And so it begins!

To Whom It May Concern:

We at The Learning Academy Boarding School are pleased to announce that one Charline Hayes has been accepted to join us in a year of fast-paced learning environment. All students are referred and pre-approved by a highly esteemed board of elders. Your reference came from Mr. Antony Parah.

Traditionally, those accepted are finished with their high school years, but have not yet gone on to college. Our pupils are college bound children, without a doubt, and are treated as such. The students are grouped into fours at random, and will proceed to live with each other for the duration of their stay at The Learning Academy Boarding School. No arrangements are negotiable.

We look forward to hearing from you, and we will be expecting to see you in a week, ready to learn. Thank you from those of us at The Learning Academy Boarding School. If you have any questions or comments, please call us at the number listed below.

Sincerely yours,

The staff of the LABS

Charlie looked up from her letter to find her mom staring quizzically. "They want me to go to some post-high school year of learning boarding school," she mumbled, trying not to look guilty. The teen had nothing to feel guilty about, and yet she did.

"Oh, Charline, that'll be a wonderful time for you to get to know others, perhaps even find yourself a nice boy or two." For the past year and a half Ms. Hayes had been on her daughter day and night to "get out of the house!!", "meet some friends!!", and "for God's sake, get a little lovin' in your life!!!". Charlie had to admit that this would be the perfect opportunity. She glanced at the number at the bottom of the brief letter, and considered calling, just to see what the details were.

"I think I will call them, Mom. Just to see what'll go on there, mind, not as a final plan setting!" Charlie hesitated with her hand over the phone. What if this was a bad decision? What if she got stuck in the middle of nowhere for a year, with no way to get out? What if the academy was really some women-only Satan-worshiping cult, and she would be stuck there FOREVER?? Daily ritual slaughtering, running naked through the grounds, cyanide-laced kool-aid… The letter could just be a cover up to get the parents to agree! "On second thought, maybe it would be better not to call them."

"Hun," Charline's mother grinned, knowing what her daughter was thinking from the look on her face, "There will be no ritual pig slaughtering of any kind. I've heard of this place before, and from what I know, the only thing that's not innocent about it are the hormone-induced teenagers running amok, living on their own."

"Fine," Charlie rumbled, grabbing the phone, a piece of paper, and a pen, just in case she needed to jot down notes. The girl dialed the number, poised her pen, and waited for a voice to come over the line.

"Hello, and thank you for calling to confirm your stay at The Learning Academy Boarding School. If you will please wait for an operator, all your Learning Academy Boarding School needs will be taken care of!" Charlie decided very quickly that the computerized voice was far too cheery, as a butchered version of "School's Out" came over the line.

"No ritual slaughter?" Charlie asked her mom, "You should hear this poor abused version of a classic song."

"I am... sorry?" A very human sounding voice came from the other end of the phone as Charlie mental kicked herself.

"Oh, no sir, I'm sorry! I wasn't talking to you."

"Riight, well, my name is Jordan and I can help you with registering at The Learning Academy Boarding School, and I can happily answer any questions you may have," Jordan the not-so-happy operator was obviously reading this off a script.

"Err, thank you. I'd like to inquire… well, I'm not too sure what I'd like to inquire. Can you tell me a little bit about the school, Jordan?" Charlie was glad she would never have to speak to this man again, because she sure wasn't making herself out to be very intelligent.

"Well," Jordan began, "The Academy is a very prestigious school, which will give the pupils a well-rounded, in-depth education. All our teachers were at the top of their class, and have had over 20 years of experience. All top-rated colleges appreciate applicants who have spent time at the Academy." Charlie jotted down a few note, strewn between doodles of what she thought the phone-operator might look like (none of them were very flattering). From all Jordan had said, the place didn't sound too bad. A bit stuck-up, but nothing Charlie hadn't dealt with before.

"Are there any… Draw backs to attending?" No matter how wonderful it sounded, there had to be something bad about the academy.

"The Academy is a very good place to send a child, ma'am. If I may speak from experience, The Learning Academy Boarding School is a great place to make life-long friends, a great place to gather references for top-rated schools, and a top-notch way to gain independence while learning responsibility." Jordan, King of Apathy, didn't sound at like he was speaking from experience. And 'top-notch'?! Who under 57 says 'top-notch'?

"Well, my fair sir, it sounds like you've convinced me. How do I sign up, and where do I go?" The girl figured that as long as she could drive herself to this Learning Academy Boarding School thing, then she could just as easily driver herself back home. Roxy white with dark purple racing stripes was up for the trip, no doubt about it.

"I'll need the name of the applicant, the names of the preferred roommates, mode of transportation, and means of payment." Means of payment? Means of payment?? Since when was payment needed?

"Umm, my name is... I do not know if it'll be under Charlie or Charline. The last name will be Hayes, h-a-y-e-s." While she was speaking, Charlie heard typing in the background. "Um, I wasn't informed about any payment. How much will-"

A slightly flustered-sounding Jordan promptly interrupted Charlie. "Ma'am, I'm sorry, I didn't realize who you were. I'll get my supervisor, Chuck, right away. Sorry for the confusion." Once again the butchered Alice Cooper song was blaring from the confused teen's phone. "Mom," she remembered to whisper this time, just in case the supervisor was as untimely on the phone as Jordan, "You do not have any mob connections I should know about, do you?"

As was expected, a second male voice came on the line at the worst time. "Excuse me, would you mind repeating that?" Boy, he didn't sound happy, either.

"Sir, I'm sorry! I was joking with my mom. That other operator, sounded nervous, and he put his supervisor, well, you, on the phone, and I thought that there was something odd going on, and so-" Charlie's words were rushed, so she would not blow her chance at the academy, but she was interrupted by a soft, masculine laughter. "Charlie, not a problem," the voice was one that held a grin, "not a problem at all. And no, your mother would not have to have mob connections. It's a simple family connection, my dear. As for why you're speaking to me, we at The Learning Academy Boarding School have had to make a special registration form, as you have some special circumstances that needed to be taken into account."

"Special… circumstances?" the girl definitely didn't like the sound of that.

"Oh, nothing too huge. Your teacher informed us that if you attended, you might have some problems with payment. As it turns out, it will not be a problem at all, since you have connections here."

"I have connections? I don't have connects. What connections?"

Once again, laughter filled the phone. "No need to be paranoid! Your father's father, your grandfather, was the man who opened The Learning Academy Boarding School, and after he passed on, God rest his soul, he left the establishment to his elder son. That would be your uncle, Headmaster Williamson. After a brief family background, we like to make sure that our students are not the first in their family to come to The Learning Academy Boarding School, we found your uncle!"

"Well, you can tell that… man that I don't want his charity," she spat, "if I didn't get in on my own accord, I don't want to go at all, especially if it means taking money from my genetically paternal family."

Chuck could see he obviously distressed the girl. He wasn't sure how, or why, but it would come out of his hide if she didn't attend the school that year. The Headmaster made sure all the upper-level operators knew that. 'This must be why', he thought, 'there's something in the past that made Charlie adverse toward the man and his family.'

"Ms. Hayes, I think you've got this the wrong way. You didn't get in on charity. Your teacher was a bit… confused when he made out your application, and instead of putting your full name, Charline, on it he put 'Charlie'. We didn't bother double-checking against the documents he sent, and we had already put your name on the 'to-mail' list before we caught the flaw. That the headmaster is your father's brother wasn't noticed until we looked at your father's stay here. We have a scholarship program for the families that aren't too great with money, and you were signed up right away. When we saw you are related to the Headmaster, we brought it up to him, and he offered to pay, instead of taking up one of the scholarship placements. This is in no way charity, Ms. Hayes."

Charlie's mind was reeling. She and her mother hadn't spoken to her father's family since… well, since the incident happened. Sure, her grandmother still sent presents for Christmas, but the males of that family were under strict instruction to NEVER interfere in the Hayes' family ever again. The lack anger management was deadly.

Realizing she had spent far too much time thinking than was polite while on the phone she finally replied to the perplexed man, "Well, alright. I guess. Um, is there anything else you think I need to know? No more surprises in store for me, right?"

"Well, there is one little thing. Traditionally The Learning Academy Boarding School is an all-male school. This tradition was broken for you. Solely for you, in fact. You'll be the only female at The Learning Academy Boarding School. Right, then, I don't think I'll need any more information. If you're driving a car here, I suggest getting a couple copies of the key made, one for the Headmaster, one in case anything might happen to your original. Thank you, and have a good year at The Learning Academy Boarding School!" And then the little wuss hung up on her.

Charlie blanched. She was going to have to spend a little less than a year in a strictly male environment? Blasphemy! There was no way!

And so it begins! I'll appreciate any reviews and critiques (both good and bad), as this is my first fic. I don't have a beta at the moment, so if there are any mistakes PLEASE inform me. If you feel the dire need to contact me, I have my email address and messenger names on my profile.

Thanks a lot.

Hope you like it.

Much love from the Vicious one know as Hyperbolizer.

Oh yes, if you want some perspective on what Charlie's car looks like, here you go:
http :// www. gmphotostore. com/ images/ 53218787pr. jpg
Get rid of the spaces, and you're all set!