Disclaimer: I do not own any of the songs or bands mentioned throughout the story (including the chapter titles), nor do I own anything else you recognize.
"Higher Power" by Boston
I didn't really fit in at my old school.
In the sweet little private school known as St. Andrew's, I was always the 'floater kid'. I wasn't ditsy enough to be a prep, not dark enough to be a goth, and too quirky to be one of the average kids. All of my teachers diagnosed me as the loner kid with self-esteem issues and an obnoxious habit of speaking up in class.
My name at that school was changed from Leslie Baker to Hey You. I was a nobody.
So let's just say that hearing the name "St. Andrew's" didn't bring up all these warm, fuzzy feelings from inside of me – I hated that school.
And, to make matters worse, my grades started dropping when I was in seventh grade and haven't picked up since. My teachers didn't even pretend to care, so I showed them the same attitude. The truth was that maybe if I'd seen some proper motivation, then I could easily have been at the top of my class. As it were, my life didn't revolve around academics or school clubs or the latest gossip.
Only two things in my life were important to me: my brother and snowboarding.
My older brother Hayden is probably the coolest guy you will ever meet. He's more of a social butterfly than I am, he dresses sort of preppy, but he's not the most popular guy in the senior class or anything like that. As my older brother, he's taken upon himself the obligatory role of protecting me from anything and everything that might just harm me. But what I find the most amusing is the fact that most people think we're twins when, in reality, he's a good 10 months older than me.
Which tells you something about our parents as well.
Jane and Thomas Baker were two reckless teenagers who truly believed that they had found "the one" and disobeyed the wishes of their families by marrying each other. They moved across the country, eventually settling in Denver, Colorado, and started forming their idea of a perfect family.
Now, a good 17 years later, my father's business has made him filthy rich and my mother constantly is disappearing for months on end, never telling us what she's been up to. And they're currently divorced.
I guess the only good thing about this divorce is that every time my parents had to meet with their lawyers or got into a really big fight, they hand us the car keys and a huge wad of cash, telling us to go up to our house on the slopes until they worked everything out.
And now comes in the second love of my life – wintertime in Colorado.
I received my first pair of skis when I was only five years old. Our parents had been happily married then and, living only 20 minutes from the slopes, took it upon themselves to introduce my brother and I to the exhilarating sport. My entire childhood is full of the fondest memories of just the four of us in the snow. Then, when I was 11, I traded my skis for a snowboard. My parents weren't too pleased about that but snowboarding kept me happy, which nothing else could really do at the time. Not to mention the fact that I was practically a snowboarding prodigy.
Okay, okay, so I really wasn't a prodigy but I was still a very well-respected competitor throughout Colorado.
Anyway, let me get back to the real story.
I guess my entire life started changing at Christmas break my junior year in high school. My parents were now officially divorced and my mother already seeing someone else, so it was no surprise when she handed me and Hayden some cash and told us to head up to the slopes. We begrudgingly obeyed, hoping that we would get to come back home before Christmas.
The car ride had been long and uneventful. (Translated to: Hayden spent the whole twenty minutes trying to reassure his girlfriend that he would still visit her on Christmas while I just stared sullenly out the window listening to my iPod.) And yet, there was a weird feeling in the back of my mind that kept telling me that something was going to happen.
I hate those premonitions because they're usually right. On December 22 of that year, two unusual things happened.
Firstly, I saved someone's life... well, not just any someone; Travis Hawthorne would be appalled if he were considered just a someone and not one of the best friends I've ever met (which he is). He also incidentally introduced me to the one group of friends that now I depend on entirely for support – but that's later on in this story.
The second event was a certain telephone call I received from my mother, accompanied by the most horrific news I'd ever heard in my entire seventeen years of existence.
The news? Well, since the divorce had given my mother custody over Hayden and I, we were forced to live with her new beau Mark, a cruel and aristocratic business man much like our father.
But that wasn't the bad part – Oh no, it got even worse.
He was going to send us to boarding school in Belladel, Arizona: the town that was no where near civilization, much less any snowboarding slopes.
I was being sent to boarding school.
It was that day, that fateful December 22, that ended up being one of the worst days of my life.
You don't believe me?
Well, let me show you exactly what happened. It all started with that stupid game Hayden and I always played...