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My First Year as a Spy Trainee
Author's note: This is a side piece of the original novel I wanted posted. Comment to let me know where I could do with the improvement, please!
“Remus, where in the world is your brother?”
“Singing in the shower, Father.” I said, looking up at him from my thick physics book, and adjusting my reading glasses, which were sliding down my nose. I was surprised he did not hear James singing right now. Father rolled his eyes.
“Of course he is. It’s James, who else sings opera that well as a teenager? Marina, do me a favor, and help your brother out, please?”
“Sure thing, Daddy.” She smiled until Father went upstairs. She turned to me and glared daggers. “Carry my suitcase to the car, nerd.” She cocked one hip and put her hand on it. I noticed her skirt was way to short. I wondered idly whether or not Father had noticed. I hoped he did. I wanted her to get yelled at for something. She picked on me a lot, but rarely got in trouble for it. Honestly, it was not fair.
“I do not like you, and you feel the same. So you carry your own things, and I can take care of mine.” Since Marina had turned 13, she had become a complete and utter snob. If it were not for the idea of going off to Moon Johnson’s Spy Academy for Teens, I would have strangled my sister by now. As it was, I wanted to scream at the idea of being in the same school with her, where she most likely would make me feel utterly dim-witted, or she would ridicule me. Knowing Marina, anything could happen.
“Girls don’t do excessive lifting. Haven’t you learned that by now, geek?” Letting that bounce off me, I decided to try something else instead.
“Wow, ‘excessive’ is a big word for you, Marina. Be careful, you do not want to strain your brain.” I sneered, putting my reading glasses and book on the end table, and going over to my suitcase.
“You are such a pain.” She stormed from the room. I glared after her, my fists balled up in anger.
“At least I happen to care for others, rather than my public appearance.” I muttered. I hate being stuck as the nerd. At 10, my IQ was already at 135, and my grades had gotten me a full ride scholarship to a spy boarding school for the next 8 years. My brother, who is a genius, only got a partial scholarship. But he at least has yet to brag about his extremely pretty girlfriend (whom I have met, and banned him from breaking up with her, due to her actually treating me better than my own sister), or how popular my brother is.
See, James is 14, and he is the nicest, coolest, smartest guy I have ever met. James was not cocky about a thing. In fact, he was really modest. He would pass a hard class, and blush at any congratulations given. As it was, he already had a spot at Cambridge (or was it Oxford?) when he graduated in two years time. I sure was going to miss my older brother. But for now…
“James, may I get some help? Marina just sort of left me here…” I could not lift my suitcase; it was too heavy for me. My brother grinned and flicked his soaking wet hair from his blue-gray eyes. He came over to me and crouched down to lift it (my suitcase didn’t have wheels for some odd reason. For as long as I can remember, it has always been like that).
“Sure little brother.” We lifted the heavy suitcase out to the car. Well, I thought it was heavy. Apparently it was not, however. James had it in the car all by himself. That’s what’s great about him as well. He’s actually a helpful brother too. Marina came out, wheeling her suitcase behind her. She sneered at me.
“Aw, is wittle Wemus too weak to pick up the suitcase all by himsewf.” I rolled my eyes at her childish behavior. Honestly, who talked like that? Babies, and sometimes the little kids had a hard time annunciating their ‘r’s’ correctly, but really? She is quite immature if you ask me.
“Shut up, Marina. He’s only ten, for crying out loud. Besides, he’s beaten you at arm wrestling, and he plays in a few sports.” I smiled inwardly, because Marina, who mocked me for needing help, could scarcely lift her own suitcase. Sweet, sweet karma that I have never believed in.
“Chess isn’t a sport, James.” James looked angry (James was in chess club).
“Ah, but it is. It’s exercise of the mind. It’s an intellectual sport.” Father was behind us unexpectedly, speaking the very words I would have had he not said so first.
“Oh, hello Father.” I grinned up at him. He smiled warmly at me, resting a hand on my head. I wrapped my arms around his leg. He chuckled.
“Hello, son.” He rumpled my neatly combed hair. Father was the only one permitted to do that. “Hurry inside kids, Mummy’ll be home any second.” I ran inside to wash my hands and sit at the kitchen table. James and Marina grabbed plates, forks, a couple of knives, and some serving spoons. I was not quite tall enough to reach any of the eating utensils, and Father did not want me carrying knives (a little over protective if you ask me; I am ten after all). Father set a bowl of cinnamon flavored applesauce on the table, next to pasta salad, and then the chicken.
“Hi, people.” Harry said loudly, making Father laugh. Harry is three. He is a lot of fun to play with, until he gets really cranky. I put Harry in his booster chair and Annabeth (my two-year-old little sister) in her highchair, right next to Harry, so they could talk.
”Oh, thank you Remus. I was just about to do that, actually.”
“No problem, Father. Anything I else I can help with?”
“Sure, son. Could you get some napkins and the little kids some juice?”
“Of course.” I ran off to search out everything. As I was sitting back down, Mummy walked in the door. Immediately Harry and Annabeth got real excited. She leaned down to kiss them each on the cheek.
“Hey, Mom.” James gave her a hug and kiss. She pulled him closer for a second hug. I brushed my bangs out of my face, and looked up at my beautiful mother.
“Hi Mum.” Marina called out from the stove, where she was helping Father bring the food to the table. Mummy smiled at me. I stood and she pulled me into a hug, kissing my head as she did so.
“Hello, Mummy.” I said, grinning at her. She hugged me. “I missed you.”
“If that isn’t what I needed to hear, I don’t know what was.” Father made a comment in Swahili. I recognized the language, but I did not know what Father had said. Mummy laughed. James grimaced.
“There is that.”
“Ew, Dad, that’s really gross.”
“What did he say?”
“Trust me, Remus; you don’t really want to know. It’ll scar you for life.”
“I have heard you sing. If that was not mind scaring, I am pretty sure there is nothing of poorer quality than that.” Mummy laughed as James feigned looking offended. My brother is actually an excellent singer. He knew I was only teasing him.
“All right, brace yourself, then. He said ‘hey, sexy.’” I shuddered. “My internal reaction exactly.”
“That is entirely disgusting.” Mummy laughed again. Father was blushing. “Why, Father? Why?”
“Because I had no idea your brother was fluent in Swahili.”
“It’s James, he’s a nerd.” Marina said, pouring water in her cup.
“Who’s a bigger nerd, James or I?” I looked at my sister, who rolled her eyes at the question. James grinned at me. Father sat down.
“You, by far. I thought that one would be really obvious.” Marina said. Mummy hugged me. I stuck my tongue out at my sister.
“But isn’t he the most handsome nerd you’ve ever seen? He’s gonna get all the girls-“Oh, not again!
“MOTHER!” I shouted, blushing horribly. Mummy, Father, and James laughed. Marina rolled her eyes. Harry was talking to Annabeth about what they would play with next; cars, or blocks?
“She said the same thing to me, little brother.” James said, taking the chair next to me, and tousling my hair. I flattened it out again. Mummy sat next to Father.
“I never got a ‘hello.’” Mummy smiled up at Father.
“Hello.” She said, kissing his cheek. My father smiled, kissed her cheek, and turned towards the table, to lead in prayer and to serve the food. This was what I would miss during the school year… my family, all together.
Later that night, I was sitting in the living room, scared as to what I was supposed to be expected for the school year. I did not even have friends. What was I going to do for a partner in those blasted group projects? Who would I actually talk to? Would I get teased for knowing a lot? What about my height? I’m short for ten. OR even my age, would that cause me to be made fun of? I was only ten, everyone else being eleven. I’d spend an extra year at this boarding school, because of my academic achievements that still amazed me. I mean, come on, I was ten. Where did I know the square root of pi from? Probably James…
“What’s wrong, sweetie?” Mummy sat next to me, wrapping her arm around my shoulders. I sighed. “Nervous for school?” I put my physics book down, and removed my reading glasses. I looked up at her.
“Of course I am. You were, were you not?”
“Of course I was. I only knew my best friend. We are scared for our lives.”
“Mummy, I do not know anyone, though. James had friends when he started going to Moon’s. And I am the only one going in my age group; everyone else in their first year is older than me.”
“James only had friends, because we babysat the kids James was friends with. Besides, sweetheart, you know John and Mr. Anderson.”
“That is true…”
“And there might even be a couple of kids from mine and Daddy’s work.”
“Okay, okay, I get it.” I said, laughing and leaning on her arm. “Can I write to you?”
“As much as you want or need. I can even give you some change, and you can use the payphone there. Or you could even borrow Mr. Anderson’s phone.”
“I feel better. Thank you Mummy.” I kissed her. She pulled me into a big hug. Father came into the living room, carrying his laptop case and cleaning his glasses off.
“Nervous about school, son?” Father sat next to Mummy, while I scooted on her lap.
“Not anymore. Mummy made me feel loads better about the situation.” He smiled warmly.
“Good. Don’t you worry, Remus. You’re going to be in good hands at Moon’s. I’ve known the Headmaster since he was born. He’s a smart kid and he’s new but great at his job. You can always go to him whenever you need. You can trust him. He’s one of the most intelligent people there. Believe me, Mr. Anderson used to have these really interesting discussions about things most teens don’t discuss.”
“Do you think I will make friends with anybody? I mean, I will be younger than all of the first years, and-” Father held up a hand to stop my nervous rant. I took a deep, calming breath.
“Of course you will. In fact, I think you might even make a girlfriend. Remember, it’s where I met Mummy.” Mummy smiled at him. I looked up at her.
“What I never understood, is why you came to the UK for school, when you were born and raised in America.” I said to her in a puzzled tone. She rubbed my tense back.
“Because there was a time where the Girls Spy Academy in America wasn’t a good school. Now they are way better. There aren’t any all girl spy academies any closer.”
“That makes a lot more sense.” I looked down for a moment, wondering what changed it so drastically. Last I had heard it was the top spy academy in America.
“I’m sure glad she was sent there, personally.” Father said, smiling lovingly at my mother. I smiled at them both. Mummy blushed a little, and giggled.
“Me too.” I said. “Otherwise I would not be here, and I would not have a good family.” I snuggled into Mummy’s arms. She held me for a little while. I felt safe and warm there, as if even Marina could not touch me.
“Off to bed, Remus. You have along day ahead of you, son.” Father eventually said. I kissed them goodnight, gathered my book and reading glasses, and went off to brush my teeth. As I did so, they shared a small, romantic kiss with one another, whispering the words “I love you” to one another. My brother was using the WaterPik to clean the food from his braces. He moved over to give me room as the sink. I brushed my teeth, hugged James goodnight, and ran into my bedroom. I peeled off my clothes, pulled on shorts and a tee shirt, and climbed into bed.
It was a dreadfully long time before I fell asleep.
“What’s wrong dear?” I looked at my wife, turning from my laptop screen. “Worried about Remus?” I adjusted my glasses.
“Of course I am, Jon. He’s way more intelligent than all the kids his age. For crying out loud, John is his only friend-“
“I know, sweetheart.” I put my finger to her lips. “Don’t worry. Our boy is going to be just fine. You said so yourself last night, he’s got better social skills than your brother.”
“Honey… anyone has better social skills than by brother.” I laughed, knowing that wasn’t 100% true.
“Look, love, Seth’s kids are staying with him this year. Maybe he’ll befriend Seth Junior.”
“Maybe.” Grace still didn’t look convinced. I leaned in and kissed her mouth, trying to make it sweet and gentle. She smiled at me, and then leaned against me. I put my laptop on the end table
“Jon Carter, I know you’re not trying to distract me.” I chuckled romantically.
“Oh, but Grace, here’s the catch… I am.” She laughed. I kissed her again. And again. And again. Eventually we were snogging, thinking we were totally alone.
“Hey, Mom could I- whoops!” Wrong. We broke apart in total shock. “Oh man, I’m sorry!”
“Not, it’s all right, son.” I said.
“I was… is it all right if I check my email before I go to bed. I was waiting to hear from the school choir if I made it.” And he wanted to hear from his girlfriend.
“Go right ahead, sweetie.” She said. I grinned.
“Sorry, son didn’t realize you were still out of bed. I apologize.”
“It’s okay.” He walked away, laughing. I went back to kissing my beloved Grace, until-
“Come on, seriously? Again?!” James… I was going to kill that kid (not really obviously). I looked at him. He laughed. “Just kidding guys.” He hugged and kissed Grace, and hugged me. “Good night guys. Love you.”
“Good night honey. Love you too.”
“Good night. I want you to keep Remus under your wing, until he settles in. Please?” I asked him.
“Dad, you don’t have to ask twice. Remus is a cool kid… but I’m not sure everyone else thinks so.” He looked a little worried. “But the friends I’ve got who have met him like him, so maybe he’ll meet some friends that way.”
“Thank you, James. Love you son.”
“You’re most certainly welcome, Dad. Love you too.”
“Sleep well, Jamie.” He grinned at Grace.
“You too, Mama.” He said, climbing up the stairs. Thank God one of my oldest is caring. I turned to my wife.
“Now…. where were we?” I asked. She burst out laughing.