Author's Note: This is my first story on Fictionpress—just a little idea that came to me during a long, rainy afternoon. I've got about three chapters on this done, but I'm gonna wait a little while to post them. Enjoy! Please read and review!
Graham Scott was annoyed, more annoyed than he believed he ever had been in his life. This also included the time his maid had failed to find a leaking red pen in one of his shirt pockets, and all his white dress shirts in that load had been turned pink, but he wouldn't go into those particular, gruesome details.
Scotts were supposed to lord a certain amount of dignity over everyone, but judging by their decisions and actions in the past few weeks, they had apparently forgotten. Honestly, Graham thought, a dark scowl on his face as he angrily threw open an ornately carved wooden door, not admiring the expensive entrance in the least. The last couple days before this, in his opinion, had been positively barbaric, and he would be damned if he would think a pleasant thought about anything for a while.
Not long ago, Graham's invaluable private instructor had passed away at an old age, leaving the Scott family in an uproar. What would they do with Graham now? How would he learn his lessons? The answer was simple, Graham had argued as reasonably as he could at the time, wasn't even worth giving a second thought to, really, just get him a new instructor, and he would be fine. His mother and father, however, had disagreed.
For days on end, the Scott family had quarreled back and forth whether Graham should continue taking lessons from a private instructor or interact with people his own age at a school. Graham had fought staunchly, but in the end, he lost. So now, here he was standing in front of the exclusive private school, Richmond's Academy of Literature and Fine Arts.
The very focus of this school had been cause for another row for the Scotts. As soon as Graham had been told of the school's name and principles, he had objected greatly. Science! He had cried mournfully; science is where this world is headed! Indeed, all his life he had been taught sciences and math by his instructor with very little focus on reading or writing, even his father agreed with him on this point, suggesting a highly regarded school in Ireland.
However, despite the support of his father, his mother proved to be a formidable opponent, formidable enough to beat the father-son duo in fact. You have been learned in sciences enough, she had admonished; it is time that chivalry returned to this family.
Chivalry? Graham had asked incredulously. He had been taking etiquette lessons since he was three; he severely doubted he lacked in chivalry. When he pointed this out, however, his mother had fired questions at him, quick as a whip. Really? Then tell me, son, can you recite a poem written by Elizabeth Browning or Lord Byron by heart? Have you ever compared a girl to a summer's day, like in Shakespeare's thirteenth sonnet, "Shall I compare thee?" Are you familiar with "To a Young Lady" by William Cowper?
Graham admitted, defeated, that indeed these poems were not recognizable to him. Ah, my child, his mother gave him a small knowing smile, then you do not know the true meaning of chivalry.
There was not much Graham could do after losing that spectacular battle with his mother, and so here he was in front of this boarding school, his suitcases having been brought in earlier by a butler, prepared to discover the true meaning of chivalry as his mother worded it.
"This is insane," he muttered as he impatiently consulted the map of the school, or prison as he liked to refer to it as. He couldn't possibly imagine how he could spend the next nine months of his life here; he would murder himself. "Where is the goddamn headmaster's office in this bloody school?" he crumpled the map in his hands, aggravated. Reading maps was the only thing Graham could admittedly not do.
"You can't expect to receive a decent answer from anyone with that attitude, you know," a bossy voice rang out from behind him.
Graham spun around, surprised, only to find a remarkably pretty girl standing in front of him. Big deal, he snorted inwardly, you've seen plenty of better-looking girls at father's parties. "And who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do?" he sneered.
"Ashlyn," the girl replied boldly. "Ashlyn Hartwell."
Hartwell. Graham knew that name but for the life of him he couldn't remember from where. Hartwell…Hartwell…Aha! "Really?" he inquired with a mock politeness, his lips struggling to turn upwards in a smirk. "My name is Graham Scott, and I do believe your father is one of my father's most trusted manufacturers, is he not?"
He had her; the deer in the headlights expression that passed over her face was all he needed to confirm his assumption. Trying to hide a nervous stutter, she replied as nonchalantly as she could. "Why, yes, now that you mention it, he is."
"I imagine you lead a fairly comfortable life off of the adequate manager's salary your father receives, don't you?" Graham continued to question her, trying to keep an innocent mask up.
"You could say that," Ashlyn said, uncertainty evident in her wide brown eyes.
Graham couldn't help but smirk; this was too easy. "And I suppose it'd be a pretty hard hit towards your family income if your father was for some reason laid off, am I right?"
"Most likely," Ashlyn answered, unable to keep a quiver out of her voice this time.
"Well, then, I suppose you'll be a dear and point me to the headmaster's office now, won't you?" Graham finished with satisfaction, his tone smug and confident.
She looked as if being a dear for Graham was perhaps the most sickening ordeal she'd ever have to face. "Over that way," she said, pointing towards his right. "The room is on the end of the hall, you can't miss it."
"Thanks, doll," Graham answered cheekily and, with a wink, he was gone.
He continued down the corridor in an easy glide, taking the directed path and chuckling to himself. By the way she had carried herself before Graham had threatened her father's job, Ashlyn was apparently school royalty. Her posture, her tone, and the way her uniform was fixed, everything gave away her standing; he wouldn't be surprised either if she was. His father paid his employees generously, especially his engineers; the girl had obviously grown up around riches. Way too easy, he thought, congratulating himself over his victory over Ashlyn, as he casually opened the door to the headmaster's office, Richmond's Academy is in for hell.
The man Graham assumed was the headmaster snapped up to attention, dropping his pen in surprise, from an enormous stack of papers. Pitiful, Graham struggled to keep a displeased sneer off his face, the man can't even keep up with his paperwork. If he were Father's employee, he'd be sacked immediately.
"Graham, Graham Scott, right?" the man rose from his chair, sticking out his right hand.
"The one and only," Graham replied automatically, flashing the headmaster his best you're-gonna-love-me-even-if-it-kills-you smile and shaking the offered hand. Despite his split-second first impression, Graham had to admit the man did deserve some respect. Instead of the hippie-type with a long curly brown beard and bare feet, he found the headmaster to be decent, well-groomed brown hair, a sharp suit, and most importantly, no beard. His firm grip didn't hurt his case either.
The man smiled back politely, his brown eyes twinkling merrily down at Graham. "Headmaster Reynolds is the name, Graham, but you can call me Bobbie, if you prefer, just as long as no other adults are there. They think it demeans my position," the man known as Bobbie winked.
Graham nodded, his respect for the man crawling down a few inches. Yes, he treated Graham as an equal, which Graham usually adored, but he did not treat Graham as an adult. Instead, Bobbie lowered his actions to that of a teenager. Graham was not impressed. "I'll make sure to keep that in mind, Headmaster Reynolds," Graham drawled, making it clear that he didn't consider the headmaster a friend. Not yet.
Only the slightest flicker in the headmaster's warm smile belied his true feelings, but even that was enough for Graham, who was on the prowl for anything and everything wrong with the school, to inwardly scorn him. Can't even keep a straight face, he thought, I perfected mine when I was, let's see, I think it was eight. What an imbecile. To think, for the next two years of my life I'll be taught by barbarians.
"Well, then, Graham," the headmaster said quickly, breaking the sudden silence. "Are you ready for the grand tour of Richmond's?"
"As I'll ever be," Graham forced a painful smile, which to his pleasure, obviously irritated his headmaster a bit.
"Then we shall march on," the headmaster cried, his aggravation quickly giving way to excitement as his eyes sparkled with enthusiasm. "To the boys' dorm!"
Graham held back a lengthy, aggrieved groan. This was going to be a long day.