Cas looks at his phone expectantly. It's a cold fall night, and he'd rather not spend it outside the train station. His ride, whoever that is, was supposed to pick him up two (almost three) hours ago.
Did they forget about him? That's not out of the realm of possibility. Then again, it's not everyday Crowlland Academy hits up a random family and tells them that their son has a full-ride scholarship to the most notorious and prestigious school in the country. It has to have meant something.
What if it was a prank call? That would be embarrassing. All those months preparing, the tragic, appalling, and yet, sentimental going away party, and tedious packing, for what? A twelve-year-old to have his daily laugh? Cas would never be able to look his family in the eye again.
For the first time, he's given his parents something to be proud of. Sure, he's good at soccer, but that's nothing compared to the awards Remy has won playing piano and violin. Or the ballet recitals she's starred in.
He can finally say he has potential, or at least, that's what the Headmaster of Crowlland said. He can't see it for himself, and he's too old to believe adults know everything, but he'll give this the benefit of the doubt.
He can't let this slip through his fingers, so he clenches his jaw, repositions his beanie to cover his ears, and gets a better grip on his suitcase. He'll see this through, even if he has to wait all night. In the morning, if the ride never shows, he'll walk to Crowlland and demand for him to at least put in another application.
If that doesn't work, he'll get a small, one-bedroom apartment in the city and work as a waiter for the rest of his life. He'll send postcards to his sister, saying he's alive once a month. She'll inevitably show them to Mom and Dad, which will be fine because he'll never send them a return address.
He was close to dropping out at his old school anyway.
There's a man to Cas' right, smoking the end of a cigarette. He's the perfect stereotype of a homeless man: ratty clothes, scrawny build, a torn backpack beside him. Cas could give him the rest of the hundred his mom gave him for transportation, but who's to say he won't need it if he does have to get an apartment? Besides, the guy might just spend it on another pack of cigarettes.
What a nasty habit.
Cas whips his head around and sees a man in a suit. Probably in his late twenties, the guy looks like he's the well-groomed son of a CEO. Behind him is a black car, sleeked with recently applied wax. He's not good at guessing games, but even Cas can tell this guy's loaded.
"Are you Mr. Ayrell?" he looks at a card, "Caspian Ayrell, brown hair, green eyes. Born Febr-"
"Yeah! Yeah, that's me," Cas interrupts. He doesn't know what exactly is on that card, but he'd rather not have his personal information read aloud to him. He shoves his phone into his hoodie pocket and yawns. "You're my ride?"
The man holds out a hand and gives a perfectly practiced smile, "Aaron Thomas. I work for headmaster Holme at the Academy. I'm his assistant."
Cas shakes his hand awkwardly, "Hi."
Aaron gestures to the suitcase, "Want me to help you with that?"
"Uh..." Is it rude to say no? Cas has never liked having his stuff touched by people he doesn't know, but he doesn't want to be weird. Well, weirder. "No, I think I got it."
Cas silently waits for the world to end.
He doesn't know whether to feel disappointed or relieved when it doesn't.
Aaron shrugs, "Suit yourself. You can throw it in the trunk." Aaron heads to the driver's side, and Cas assumes he hit some kind of button because the trunk opens in front of him.
As he gets comfortable in the front seat, pulling his seat belt on, he watches Aaron shuffle through a few CDs he takes from the center console. With such a prissy persona, you'd assume he'd use more modern ways to listen to music like Bluetooth.
"You more of a Queen fan or Beatles?" he asks, looking between two CDs.
He's never had a preference for either, but saying that sounds like the wrong answer, and he doesn't want to fail the test before he even has a pencil.
"Queen." Cas did an essay on the biography of the Beatles back in middle school. Or was that the Bangles? He never cared.
Aaron looks up and catches Cas in such an intense gaze, he feels like apologizing. Was Cas supposed to say Beatles? He'll never find out because Aaron takes out a new CD and puts it in the player. "We're listening to Adele."
And that's the end of that. Aaron rolls down the window and turns the volume up loud enough to cut off any potential conversation.
Cas has never met someone who drives insanely as he does, but Aaron comes pretty close when he takes the turn on Arrow St on two wheels. That being said, Cas has never had to be in the passenger seat while someone was going 80 in a 55 zone; now, he knows why Remy always freaks out when riding shotgun.
The thing that throws Cas off the most is the fact that Aaron doesn't get pulled over. Cas has avoided his fair share of tickets in the past two years, but it's almost as if the police are deliberately ignoring him.
Curiosity killed the cat, he reminds himself, but cats have nine lives, what's the harm of losing one?
Before Cas can even begin to ask his question, they're stopping at a large gate entrance that Cas should've noticed before it was right in front of him. The school is like an oversized castle with a brick fence surrounding the campus. The gate has the name of the academy in fancy letters on top. It's just like you'd imagine a prestigious school to look like; it's most definitely full of over-privileged snobs.
Cas gives himself a week before he's punching someone in the face. Handling self-centered pricks isn't Cas' forte.
Aaron turns the music off, shows the guards some kind of ID, and the doors open. There's a large fountain in the middle of a gravel round-about, and three main buildings connected by what's probably narrow hallways.
"The boy dorms are on our left, the girls' on the right. The middle is the actual school," Aaron says, parking the car in front of the left building. There's a side entrance that Cas hadn't noticed before. "We were planning on giving you the tour tonight before unpacking, but since it's-" he looks at the radio clock- "2:08 in the morning, I think the best plan of action is you finding your dorm and sleeping. Tomorrow we can get the business side of things out of the way. Sound good?"