Confession Number 1: Control of My Mouth is Impossible
Stupidest thing I've ever said in my entire seventeen-almost-eighteen years on earth. Stupid. Idiotic. Ridiculous.
Okay, so maybe it seems like a perfectly innocent statement but given the company in which said statement was uttered – it was anything but innocent.
Ren, my sometimes annoying twin brother, snorted and nudged Nathan Carpenter's shoulder. "Rach, you just finished a nationwide tour and begged the label to let you take a break. Now you're bored?"
He might have had a point – a small one – but I couldn't admit that to him.
"Touring all over the country and playing every night gets tiring, dear brother," I informed him. "I need a break from that. But that doesn't mean I want to sit around and do nothing."
"So, what do you have in mind?" Ren asked as he plopped into my extra large purple beanbag chair, making it whoosh rather loudly. Nathan burst into laughter and collapsed on the end of my bed.
"Grow up," I chastised as I rolled my eyes. "It didn't sound like a fart and even if it did, farts just aren't funny."
"Yeah they are," Ren argued. "They're hilarious."
"In first grade, maybe," I grumbled.
"They're hilarious always," Nathan said as he grabbed my foot. I kicked him in the head and caused him to roll off the bed.
"Now that's funny," I said as I peered at him with an evil grin. "Wouldn't you say?"
"Yes, very," Ren said as he offered me a fist. I smacked it with my own as Nathan climbed back on the bed, rubbing his forehead.
"Since you're so mean to me, Rachel," he said, spitting my name as if it was a bad word, "then I won't tell you the brilliant idea I had to cure your boredness."
At that moment, my interest perked. I wanted to know his idea so badly that I could almost taste it. But, I was a little scared, too. Nathan and Ren have been known to pull a prank or two, especially when there's a lull in our very active lives. And, unfortunately, I'm their favorite victim.
Ren sat forward, practically drooling, and clasped his hands together. "Tell me your idea, oh Wise One."
Nathan scooted on the bed until his back butted against the wall, smug grin on his lips. He shook his head and crossed his arm over his chest. "Not until Baby Girl apologizes."
I groaned and lightly banged my head on my headboard, hoping to rid my body of poisonous frustration. "Fine. I'm sorry, you big baby."
Nathan shot Ren a triumphant grin. "Not very eloquent but still acceptable." Once again, I rolled my eyes. He ignored me. "It's a simple idea, really, and quite brilliant."
"Just shut up and tell us already," I whined as I crossed my legs and planted my elbows on my thighs. "Enough of the theatrics."
"You are a grumpy thing tonight," he teased. "PMSing, maybe?"
I seized the nearest stuffed animal, an ugly toad thing one of the boys had won at some carnival somewhere, and hurled it at Nathan's head. He laughed and ducked and the ugly toad rolled to the floor.
"Come on, man," Ren said. "Just tell us."
"Okay," Nathan said as he shrugged. "School starts in about two weeks. Register."
Ren and I exchanged a glance and laughed – my laugh a little forced.
Perhaps I should explain why the idea might be funny – or a little funny in my case. Ever since I was twelve years old, I have been tutored and/or home schooled. You see, the summer before my twelfth birthday, I begged my mother to let me audition for a commercial and amazingly enough, I got the part. It was simple, actually – all I had to do was sing a little ditty and dance around with a big dorky smile on my face. The casting crew loved me and called me often for other spots. Well, eventually I caught the attention of an entertainment agent and shortly after I turned twelve, I was singing on Broadway.
Acting and dancing on stage was fun but music infected my body and I wanted to be like Avril Lavigne and Pink – I wanted to be a rock star. My agent, Manny Strange (he swears that's his real name), saw dollar signs when he looked at me so he made some calls and paraded me in front of several record companies until one, Great Lakes Records in Cleveland, signed me.
In the meantime, my twin brother was tearing up the guitar – acoustic, electric, bass, you name it and he could play it. I insisted that he be in my band. The record company loved it. Voila – Partridge Family eat your heart out! A year later, the record company introduced us to Nathan Carpenter, a young, musical genius, and he joined the band. He clicked instantly with my brother and grudgingly with me.
At the tender age of fifteen, I performed for the first time live, on a real stage, in front of real fans. Of course, I was merely opening for an extremely popular boy band, but I did well and gained popularity on that tour.
The record company, in all their infinite wisdom, dubbed me Roxy, deciding to take the Madonna route. I guess Roxanne Rachel Bronson wasn't 'hip' enough. But I didn't complain – I owed them my success, after all, and my family still called me plain ol' Rachel.
Back to Nathan's idea: I hadn't attended school since middle school. I'd never set foot inside a high school unless it was some promotional appearance or a "Just Say No to Drugs" thing. I had no desire, either. I loved my life – it was intense at times but pretty much minus all the teenage drama. I didn't need to live in the next sequel to "High School Musical".
"You're kidding, right?" I scoffed.
"Absolutely not," Nathan said with the most innocent smile he could muster. "I don't think you could do it."
Although Nathan had only been a member of our 'family' for the past two or three years, he knew me so very well. He knew I loved a good challenge or dare – knew I hated to be told I couldn't do something.
"I could own high school," I said, raising a haughty brow. "I could be Queen Bee, Homecoming Queen – you name it."
"Yeah, right," Ren said as he laughed. I turned a glare on him and he winced slightly. "Okay, so maybe you might be able to handle high school."
Nathan slid to the edge of the bed and pointed at me, his eyes glowing in excitement. "You register in some obscure high school and see how long you can last until you slip up and someone realizes that you're not plain Jane Rachel but teen sensation Roxy. I bet you couldn't last a week."
I scrambled next to him and punched his lightly in the shoulder. "Oh you are so on! I could do that in my sleep!"
"Rach," Ren said in that low, warning voice. "Think about it. What are you going to tell Mom and Dad? And what school do you think you're going to go to – the local one?"
"We'll find a school," Nathan said, his eyes on mine. "And we'll handle the parents easily enough. All Princess Roxy has to do is bat her eyelashes and ask please and Mommy and Daddy will cave."
I leaned closer, leering at him. "Jealous?"
"Not on your life," he said with a sarcastic, growling sort of laugh. He, imitating my actions, leaned closer to me to the point of our noses being a mere inch or two apart. "Just pointing out how spoiled you are. You'd never last in a regular, public high school. You just couldn't hang."
"Dude," Ren said, once again using his warning voice. "Stop, man. You know what she's like."
"Shut up, Ren," I barked. "Let the man talk."
"Thanks," Nate said with a crooked grin. "I like a woman who talks business."
"Spare me the flattery and just lay it on the line," I said, my skin itching in anticipation.
"My man, Ren, and I will need a little time to work out the finer details," Nate said. "But let me give you the gist."
I nodded curtly.
Nate drew a long breath and backed away from my face. He threw his hands in the air with a nonchalant shrug. "Pretty simple, actually. You attend a public school as Rachel Bronson and see how long you can remain anonymous."
"Hang on," Ren said, shaking a finger between us. "The public knows her last name is Bronson even though she doesn't technically use it."
"He's right," I said, a tad disappointed. I was sort of enjoying this. "It's been published in magazines and stuff."
"No big deal," Nate said. "Use your mother's maiden name."
Ren and I looked at each other, identical expressions on our identical faces. "It could work," Ren said. "What do you think?"
"Well," I said, drawing out the word as I slowly turned toward Nate. His dark brown eyes softened as he met my gaze and I was once again slightly stunned by their beauty. "I would like to hear all the stipulations before I formally agree but as of right now, if we can somehow convince the parents to agree, then I am tentatively in."
"That a girl," Nate said as an impressed grin stretched across his face. "Ren and I will make a list and get back with you tomorrow."
"I'll make my own list," I insisted.
"I wouldn't have it any other way," Nate said. He stretched out a hand and I shook it, shivering as chill flew up my spine.
I glanced quickly at my brother who flashed me a smug smile. Why did I suddenly feel as if I'd made a deal with the devil?