Authors note: So I just wanted to start a new story. It was kind of just a spur of the moment sort of thing. This idea for a story had been rolling around in my head so I decided to just give it a go. It's a short first chapter. I just want to test the waters—see if anyone likes it. And if people do, then I'll update more. So…please review…

~Chapter One~

Hello, My Name is Tommy

I suppose, you could call me lucky.

I mean, it's not every day that one gets to go half across the country and live with an ultra-rich family for five months. All expenses paid, no limits whatsoever. I'm talking butlers and maids, yachts and summerhouses, vineyards and tennis courts, jets and a sizeable little mansion.

Well, that's what I, Tommy Rakes, am about to do.

My real name is Gertrude. But…who on earth would want to go by Gertrude.

I live in Ohio. It sits right below Michigan, beside a bunch of other states, and pretty much above Kentucky. I've lived here my whole life. In other words: I'm bored.

Not that I don't love the Buckeye State but…I guess I'm just looking for something more interesting—something new. I'm not, however, looking for a ton of adventure. Just a little bit excitement. Enough to get my feet wet. And once I have, I'll be ready to come back to my Podunk hometown and face bitter winters and scorching summers for the rest of my life.

So you might ask, how did I, little Miss Tommy, get a hook up at some wealthy family's house?

Well, it all started back in my senior year of high school.

I was pretty much your standard nerd. I didn't have very many friends and the ones I did have weren't what you would call "BFF's". As time went on, they sort of just became familiar acquaintances. So instead of worrying my head off about having a huge social circle, I focused on my studies. And boy…did I.

I walked out of high school with a 4.0 GPA, a 33 ACT score and an SAT score to match. I was on the math quiz bowl team, the softball and volleyball team, and I was a treasurer on Student Council. That's not mentioning all of my volunteering as well.

I don't mean to brag but…my academics are pretty much my life.

Well, my parents knew this. And unlike other parents who completely ignore their children's education pursuits, mine are completely and utterly involved in my schooling. Sometimes it gets annoying. Sometimes it literally pisses me off. But, in the end, I'm glad they're there for me.

I mean, they were the ones who got me this AMAZING sponsorship.

….Oh, right. I haven't explained it yet.

Well, since I was interested in going into the automobile design industry, my parents...decided…to get me a sponsor.

The sponsor would be responsible for funding me—in competitions, showcases, classes. I didn't even know someone like that existed. That was until I started doing robotic tournaments and the likes of that and such during high school and now during my summer break. At first, I thought I would need to ally myself with several other students interested in the car industry in order to even be considered for a sponsor.

But one early July day, my parents came home screaming while I was watching the PowerPuff Girls in my pajamas. They were talking so quickly and so loudly and over one another that I couldn't make out one word they were saying. It took them a full five minutes to calm down before one of them could actually speak.

The conversation went something like this:

"Tommy, we got you sponsor!" my mom said, shaking me by my shoulders.

"A…what?" I replied, confused and rightfully so.

"A sponsor!" my dad said, making everything so much clearer…

"What's a sponsor? For what?"

"For your studies!" my mother exclaimed, "His name is Mr. Frank Bradshaw. His wife's name is Camellia and they have two sons—Charles and Fabian. They live on a small Island, near Australia!"

"But they're British! And the boys are twins and about your age!" my dad added, his eyes bulging out of their sockets. His face was almost blue he was bursting with so much excitement.

"And they want to sponsor me?" I said, feeling rather fishy about the whole thing.

"Yes! But it's a special sponsorship, my dear. Very special!"

"How?" I asked.

"Well…they want you to live with them."

"Live with them?"

I said it like I was disgusted. My parents reeled back, feeling a little insulted. I shook my head and waved both my hands back and forth.

"Not that that's bad," I explained, "I just don't see how this will work. I mean…I'm supposed to go to MIT in the Fall. I'm all set. How will I go to school in Boston…while I'm living off the coast of Australia?"

"That's just it!" my mother screamed in her deafening high-pitched voice, "You won't go to school! See, the Bradshaw's have asked you to take a semester off. Mr. Bradshaw has ties with MIT and he's convinced the school of engineering to let you begin in the winter semester. In the meantime, you'll be studying glorious car designs at the Bradshaw's house."

"But—" I began

"Mr. Bradshaw is a notable foreign car designer. I'm certain you must have heard of him in some of your research. His corporation—Bradshaw and Co.—give vehicle designs and advice to all the major automobile companies. Ford, Toyota, Honda, GM, Chrysler!"

"Even Mitsubishi!" my mother chimed.

"Wait—" I said, trying to get a word in.

"So you'll be like his intern!"

I failed.

"Sure it might be lame grunt work for awhile but soon you'll be designing cars. I know it! Mr. Bradshaw wants to see if you have potential to become one of the young designers on his blueprint team. If that happened, then you wouldn't even need to go to MIT!"

"But Dad—"

"Look honey, you can't pass this opportunity up. He's allowing you to live in his home while you're there. He wants to see if you can do great things."

My mother reached out to stroke my cheek, a huge, wide smile on her face. The same smile was on my father's face also.

"And you will do great things."

"Mom…Dad," I said, glancing at them both, "Though I appreciate all the work you did to find this sponsorship. And though I don't even care to know how you came to get it. And though I love the Harry Potter reference….how can I go? I mean, I'm just some girl from Ohio. I'm eighteen years old. I don't even really know how an engine works, let alone know how to construct a whole car. I don't know what he expects to see in me or what he expects me to do. But it won't me amazing. And…I'll miss you guys too much. I mean Boston is Boston. But…Australia? Come on…"

"Darling, we wouldn't tell you to do this if we didn't think it was the opportunity of a life time," my dad said, "We just want what's best for you. And this is the best."

I sighed, swaying back in forth hesitantly. "But what about MIT?"

"MIT can wait," my mother beseeched me, "Missing one semester isn't going to kill you. And besides, when you come back and attend that winter semester…you'll have a wealth of knowledge. Other freshmen will be dying to hear what you learned. I'm promising you."

"And besides," my dad said, smirking cunningly, "If you go to work and study at their house, Mr. Bradshaw will fund your entire college education for four years. And I'm talking…everything."

I clasped my right hand over my mouth.

"Everything?" I said in a muffled voice through my fingers.

My parents nodded simultaneously.

And I was sold.

Even after my parents explained it over and over and over, I still didn't see why any guy—I don't care how rich he is—would want to pay for some girl's college expenses just because she came and did a little paperwork for him. My dad says it makes a guy like Mr. Bradshaw look good. He has so much money anyway; I guess forking out a few thousand dollars is not a big deal.

Still, it seems so weird.

And yet, so cool.

My parents said they sent hundreds, literally hundreds of letters out to Mr. Bradshaw after his company had promoted a few sponsorships at an automobile industry showcase. I suppose their persistence paid off.

Because now, on this September 15th, I'm on my way to some random island near Australia to do whatever it is this Bradshaw family wants me to do.

And what, may I ask, could be better than that?


The constant chatter of the people surrounding me would just not stop.

It was almost as bad as my mom and Aunt Polly when they argued. The only thing that made it less annoying was the fact that they didn't have Aunt Polly's thick, New York accent.

I had ridden second class to the Island of St. Laluna, the place where I was to stay for five months. It had been quite an enjoyable airplane ride. Nothing could compare, though, to my family road trips in our broken down Volkswagen.

But not even the smooth plane ride could prepare for the lively and crowded airport. It was such a small island I wondered why so many people were even here.

Then I remembered. My father had told me St. Laluna was a rather popular port for business and trade transactions.

In other words: A bunch of Mr. Bradshaw's.

Lugging my trunk across the airport floor, I wiped my sweaty brow. One of the workers for the Bradshaw family had explained that a car would be waiting for me at the front of the airport.

Perhaps, it would have been helpful of me to remember my trunk weighed a ton.

"Ugh…err…gah…damn…" I groaned, lugging the monstrous case farther and farther, bumping into people as I did. I could see the exit doors. They were within my reach!

It took me about five more minutes to actually reach the doors and then other five to actually get my trunk to fit through them.

I was learning quickly that the people at St. Laluna, at least the ones at the airport, were one of two kinds. They were either: 1) Men in suits who could care less if a poor girl was struggling with her trunk and 2) Reckless teens and early twenty-year olds, smoking constantly, and feeling the exact same way about me as the men in suits.

"Well thanks for all your help!" I called out to someone who, after giving me a long, sympathetic stare, had simply shrugged and then kept walking.

"People these days…" I muttered under my breath, "I swear. They're only looking out for numero uno—"

"Hello, Miss Rakes?"

...I wonder who—oh goodness, that's me!

Spinning around on my dirty, black flat shoes, I faced the person who had spoken my name.

It was women, as I expected the light voice to have come from. She was quite skinny and rather short. Even though it was balmy out, she was wearing a black, wool dress that was layered underneath a dark wool coat. I glanced down at my long, khaki shorts, feeling a little underdressed.

Her hair was tightly wound in bun, positioned squarely in the back of her head. Her face had a few minor blemishes that would have been unnoticeable to me if she had the decency to smile. But on her palest of pale skin, perhaps a smile wouldn't suit her.

She stared at me so peculiarly I almost wanted to smack her in the face.

Then I grinned to myself.

My boyishly short hair always seemed to throw people off. And the fact that I didn't have very soft features and, yet a deep voice, didn't help me much. My mother was always trying to get me interested in make-up and dresses and long hair. But it all seemed like too much work to me. I was much more comfortable in pair of boy's shorts and a long T-shirt. And so, after pleading for awhile, my mother would give up. And so I remained in my tomboy ways.

I suppose, really, the only things to remind people that I still am a girl are my thick, luscious eyelashes and my somewhat noticeable boobs.

But I guess, now that I'm going to be living at an estate, I'll have to dress more appropriately.

Darn it.

"I'm Miss Rakes," I finally said, walking forward, "But you can call me Tommy. I'm here to—"

"I know," the women interrupted, "You're Mr. Bradshaw's new sponsor project. We've heard a lot about you.

"Oh," I replied, glancing at the black, spotless limousine standing behind the lady, "And I've heard nothing about you."

A few seconds after I said the remark, I grinned.

The women, who already seemed to be in a bad mood, lowly scoffed.

"Well, let's get your things in the car. The Bradshaw's expect to see you promptly at two."

"And I them!" I said, happily going back for my trunk.

Now, it didn't seem nearly as heavy.

The driver of the limo came out to help me put my case in the trunk. He, unlike the women, greeted and smiled at me. He went by Bob.

And so Bob was my first friend at St. Laluna.

The woman's name was Miss Landry.

And she was no friend of mine.

As I sat at the very back of the limo, I rolled down the window to get a better view of the island.

It was a beautiful island. It reminded me of Hawaii, with its blue waters and its palm trees, not to mention all of its other beautiful greenery. There were bright flowers at every stoplight and people of all shapes and colors. And, surprisingly, there were ghettos. The limo drove past countless areas that were poverty stricken. I looked on them and part of me actually felt relieved. I had been feeling quite out of place, what with all the grand business buildings. Somehow, the ghettos put everything back into perspective.

My perspective.

"So it must be strange…" Miss Landry remarked, straightening her dress.

I turned my head from the window back to the limo seats. Miss Landry was sitting all the way across from me.

"Strange how?" I replied.

Snidely beaming, she crossed her legs. "Being in a limo for the first time."

Ooo, this woman is quite the witch!

"Oh, this isn't my first limousine ride. I've been in several ones before."

"For what occasions…?" Miss Landry asked, sounding quite shocked.

"Well there was my Aunt Betty's funeral and my Granpie Sullivan's funeral and my Cousin Dicky's funeral and—oh, that's his family name," I clarified, seeing that the name made Miss Landry's jaw drop, "His real name is…ugh…nevermind."

Folding my arms over my chest, I nestled back into the comfy seating. Taking a glimpse out the window, I gasped.

We weren't in the urban city anymore.

Now, every house we passed had to be mansions. Or at least a mini mansions.

All the lawns were green and large. Many had gates surrounding them while the manor sat on a hill. There were vineyards, just like I had suspected. I'm certain jets were to follow…

But even more than that, there were cars.

Oh, the cars.

Mercedes, Cadillac's, Jags, Hummers! It was marvelous! All the best models and types...

It was automobile heaven.

And perhaps…at this new, beautiful place, I would be designing cars just like them.

"Are we close?" I asked, my excitement building.

Miss Landry rolled her eyes slightly. "No. The Bradshaw's have the largest and grandest estate in all of St. Laluna. And as such, they live the farthest from the mayhem of the city."

The response made me sigh as lay my head against the seat cushion. If it weren't for the fact that my insides were so aflutter with anticipation, I would have dozed off. But I resisted dozing off and just waited impatiently to arrive at the Bradshaw mansion.

And soon enough, I did.

And though rather crooked in nature, Miss Landry was right.

The Bradshaw estate was the grandest place I had seen all day.

First, I was greeted by two large, spiraling black gates that opened down the middle. We passed through them slowly and then became encased by large, green hedges on either side. I peered out the window, just wondering what my eyes would be dazzled with next.

And it happened to be a glorious front yard.

But it wasn't even really a yard.

It was like an avenue; a winding road of fountains and flowerbeds and arches made of vines. The sunlight hit the boulevard so perfectly it was almost like a dream.

And then, out of nowhere, the mansion appeared.

And damn…was it lovely.

It was a rectangular shaped building. It was a light brown color with white pillars and black shutters all around. Even from where I was sitting in the car, I could tell it was three stories high. It had several windows situated in the front that were separated on either side by the grand porch. In front of the manor stood yet another large fountain.

I smiled.

How is it that girl like me gets to live at a place like this?

It doesn't even make sense.

And before I even had time to debate entering the house, the limousine had parked itself in front of the white steps leading up to the chocolate brown front door.

"Alright, let's go," Miss Landry said in an annoyed voice as she exited the vehicle. I slowly followed behind her. Gradually, I stepped out onto the pathway. My hands tensed up.

Even the ground felt different.

"Bob will get your trunk," said Miss Landry, who was already up the stairs, "Now come along. It's already 1:30. You'll barely have any time to wash up.

I looked down at myself. "I need to wash up?"

Miss Landry just sighed as she paced into the house. I didn't know whether or not I was supposed to stay or follow her. Thus, I decided to just let my curiosity soar. And so, I walked into the manor.

Oh, dear goodness, was I in for a surprise.

The inside was BETTER than the outside.

I can't even justly describe the wonders of the house. The paintings were…flawless. And there was one hung on every wall—EVERY WALL. Many were of really old people, who were honestly rather unattractive. But the paintings themselves were magnificent. And then some other paintings were of ponds and mountains—standard stuff like that.

That's not to mention all the other pretty objects and furnishings. The couches, the chairs, the tables, the rugs, the mirrors, the lamps, the golden chandelier—it was all so intoxicating. From where I stood, which was right at the front door, there were about four different paths I could take into the house. And I wasn't certain which one the vanishing Miss Landry had taken.

"Miss Landry?" I said, running my hand through my hair, "Ugh…Miss Landry? Miss—oh, Bob. Thank you."

"You're welcome, Miss."

I smiled, resting my body on my trunk. I was about to ask Bob where I should go but he too disappeared hurriedly.

Oh great, I've just become a member of Casper the ghosts family.

I waited awhile for Ms. Landry to return but she never did. And pulling my cell-phone out of my pocket, I learned by switching over a few time zones that it was 1:47.

I had to meet the Bradshaw's in less than fifteen minutes. And some people believed I needed washing up!

Waiting around like this isn't going to do me any good. I've got to find someone who can help explain some things.

So shifting from one foot to another for a few seconds longer, I decided to venture into the mansion. The abode proved to be much more simplistic than I thought it would be.

That's not in any way implying that it's small. But I was able to tell one room from another. I wasn't lost!

Now the one thing I was looking out for was the large dining room.

For wherever there is a dining room, there is a kitchen to compliment it.

Sticking my hands in my pocket, I wandered into yet another large room.

I smiled.


It was the dining room.

And in the far right corner, there was a door.

"It must lead to the kitchen," I said to myself, quickly darting to the entryway, "And wherever there is a kitchen…" I paused and then shoved the door open, "There is a…"

My eyebrows furrowed.


Now I expected to see a cook, I really did. I mean, it was the kitchen.

But, instead of seeing anyone remotely similar to a chef, I was met by the flirtatious grin of light-blonde haired male. He couldn't have been older than twenty years old. He was sitting on a small wooden chair next to a long, thin countertop. The kitchen was steamy and hot but he wasn't breaking a sweat. He was lean but not skinny and even though he was sitting, I could tell he was rather tall.

And though I hated to admit it, because I always hated to admit, he had a rather attractive face. His light green eyes, that almost looked turquoise, sparkled as he gave me a once over. His face was blemish free and his smile was straight and white. Although, it might not be for long seeing as a cigarette was lying loosely between his fingers.

Now that I looked him over extensively, he was rather cute all around. His clothes could have certainly used a touch up but, actually, they seemed to match his tussled hair and wiry expression rather well.

He took a long, extended smoke, leaning back in the chair.

"Well, you're a rather ugly girl…" he said.

My eyes widened and I moved back.

Part of me didn't really believe he had said the words. But he had.


I blinked repeatedly. I always did that when someone did or said something I wasn't prepared for. And that wasn't often.

"Well…that's rather mean," I muttered. Being thrown off guard so badly, I couldn't think of anything better to say.

He smiled at my response, now tilting the chair forward.

He smiled broader.

"You are a girl, aren't you?" he said.

Now I was just mad. "Yes!"

Who knew that part of the internship was successfully determining my sex!

Now he stood up.

He was tall.

He bended over on the countertop, as if he could barely stand.

"Positive?" he laughed.

I didn't reply this time. I just pursed my lips and let my nasty, tormenting glare do it's magic.

And by the surprised look on his face, I say it did.

"Alright, you're a girl," he said, jamming his cigarette into a tray lying on the counter, "I supposed as much. You do have sexy eyelashes."

I gasped softly.

Did he just call my eyelashes sexy? What is with this guy?

Abruptly falling back into the chair, he looked up to me and licked his lips. Due to all his previous antics, the action made my skin crawl.

And he knew it had.

And then, placing his hands behind his neck and reclining backwards he tapped his right foot against the floor.

"So… my name's Charlie," he said.

I crossed my arms, indignantly. "And?"

"And…you wanna make-out?"

Authors note: And there you go! The first chapter! I think it went…alright. I hope you all enjoyed. By the way, I just wanted to make two things clear. 1) St. Laluna does not exist. I just decided to make up a place for this story in order to add in some creative bit and 2) the sponsorship Tommy is awarded is completely fake. Some sponsorships are VERY nice but I don't ever think this nice. I just made it up to have creative space. Okay then, please review!