Authors: Emily Evans
Tags: #Romance, #teen, #emily evans, #love, #ya, #top, #revenge, #the accidental movie star, #boarding school, #do over, #best
The Boarding School Experiment
The Boarding School Experiment
Copyright 2012 by Emily Evans
Published 2012 by Emily Evans
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
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[1. Fiction. 2. Romance. 3. Young Adult.]
Thanks! You’re awesome: Michelle, Teresa, Veronica, Jennifer, Stacy, Joellen, Barbie, Brennan, Joseph, Megan, Mishann, Rachel, Wayne, Darlene, Jeff, Heather, Trevor, Mom & Dad.
Table Of Contents
Other Books by Emily Evans
I loved to climb. I loved revenge. Combining the two had landed me where I was now. The plan had started simply. Piper and I had ditched last period. We’d snuck down the senior hallway until we’d reached Thane Trallwyn’s locker. Once there, Piper had given me a boost up. I’d shoved a tile aside and pulled through.
Now, I was lying here, balanced on the tiles above my worst enemy’s locker.
I stretched through the hole, reaching for the weapon. Piper stared up at me with worried hazel eyes. I couldn’t say how many times I’d seen her concerned look since elementary school —maybe 432. She appeared especially pale today, her freckles even more pronounced. I mustered a grin I didn’t feel and tried to act as if this were simply another fun, exciting adventure. One I’d strategized instead of this half-assed plan. “It’s going to be awesome.”
Piper scanned the empty hallway, right then left. “Hurry.” She rose on her tiptoes, holding out the perfume bottle.
I grabbed the glass and shifted back, trying to lean on the connecting joints instead of the flaky inside squares. The new position gave me better balance, but put most of my weight on my waist. Blackness edged my vision, and my head spun. I needed to do this fast. I inhaled like a diver ready to kick to the bottom of the pool and mentally justified my scheme. If I hadn’t climbed into the ceiling, I wouldn’t have been able to reach the vent leading into Thane’s locker, and I had to punish him; he’d ruined my shirt this morning by dumping cranberry juice on it.
Piper bounced in a nervous motion. “Hurry.”
I wiggled low enough to cup my palm underneath the narrow metal opening and poured. Refreshing oriental notes based with jasmine plumed out, erasing the smell of dust. I hoped the perfume soaked everything inside and expanded to epic proportions.
Piper stared down the hallway, tapping her shoes against the polished concrete floor. “I’m worried about the standardized tests.”
We’d taken new tests all week. This morning, we’d stared at an inkblot and jotted down what we saw. In fact, that amorphous blob had given me the idea for this small revenge. The black ink splotch resembled a vial of poison, but I thought writing that might get me detention.
“Yeah, those were weird.” I shook the vial, determined not to leave a drop behind. “I asked Ms. Herrington about them, but she didn’t know anything. I answered
for the inkblot.”
.” Piper giggled. “I was sitting between Rhys, who wrote
and Thane, who answered
I raised my head to find out if Piper was kidding.
“Really,” she said with a laugh.
I didn’t think any of those were correct, but Piper usually picked the right answers. For these tests, you wanted a high score. Excelling would be like winning the lottery. Well, at least that’s how they’d billed it. The U.S. routinely sucked at math and science. So Congress got creative. The top scorers from all over the nation would go to a special boarding school and help establish a national curriculum.
“We’ll be fine.” While good at a number of subjects, we weren’t
material. “We’re not going to get stuck in a government boarding school 24/7.” The fragrance had already begun expanding into the hallway, making my nose twitch.
.” Piper sneezed, and said, with words somewhat blocked by a tissue, “I don’t want to be sent away.”
Piper’s smart, extremely smart. She
be worried. But not me, I worked for my good grades. I had to. I counted on them to get a scholarship. With Dad out of work, I needed one to pay for college next fall.
Piper’s voice thinned. “Jacob said I wouldn’t have to go, even if I got in, but…”
She didn’t have to finish the sentence. Her parents wanted her to attend an Ivy League school, the further from Jacob the better. Instead, Piper planned to pick a local university, marry Jacob, and raise a family of at least three kids, two beagles, and a tabby cat.
Secretly, I agreed with her parents. Piper should dump Jacob and go Ivy. Piper thinks big families are all fun, noise, and everything her only-child existence isn’t. There are four kids in my family, so I don’t have the same rosy vision of shared living space. We shop secondhand stores and buy generic. I can’t blame her for not wanting to go to boarding school, though. Who’d want to leave their friends and family, even with all those incentives? And not just intellectual incentives—they were offering financial ones too. God knows my family could use the money.
Piper eyed Thane’s locker. “Anyone other than Thane, and I’d think you liked him.”
I laughed. “Nope.” Of that, I was confident. I didn’t like Thane Trallwyn. Although I would admit to a small fascination with his mouth. The curved shape was rather beautiful. But as soon as he opened his lips and snide words came out, my interest died. I did not like Thane Trallwyn. I wiped the spilled liquid over the cold metal of his locker to make the biggest impact possible.
“Kidding. I know you don’t. You couldn’t.” Piper said the words as if she was stating the obvious. Her mouth twisted and she frowned, seeming more worried than this small revenge and a morning of standardized testing warranted.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
Piper looked down. “I’m pregnant.”
The blood rushed to my head and the bottle slipped, shattering on the hall floor.
Piper leapt back. Her arms hugged her body. “I think. Maybe.”
Face on fire, half from hanging upside down, half from the news, I felt dizzy and betrayed somehow. I hadn’t even known she and Jacob were having sex, doing it way before me. I looked at her downcast head and spit out the first stupid thing that came to me. “Geez, and you let me step on your shoulder.”
“You couldn’t reach.” Piper’s voice took on a strained tone. “I don’t know what to do. I just found out, and I need to be here with Jacob. And now I might get sent to boarding school.”
“Well, you can’t go then,” I said, my voice flat. Hiding my face so she wouldn’t read my expression, I wiggled back, thinking it would be easier to drop down feet first. I swung around and kicked for the edge. The dust bunnies attacked; I sniffed back a sneeze. My clothes were going to be covered in dirty puffs—
my ruined clothes
. The tile under my right knee sagged, threatening to bust. I eased off, and tried to roll to my side, but the roof bumped the back of my head, forcing me lower.
In this position, the hallway light barely reached me. My heart rate picked up and my hands got clammy.
Stop. Don’t think about the darkness
. I swiveled back around. Better, I thought as my breathing eased. I’d rather drop head-first anyway. Piper could give me a hand. No. Piper was pregnant.
Geez, Piper’s pregnant
Piper gasped, and I peeped out. She had one arm over her chest and her palm covered her mouth. “Someone’s coming.”
The flash of a navy letter jacket rounded the corner.
Catching her wide hazel gaze, I said, “Run.”
I bit the side of my thumb and watched Piper tear down the hall, flying past posters advertising fall football. She rounded the corner and was clear. Heavy steps turned my attention the other direction. The intruder came into view.
. He was headed this way with a gym bag over his shoulder.
I breathed slow and steady, ignoring the bouncing dust, while I thought about what to do. If I nudged the loose tile back in place and lay here quietly until Thane left, he’d never find me. That would leave me stuck up here for two minutes, tops. I could handle that. Decision made, I inched the square tile toward the hole.
Light from the hallway dimmed, darkening the crawl space. My breathing quickened, my head swam, and I shoved the tile clear again.
No. I’m not staying here in the dark.
I’d been trapped in the dark before, thanks to Trallwyn Construction. They’d been in charge of the cave lighting where Dad and I had climbed two years ago. If the lights hadn’t gone out, Dad’s accident would never have happened. I shook the memory off. Grabbing the edge, I nosedived halfway through the hole, going from dust bunny heaven to high school hell. I sucked in a wonderful breath of well-lit air.
“What the—” The amusement in Thane’s voice faded as he got close enough to get a whiff of his locker and identify me.
By this time, I didn’t know how to pull back up, even if I was willing to return to the blackness.