The freshly polished floors mirrored my terrified features as I walked down the long corridor in search of the headmaster’s office. With my luggage trailing behind me I quickened my step matching it to the beat of my heart. It was eerie how quiet it was seeing as it was a school supposedly full of teenagers. This place felt all wrong and cold but I was too preoccupied with anxiety to dwell on that thought for too long. This was definately not the place I wanted to spend my summer vacation in.
Room 110. Room 112. I counted the doors hoping to keep my mind focused, the hall alone was enough to distract me. The ceilings were at least two stories high and arched with gorgeous painted angels that looked as if they were at war with one another.
Being so transfixed on what was going on above me I passed a few more doors but I couldn't tell if they were classrooms or offices, I'm definitely going to need to explore a bit before classes start so I don't get completely lost. Room 118. Then there I was, staring at a massive wooden door at the end of the hall, and it seemed the end of the battle above me. I wish I knew what it was the angel's fought about, though I don't think I ever could understand something that looked so complex. At the end of that thought I was brought back to earth where angles didn't exist and where I couldn't really care less about art when i was nearly shaking. Because directly in front of me was the last step to take before I was stuck having to spend my summer behind these walls.
It definitely wasn't my idea to spend my vacation at an acting school when I could be on the beach or spending time with friends. Or better yet I could be lying across the grass under a tree somewhere rereading an old paper back I've probably already read eight times. No, instead I was here at a new school with a new group of people in a place I've never even heard of before for an entire two months. Hey mom thought that would be the fun part. What's worse is that this summer school program is almost like a two month long audition, they call kids here to see if they're good enough to enroll at beginning school year. They take in kids from all over the country who send in either tapes of them selves or recommendations from acting coaches so that they can see if they have what it takes to be a part of this "school". More like a place that thinks of students as collectable items, kids who they know will make it in the big world and may someday come back and walk down these halls again all succesful. So if I get “chosen” I might end up here for the rest of high school with a whole bunch of snobby kids who've grown up being told how special they were.
Oh how will I go on... she lets out a long dramatic sigh. See this is why I got in here in the first place, I'm incredibly over dramatic not that anyone knew about that before I was cast in that stupid play.
Suddenly my hand lifted on it's own moving towards the door as if willing myself to just jump in and get it over with. KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK! Quick and painless... so far.
“Come in! Come in!” A man's voice chimed from inside. I took a deep breath and walked in. My jaw dropped when I saw that this room alone could probably fit three of my high school gyms inside and still have enough room to add the pool in as well. Directly in the center of the office stood a large wooden desk and on it were frames, flags, and papers scattered everywhere. Behind the desk sat a chipper looking man who appeared to be in his early sixties with hair whiter than snow. He sat in a comfortable chair that looked to be a bit too big for his short roundish body.
Welcome Ms. Canning! Please take a seat.” I let go of my breath which I forgot I was holding and sat in the seat he gestured to across from him. Diplomas and certificates framed the walls surrounding the two large, stained glass windows taking up most of the entire back wall. “Hello I'm Headmaster Rollwan here at Rollwan’s School the gifted" even the name sounded conceited, "but you can call me Sir for short,” he said with a wink. I was still looking around the room, there were pictures of him shaking hands with graduates, accomplished looking older people and even a few of him kissing babies, cheesy? “This school belonged to my great, great, great grandfather Charles Rollwan and has been handed down through my family for generations but we can leave the history lesson for another time. Now I’m sure you have no idea of how happy I was to hear that you accepted our invitation to join us here this summer. I hope you liked what you've seen so far of my school?”
“I.. it's nice,” I stammered. “This looks like a very beautiful place.”
“I'm glad you think that. You see I've heard a lot about you,” A broad smile crept across his face as he leaned forward in his chair putting his hands together on the desk. I'm sure he was attempting to make this a friendly gesture, except instead of making me feel welcome I felt uneasy as if he were smiling at a joke I wasn't in on. “Of course I had a word with your drama teacher, she spoke highly of your acting skills. She told me how talented you are.”
My cheeks started to go red. “I wouldn't say I was very talented. I mean I've only actually preformed in one play and it was for extra credit because I wasn’t doing too well in the course.”
“Oh, my darling you have yet to reach your full potential. That one silly little school play is the least of what you are capable of. Believe me you will achieve great things at this school. Mark my words Ms. Canning.” It didn't sounds like he was talking about my acting career anymore and i suddenly felt cold all over.
This was supposed to be summer to improve on my nonexistent acting skills and maybe if i was good enough perform in the end of the summer production but he made it seem as if I was about to go do something much greater. He spoke the words you hear in almost every super hero movie where the hero is told of what he will become. I didn't know whether this man was either truly mad about the theater or honestly just mad, either way it was freaking me out.
Our meeting ended with him giving me my room assignment and my summer schedule along with another sly smile. Great classes start tomorrow. Way to come late yet again.
I found my room, after searching for almost an hour, and dropped my things to open the door. Luckily I only cought a quick glimpse of a couple making out before the door was slammed in my face and I was left standing in the hall surprised and embarrassed. Seeing as no one was letting me in I decided this time to knock. A gorgeous brunette a little taller than me opened the door with a smile. I was just glad she had managed to pull over a shirt before she came to the door.
“You must be my roommate. Salina is it?”
“It's Serena. And uh ya I was told to go to room 216 and here I am.” I picked up my stuff and walked by her into the room giving an awkward smile to the shirtless guy on the couch.
“Serena, I'm Jasmine but most of the people here already call me Jas, and this is my boy... This is my friend Mich. He was just on his way out.” He did a little head nod acknowledging his cue to leave, grabbed his shirt and stumbled out of the room parting with a small wave before the door shut behind him.
“Sorry about the mess they only told me I was getting a roommate like 20 minutes ago and I've been here for a day and a half so I didn't have a clue if anyone else was going to be asigned to this room.” She gave me an apologetic smile and walked towards one of the three other doors in the room. “Seeing as i got here first i had first dibs on rooms so i picked the one with the view of the boys dorm which left you with the view of the court and that creepy statue of the angel. Sometimes it looks like he's staring at you," she shuddered. "Moving on, thats our own pricate bathroom, its a pretty swanky place when you have your own bathroom only the lock is broken so we have to make sure to knock before entering. A habit it looks like you just picked up on.” I understood she meant the making out incident so I laughed and prayed that what i had seen wasn't a daily thing. “So are you an up-in-coming actor or the next Broadway star.”
I guessed that it was finally my turn to talk although she looked like she could have had the entire conversation by herself. “Well actually I’m only here because my parents said it would look good on my collage application. How about you?”
“Well I sing so i was hoping to go onto broadway and do musicals. I'm going to be trying really hard to get a good part in the end of the year play. They say it doesnt make a difference whether your in it or not but that the teachers evaluate your classroom work. All i say is that if your good enough to be in that one then you are good enough to be in the stupid school. I’ve been trying to get in since grade eight so this place bugs me a bit. This year they finally accepted my request and invited me to this summer program to see if I’m what they’re looking for. When they see what they could have had at this school all this time they’re going to be begging me to enroll this year.” Here i was complaining that I was only at this school because i had to be and Jaz was actually trying to get into the place.
I put down my bag as she headed to the couch. I've never been good with first impressions, obviously, but she seemed easy going enough and defiantly one to like to have fun, maybe this summer won’t be as bad as I thought. I already have one friend.
After a quick look around I was suddenly eager to explore my new summer vacationing spot. “Hey Jas do you know anywhere where I can get a good cup of tea, or maybe an ice cream cone?”
“Sick of me already?” I smiled which seemed to be the right thing to do because she kept talking, “Um I think there’s a coffee spot on campus but for some really good ice cream there’s a cute little vintage looking place down the street next to the mall. I know it's amazing we have a MALL right next to school! Not a very smart idea for the teacherss but pretty convenient for us. Oh and watch out for some of the guys around here. They think they're oh so great because they got their parents to but their way in."
“Thanks I'll be on guard.” I walked towards the door grabbing my purse from the floor. It was a pretty nice day outside so a quiet walk would clear my head, giving me a chance to think for the first time since I left home.
As I was waiting for the car I could see my mom watching me with a heavy heart, holding her hands so tight that I could see her knuckles going white. I've been to a few over night camps before and even then I didn't enjoy going, the lake water reminded me of the Jaws movies way too much. But this was different it was for an entire summer and I was going to miss her like crazy. Me and my mom have always been really close; the only time we ever get into a fight is normally when I do something stupid like not clena my room. We were friends as well as mother and daughter. We enjoyed hanging out and going to movies and talking about boys at my school… when there were any to talk about which was rare.
My parents are separated but I don’t know why they don’t just get a divorce and have it done with but they like to keep up the charade that they might end up getting back together again (i laugh everytime i think about it). Obviously my mom got the house which meant my dad rents an apartment in a very shaddy part of the city. Dad was here on a sort of peace treaty for the day to see me off. He told me he'd miss me like 20 times and how I was supposed to come home at least twice this summer to see him then quickly he added mom as well when he saw the look she was giving him. Seeing as this place was a three and a half hour drive away I didn't see my self taking that into consideration unless I was really home sick, which doesn't happen very often, but I told him I’d come home anyway.
Finally my limo pulled up- yes I know the school sent a LIMO to pick me up. As the driver was putting my things into the trunk of the car my brother drove in on his motorcycle trying to make a grand entrance as per usual. If it wasn't for the fact that we lived right on the edge of the city with few neighbors I'm sure by now he would have gotten arrested for something stupid like noise pollution.
“Hey little sis, gonna leave without saying goodbye are you? Now how would I be able to enjoy my summer knowing my sister doesn't love me enough to wait to say adios to her big bro?” He took off his helmet and threw it onto the lawn then without warning grabbed me and pulled me up into a humongous bear hug swinging my legs off the ground. I love my brother more than anything in the world. Christopher has always been around for me when I needed him and I don’t know what I was going to do without him this summer. As corny as that sounds it’s the honest truth. Just last year I was stuck at an awful party in the middle of nowhere and everyone in the house was either wasted or unconscious then some idiot had taken my keys and thrown them into the forest as I was about to leave early, all it took was one phone call and Chris came to the rescue and picked me up just before the cops showed to bust the place.
“Chris! Chris, put me down! I’m warning you don’t make me hurt you!” He laughed even harder at my attempt to intimidate him. He knows only too well that I could barely kill a fly and the fact that he was three years older and probably a foot and a half taller than me didn't hurt either.
“One more hug for the road Sissy PLEASE?” grr I hated when he called me that.
“Fine, fine but can u at least let me breathe first, your cutting off the air getting to my lounges.” He put me down and gave me one of his unforgettable hugs, the ones that leave you standing. Man I was going to miss him. Maybe I will come down to visit after all.
I said my final goodbyes, kissed my dad on the cheek, told them all to have a fun summer without me and jumped into the car watching the house fade into the distance.
And now here I am walking around like an idiot getting lost. At least this place is nice to look at or I’d have gone nuts walking in circles for this long. The campus was big and when I say big I mean the Queen of England would probably find it acceptable for a new summer home. There was a court yard in the middle, where my room faced, and four surrounding walls with small trails dividing up each building.
It looked more like a palace then a boarding school. The paths were so confusing I ending up at the same statue of the fallen angel three times before I gave up and sat down on the bench in front of it. I looked up at the granite artwork again but for the fist time I actually looked at it and saw the intensity in its eyes. Were statues supposed to express such emotions that made them seem so life like? It was almost like he was looking at me willing with it's eyes to take away the pain he clearly showed on his face. I started to walk in a different direction than the three I already tried hoping it would finally be the right one. I stayed down the path for about five minutes and ended up on the street. Hah take that you stupid school. I crossed the street with a smug smile on my face, and walked in the direction of what looked like an ice cream parlor. Seeing as there was only one spot in this town that slightly resembled a mall i knew i was in the right place.
And... it was closed, of course that's my kind of luck. I can't help but laugh when i hear "luck of the irish" because never one has anyone said it was good luck.
I thought about going back to school but on the other hand I did remember seeing a book store on the way up here, a quick peak inside and then I'd try to find my way back.
Remember when you were younger, and your parents begged and pleaded for you to read but instead you laughed at them and played your video games? Well mine even bought me books for Christmas and my birthdays hoping that one day I’d pick one up and get hooked. Those books collected a lot of dust over the years. I used to hate reading and when my teacher would ask the class to read a book of their choice and summarize it I would always be the one who chose the book with less than 50 pages and had pictures right through it. Unfortunately the day came when my mom could finally say “I told you so”. One summer my aunt along with her family stopped over on their road trip and decided to take me along with them, only what can a thirteen year old do for up to 5 hours at a time strapped in a seat. So I thought I might as well pack a book there was already a movie to that way when there was a boring part I could skip it and know what happened. I ended up falling in love with the book and after that reading all together. Since then, I’m never caught without something to read.
I stepped into the bookstore, thankful to get out of the suddenly cold air, wow was it night already? And set out in search of something good to read. Hours past before I realized what time it was. I was looking at probably the fifteenth book that had interested me; reading the first chapter trying to decide whether I’d really enjoy it or not.
I took out my cell phone finally noticing how late it was. The curfew was 10:00 and it was almost 9:45 now. How stupid would it be to get in trouble at a school you haven’t even started going to yet! The book fell to the floor as I ran towards the door then... BAM! “Ouch!” I did not just run into a wall! I opened one eye to make sure and saw a chest blocking my view, i guess i didn't. When I looked up, and i mean way up, there was definately not a wall but a guy staring down at me. I took a step back and noticed he was probably around 6 feet and had shaggy dark brown hair almost completely in his face. But i could still see his dark green eyes there even though they were squinted because he was smiling. Wow was he ever attractive. Probably one of the most gorgeous males from our speices that I have ever seen!
“I’m sorry I didn’t see you there. Are you OK?” His voice was low and smooth with a hint of homour that he was apperently trying to control, he sounded like a soap opera star; the one all the girls go crazy for. I change my mind he’s definitely THE most gorgeous guy I have ever seen!
“I...I’m fine.” Oh come on voice don’t fail me now! “Sorry it was my fault I’m running a little late.” I tried to stand up straight and give him a proper smile but felt like an idiot anyways. “Sorry again.”
“Oh trying to get home before curfew? I get it my parents are pretty bad too.” He opened the door continuing to smile and I walked out with as much dignity as I had left, which was not very much to start with. “Hey Serena wait.”
“Excuse me?" I stopped in my tracks and turned around, "How did you know my name?”
“You dropped this.” He handed me my school ID card from last year. Thank God I got a retake, my first picture was horrible. No ones high school picture ever looks good though.
“Oh thanks I’m always losing this.” Truth is I don’t think I’ve ever lost it, how did it end up on the floor?
“So you live pretty far away how did you end up here?” He obviously read it before handing it back.
“Actually I was asked to spend the summer at the dramatic arts school around the corner. They gave me a scholarship so I thought I might as well go for it.”
“Oh so you're an actor then."
“Well I guess I act but I’ve only really preformed once before and that was for a school thing that I didn’t really have a choice on doing. I was sort of failing my drama class so my teacher gave me the lead role for extra credit. It was an easy A.”
“Looks like your pretty talented then to be asked to come down here for something you’ve never actually done before.” OK, now I’m a little weirded out. Why is a completely hot stranger so interested in my life
“That’s what i keep hearing. So I have to get going before I’m late it was nice meeting you...?”
“Derek. And it was nice meeting you too Serena.” He closed the door and walked inside and I was left standing there trying to decipher what had just happened. It sounded like that incredibly cute guy was interested in me but it didn’t matter it’s not like I was ever going to see him again. Sigh!