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Because of Albert, Irving and his family have had to move 8 times in the past 3 years. When Irving finally makes friends, his family moves again. But this time, the Stommelings will finally settle down in a town called Danville. But can Irving make friends? And can Albert behave himself in the week that he has in a public school?
Main Characters in the Story
Irving Stommeling: He is in fourth grade. He had been moving since he was in first grade, but now he is sick of it. Because Albert has been expelled from many schools, his family has to move. Finally, they move to Danville and put Albert in a boarding school. Irving also has problems making friends because he always stalk the kids that seem "cool", but this just brands him as a weirdo. Most of the kids in his class don't seem to like him very much. He later begins to obsess over two of his classmates.
Albert Stommeling: Irving's older brother. In his past seven schools, he had been taken advantage of by the "cool kids" and getting caught doing things like pulling fire alarms. He also owns a pair of nunchucks, which is not a good thing. Albert is also mean to many students and teachers, so his parents put him in a boarding school so he can behave. Before he is eligible to go in the boarding school, he has to go to the local high school. He becomes friends with Coltrane, his neighbor. He also has a slight crush on Stacy, but nothing much comes out of it due to Coltrane telling him that he has a crush on her, and Albert being forced to back off.
Alicia Stommeling: She is a stay-at-home mom. Irving is very close to her. She also tries to make Irving go on a playdate with Buford and Baljeet, which ultimately fails. She also seems to favor Irving more than Albert, which is one reason why the two brothers aren't on good terms.
George Stommeling: He's like any normal dad. Once they move to Danville, he isn't around much because he has to commute to his job that was near his old home, which takes a toll on his sons. He is also very strict, mostly toward Albert.
Phineas Flynn: A classmate of Irving's. He is one of the most popular boys in the grade, but he's not a snob. Irving soon starts to become his biggest fan after he builds an invention at recess with Ferb.
Ferb Fletcher: See Phineas.
Isabella Garcia-Shapiro: She thinks Albert is weird, and is not that friendly to him.
Baljeet Rai: He sits next to Irving. When Irving gets a higher grade than Baljeet on a test, Baljeet thinks he is "competition" and begins to dislike him.
Buford Von Stom: The class bully. He takes an immediate dislike towards Irving, and is determined to make his life miserable.
Coltrane: Albert and Irving's neighbor. He helps them unpack, until Albert takes out his nunchucks and starts swinging them, scaring Coltrane off. He is in ninth grade, just like Albert is. He temporarily has English and math class with Albert. He also has had a crush on Stacy since preschool, but is waiting until the summer to tell her how he feels. He seems to favor Irving more than Albert.
Stacy Hirano: Coltrane's love interest. She's one of the few people at Danville High who's nice to Albert. She's in Coltrane and Albert's math class.
Candace Flynn: Stacy's best friend. She has two brothers that are Irving's age. She isn't nice to Albert at all.
Jenny: A friend of Stacy, Candace, and Coltrane's. Albert has a tiny crush on her. She's in the same math class at Stacy, Albert, and Coltrane.
Jeremy Johnson: Candace's boyfriend. He is also Coltrane's best friend, and is nice to Albert. He is in Coltrane's English class.
"Irving, Albert, we need to have a talk," Alicia Stommeling announced on a chilly December day. Her sons Irving and Albert walked downstairs. The younger brother, Irving, noticed that his brother had a guilty look on his face. Irving wondered what was wrong.
"I've just gotten news from Albert's school," George Stommeling, the boys' dad, announced. "Apparently, Albert has been expelled for pulling a fire alarm during a standardized test. We would send him to another school, but word got out around the school system, and no school around here will accept him." He glared at Albert. "We are going to have to send you to a boarding school. The closest one we could find is in a town called Danville, which is about three hours away from here. Unfortunately, the boarding school isn't letting new members in until the spring, which means you'll have to attend the public high school."
"I thought all the high schools didn't want me," Albert argued.
"No," his dad said. "The public high school in Danville. Boys, we're going to have to move."
Irving's mouth dropped open. "WHAT!? We're moving AGAIN!? It's not fair! I finally made friends!" he screamed. He ran to his room, locked the door, and cried. It really wasn't fair. Ever since Albert had started middle school, he had been hanging out with these punk kids who treated students and teachers disrespectfully. Also, Albert had been caught many times bringing nunchucks to school, and when he wouldn't stop bringing them, he was expelled. Because this was the eighth time they've moved in the past three years, the other Stommelings were fed up. Irving didn't want to move to a new place. He was considered socially awkward, and kids thought that he was a nerd. Also, every time he moved, Irving had been trying to be friends with the cool kids by following them around everywhere. He never befriended them because they found him annoying. This year, Irving had become friendly with the least popular boy and least popular girl in his class. But now, he would have to start over.
Someone knocked on Irving's bedroom door. It was his mom. "Irving, can I come in?"
"Yeah," Irving replied sadly, unlocking and opening the door.
His mom stepped in. "Look, I'm really sorry that your brother had forced us to make this decision," she began. "It really isn't our fault. Albert has always had trouble making friends, but it's gotten worse since then."
"I have problems making friends, too," Irving said, sniffling. "And now I have to make at least one new friend at our new place. What's the new place called, anyway?"
"It's called Danville," his mom replied. "It's a city in a tri-state area. The elementary schools are wonderful. Also there are some celebrities that live there. Lindana, Love Handel, the list goes on."
"I still don't wanna go," Irving said stubbornly. "Albert will screw up again, and we'll end up moving away."
"I talked with your father," his mom said seriously. "We agreed that moving all the time is taking it's toll on the entire family, and we need to stay in one place for a long time. This time, we're going to stay in Danville. You will make new friends, and hopefully, Albert will make positive friends. I promise."
"Really?" Irving asked hopefully.
"Yes," his mom replied proudly. "I have to go make dinner now. I'll call you when it's done."
"Okay," Irving replied. He sighed. He really hoped that Danville was different.
The Move to Danville
On a Sunday morning in March, the family car and two moving trucks parked in front of a house. Irving held his mom's hand as they got out of the car.
"I wish we were back at our old place," Irving told his mom.
"You're such a baby," Albert sneered. "So we've moved a couple of times. Suck it up." Irving resisted the urge to fire something back because he knew that Albert would retort something mean that would leave Irving in tears.
"Albert, please," his dad warned. "Please help me unload these suitcases from the car." Albert followed his dad to the car. Irving walked into his new house. It was just a regular old house. Nothing was exciting about it. Irving watched the moving van people, his parents, and Albert unload furniture, suitcases, and many other things from the moving truck.
Suddenly, the door to the house on their left opened, and a family walked out. A man, a woman, and a teenage boy walked out. The man and the woman went to speak with Irving's parents while the teenage boy walked toward Irving and Albert.
"Hello," the teenage boy greeted them. "I'm Coltrane. I live next door. Can I help you unpack?"
"Sure," Irving replied. He passed some small bags to Coltrane. The three boys walked into the house. Irving and Coltrane walked into Irving's new bedroom. Coltrane put the bags down on Irving's mattress.
"So which grade are you going to be in?" Coltrane asked Irving.
"Fourth going into fifth," Irving replied. "My loser brother's going to be in ninth grade."
"I can hear you," Albert said, annoyed. He walked into the room.
"I'm in ninth grade, too," Coltrane said.
"My mom said I'm only going to the public school for a week," Albert said. "After that, I'm being shipped off to boarding school."
"Yeah," Irving muttered grumpily. He was still mad that he had to move. He would never forgive his brother for this.
Albert took out something black with chains attached to them. Coltrane's eyes widened. "What are you holding?" he asked nervously. Irving facepalmed. Albert always managed to scare away Irving's potential friends with his nunchucks.
"These are my martial arts nunchucks," Albert replied proudly. He started swinging them around.
Coltrane got up. "I have school tomorrow. I guess I'll see you then, Albert." Then he quickly rushed out of the room. Irving sighed. Now Coltrane thought they were weird. He glared at his older brother.
"What the heck!?" Irving snapped. "Why did you scare him off?"
Albert rolled his eyes. "Correction: YOU scared him off. You're probably going to stalk him, just like you stalked those kids at your old school."
"Shut up before I make you," Irving snapped.
Albert held his nunchucks in the air and started swinging them. "You wanna run that by me again!?" he demanded.
"Never mind," Irving muttered. He walked out of his room so he could help his parents unpack more. After everything was unpacked, they ordered pizza. After Irving ate his food, he went to bed, since it was 10 p.m., and he was starting a new school tomorrow. Irving hoped that Danville Elementary School was going to be fun.
Irving Goes to School
The next day, Irving woke up. He brushed his teeth, showered, and changed into a blue t-shirt and gray shorts. He walked downstairs, ready to go to his new school. Albert and their mom was in the kitchen.
"Irving, your father will drive you to school. Albert, you will be taking the school bus with Coltrane."
"Why can't I be driven to school?" Albert complained.
"Because there's no kids in this neighborhood that's my age," Irving protested. "Plus, Dad loves me more than he loves you." Albert lunged for him.
"Boys, please," their father snapped, walking into the room. "Irving, finish up your breakfast. You'll be late for school."
Irving finished up his breakfast and went into his father's car. His dad handed him a five-dollar bill. "This is your lunch money," he explained.
"Thanks," Irving replied. He stared out the window throughout the rest of the ride. When they pulled up in front of the school, Irving immediately clammed up. "Dad, can I skip school and go to work with you?" he asked nervously.
"Absolutely not," his father replied. "Your mother would kill me. Come on, open the door and I'll walk you to the front office." Irving sighed and reluctantly got out of the car. He followed his dad into the school and into the front office.
The secretary looked up at them. "May I help you?" she asked.
"I'm George Stommeling," Irving's dad told the secretary. "My son Irving is a new student here. Where is he supposed to go."
The secretary looked up a file on her computer. "Oh, you're the new student. You will be in Mrs. Williams' class," the secretary replied. "Let me walk you there."
"Bye, Irving," George said as he began leaving the building.
"Bye," Irving replied. He followed the secretary down the hallway. She stopped at a classroom in the middle of the hallway and opened the door. Every student in the classroom turned to look at him. Irving felt like he was going to throw up.
The teacher walked over to Irving and the secretary. She looked at Irving. "Is he the new student?" she asked the secretary.
"Yes," the secretary replied.
"Thank you," the teacher replied. The secretary smiled and walked away. The teacher turned to Irving. "I'm Mrs. Williams, your new teacher. What is your name?"
"Irving," Irving replied shyly.
"I'm going to introduce you to the class," Mrs. Williams told him. She turned to her students. "Class," she announced. "This is Irving, our new student. Irving, why don't you tell us about yourself."
Irving didn't know where to start. "Um....well, my name is Irving Stommeling," he announced. The entire class cracked up at that.
"'Stommeling' is Dutch for 'nerd'," an Indian boy at the front of the classroom called out.
"Class, please," Mrs. Williams scolded. She turned to Irving. "Continue, Irving."
".....Uh, I have an older brother," Irving continued. "He's fifteen."
"My older sister is fifteen," a Japanese-American girl added.
"Can I sit down now?" Irving asked Mrs. Williams.
"Yes," Mrs. Williams replied. "You can sit next to Baljeet." She pointed to a seat next to the Indian boy who made that 'nerd' comment. Irving sat down at his desk and smiled at Baljeet. Baljeet gave him a weird look and looked away. How rude, Irving thought.
"We're going to play a game to prepare for our test on World War II," Mrs. Williams announced. "You will split into two teams. Who wants to be the team captains?" Every hand shot up in the air except for Irving's. Mrs. Williams scanned the room. "Hmm.....Baljeet.....and.....Isabella. Isabella, please pick a teammate."
Isabella, a Mexican-American girl, scanned the room quickly. "Phineas," she declared. A boy with a triangle-shaped head and red hair walked to the side of the room where Isabella was sitting.
"You always pick him," a girl in the back of the room complained.
"Be quiet, Adyson," Isabella snapped.
"Baljeet, it's your turn," Mrs. Williams told the other team captain.
"I choose Ferb," Baljeet said primly. A boy with green hair walked to the side of the room where Baljeet was sitting. Irving wondered if Ferb's hair color was real or not. As he thought about that, he noticed that Isabella and Baljeet were picking more teammates. It soon dawned on Irving that he was going to be the last one picked.
Suddenly, Baljeet pointed at Irving. "What's your GPA?" he demanded.
Irving's mind went blank. "Umm..." He never bothered to figure out his GPA. He assumed that it was a high school thing, since Albert talked about it sometimes.
"Baljeet, that question was not appropriate," Mrs. Williams scolded.
"I think I'll pick Wendy," Baljeet decided.
In the end, Irving was the last one picked. Isabella pointed at him and frowned. "I'll pick.....um....."
"Irving," Irving supplied.
"Yeah, you," Isabella replied.
"Ha, Isabella got stuck with the nerd!" a chubby boy wearing a black shirt yelled. Isabella shot him an angry glare.
"Buford, please," Mrs. Williams scolded.
Irving's feelings were already hurt. He had already embarrassed himself, and he was being called a nerd by his classmates. He hoped Albert was doing fine at his new school.
Albert Goes to School
Albert's first day at Danville High wasn't going so well. He thought he would have more classes with his neighbor Coltrane, but he was wrong. They had gone to the front office to pick up Albert's schedule, and they ended up only having one class together, math. Albert had already been to science and history, and already, he had caused trouble. In science, he struggled to find a lab partner, but finally decided to sit with a pretty goth girl. Unfortunately, she already had a lab partner, and when he saw Albert with his girlfriend, he threatened to kill him, so Albert moved to a seat in the back corner. In history, Albert seemed to be the only one that knew all the answers to the teacher's question, since everyone else in his class was either texting, flirting, or sleeping. After class, some jocks followed him to his locker and called him a nerd. Albert pretended that he didn't care, but he was starting to get annoyed. He thought Danville would be welcoming, but it wasn't turning out that way.
Albert took a math book out of his locker and struggled to find his math class. He ended up being five minutes late.
The teacher looked annoyed to see him. "You must be the new student," he snapped. "Hi, I'm Mr. Wilson. My favorite things are grading tests, listening to Lindana CDs, and teaching local seminars to our youth on the weekends. My least favorite things are....I don't know....lateness? Next time, please be here on time, Mr...."
"Stommeling," Albert supplied. The entire class cracked up.
"Please sit down," Mr. Wilson instructed. Albert meekly found a seat in the back of the room. Luckily, Coltrane was there. While Mr. Wilson was busy embarrassing Albert, Coltrane had been talking to two girls.
"Ohey, Albert," Coltrane greeted his neighbor. "Sorry about Mr. Wilson. He's....odd."
"You know him?" the Asian girl sitting in front of Coltrane asked, turning around. Albert thought she was really cute.
"Yeah," Coltrane replied. "He's my neighbor. He moved here yesterday."
"Cool," the Asian girl said. She turned to Albert. "I'm Stacy, and that's Jenny." She pointed to a brunette sitting next to her.
Albert was so busy staring at Stacy that he didn't hear a word she said. He noticed that everyone was looking at him. "Did you say something?"
"Mr. Stommeling," Mr. Wilson scolded. "Pay attention to the lesson. We have a huge test tomorrow." The entire class groaned. Stacy pretended to gag.
"But I'm new," Albert protested. "Why do I have to take it?"
Mr. Wilson rolled his eyes. "Fine, you're exempt. Everyone else, you have a lot of studying to do tonight." The class groaned again, and some people shot annoyed glances at Albert.
"Geez, tough crowd," Albert muttered. Since he didn't have to take the test, he didn't bother paying attention to Mr. Wilson and zoned out. He decided to stare at Stacy some more. He knew it was creepy, but she was just so cute.
Stacy turned to look at him. "What?"
Albert blushed and turned away. "Nothing." He stared at his math book for the rest of class.
"....And two pages in your workbooks to prepare for the test," Mr. Wilson was saying. The bell rang. "You're all dismissed." Everyone left the classroom. Albert met up with Coltrane, Stacy, and Jenny.
"Well, that was a snoozefest," Stacy snapped. "Who's not going to study for the test?"
"I'm not, since I don't have to," Albert replied.
"Lucky," Stacy said.
"What class are you going to next?" Jenny asked Albert.
"French," Albert replied. "When is lunch?"
"After fourth period," Coltrane replied. "We'll meet you there." Albert walked away. He might have made friends. Maybe Danville wouldn't be so bad after all.
Well, at least there's one place where World War II and my last name doesn't matter, Irving thought as he walked into the cafeteria with his class. The history game didn't go so well for him. When Mrs. Williams asked which of the Axis powers was the last to surrender, Irving had said Germany. Unfortunately, that was the incorrect answer. A girl on Baljeet's team said the correct answer was Japan, and made a rude comment about how Irving wasn't smart enough to know that, and how her older sister, who wasn't that bright, was smarter than him. Baljeet's team ended up winning the challenge, and earning five extra points on their tests. Everyone on Isabella's team was angry and blamed Irving. To make matters worse, Baljeet had taunted the other team for five straight minutes and Irving almost smacked him.
Irving walked up to the lunch line when a chubby boy from his class pushed him out of the way. "Hey!" Irving yelled.
"Get out of the way," the boy snapped.
"I was here first," Irving shot back. "You move out of the way."
"Make me," the boy threatened. Irving rolled his eyes and walked around the boy. He ordered his lunch and walked up to the cashier to hand in his lunch money. He stuffed his hand in his pocket. To his horror, his money wasn't there. He checked his other pocket, but the money wasn't there, either.
"Looking for this?" a voice behind Irving asked nastily. It was that chubby boy. He was waving a five dollar bill in his hand.
Irving jumped to get his money back. "Give it back!" he yelled. The boy started to play keep-away with it. After five minutes of trying, Irving decided to tell his teacher about the problem.
"Buford!" Mrs. Williams yelled angrily. She snatched the dollar from the kid's hand. "You do not steal people's lunch money. Do you want to sit at the silent lunch table again?"
"No," Buford snapped.
"Apologize to Irving," Mrs. WIlliams continued.
Buford shot a menacing look at Irving. "Sorry," he snapped, walking away. Irving was glad that Buford hadn't done anything else harmful. He paid for his lunch and faced one of the biggest challenges of his life: finding someone to sit with. He didn't know many of the people in his class well, and he definitely didn't want to sit by himself. He saw the triangle-head kid sitting at a table with the green-haired kid, and thought they looked like they would be fun. He walked up to the table. Unfortunately, Baljeet was there, with a boy who was on his team named Django. Isabella and a couple girls were at the table, too.
"Hi," Irving greeted the crowd cheerfully. Everyone turned to look at him. The girls, Baljeet, and Django looked annoyed to see him.
"I'll talk to you later, Phineas," Isabella said, leaving the table. The two girls followed her. Irving guessed Isabella was still mad about losing the game.
"Can I sit here?" Irving asked, putting his tray on the table.
"Sure!" the triangle-kid replied. "You're the new kid, right? Hi, I'm Phineas, and this is my brother, Ferb!" He gestured to the green-haired kid.
"...You two are brothers?" Irving asked in disbelief. "You look nothing alike!"
Baljeet and Django burst out laughing. It wasn't a pleasant laugh. It was more like a "I can't believe how stupid you are" laugh.
"They're stepbrothers, dummkopk," Django told Irving through his giggles.
Irving turned red with embarrassment. "Well, I didn't know that," he said meekly. He turned to Ferb. "Is that your real hair color?" Baljeet and Django began laughing again. They were starting to get on Irving's nerves.
"Yes, yes it is," Phineas told Irving.
"You don't have to answer for him," Irving said. "Doesn't he have a voice of his own?" Baljeet and Django continued laughing. Irving had had enough. He got from the table and began walking away.
"Hey, come back!" Phineas called. Irving ignored him. He looked for another place to sit. He saw Isabella sitting at a table with six other girls. Irving decided to sit with them, and maybe score a date. He decided to channel Albert, who claimed he was good with the ladies.
"Hey, ladies," Irving greeted the girls suggestively.
Isabella looked annoyed to see him. "What do you want?" she snapped.
"Can I sit here, darling?" Irving asked flirtatiously. A brunette with a red headband burst out laughing at that comment. Isabella's face turned red with rage.
"....No, no you can't," Isabella said angrily.
"But Isabella, he's new," a girl with glasses protested. "We can't just ignore him."
"Fine," Isabella snapped. Irving smiled flirtatiously at all the girls and sat down.
"So, what were you lovely ladies talking about?" Irving asked, taking a bite of his sandwich.
"Fireside Girls," a blond girl with pigtails replied.
Irving decided to drop the act. "What's that?" he asked.
"A troop that sells cupcakes and earns patches," Isabella replied slowly, as if Irving was a five year old.
"Speaking of cupcakes, we have to sell some this weekend," the girl with glasses announced. The girls began talking about their different kinds of patches and cupcakes, and Irving began to get bored. He looked around the lunchroom and saw Phineas and Ferb building a miniature version of the Eiffel Tower, except with plastic spoons. I've gotta check this out, Irving thought, leaving the girls' table and walking back to the boys' tables.
"That's totally amazing!" Irving yelled. The entire creation fell apart after that, and Irving felt bad.
"Great, now you ruined it," Baljeet snapped.
"Sorry," Irving replied.
"Why did you move here, anyway?" Baljeet demanded.
"My brother--" Irving began. He didn't want to tell people about why they really moved. He didn't think it was anyone else's business.
"Your brother what?" Phineas asked.
"My brother....uh.....got accepted to join....um......this martial arts school," Irving lied. "He goes to...um....High School Without a Cool Acronym."
"What kind of a school is that?" Django asked skeptically. "My sister and her friends go to Danville High. No one's ever heard of what you just said."
"That's what I meant, Danville High," Irving corrected himself.
"People can get accepted for being good at martials arts?" Baljeet asked. "So, you have to be a somebody to go to that school?"
"Can we change the subject?" Irving asked. He was beginning to get annoyed with this conversation.
"Sure," Phineas replied. "What are you guys doing this summer?"
"Nothing much," Irving said. "My family isn't interesting enough. I usually sit around watching TV and going on the computer all summer. Also, spring just started. Why do we need to talk about this?"
"Because summer is awesome," Django replied snidely. "I'm going to help my father out at his art museum."
"I'm going to summer school," Baljeet added.
"Why?" Irving asked. "Are you failing a class?"
Baljeet gasped. "Don't ever say that word! I never get less than an A plus on anything! And usually during the summer, people forget everything. I take summer school to be prepared." Irving rolled his eyes.
"Ferb and I have a lot of plans for summer," Phineas said.
"Like what?" Irving asked.
"Making every day of summer count," Phineas replied.
"Cool," Irving said.
While the others continued talking about summer vacation, Irving grew silent. Everyone had a much more interesting and positive life than he did. He doubted that anyone would find going to eight schools in three years to be interesting. He wanted a better life.
After Albert bought his lunch, he searched for Coltrane. He found him sitting near the windows with Stacy, Jenny, a blond boy, and a redhead girl. Albert walked up to them and put his tray down. The redhead girl gave him a weird glance.
"Hi, everyone!" Albert said cheerfully, sitting down next to Coltrane.
"Hey," Coltrane replied.
"You know this guy?" the redhead asked Coltrane.
"Yes, he's my neighbor. He moved here yesterday, and he's in my math class," Coltrane replied. He turned to Albert. "Do you know everyone?"
"I know Stacy and Jenny," Albert said, turning to the girls and waving. Stacy waved back, and Albert blushed.
"Well, that's Candace and Jeremy," Coltrane said, gesturing to the redhead and the blond.
"Hi," Albert told them.
"So, why did you move?" Candace asked.
"I got...." Albert began, but stopped. He thought that Coltrane and his friends would be creeped out that he had gotten expelled from eight schools. He didn't know how to explain why he moved. "Um...I got accepted into the gifted program," he lied.
"Oh," Candace said. "So, you're a nerd?"
"Candace!" Stacy scolded.
"No, I'm not a nerd," Albert snapped, shooting Candace an annoyed glance. "I didn't only get accepted because I'm smart, I got accepted because I'm an expert at martial arts."
"Wait, you're talking about this school?" Jeremy asked. "No one gets accepted just for being talented."
"I heard your parents talking about you going to a boarding school yesterday," Coltrane added. "Is that the martial arts school you're talking about?"
"Um...." Albert began.
"You're going to boarding school? I thought that was for juvenile delinquents," Stacy said.
"Well, you're wrong," Albert said in a matter-of-fact voice. Stacy shot him an annoyed expression, and Albert felt bad.
"Anything else interesting about you?" Jenny asked Albert.
"Um, I have a ten-year-old brother," Albert replied. "He's annoying."
"My ten-year-old brothers are annoying, too," Candace said.
"Cool, maybe they might be in the same class," Albert said, hoping that Irving had at least made a couple friends.
"Doubt it," Candace said, crushing Albert's hopes.
"So, did anyone else get invited to Mindy's birthday party?" Jeremy asked, changing the subject.
"Who's Mindy?" Albert asked. Everyone ignored him.
"Yes," Jenny replied.
"She invited me, too," Candace said. "I don't know if I'm gonna go. I don't like her, and she doesn't like me."
So, why did she invite you? Albert thought. Out loud he said, "Sounds fun. Maybe she'll invite me."
"I don't think she will," Stacy said. "She probably doesn't know who you are. And plus, half the grade didn't get invited, anyway. Mindy only invites people who are cool."
"You're saying I'm not cool enough!?" Albert glowered.
"Please calm down," Jenny told him.
"Sorry," Albert muttered. "So, did you all get invited to this party?"
"I guess," Coltrane replied. "Sorry." He and his friends started talking more about the party while Albert grew silent. He felt lonely and left out. He wanted to ask Coltrane to bring him as a guest to the party, but he didn't have the courage to bring it up. Albert ate his lunch in silence.
Stacy noticed that Albert had gotten very quiet, and turned to him. "What class do you have next?" she asked.
"English," Albert replied flatly.
"Cool, Candace and I have that class," Jeremy said, oblivious to the tone of Albert's voice.
Albert looked down at his schedule. "So, where's room 778?"
"In the 700 hall," Candace replied. The bell rang. Everyone got up from the table and went to class, leaving Albert to find room 778 himself. He began trudging down the hall in annoyance. He couldn't wait to go to boarding school.
The Family Blowout
Irving waited for his mom to pick him up at the end of the day. He sat down on a bench by himself. Baljeet and Django walked past him. Irving smiled at them, but Baljeet scowled. He whispered something to Django, and Django cracked up. Irving quickly looked away.
Finally, his mom picked him up. Irving climbed into the car and slid down in his seat. "Hi, Mom," he said glumly.
"Hi, Irving," Alicia replied. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing, I'm just tired," Irving lied. "What's for dinner?"
"I might end up ordering pizza or take-out," Alicia replied. She began driving to Albert's school. "I spent the entire day packing and completely forgot about dinner. How was your first day? Did you make friends?"
"Yes," Irving said sarcastically. "I've made tons of friends."
Alicia didn't seem to notice the tone of his voice. "That's good," she said. "Any homework?"
"Yes, I have to study for a test," Irving replied.
"You have a test already?" Alicia asked in disbelief. She pulled up in front of Albert's school. Irving saw Coltrane standing with a group of his friends, while Albert stood a few feet away from them, looking miserable. He suddenly felt bad for his brother, even through the annoyance he felt about moving. Albert said bye to Coltrane, and quickly rushed to the car.
"Hello, Albert, how was your day?" Alicia asked, driving away. Albert grunted in reply and decided to play on a game control.
"Albert?" Alicia asked.
"What?" Albert snapped.
"Mom asked you a question," Irving said.
"School was fine," Albert glowered. "I was called a nerd, Coltrane's friends haven't included me in anything, and most of the people in my classes were invited to a party that I'm not invited to."
"Speaking of Coltrane, should I have asked him if he wanted to carpool with us?" Alicia asked.
"No," Albert said. "He went to his friend's house to study for a test."
"Why didn't you go with them?" Alicia asked.
"Because.....you wouldn't understand," Albert muttered. He returned to his game. Alicia and Irving shot him an annoyed glance.
"So, how was the stalker's day?" Albert asked, glaring at Irving.
"Albert, don't call your brother a stalker," Alicia scolded. "And Irving said his day was wonderful and he made a lot of friends."
"Of course he did," Albert snapped. You are sadly mistaken, Irving thought miserably.
When they got home, Albert stomped upstairs to his room. "Day one, and I already have a ton of homework," Albert griped. He slammed his bedroom door.
"Should I see if he's okay?" Irving asked.
"No, give it a few hours," Alicia replied. "He's just having a bad day. He'll get over it. You can start your homework." Irving sighed and began studying for the social studies test. He didn't really need to study, since he knew everything about World War II, but he wanted to show Baljeet and Isabella that he wasn't a moron. He hoped he would have a much better day tomorrow. He wanted to befriend Isabella, Phineas, and Ferb and he wanted a seat change so he wouldn't have to sit next to Baljeet.
A few hours had passed, and Irving noticed that his dad hadn't come home yet and the pizza wasn't here. His mom walked back into the kitchen. "Mom, where's dinner?" he asked.
"Oh, shoot!" Alicia shouted. "I almost forgot! Albert's boarding school called, and....." She walked out of the room again. Irving closed his books and decided to check up on Albert.
"What do you want?" Albert snapped when Irving knocked on his door.
"Can I come in?" Irving asked timidly.
"Whatever," Albert replied. Irving walked into his brother's room. "Don't touch anything," Albert warned.
"Can I use your computer for a second?" Irving asked.
"Why?" Albert asked.
"No reason..." Irving lied. He felt the sudden urge to look up Phineas and Ferb online, but he didn't want to say that and risk being called a stalker by his brother.
"Then no, no you can't," Albert snapped. "Go away, I'm busy."
"Fine," Irving shot back, leaving the room. "Also, for the record, I didn't have much of a good day, either."
"Why? Did you stalk someone?" Albert sniped.
"No, but at least I'm not getting mad just because my neighbor went to his friend's house without me," Irving shot back.
"Worst comeback ever," Albert said. "And also, Coltrane's friend is a girl, who I might have a crush on, which explains why I didn't go."
"You have a crush? Ew," Irving snapped.
"Boys, pizza's here," their mom called. The boys walked downstairs and sat down at the dinner table.
"Where's Dad?" Irving asked.
"He's going to be home a little late," Alicia replied. She turned to Albert. "Al, the headmister of the boarding school called."
"I'm listening," Albert said, clearly interested.
"Well, it looks unlikely that you'll be able to start attending next week," Alicia said seriously. "The headmister isn't accepting any new students until the beginning of summer, so it looks like you'll start attending the school when summer starts."
"What?" Albert asked in alarm. "But I don't want to spend my summer at boarding school!"
"Sorry," Alicia said. "In the meantime, you'll be attending Danville High for the rest of the semester."
"No!" Albert shouted. "I refuse to go to that school. In fact, I might skip."
"Albert Stommeling!" Alicia scolded. "You've already been expelled from eight schools. Your father and I can't afford a new home just because of your school problems. If you even consider skipping, you will be grounded for the entire month."
"But--" Albert whined.
Irving rolled his eyes. "If you didn't pull a fire alarm, you wouldn't have to go through this," he snapped unsympathetically.
Albert snapped. He reached under the table and took out his nunchucks. Irving didn't know he had brought them with him. Albert began swinging the nunchucks and walking towards Irving. Irving panicked and began running around the table.
"Boys!" Alicia shouted.
"Help me!" Irving screamed. His mom tried to grab Albert, but he shrugged her off and the nunchucks went flying out of his hand. One of the handles hit Irving in the eye, causing him to break his glasses.
Alicia glared at Albert. "But he started it," Albert whined.
"Albert, please go to your room," Alicia said angrily. Albert scowled at her and stomped upstairs. Alicia picked up what was left of Irving's glasses. "I don't have time to fix these," she snapped. "Irving, you might have to go to school without glasses tomorrow."
"But I won't be able to see anything," Irving whined.
Alicia sighed. "You might have to borrow one of my old pairs." She pulled a pair of pink glasses out of a drawer. "I wore these in high school."
Irving gasped. "I'm not going to school wearing those." He could hear Buford and Baljeet's possible insults in his head.
"There's nothing else we can do," Alicia pointed out.
"Fine," Irving snapped. "I'm not hungry anymore. I think I'm going to go to bed." He stomped upstairs to his room and slammed the door. It was a horrible ending to a horrible day. He doubted that things were going to get better anytime soon.
The rest of the week didn't go well for the Stommelings. George had been coming home less and less because he had to keep driving to his job, which was located near the place the family used to live. Alicia had to unpack and keep the household running, which was making her tear her hair out. Irving seemed to get more and more depressed by the minute, complaining that he didn't have any friends and that two boys in his class were bullying him. In Albert's opinion, it seemed like he had had the worst week of his life. At home, Irving and his mom wouldn't speak to him due to the nunchucks incident, and he had been grounded for the rest of the week. At school, Coltrane and his friends kept talking about Mindy's party, which annoyed him. For the record, none of them except Stacy tried to include him in any of their conversations. In math class, Jenny and Coltrane usually talked about students and teachers that Albert didn't know, and in English, Candace and Jeremy spent the entire time flirting with each other instead of paying attention to him. To make matters worse, he kept thinking about how his entire summer would be ruined because he would be shipped off to boarding school. He had the feeling that it was an excuse for his family to send him away because of all the troubles he had put them through.
Saturday passed, and he had nothing to do. Everyone in his grade was going to Mindy's party, and his family members were preoccupied with other things. He spent the entire day playing video games.
On Sunday, Albert decided to sleep in. Unfortunately, his parents walked into his room. "What?" he snapped.
"Your father and I are going to go to the supermarket," Alicia explained. "I need you to take care of Irving."
I think Irving can take care of himself, Albert thought bitterly. Out loud, he said, "Sure, no problem." His parents left the room. Albert quickly fell back on his pillow. He slept for a few minutes until Irving barged into his room. "Irving, what did I tell you about barging into my room!?" he snapped.
Irving rolled his eyes. "There are some Fireside Girls outside who want to sell cupcakes to us," he explained. "I need to pay them."
"Stupid Fireside Girls," Albert muttered. At his old place, whenever the Fireside Girls tried to sell their cupcakes, he usually slammed the door in their faces. Unfortunately, the mothers of these girls complained to his parents about the situation, and he ended up being grounded. Since his parents weren't here, he decided to shoo them away. He stomped downstairs. "Whatever you're selling, we ain't---" He stopped when he saw Stacy in the doorway, dressed in a Fireside Girls uniform. He felt embarrassed to be in pajamas in front of his crush.
"Oh, hey, Albert," Stacy greeted him.
"Hi," Albert replied, blushing.
Irving walked up to them. He looked at Stacy. "Aren't you a little old to be a Fireside Girl?" he asked.
Stacy rolled her eyes. "Yes, yes I am," she snapped. "I'm only doing this for my sister, who's sick." She turned to Albert. "So, whatcha' doin?"
"Hey!" a little girl who was a few houses away shouted.
"Hey, I know that voice from somewhere..." Irving said thoughtfully.
"Not much," Albert told Stacy. "Well, I just woke up." He laughed. Stacy smiled.
Irving looked at them strangely. "I thought you usually slammed the door in the Fireside Girls' faces," he said, breaking the moment. Albert almost strangled him. He hoped Stacy wouldn't think he was a jerk.
"Oh, I usually do that, too," Stacy said.
"....Wow, you two are heartless," Irving said. He turned to Stacy. "I'll take two boxes." He took out a ten dollar bill.
"Where did you get that?" Albert asked suspiciously.
"I stole it from your wallet," Irving replied.
Albert resisted the urge to strangle him again, and decided to talk to Stacy. "So.....how was Mindy's party?" he asked silently.
"Wait, you know this girl?" Irving asked. Albert stepped on his foot. "Ow!"
"It wasn't that great," Stacy told Albert. "Mindy was all over Jeremy the entire time, and Candace was getting really mad. And Candace's mom made her bring her brothers, so I had to babysit them the entire time."
Well, at least I didn't miss much, Albert thought. "That sucks," he said.
"Can I have my cupcakes now?" Irving asked.
"Oh, yeah, sure," Stacy replied, handing two boxes of cupcakes to Irving. Irving gave her the money in reply.
"Stacy, come on!" a girl yelled.
"Well, I have to go sell cupcakes to the next house," Stacy said. "It was nice seeing you, Albert. I'll see you at school tomorrow." She walked away.
Irving closed the door. "Do you know that girl?"
"Yes, she's in my math class," Albert replied, not making eye contact. He didn't want to be teased about his crush.
Unfortunately, Irving was all for teasing his older brother. "Do you like her?" he asked.
Albert turned red. "No," he lied. "Why would you say that?"
"No reason," Irving replied. "I wish the girls at my school were nice to me." He walked out of the room.
I wish EVERYONE at my school was nice to me, Albert thought.
Phineas and Ferb
On Monday, Mrs. Williams had handed the students their tests back. Irving did pretty well, and got an A plus. Baljeet, however, had gotten an A, and was very upset about it.
"Mrs. Williams!" Baljeet whined. "You must have graded the test wrong! I do not deserve this terrible, terrible grade. I will bring shame to my family!"
"Shame to your family?" Irving muttered.
"Baljeet, I graded the tests correctly," Mrs. Williams reassured her student. "This was the grade you got. Why are you so upset about this?"
"I was supposed to get the highest grade in the class!" Baljeet wailed.
"Who got the highest grade?" Isabella asked Mrs. Williams.
"Irving," Mrs. Williams replied. Half the class glanced at Irving in awe. The other half looked annoyed for some reason.
Baljeet walked up to Irving. "This is not over, Stommeling," he warned. "This will be the last time you mess with Dr. Baljeet."
"....Dr. Baljeet?" Irving asked in disbelief, but Baljeet had walked away. Irving shrugged. He was happy that he had beaten Baljeet at something.
Later, Mrs. Williams took the class out for recess, also known as the worst part of Irving's day, behind lunch. For the past week, he had sat on the bench and watched everyone play. Most of the kids hung around Phineas and Ferb for some reason. Irving had always wanted to see what they did everyday during recess, but there was always a huge crowd.
Today, Irving decided to see what the boys were doing. He shoved his way through the crowd to see what was going on. What he saw amazed him. There seemed to be another playground, except this one had flowing water.
"This is the Danville Elementary Water Park," Phineas explained to the crowd. "If you feel like cooling off, you turn on the water and enjoy going down our amazing waterslide. Ferb is passing out swimsuits you can put on over your clothes." Ferb handed a swimsuit to Irving. Irving quickly put it on and joined the rest of the kids. He caught up with Django and Isabella.
"Did Phineas and Ferb make this?" Irving asked.
"Duh," Django and Isabella replied rudely. Irving was too amazed to acknowledge their rudeness. He wished he had a camera to cherish this memory forever. He spent the rest of recess sliding down the waterslide and playing on the slip and slide hop-scotch board. Suddenly, the water stopped flowing.
"What's going on?" Irving asked as the rest of his classmates started whining.
"I guess recess is over," Phineas said. He walked back into the building, and everyone else followed him.
Mrs. Williams noticed that everyone's hair was soaking wet. "Kids, what happened out there?"
"Phineas and Ferb built this amazing water playground!" Irving replied. "You had to be there to see it!"
"Water playground?" Mrs. Williams asked in disbelief. "Irving, your classmates do not build 'water playgrounds' as you call it." She turned to everyone else. "Class, go to the bathroom and clean up."
"But they did!" Irving protested. Baljeet walked past them. "Baljeet, tell Mrs. Williams what Phineas and Ferb did!"
Baljeet held up his hand. "I am not speaking to you. Maybe you can speak to my hand." He walked away.
"Irving, go clean up," Mrs. Williams said. She walked away. Irving sighed and decided to do what he was told.
He walked up to Phineas and Ferb. "That was great," he said. "I wish Mrs. Williams could have seen it. She wouldn't believe me when I told her."
"That's okay, our mom never sees our stuff," Phineas reassured him. "Our sister seems to enjoy them, though."
"Actually--" Ferb said suddenly.
Irving gasped. "You talked! Hey everyone, Ferb talked!" Everyone gave him a weird look. Irving rolled his eyes. "Anyway, you two are amazing! I can't wait to see what you two do tomorrow!" He walked out of the classroom. He still hated the move to Danville, but hanging around Phineas and Ferb was totally worth it.
At dinnertime, Irving told his brother and his mom about Phineas and Ferb's invention. "It was so amazing!" he exclaimed. "They built a playground except with water-filled attractions, like the Slip-N-Slide-Hop-Scotch Board! I should have taken a picture! Speaking of pictures, Mom, can I bring a camera to school tomorrow?"
"Are cameras allowed at your school?" his mom asked.
"I think you're making the whole story up," Albert snapped. He continued picking at his dinner. Irving noticed that he had barely touched it.
"How was your day, Albert?" their mom asked.
"It was fine," Albert replied sarcastically. "I was ridiculed in History, and my math teacher hates me."
"Have you made any friends?" Irving asked.
"No," Albert replied. "You?"
"Irving said he had lots of friends," their mom said. Irving had almost forgot that he had lied about being popular at school. "You should bring some of your friends over for a playdate," she continued. Irving's mouth dropped open. His mom wanted him to bring all the terrible people from his class to his house?
"I don't know if that's a good idea..." Irving began.
"Of course it is!" his mom reassured him. "I would like to meet your classmates."
"Fine," Irving snapped. The family ate in silence until George walked in the door. "Hi, Dad," Irving greeted his father. George smiled, but quickly whispered something in Alicia's ear and they both left the room.
"Why does he even bother coming home for dinner?" Albert snapped. "He's always at work all the time now." Irving didn't know how to respond to that. When their father came home now, he immediately went to his room and stayed there for the rest of the night. Irving wondered if he was hiding something.
Their parents came back into the kitchen. "Boys, we need to talk," their dad said seriously.
"Are we moving again?" Albert asked. "I'm all for it."
"No," George replied, rolling his eyes. "It involves my job. Since it is three hours away, I might have to live at our old place until I work out something where I don't have to drive down for work."
"You're moving out!?" Irving exclaimed.
"It's only for a short time," George reassured him.
"Where are you going to live?" Albert asked.
"In an apartment," George replied. "I can't move back to the old house since we sold it." He looked at his sons seriously. "I hope you understand."
"Whatever," Albert snapped.
"Yeah, sure, I understand," Irving said sadly.
"Good!" George said obliviously. He turned to his wife. "What's for dinner?"
"I think I'm going to go upstairs," Irving said silently. He quickly left the kitchen and ran upstairs, feeling depressed. As if the move couldn't get any worse, he would barely see his dad. He thought things were looking up, but it was probably just an illusion. He wondered when he would find real happiness in Danville.
The Main Attraction
The next day after school, the doorbell rang at the Stommelings' house. Albert went to go get it. He saw an Indian boy, an Asian girl, and a boy with shaggy hair at the door. "Can I help you?" he asked.
"Are you Albert Stommeling, martial arts star?" the shaggy-haired kid asked.
"Uh.....yes?" Albert replied, beginning to get confused. "Are you Irving's friend?"
"Ew, why would we be friends with him?" the Asian girl sneered. "He invited half the class over, but no one showed up. I'm only here because my sister and Django's sister wanted to visit some guy next door."
"Coltrane?" Albert asked. The girl nodded.
"My mom made me come," the Indian boy complained. "She thinks I need a life outside staying in my room and doing math problems."
What a nerd, Albert thought. Out loud, he said, "Do you want anything to eat?"
"Sure," the shaggy-haired kid replied.
Irving walked into the room. He looked extremely nervous, then looked displeased. "Oh, I thought certain people were going to come."
"Who? Phineas and Ferb?" the Indian kid asked. "No, they could not make it. They have a dentist appointment."
"Are those the kids you were talking about last night?" Albert asked.
"Yes, the ones who built the water-park playground," Irving replied. He turned to the other kids. "Oh, by the way, these are some of my classmates. Django, Ginger, and Baljeet."
"Where's the martial arts?" Django asked impatiently. "I want to see the show."
"Albert, I think you should show them your moves," Irving said.
"No," Albert said. "I have homework to do. Maybe another time."
"Told you this was lame," Baljeet sneered at Irving. He and the other kids got up to leave.
"Wait, come back!" Irving exclaimed. He turned to Albert. "Why did you have to shoo them away? Mom wanted to meet them!"
"They came for me, not for you," Albert said. "Why are they so interested in me, anyways?"
"Um.....I kind of told everyone at my school that you were going to this exclusive martial arts school...." Irving began.
"What!?" Albert exclaimed.
Before Irving could reply, his classmates came back, with Coltrane, Jenny, and to Albert's surprise, Stacy. "Okay, Irving, you need to tell your brother to perform right now or---" Stacy stopped when she saw Albert. "Hi, Albert."
"Hi," Albert replied in a squeaky voice. "What are you doing here?"
"Are you going to perform now?" Ginger asked impatiently. Stacy elbowed her. "Ow!"
"Um....." Albert stammered. He wanted to impress Stacy, but he didn't want to knock anyone out if he used his nunchucks. Then again, maybe Stacy would find them manly or something. "Sure," he decided. "Let me just get my nunchucks."
"No!" Irving exclaimed.
"Can't those hurt people?" Coltrane asked.
"Not if your careful," Albert replied. He ran upstairs to his room, grabbed his nunchucks, and came back downstairs. "Should we take this to the backyard? I don't want to break anything."
"Sure," Stacy replied. Albert led everyone to the backyard. Everyone sat on the back porch while Albert took the floor. He showed off his best skills. Everyone was impressed, including Stacy. The only one who didn't enjoy the show was Irving. Albert guessed he was still mad about him breaking his glasses.
"That was amazing!" Ginger exclaimed. "Can I interview you for the Fireside Girls Gazette?"
"Sure," Albert replied.
"Can we have snacks now?" Irving asked, looking annoyed.
"But I have to interview Albert," Ginger whined.
"We can do it inside," Albert reassured her. Everyone walked inside and into the kitchen, where Alicia was making dinner.