AN: Hey, there. Good to see you again. I hope you guys like this story as much as you liked Baby on Board. This time Bella is a seventeen year old student who gets a little too involved with the swimming coach at her new boarding school. Between the two of them, they can't seem to stay away from each other and keeping what they have a secret proves to be very difficult. How will it work out between the two of them? We'll find out.
I never knew boarding school could be this relaxing, so solitary, so peaceful. It's much better than having Renee screaming my name every five minutes because someone left the peanut butter jar open or she's not too sure how to do something on her computer. This new school was much quieter, granted that school hasn't officially started and more than half of the school's students haven't actually arrived for the Week of Orientation that the school insisted on. It also helps that my new roommate, Angela Webber, is like me in many ways: she can sit in silence comfortably and she values personal space. She kindly stepped out for a bit to give me a minute to myself and even offered to help me pack if I would let her. I like her. She doesn't hover.
I stare at the ceiling, thinking about the reasons why I'm here at St Dominican Boarding School. Mainly because my parents' marriage was falling apart. They don't think I know what's going on, or at least Charlie doesn't. I'm pretty sure Renee knew I was catching on. That's why they sent me here: Charlie, to spare me from watching my parents fighting and to preserve my innocence. Renee sent me here because she wanted to keep me in the dark. She hated how close the two of us were. She knew I couldn't ask Charlie because he'd pretend like everything was okay and I couldn't ask her because she wouldn't tell me a thing. If I wasn't there, I wouldn't be able to stick up for Charlie either. She kind of bullies him and he was too nice a guy to stand up to her. He just wanted to keep the family intact for my sake.
I didn't want to come and Charlie didn't want me to either, but Renee pulled the "bright future" card and talked up the school, mentioning that St Dominican had a "world class swimming coach" to force me here. She knew that I loved swimming and if she'd said that the swimming coach had been on the national swim team, there was no way I couldn't go. Charlie would make me go because he wants what's best for me and I'd eventually agree, hating every minute of it, because that coach would bring me that much closer to the Olympics. The next thing I knew I was on the three hour flight from Phoenix to Vancouver. Charlie and I had been emotional wrecks at the airport and the lady at the boarding gate practically had to rip us out of our hug so that I wouldn't miss the flight. I called the moment I was seated in the plane until one of the air hostesses gave me a dirty look and then I called again five minutes ago to tell him that I'd landed and arrived at the school safely. I promised to call him every weekend and in return he promised to fly me home every school break. I just hope he'll survive without me. He loves Renee and I just wanted to be there for him if she walked out on him. She almost has a few times. And she's tried to take me with her.
With a groan, I throw my arm over my eyes. In a way, I'm glad to be away from it all but I couldn't help but worry about Charlie.
I hear the door crack open slightly and when I lift my arm a little, I see Angela's sandy gold hair and cautious sapphire eyes peeking through the door. "Can I come in?" she asks softly.
"Sure. You don't have to ask," I remind her. "It was your room first." She's already packed and settled with her stuff.
She shrugs and takes a seat on her bed across from mine. "I figured that you'd be jet lagged and might want sometime alone."
"Thanks," I say, sitting up and crossing my legs. After a second I continue. "I like you," I inform her bluntly. "I think we'll be good friends over the next year."
Her smile is bright and genuine and it gives me a warm feeling. I never usually bother with friendships and relationships. For as long as I can remember, Charlie's been the only friend I needed. Everyone else never really interested me. I feel that maybe, for once in my life, I should put effort into at least one relationship besides the one I have with my father.
"So, you want me to help you unpack?" she's really asking, giving me a chance to say no.
"Yeah. That'd be great."
We start with my clothes and shoes. I let her hang my jackets, sweaters and blouses while I fold my t-shirts, jeans and my millions of sweat pants. I shove all my shoes under my bed and my scarves and hats are tossed into the closet as one big bundle of wool and fleece. We get to know each other as we work, not small talk like I usually have to endure with other people but a genuine conversation. She has four brothers, a set of twins older than her and another set of twins younger than her. I laugh at the way she complains about how rotten her luck was. She's always wanted a sister but after her younger brothers, her mom said five was enough. We're a lot alike and have a lot in common. In fact we have so much in common it's almost weird. We both like reading (that's not the weird part), we both come from Washington stated (neither is that). But things got really freaky when we realized we both are allergic to cats, have the same middle name and both our dads are cops. We stare at each other in awe for a whole ten seconds before bursting out in laughter.
"If we didn't look so different I'd wonder if we're having a parent trap moment." Angela laughs as she flops herself on her bed. I pull out my favourite poster and some blu-tack and stand at the head of my bed to put it up.
"It'd only be fair, really," I say, unrolling my poster and pressing a blob of blu-tack to each corner. "You deserve a twin, too."
We laugh together as I smooth out the poster against the wall above the headboard. I hop off the bed and stand back to admire how good the poster looks on the wall. "Now I feel at home," I swoon.
Angel sits up to look at the poster and her jaw drops. "Holy mother of Jesus! Who the fuck is that?" Her reaction makes me grin with pride. The light coming in from the window next to my bed makes the poster look even better than it did in my old room. Dripping sandy blonde hair, crazy blue eyes, well-built chest, defined arms and the abs! Good lord the abs, slowly descending into a pair of jeans. It was a perfect picture.
"That, dear Angela, is Ryk Neethling, South African champion swimmer, gold medalist and my future husband."
"He's gorgeous! Thank you, Men's Health magazine," she giggles, referring to the red magazine tile just above Ryk's head. And then she jumps suddenly, just remembering something. "Oh, I actually forgot that you were a swimmer. Maybe it's time I take you on that tour of the school," she's almost squirming with excitement as she speaks. "I've got something to show that will make your day."
Angela has shown me around the girls' dorm: the senior bathrooms and showers, the laundry room and the roof top where we get to hang out. She's shown me the main school building: the library, the science lab, the art room, etc. She's shown me the football/soccer field, the basketball court/gymnasium, the students' garden and the tennis court. She's also shown me all the off limits areas, like the huge fenced off lake located at the very back of the school grounds. The teachers' quarters (also obviously off limits) are placed near there so that if any funny business takes place, they would be able to put a stop to it. I don't really care about all that stuff. She's left the pool out on purpose to get me hyped up about it. I'd read that they have an Olympic sized in-door pool fully equipped for all season swimming. She knew that that's what I want to see so she leaves it for last. I'm almost bouncing as she leads the way. There's hardly anyone around, a few student and a few adults who may or may not have been teachers. I just want to see the pool.
"The first thing you need to know is that the pool is always locked up," she says before we even make it to the white wood paneled building and my excitement immediately deflates. What the fuck? I thought the whole point was that she was going to show me the pool. What a letdown. "But because you are my new roommate, I thought I'd give you my family secret as a welcome gift." I've lost my ability to be enthusiastic and force myself to pretend to listen about the family secret that's 'been around for decades' but I can't help my bottom lip jutting out in a pout. She takes my wrist and drags me around the building, through some bushes until we are behind it. I notice that we are between the pool house and the school and absent mindedly look for a tall tree that could possibly allow me to jump over the wall if I ever wanted to. And then I remember that Angela is saying something.
"My older brothers were told by our cousins and then they told me when I started coming to this school," she mumbles, slipping her hand into a gap between two of the vertical panels and then her whole arm goes in and I sort of wonder what she's gonna pull out. "And I'm supposed to pass it on to the younger ones when they get here. It's actually really naughty of us. We could've been expelled but I guess that's part of the thrill." I wonder if she's talking about weed or something and find myself feeling little wary about this 'family secret'. Angela doesn't seem like the drugs type but I start doubting my judgment the more I watch her determined expression as her had fumbles behind the wall. And then I hear a soft click and with a flick of her hand, two of the wood panels swing open to make a narrow door way. "Tada!" she whispers and grins when she sees my eyes pop open.
I'm speechless for a while and then I squeak, "Is that a secret entrance to the pool? Like, a serious, real life secret entrance?"
"Courtesy of the Webber clan," she says proudly. "I'll show you how to sneak in so that you can practice your swimming any time you want."
She doesn't expect it when I jump at her with a hug. "I fucking love you for this!" If I had any doubts before, they're all gone now. Angela was the best roommate ever.
AN: Okay, so Jacob doesn't make an appearance in this chapter but he might in the next one or the one after that. For now, please tell me what you think so far.
PS: I don't know if any of you will know who Ryk Neethling is or what he looks like so here's a link to some of his pictures: hussar/SKQyPYezVzI/AAAAAAAAEbI/GhPDg53N79M/s400/Ry k_neethling_wall_01_
I'm not a huge fan of his but he is a good looking guy.