"Amy," Nellie begins, her hazel eyes looking at me with concern. "I need you to do Dan a huge favor."
"Of course," I reply, dripping with paint and glitter. "Anything for my twin."
Nellie sighs, gulping. She swiftly turns to look at Prince Edward Island's All-Girls Academy's principal, Mrs. Robinson, before shaking her head. "I don't think you'll be so happy to help your bro out this time, Amy."
"Why not?" I ask. "He's always been there for me. Ever since I remember, he's gotten in trouble with Aunt Beatrice just to help me out. I think it's time to return all those favors-"
"I need you to attend Hastings's Academy for Boys," she cuts in.
My jaw is left hanging, and I try to process what Nellie's just asked of me.
She takes in a deep breath. She continues, slower and gentler this time. "I need you to pretend to be Dan for two weeks...maximum, a month."
Let's start from the very beginning. The day my brother and I were born: December 15, 1995.
Our parents are Hope and Arthur Cahill. Both very close, but very different. Dad was smart and observant (just like Dan), but he was also reserved and a softy (just like me). Mom, on the other hand, wasn't so bright with things that required formulas and math in general. She was better with research and preferred books rather than numbers (just like me). But she was also strong-minded and goofy (that's Dan for you, readers). So you could definitely say that living in the Cahill Victorian-styled house was quite the fun adventure.
Until seven years later, on October 1, 2002. I remember waking up to the smell of smoke. My mom was shaking us, exclaiming that there was a house fire. She got us out, but once in the yard, she found out Dad was not there yet. Mom had to go back inside and get her husband out of the flames. I still remember the last words she said to me.
"Don't let go of each other," she whispered, looking with longing at both of us. "Never let go. I love you two."
As soon as she stepped into the house, what was once my home collapsed to the ground.
After that, we were sent to our blue-haired Aunt Beatrice. I don't really like to bad-mouth people, especially family. But stingy, strict, and selfish are the only words I can find to describe Aunt Beatrice. The only positive thing I can think of at the moment is the pretty hazel color in her eyes…which were usually lit up in fury by something Dan did. Yes, he turned Aunt Beatrice's house upside down. But he only did it to protect me. I'm quite the whimp and extremely respectful to adults, and I was even more of that back when I was eight. Aunt Beatrice would always take out her frustration on me by giving me a mouthful of mean remarks. Since she saw me as an easy target, she continued on and on. Until Dan came around and gave her a mouthful of mean remarks to her.
This repeated itself in the span of three years, and when I was ten, Aunt Beatrice had had enough of Dan. Not only did he talk back at her, but he always contradicted her orders just to annoy her. She had "tolerated us demon-like kids long enough", so she sent us to boarding schools. Separate ones, probably a thousand miles away. I was sent to a Canadian province, Prince Edward Island. Thought, I'm not complaining about my boarding school. It's small, quaint, and cozy. Sure, there are some snobs in here. But, not only does it have an amazing library, it has some other amazing bookworms. Such as my best friends, Anna and Taylor.
Dan, however, was sent to some preppy boys' boarding school down in Phoenix. And that was his first one. He managed to get expelled after a year of being there. Aunt Beatrice enrolled him in an equally expensive and preppy boarding school afterwards. And this time, they kicked him out after six months. And so, the cycle of him being expelled began. It's quite obvious that Dan does it for two things: one, to annoy the heck out of Aunt Beatrice. And two, because he only wants to be in one boarding school: Hastings' Academy for Boys, the boarding school with the best athletics system ever in the entire United States. Dan has always been a fan of volleyball, and it has been his dream (after becoming a ninja) to join the Hastings's team, the Silver Wolves.
Now, before Nellie came by to ask for that favor, it was the Open House at the Prince Edward Island's Academy. Open House always takes place a week before school begins, and it's usually to welcome back students and to introduce new ones to the system. Tonight, I'd been chosen as one of the tour guides for the first graders alongside Taylor. And we were both doing a pretty good job. Until we separated. Taylor went to show the group of girls with a pink nametag all of the outer part of the school, and I was showing the group of girls with the purple nametag the elementary building. In the entire building, there were only two teachers. The others were presenting themselves to the parents back in the auditorium.
I was walking down the hallway when it all occurred.
"We're about to enter the art room, girls," I had announced, turning to look at the little angels behind me. They'd been so obedient…before their little scheme. I should've been aware of it when I turned my back and I heard whispers and snickers coming from the first graders.
It wasn't until I stepped inside the art room and the girls cornered me with glitter and paint that I knew they were up to no good.
I was quite surprised. I never thought that six-year-olds would be pointing art materials at me, threatening to squirt them on me for no apparent reason.
"Uh…" I was at loss of words. "What are you doing?"
"You're even dumber than we thought," a blonde girl stated, positioning herself in a diva stand. Her nametag read Carly. "We're obviously going to make you a walking piece of art."
I eyed the glitter and paint before gulping. "Why?"
Carly giggled, shrugging. "Because it's something cool kids would do in the movies."
That was my chance. I stood up straighter, smiling knowingly. "Not really…Hannah Montana would never do that."
The girls lowered their 'weapons'. I sighed, relieved, thinking that I'd escaped from such a situation.
But I was wrong.
Carly's eyes darkened. "We hate Hannah Montana."
"Get her!" she exclaimed, pointing at me.
The girls screamed defiantly, and began to throw paint and glitter at me. I screamed back (but in fear), and ran out of the class, trying to get away from the little monsters. A few teachers heard the ruckus, but the girls were too quick for them. As I was reaching the end of the hallway, the teachers, in their high heels and old age, were out of sight. I was stopped by two large double doors. They led to the elementary cafeteria…where all of the family members of the kids and students waited. And family members as in big brothers and cousins. You see, the girls in the academy usually take advantage of this day to flirt with boys. And I have to admit it, cute boys. I could not go there to seek refuge from little girls there.
I turned around, my green eyes as wide as saucers. "Please, stop."
Carly smiled deviously. "What…afraid that my big brother will see you all covered in paint? Because that's all that stupid girls in this school want. They take advantage of me to get to my brother!"
"I don't know who your big brother is," I whispered my reply. "I'm just asking you to stop because I don't find it pleasant to be chased down by little girls."
"Too bad," she stated, scowling at me. "Girls, attack!"
They screamed, I screamed.
Someone opened the door.
I fell back on the ground, and a thousand of teenage eyes turned to look at me.
I wish it had all been a nightmare, but it wasn't. And here comes the worst part.
When I looked up, I saw the most handsome face ever. Jake Rosenbloom's, Taylor's cute cousin who I'd always had a huge crush on. However, his face wasn't its usual glowing color that time. It was bright red, and he was trying to look at another way. The people around him were cackling in laughter.
Carly pointed at me, laughing along. "Nice teddy-bear underwear!"
With fear, I shifted my gaze to where her finger was pointed. To my horror, my uniform skirt was lifted up, and my light pink underwear, featuring a cute bear announcing the day of the week, was exposed to everybody in the room. I jumped up to my feet, and the skirt resumed its covering purpose. I was as red as a tomato. Swiftly glancing around, I realized that not too many girls from my school were there that night. And the girls who were there didn't even know me. In fact, no one did! Only Jake, of course, which was bad enough. Luckily, he isn't a jerk to go around telling everybody who the girl with the teddy-bear underwear was.
I was about to leave, when Taylor entered the scene. She checked out my state before frowning.
"I don't know what happened," she began. "But Mrs. Robinson needs you at her office, Amy."
So much for remaining anonymous.
I wanted to die. But I nodded and made my way out of the cafeteria.
And that's how I ended up here, all covered in paint and glitter as I stare at Nellie in awe. "You want me to be Dan?"
And so, Nellie begins her detailed explanation.