For the most part, Ashley was the calculating type.
Being popular wasn’t just about being the richest girl, or the prettiest girl, or even the most confident girl at school. While Ashley was rich and pretty and popular, she was also self aware and realistic. It would be foolishly vain to believe that she outclassed the other Westridge girls in any of those categories. Almost every student at the boarding school had some degree of wealth, which meant the other two qualities weren’t far behind. At least, for the families like hers that put pressure on appearances and social interactions.
Ashley, however, was unique in the fact that she went the extra mile to stay on top. Studying other girls; going so far as to take notes to review later. Avoiding confrontations; it was easier to carefully gossip here and there to gradually take another girl down, but in a way where it wouldn’t be traced back to her. And finally, surrounding herself with classmates she considered potential threats. Instead of waiting for them to become a problem, Ashley opted to keep them close and let them enjoy the taste of popularity while believing that it was Ashley herself who made it possible.
Most importantly, she made herself trustworthy. In the movies, the top dog is always some bitch who berates and demeans the other girls to keep them in line. Ashley chose the opposite approach for real life. Aside from a casual backhanded compliment every now and then, the dark haired girl gave off a more approachable aura. Similar to the way she was eventually left alone in the front office via trust, she also gradually became the assumed secret keeper, advisor, and protector to her friends. It put her in a position where everyone relied on her, but also knew that crossing her would result in too much fallout if it ever came to that.
The blonde college grad was a fucking twig, and fairly short even with the assistance of heels. Not only that, but she also looked like a lost lamb when crossing through the threshold of the office’s door. Certainly not the kind of young woman who could control a room full of entitled teenage girls. In fact, if the little blonde wasn’t all dressed up for an interview, she wouldn’t look that different from most of the other academy girls.
Ashley decided to go for it. It was a lot more impulsive than her usual mode of operation, especially since an administrator could walk in at any moment. But as Ashley lied through her teeth, she realized that it actually wasn’t that risky. Worst case scenario, she could play it off as a joke. Or a mistake in the system, depending on the adult. Ashley had worked in the office long enough to trust herself to think on her feet. Thankfully, it never came to that, and she convinced Amelia to leave and come back another day.
In other words, to give Ashley time to prepare. It was an absolutely crazy idea, one that she wasn’t sure that she could pull off. But if it worked . . .
The paperwork was easy. Thanks to Ashley’s ‘helpful’ tip, the faxed registration form arrived when everyone in the office was having lunch and she was once again the only one in the room. The paper version submitted by Amelia would never make it to the school’s records. Its only purpose was to give Ashley the information she needed.
Opening an electronic version on the computer in front of her, the dark haired girl smirked to herself and began transferring all the relevant details. It had taken her quite some time to decide on a suitable grade for little Millie. Could the young adult pass for a middle school girl? She was the right size, but there was still an air of maturity that would make it a hard sell. Ultimately, Ashley decided to go for it. If the school uniform could be involved, that would surely offset any adult mannerisms.
Amelia would be thirteen years old. Old enough to have a bit of boob, but young enough to not be taken seriously in the slightest. And, just for fun, she would be called ‘Millie.’ The perfect name for a transfer girl on scholarship. And the perfect name to add to the image that Ashley was aiming for.
Ashley only shared her scheme with one other person–Claire. The tall brunette was easily the best choice. Just like Millie would look years younger when dressed like a schoolgirl, Claire could pull off a more mature look when wearing the right combination of clothes and make-up. Not only that, but Claire could keep a secret and had a great poker face. Between Ashley’s excessive editing of the registration form and Claire’s fake interview, all the pieces would be in place for Millie to spend a full day at Westridge Academy as a new student without even realizing it.
And it actually worked.
By setting the interview at 5:30 on a Friday–thirty minutes after the work day in which most administrators left early, and a good two hours after the last class of the day–no one was around to notice that Claire was borrowing an office at the end of the hall. Posing as Mrs. Thompson, after Ashley switched the names on the office doors, Claire convinced the unsuspecting applicant to come back and spend a day as a new student in full uniform.
Just for good measure, Ashley changed the girl’s last name to ‘Roberts.’ Setting it up so they were cousins meant that it would be easier for her to get out of a few classes in order to show her dear younger relative around the campus. After all, changing schools in the middle of the year is quite a big transition. Having a familiar face on the first day would help Millie feel more comfortable. And, since it was Ashley’s home turf, it was all too easy to confiscate the small blonde’s possessions before her aptitude test.
Once all was said and done, Millie looked so CUTE. Honestly, once Millie swapped out her heels for a pair of used flats, she probably could have physically passed for a twelve year old. However, thirteen was still the right call, as the girl’s hair and make-up were just enough to give her a slightly older look.
Next, came the biggest wild card of the day. Ashley passed off her ‘little cousin’ to Mrs. Lewis. Aside from introducing Millie as a new student, there wasn’t anything else she could do. Ashley just headed to class, touched base with Claire, and prayed. Between the aptitude test and the advisor meeting, little Millie would be alone with two separate adults.
The good news was, Ashley had added plenty of negative things to Millie’s registration form when she transferred the physical version to the computer. Rather than the straight-A student that the petite blonde really was when she was younger, the newly thirteen year old Millie was now a straight-B student. And a B student at a public school is basically a C student at Westridge. On top of that, she was oh so troublesome. A handful of detentions, issues with authority; ‘compulsive liar’ was on the list as well, to undermine any adult truths that the new transfer student might be tempted to tell if she figured out the game Ashley was playing.
After dropping Millie off for her test, Ashley could barely concentrate as she sat in the back row with Claire and another friend of theirs. First, Mrs. Lewis would oversee the aptitude test. Then, Ms. Song would put together a schedule for the girl based on both the test and the falsified registration form Ashley has submitted to the school’s system. Unfortunately, Ashley had a different advisor, so she couldn’t do any foundational work as Millie’s ‘older cousin’ before the meeting on Monday. Even though she spoke to Ms. Song every now and then in the front office, Ashley didn’t know whether or not Millie would even go for the ‘first day experience’ idea until after Claire’s Friday meeting.
So many questions. How well did Millie do on the aptitude test? Was Ms. Song able to define all the expectations of a proper Westridge student without Millie catching on? If the little blonde did figure out what was happening, would she be able to slam on the brakes? All the phone numbers on the registration form had been changed, and Ashley had hidden away the phone and wallet that would more easily be able to prove Amelia’s real age. But if Ms. Song indulged the girl and let her use an office phone with a memorized number, this whole thing was over.
Finally, after the longest history class of her life, Ashley was called down to the main office. To give Millie a tour of the campus, as originally planned. Or to face the music, if her not fully calculated idea failed.
Ashley shot Claire a confident wink, to assert that she wasn’t nervous in the slightest, and then went to see how everything played out in her absence.
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