"Dad, is that you?" I called from the hallway leading to my room after I heard the locks on the door click. I wouldn't be surprised if my father wouldn't hear me.

"Yes, it's me." My said from the living room. Okay, so maybe he could hear me.

I walked out of my room, down the hallway, and into the living room. I stood infront of my father, smiling. I then saluted him, standing with my perfect posture.

"At ease, Raynee." He said to me, outting his hand on my shoulder.

I couldn't help but to laugh, and I stepped foward and hugged my father.

"Have you eaten yet, Ray?" Dad asked walking over to their kitchen.

"Yes, sir. I even made Dinner for you." I replied, my posture still straight as a board. I knew it wasn't anything new that I had cooked for my father, ever since Mom left it was like a chore. But I was happy to do so.

My father took out some papers in files from his breifcase and sat down on the table.

"Ray, come here for a moment. I have something important to tell you." He said looking at the papers.

"Yes?" I asked as I sat down next to him.

"Okay, this may shock you, but I have to go out of town for... quite a while." Dad said as he read the first paper.

"Okay, to where?" I could already feel my stomach churning. If he goes out-of-town I ahve to stay alone in our house for awhile. Not. Good.

"I have to go to Michigan for a meeting. It's going to be like...a buisiness trip. I'm not letting you stay here...you'll be staying with the Thorn family as long as I'm gone."

I felt the knots loosen, but they returned when I heard 'The Thorns'.

"The Thorns...?" I trailed off. "Don't their children go to the Academy across the street from mine?"

"Yes. They said you could stay with them until I return." My father stood up and walked over to the kitchen counter. I remained seated, thinking about the Thorn family.

Ah, yes...the Thorns. I had seen their sons when I visited a few moths ago. They seemed like the type of family who would look down on lesser folk. I knew they were pretigious and lived in a much bigger house than mine. I let out a sigh and looked at my father.

"How long will you be gone?" I asked nervously, hoping it would be only for a few days.

"About seven to thirteen months."

Oh, no.

"Dad, are you serious? I have to stay with them for that long?" I said, feeling my chest tighten. Living with two boys, for nearly a year?! My dad had to be kidding!

"Ray, I don't have a choice. At least the Thorns live in a nice house. I'm sure you'll get along with Mark and Damien. They are very nice boys and they are the same age as you."

"Damien? I have to live with him?"I felt my cheeks getting hot.

"Yes, he lives with Richard and Ann. Haven't you seen him at the Academy?"

Of course I have, Dad. Damien and I have even talked to eachother before. I can say that he seems cold, but really nice if you get to know him.

"Well, yes. I've seen Mark as well." I said, remembering Damien's cousin Mark. He was almost too nice.

"So, when are you leaving?"I asked walking back to my room.

"First thing in the morning...so pack your things tonight."

Wait. This is all happening tomorrow?!

I actually felt overwhelmed about the fact that I was going to live with the Thorns fro nearly a year. I knew they wouldn't liek me because my father and I weren't exactly rich, despite my father being in the Military. My heart was pounding at the thought of living with Mark and...Damien.

I opened my door and walked into my bedroom. I locked the door behind behind me and sighed. I looked out to my window and ran my fingers through my hair slowly.

What the hell is going on?


"So, Richard, I heard Sergeant Neff's daughter will be staying with your family?" Marion Thorn asked, crossing her arms.

"Yes, that's right. She'll be staying with us while her father is on a buisiness trip." Richard replied smiling at his wife, Ann.

"We figured since he is the man who runs the boys' school, it would be fair to help him out." Ann said smiling as well.

Marion laughed quietly. "What do you know about her? Is she intellegent? Is she pretty? Is she the same age as Mark?"

Richard chuckled, cutting off her endless questions. "I'm quite surprised you can't tell what she's like, Marion. She is a Militay Sergeant's daughter. And besides...I met her when she was at the Academy a few weeks ago. She is very sweet and extremlely pretty, just like her mother."

Ann nodded in agreement. "Oh, she does look like Michelle doesn't she?"

Marion smiled softly and sighed. "I see..." Marion remembered seeing pictures of Daniel Neff's wife, Michelle. She was very beautiful.

How sad she had to pass, I hope Mark likes her as much as these two do. Marion thought as she began to walk off.

"Well goodnight. I've heard what I wanted to know, see you in the morning." Marion said walking down the hall to her room.


"So that's what Raynee is like!" Mark said excitedly as he leaned against the balcony's edge. He and Damien were very anxious to meet Raynee in person.

"Quiet Mark! They could hear us!" Damien said looking at his cousin sharpily.

Mark sighed and continued listening to the conversation below them.

"Have you met Raynee in person, Damien?" Mark asked grinning smugly.

"No, have you?"

"Yes!" Mark chripped happily.

Damien stared at his cousin. "Really? What's she like? I've only seen her in pictures around the academy."

"Well, she is the sweetest person I think I've ever met. And that's saying quite alot considering we live with Ann."

"Oh. I thought you would say that. I think she's the most beautiful person I've ever seen." Damien said blushing.

Mark laughed. "You're blushing! You do like her, don't you?"

Damien glared at Mark. "You like her too!"