Madison stood in line with the other girls pledging Theta Beta House and let out a small sigh as she looked around at the competition. Now that the registration had finished all the pledges were directed into several neat rows facing the house and she could easily see there were more than one hundred fifty hopeful girls that wanted to get into the sorority. Up on the porch she saw two upperclassmen she knew of only through reputation on the porch ready to address everyone.
“Hi everyone! This is Tara and my name is Kimberly, and we’re in charge of pledge recruitment here at Theta Beta, the best sorority in the world!” Kimberly paused as a cheer went up from the girls on the lawn, “And I’m going to take a moment before we start to say that there is a reason for that. We’re the best because we recruit the best, only accept the best, and expect the best, not just from you guys but also everyone in the house!” Another cheer went up from the girls as Kimberly held out her hands and then said, “Unfortunately, that also means that not everyone who is standing here today will be accepted in.” A groan went out from the crowd before Kimberly could continue, “In fact, in our first test, about half our applicants don’t make it. That means that if you look to your right and your left, one of those girls will not make it to the second week of pledging. If you don’t want it to be you, listen closely to what I’m about to say. We will go in on a tour of the house, first floor only. You’ll get to meet some of our sisters, they’ll let you know about our typical days and more about the qualities that make a great sister, and you can see if this is for you. Once you’ve seen enough and your group is done see either Tara or myself and we’ll give you a secret message. This secret message is as individual as you are, and it is for you only! Do not share your secret message with anyone. Seven days from now show back up here and tell us your secret message. If at any point in time you learn someone else’s secret message, please stop here and tell us. If you give us someone else’s secret message, it will put you on a short list and make it much easier to become a sister. Partial messages, partial credit, complete message, complete credit. Here at Theta Beta we particularly value privacy. Women who cannot keep a secret and protect our privacy have no place in this house.” Kimberly paused to let her words sink in and then said, “Okay then, enough of the boring stuff! We’ve got you guys split into groups, so Tara will take the first group into the house with her, and I’ll take the second after they’ve moved on. Please wait in your designated lines until we can get through all the groups! When your tour is done you’re free to stick around and ask questions or head out on your way and GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR FIRST TEST!”
With that the first line headed in following Tara. Madison shifted nervously on her short heels and wondered if she should have gone with something higher. She saw some of the other girls wearing spiked stiletto heels or at least something that gave a five inch lift. She grimaced as she looked down at her simple wedges. She then wondered how Preston was doing and wondered what exactly his business was at the house. She hadn’t been close enough to hear what he had said to the women at the recruitment table, but all three had instantly perked up after he said a few short lines to them, along with one of the pledges at the table yelling at him. She desperately wanted to get into the sorority and she promised herself that she would do her absolute best at every one of their tests. It wasn’t like her family couldn’t afford college but as she came closer and closer to college age her mother had talked more and more about how her time at Theta Beta had really helped to define her as a person and had shaped her life. Her mother had definitely not forced her to pledge, but had told her that if she wanted to it would be an experience unlike anything else. She also had mentioned to keep an open mind to the experience, that some things might seem strange and even scary but that everything had a funny way of working out. She didn’t understand that last part and her mother would never go into more detail despite Madison trying to get more details of her time in the sorority out of her many times, but she was certain she wanted to try. Theta Beta was the best sorority. They had the smartest, most interesting, and prettiest girls on campus. All of the girls graduating from Theta Beta got the jobs they wanted, all of them succeeded in their careers and personal life, and all of them highly praised their time in TBH as one of the most amazing experiences of their lives, which also seemed backed up by the sizable donations that seemed to roll into the house non-stop. Madison desperately wanted to get in with these girls.
Suddenly Kimberly was leading her group into the house, and Madison was knocked out of her mental reflections. She was led into a large entranceway with a giant chandelier and exquisite carpet lined by several small tables that was well lit and spotless. “This is the door that every guy and girl on campus wants to get through ladies. To the right is the main common room. We all typically call it the Rumpus Room because it makes us giggle. There is always something going on in here. Maybe watching a bit of TV, maybe some gossip circles, a few of us working on homework or working on a dance routine. It’s big enough that if we want to watch something as a group we can actually all fit in here comfortably. As you can see, we’re pretty laid back in that room. Mandy, are you still brushing Felicity’s hair? You’ve been at it for like forty-five minutes!” Kimberly squealed to her fellow sisters.
“Shhhh! Just let her work if she wants, this is pure bliss,” Felicity said back as she laid her head down on Mandy’s thighs and Mandy smiled as she stated, “I owe her for last night. What do you want from me?”
“To our left is the auditorium. We have that room set up for any meetings, votes, and general sorority business that comes up. I know that we’ll be voting tonight on if we should accept the mixer invite from the Omegas!” Kimberly was cut off by the squeals from the girls around Madison. The pretty blonde next to Madison whispered to her, “The Omegas are all so hot!”
“And we’re walking!” Kimberly stated as she started down the long hallway between the two rooms until she came to the end, “To the left is our dining room and kitchen areas. Of course you don’t have to eat here, but we have a fully stocked kitchen and a chef preparing three meals a day. If you don’t have time or can’t get here during meal times we have a short order cook on staff until ten every night. Our chef came from a five star restaurant and makes pretty much everything that you can think of taste amazing as you can imagine. To our right down this hallway is some random rooms that we use for various functions,” Kimberly said as she started to walk down the hallway, “We have a few designated quiet rooms for studying, a few rooms for, um… group projects, and a few smaller living rooms in case you just want to watch some TV or have a girls night with a few of your closer sisters. We also have a technology room with some computers, some rapid prototyping machines, and some other random tools that some of the girls in engineering play with, but that’s not really my specialty. This is our game room with a few pinball machines, some arcade games, every console you can think of, and just about every table top game you can think of. Pool, foosball, darts, air hockey, you know, that sort of stuff.” As they walked by each room Madison peered in seeing a couple girls staring at the rapid prototyping machine as it dutifully went about making some sort of widget. One of the girls’ reflection on the plastic cover of the rapid prototype machine seemed a bit off, but Madison was certain it was just because of the thick goggles the girl was wearing. In the next room two stunning girls dressed in Theta Beta tank tops and short shorts seemed to be so absorbed in their game of air hockey they didn’t even notice the group of hopeful pledges behind them. After that came a fully supplied gym with a soft padded floor and then a theater room with about ten full sized leather easy chairs pointed toward a wall that completely lit up as a full sized screen. Kimberly then stopped by a large door at the end of the hall and said, “We also have security and a house mom, but unfortunately Julia is out at the moment and we don’t show off our security, but rest assured it’s second to none. There will be no stupid frat boys doing panty raids in our house. So that’s pretty much the tour at this time. Of course you’ll get to know the house more if you make it through the first week, but at this time we’ve shown you all we are prepared to show. We do have rooms for all the girls upstairs. Freshmen get a roommate for their first year that we like to match up based on personalities and friendships, but after freshman year you’ll get a room all to yourself. Out the back past the pool area is the garage. We have about twenty cars and a few buses and limos that we keep out there. Most cars can be used by any active member, but we do have a few special cases. Now, we’re going to call you up one by one and give you your secret code. Please wait here until I call your name. If you have any questions, feel free to ask any of the sisters on the first floor, myself or Tara. I’d like to thank all of you for your interest in Theta Beta and wish all of you the very best of luck!”
With that Kimberly called the first name on the list and because Madison knew most of the girls in the group would be called before her due to their lineup she took the opportunity to step back and peer into the Rumpus Room once more. All of the girls in the room were happily chatting away about how busy they were this time of year, or what they thought of the pledges this year, or plans for that night. A short brunette girl was suddenly standing in front of Madison with a large smile on her face, “Hi! My name’s Cammy, what’s yours?”
“Madison Miller, It’s nice to meet all of you!” Madison replied with a bright smile.
“It’s nice to meet you too Madison Miller!” Cammy said with a bubbly giggle and a bounce on her feet.
“This is all so nice! Do you like it here?” Madison asked.
“It’s like… pretty much the best. Ever. I mean, there can be some weirdness every now and again, but everyone is so amazing here. You’ll feel super welcome right away if you get in.” Cammy said happily as she twirled some of her brown hair around her finger.
“What do you mean, weirdness?” Madison asked as her eyes narrowed.
“You put 100 girls in a house, there is bound to be some weirdness every now and then… and the other stuff, you’ll see, I promise.” Cammy replied happily.
Madison was about to ask for more info but she heard Kimberly call her name out, and waved to Cammy as she turned to go.
“Bye Madison Miller! I’m hoping to see more of you around here!” Cammy called out to her as she walked down the hall.
“Okay Madison, are you ready for your secret message?” Kimberly asked with an eyebrow wiggle, “Your first real Theta Beta test!”
Madison let out a quick breath and nodded to Kimberly who leaned in close to her ear and said in a quiet voice, “The chunky monkey hates bananas but goes gaga over peanut butter while sitting in the tallest of the short trees.”
Madison frowned at the seeming nonsense. She wasn’t certain what to expect but the randomness of that phrase had left her a bit stunned, “Um, did you say…?” Madison started to ask but Kimberly held her finger up to her lips and said, “Sorry honey, I only get to say it once. That’s the rule. Good luck and I’ll see you back here in seven days, I mean, unless you get someone else’s secret phrase. Then you can bring it back to me and if you get a word or two wrong in your own phrase we’ll let it slip.”
Madison blinked as she suddenly realized the intricacies of the game. Kimberly led her by the small of the back to the rest of her tour group who were leaving out the back door as the next tour group showed up. As Madison stepped off the rear porch she heard one of the other pledges look at the red headed girl next to her and ask, “Did you get something completely weird? Mine was about an airplane flying loop da loops over a barn and then a cow walking on a wing…” The red headed girl blinked a few times and then turned to run back to the front of the house as the first girl called out, “Wait! I thought we were friends! You’re not really turning me in already are you? Crap. I wonder if I can get a new message?” She then turned and started to run to the front of the house as well.
Madison let out a sigh and repeated back to herself in her head, the chunky monkey hates bananas but goes gaga over peanut butter while sitting in the tallest of the short trees. She then looked around and decided to head back to her dorm room before she also slipped up and said something she shouldn’t in front of the other Theta Beta hopefuls.