Here it was. In my sister and my hands was a small, thin white
paper that would decide the rest of our future. In our hands were
the results of Tina's application to Walker Academy. Known
worldwide to be the most prosperous and strict school ever built.
It's so successful that it has been nicked named "the Seminary of
Millionaires". The school says that because of the amount of
students who graduate there to become successful but I think it's
because you needed to be a millionaire to pay for the tuition.
And my family was far from being able to do that that. This dream
would only be that, if it wasn't for the scholarship they had
created a few months ago. With Tina and I's parent's deaths 2
years ago, we were put into a tight situation with money. We
lived with our Aunt Marley, who was running down the stairs now.
You could hear the clack clack of her heels that she
still had on from wherever she went last night.
"What does it say? What does it say?!" She exclaimed while attempting to run up to us. Tina's hands were shaking. I looked to my right as Aunt Marley came up to us. Her hair was a mess, and there were bags under her eyes. When we moved in with her, she had made it clear that life with her would be a compromise. She was aloof and distant at first but she warmed up to us and our routine eventually. Namely, she warmed up to Tina. I was just as distant to her as she was to me. Aunt Marley's made sure we had everything we needed like lunch money, and a ride to school. But she worked around her own schedule. She worked on the weekdays in the afternoons and when she came home, she took a nap and went out late until the early morning. She wouldn't tell us where but we werent stupid. She'd leave in a tight, short dress and come back later at any time between 4:00 and 6:00. She was never drunk or abusive or anything like that, she just left us all alone to fend for ourselves at night.
I was glad to see her awake and supportive of Tina now. When we had told Aunt Marley's about this opportunity she was excited and told me that she would cover the application expenses. She said this but she never did. I expected that though. I payed for the application expenses and for the gas I used for the interviews as I drove Tina miles around the state, and helped with her community work that she needed and things like that.
Tina excitedly ripped apart the envelopes old wax seal, and
pulled out the paper inside. After two seconds of glancing at it
she began to scream. Looking at her jubilant face, I grabbed her
hands and began to jump with her. Aunt Marley took the
application and read it barely able to contain her own excitement
"I'm so proud of you," she told Tina embracing her tightly.
"Yeah, great job Tiny," I teased. She hated that name. At 14
years old, Tina was very short and tan. She had hazel eyes and
brown semi-curly hair that fell gracefully around her heart
shaped face. She was sensitive about her height, so I teased her
constantly. "Whatever, Willow." I hugged her too. "When do we
leave?" I asked Aunt Marley my heart sill pounding. "Tomorrow,"
she told us reading more of the paper and noticing something,
"this is interesting."
Aunt Marley furrowed her eyebrows and stared at the paper. "In order to get there we have to go to Smithville, find a contact of the Academy who works with the school, show him the application as proof and then be directed there. They sure are secretive." The news was weird but it didn't bother me. It made the trip seem more like an adventure. Besides, everyone who knows about Walker Academy already knew that they like to be extremely isolated from everyone else. The founder thought it was an important part to a successful education. Only the people involved with W.A. know their locations. All together there are 50 Walker Academies in America- one per each state. So you could imagine that the competition is incredibly high. Some people even emigrate from other countries where the competition is worse just so they can get in.
I looked over to Itna who had grabbed the paper from Aunt
Marley's hands and was re-reading it again. Her grin had
influenced my own as I took a side of the laminated paper and
read the rest of it. I was so proud of her. Tina has been working
so hard to get this. She has 437 volunteer hours- just this year.
Her grade point average is a 5.0 and she has created 2 of her own
charities. She had received a full scholarship and free lunch for
2 years for having outstanding grades.
As for me, well, I never cared much about grades. I knew that they were important but my sister was more important to me and taking care of her was my first priority. So when I first heard about W.A.'s scholarships I was on the one to set it up. It wasn't easy but it was worth it. She can look out for me when she's at her expensive beach house. Tina and I ran upstairs and started to pack for the trip. Even I was excited for her. We fantasized about what we thought it would be like and later went out for frozen yogurt to celebrate a few weeks before we wouldn't be able to do it anymore.
Aunt Marley hurled Tina's gigantic suitcase into her Ford Torus. The old car almost broke down right there in the driveway. Luckily for us though, it survived our trip to northern Florida. After a 6 hour trip we arrived in Smithville. It was a nice place and was sunny enough to go and vacation on the beach. I sighed while looking out the window from the back seat. We were near the place where we would meet the contact and go to the school where Tina would finally leave me. Although I was happy for her, I resented the fact that I would very lonely when she left We stopped in front of an old preserved building. In front was a man with a newspaper and an umbrella in red, silver, and gold- Walker Academy's colors. When a Mercedes had stopped quickly in front of the building to admire it, the man had stared at the car as if he was looking for someone. The Mercedes soon left by the time we pulled up. The man didn't take his eyes off the paper.
"Excuse me," called Aunt Marley out the window. He was the contact described in the acceptance letter. He looked behind him and then back to his newspaper. Aunt Marley had to call him a second time to get his attention. The guy stood up, realization in his eyes as he walked over. "I'm looking for Walker Academy." She flashed Tina's acceptance letter. The contact folded his paper and leaned down so we could hear him better from the car. As he gave instructions I studied him. He liked about 18 years old and was wearing all Gucci. Definitely a W.A. graduate.
Aunt Marley drove away and into a lone road and from there onto something that resembled a road. It was rocky, unkempt and vegetation crowded around the road so close that in was a just inch away from the vehicle. Skeptically I asked "Are you sure that this is the way?" to Aunt Marley. She nodded showing the same feeling as that I was, "the man said very clearly that it was this way." I shrugged and sat back. After an hour and a half of driving through the think shrubs, we reached an open sort of plain. In front of us were huge intricate, gates made of a black iron. The gates soon opened up and revealed a mansion of a school. The very front was a light-brownish, yellow color with bright white accents. It was about two stories high and had great, elegant white columns in the front. Aunt Marley drove slowly, taking it all in. It was clear that the building was constructed a long time ago but it was preserved beautifully. Moss covered one side of the edifice, adding to the ancient look and ambiance. Standing in front of the marble, twisting steps was a heavy-set woman with her hands at her side, and smile plastered on her face. As we got Tina's stuff out the car, the woman approached us taking short and confident steps on the beige stones leading to the steps. She approached Tina first. "You must be Valentina Rocke. It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Mrs. Rindoles but you may call me Mrs. Rin." Tina shook her hand with a straight face silently. Tina is usually very outgoing but she didn't even say anything. It must be her nerves. Tina's and Mrs.Rin's eyes went on me and Tina smiled a took her hand away. Well, that was peculiar. I looked to Aunt Marley to see what she thought of that but didn't even notice. That was just me overreacting. Beside from that, Mrs. Rin seemed overjoyed to see Tina. Mrs. Rin was wearing a tight, black, all-business Dolce & Cabana suit and had her hair in a tight bun on the top of her head. She moved to Aunt Marley. "Marline Stoker, I believe?"
Aunt Marley shook her hand, annoyed with the look Mrs. Rin had given her when Mrs. Rin had seen her car. But she smiled politely and played her part. When Mrs. Rin turned to me she hesitated. Aunt Marley and Tina both had dresses on. I was wearing an old pair of jeans with not-so-attractive holes in them and a plain white t- shirt with a pale stain near the shoulder. I knew my hair was a bird's nest too. It was very long and tangled and I was too lazy to do anything to it for the last few days. And it showed on Mrs. Rin's face. She held out her hand anyway with a badly- hidden grimace.
"Margaret now is it?" She called me by my first name, which I hated. I didn't want to correct her though and make the situation even more awkward. She looked at Tina with a proud smile as she began walking towards the entrance. I felt a pang of jealousy. This lady had already starting comparing Tina and I and she was obviously disturbed by me. She judged us before she even knew us, even though it was somewhat correct. Tina has always been the perfect child. She got excellent grades, she was very pretty, and she followed the rules. I got okay grades on my good days and I didn't care much for looks. I wasn't exactly skinny or fat either. I disobeyed the rules- a lot. I never really cared much for looks when I had to take care of Tina. I had normal brown eyes, and normal brown hair. Everything about me was pretty much average. Tina and I looked nothing alike and I mean nothing alike. By the way we get along you can tell that we are sisters, but if you compare us by looks, you'd never be able to guess. I watched asTina hurried behind Mrs. Rin following just a pace behind.
Once we walked up the twisting marble staircase, we reached a pair of huge cherry-wood double doors. Mrs. Rin pulled open the door to reveal a huge ballroom. A beautiful chandelier hung from the wall and the shiny floors showed our reflections in what looked like blu-ray. Every sound echoed in the room, since it was so empty. "Where is everyone?" I asked. "This is only the main building and office. Not many students visit here." Answered Mrs. Rin. My mouth opened. "This is only the main building?" I repeated. With contempt in her voice Mrs. Rin said "Yes, only the main room. After this we have the courtyard, the cafeteria with classes, and the two dorms." She continued to the other identical double doors at the other end of the room. When she opened we saw a gorgeous picturesque room. The floor in the courtyard was grass with a twisting stone pattern. Benches made of the same stone laid around a huge fountain with angel statues in it. Huge artificial waterfalls were located at the sides of the room and the sunlight touched everything up perfectly through the glass roof.
"Wow," sounded Aunt Marley. She took out her phone to take a picture. Mrs. Rin glared at her and put her hand over the phone's camera. "In case you forgot, Mrs. Stoker, there are to be no pictures taken. Walker Academy believes that with the isolation of students comes a better quality of education. That means that you are forbidden to talk others concerning W.A. or reveal to others in any other way that Valentina is attending here. If you were to do so, then many people would try to come for questions and, what have you which would disrupt the students precious learning, the administrators teaching and waste my time. Doing so, would result in the indefinite expulsion of Valentina and the loss of all her credits here.-" she eyes shifted and locked to mine" the same goes to you, young lady. Now, no pictures please." Valentina looked at Aunt Marley pleadingly as Aunt Marley put away her phone.
Mrs. Rin continued as she explained about the school's history. I zoned out while Tina absorbed every word. Mrs. Rin then led us to the cafeteria. In the cafeteria were many wooden table and soft plushy chairs. In the middle was one big table which had a buffet of food on it. As Mrs. Rin explained the lunch schedule 4 students walked in from the side. They all looked important from the way they walked. The one in front, a peppy blond girl left from her group and approached Tina and I. "You must be the new girl!" She exclaimed to Tina. "I'm Toni, one of your class officers. If you ever need something you can come to me." Toni waved to Mrs. Rin and walked away. "What a magnificent student," recited Mrs. Rin to herself with pride. She looked at Tina, "if you work hard too, you can become a class officer." Tina gave a determined nod while I rolled my eyes.
Mrs. Rin continued through the huge corridors and to the girl's dorm. She led us to room 1B. "Here's your room." Mrs. Rin opened the door with the master key and gestured for us to go inside. Tina had a roommate but her side of the room alone was huge. Tina had a King bed with her own medium-small bathroom. Not to mention a huge window pointing towards the forest. "How do you like it? If you have a problem we can always-" Tina jumped on the bed then got off and gazed out the window. "I love it!" She exclaimed. Mrs. Rin nodded and said, "Well then, I'll leave you to say your goodbyes. Valentina, right after this you go straight to lunch. If you have any questions come visit my office in the main building." Mrs. Rin left and after a little while we both said goodbye, not really wanting to leave. So we gave Tina a group hug. "I'm so proud of you," aunt Marley and I simultaneously said. Tina giggled and thanked us. "You must be so excited," claimed Aunt Marley. Tina nodded and said, "I really am." We talked a little more until the lunch bell rang and we had to leave. On the way back home in the car, Aunt Marley and I talked about Tina and how far she's come for about an hour and a half. It was the longest conversation we've had without Tina. Maybe things would be better from now on.