This is a story I wrote a while back when I first started writing novels and despite the less than perfect style of writing I had back then, I still really like this book. It's based off of Shakespeare's play The Twelfth Night. It contains LGBT content but the centered romance is heterosexual. I hope you all enjoy it, too.
"Mickie Milo, fifteen years old, female. Auditioning for a spot in the Satellite Program." I say firmly.
"Start by telling us why you want to be in the Satellite Program."
"I can't say that I've dreamed of it all of my life, but since I was seven, I've wanted to become an actress. I have history working as a children's model and I helped do a commercial for fruit when I was ten. I don't have deep connections in the entertainment industry, but I always give it my all. If you select me to be in your program, I can assure that you won't be disappointed."
"Mickie," the woman at the table says calmly. "Do you know how this program works?"
Her words take me for surprise but I don't let it show.
"Ten teenage actors or actresses are specially selected to audition for the Satellite Program. From those ten, two are chosen to become annual members of the Satellite program and are sent to do their own individual jobs as actors and actresses to show their potential and drive." I recite the pamphlet word for word. "Those who meet or exceed the requirements of their job are presented with representation for every entertainment audition they do in the future. The program ensures a higher probability in taking jobs than those not involved in the Satellite Program. The program is designed by retired actors and actresses who hand pick participants and request a video audition and stage audition. After selection, the actor or actress chosen receives his or her assignment."
The woman nods and the man beside her looks through some papers on the table in front of them. I got here two hours ago and it's finally my audition time. I don't know whether or not they'll give me a script for the audition, but I'm good at improve so it shouldn't be a problem. In truth, ever since I was three I imagined myself being famous. I thought that maybe I'd be a singer or a dancer. Acting hadn't occurred to me before I took Drama class in elementary school.
Now I'm several cities away from home, standing before the two people who started the mysterious but highly credible program. They act kind but I can't really tell since everything they say is said so firmly, impersonally, and they're only concerned with me for the moment. I guess since it's an audition, they should be, but it makes me slightly nervous. I'm better with bigger crowds because it's impossible to look them all in the eye. When you are in a plain room with only two other people, it's rude not to look them in the eyes.
"Now, would you be ready to have your guardian sign a form saying that you will agree to all terms and conditions?" the man asks.
"My mother already agreed to sign any necessary papers or documents. The website says there are no trial fees or program expenses." I say carefully.
"Yes," the woman answers. "The program is free. The contract only asks that you sign so we have it to legal documentation that you know your assignment and if you decide not to do it, we can't let you into the Satellite program."
"I'm willing to accept any assignment that will allow me to be in this program." I tell her.
"Really?" the woman asks.
"Then we welcome you to the Satellite Program." The man smiles.
"Excuse me?" I ask with confusion.
"We've reviewed your video many times and are very pleased with your performance. You also have a strong stage presence that I think would be a great addition to the program." The woman says kindly. "The assignment will show us your drive and true determination to become an actress. Your brown hair and green eyes will allow you to have variety between roles as an actress. You also seem very average which allows plenty of space for improvement."
"Improvement?" I ask.
"Think of it like getting braces before your teeth grow crooked. If you work carefully from the beginning, you won't need to go back and fix things." The man nods to himself.
"Exactly." The woman agrees. "But I am going to let you know now, this is not a competition. The only time you were competing was today and you've already won. In the past, we have had members of the program try to ruin other members' assignments. We don't want that to happen this year and ask that you keep your own assignment in mind."
"So, when do I get my assignment?" I ask with too much thrill in my voice.
"We specially chose this assignment for you. It should bring out the real actress in you." The man smiles as he hands me a folder. "You will be under this cover starting this school year. Expenses will be paid and you will attend this school in the fall."
I open the folder and look at the picture of the school. It looks beautiful. The campus is laid out over a large area like a university. The only places that are more than one story are the dorms I think. There's even a deli on campus. It's huge. Why would you ever need to leave this place? The name at the bottom of the picture says Aurora Academy.
"A boarding school?" I ask.
"You will be staying on campus, but it's not far from your home I believe." The man says.
I move the picture aside and search through the folder before I come across a profile paper. There's no picture so I can assume this is my new identity for the year. Samuel Milo.
"Samuel Milo?!" I ask with shock.
"Ah, yes. You will be staying in the boys' dorms." The woman says.
I read further down my profile. I have short brown hair and green eyes. I don't play sports and I want to be an actor.
"We reviewed your résumé several times and had a feeling you would please us in person as well. We didn't put you too outside the box. Not every guy plays football or intense video games." The woman laughs. "So we thought you should hide in plain sight."
"I feel like I'm in the Witness Protection Program." I sigh.
"If you accept your assignment, have your mother sign these papers." The man says. "The school is a little advanced so we also recommend focusing on studies. You need to keep at least a C average or higher. Your schedule, room key, and gym uniform will be shipped to you a week after signing. We'll also include your 'supplies' for the assignment."
"So, there wasn't really going to be an audition in the first place?"
"This was an audition, just speaking with you." The woman says. "But we had already chosen the two that would join."
"Welcome to the program." They say together.
My eyes light up and I'm so ready to just jump up and down, but I try and keep my composure. Still, I let my smile show big and broad across my face. If I knew from the beginning that I had already been chosen, I wouldn't have been so nervous!
"So, I'm sorry, I don't know your names." I say shaking their hands. "The website didn't say anything and neither did the pamphlet."
"I'm Marco Satellite." The man says.
"And I'm Margo Satellite." The woman smiles.
"Thank you both so much for this great opportunity! I promise you won't regret choosing me." I grin.
They both lead me out of the doors and into the lobby where my mother and sister wait for me. I keep a silent face that is unreadable. My mom hates it when I do that.
"How'd you do?" she asks immediately.
I let my smile break through like sunlight and she grins even bigger than me.
"Really?!" she squeals. "Did you get it? Are you in?"
I nod speechlessly, partly because my mother's excitement is a little embarrassing. She hugs me so tight I don't feel like I can breathe.
"Mom…mom! I can't breathe!" I huff.
"I'm sorry honey." She says laughing. "Lindsey, isn't this great?! Your sister made it!"
Lindsey looks up from her PSP for a few seconds and nods calmly. She tugs on the front of her cap and continues to play.
"You are the worst sister ever." I say with a displeased tone.
Despite her being my twin sister, she's almost my complete opposite. We're identical except I have one small mole just above my left collar bone and one just above my left ankle that she doesn't. She wears graphic tees and loose cargos where I dress in fluttery blouses and boot cut jeans. Plus she's always wearing that stupid hat and carrying around some sort of gaming. She's a total tomboy, but I still love her, even if sometimes she's annoying.
"Doesn't it make you happy that I had so much confidence in you that I didn't bother to worry whether or not you would make it?" she mumbles.
She has a good point and even though I know it's not true, I can't argue. Sometimes you just have to give up. She turns her game off and looks up at the Satellites.
"Mickie," Margo says. "I didn't know you had a twin. Identical at that."
"Only on the outside." I smile for them.
"Ms. Milo, we need you to sign these papers and we can send you her supplies. Make sure to read through it carefully. Some parents didn't even bother to flip through it."
My mother happens to be a lawyer and knows that you should always read through documents before signing. Your signature is access to your life and others'. After everything is signed and everyone seems pleased, we head out of the tall entertainment center that is Satellite Industries.
Lindsey look particularly distracted with a string attached to her hoodie, chewing the end frivolously. In our town, we're well known as the Rapunzel twins. We both have long brown hair that swings a few inches above our hips. We cut it, but it grows back fast so we leave it long. Lindsey usually keeps it wavy or tucked away in her hat, but I braid it often. I'm thinking of cutting it again, especially if I have to wear a wig.
"So Mickie," Lindsey says. "What exactly is this assignment? Are you a spy now?"
There's mock in her tone but I know she wants to know.
"You're going to die over this." I sigh. "This would be so easy for someone like you. I get to go to school at Aurora Academy. I guess you can finally have your own room."
She snatches the folder out of my hand and looks through it, stopping at the profile. She stops walking. Mom turns around to look at her and I'm smiling with a little embarrassment. Lindsey's jaw drops and she falls to the ground in a giggle fit.
"Lin!" my mom shouts. "Don't roll all over the sidewalk. It's filthy and you'll get sick or ruin your clothes!"
"Oh God! I love this! I'm finally going to have a brother!" Lindsey squeals. "Right Sammy?!"
"Brother?" my mom asks.
"I'm going to be a sophomore at the school and I'll be staying in the boys' dorms." I sigh.
"The boys'?" she says to herself. "My daughter is going to be living with a boy? For an entire year?"
"As a boy." Lindsey reminds her with a goofy smile.
"Mom, it's fine. They'll all think I'm a guy so it's not like I'm in danger of anything. Haven't you ever read The Twelfth Night?" I huff.
"Yes, and they found out she was a girl." She says.
"Yeah, but that was different. I have no reason to give up my identity and I have insane acting skills." I say with a definite tone.
"Hey Sammy, it says here you're still a virgin." Lindsey laughs as she stands again.
"What?! Why would they include that?!"
"There is no way you'll be able to do this. You're so girly I wouldn't be surprised if you were made of sugar." She sighs. "You're so wrong for this."
"That's why I need the help of the beautiful and talented Lin Milo to help make me a man!" I whine.
"That could be taken so many ways." She mumbles.
"Come on, you wanted a brother, didn't you?"
"Only if I get to watch you one day at school."
"If you help me, you can live with me!" I scream. "Well, not really because I'll be with guys, but you know how thankful I'll be."
"She could go with you." Mom says calmly which is rather out of character.
"Huh?" Lindsey says.
"It's a coed school and I think you wouldn't feel so lonely if your sister was there." She nods.
Lin and I give her matching twin glares that tell her we know she has ulterior motives. We're always combined against common enemies or in this case, our mom.
"Okay, so I don't feel okay about you being around guys all day every day for a year. You two are so much stronger together." Mom sighs.
"In case you haven't noticed, mom," I huff. "Lin brings even more guys around. She gets too much attention!"
"Why thank you sister." She smiles with her smug expression.
"She's practically one of them! They'll swarm her!"
"You're one to talk, Sam!"
"Stop calling me that!" I shout.
"Both of you, stop it!" mom yells.
Some people walking down the sidewalk turn to look at us but we don't pay much attention. This happens a lot. For some reason we usually end up fighting in public rather than at home where we're usually peaceful twins.
"I don't want you to be that far away from me by yourself. Your sister is going with you."
"But she can't." I argue. "She'll blow my cover. Everyone will know we're twins and they'll figure out I'm a girl before I even get the chance to prove myself an actress!"
"You have so little faith in me sister." Lindsey mumbles.
"She's right, Mickie. Your sister can keep this a secret. Plus the ratings of this school are so much better than Evadale. Lin doesn't belong in anything less." Mom says as she scans over my folder.
"Yeah, and what about me?" I ask.
"You know you're a B average student, Mickie." Lindsey snickers.
"I get it. I'm the dumb twin, but why should that matter now? This is an acting job, not a scholar's bowl." I grumble.
Mom looks through the folder carefully and I wonder what else is in there. I haven't completely looked through it yet.
"According to this, you have to take PE and join Drama club." Mom says.
"PE? I hate gym!" I whine. "It doesn't help me in any way. I already run by myself everyday. I don't need some husky guy who doesn't know what deodorant is telling me how to do sit-ups."
"Yeah, it will probably be very sweaty." Lindsey frowns. Then she leans into my ear whispering, "And you'll have to share a locker room with glistening athletes."
"Pervert." I say plainly. "I'm not like you, thank you very much. I have standards."
"I do not want to know what she said to you." Mom shakes her head. "It is still best if Lin goes with you. It's not that I don't trust you honey, it's just I don't trust them."
"More like you don't trust my ability as an actress."
"I'll do your math homework." Lindsey says.
"I'm listening." I whisper.
"I know you sucked at Algebra 1, there's no way you can handle Algebra 2 on your own." She whispers back. "If you let me come, I can help you out."
In Lindsey language, "help you out" means "occasionally give you the answers". Why does she want to go all of a sudden?
"What's your interest in going?" I ask suspiciously.
"It's true that I'll probably end up with some obnoxious girl as my roommate and I'll be forced to eat cafeteria food again, but this says Aurora Academy used to be an all-boys school until two years ago, which means there must be a lot of legacies still going there." She sighs. "I can't possibly get bored. Plus I need a change of scenery anyway."
"Can you act girly?" I ask her.
"Just let me see your impression of me, and be serious."
She flips her cap off and combs through her hair with her fingers, flipping it back over her shoulders. She hands mom her hat and ties a knot in the side of her shirt to where her midsection is bare. She walks up to me and her blank expression changes immediately. Her smile is perky but not overkill.
"Hi, I'm Mickie Milo, but if you confuse me with Lin, I won't let you forget it." she beams.
"I'm not that perky all the time."
"You so are." She grins deviously.
"You definitely have her passive aggressiveness down." Mom mumbles.
"Mom." I sigh. "Fine, but bring it down a notch next time."
"Why the audition?" she asks taking her cap back from mom.
"We'll talk." I smile.
It's nice to see Lindsey scared for a change.
"So it's decided." I announce. "We both leave for Aurora Academy in just thirteen days! As soon as you enroll her…you also need to get her school stuff and pay for her own stay…"
"I know, Mickie. I'll handle all of that." Mom sighs. "You two just get into character. Lin, teach her how to be a man."
"You're the best manager in the world mommy!" I squeal.
"Don't pull the 'mommy' thing with me. You're fifteen."
Mom keeps walking and it's not until we're on the bus back home that Lin and I both realize that mom got her way. We both laugh at our easy manipulation and talk about arrangements for clothes shopping the next day.