Finding the answers ... I think

Finding the answers ... I think

A Chapter by Rosalie Santerino

This is not my final chapter. I changed the plot line of this a lot. But I am just posting this temporarily so people can tell do they think my book should be written in first person or third person?


A few weeks had passed since Rosalie had her talk with Rosetta. She did go to the interview but nothing came of it. They told her nothing and she felt like she had wasted a lot of money and time going back and forth between home and the academy. But when the letter came through the post telling her that her trial had been indefinitely postponed and an invitation to go to a second interview at the academy arrived moments later Rosalie somehow decided it would be sensible to go. At least to see if she could get some answers.

That was the main reason why she found herself being awoken from a rather pleasant day dream by someone calling her name loudly and in a rather grumpy tone. Mr Tarino’s receptionist stood towering above her and not looking very happy. If Rosalie had to guess then she would say he had been calling her name for quite some time before she noticed. He waited for her to hastily stand up before he spoke again, this time in a slightly harsh tone.

"Rosalie Santerino?"

 "That is me" Rosalie replied holding in the desire to point out she was the only person waiting therefore who else could it be, and she had eventually responded. The receptionist already looked grumpy enough without pushing her with a sarcastic comment or some kind of unwelcome remark. She had done enough stuff in her life to know when, and when not, to make comments or to make her voice heard.

"Please go up the stairs and through the door at the end, at once."

Rosalie glanced sideways at the guard who had not moved. She then turned forward and moving behind the desk set off up the stairs. Running her hand over the guilt rail she listened to the sound of her heels on the wooden stairs. They seemed to echo very loudly for someone of her slender build. The hallways spoke of wealth. Inside the office was even worse as she discovered when she reached the landing and pushed the door in front of her open. It was a haven of leather and expensive and ornate ornaments and furniture.

She could not actually see anyone in the room but then that had been the same the last time she had been here. Almost as though he purposefully waited for someone to arrive before appearing apparently as though out of no-where. So she sat down on the edge of one of the small leather chairs facing the large desk. She did not like this office at all and she had only been here once before. The photo that had been in her letter, or at least a copy of it, sat nestled in a different frame on the corner of the desk facing outwards. The figures, one slightly older man and three pretty girls in delicate dresses, were exactly the same. Just as it had done the first time she worked out it was the same one.

Another door, behind and slightly to the left of the desk, swung open and Mr Tarino, the man from the photograph, stepped inside the room and shut the door behind him. Well Rosalie had assumed he must be the same man, he had never confirmed or denied when she asked. He looked much older but yet he had the same gentle blue eyes and the same crooked almost smile. Shaking her head, to clear these thoughts, she watched him settle down in his large chair. He then folded his arms and looked back at her with a serious expression.

"Welcome back Rosalie, it is nice to see you chose to rejoin us"

"I have to admit I am very confused ... how can a boarding school have the power to persuade people to drop charges. I just have to ask that right not before I forget or you change the subject and refuse to talk about it."

"The charges were not dropped you are merely going to be offered an alternative to the prison sentence you would have been charged with should the case have gone to trial ... it is the official line that they were dropped."

"Do what instead of my sentence? I am still unsure what the heck is happening! Since when was boarding school an alternative to prison? I do not remember them introducing that law?"

"Did we give you the impression we were your average boarding school?" He replied seeming to find amusement in her answer as he chuckled and shook his head "do you believe there is some other reason you are here? I have never seen someone look quite so perplexed over a simple interview. Are you even interested to know why it is we have requested your presence?"

"I would not say you phrased it as a request. But yes I am confused. At my interview you told me literally nothing. So I would not know if you were a normal boarding school or not. All I know is you have a lot of information on me and I have none on you. Puts me at a bit of a disadvantage don’t you think?"

"Yet you chose to come back for a second interview. Interesting fact that is ... well you shall learn everything you want to know today.  Well maybe not everything but you shall certainly be allowed to know what it is we do here at Tarino Academy."

"Are you going to tell me the truth or will it be more coincidences? Because I might as well leave if that is the case."

"You are very perceptive. Alright you shall hear nothing but the truth from us, we did arrange to have your charges dropped" Mr Tarino quietly but firmly announced as he studied a sheet of paper which lay on the desk before him “we would normally do it earlier but you did not have your interview till days before your trial, so we did not have much time to work. We did it for the simple reason you would have been no use to us in prison.”

"What do you mean? No use to you in prison? I might have been found innocent ..."

"As you were pleading guilty that would be highly unlikely. Now let’s get down to business and talk to you about why we made the choice to get you out of prison. As you correctly guessed we are not your average boarding school. We offer a unique training facility for those who wish to make a difference. But not just anyone �" people who have talents, things we can use, exceptional gifts. From an eidetic memory to a computer genius �" we take all those who are naturally gifted with a skill superior to most people but especially their peers.”

"Those who wish to make a difference? Excuse me, but what?"

"Rosalie, tell me your views on the ongoing ‘war’ your country is involved in?"

"I do not want to criticize anyone, especially not our government" Rosalie replied before blushing faintly and leaning back into the chair as she framed her answer carefully "something is not working to put it bluntly. I want to blame corruption but at the same time it could just be stupidity, or lack of another option. I am not sure what is going wrong but I do know it needs to be fixed before ... well something needs to be done"

"You are not short of views are you? You talk much. It is a fault that shall be dealt with. But before we go into that I have another question" Mr Tarino paused for either dramatic effect or because he wanted to gather his thoughts before finishing "how would you like to help end the suffering you disapprove off so much?"

"Sure. You tell me the secret and I will totally deal with that” Rosalie sarcastically responded with a raised eyebrow as she tried to work out what he could mean. It was obvious he was not joking. But she did not understand how she could possibly help stop a war that the government had screwed up so badly. Well someone had even if it was not the government itself. Someone had messed it up.

"One final question before I explain myself. This is the most important question of all. A question I want you to consider very carefully. How much do you value your life Rosalie Santerino?"

"Enough that I have no wish to lose it any time soon, I have my son to think of, he needs me alive" Rosalie carefully replied after a long pause in which she had tried to work out how to escape the office without him noticing “I guess I value it a lot. I mean it does not really look like it as I was willing to throw away seven years of it. But all I wanted to do was, be heard! I had to force them to listen to me. Something has to be done.”

"That is good to know. So now we have that out the way let us continue. I have something to share with you Rosalie that I am sure will convince you that not only can you make a difference but you want to join us here instead of any other options" Mr Tarino continued as he picked up the photograph of what was presumably his family and traced one finger over the three girls with a sigh “every person has their price. What is yours Rosalie?”

"I would do anything to stop this mindless slaughter if only I could. I am assuming that is what you mean in your weird phrasing of the question. If you mean an actual price then this interview has just passed into a territory where I am not willing to go ..."

"Then you are perfect for our school Rosalie. We will train you to be able to make a difference. We will give you the tools and the chance to bring an end to this war. But you will be risking your life and you will be doing it for your country but also for this Academy. This place will become your family. You will have no contact with the outside world except for on assignments. You will be expected to obey orders without question and to be ready to make sacrifices. It is each for their team. Are you prepared for that Rosalie?"

"Yes" Rosalie replied even though she was thinking it was a lot to take in she had said the words before she could stop herself. Somehow she just knew she had answered right. She was a big believer in instinct and if that is what had come out without her having chance to think about it then that was the right answer. That and she was about to do seven year for arson after she had tried to make a difference. But then suddenly she realized she had not asked the most important question “what about Anthony?”

"Your training will focus on espionage and tactical defence. But there is one other thing that might interest you about our Academy. We are very female dominated here. With very few exceptions most of our students are female, three exceptions to be exact. There is a reason for that. It is simple. But it is not one I shall be sharing with you. So we are well aware of the aspect of children. There are facilities provided to care for your child while you are on missions and during the day if you need them to."

"You said except for three? Why did they get offered a place?" Rosalie replied, having taken in the information about her son, and now curious about his comment. While she not particularly bothered that the academy would take mainly girls �" a girl can do anything a guy can do and she can do it in high heels and still be done in time for project runway �" but it did interest her to know what kind of guy made the cut. What they had to do to make it and whether or not they were talented too.

"Ah yes, well the boys are their own unique cases. They did not come in the same route as our other students even though they were invited for the same reason; talented individuals seeking atonement. But if they wish you to know I am sure they will tell you. It is highly unlikely that you will not meet them in your first few days. They make it a habit to greet newcomers as quickly as possible. Though bear in mind while one of them is easy to spot the twins do have the dreadful habit of pretending to be each other. But let us return to your instruction ..."

"So you take people from the age of eighteen or what? Why people who feel the need to atone for things?" Rosalie asked him in a surprised and worried tone as she leaned forward as she spoke to hear him better.

"Unofficially we take anyone who we feel will be an asset to our cause. It just so happens that a girl who is about to give up years of her life anyway is more likely to jump at the chance to give it up for a reason instead. Our entrance test is difficult and we take a whole variety. But you might find most girls you meet have done some crime which they wish to absolve themselves off even if they were not all caught."

"How did you know my views? Entrance test? What entrance test ... oh and one more question. What happens in seven years? Is my sentence absolved completely? The charges no longer exist? Do I have to serve seven years?"

"Isn’t that why you did what you did? So people would listen to your views?" Mr Tarino replied with a raised eyebrow as he surveyed Rosalie before adding “and the deal is that you must serve at least 80% of your sentence. Therefore if for any reason you have to return home before, in your case, those five years and 6 months are up then you will serve your remaining time as you would have done normally. Make sense?”

"Yes but ... what entrance test?"

"Well it appears you were wrong. You are a unique individual and you have some rare talents which I know will be an asset to our group. I hope that you will come to the conclusion that joining us is the only way forward. But do you have any further questions which you feel you must ask right now?"

"Everyone you ask has to be prepared to do what you said so why me? You cannot have just picked me because I was prepared to do something drastic to be heard! I still do not understand what I would bring to this academy. I do not think I am the person you seem to think I am. I work in a Salon. I wear high heels and a perfect manicure ... this does not seem like my kind of place at all!"

"Rosalie not only, I hear, our you vastly talented with a make-up brush �" the art of disguise is one we appreciate greatly �" but I also here that you have quite the talent with accents and languages. But we shall not go into how we know that. We shall discuss that amongst many other things should you chose to return to us. There is not time to discuss anything more now. I have much to do and you have much to think about. Tomorrow is when you will take the entrance test. But that will all become clear then."

"Well they do say that I have the most amazing ability to make even the ugliest girl beautiful but then ... How much time do I have?" Rosalie had changed tact and her conversation topic when she saw the expression of Mr Tarino’s face and realized he was not appreciating her commentary.

"Well let me put it like this; in two days time a car will pull up in your drive and wait for an hour before driving away again. You and your luggage are either in that car or they are not. That is all the time you have. Ask any questions now because there will be no more contact made till you chose to get in that car and find yourself once more here again and preparing to take the entrance test."

Rosalie shakily rose from her seat and headed out the office and towards the exit. In the hallway her guard joined her and escorted her to the car that would take her to the airport and then home. She had so much to think about and not much time in the grand scheme of things. But she knew whatever choice she made that from this moment on her life had been changed forever and there was nothing she could do about it.

© 2011 Rosalie Santerino

Author's Note

Rosalie Santerino
Please let me know asap - first or third person?

This is how I plan to have this chapter. As I put the first person entries like a diary so it would not be confusing. But let me know if it is confusing and would prefer either first or third person all the way through.

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register

Share This
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on August 15, 2011
Last Updated on August 16, 2011
Tags: horror, romance, humour, family, atonement, rescue, mystery, life, difference, prison, academy


Rosalie Santerino
Rosalie Santerino

Horseheath, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

I spend ninty percent of my time writing. The rest of the time I spend thinking about writing while I do other things. I have been published before but I want to one day, when I am finished with all t.. more..

I have. I have.

A Chapter by Rosalie Santerino