Whereas most high schools were solely dominated by jocks and cheerleaders, it was the Orchestra ensemble of Westerburg High School, that topped the ladder of popularity. Outshining the mediocre football team, and filling the schools trophy cabinets with awards that proudly proclaimed the excellence of the Orchestra.
Not a single sliver of bronze or silver visible in the sea of gold. A glittering, well polished collection spanning six years of success and unrivaled triumph.
An achievement that was unquestionable in its origins.
Through sheer willpower and talent alone, the Heathers had pulled the orchestra from the wreckage it had been reduced to. Gathering the fallen and forgotten players that had once graced the stage together, their instruments long since set aside. Pushed to the back of bedroom closets, and stuffed into the bottom of lockers.
The school content to forget about the weak ensemble, with their constant position of last place. Years upon years of failure and disappointment, all under the absent leadership of Mr. Daniels.
A spanish teacher that had agreed to briefly occupy the position, until a proper teacher could be hired to coach the students. It wasn't until seven years later, that Mr. Daniels had at last been asked to step down from his ‘temporary’ position.
The Orchestra disbanded, and the students scattered.
Some lowering themselves to join the schools equally failing band… though most simply gave up. Melting into the school population, and forgetting the passion of their harmonization.
The beat of percussion, and the flair of brass.
It wasn't until the Heathers freshman year, that the scattered pieces came together again. The trio’s popularity appearing overnight, their talents openly broadcasted. Calling out to the outcasted orchestra members, beckoning them to arms. To take up their instruments and again grace the stage with their melody. To remember the joy and dedication they had once felt.
And who could blame the ensemble for folding to the demands of the Heathers. The unholy trinity of the Orchestra Pit. Heather Mcnamara, Heather Duke, and Heather Chandler. Girls who were unwavering to the stress of high school. Unbothered and unimpressed. Solid teflon, and as chrome as they came. Always dressed to the nines in their independent colors of choice.
Yellow, Green, and Red.
It was easy to pick out the Heathers from a crowd, at any point in time. Though the way that the student body parted for them like the red sea, might have had something to do with that as well.
They were beautiful, and unfairly talented. Heather Mcnamara gaining the position of head cheerleader in her freshman year… while at the same time, Heather Duke was overthrowing the yearbook committee.
Claiming her place as committee leader, and helping to further the Heathers agenda.
Bringing glory to the disgraced Orchestra.
And Heather Chandler… her power over the student body needed no explanation. It just was, and always had been since the moment she had graced the halls with her perfection. Turning heads wherever she went.
Powerful, intelligent, and just cruel enough to be feared.
And together, the Heathers were an unstoppable force that had yet to encounter an immovable object capable of halting their stride. Years upon years of getting what they wanted, when they wanted it. All the way back to the single-digit age of their friendship, when the Heathers had first met.
Not through school, or a friend-of-a-friend, or even their parents connections. But through a shared interest they had all been forced into, as soon as they were old enough to start at their separate elementary schools.
After all, it wasn't uncommon for parents to sign their children up for afterschool activities. Dancing, gymnastics, sports, singing… and the more rarely traveled route, the learning of an instrument.
And of all things, it had been the sharp voice of the Violin that had brought them together.
The Heathers still tiny and shiny when they had first met all those years ago in Miss Marple's Violin Class for Beginners. Before the harshness of their personalities had set in.
A time before Heathers self-doubt, Heathers Bulimia, and Heathers facade. A time where they spent hours each day pouring over beginners books, and trying to master the positioning of their fingers. Savoring the draw of the bow, and every sharp note they could compelle their violins to make. The trio flourishing under Miss Marples care and tutelage.
From kindergarten, all the way up to grade six.
Each school day ending with a trip to the tiny studio Miss Marple rented for her classes. Monday to friday, with the occasional sunday lesson. A full class of fourteen students that whittled down over the years, until only the Heathers remained. The sound of their dedication echoing in the tiny music room, familiar and beautiful.
Honed from years of practice, and sculpted through Miss Marples kind; though demanding, ways.
And it was at eighty-four; during the Heathers seventh year under her care, that Miss Marple passed silently during the night. There one day, and gone the next. Leaving them with a gaping hole in their lives, and a collection of memories that would never be forgotten.
And of course, a love for the Violin. For the instrument that Miss Marple had adored so much.
Understandably, the Heathers had mourned her passing in their own ways. Heather Mcnamara content to cry and cling to her fellow Heathers, while Heather Duke preferred a more destructive approach to her suffering. Shedding her tears into cold porcelain as she emptied what little stomach content she had.
It wasn't healthy… but it was at least something she could control.
And Heather Chandler… she had mourned in silence, and behind the safety of her locked bedroom door. Bottling her emotions away, and instead comforting her distraught stringmates. Stepping into the role of first violin.
The role of Leader and Concertmaster.
The almighty mythic bitch of Westerburg High School. Wanted by men, and envied by women. Seen through rose tinted lenses, and placed high upon a pedestal.
It was no surprise that Heather Chandler was a woman that got what she wanted.
And what she wanted, was the rebirth of the Orchestra. The school quick to appease the rising mermer that overtook the school population, the student body no more than approval seeking pawns that rose to the commands of their Queen. The revolt brutal and quick, leaving the principal scratching his head in confusion as he welcomed Miss Fleming to the school. An eccentric music instructor that quickly gained a sliver of respect from the Heathers, her teaching methods odd and archaic.
Doling out punishments that were more suited for students of a military school. Sending members of the ensemble to run laps around the school if they dared to mess up during practice, no matter how small the blunder might have been.
A flat note? Better start running. Missed your cue? Start running. Late for class? Running, now.
It was a punishment that was hard, and tiring… but it was also reliable, and often a lesson that only needed to be learned a handful of times for it to sink in. The Orchestra students flourishing in the rich environment Miss Fleming awakened them to, her class always scheduled in the period after lunch break. Giving her a full two hours of class time to force her need for perfection down her students throats.
A task that had earned her plenty of resentment at the start.
But when the National Chamber Orchestra Championship came along months later, for the first time in the history of Westerburg High School, it wasn't last place that the ensemble ended up placing.
They had.. Won…
Not just second, or third… they had won. And even now, in their senior year, it was a memory that could still bring a smile to Heather Chandlers lips. A smile that was so very unlike the snarky little twitch she usually called a smile. A smile that was full of teeth, and openly shone pride.
A smile that never failed to portray its reason, drawing a giggle from Heather Mcnamara, and a playful eye roll from Heather Duke. It was the same smile that had been reserved for the wistful memories of Miss Marple.
Memories that the Heathers were content to keep amongst themselves, as they often did with everything. Preferring to keep to the safety of their trinity. A friendship that had grown into a relationship, of sorts. Kisses stolen behind closed doors and away from prying eyes, kept secret from the world outside of themselves.
All for one, and one for all.
Heather, Heather, and Heather….
That being said, what rare schoolyard bonds they did end up making, were strictly limited to members of the Ensemble. And even then, the bonds they made could hardly be considered close.
More… acquaintances, than friends.
The type of bonds that gave a select few Orchestra members the envied ability to greet the Heathers in the hallway, and actually get a reply in return. The rarity of such an ability, often coming with its own brand of popularity that granted both resentment, and admiration from the student body.
The Heathers quick to declared the Ensemble off-limits at the start of their Freshman year, saving them from the physical torment of bullies, and mostly overlooked when it came to the petty squabbles of hormonal teenagers looking to destroy a person's self esteem for their own enjoyment.
The Ensemble was not to be touched, and the Heathers had made sure of that fact.
Making good on the threats they had issues, if anyone dared to touch what was theirs. Turning once school known bullies into social pariah that none dared to speak of, or to. The school wide exclusion often only ending with an eventual district transfer.
The Heathers not only protecting what was theirs, but helping to thin out the herd of bullies that called Westerburg High home.
Their solely self-beneficial action earning yet another praise to be sung of them.
And it was in those select few ‘friends’, that the most peculiar of students had managed to wiggle. Martha Dunnstock, one of the Orchestras brass players. A plump, quiet, and overly awkward soul that could play the French Horn like no tomorrow.
Her sound true and broad, echoing with the years of diligent training she had endured. Martha quick to earn the Heathers sort-of-friendship. Going from a bottom of the barrel loser, to a slightly popular Ensemble member.
A quiet and painfully shy girl that could often be seen talking with Heather Mcnamara, their voices blurring together as they gushed about movies, and new music sheets. Heather Chandler content to remain quiet during those conversation, while Heather Duke’s sarcastic eye roll spoke volumes on its own.
Though since Heather Duke rolled her eyes at 90% of all topics, Martha had quickly learned not to take her apparent annoyance personal. Her snarky attitude, was just part of who Heather Duke was.
Not a Mythic Bitch like Heather Chandler…. But a bitch nonetheless.
But to put it simply, from the very start of their freshman year, to the beginning for their Senior year, Martha Dunnstock had been a core member of the Orchestra, and a constant presence in the lives of the Heathers. Not a Pawn on Heather Chandlers chessboard like most of the schools population, but a Knight.
Loyal and capable...but still exhaustingly shy.
So it was an understandable surprise to come to school one day, and see Martha laughing so hard, she coughed and sputtered. Her head thrown back and eyes clenched, a joyous and pained expression plastered across her face. Her usually shy exterior replaced with the soft, warmth of friendship.
That was the day, Veronica Sawyer caught the Heathers attention. Her time before that day full of unremarkable moments of typical highschool life, with the occasional bullying and the daily struggles of being a teenager.
Her life calm and free of surprise. A time before she had become someone to the Heathers.
Because, despite being an apparently unimportant cog in society, Martha spoke highly when it came to ‘Ronnie’. Adding yet another topic to her conversations with Heather Mcnamara, stories of Veronica squeezed between the latest movie gossip, and the Ensambles newest music pieces.
Telling the tale of their childhood together.
A friendship that went all the way back to their toddler years. And much to the Heathers surprise, it did not take long for Veronica's presence to be noticed in their everyday school lives. The shroud of anonymity lifted, leaving behind a sense of curiosity that none of the Heathers had experiences in quite a while.
The trio purposely keeping an eye out for a glimpse of the brunette in the hallway, and learning what little was known about her from the rest of the student body. Making sure to only occasionally steer Martha and Heather Mcnamara’s conversations towards the topic of Veronica.
What was it about her?...
There was nothing overly interesting about her… but still there was something there, that drew the Heathers attention towards her nonetheless. A ‘something’ that despite how often they seemed to discuss Veronica, they never could seem to pinpoint. And from what they could tell, Veronica had always been there.
Quiet and subdued.
A background character that was content to remain hidden away in the crowds, her looks subpar and her grades a couple points shy of a 4.0 average. An easily forgettable topic that Martha had occasionally mentioned off-handley, in the time before their interest in Veronica.
Truthfully, the Heathers had always written off Martha's apparent ‘friend’ as a little white lie, an elaborate story she had constructed to make herself feel less lonely. Or even an imaginary friend..
But no, Veronica was not some childhood apparition dreamt up by a lonely girl.
“She has a very symmetrical face.” Heather Mcnamara had blurted aloud one day, during the quiet lull of their studying time. Her head bobbing as she wordlessly continued on with her math homework, unaware of the questionable stares her fellow Heathers directed towards her.
In the weeks following the discovery of her presence, the topic of Veronica quickly became a constant interruption to unrelated conversations. Though only during the trios private conversations together, of course.
Thinking back upon it, the first time the Heathers had actually met Veronica, it was as comical as it was expected. At last meeting the lanky brunette, and in the most likely of places at that.
“For a greasy little nobody…. She does have good bone structure.” Heather Chandler had absently commented one day, during their shared trip to the washroom. The stomach churning sound of Heather Duke’s destructive purging cut off with a bark of laughter, a wet and raw sound that brought a tinge of color to Heather Chandlers cheeks upon realizing what she had spouted aloud.
“Of course she could stand to lose a few pounds.” Heather Duke parroted back as she exited her washroom stall, popping a stick of gum into her mouth before snagging a quick kiss from the blushing Heather.
Earning her a playful shove and a mock look of disgust.
“Vomit and mint. How sexy.” Heather Mcnamara teased, earning her an eyeroll and a playful shove of her own, their laughter echoing off the walls of the empty bathroom. Only for a clearing throat to cut their shared amusement short, Miss Fleming standing almost smuggly in the once empty doorway, her head cocked to one side and arms lazily crossed.
“Heather, Heather, and Heather… Perhaps you didn't hear the bell over all that laughing, but you’re late for class.” Even though the Heathers were the pride and joy of the Orchestra, that did not stop Miss Fleming from being the hardass she was. The glee of assigning punishment practically orgasmic to her.
Or at least that was what the student body as a whole thought.
“Heather wasn't feeling well… we’re helping her.” Heather Chandler gestured towards Heather Duke, the other girl choosing that moment to loudly pop and smack her gum.
“Not without a hall pass you’re not. A weeks detention for-”
And as if summoned by the Orchestra gods themselves, there was a flash of movement from behind Miss Fleming’s shoulder, and she was there. Veronica, with her oversized coat and her windswept hair, her head swiveling from side to side as she took in the situation she had unknowingly walked into. Heather Chandler slowly shaking her head, warning the brunette to back away while she still could.
But instead, Veronica hurriedly pulled a notebook from her bag, and scribbled away in it. Interrupting Miss Fleming with a voice that quivered with uncertainty, her eye downcast and throat clearing.
“Actually Miss Fleming, all four of us are out on a hall pass.” She began, her voice wavering at the look of open hostility Miss Fleming directed towards her, voice an unsure squeak as she continued, “Yearbook committee…”
And after a long second of considering the note Veronica had handed over, with a deep and regretful sigh, Miss Fleming relented. “I see you’re all listed here…. Hurry up, and get where you’re going.” And with no more than that, she was on her way. Leaving Veronica practically hyperventilating in the doorway, releasing a breath she hadn't realized she was holding.
Only then coming to the realization that staring curiously back at her from the bathroom sinks, were the three most powerful students in the school. Girls that she had only seen in passing, and stared at from a distance.
Girls that resided mountains above her, in social standing. High up upon marble pedestals.
“Sorry, it just… looked like you could use a hand.” Veronica babbled, pulling absently at the cuffs of her coat. A nervous twitch Martha had giggled at many times in the past.
“Well…. Thank you, Veronica.” Heather Chandler blurted out, inwardly cursing at the slip of tongue she had made. Openly admitting she knew Veronicas name, despite never having spoken before. A tiny snicker escaping Heather Duke at the blunder, which in turn drew a giggle from Heather Mcnamara, the tiny cheerleader all but flouncing over to the motionless Veronica.
Her hands grabbing a hold of the lanky teens face, cupping her cheeks and admiring her well formed features. A strong jaw, sharp cheekbones and a perfectly little nose.
“I was right! Your face is perfectly symmetrical... if I took a meat cleaver down the center of it, I would have matching halves. That's very important.” The more Heather spoke, the more obvious Veronica’s confusion became.
Staring down at the littlest Heather with knitted brows, mouth opening and closing as words failed her. Thankfully, Heather Chandler took that as her cue to save the poor brunette, happily jumping at the opportunity to speak to the person that had haunted their conversations for the last month.
“Don’t mind her,” The hastily written note was plucked from Veronica’s hands before she could react, the Mythic Bitch of Westerburg High School scrutinizing the forgery with a single raised eyebrow, “This is an excellent forgery…” She mumbled, Heather Duke peeking at the note over her shoulder with waning curiosity.
Her interest quick to run out, leaving her staring starkly at the groups savior, her lips pursed and head cocked.
Scrutinizing her. Judging her. Staring at her...
“I ah… Sorry, gotta… Class.” And as quickly as Veronica had appeared, she was gone. Swept out the door as fast as her long legs could carry her, all but running to escape the intensity of their joined attention. Leaving Heather Mcnamara pouting, her hands still poised in the air where they had cupped Veronica’s face, a bark of laughter leaving Heather Duke.
“I think we scared the poor girl,” Heather Duke laughed again, bumping hips with Heather Chandler. The forged note still clutched forgotten in the other girls hands.
“.....Well, I liked her.” With conviction unwarranted of the situation, Heather Mcnamara nodded and then swiveled her head to glare at Heather Duke, “And go wash your hands…. You touched the toilet seat…”
With introductions somewhat out of the way, much to the surprise of the student body, the number of people greeted by the Heathers in the hallway increased by one. Martha’s face practically splitting apart from the smile that would stretch across it, when one of the Heathers would greet her best friend.
All the while laughing quietly at the openly shown look of befuddlement that would across Veronicas face each time. Suspicious, as if she expected to find herself on the receiving end of some lengthy school prank.
“Stop looking into it so much, Veronica. They’re probably just thankful for your help with Miss Phlegm.” Martha's dismissiveness did little to quiet the feelings of uncertainty that coiled inside of Veronicas stomach, the quiet brunette continuing to resemble a deer in the headlights with each new greeting that came her way.
The Heathers newly gifted attention earning Veronica far more than just a little heart attack.
For unlike Martha and the others that were greeted by the Heathers, Veronica was not a member of the Orchestra, and exempt from the protection granted to the Ensembles members. Her once quiet highschool existence trampled beneath the jealousy of other students, the everyday bullying escalating from typical teenage pettiness, into something less manageable.
Freak, Slut, Loser, Short-bus.
The name calling never failed to eat away at Veronicas self esteem, her hands wringing tightly together and throat clenching. Every muscle in her body screaming for her to either fight, or flee.
And since fleeing would do little to stop the bullying, Veronica unwisely decided to stand and fight. Returning the snarky remarks directed at her, with her own brand of witty banter. Flinging insults back as quickly as they were lobbed at her, her blows low and calculating.
Until one day, her pretty words got the better of her.
“-you’re a high school has-been waiting to happen; a future gas station attendant.”
Veronica swore she saw stars dancing before her eyes, after Kurt decked her with enough force to send her crashing to the ground. The murmur of the hall silenced and replaced with the ringing of her ears. Loud and deafening.
Almost instantly, it was an offense that Kurt came to regret.
A hand upon Veronicas shoulder and a voice calling her name, repeated again and again until with pupils the size of dinner plates, she turned to look up at Heather Mcnamara. The littlest Heather, with her face washed in worry and her eyebrows pinched together.
The cold touch of her hands pressed to Veronicas aching face. The faint taste of blood tickling at her taste buds.
It had taken the Heathers a full three days to finally catch wind of the growing hostility directed towards Veronica, Heather Mcnamara hurrying after her fellow Heathers as they went marching off to war. Students practically jumping out of the trios way as they went barreling by, Heather Dukes face twisted with barely concealed rage. Her lips drawn and eyebrows narrowed.
The enforcer of the group, the spitfire and hellion.
But it was the calm of Heather Chandler, that drew the most unease. Quietly hurrying along, with her head held high. Just a step behind the warpath of her fellow Heather, a tiny noise of complaint sounding in the back of her throat as Duke came to a quick and sudden stop. The sound of flesh striking flesh an afterthought in Heather Chandler mind, as she watched Veronica hit the floor with a gasp of pain, Kurt standing proudly over her.
Scorn upon his tongue, viciously insulting the woman that brought mixed emotions within the Trio.
Freak. Slut. Cripple. Homo. Homo. Homo
“What the Fuck , do you think you’re doing?” Stunned silence overtook the hallway, the crowding students visibly shaken as Heather Chandler stepped forward, her tone sharp with outrage. Hands outstretched as she physically pushed the gloating Kurt from his looming stance over the Veronica, the lanky football player stumbling back as if her touch had burned. The once smug expression dropping from his face with a look of confused uncertainty, arms hanging limply at his sides.
“Veronica, can you hear me? Veronica? Ronnie?” Heather Mcnamara’s quiet calling seemed to break through Veronica’s daze after several tense moments, the softly spoken sound of the littlest Heathers voice earning a stuttered, wet gasp from Veronica. The air catching in her throat, as wetness gathered in her eyes.
Veronica didn’t sob, or weep.
She simply sat there in confused silence, with tears streaming down her face. Her hands wiping at her cheeks and scrubbing at her eyes, voice caught in her throat. The tiniest of stuttered breaths escaping her again and again, the shock of having been physically struck a fact the brunette seemed unable to grasp a hold of.
Simply sitting there, in the middle of the hallway. One side of her face already beginning to darken with shades of red and purple, a bruise that grew steadily worse in appearance the longer she sat there.
Her pretty words silenced, and her eyes hidden behind her scrubbing hands.
“Well? What the fuck, do you think you’re doing?” Heather Chandlers demanding question rang out again, Kurt visibly jumping at the Blonde’s tone. Angry, but calm. Her arms crossed lazily against her chest, and her hip cocked to one side. Heather Duke no more than an arms length behind her.
Standing as a barrier between Kurt and his would be victim, her body eclipsing Heather Mcnamara and Veronica from his confused stare
“Showing the nerd her place?” Kurt’s answer was more of a question, than it was a statement. The look upon his face wavering between confused and constipated, eyebrows furrowed and posture defensive.
“It Seems that you’re the only one here who has forgotten their place, Kurt. This Nerd isn't yours to touch.” With an authority expect of her, Heather Chandler addressed the growing spectators that had come to a standstill in the hallway, “Veronica Sawyer is now under the same protection as the Ensemble. Take Kurt here, as a reminder of what happens when you mess with what is ours.”
And with a pleasant smile on her lips, Heather Chandler turned and made her exit. Pausing long enough to help Heather Mcnamara shuffle Veronica to her feet, the tall Brunette escorted from the busy hallway with a Heather at each elbow.
Heather Duke; the groups enforcer, staying behind to deliver Kurts fate.
Her smile sharp and toothy, gleeful as she congratulated him on his fuckup, “Enjoy spending the next seven months of this school year as an outcast, Kurt. You’re blacklisted.”
Excluded. Outcasted. Ostracized. The first Social Pariah to grace the halls in over two years, the previous title holder having long since distanced himself from Westerburg High School.
And it was only fitting that Kurt Kelly would be the one to follow in the steps of Ram Sweeney, his previous partner in crime.
Didn't I ever tell you where I met Veronica?
In the two weeks it took for Kurt Kelly to change school districts, Veronica became an often sight in the Orchestra Room. Wandering in after Martha during lunch break, and occasionally taking up space in an unused corner of the room during her free period.
Bobbing her head along to the Ensembles ever changing music selection, as she worked on her class assignments. The songs ranging from classical masterpieces, to the top ten of the year.
Pieces by Mozart and Beethoven, mixed in with Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Bruno Mars.
Songs that would make Veronica’s fingers itch, and her attention sway. Peeking up syly from her math questions to watch the Orchestra perform under the harsh judgment of Miss Fleming, the teacher seeing only faults where Veronica saw perfection.
The sharp hum of the strings. The trumpeting beat of the brass. And the high pitch of woodwinds*. Sounds that never failed at bringing a smile to Veronicas lips and a fidget to her feet, quietly tapping along as the Ensemble practiced.
Only occasionally earning a disapproving glance from Fleming.
The teacher having come to begrudgingly accept Veronicas presence in the corner of her classroom, preferring to ignore the brunettes existence altogether in favor of insulting the Ensembles efforts.
If anything, Veronicas presence often contributed to the quality of that days efforts.
The Heathers not so much as toeing-the-line, when under the watchful gaze of the studious brunette. Openly flaunting their skills, and not so openly glancing her way for approval. The once gaping distance that separated their worlds, significantly dwindled down.
Letting the Heathers observe the anomaly that was Veronica Sawyer, discovering the answers to the questions that had haunted their conversations for weeks. Answers that meant little to Veronica, but brought the thrill of knowing to the Heathers.
Her favorite animal, her favorite movie, her favorite book. And blue, her favorite color.
Yellow, Green, Red, and now Blue. It was a fitting discovery.
“Seriously Heather. We’re trying to befriend Veronica, not scare her away.” The matter-of-fact tone of Heather Chandler’s voice broke through Heather Mcnamara’s unfiltered rambling, the petite cheerleader pouting at the needed interruption.
“Hey, all I did was hug her… it’s not my fault she’s so tall.”
“You practically motorboated her, Heather.” Cracking her gum loudly, Heather Duke looked up from her fingernails in disinterest. Her bored stare met with a pouting glare.
“At least I’m not the one who offered to show her ‘My fingering technique’.” Heather Mcnamara argued back, slinging her backpack over her shoulder and bumping her hip up against the other Heathers, the brunette having the decency to look at least somewhat embarrassed at the reminder.
“I saw an opening, and I went for it. Whatcha gonna do about it, huh?”
“Heather, stop antagonizing Heather. You two can do your whole powerplay sexthing later, I need to go grab my violin from the Orchestra room.”
“Spoil sport.” Heather Duke sang, stuffing her textbooks into her backpack and shutting her locker door. Her gaze raking the length of the empty hallway before she stole herself a quick kiss from the littlest Heather, humming in delight at the fingers that grasped at her hair and stroked at her cheeks.
Teeth nipping at her bottom lip as she reluctantly pulled away.
“We’ll finish this later.” Heather Mcnamara promised, kissing her once again before linking arms with Heather Chandler. Pulling the tall blonde off balance and making her stumble for a brief moment, the little blonde giggling at their leaders wobble.
Heather Duke rolling her eyes as she jogged to catch up with the hurried pair.
The sound of their footsteps echoing down the empty halls. Voices carrying with their playful banter, the trio free from the worry of being watched and overheard. The school population long since departed, racing from the building the moment the end of day bell had chimed.
Signaling the start of a much needed weekend.
But with expectations to be met and grades to be kept, the Heathers had stuck around for an extra two hours of studying. Setting up camp in the far corner of the library and talking in hushed whispers until the librarian eventually sent them on their way.
Their assignments mostly completed by that time.
“-so we should hit up the mall this weekend. See if they have any worthwhile sales on.” Leave it to Heather Mcnamara to mention a trip to the mall.
“My violin could use some new strings.” Heather Duke mentioned absentmindedly.
“You haven't gotten new strings yet? You should have changed them weeks ago.” Voice aghast with disbelief, Heather Chandler turned to further scold her fellow Heather, pulling the closed door to the Orchestra classroom open as she did. But instead of scornful words, all that managed to escape her was a breath of surprise.
The low, buttery drawl of a Cello swaying its way from the barely cracked open classroom door. A beautiful and haunting sound that derailed thoughts and resonated deep in Heather Chandlers chest, a melody that took only a moment to recognize.
Not a masterpiece, or a classic…
“Is that Dollhouse?” Heather Duke whispered, pushing her way past her favorite blondes. Peering into the empty classroom with knitted brows and pursed lips, the door cracked open just enough to glance through.
But that first glance… it was a sight that Heather would never forget, no matter how many years would pass by. Her eyes widened with wonder as she watched the leisurely, and almost lazy way, that Veronica played the Cello. Her thighs parted around a beautiful old Eastman that had seen better days, with it's faded varnish and pale exterior. Her hair pulled into a tight ponytail, and her trademark baggy jacket slung over the back of her chair.
Leaving Veronica in a pair of dark hip hugging jeans, and a royal blue tank top. A single bra strap hanging loose against her bicep, uncharacteristically frilly… and pink.
“Fuck…” Heather Duke whispered beneath her breath, her apparent approval furthering the interest of her stringmates. Heather Mcnamara's hand upon the door before she could even react, shoving it open as she stepped in. Taking in the same sight that Heather Duke had been lucky enough to enjoy, the obnoxious creak of the door drawing two sets of eyes to the trio.
Veronica’s hands pausing, bow in hand and fingers frozen against the strings. Staring at them wide eyed, like a child caught in the middle of a naughty deed.
Mouth opening and closing.
“Heathers?” Martha’s voice was an understandable surprise to hear. The plump girl sitting on the floor not far from Veronicas chair, her back against the wall and lap full of brass pieces.
Quietly cleaning her French Horn as Veronica practiced.
“What are you three still doing here? It's a Friday…” Martha squinted at the trio from behind her thick rimmed glasses. Fingers on autopilot as she continued to shine her beloved instrument.
“Really? That’s what you think is important here? Not the fact that Veronica can apparently play the Cello?” With her head cocked to one side, and her backpack abandoned beside the classroom door, Heather Duke marched her way into the Orchestra room. Standing over Veronica, ignorant of the other brunettes unease as she admired the old cello leaned delicately up against her breastbone.
Veronica's fingers still pressed to the fingerboard, holding down the strings she had been playing just moments beforehand.
“We were finishing up homework.” Heather Mcnamara helpfully admitted, the second of the Heathers to make her way into the classroom. Passing by Veronica with more than a second glance, and taking up space beside Martha. Daintily sitting down, with her legs stretched out before her.
Ankles crossed and backpack settled comfortably in her lap.
“You never mentioned you could play.” And at last, the final Heather made her way into the Orchestra room. Heather Chandler closing the door behind her as she tentatively stepped in, eyeing the cello in Veronicas grasp. Shoulder brushing up against Heather Dukes as she came to stand beside her openly staring Stringmate.
Though at least this time it was Veronicas Cello she was staring at, and not the girl herself.
“Of course Veronica can play,” Martha bluntly spouted out, bobbing her head as she continued to pamper the pieces of her Horn. Unaware of the confused stare of the three violinists, her voice wavering upon glancing up from her maintenance. “-wa..what? Didn't I ever tell you where I met Veronica?”
“Apparently not, if it involves Veronica knowing how to play the Cello.” Duke snarked out, sarcasm her go to response when it came to unexpected situations.
“I don’t think you ever did.” Heather Chandler answered as well, shooting the snarky Heather a warning glance, and elbowing her in the side for good measure.
“Our mothers were part of the same casual Orchestra group while they were in college. Nothing serious or dedicated like what we do here, but they still met several times a week for practice.” Heather Dukes snark aside, Martha did eventually find her voice. Her hands kept busy while she explained, talking more to her instrument than she was to the Heathers.
And then, they finally moved.
Veronicas fingers; once glued to her Cello strings, moved. Falling from the fingerboard to rub at her leg and pick invisible lint from off her dark washed denim jeans. Looking anywhere, as long as it was not occupied by a Heather.
“It's kind of hard not to bond with the people you harmonize with, so our mothers are pretty much best friends still. Hell, because of the Orchestra, Martha and I have known each other since we were in diapers.”
“That’s right. And we even had the same private music teacher, back in elementary school.”
“Don’t remind me, Martha. I still get nightmares about Mr. Lobonta.”
“He wasn't that bad.”
“You’re not the one who took a Cello bow to the back.”
“Veronica, he barely hit you! And that was like, over ten years ago at least.”
While the petty squabble might not have offered any relief to the Heathers confusion, it was still a comforting thing to witness nonetheless. Watching Martha; who was perhaps the shiest person in the world, and Veronica; who was perhaps the most transparent person in the world, interact with each other.
The pair possessing a closeness that the violinists perfectly understood, finding ease with one another due to their long-running friendship.
“Wait, if Veronica has been playing the Cello for as long as you say-” Heather Mcnamara began to question aloud, only to find herself cut off.
“Then why isn't she part of the Ensemble?” Heather Chandler’s question was more of a demanded, a single well sculpted brow raised. Lips set and hip cocked to one side, staring the brunette down despite her obvious unease, “Why didn’t you join freshman year, like Martha did?”
“I wasn't here freshman year. I went to a private school for the first year and a half of highschool, and transferred in part way through grade nine. By the time I got here, all available seats in the Orchestra were full.” Veronica ran her fingers down the length of her Cello, plucking the strings absently.
Each twitch of her fingers echoed with the high pitched pang of the metal cords.
“Then you should have tried out for a seat at the start of grade ten,” Heather Duke butted in, ignoring the look of rightful annoyance Heather Chandler threw her way. “Do you know how many Cellist’s we have in our group, Veronica? Two. We may be just a Chamber Orchestra*, but to have only two Cellist is an embarrassment in itself.”
“Well it’s a good thing we now have three, isn't it Heather?” Heather Chandler’s cellphone was in her hand before anyone could even blink, the blondes fingers a blur as she tapped away at the screen. The classroom bathed in silence, Veronica and Martha exchanging confused and wary glances.
“Miss Fleming has been informed of this discovery, and come Monday your free period will be spent practicing with the Orchestra. It will still take a couple days for your position in the class to be approved by the principal, but there is little worry of our… request , being turned down.” With her cellphone stuffed back into her pocket, Heather Chandler went about retrieving her Violin from the classrooms storage closet, vanishing into the depths of the deep storage room. The walls covered in cubby-holes, each housing a different student owned instrument.
“You can leave your Cello here for the weekend, if you want. But come monday, you’re one of us, Veronica.” Double fisting both hers and Heather Dukes violins, Heather Chandler hip checked the storage room door behind her, and once again claimed the spot beside her fellow Heather.
Passing the spare violin to its rightful owner, and turned to again stare the Cellist down. A hint of a grin finding its way to Heathers lips at the complete look of surprise and uncertainty that had plastered itself across Veronicas Lips.
The brunette doing quite an impressive impression of a caught fish, with her eyes wide and her lips opening and closing. Martha staring inquisitively at the schools monarch, with an expression that Heather Chandler couldn't quite describe.
Curious. Unsure. Worries… knowing.
“Heather, Heather. Let's get a move on before the mall closes. Strings to buy, corn nuts to eat.”
And with that, Heather Chandler turned on her heels and gracefully made her way out the door. Her fellow Heathers no more than a lagging step behind her, Heather Mcnamara snagging herself a quick hug from Martha, and Heather Duke letting her gaze take in one last glance of Veronica and her Cello. The Heather flashing the other brunette a slivered grin before she chased after the long legged Heather Chandler.
A quick, “Looking pretty cool there, Sawyer.” thrown over her shoulder.
Her violin swinging with the pendulum motion of her arms.
“Don’t look so worried, Veronica!” Heather Mcnamara paused in the door, her head tilted to glance over her shoulder at the frozen pair. Her smile wide and sincere, “You’re going to fit in just great with the Ensemble! We can’t wait to get to know you better.”
And they were just… gone. Leaving Veronica clutching her Cello and glancing rapidly from between the empty doorway and the laughing Martha. The plump brunette finding the situation far more comical than Veronica thought possible.
“ We can’t wait to get to know you better, Veroonniiccaaaa, ” Martha teased, her reassembled french horn lovingly returned to its case.
“I think I’m having a heart attack Martha… what am I supposed to do?”
“Buy some new strings, fret about monday, and try not to think about your Heather Complex?”
“Oh god, you’re right… I’m such a weak gay mess.”