] [Table Of Contents
] [Chapter 1
(This chapter begins the next book in the series, Boarding School Boyfriends.) I can’t believe it has been six weeks since I first stepped foot onto the Hartfield campus. I feel as if I have been here forever. My roommate, Sarah, is as close to me as a sister. Her boyfriend, Larry, and my best friend, Walter, are closer to me than my real brother. Hartfield has become my home and they are my family. Next weekend, my real family will be visiting for Parents’ Weekend. Although I love them, they are not part of my Hartfield home and just the thought of having them here makes me nervous. Will they embarrass me in front of my friends or teachers? Will they disapprove of my friends? Will they think the work is too difficult and make me want to come home?
“So, I like have a question for you.”
Melinda looked up from her writing journal to see her best friend, Walter, turning red. They were the only ones in the science center lounge during their free fourth period that Saturday morning, since their other two best friends, Sarah and Larry, had decided to go for a walk in the crisp October air. Melinda raised her eyebrows and gestured for Walter to continue.
“There's like this girl in my math class. She used to like sit across the room, but the other day, after I sat down, she like came to sit with me. And like she did it again today.”
“And, what? You like don’t want her to sit with you?”
“She like spent most of class asking me questions. I can’t tell if she likes me or if she like just wants me to help her with her work.”
“You’re not like seriously thinking of asking her out.”
Walter looked at the ground. “Maybe.”
“Walter! You just broke up with Bella like three days ago.”
“So? As I recall, you started seeing Eliot like the day after you broke up with Mike.”
“I did not. I started talking to him again. Besides, I’ve known him since like the sixth grade. Do you even know this girl’s name?”
“Ava…something. I forgot her last name. I’m not sure I like ever knew it.”
“What else do you know about her?”
“She’s kind of cute.”
“You know I have to like approve her before she becomes your girlfriend.”
“A pact is a pact.”
“Why don’t we like go to the mall tomorrow? I’ll invite Eliot. You know Sarah and Larry will join us. Are there like any movies playing that don’t star a member of your family?”
Walter pretended to glare at Melinda, but she was asking a serious question. Two weeks ago, he had confided in her that his father was Adam Evans from the Grammy award-winning band, CAVEmen. As if that wasn’t enough his mother was none other than Kara McGregor, the famous Hollywood actress. His sister, Meghan McGregor, had graduated last year and was taking a break from acting, having nearly as many screen credits as her mother. Meanwhile, Walter’s older brother, Patrick McGregor, was currently filming a movie in Hawaii and would be returning to school at the end of the month. Walter’s biggest fear was that his classmates would treat him differently if they found out his secret.
“I think I’d rather just like go hang out at the mall.”
“Works for me. I’ll text Eliot after classes.”
Sunday afternoon, Melinda walked to the MacMillan Activities Center with her roommate, not surprised to see Larry and Walter already there. As the bus pulled up, Walter waved to someone up the path and a petite girl with her long blonde hair tied in an elegant French braid bounced next to them. She was wearing tight jeans and an even tighter pink sweater that flattered her slender frame. She smiled at Walter and waved at the group.
“Hi! I’m Ava.”
Walter pointed to each of his friends as he introduced them. “Ava, these are my friends. Larry lives like across the hall from me. Sarah is his girlfriend and Melinda is her roommate.”
Melinda followed her friends onto the bus where they sat in the back corner. Larry and Sarah sat together with Walter and Ava in front of them, while Melinda sat across the aisle.
“So, where's Eliot meeting us?” Walter asked as they bus pulled away from the curb.
“He said like the food court and to like eat without him if he’s late.”
Walter gave Melinda a thumbs up and began a quiet conversation with Ava. Sarah and Larry had been whispering since they boarded the bus. Melinda felt a little lonely as she looked out the window at the passing houses.
About twenty minutes later, the bus pulled up to the mall and Melinda followed her friends inside the building. Ava never stopped talking.
“I just love the mall. I like could live here. I spent like most of my long weekend at the mall. Of course, this one’s like not that big. The one near me is ike one of the biggest in the country. Well, like in the top ten. It has so many stores that you like can’t find elsewhere.”
“Where are you from?” Sarah asked.
“Not far from Westchester. New York.”
“Oh, there’s Eliot.” Melinda pointed to a boy sitting at a table at the entrance of the food court.
“Why is he like meeting us here?” Ava asked Melinda led the way to the table.
“He lives in town. Ava, this is Eliot. Eliot, this is Ava. You’ve met everyone else.”
Eliot eyed Walter cautiously as he waved to the group. Melinda had a feeling the arm he put around her shoulders was supposed to be a warning to Walter. The last time they were all together, Eliot grew very jealous of the fact that Walter was one of Melinda's best friends. Melinda tried to ease the tension.
“So, who’s hungry?”
Eliot squeezed Melinda's shoulder gently. “Hey. Anyone like want to try that Asian buffet restaurant I saw on the map?”
Ava inhaled loudly. “Speaking of Asian buffets, there is this AMAZING restaurant at like my local mall. You like put all the food you want into a bowl and they like cook it in a wok right there in front of you. It is soooo good.”
“Well, I’m pretty sure this one is like just a regular buffet.”
Walter shrugged. “I’m always up for a good buffet.”
Larry shook his head. “Of course you are, bro.” He managed to dodge Walter’s playful punch as he ran towards the escalator.
Melinda had been to several buffets in her hometown, but this one was by far the largest she had ever seen. It looked to her as if they had cooked every single option on a take out menu. There were two very long hot bars, an equally long cold bar, and a dessert bar with ice cream, fruit, and some items Melinda could not readily identify. It smelled delicious.
Melinda was the first to return to the table with her plate, Eliot sitting beside her a moment later.
“So, any chance we can like get together this week? How does tomorrow look?”
Melinda shrugged. “I have tap. I am like really enjoying this new class. It’s so much fun. Oh, but Tuesday might work.”
Eliot shook his head. “Math competition. You’ll never guess where.”
“No way. Our West Shore?”
Eliot nodded. “Yup. My parents are going to like meet me there. Take me out to like dinner or something then bring me back to my aunt’s house.”
“I wonder if like anyone we know is on the team. You’ll have to tell me.”
“Drew probably like made the team.”
“Of course. He’s in like, precalc, isn’t he?”
Eliot nodded. “And I’m willing to bet like Rosa did, too.”
Melinda scrunched her nose. “I don’t think so. She was like really struggling last year.”
Ava pouted. “I don't get it.”
Melinda smiled. “West Shore is like the high school in our hometown.”
“You mean like the private school you two used to attend?”
Melinda shook her head. “No. The public high school.”
“Really? You went to like public school? Like on TV?”
Melinda and Eliot exchanged confused looks as they nodded.
“What was that like? I’ve never been.”
Melinda had no idea how to explain the differences between her old school and Hartfield, but Bella continued without waiting for a response. “I’ve been in private schools since, like, preschool.”
Melinda tried to show an interest. “Is this your first boarding school?”
Bella nodded as she sipped her water. “Yeah. My parents had mentioned it like once or twice when I was younger, but I didn’t want to like leave home. But then they mentioned Hartfield and I like couldn’t resist. I mean, this is like one of the best schools in the country. Do you know how many celebrities like send their kids here? I mean, think of the opportunities. You could like meet someone famous and make amazing networking connections. And the classes! I mean, it’s hard, but I know it will like help me get into a great college.”
Walter started playing with the food on his plate, not actually eating it, a sure sign something was bothering him. He turned to Ava. “Do you know what kind of college you like want to go to? Like, what you want to study?”
“Not really. My parents are doctors and I think they like want me to go into medicine. But, I’m like really squeamish. I would love to like go to art school, but I know there’s like not really much you can do with an art degree.”
“Oh, are you an artist?” Eliot asked.
“No, not really. I mean, I can like doodle a little, but I can't like draw. I want to study like art history and there's like not much you can do with that. Maybe like work in a museum?”
Everyone agreed that they could not think of many careers that would necessitate a degree in art history, which led to a general discussion of careers they might like to pursue after college. Melinda was clueless what she wanted to do, but she did like ruling out some of the options posed, especially by the boys.
After lunch, they roamed the mall, Ava going into any store that might possibly sell shoes. While Sarah gleefully joined her, Melinda and the boys had little interest in shoe shopping and soon grew bored. In the third store, Walter turned to Eliot.
“Melinda thinks Molly is just like pretending to be infected with the vampire parasite.”
Eliot seemed to understand Walter was referring NeoGenesis, a television show the three of them enjoyed watching. He shook his head as he turned back to Melinda. “Sorry, but you're wrong.”
Melinda smiled, enjoying the fact that she often caught nuances that were missed by not only her friends, but also the two faculty advisors who ran the school NeoGenesis Science Fiction Club.
“Molly’s just pretending. Like she didn’t actually eat the bloody steak and then she like said she would help her mother, but she didn’t like actually do it. And that last scene Friday? When Doc was like running all those blood tests and he’s surprised? We’re supposed to think he just found out Molly has the parasite, but I think he’s going to find that Molly’s like immune. Then he’ll use her blood to like make an antidote.”
Walter shrugged. “You’re wrong.”
Eliot nodded. “Yeah. I’m gonna have to like agree with Walter on this one.”
Melinda just rolled her eyes. “You’ll see.”
That night, Melinda walked into her usual library study room, not surprised to see Walter sitting in his usual place at the study table with his pile of books to his left. On his right, however, where he usually put his books, sat Ava, who was flipping through a math book, presumably to find that night’s homework assignment. Melinda took her place across from Walter and began removing her books from her bag.
“Hi!” Ava responded in a chipper tone. “Walter said I could like join you guys. I hope that’s okay.”
Melinda nodded Ava was not Walter’s first girlfriend to join her study group, but it still felt strange to have someone new invading their space. The awkwardness continued when Melinda realized Walter was doing tonight’s math assignment with Ava, even though he had completed it with Melinda Friday night. Melinda decided to say nothing, working on tomorrow night’s assignment, without Walter checking for mistakes as he usually did.
They all finished around the same time and Melinda took out her Latin book. Ava made a face of disgust.
“Ugh. Isn’t Latin boring? I mean, like no one speaks it.”
“Mr. Henderson does,” Melinda replied. “And the other Latin teacher, too. I like caught them speaking Latin to each other in the hallway one day.”
“Oh, I know who you mean!” Walter exclaimed.
“I think French is just like so much more practical,” Ava’s prissy tone was borderline whining. “I mean, like most of the world speaks it.”
Melinda did not think this statement was entirely true. She recalled her geography teacher last year had listed the top ten most widely spoken languages on the board. Melinda remembered seeing Chinese and Spanish near the top of the list and could not recall French being there at all.
Melinda did not want to pick a fight with Ava, however, so she simply opened her book to the assigned translation and began working on it in silence. Ava took a book out of her bag and brought it to read in one of the comfy chairs while Walter took out his Latin notebook and began the assignment with Melinda.
Walter had already finished his translation and was working on the review questions by the time Melinda finished writing out the English version of the passage. Walter stole her paper and read what she had written, using a pencil to circle some of her words.
“We haven’t learned passive yet, so you like can’t say the book was held by Cornelia. You have to say Cornelia was holding the book.”
“But, book comes first.” Melinda pointed to the sentence in her text.
“Yes, but book is like in the accusative case and Cornelia is nominative.”
Melinda shook her head as she crossed off her sentence and re-wrote Walter’s. She knew he was right and understood it after he explained it to her, but she was uncertain how she was expected to remember that on her own for her next quiz.
Melinda sulked through her Latin assignment, frustrated with herself for continuing to make these careless mistakes in her translations. Eventually, however, she had completed the questions and was ready to move on to her English homework. She read her syllabus and glanced at Walter.
“I forgot we were like done with the myths! I don’t have Odyssey.”
Walter glanced at his phone to check the time. “Well, you could probably like go find it downstairs in the stacks. But, you won’t be able to like mark it while you read.”
Melinda likewise checked the time on her phone, then glanced over at Ava. “Nah, I think I’ll just like go read it in my room. We can talk about it tomorrow.”
“Okay,” Walter looked a little sad as Melinda began to pack up her books. “I’ll text you later.”
Melinda glanced at Ava, who was clearly watching her while pretending to read her French book. “I’ll probably be too engrossed in Odyssey. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Melinda felt bad as she walked out of the room and slowly headed back to her dorm. She still had about twenty minutes before the break between the two study hours, but she had felt so uncomfortable in that room. Ava’s presence had changed the dynamic between her and Walter, and she was not sure how she felt. She changed into pajamas and brought her book to read in the lounge, knowing she would fall asleep reading in her bed.
As she got comfortable on the couch, she watched people milling about around her. Larry had waved as he entered the dorm and headed towards the staircase, presumably to visit with Sarah. When the library closed, Ava and Walter sat huddled in a corner of the common room talking in quiet whispers. Melinda was happy for him, but there was a pang of jealousy as well. It was not a romantic envy but rather a resentment that someone was stealing her friend and study partner. She was able to acknowledge that to herself as she began to tune everyone out and read about a woman named Penelope. She was being courted by many suitors. Walter and Eliot were dining at the table and starring at Penelope, who bore a striking resemblance to Ava, when she was gently shaken awake by her prefect, Adrienne. Somehow, she had fallen asleep while reading the first book of Odyssey and it had become part of a really strange dream.
Wednesday night, Melinda rushed into the library just as study hours were beginning. She was not surprised to see Ava again sitting beside Walter, as she had been studying with him every night this week. As she emptied the contents of her bag onto the table, Walter looked up.
“Hey. You missed supper.”
“I grabbed dinner in town with Eliot.”
“Where did you go?” There was something about Ava’s tone that Melinda did not like, but she couldn’t quite figure out what bothered her. She shrugged it off.
“There’s this Chinese takeout like down the hill. They have a couple of tables, so we like got our food and stayed there until like his aunt picked him up.” She turned to Walter. “How was your game?”
“We won. Larry got a touchdown. I tackled someone.”
“Fun.” Melinda turned to Ava. “Did you get to watch?”
Ava wrinkled her nose in disgust. “Football is a barbaric sport. I did my nails. There’s like no salon in town. I cannot wait to go home. Get them done like properly.”
Melinda glanced at the pea green polish and shrugged a shoulder. “They look nice to me.”
Walter changed the subject. “Football has been like really time consuming lately, so I’m trying to get like a little ahead on my homework.” He sent a Melinda a pointed look.
Although Melinda’s ex-boyfriend had turned out to be a creep, he was the one who had given Melinda the idea to do her homework at least one night ahead. Since she studied with Walter nearly every evening, he had been doing the same. That had stopped when he started seeing Ava. When Melinda didn’t challenge his excuse, Walter continued.
“I finished like all my homework due tomorrow, so I’m going to like start working on tomorrow night’s assignments. But, I can like still help you with your math, Ava.”
Ava’s response had a sour note that Melinda wasn't sure Walter even noticed. “I think I’ll like work on French.” Ava took the book from her bag and brought it to read on the comfy chair. Meanwhile, Melinda wordlessly began working on the first geometry problem.
Melinda had completed about three problems when Ava slammed her book shut and huffed back to the study table, giving an exasperated sigh as she returned to her seat.
“Ugh. French is like so BOR-ing. I think I just read like four different ways for Pierre to buy food. Pierre is shopping. Pierre is buying food. Pierre wants to go to the grocery store. My mind is like numb. I need a study break.”
Melinda smiled to herself as she glanced surreptitiously at her watch, calculating it had taken Ava approximately fifteen minutes to grow weary of her French assignment. Ignoring the interruption, Melinda continued working on her math, leaving Walter to handle his girlfriend’s boredom. Ava turned to Walter with a knowing smile.
“So, I’ve told my parents like all about you and we were thinking maybe you and your parents could like join us for dinner Friday night.”
Melinda glanced at her friend, who was turning bright red. He seemed completely dumbstruck and unable to speak, especially since he opened and closed his mouth a few times with no words coming out. Melinda tried not to giggle at her friend’s predicament and instead, with a sigh, decided to rescue him.
“Your parents are coming in Friday? That’ll be nice. My parents have been like really busy with work and like all my little brother’s activities. They can’t make it Friday night. They’re only coming for like the day on Saturday.”
Walter seemed to recover enough to agree with Melinda. “Yeah, you know what? I haven’t like talked to my parents, but, my brother and sisterlike both need them more than me right now. And, they’re both like really busy with work, too. I’m not sure if they’re coming. I might be free for like dinner with you and your parents. I have to like check the football schedule.”
Walter looked as if he was eating a lemon as he agreed to dinner, but he managed to turn his wince into a half-smile.
“Why don’t you like want to introduce me to your parents?” Ava sent Walter a pout so perfect, Melinda was sure it had been practiced.
“It’s not that. I just like really don’t think they’re going to be able to make it.”
“They like didn’t even come for Long Weekend,” Melinda reminded him. “I remember. You like took the bus down and…someone else brought you back.” Melinda thought it best not to mention Walter had gotten a ride back to campus from his famous siblings.
“See, that’s like pretty normal for my parents,” Walter continued. “They like both have really demanding careers and they find it difficult to come to things like Parents’ Weekend. When my sister was a student, I came to like every Parents’ Weekend. My mom like came once, my dad came…nope. I usually came with my grandparents. Pop-Pop is an alum and like loves coming here. I think the only time like my parents were both here at the same time may have been like my sister’s graduation. No, wait. There was one other time. There was like a bouncy house… Reunion Weekend, maybe? Probably.”
Melinda stared at Walter, wondering if he realized he had just revealed so much personal information about his guarded family life. He had just opened himself up to questions about his parents or his siblings, but instead, Ava had an opinion on the situation.
“That’s like so sad. That your parents care more about lik=their work than visiting you.”
“Oh, no. It’s nothing like that. They just have to like travel a lot and can’t always be in Connecticut. But, we talk on the phone like literally every night. Actually talking, too, since my parents don’t like to text. And, I text my brother and sister like almost every day. Video chat with them like at least once a week. We just don’t like see each other a lot.”
“Well, my parents are like taking time off from work to come visit me.” Ava’s tone was so subtly snotty that Melinda did not think Walter seemed to notice. “And, we’d like if you could join us for dinner Friday night. Think about it. Poor Ma-Wah.”
Melinda watched Ava return to the study chair with her French book as she mentally tried to translate the butchered French, eventually shaking her head and returning to her math homework. After a few silent moments, Walter asked, “Are you having any trouble with question two? I think I like added something wrong.”
“Probably, since it’s a proof and there’s like nothing to add.”
Walter glared at her as he stole her page and checked his answer against hers, crossing something off on his own page. “I meant, I liked added something into the proof wrong. And I did. But, so did you. It’s the converse of the corresponding angles postulate. You wrote C.A.P. You did it right, you just like wrote it wrong.”
Ava was suddenly sitting beside Walter again as he returned Melinda’s paper. When they finished their math and began their physics, Ava decided to do the assignment with them. Unfortunately, she was in regular physics, not honors, and was using a completely different textbook, so the three of them worked quietly, with Melinda occasionally asking Walter for help with a problem.
By the time Melinda and Walter finished their Latin homework, study hours was nearly over. Ava, who had been busy writing in her English reflections journal, glanced up when she noticed Melinda and Walter packing their books for the evening.
“Oh, is it finally break time?” She checked the time.
“Nearly,” Melinda responded. “It’s too late to like start another subject before the library closes.”
“Oh, good. I like need a break.” Since Melinda had only seen Ava flip through her French book and doodle in her reflections journal, Melinda could not exactly determine why Ava needed a break. She held her tongue as the phrase Don’t be snide; keep it inside drifted across her memory.
“Why are you smiling?” Ava glared at Melinda.
“Was I? I’m sorry. I was just remembering something my homeroom teacher used to say in like sixth grade.”
“Oh. What was it?”
“It like doesn’t make sense out of context. It was just something that like popped into my head.”
Melinda followed Ava and Walter out of the library and across the street towards the dorm, listening to Ava chatter about her plans for her long weekend at home.
That night, Melinda was surprised to see Sarah sitting at her desk when she returned to her room. Melinda had stayed in the library until it closed, well into break time. She gave her roommate a puzzled look.
“Why aren’t you like in Stanton?”
“Oh, yay. You’re back. Break time.” Sarah jumped up and began pulling pajamas from her wardrobe.
“It’s like been break time. I’m late.”
“Why weren’t you at dinner?”
“I ate in town with Eliot after CCD. Why are you not in Stanton?”
“Larry told me not to like come over tonight.” The girls settled themselves on their beds, their backs against the wall facing each other. “He wants to like chat with Walter about Ava.”
“What about Ava?”
Sarah groaned. “She joined us for dinner. It was like pretty much torture. Larry and I made sure we did NOT do that thing you and Walter keep teasing us about. We made sure to like include Walter and Ava in our conversation. Except, Ava monopolized it by telling us about her day in like so much detail, it felt like it took longer for her to tell it than for her to like actually live it. Like I care what color socks her French teacher was wearing.”
Melinda giggled. “What color?”
“Green. I’m not sure why that particular piece of information stuck in my head, but it did. Anyway, Larry said something like how difficult his math class had been that afternoon and Ava jumped right in to like say how grateful she was that Walter had helped her with her math homework last night. And, she just like wouldn’t stop talking.”
“I like don’t see that side of her. Then again, I like only see her during study hours and we try to like not talk too much in the library.”
“I am trying really hard to like her, since Walter likes her, but I just don’t. I can’t put my finger on it. I thought maybe she was like a little too self-centered. Not that she like always has to talk about herself, but that she like wants everything to be about her. Like she needs a lot of attention.”
Melinda nodded slowly. “Yeah, I could see that. I had like a revelation today.”
“During the form meeting, I like was completely not paying attention. I was thinking about like Walter and Ava and I realized I was jealous.”
Melinda threw a pillow at her roommate. “Not like that. I told you. I like Walter as a friend. But, Ava is like intruding on my friend time with him and that was making me jealous. But, then I thought about Larry.”
“Can’t have him. He's mine.” Sarah threw the pillow back at Melinda.
Melinda scrunched her face and stuck out her tongue. “Ha ha. No, I mean, he like intrudes on my friend time with you and I don’t mind because like he’s my friend, too. So then I thought that maybe if like Ava and I were friends, I wouldn’t be so jealous.”
Sarah shrugged. “I guess that makes sense. So, are you going to like try to be her friend?”
Melinda shook her head. “That was the second part of my revelation. I can be polite and maybe try to like engage her in a conversation, but I don’t think we could ever like be friends. We have nothing in common and I just kinda don’t like her. I can’t see myself hanging out with her without like Walter around.”
“I get the feeling she like feels the same way about you. She looks down on like a lot of people. Not so much me, because she like found out I’ve been to boarding schools for a long time. But, I can tell she like doesn’t think much of Walter being homeschooled and she really like doesn’t think highly of you going to public school.”
“She’s like really snobby, isn’t she? I don't like thinking that way, but…”
Sarah nodded. “Yeah, I feel like the same way. It’s more or less what I told Larry after dinner tonight.”
Melinda and Sarah let the conversation die out as they heard their prefect walking up and down the hall announcing that study hours were resuming. With a sigh, Melinda and Sarah moved to their desks to continue their homework until lights out.
[Table Of Contents
] [Chapter 18
Follow follow Patrick McGregor's story in Confessions of a Teenage Celebrity
. A Note From the Author
Have you ever met someone you tried really hard to like, but just found you couldn't, no matter what you did? Share your experiences here.
This US States learning video for kids explores facts about Connecticut! Also known as the Constitution State and the Nutmeg State, this state has a rich his... May 8th, 2014 at the Toyota Oakdale theater in Wallingford, Ct. A wet day of bouldering in Bor, Czech Republic - Duration: 2:01. Paul Robinson 9,057 views. ... First Ascents in Connecticut - Duration: 3:39. Bryce Viola 1,899 views. 3:39. E10 Lead Day ... Clip from a lecture delivered at the West Hartford Public Library, Connecticut, November 14, 2018, by FIONA VERNAL, University of Connecticut, Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies ... In this video we explore downtown Ansonia, Connecticut. Ansonia is a city in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States, on the Naugatuck River, immediatel... In this video you can find seven little known facts about Connecticut. Keep watching and subscribe, as more states will follow! You can now support this chan... This video is meant to give you a better understanding of the features and functions of the CVA Wolf muzzleloader. Pick one up today! - https://bit.ly/3eaIGC... Some fun facts about those who were born in Connecticut AKA The Constitution State (official), The Nutmeg State, The Provisions State, The Land of Steady Habits that most people are not aware ... Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. 76 videos Play all Popular Videos - Connecticut Public Television & HiT Entertainment Connecticut Public Television - Topic MPTV/American Public Television (2007) - Duration: 0:13 ...