Day 03: Your favourite subject at Gallagher → Culture and Assimilation
“Culture and Assimilation has been a part of the Gallagher curriculum for more than a hundred years, Zach.”
We turned down the corridor to the tea room. “A Gallagher Girl can blend into any culture—any environment. Assimilation isn’t a matter of social graces.” I stopped in the hallway with my hand against the door frame. “It’s a matter of life and death.”
“Oh. It’s that
type of exam.” Jonas says under his breath.
From the row behind him, Grant leans over to Jonas and
whispers, “Never let the big guy forget this, okay?” as they watch their best friend
Zachary Goode dance front ‘n center with that lizard girl.
Another sophomore beside Jonas turns to Grant. “Never let
him forget this? When he gets to dance with a girl? What part of this would he
like to forget? He’s loving it.”
“Okay, now. Everyone find a partner,” Madame Dabney calls
The three boys’ faces
deadpan. Zach looks over for the
slightest second at them, one look on his face: Bring it. “Okay…” Grant says
slowly as he gets up. “New plan: make sure he forgets everything about this class.”
Grant is really good at dancing. He grew up with a mother
and a father that lived in a somewhat formal lifestyle. He was taught to dance
by a tutor on an actual dance floor with actual dance shoes. His mind barely
thinking about the box step but more wandered on the subject of how his friend
was making a fool of himself by stepping both of his partner’s feet. (But then
he saw how Liz is as equally as clumsy and let it go.) Then he started to
wonder when exactly he had let Bex to lead…
Jonas’s face was redder than a
tomato. His face was as red as a blood blister. With his luck, Liz had blood
blisters all over her toes by the time the first ten seconds of the song had
ended. He had never learned to dance, why waste time on lessons when you can be
memorizing all of the digits of pi? Liz laughs nervously and apologizes for the
36th time (exactly). He dismisses it as he looks to his right to
watch how Grant and Bex glided on the floor. They were a little stiffer than it
should be, but it still was an improvement than what they were doing.
It was late. All classes had ended for the day. It was a
tiring first day. Who knew girls could be so… overwhelming?
“Well, none of us has seen a girl for an entire semester, so
this was just an overload.” Jonas theorizes
“Forget that, man!” Grant laughs and he unmakes his bed to
sleep in. “We should just admit that an entire school filled with hot girls who
blew our circuits because they were better than we could even imagined!”
“Speak for yourself, Grant.” Zach scoffs over his shoulder
as he puts away the school uniform.
Dr. Steve pokes his head around the doorway that separated
his room from theirs. “Boys- lights out in two minutes!”
“Yes, sir.” Every one says in union.
Zach gets himself into bed as well. Turning his head to the
left at Grant he says loud enough for the entire room to hear, “Hey, I better
not hear anything about a British Bombshell invading your dreams and making
your nuts explode.”
The whole room erupts in chuckles and laughs.
In the next minute, the lights are out and everyone is
silent. No one is really asleep, but they all lay in the quiet. Today, not only
was it tiring, but it was fun. They laughed, scared some girls, flirted with
some girls- hell. Danced with some girls. Zachary Goode made a joke. They
didn’t run laps. Tomorrow’s day started at six instead of the usual drill at
This was good. This was fun.
Maybe this was normal?
“What the fuck are those?” Grant gasps and stops walking in
the middle of the doorway. Jonas nearly knocks into his friend as he
dramatically pretends to stumble backwards.
Grant’s finger points at the clothing rack that holds
freshly washed and ironed suits. As the rest of the Blackthorne Boys wander
into the room they notice the rolled up black ties in boxes on each of their
beds. Perfectly sized dress shoes with labels of their owners’ names sit to the
right of the ties.
Dr. Steve, who was tailing the herd of boys, finally sees
what the commotion is all about. “Oh excellent! The suits for the exam!”
“An exam? What exam?” A freshman calls out.
“You mean-“ a sophomore gasps, “That exam?”
Grant smiles and nudges Zach, “An exam to see how fast we
can honey pot the entire school, if you know what I mean.”
“Don’t get too excited yet,
boys!” Dr Steve pushed the rack a little farther into the corner of the hall.
“Just make sure to keep your shoes clean and ties spotless!”
“Since we have some time to waste until curfew… do you think
you could help me out and uh… help me with the dancing for the exam?”
A small laugh from the corner of
the dorm. “Sure thing, Jonas.”
“What the fuck do you mean you’re living with girls- and
only girls- for the rest of your high school experience? How the fuck is that
fair in any way shape or form?”
“A) I mean it in the exact way you just said it, and B) I
never said it was.” Zach smiles and bows slightly to his friends before him.
Jonas sat next to Grant (whose eyebrows were furrowed and
mouth gaped) with a hand on this chin. “Let me get this straight: so you sneak
out of Blackthorne to Gallagher- which is against the rules-“
“Extremely-“ Zach fills in.
“And help some Gallagher students sneak into the off limit
tombs of Blackthorne, “ -Zach is silent this time, but continues to fold his
clothing- “nearly blow up a teacher from Gallagher whom has been MIA for quite
some time now, nearly kill yourself, miss a bunch of school here because you
were already spending a shit load of time at the other school, convince a very
important girl for a very important mission to leave with out a trace and
Grant cuts him off, “THEY LET YOU GO?”
Zach is frozen with his back turned to his friends. His friends, he thinks, I can still remember when I thought I could
never have any. Still, his friends just pointed out some of the most
terrifying times of his life, and Zach was shaking.
From anger or fear, he couldn’t tell. Those two felt the
exactly the same at this point.
“Whoa- hey,” Grant is softer now. Softer than any one is
allowed to be at this god-for-saken school. “I’m- we didn’t mean it like that.”
“Yeah,” Jonas comes around closer to Zach to put a hand on
his shoulder. “It’s just… it seems backwards to us, you know?”
Zach sighs and turns around. “Yeah. I know. It’s just that…
it isn’t going to be the highlight that you guys think it’s going to be.”
“What aren’t you telling us?” It doesn’t even sound like a
“Joe is taking me in for the break, and we are going to look
for Cammie. Or the Circle. Most likely both.” Zach is whispering now.
“Well, that doesn’t sound too bad-“ Jonas offers, sitting on
the bed next to Zach’s suitcase.
“But if I can’t find Cammie with him, then I was thinking of
finding Baxter or McHenry and have them help me find her.” Zach finishes.
Jonas stands. “They can’t do that-“
“Which is exactly why they would do it.” Grant takes the
words right out of Zach.
“I don’t want to get them into this either but… going into
this without back-up would be foolish.” Zach remembers the words Cammie had
given him right before the tombs.
All three are silent for a moment. Both Grant and Jonas
understand his dilemma. Zach takes the silence to turn around and close his
bag. He puts it on the floor and starts to strip his bed sheets for the last
He clears his throat. “So, uh, what were you two planning on
doing this summer?”
“Family shit. My cousin’s grandmother died. Really wealthy.
Big will. You know…” Grant sighs.
“I have a bucket list of websites that I wanted to hack…
just for the fun. Ruin my eyesight even more.” Jonas gestures to his glasses.
“We have the Aviator test coming up next year. That’ll be exciting.”
“Cool.” Silence again. Zach looks at the clock. “I should
go. Joe will be here soon and-“
“Zach listen,” Grant looks down. “If you’re ever in trouble,
just don’t forget to ask for our help too.”
Zach smiles and nods his head. “Of course man. You’ll be the
Jonas and Grant offer to take his sheets down the basement
for him so Joe won’t have to wait longer. This was a lot more difficult than he
thought it would be. Then again, Zach has never really said goodbye to anyone
that he didn’t want to say goodbye too. So before he can regret it, Zachary
stands his bag at his side and turns to his friends.
“Bye, guys. Thanks.” And he hugs them. They hug back. Not
awkward, but needed.
“I’m pretty fucking sure this is the first time someone has
done this in the school.” Jonas says.
Zach is regretful for a lot of
things, but laughing with his friends during the last time he had seen them is
Zach is in trouble. His friends are in trouble- which means
that the people he knows he can call are in trouble. Joe is busy. Cammie is
here with him. Macey can’t get a jet here without having people notice.
Zach really needs more friends.
That’s when it hits him. Liz informed them that they still
needed an escape route. Something to take them far away, helicopter or plane.
None of them can fly planes (one of them owns a few- granted,) because
Gallagher doesn’t teach that.
So he called them. And they answered.
“Are you sure about this?” Cammie questions.
He has never been more sure before.
God. Hugging his friends is really nice.
That sounds weird, but it is. Zach feels this weird feeling
of nostalgia that reminds him of their time at Gallagher. It’s melancholy, but
still. The plane smells like Blackthorne (since when does Blackthorne have a smell?)
“Bro,” Grant whispers as they hug, “You look good. You look…
Jonas smiles, “Well we won’t look so alive until you sit
your ass down and help me fly this thing.” But he gets up and hugs Zach anyway.
“Thanks.” Zach says as his other friends behind him settle
down. “I owe you.”
“Fuck yeah you do! Lee is gonna kill us if he sees this
plane gone.” Grant mutters under his breath as they take off.
cAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS BROT3??? I adore these guys. This one’s style was a little bit different, being more snippets of their bonding. I really didn’t have the time for this week’s. Speaking of which- I’ll be publishing another quicker short about the friendship of Joe and Matt. So, keep and eye out! Please feel free to give me feedback!
Culture and Assimilation isn’t like our other classes, so I guess that’s why Madame Dabney’s tea room isn’t like our other classrooms. French silk lines the walls. The lighting fixtures are crystal. Everything in that room is beautiful and refined and reminds us that we don’t just have to be spies— we have to be ladies.