Hello! This is different from my usual stories (that is, I usually write Disney or Sherlock or something), but one can always branch out can't they? The Scarlet Pimpernel is actually my absolute favorite book of all times! I can't even express my love for it fully! If for some reason you're reading this and you haven't read the book or seen any film adaption (1982 is my personal favorite, but 1934 is also very good. 1999 was terrible!) I very highly recommend that you do at least one or the other because it's flippin' amazing!
Anyways, I had this idea for a modern Scarlet Pimpernel like half a year ago, but I never thought that I'd actually write it down. But here we are. I must forewarn you though, this may not get updated as regularly as my other fics would (though, don't expect like 2 month gaps between chapters or anything). With that said, I hope you enjoy! :)
Marguerite stuffed her last notebook into her back pack and then zipped it up. There was a sudden banging on her bedroom door. "Hurry up or we'll be late! And on your first day too!" her brother's voice called from the opposite side.
"Keep your shirt on!" Marguerite hollered back, slinging her backpack over her shoulder and opening the door, "I'm ready."
Marguerite's older brother, Armand, stood in the doorway his brow furrowed in impatience. "Let's go then," he said, pushing some of his dark hair out of his eyes and turning towards the stairs.
Marguerite followed him down the stairs and towards the car. The open space next to her brother's beat up white pick-up truck signified that their father had already left for work. Marguerite and Armand's parents had divorced five years ago when Marguerite was barely fourteen years old. Armand had been living with their father and Marguerite had been living with their mother for those five years, until just a few months ago. Their mother remarried a man whom Marguerite felt uncomfortable living with. It wasn't that he wasn't nice... in fact he was too nice. He was way too attentive to everything and didn't seem to grasp the concept of privacy and personal space. After only a couple weeks of living with him, Marguerite decided to move out.
Today was Marguerite's first day in her new college. It was her brother's private school. She had decided to transfer colleges when she moved as well.
"Have you got your schedule?" Armand asked as he backed the truck out of the driveway.
"Yep." Marguerite pulled the paper out of her backpack as proof.
"What do you have first?"
Marguerite looked at her schedule. "Introduction to Theatre at 9:00," she replied.
Armand nodded. "I'm guessing you have that in the... Globe Building, right?"
"Right," Marguerite said, checking her schedule again.
They drove on for another twenty minutes before Marguerite spotted a sign reading: LONDON UNIVERSITY. "Here's the campus!" Armand announced as though he were a game show host. He turned to his sister wearing a large, toothy grin. "What do you think?"
Marguerite's eyes scanned the spacious campus eagerly. She had heard so much about the place from Armand long before she had even considered moving and was already keen to approve of it. None of Armand's praise had been exaggerated. It was quite simply the most beautiful campus Marguerite had ever laid eyes on. The buildings looked brand new, despite being several decades old; polished and white. The lawn was perfectly cut and a luscious green. The pavement seemed to glitter beneath the sunlight. Even the students walking around seemed to radiate a certain pleasant sort of... something, that Marguerite could not quite place.
"Don't get the wrong impression of this place," Armand warned as he stretched his neck, searching for a parking spot, "It's hardly ever sunny around here. This campus just seems to attract cloud cover." He smirked. "In fact from a distance, it sort of reminds me of those cartoons where the character has a cloud looming over his head, you know?"
He finally found an open parking space and backed into it. "Well, m'lady," he said in mock formality, "Shall we?"
"Indeed, good sir," Marguerite replied in the same tone.
Chuckling, they both got out of the truck. Armand looked at his watch. "Well, we've still got some time before your class starts," he said, "Shall we take a look around?"
Marguerite nodded and followed after her brother. She tried her hardest to remember everything Armand was pointing out to her as they walked. "That building there is the Grenville Gymnasium, we have a lot of dances and festivals and stuff in there. And over there's the cafeteria, but hardly anyone goes there. Everyone goes to this great little restaurant, the Fisherman's Rest that's off campus just beyond the cafeteria. Oh, there's the Globe Building, where most of the drama classes are held, but over here is the Covent Garden Auditorium where plays and presentations are performed..."
Marguerite and Armand turned to the sound. A young woman with curly red hair came running towards them. "Laura!" Armand waved at her as she approached.
Ah, Laura. Armand's girlfriend. Marguerite had never actually met her before, but Armand had mentioned her several times before. Laura kissed Armand quickly when she arrived, then turned immediately to Marguerite. "You must be Marguerite!" she said enthusiastically, smiling broadly, "I've heard so much about you!"
She took hold of Marguerite's hand and shook it vigorously, still smiling all the while. "Marguerite St. Just, it's a pleasure! A real pleasure! I'm Laura. Laura Larange. It's so nice to meet you!"
"Thanks," Marguerite said, overwhelmed by the energetic greeting.
Laura finally released her hand. Laura stepped back and looked Marguerite up and down. "Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Nope," Marguerite replied nonchalantly.
"What?" Laura cried, sounding scandalized, "A gorgeous girl like you without a fella? Well, we'll soon fix that, mark my words!"
"Honestly, I'm not really looking for anyone right now," Marguerite said.
"Oh you say that now, but wait until you meet some of the boys around here," Laura said, "When they take one look at your gorgeous blue eyes, your beautiful dark curls, and your perfect figure, you'll have a line of boys outside your door five miles long begging you for a date."
Marguerite felt her face flush at the compliment, but she shrugged. "Whatever you say, but I'm not on any man-hunt."
Laura didn't seem to hear her. She was too busy looking around the grounds. "You're two years younger than Armand so that makes you 19, right?" she said, "OK, so we're looking for a guy between 19 and... let's say about 22, 23..."
"Really, Laura," Armand laughed, "We can do this later. Marguerite has a class in just a few minutes."
"OK, OK," Laura said, turning back to them. She grabbed Armand's wrist and looked at his watch. "Great Gatsby! My class started ten minutes ago! I'd better go. I'll see you guys later!"
With that, she took off towards one of the large white buildings. Marguerite and Armand watched her until she was out of sight. "Well, I guess I had better get to class then," Marguerite said.
"Yeah, me too. And mine's on the other side of campus," Armand said.
"I'll see you later."
"Yeah. Hey, have fun in drama!"
Marguerite smiled. "You got it."
Marguerite turned on her heel and began to walk towards the building Armand had pointed out to be the Globe Building. There did not seem to be very many other kids walking towards it and Marguerite began to wonder how early she actually was... or how late. Was it normal to see this few amount of students?
She climbed up the glittering steps and walked through the glass double doors into the building. Room 117 was at the very end of the hallway. She took a breath and opened the door.
There were several students inside already, but it was not quite full. Also, when Marguerite looked around, she noticed that there was no teacher inside either. She let the door close behind her and she took a tentative step inside. All the students inside were all engaged in their own conversations in their own little groups. Marguerite looked around. There was a group of three nearby, two girls and a boy, who looked rather friendly and who had a vacant seat near them, so she walked towards them.
"Is this seat taken?" Marguerite asked, gesturing to the open seat.
"No, no!" the blonde girl said, smiling up at Marguerite.
Marguerite smiled back and sat down. The blonde girl shifted so that she was facing Marguerite more directly. "I'm Suzanne. Suzanne Tournay, but you can call me Susie. What's your name?"
"Marguerite St. Just," Marguerite replied.
"Annabelle Tournay. I'm Susie's older sister," the other girl said sticking out her hand. Marguerite shook it. "And this is my boyfriend, Andre Vicomte," she said jerking her head towards the boy at her side.
Andre nodded a greeting and smiled a little. "What's your major then?" he asked.
"Performing arts," Marguerite replied, "I want to be an actress."
"Ooh! Are you any good?" Susie asked.
"That's up for other people to decide," Marguerite said.
"So are you like an exchange student or something?" Susie wondered.
"No," Marguerite said, "I just moved in with my dad and brother and decided to go to school here."
"Oh! So... wait. You're not living in your own apartment?" Susie asked.
"Not even in the dorms on campus?"
"No actually I'm living at home."
"What?" Susie cried, raising an eyebrow, "Well, that's kinda weird. Don't you want to be on your own?"
"Mm, I guess," Marguerite shrugged, "I think next year I might move into one of the dorms around here."
At that moment the door slammed. Everyone stopped talking abruptly and looked towards the door. A tall, lanky man stood in the doorway, holding a large cardboard box. His outfit was what really threw Marguerite. He wore bright orange plaid pants, a green polo shirt, white sneakers, an ankle length brown over coat, a small round pair of purple sunglasses, and crammed over his voluminous black hair was a straw hat. Marguerite blinked several times, trying to get used to this strange new phenomenon that had just entered the room.
"Good morning everyone!" he declared loudly. He spoke with a heavy lisp.
Some of the students mumbled their good mornings.
"Now tut tut and tsk tsk!" the colorful man frowned, "Let's try that again! Good morning, everyone!"
"Good morning, Professor Regent," the students said in chorus.
"There now!" the professor grinned. He bounded to the front of the classroom, "It is a good morning, isn't it?"
He began to rummage through the box. Marguerite watched him closely. He seemed to be a strange mix between a circus ringmaster and the Mad Hatter. "Don't mind this old box," Professor Regent said, emerging from the box momentarily, "This is for next class. Ah-ha!"
He pulled a plastic crown out of the box. He quickly removed his straw hat and placed the crown on his head. "He loves pretending he's a prince," Susie whispered to Marguerite, "No, not a king. A prince. He's very specific. It's his favorite character to play."
"There now, I'm all set. Let's begin," Professor Regent said, rubbing his hands together, "I'm assuming everyone wrote their outlines for their skits?"
There was a rummaging of backpacks and papers as the class began pulling out whatever homework Professor Regent had assigned. Susie, Annabelle, and Andre each pulled out their own papers, but Marguerite didn't move.
Professor Regent looked over the class and clapped his hands together in delight. "Wonderful!" he cried, "Everyone get in a circle and we will begin sharing our ideas then."
Immediately everyone stood up and began rearranging their chairs into a large and rather sloppy circle. But it was a circle none the less and it seemed to satisfy Professor Regent who sat on top of his desk, swinging his legs in anticipation. "Good, good, good," he grinned, "Excellent! Now, who shall go first?"
No one moved. Marguerite looked around. Everyone was avoiding eye contact with Professor Regent. Most people resorted to twiddling their thumbs, reading over their papers, twirling their hair, one boy with dread locks was braiding three of them together idily. Marguerite forced back a snort. If she had a paper herself, she would have raised her hand by now. "Come now!" Professor Regent cried, "There must be somebody willing to share!"
Just then the door opened.