Chapter 1: The First Day Back
(a/n: Not every character will be introduced in the first chapter since I’m writing for 8 characters total. So far, the characters that have been introduced are Leo, Mikey, and Carol. I hope all of you enjoy the first chapter of Mutant Side of the Tracks~)
It was the beginning of the first week of August, a Wednesday, to be exact, and it was the first day back to classes for the students of USNY. The weather seemed perfect for the first day back. There were some fluffy clouds in the sky, occasionally giving the students a break from the hot, August sun, and all of the freshmen were bustling around trying to find their classes. Thankfully, the upperclassmen usually helped navigate and the fraternities and sororities were usually around in groups to help and to give out little first day treats, like a free donut and a pencil with the university name printed on it. Freshmen always loved that stuff and they could never pass them up.
A third year student, Carol Scott, was with her sorority sisters handing out donuts and pencils and water bottles and things like that to the freshmen at the center of campus where the large fountain was. As usual, she stood mostly by herself while her group of sorority sisters chatted away. The longer Carol stayed in the sorority, the more the girls outright avoided her. Did I mention that Carol’s a mutant? The only mutant in the group? She knew that’s why no one cared much for her, she was he token mutant, but she tried her best not to think about that right now. Carol wanted to have a good first day, and she only had about five more minutes of her “shift” by the fountain before she had to head to her first class of the day. It was an advanced art class and it was very important for her to be there a few minutes early so she could get a good seat up front.
“Carol! Hey!” A familiar voice caught Carol’s attention and she turned her head towards it and saw Leo walking up to her and her group with a few of his frat brothers. She smiled slightly and looked up at him and had to shield her eyes form the sun. Leonardo was a tall, muscular mutant turtle, and was a fourth year business major. Even though he was a mutant, he was accepting more by his peers simply because he had an important position on the football team, and he, along with his brother, Raphael, always got them to the playoffs.
“Hey, Leo, enjoying the first day back so far?” the red headed mutant asked. Carol seemed slightly unenthusiastic to talk to Leo, mostly because she knew that Leo would have her talking for forever. Plus, she was already feeling the stress and pressure of this new year. She finally got to be in the advanced architecture and art classes and she knew that they would be difficult, so she wanted to be as prepared as possible. Plus, Carol had been writing and rewriting a resignation letter for her sorority but the poor thing hated conflict, and even though her sisters didn’t seem to care if she was around or not, she’s seen how they treated other girls who have come forward and have decided to leave the group. There’s always drama, even if the girl is leaving for a good reason.
Leo nodded his head and he helped shield Carol from the bright sun before a large cloud finally covered it, giving them all some shade. “Yeah, it’s great to be back and see all my friends again.” he explained, even though he’s seen his football friends for a few weeks before school even started back. They all had to train and get conditioned for football season again because the coach knew that his players would get lazy or complacent over summer break, so he always whipped them back into shape. When he only got a little smile and a small nod out of Carol, he decided to continue. “There’s going to be a party this Friday night to celebrate the start of the new school year. You should come,” Leo explained and Carol’s eyes widened a bit at him. She enjoyed a good party once and a while but she was more of the small friend group and chill type of person. Usually she would go if either Aurora, Mikey, or June would drag her out and she would still end up having fun, but would be the first one to want to leave.
“I..I don’t know,” Carol started and she looked away from Leo, who frowned slightly in disappointment. “I’m not really a party person,” she paused and looked up at Leo, knowing that they’ve been to some frat parties together in the past, “…anymore.” she finished awkwardly and Leo blinked a couple of times. He should have seen this coming. Carol was very serious about her major and she worked hard so she could be an experienced architect. Leo knew how hard her courses were because he’s seen her notes and he couldn’t understand a single thing.
“Oh, I see,” Leo said and he cleared his throat, an awkward silence coming over the two. “I understand, your classes are stressful.” he perked himself back up, but his smile felt mostly forced as he looked down at Carol. He did understand though since he knew that while Carol loved her major, but she didn’t exactly love math. It was a bit hard for her, especially the geometry, but some algebra and trigonometry seemed to come easier to her. “I know Donnie was tutoring you in math over the summer. I at least hope he helped.” Leo said, feeling a pang of jealously in his chest, and he hated that feeling. It felt like a brick was placed on his heart or something, keeping it heavy in his chest.
Carol actually smiled wider at the mention of Donatello. Yes, he did help her understand math better over the summer and he was an excellent tutor. He was the smartest guy Carol knew, and the sweetest. They definitely got very close over the summer, but Leo, or anyone else for that matter, wasn’t exactly aware of that. “Yes, he helped me a lot. I’m feeling more confident with my math skills now, but I’ll probably keep going to him for tutoring though. The math is only going to get harder, you know?” she explained and Leo absentmindedly nodded his head in agreement. He was a business major and even though he had to deal with some math, it wasn’t quite as complicated as what Carol had to study.
“Right, yeah,” Leo cleared his throat again and was about to continue until Carol suddenly checked the time on her phone and she jumped a little bit and grabbed her backpack that sat behind the little table she helped set up. She gave Leo a slightly apologetic look, but she seemed pretty eager to get to her class.
“I really need to get to class. I’ll see you soon, okay?” Carol said to Leo, giving him a little smile and a wave as she turned to walk to her first class. It was on the other side of campus and it was about a seven minute walk, but she was confident that she could make it in time. Leo just waved and said a small, “See ya..” before he turned back to his frat brothers to plan for the party on Friday night, but with a weight in his chest.
Carol walked quickly to her class, breathing out a small sigh of relief once she finally escaped from Leo’s field of vision. For years now, Leo has been pursuing her, and for years, Carol has managed to reject him over and over. She didn’t quite have the heart to tell him what all happened over the summer with Donnie, because it was way more than just math tutoring. She wasn’t in the mood for conflict and she didn’t exactly have the time for it either right now. There were bigger things on her plate.
Her first class was in the art building with her good friend, Mikey. They both had a good bit of classes together in the art building since Mikey was an art major and Carol had to know how to draw decently for both her major and minor. Carol was a year ahead of Mikey, but he was so advanced as an artist, he got to skip a couple of basic classes after taking an art assessment test, so Carol got to meet him just last year when he was only a freshman and they became fast friends.
“Carooolll!” Carol turned when she heard Mikey’s voice calling her name from the art building. He looked like he had just arrived from the commons building since he had a huge to-go cup of iced coffee. As usual, it looked like he stayed up way too late playing video games or drawing again because he had bags under his eyes, but that huge coffee would definitely perk him back up in no time.
“Mikey! It’s been, like, three whole days since I’ve seen you!” Carol giggled and she gave Mikey a big hug. Everyone’s been a bit busy just getting ready for their new semester of classes, and they’ve been busy helping friends and acquaintances move into their apartments and dorms. “How does it feel to no longer be a baby freshman anymore?” she asked teasingly and Mikey just took a long drink of his coffee before answering her.
“It feels great! I was super anxious last year because I couldn’t find my classes and I kept being late and I always had that stupid lanyard around my neck with my student ID attached to it. So embarrassing..” Mikey groaned and Carol just patted his shoulder. Everyone was like that as a freshman, and as a freshman, you think it’s a great idea to walk around with your university lanyard around your neck all the time, but once you’re an upperclassman, you quickly realize that you looked…pretty dumb.
Carol noticed other students walking into their art class and decided that it was time for them to go in too. “Come on, first class of the day!” Carol said, trying to pump Mikey up a bit. He was definitely more into the partying side of college, so Carol tried to make sure that he at least showed up for most of his classes. Donnie definitely appreciated that since he was Mikey’s roommate and would often get agitated with him if he just slept right through his classes. Donnie was a good student and never missed a class unless he was sick, like, really sick.
Now, thinking of Donnie, Carol felt that familiar heat in her abdomen and the butterflies returned in her stomach. So far, only Mikey knew about what was going on between Donnie and Carol and he made a promise to both of them not to say a single thing to anyone about it. Especially Leo.