Divine Heritage, Chapter 2, section 7.
I'd been afraid that Ruby Pierce would turn out to be like Sarah Weisman. Fortunately, she wasn't. She wasn't as old as I'd thought, being twelve and entering the seventh grade. She was tall for her age, and her pace through puberty's changes was faster than that of most girls, and that had pushed my estimate upward. She knew her way around Brookstone because she'd been here last year, for the sixth grade. Ruby had just hauled her luggage to my room from another wing of the dorm and was unpacking, with her suitcase open on her bed, her laptop computer on the adjacent desk, and her satchel of toiletries on a shelf above the closet.
Like almost everybody else I'd met, Ruby had heard about me. Being from Pembroke, a small town near Savannah, she hadn't seen me on TV, but she had read the article about me in the online Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Speculating about my IQ served to break the ice.
"The representative from the testing company said it was over 180."
"How high do you think it is?"
"I don't know. Nobody knows. The test they used only measures to 180. It sure got Brookstone's attention, though. They cut my school fees in half, and they sent one of their executives to shadow me here from Atlanta."
"They did? Who was it?"
"A woman named Vanessa Emory. SheŚ"
Ruby squealed in apparent shock.
"Vanessa Emory! She's not just an executive. She's the daughter of the Brookstone board chairman, who's also the major stockholder. She might soon own the whole school."
"Well, then. I'll just have to give the heiress her money's worth, won't I?"
Ruby giggled. She was hanging up her shirts and pants and dresses in the closet on her side of the room.
When you entered our room in the west wing of Mathews Hall, you'd find her dresser drawers and mine on either side. Just beyond the those were the closets, at the upper part of which was a shelf for a suitcase. Ruby had told me that one of the older girls had gotten into trouble for hiding her boyfriend in her closet during a fire drill. She'd locked him in there so that Mistress Klang wouldn't find him, but he must have made some noise because she was waiting like a bird of prey when that girl returned after the all-clear was sounded.
"How much trouble did she get into?"
"She's gone," said Ruby. "If the dorm had really been on fire, that boy might have burned to death. So it was more serious than an ordinary visitation overstay."
Behind each closet were our beds, and behind those were our desks. And then the windows, looking out on the shrubbery, which was dense enough that we could dress in our rooms with the lights on without making a spectacle of ourselves for the amusement of boys.
"Unless one is standing in the shrubbery," I pointed out. "Which isn't impossible."
"If a boy wants to see a naked girl badly enough to get expelled," said Ruby, "then I guess I can give him a show. Maybe I'll turn around and fart at him. That'll mess up his love-life forever because he'll always think about it at just the wrong times."
"What if he has a camera?"
"So the scamp wants to blackmail me, huh? Let him try! I have nothing to be ashamed of." She wiggled her shoulders in a way that drew attention to her breasts.
I laughed. I was getting to like Ruby Pierce.
The room was mirror image on its left and right sides. I'd taken the right side when I'd moved in yesterday, so Ruby had the left. We got our computers hooked into the internet phone lines, arranged our calculators and notebooks just so, and filled the desk drawer with pens, mechanical pencils, and knick-knacks. And then we were wondering what we'd do with the rest of the late afternoon.
"We have to register for our classes tomorrow," said Ruby.
"So let's meet the neighbors," I suggested.