The ChaseBy: Elle Kennedy
“Is this a joke?” I gape at the five girls who are holding me in judgment. They have various hair, skin, and eye colors, and yet I can’t tell them apart because their expressions are identical. There’s a whole lot of smug peeking through the phony remorse they’re trying to convey, as if they’re truly devastated by the news.
Ha. They’re enjoying this.
“I’m sorry, Summer, but it’s not a joke.” Kaya offers a pitying smile. “As the Standards Committee, we take Kappa Beta Nu’s reputation very seriously. We received word from Nationals this morning—”
“Oh really? You received word? Did they send a telegram?”
“No, it was an email,” she says, completely missing the sarcasm. She flips her glossy hair over one shoulder. “They reminded the committee that every member of this sorority must uphold the behavior standards set by them, otherwise our chapter will lose its good standing with Nationals.”
“We have to remain in good standing,” Bianca pipes up, pleading at me with her eyes. Of the five bi-otches in front of me, she seems like the most reasonable.
“Especially after what happened to Daphne Kettleman,” adds a girl whose name I can’t remember.
Curiosity gets the better of me. “What happened to Daphne Kettleman?”
“Alcohol poisoning.” The fourth girl—I think her name’s Hailey—lowers her voice to a whisper and quickly glances around, as if there might be a bug or two hidden in the antique furnishings that fill the living room of the Kappa mansion.
“She had to get her stomach pumped,” the no-name girl reveals gleefully. Which makes me question whether she’s actually thrilled that Daphne Kettleman almost died.
Kaya speaks up in a curt voice. “Enough about Daphne. You shouldn’t have even brought her up, Coral—”
Coral! Right. That’s her name. And it sounds as stupid now as it did when she introduced herself fifteen minutes ago.
“We don’t speak Daphne’s name in this house,” Kaya explains to me.
Jee-zus. One measly stomach pumping and poor Daphne gets Voldemorted? The Kappa Beta Nu chapter of Briar University is evidently a lot stricter than the Brown chapter.
Case in point—they’re kicking me out before I’d even moved in.
“This isn’t personal,” Kaya continues, giving me another fake consolatory smile. “Our reputation is very important to us, and although you’re a legacy—”
“A presidential legacy,” I point out. So ha! In your face, Kaya! My mom was president of a Kappa chapter during her junior and senior years, and so was my grandmother. Heyward women and Kappa Beta Nu go together like abs and any male Hemsworth.
“A legacy,” she repeats, “but we don’t adhere as strictly to those ancestral bonds the way we used to.”
Ancestral bonds? Who says that? Did she time-travel from the olden days?
“As I said, we have rules and policies. And you didn’t leave the Brown chapter on the best of terms.”
“I didn’t get kicked out of Kappa,” I argue. “I got kicked out of school in general.”
Kaya stares at me in disbelief. “Is this a point of pride for you? Getting expelled from one of the best colleges in the country?”
I answer through clenched teeth. “No, I’m not proud of it. I’m just saying, technically speaking, I’m still a member of this sorority.”
“Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to live in this house.” Kaya crosses her arms over the front of her white mohair sweater.
“I see.” I mimic her pose, except I cross my legs too.
Kaya’s envious gaze lands on my black suede Prada boots, a gift from my grandmother to celebrate my admission to Briar. I had a good chuckle when I opened the package last night—I’m not sure Nana Celeste understands that I’m only attending Briar because I was expelled from my other school. Actually, I bet she does, and just doesn’t care. Nana will find any excuse to get her Prada on. She’s my soulmate.
“And you didn’t think,” I go on, an edge creeping into my voice, “to let me know this until after I packed up my stuff, drove all the way down here from Manhattan, and walked through the front door?”