bags with the Woodvale logo on them. She sits them on the desk. “First bag has the uniforms in which you ordered. You can wear all with or without the jacket and with whatever shoes and hair accessories you see fit, but everything else must stay the same as described on the order form. You may wear casual clothing after class on Mondays through Thursdays, if you wish. You can participate in casual Fridays and weekends if you so choose, but you must obey the put in place dress code for said days… skirts, shorts, and dresses must not be shorter than fingertip length unless you wear leggings or tights underneath. If you wear ripped jeans, rips cannot be above the knee unless you are wearing leggings or tights underneath. No showing shoulders. No unclothed midriff should be seen. No obscene, political, or rude remarks and imagery on your clothing. You are in the ballet physical education track, so you must obey the class’ dress code given by your instructor on days you attend her classes. Understand?”
“Yes ma’am,” Morgan nods.
“The last two things in the bag is your Woodvale physical education duffel bag and your baton case. They are used to hold stuff like your dance shoes, twirling baton, exercise clothes, and anything else you see fit that should find a home there.”
Morgan nods again in understanding.
“The second bag contains your school issued planner, which not only contains a monthly and weekly planner but also the school rules, student code of conduct, schedules for various facilities such as the gym and dining hall, a detailed map of our campus, some important dates, and our mission statement. The next thing you’ll find is your school issued laptop which you will use to complete any assignments that require online work,” she continues to explain. “It also contains physical print outs of the map, your schedule, and other important bits of information to get you through the first few weeks that you can either put on your cork board in your dorm or slip in your backpack for easy access.”
“If you do not know already, you are in the girl’s dormitory called Ambrose Hall. You are rooming with a sophomore named Taylor Banner in room 328. She goes by her middle name, Sofia. Your dorm parent, or resident assistant, is Maria Hill and resides in room 301. You will go to her before going to anyone else if you require any assistance. If you desire to go home for the weekend or will be out anytime during the week, you must let her know of said plans. Of course, there are to be no members of the opposite sex in your dorm room. No exceptions,” the woman says. “Lights out at midnight on weeknights, by one AM on weekends. You may stay up and keep a lamp on afterwards if you desire to study or do anything else… even though you are not suggested to stay up too late, but the main lights must be off by required time if you desire to stay up later. Lastly, you will find your newly printed keycard which gets you in your dorm hall, your room, the dining hall, the gymnasium, and pretty much any building you have been granted access to enter. Do you have any other questions?”
“I can’t think of anything, no,” Morgan shakes her head.
“If you think of anything, bring it to Maria,” she says.
“Welcome to Woodvale, Miss Potts,” she says.
“Thank you,” Morgan nods before she picks up the bags and walks outside to put them in her Mom’s car.
A couple minutes pass when she knocks on the headmaster’s office door before Phil opens the door for her.
“Your Mother and I still have some things to discuss,” Thor greets Morgan upon her return. “Coulson, do you mind doing the intake interview with Miss Potts for me?”
Coulson? I thought his name was Phil.
Phil takes Morgan into the other room and she sits down across from his desk.
“From what I can tell you’re a great student, Miss Potts. You had a four-point-oh GPA at your last school… honors classes under your belt. That’s impressive. Took the PSAT 8/9 at 13 and got a perfect 1520? Your testing scores are unbelievable, 99th percentile!” he says. “Are you planning to take the PSAT 10 when you’re a sophomore?”
“Thank you,” Morgan smiles weakly. “I think so, um, yes. I need to take that in order to take the SAT and Mom wants me to take the SAT and ACT for good measure once I’m a… once I’m a junior…”
Phil writes something down—probably about testing—before speaking again. “So you are obviously a quite bright girl. What brings you here specifically though?”
Morgan raises a brow.
“What do you want to do with your life?”
“Oh,” Morgan says. “I want to go to MIT… wanted to ever since I can really remember.”
Phil raises his brow this time, “Hm, MIT. Really?”
He writes down something again before looking up at her and asking, “For what?”
“Engineering,” Morgan says. “I know that’s vague, but I don’t know what specific type of engineering I’m set on yet. I just know I like robotics and engineering. MIT’s the place to go if you want to get far with that.”
Phil nods. “Well, your A-shift second block and C-shift eighth block teacher graduated summa cum laude at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. Maybe you could bring it up to him after his class one day and talk to him about it? It’s possible he might’ve been a little cautious about his decision at first… might have some advice.”
“Maybe, yeah,” she agrees.
“You must be Sofia,” Morgan introduces herself to her roommate once she steps inside the room, to find an already all-moved-in girl on one side of the space. There were two desks separating each two sides. Morgan sets down two large bags on the empty bed on her side of the room.
“That I am,” Sofia says as she gets up from her bed and walks around the desk barricade. Pepper walks in and sets down the two bags she carried inside. “Morgan, right?”
“Mhm,” Morgan says. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“To you as well.” Sofia smiles before looking over at Pepper. “Is this your mother?”
“Yep,” Morgan confirms.
“My name’s Virginia, it is very nice to meet you,” Pepper greets. “The headmaster said you’re the daughter of one of the teachers here?”
“Yes, the name is Taylor Sofia Banner, but I go by Sofia, Sof, or Sofie, and my Dad’s the chemistry and biology teacher and also head of the high school science department. Bruce Banner.”
“Are you taking chemistry or bio this year?” Pepper asks.
“No… um, physical science I think,” Morgan says.
“Do you have your final pre-drop/add schedule yet?” Bruce asks as he walks out of the high school academics building with Tony following loosely behind. The double doors swing to a close as they leave said doors in the figurative dust. “I usually have it by now.”
Tony raises a brow before speaking, “Now that you mention it, I haven’t. Wonder what’s the—“
A voice across the quad catches him off guard. He recognizes it from somewhere but can’t place why. His vision shifts from Bruce to where he heard the noise—not that he realized it until he saw. He saw a young girl—probably a new student—with dark brown hair and bangs hugging onto her guardian. They were standing in front of the Ambrose dormitory. The girl was wearing black browline glasses that were half slid down the bridge of her nose. He couldn’t get a good look at the mother because she wasn’t facing him. But she had bright ginger hair and a tall stature… she reminded him of his ex, even from afar. Tony wasn’t sure, but he thought the younger girl had said something like ‘I love you too, Mama.’
“—hold up,” he finishes before shaking off the distraction and looking back at Bruce. “I’ll be completely lost in the morning if it’s still not there in my inbox.”
“N-Nothing. Just thought I heard something,” he shakes his head and scrunches his face up. He scratches his dark brown hair with his index finger for a moment. “What time does freshman orientation start again?”
“At five,” Bruce recalls. “It’s almost four.”