Ronnie Walker received an invitation to attend the most prestigious school in the country: Emerson Boy's Boarding High School. This is the school to go to if you want to make it in the world. To get accepted, you need to qualify for one of the five programs: Academics, Art, Athletics, Drama, or Music. The only problem? Ronnie's a girl.
She'd be a fool to turn down the full ride scholarship though, so she does the only sensible thing she could think of: Chopping off all her hair and parading as a boy.
Kaynan Braydon is a prodigy Pianist attending Emerson High. He's slightly arrogant, (But who wouldn't be when they're getting at least ten calls a day requesting them to perform months in advance?) and doesn't make friends easily because he's naturally suspicious of people, thinking they have a hidden agenda. However, once you make it on his good side he's an overall nice person . . . as long as you don't take his scathing sarcasm seriously.
Ronnie thought hiding her gender would be the biggest problem she'd come across; she never thought to add love into the mix.
This is my first story on here, so i'd appreciate feedback.
I'd like to thank Virag0 for betaing my story. Thank you :)
Ronnie put the finishing touches on her English report, re-read it, then carefully slipped it into her 'finished' folder where she put all her other school projects that she had at least another month to complete. She surveyed her desk to make sure she didn't forget to put anything away. Seeing that she didn't, she shouldered her backpack and went down to the kitchen for breakfast.
"Hey Mom," she said while pouring herself a bowl of cereal. "Am I walking today, or are you picking me up?"
"Actually, I was meaning to talk to you about that." Ronnie sent her mom a brief questioning look. "I think you might want to stay home from school today; we have some things to talk about. Do you have anything due?"
"I – uh, no. I don't think so. What's up?"
"You got home so late yesterday that I never got the chance to give you this." Catherine, Ronnie's mom, handed her a large envelope. "It's from Emerson Boarding School."
"That famous one?"
Catherine nodded. "Open it."
Ronnie looked at it, debating if she really wanted to, before shrugging and tearing it open.
In spirally handwriting it read:
Ronnie S. Walker:
You are hereby invited to attend the prestigious all boy's Emerson Boarding High School. The term is already underway; I apologize for sending your invitation so late. If you plan to attend, please reply no later than September 13. The opportunity to further your education at Emerson High would be a great opportunity to you, and I would love to have you as an addition to our student population.
Ronnie stared in disbelief. Any thought that may have formed ran into a brick wall inside her head.
"Well . . . do you want to go?" Catherine asked.
"Of course I do! Emerson is the best known school in the country! Everybody knows about them! If I can graduate from there, my future would be set!" She paused. ". . . but I'm not a boy."
"Who cares." Catherine dismissed the thought. "They don't know that. After all, they're the ones who sent you an invitation."
"But how am I going to go if I'm not a boy? They'll realize that I'm a girl as soon as they see me. Then they'll kick me out. I'd probably set a new record; the shortest anybody has ever attended the school."
Catherine looked her daughter over with a critical eye. "I have an idea, but first I need to know how bad you want to go."
"I really want to go Mom! I don't know how to explain it. I just really want to go."
"Ok; we better go shopping then."
"Why?" Ronnie asked with a confused look on her face. She had plenty of clothes. She
didn't need more.
"Well, boys don't wear skirts now do they?"
Ronnie's jaw dropped.
"If you're going fool anybody into thinking that you're a guy for a year then you'll have to look like a guy first. So that means new clothes and a haircut."
Ronnie had never thought her mom might be insane, but in this instant she considered the possibility. She also never loved her mom more than she did in that moment. One thought still plagued her mind, though. "But doesn't Emerson have uniforms? I don't need new clothes."
Catherine smiled, giggling into her hand. "Silly girl. I've always wanted a boy."
She only felt dread then.
"Mr. Walker, was it?" The headmaster of Emerson High inspected the boy in front of him. The young boy in front of him. If the boy's records didn't say he was sixteen, he would easily pass for younger, twelve maybe.
"Y-yes sir," Ronnie stuttered out, her heart hammering in her chest. She kept her low, almost at a whisper, barely croaking the words out of her parched throat. When she practiced speaking earlier with her mother it was quickly deduced that she couldn't change her voice without sounded like a half dead screaming cat and they gave up on that option immediately. They decided that she'd just keep her voice down, and if anyone every confronted her on the issue she'd act super defensive and rant at them until nobody'd think to bring it up again.
"I'm Headmaster Wellington. I wanted to apologize again for sending out your invitation so late." He shrugged. "Oh well, what's past has passed. I do hope you'll be able to catch up in your classes soon enough."
"I s-should be able to h-handle it sir."
Ronnie could hear him now. Telling her to leave and that she was a horrible person for trying to deceive him. A girl in an all boys' school— he would scoff and tell her that her life was over. That she'd never have a commendable job, that he'd make sure she'd live on the streets for the rest of her miserable life.
Maybe nerves were causing her to exaggerate a bit. He wouldn't do all that.
Only the first part.
"Good, good. You're here by scholarship after all, so you'll need to keep your grades up. Emerson High is a very prestigious High School; everybody here has been exclusively chosen by either me or another staff member. We are a private school only open to students by invitation, the elite if you may. Because of this, we only have three years of students: sophomore to senior. Freshman year is the year we use to check students talent; it's spent at a regular school so we can gauge their potential in a natural environment.
"The main factors we look at before sending out invitations are grades, athletic ability, musical talent, artistic ability, or any other outstanding ability the students may have.
"This leads into the reason you've been invited to attend. Can you tell me why?" Headmaster Wellington asked.
"U-uhm, I've most likely b-been invited-" Her voice cracked and she nervously cleared her throat before continuing, "-been invited to attend because of my grade point average."
Headmaster Wellington nodded his agreement, staying silent to look at the nervous boy in front of him: his hair, chopped short, hung in a messy array of copper colors around his face, and glasses frames far too big for his face encased his light blue eyes. His suit fit him nicely, the jacket just a little too big, the shoulders hanging on his small frame. All in all, he looked like a little kid trying to play adult.
If he lasts more than a week I'll have to give him credit for effort.
"You're correct. Usually to get an invitation, a student needs to have proficient skills in two or more fields. However, your CST scores along with other tests that you've taken have been exceptionally high. Your grade point average has yet to drop below a 4.0, and last year it was a 4.42." Headmaster Wellington peered over his thin framed glasses. "You probably would have come to our attention sooner if you had been more involved in sports, music, drama, or art. You may have been able to begin your career here last year instead of now."
Ronnie smiled shakily, and felt the need to defend her lack of other abilities. "I don't have a lot of h-hand-eye coordination, so that rules out a lot of s-sports for me. I tried l-learning how to play an instrument before, but it didn't ever hold my i-interest. I have h-horrible stage f-fright, and I can barely draw a stick f-figure without messing it up."
"I see." Headmaster Wellington nodded, his eyes skimming over her transcripts once again. "Now let us discus the terms of your scholarship. You may not drop below a 3.8 GPA by the end of each semester, and you must take at least three advanced placement classes."
"About that," Ronnie cut in quickly, her urgent question overtaking her stuttering nerves. "My old school began three weeks ago, and I was already well into the AP courses there. I still have all my work from those classes, I was wondering if it'd be possible for me to take the same courses here so I won't have to make up three weeks worth of work?"
Headmaster Wellington nodded. "I was just about to get into that. I was reviewing your schedule at your last school and I saw that you were taking six AP courses. That's quite a lot; are you sure you'd be able to handle all that work?"
"I probably can; I'm not i-involved in any extracurricular activities so it will most likely be pretty easy. I was coping well back at my other school. The only class I was having t-trouble with was AP English, but I fixed the issue."
"Very good, very good. Well, I'm sorry to tell you that we only have six classes a year here, so you'll have to drop one of your classes. I took the liberty to putting together your schedule for you." He handed Ronnie half a sheet of paper. "I tried to keep both your old and new schedule as close as I could."
Period 1. AP Biology - Mr. Shannon
Period 2. AP Calculus - Mr. Gregory
Period 3. AP English - Mrs. Schultz
Period 4. AP US History - Mr. Chamber
Period 5. AP Music Theory – Mrs. Brown
Period 6. P.E. – Mr. Shinagnori
"I hope you'll find your classes satisfactory. If you wish to change anything, please let me know now so we can avoid the hassle in the near future."
"It's fine. Do I r-really have to take P.E. though?"
"Yes, you do. Usually by junior year the only people who take P.E. are the ones here for athletics, however it shows here that you only took P.E. in your first year of High School. To graduate from here you need at least two years of Physical Education."
"Ah- I see. So there's no way for me to get out of that?"
"No, there isn't," Headmaster Wellington said. "It's a mandatory class."
"Ok then. I guess I'll be taking it."
"One more thing. It is required for every student to take part in one of our four clubs: athletics, drama, art, or music. I'll allow a couple of weeks to get settled in before you have to pick a club activity. Just come tell me once you've chosen one."
"Yeah, I think I can. It shouldn't be a p-problem."
"Good, good. I'll have your schedule sent up to your dorm later tonight."
Ronnie smiled shakily, "Thank you, sir."
"No, thank you for giving me the opportunity to further your studies."
Ronnie's nerves were just beginning to calm and her heart had just began to settle from the backbreaking speed it was pounding – while she was inwardly cursing her stuttering - when the Headmaster's door slammed open.
A man and a woman, both in their late thirties, were shouting in a staged whisper looking ready to all but tear the other to shreds.
Ronnie's heart skyrocketed again.
"We're putting on the play this year!" The man glared at the woman, not noticing the Headmaster's company.
"No we are not! We are putting on the music show!" The woman too didn't notice the company in the Headmaster's office. "You put on a play last year."
Ronnie shrank back in her seat. She didn't want to hear this; she didn't want to be a part of this.
The Headmaster, seeming to sense her dislike of the situation, dismissed her and told her that she could find out about her dorm with his secretary in the office to his left.
Ronnie thanked whatever god's heard her wish and quickly excused herself, scurrying towards the room the Headmaster directed her to.
After picking up her room key and a map of the school from Mrs. Isabel, the Headmaster's secretary and daughter, Ronnie began her search for her dorm building.
The campus was big, the map was small and, all in all, it was practically impossible to navigate unless you knew where you were going.
Where is building F? Ronnie thought, trying to find it on the map. Preferring to multitask, she walked with her head down, studying the cluttered piece of paper in her hands. Building D is right there… so building F should be right here. Her eyebrows furrowed, disappearing behead the thick frames of her glasses.
"Where is it? I can't even find it on the map!" she muttered, frustrated with the lack of direction.
"What are you looking for? Maybe I can help." A deep voice laced with amusement broke her from her self muttering, tearing an abruptly cut off gasp from her lips and almost causing her to trip.
"U-uhm… I'm looking for building F," Ronnie murmured, her heart pounding again.
"Oh, you new here?" the guy asked.
"Thought so, I haven't seen you around before. My name's David."
"So what are you here for? I'm here on an Athletic scholarship for football and basketball."
"I'm here for academics," she mumbled, knowing she should gauge his reactions to see if he suspected her secret. She found her pounding heart as too much of a distraction. Her tongue felt heavy in her mouth and she could barely concentrate on what he was saying she was so nervous.
"That's it?" David whistled. "– that's tough! You must really be smart then; it's hard to get invited here if you're getting in on only one of the five programs."
"You said you were only here on athletics though…"
"Music and Athletics are a little different from the Art, Drama, and especially Academic programs," David said. "Athletics has tons of sub-programs, same with Music.
"Yeah," he sighed. "I originally got invited here because of my involvement in football, baseball and basketball, but I had to drop baseball because of an injury Sophomore year.
"Oh, that must have sucked." Ronnie inwardly cringed at the thought of a sport related injury. It must have hurt. Bad.
"It's no big deal; I never really did like baseball anyway. I was just playing it because my dad wanted me too."
They fell into silence again, their steps quiet on the paved ground. Ronnie's heart rate returned to normal and she used her newly found calm to peek at the senior boy next to her. He didn't seem to suspect anything . . .
They passed a building that David pointed out as the cafeteria. "So if you ever get lost, just continue around the end of it and the dorm buildings are right there."
They reached the dorms a minute later and David said a quick goodbye, saying he needed to get to practice, leaving Ronnie to yell out a 'thank you' at his retreating back.
Ronnie found her room with relative ease and opted out of knocking on the door because she figured a high school boy usually wouldn't knock on the door to his own room. She opened the door, shrieked, and slammed it shut again, her cheeks tinted pink.
She definitely should have knocked.