The Chase:Briar U

By: Elle Kennedy

“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?”

Bianca is the only one who has the decency to look guilty. “We’re really sorry, Summer. But like Kaya said, Nationals didn’t get in touch until this morning, and then we had to vote, and…” She shrugs weakly. “Sorry,” she says again.

“So you voted and decided I’m not allowed to live here.”

“Yes,” Kaya says.

I glance at the others. “Hailey?”

“Halley,” she corrects icily.

Oh, whatever. Like I’m supposed to remember their names? We literally just met. “Halley.” I look to the next girl. “Coral.” And then the next girl. Crap. I legit don’t know this one. “Laura?”

“Tawny,” she bites out.

Swing and a miss! “Tawny,” I repeat apologetically. “You guys are sure about this?”

I get three nods.

“Cool. Thanks for wasting my time.” I stand up, push my hair over one shoulder, and start wrapping my red cashmere scarf around my neck. A bit too vigorously maybe, because it seems to annoy Kaya.

“Stop being so dramatic,” she orders in a snarky voice. “And don’t act like we’re to blame for the fact that you burned down your former house. Excuse us if we don’t want to live with an arsonist.”

I struggle to keep my temper in check. “I didn’t burn anything down.”

“That’s not what our Brown sisters said.” She tightens her lips. “Anyway, we have a house meeting in ten minutes. It’s time for you to go.”

“Another meeting? Look at you! A packed schedule today!”

“We’re organizing a New Year’s Eve charity event tonight to raise money,” Kaya says stiffly.

Ah, my bad. “What’s the charity?”

“Oh.” Bianca looks sheepish. “We’re raising money to renovate the basement here in the mansion.”

Oh my God. They’re the charity? “You better get to it, then.” With a mocking smile, I flutter my fingers in a careless wave and march out of the room.

In the hall, I feel the first sting of tears.

Fuck these girls. I don’t need them or their dumb sorority.

“Summer, wait.”

Bianca catches up to me at the front doors. I quickly paste on a smile and blink away the tears that had begun to well up. I won’t let them see me cry, and I’m so frigging glad I left all my suitcases in the car and only came in with my oversized purse. How mortifying would it have been to lug my bags back to the car? It would’ve taken multiple trips too, because I don’t travel light.

“Listen,” Bianca says, her voice so quiet I strain to hear her. “You should consider yourself lucky.”

I raise my eyebrows. “For being homeless? Sure, I feel blessed.”

She cracks a smile. “Your last name is Heyward-Di Laurentis. You are not, and will never be, homeless.”

I grin sheepishly. Can’t argue with that.

“But I’m serious,” she whispers. “You don’t want to live here.” Her almond-shaped eyes dart toward the doorway. “Kaya is like a drill sergeant. It’s her first year as Kappa president, and she’s on some crazy power trip.”

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