This post has every last bit of my writing that I have so far.
My stomach twists painfully as I stare out the window of the plane. Why am I so nervous? It’s only a new boarding school. I should be glad that I’m leaving dirty old Greenwich School behind. I try thinking of Katie, but that only makes my stomach ache even more. Why did she have to stay at Greenwich? I’ll make lots of new friends at Empire Academy, right? That’s what mom and dad said. Ugh. So many questions. “Rosie, wake up.” My dad is gently shaking me. I fell asleep! It’s been hours since we left the airport in Chicago. I stand up and stretch. The airplane’s smell (feet and throw up) is making me claustrophobic and dizzy. That, on top of my nervous stomach. We slowly file off the plane. I find my luggage and sit on a bench. Mom and dad come over and give me a big hug. “You’ll have a wonderful time. I know it.” My mom has tears in her eyes. “Goodbye, Rosalie.” Dad is trying not to cry. I see a bus with Empire Academy painted across it. I give mom and dad one final hug and kiss, and then head over to the bus. I get inside to find many other students, boys and girls alike. I find an empty seat and pull out my journal. I write for a while and when we finally get to Empire Academy it’s almost midnight. I’m so tired. I hope we get to sleep in. We are all herded into the main building, which, I have to say is amazing. It smells like freshly mowed grass, which is a little awkward, considering that we’re inside. The floors are sleek and I think they’re bamboo. How much did Mom and Dad pay for me to get in? The guide reads off the roommate pairs, and I’m paired with a girl named Helen Twain. We pair up and head to our dorms. Helen seems really kind. She has jet-black hair and hazel green eyes that sparkle when she smiles. She tells me that she’s from Atlanta, Georgia and she’s visited many boarding schools in New York. I ask her if she visited this one and she said no, she didn’t, so we can go on a tour tomorrow! When we get to our dorm house, there is a woman waiting for us at the door. She tells us that she is our housemother and her name is Margaret McBane, and we’re supposed to call her Ms. McBane, but she’s okay with us calling her Margaret. After we unpack, I fall into bed, so tired that I could sleep until tomorrow night. In the morning I wake up to the smell of pancakes and sausage and the sound of girls laughing and talking. I sit up and look around. The dorm is very different compared to what it is at night. It’s divided into two sides, Helen’s, and mine. Both of our sides have a window. I look out to find a view of a pasture dotted with horses and hay. The furniture looks really comfy and soft. Everything is either purple or brown. There’s a light brown sectional couch and a deep purple chair. The floors are bamboo and there’s fluffy carpets scattered everywhere. Just as I’m finishing up my braid, Helen strides in. She’s wearing a purple striped tank top with cute jean shorts and no shoes. I notice her toenails are painted light blue. “Hey Rosalie!” she says with excitement, “You kind of missed breakfast, but there’s leftovers. I can’t wait to go on that tour! Why don’t you hurry up and get out of your pajamas. I’ll show you where the kitchen is.” I choose a floral print t-shirt and light green shorts. My flip-flops match Helen’s tank top. During my late breakfast Helen tells me about a girl named Scarlet Saxby that was at breakfast. Scarlet and her friends apparently came from a high-quality beauty school in LA. I smirk when she tells me this. I mean, really. A beauty school? Did they learn how to be beautiful? That’s SO lame. She describes Scarlet as snooty, self-centered, mean, and bossy. Scarlet definitely sounds like a queen bee. That’s what my mom and I call girls who are bossy, selfish, and just plain mean. I’ve had plenty of those at my other schools. After breakfast we head out for a self-guided tour of Empire Academy. First we go to the fitness area. There’s a pool club after school that I’d like to join. The girls’ locker rooms are really nice. The showers are huge and bright and the lockers are sizable and smell like lavender. The indoor track looks awesome. There’s a club for that, also. The gym is my favorite part. I absolutely love gymnastics. Ever since I was in the beginners’ gymnastics program that my mom signed me up for when I was three, gymnastics has been my way of expressing myself. Gymnastics is where I met Katie. I might have to sign up for the whole fitness deal. Next we go to the observatory, which is sensational. There’s a huge amount of telescopes. I’m not a very big fan of astronomy and all that, but this is pretty cool. I look into one of the telescopes at the place where I think the Big Dipper is, and there it is! In the middle of the day! These telescopes must be really powerful and expensive. I see a girl leading three other girls, who are following her around like hungry puppies. That must be Scarlet Saxby. “Hey Helen,” I call to Helen, who is looking intently through a telescope, “Is that Scarlet?” “By all means, yes, that is the mean and self-centered Scarlet.” Helen says this as if she were announcing someone on a game show. I hope Scarlet doesn’t spot us. It would be horrible if she spotted us. As if she can read my mind, Scarlet saunters over, her sidekicks trailing after her. “And who would you two individuals be?” she sneered. Helen steps right up. “My name is Helen Twain. This is my roommate, Rosalie Adams,” she says, gesturing dramatically towards me. I try to make myself invisible. It doesn’t work, of course. “Uh, hi,” I manage to say, smiling weakly. Scarlet’s companions giggle. I feel my face get warm. I hate it when people laugh at me. “Well, we have to finish our tour. See you later!” Helen says cheerfully. I start walking towards the stables, but Helen veers off to the auditorium so I follow her. “Why were you so friendly?” I wanted to know. “My parents always say that the best way to deal with girls like Scarlet is to be friendly and welcoming,” replies Helen. “I guess that makes sense.” I say. When we get near the auditorium, there seems to be a twisting line going all the way around the building. “Omigosh!” I hit myself on the forehead. “I totally forgot about class signups! They end at two thirty. I think it’s almost two.” “Well we better get moving then!” Helen races down the hill to the auditorium. I think this is one of the things I like about Helen. She always gets straight to the point. I scramble to catch up with her. I get in line just before another student is about to take the spot behind Helen. Twenty minutes later, we are finally at the front of the line. I sign up for photography, fitness class, the swim club that I saw in the school brochure, and a bunch of other fun classes. Everyone is required to do math and English, but we get to pick all the rest, which I’m really happy about. After the class signups, which we barely get to finish doing, I’m really tired. I decide to go back to the dorm and have some down time. As I’m walking back through the courtyard, I hear a high-pitched yelp. I walk towards the sound of it. I hear it again, closer this time. I’m running now. I round the corner of the dorm just in time to see Scarlet dash around the other corner. I quickly follow her, careful to not make any sound. When I get around the corner, Scarlet is nowhere to be seen. I see a folded piece of paper on the ground near a tree. I pick it up and unfold it. Inside there’s a message: Meet me at the pool. Come alone. SS. Scarlet Saxby! Those are her initials! I wonder whom the message is for. I’ll have to see what Scarlet is up to. I decide to stop by the dorm to check my email. I have two emails. One is from Katie. She says hi and asks how Empire Academy is going so far. She misses me and hopes that we can get together sometime during spring break. The other email is from Mom and Dad. They say hi and hope that I’m doing really well. Can I call them soon? They want to hear my voice. For some reason that brings tears to my eyes. I want to hear their voices too. After having some lunch I head out to the pool with a sneaky plan, hoping that Scarlet and whomever the message is for are still there. Once I get to the pool, I slink into the locker rooms. I briskly put on my swimsuit, and then walk out of the locker rooms. I slip into the pool and act like I’m taking a swim. Trying my hardest to look casual, I glance around the pool, searching for Scarlet and the mystery person. I spot Scarlet, but there’s nobody with her. She’s behind the pool equipment, looking like she’s searching for someone. As Scarlet’s gaze falls on me, she gestures wildly toward me. I wonder if she saw somebody behind me, then it dawns on me. The message was for me! It was all a trick. I was supposed to hear her scream, “accidentally” find the message, and come spy on her. How could I be so stupid? I hurry back to the dorm, get my pajamas on, grab my book, and hop in bed. For some reason reading always calms my thoughts. After a while Helen comes in. She’s looking really flustered; she’s dust-covered, her top is crooked, and her nail polish is chipped. I’m wondering what somebody would have to do to get that kind of look on her face. From what I know about Helen, she always has a sparkle in her eye and a smile on her face, but not now. Her expression is the exact opposite. “What happened to-“ she stops me before I can finish. “Don’t ask.” “Come on Helen. I really want to know.” I pleaded. “Fine!” she gives in. “I was walking towards the dorms, and I’m pretty sure that I fell into a largish hole, maybe about 8 ½ feet deep.” She starts before continuing, ”I got really scratched up and stuff, but that’s not the worst part. I couldn’t get out. Being the petite girl that I am, I was still a good foot and a half from the top, even when I reached my arms up.” I’m amazed at this. Helen doesn’t seem like the kind of girl who would get stuck in a hole! “I tried calling for help, but of course, nobody answered. Then I started wondering what a 8-foot deep hole would be doing in the middle of the courtyard. Then I remembered the well that they were going to put in over here. It was announced during breakfast.I finally got myself out by scooping out some dirt to form makeshift steps.” She finishes. “Ugh! How could I be so stupid?” “It’s okay.” I console her. “I thought the same thing today.” Helen looks at me questioningly. The intercom crackles. “Dinner time!” It’s our housemother, Margaret. We have intercoms, which is another thing I love about Empire Academy. “I’ll tell you about it after dinner.” For dinner we’re having spaghetti & meatballs, string beans, mashed potatoes, and a choice of lemonade, Margaret’s homemade strawberry-kiwi smoothie, or just plain water or milk. Margaret won’t let us have any soda or junk food. I’m glad about that, mostly because I grew up drinking and eating all organic foods and drinks. Having junk food around will just tempt me. During dinner I catch Scarlet’s eye and glare at her. After dinner I tell Helen about Scarlet, and how she tricked me into meeting her at the pool. “She was probably going to insult me in front of all her friends,” I finish miserably. “Well at least she didn’t get to,” Helen consoles me. The next morning at breakfast, after a restless night, Margaret announces that we’ll be going to the local nursing home after lunch. “We will get to choose someone to keep in touch with. You could say that we’re going to have pen pals.” Scarlet and her companions giggle. Margaret told us that the buses will be leaving at 1 o’clock sharp, so we better be ready by then. As I’m getting ready, Helen comes in, her usual bubbly self, but she’s extra bubbly today.