Author Topic: story - F means headgear  (Read 6774 times)

Offline silver-moon-2000

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story - F means headgear
« on: 29. May 2022, 14:12:25 PM »
I am also publishing this story in the German part.

I feel that I owe you an apology. At least I owe an apology to those, who read my remarks on my other story "Broken Arm". There I hinted at this story being a bit "technical" in parts. To those of you who now got their hopes up that this story might contain a lot of deep medical knowledge or extensive descriptions of braces... Sorry, but no. No, it doesn't. Not at all! None of that is going to happen. Just the very opposite!

When I wrote "technical", I meant some boring setting-up and explanations that I feel need to be done. Every story has some parts that are less interesting. And I feel that this story has it's fair share of those less than thrilling moments. That is, what I meant with "technical".
<edit> I've gone over the story and rewritten some of the unnecessarily stupid stuff. There is no need for lots of mathematical formulae in a story like this... So, it's a bit less "technical" now ;-)

Another word of advice: As this story takes place in the US, I am using their system of school-grades, running from A (best) to F (worst).

Yet another word of advice: This story comprises two part. The word "braces" is not even mentioned once in the first part! And even in part 2, no one will actually get braces. All they do is talk!

So please treat this story as a story containing "some" braces-content and not as a braces-story! I just want to warn you that this story may not be to your taste!

As there were concerns that this story violates some to the forum-rules (especially the one about the age of the people involved), I have bumped up Rosalynns age. In that process I had to do some modifications. I have no interest whatsoever in rewriting parts of this story however, so the changes are very rough (on purpose!) So, in this universe, there is now a 3-tier school system, where it is mandatory for every student to go to university

Part 1 - In School

Friday Afternoon

Chapter 01/13

The elbows are propped on the table in front of her, the head is hidden in both hands. Rosalynn's gaze goes straight to the tabletop. Or through it. One really can't tell. Probably she doesn't know herself either at the moment.

"Hey Rosy-shmosy, what's up?" A nudge on the shoulder.

The slumped girl blinks a few times and then lifts her head. "Oh, it's you, Mike, didn't see you ..."

"Well, that's hard to do when you stare holes in the table. What's going on? Head too heavy?" Mike, classmate and buddy stands next to her and repeatedly pokes her shoulder with his gangly index finger. "What's all the gloom about? Messed up?"

Rosa forces herself to form a grin. "Could've gone better, but not 'messed up', no... And yourself?"

"I'm content ... but it's always like that with Orals. Methinks, it's easier than multiple-choice ... I can just ramble on and on ... Hey Rosy, the bus is coming soon, are you coming with us?"

Rosa shakes her head. "My mother will pick me up. Must come any moment now ..."

"Well then ... take care, see you on Monday!" Another prick in the shoulder, Rosa raises her hand as greeting and Mike is gone. It's not difficult for him; after all, his legs are as long as she is tall. Well, that's a bit exaggerated, but Mike is by far the tallest in her age group ...

Slowly her hand sinks again, as if all strength has drained from it. The forced smile fades. It's suddenly so quiet.

Rosa looks around the room astonished: it seems to her that only a few seconds ago there had been two or three dozen of her classmates in this room, who had all been talking with one another. A cacophony of voices and laughter that made it hard to hear one's own thoughts. And now there are just four people left. Herself included ...

She hadn't noticed how little by little the first schoolmates were picked up by their parents and now the rest of them have disappeared to the school bus. Rosa was too deeply in thought. Or maybe the opposite is true, and her head was way too empty? No idea.

If anything was on her mind, it was the exam they had today: the fourth of four parts of the test, which - without exaggerating - was the most important test she had written in the past two or three years. And probably there won't be an exam that is more important for the next one or two years to come.

Well, she didn't exactly "write" the test today, as it was an oral exam, but you get the drift...

No, she didn't "mess up" this exam, that's really not the right word. On the other hand, "could have gone better" doesn't fit either.

"Failed" is a much better term for what had happened. Absolutely, one hundred percent and totally FAILED about an hour ago.

Just: Mike doesn't have to know that. Neither LaToya nor Amy. None of her friends needs to - should - find out. And nobody else either.

"Bye guys, till Monday", there goes the next one. Just two others and herself in the big room.

UPT is the name of the test that she failed today. "University Placement Test". As the name suggests, this is the test that tells, which university one can go to.

No, that's not true; if she had been asked in the UPT what function the UPT has, this answer would have been worth zero points.

Let's do that again: In last grade - the last year of high school - all students have to decide at which university they want to continue their "education". Most of them don't really care and choose the university that is most accessible to them. In most cases this will be a public university with no entry requirements. And so, there are no problems transitioning from high school to university.

However, most Catholic university, as well as a number of private universities, do have minimum requirements that prospective students must meet. In other words: These universities won't take everyone, and one has to prove that they are "good enough".

And the way to prove this "good enough", that is: to show that they meet these requirements and thus may be granted access to a certain university is the UPT. Or more precisely: A good result in the test.

Rosalynn presses her lips together. Her gaze lowers again, glides over the scribbled table surface until her eyes land on the note that lies on the table between her elbows:

At the top left, in block letters, her name: ROSALYNN CARTER. Yes, she bears the same name as one of the former First Ladies; how nice of you to notice ... just too bad that the name did not give her any advantages in the test ...

In the middle of the sheet in big and bold letters: "UPT - Part 4 of 4 - Oral examination": Oral examination as the fourth and final part of the test.

Below is the topic of the exam, the names of the two examiners and at the bottom their signatures. But that is now of no interest, because Rosa's eyes wander to the table in the lower third of the sheet. There the two examiners summarized Rosa's performance based on several criteria. And there, in the last line of that table: "Total score: 45%"

And that ... that's bad. Worse than bad. Piss-poor! And in order to add insult to injury, her grade is written on the top right of the paper: As amply known from those cartoon series', her fate was sealed with a thick red pen: "F"

"F" - "failed"

No, this red-letter grade on the sheet in front of her does not apply to the entire UPT, just to the fourth part. Each of the parts has its own grade. They are added together at the end. And then the grades that one has written during the year also count in somehow. Together, these form an overall score; and only this score is important in the end.

In other words: If the other three exam-parts - that Rosa had written over the last couple of weeks - turn out good enough or if one has worked hard enough over the course of the normal school-year, one not-so-good grade can still more or less be mitigated.

But if one fails as completely as she did earlier ... there's no coming back from it! And that, even when Rosa's grades weren't that bad to begin with! She is not a nerd, but she was in the upper third of her year. Should have been a safe position for getting a good test result.

Especially when considering that in the oral part, the testee has the opportunity to choose which subject they want to be tested in! Of course - like everyone else - Rosa had chosen the subject in which she had felt strongest. In her case, "Geography". That could have become her best grade! But instead ...

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #1 on: 30. May 2022, 18:03:24 PM »
Chapter 02/13

"Rosalynn? What are you still doing here? Shouldn't you have gone home already?"

The girl's head pops up and her eyes widen. She hadn't heard the teacher approach.

In front of her stands the person she wants to see least at the moment. Actually, she doesn't want to see anyone right now, but much less this man: Mr. Klyne, vice principal. Also her geography teacher and thus one of the two teachers who had let her "rattle through" the oral exam an hour ago.

"My ... my mother is picking me up. She ... she's a little late ..." Lynn doesn't want to admit that after the shock of having flunked the exam, she totally forgot to call home. It occurred to her far too late and therefore it will be another few minutes before her mother will be here.

Surprised, Rosa looks around: She is the last one here and - apart from Mr. Klyne - alone in the large room. She hadn't noticed how the last two, two sisters, had finally been picked up by their parents. She hadn't noticed how the two girls had said goodbye to her and were amazed not to receive an answer from Rosa. Much too preoccupied, she instead had stared at the three red lines that make up her grade: "F".

Rosa looks at the clock, startled: Damn it, it's a lot later than she thought ... "Oh ... oh ... do you have to lock the room? Do I have to leave?" She tries to get up and at the same time stuff that paper into her school bag. If possible, without the teacher seeing it.

Which is of course pointless, because it was exactly this man who filled out exactly this form and wrote exactly this grade on it; Rosa can't keep anything secret from him. And yet she doesn't want him to see it again. Nobody should see it.

"Sit down, Rosalynn, you still have plenty of time!" Mr. Klyne doesn't know how to react. He is surprised at how rattled the girl in front of him is. Should he leave her alone? He decides against it, leans against the neighboring table, crosses his arms over his chest and looks at the girl thoughtfully: "How do you feel?"

"Like shit ..." A dry laugh follows when she sees his surprised face. "Did you expect anything else, sir?"

He takes his time with his answer: "I did not expect that you would be in good spirits, no, certainly not. But ... I also did not expect that it would affect you like that ..."

"And ... and why NOT?" Rosa feels a lump in her throat. "I mean ... take a look at that ..." Forgotten is the wish to keep the note a secret; accusingly, she points to the red letter in the upper right corner. "That is ... this is ...", she cannot find the right words.

"Is the grade really that bad for you?" His voice sounds friendly, almost gentle.

Rosa laughs, but it's not a happy laugh: "This is my first 'F' since ... since ever ... I've NEVER been this bad ..." She shakes her head sadly "Damn it!"

"Yes, that is definitely not nice for you," he begins. Lynn can hold back just in time, not to throw a "Fuck you, as**ole!" at him. He has no idea. Absolutely no idea!

"But this one 'F' is definitely not the end of the world," he tries to comfort her.

"Yes, it is!" she starts. "That's ... with that I can ..." she can't go on, the lump in her throat is choking her. She presses her lips together. A single tear forms in the corner of the eye.

A few seconds pass and then she has herself under control again.

"Do you want to explain to me what exactly the problem is?" the teacher asks gently. Rosa shakes her head vehemently.

After a short pause, Mr. Klyne nods and gets up from the table. "You best try not to let it get to you too much ..." Then he walks slowly to the door.

A second goes by, then another. "I ... I wouldn't have cared if I had gotten the 'F' in a normal test ..." she laughs bitterly: "No, of course I WOULD have minded ... but ... do you understand, what I want to say, sir?" Mr. Klyne stops, turns slowly, and then nods.

"But now ... with ... with the 'F', my average dropped too far," sniffs Rosa. Her gaze goes back to the paper in front of her, but she does not see it. A wet haze forms on her eyes. "The 'F' screwed up my average, I won't be able to go to the university I wanted anymore ..."

"So you took the test because you need the result?"

The student nods.

As there are no entry requirements for public universities, in theory only students who want to go to a "non-public" university would have to take this test. And in most other schools this is indeed handled that way.

However, in this high school it is common for ALL last-year students to take the "University Placement Test". Probably so that they - if they do well enough - have the choice and possibility to go to a private university at any time, even if they didn't want to at the time of the test.

Most of the students who - nevertheless - will in fact go to public universities do therefore not really care about the test. It does not matter to them, as the UPT grade will not be included in their end-of-year report. This test is important solely for lifting the access restrictions.

Mike, her buddy, for example, doesn't want to go to a private university and therefore doesn't care at all how he fares in the UPT. He's almost proud on the fact, that he didn't learn for a single hour. But for Rosalynn, the result is important ...

"Still, Rosalynn ..." Mr. Klyne sits back on the table next to her. "I don't know your grades in detail, but you're a good student. You should get over 70% easily, shouldn't you?"

"What use is that to me?" Rosa starts. "Tell me what the hell I should do with 70% ... I can't do fuck-all with that..." She seems surprised, hadn't expected that outbreak herself. "Sorry, sir." she mumbles then.

He deliberately ignores the inappropriate tone of her voice. "Why not?"

Most of the universities that require a successful UPT at all, have their limits set to 70%. In other words: If at the end of the UPT the result will be greater than or equal to 70%, everything is fine: the entry requirement is met, and the student can expect to be admitted to the university of their choice.

Only, in Rosalynn's case, things are a little different: "I want to go to Bedford Uni ..."

Mr. Klyne raises his eyebrows: "Oh!"

She laughs hard: "Yeah, 'oh' fits pretty well ..."

To call Bedford Uni - or 'The Primary University of Bedford County' to use its full name - an elite university would be absolutely and completely exaggerated. Naive even. But the university is good. Good enough to justify raising the bar so as not to be inundated with applications.

"What score do you need for Bedford? I don't know by heart ..."

Rosa sniffs again: "80%"

"And ... if I may ask ... where are you?"

Rosa's eyes cloud again, her limit is almost reached. "Seve ... seventy-eight"

He seems concerned: "Are you sure?"

The girl nods. "Did... did the math ... with the 'F', it's not enough". She points to a crumbled sheet of paper with disjointed scribbled calculations on it. A tear rolls down her cheek.

She rummages in her backpack and pulls out a handkerchief. She doesn't look at him as she wipes the tears from her eyes. "Sorry ... that was stupid ..."

He ignores her emotional outburst. "You really want to go to Bedford University? There are plenty of other good universities around ..."

Rosa shakes her head: "I WANT to go there. ONLY there! If ... if I can't go there ... then ... then I couldn't care less about university at all..."

"There, there, there, Rosalynn," urges the teacher, "that might be a bit harsh, don't you think so?"

The student just shrugs. She has herself under - some - control again. In the meantime, she has turned quite red: To have lost to her emotions in front of the teacher is extremely embarrassing. She is just lucky that none of her classmates noticed this meltdown.

"My ... my grandmother was there when it was still an all-girls university. And my mother was there too ... And what they told me ... it must have been great then. And it still is now ... I WANT to go to Bedford."

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #2 on: 31. May 2022, 18:53:33 PM »
Chapter 03/13

She looks directly at him for the first time in a long time "Please ... Mr. Klyne ... can't you ... I mean ... can't I maybe ..."

He interrupts her resolutely: "No, Rosalynn, you have to get that out of your head! I know that you don't want to hear it and I know that you don't like it, but unfortunately it is not possible that you repeat the test. You have to understand that!"

He ignores the - admittedly vague - suggestion whether he might not "tweak" her score a bit.

The silence weighs uncomfortably on the girl. Then she nods dejectedly. "I ..." she mumbles, "I was just hoping ..."

She stares in silence for a few seconds, then shakes her head as if she still can't believe what happened. She points accusingly at the piece of paper in front of her.

There's a squeak next to her as the teacher pulls up a chair and sits on it. He no longer looks down on her; one could almost say that they now meet at eye level.

"I hope you can understand that we had no choice but to give you this score ..."

She looks up and into his face. And shakes her head.

"May I?" He sighs and cautiously reaches for the piece of paper in front of Rosa. For the first time in a long time, she sits up in her chair, allowing the teacher to look at the evaluation sheet again.

"What was going on earlier, Rosalynn? We noticed that you were having a hard time, but what happened?"

She shrugs. "I don't know either ... suddenly everything was gone. I didn't know anything anymore ..." She laughs dryly: "Your first question, that totally confused me. I totally misunderstood what you wanted from me... "

Mr. Klyne and his co-examiner were amazed at the answer they got to a simple question. After all, they had chosen a "no-brainer" as an introductory question. They then had to point out to their student that she might want to reconsider her answer.

"And that confused me even more. After all: I know that I know the answer. I was so confused that the answer was wrong that ..." she shrugs again. "And then ... then suddenly everything was gone, and I didn't know anything anymore ..."

The teacher nods thoughtfully. A black-out ... He had already suspected that. Rosalynn is not a stupid student who is overwhelmed by simple questions. Both examiners were surprised that she had completely blanked out during the exam and that she hadn't even uttered a single word to some questions.

"And what do you think we should do now?"

"Please... let me redo the exam, please ... I ... I DO know everything. I know that ..." The facts and data just gush out of Rosalynn, in one sweep she answers several of the questions that before had stumped her.

Mr. Klyne eventually has to raise his hands to stop her talking. "You are absolutely right, everything was correct ..." then he sighs, "That makes it all the more difficult for me, but I CANNOT let you repeat the exam."

Rosa looks at him in dismay; she had hoped, almost expected, that he would relent when he saw that she did know the answers. And if he can't correct her grade, she would be absolutely ready to be asked about another geographical topic. Right now, if it has to be. Or to be examined in a different subject, or to have less preparation time. Or, if necessary, redo the entire UPT ...

If she STILL hadn't known it THEN or had screwed up the exam AGAIN ... well, then ... then it would have to be like this ... If she couldn't answer the questions because she hadn't learned enough, then she would have deserved the grade ... But just because her brain had stopped working ... it's not her fault...

"It's not fair!" she murmurs softly.

"It wouldn't be fair to the other students if we let you repeat the test."

Rosa's head snaps upwards, what did he just say?

He repeats his point again: It just wouldn't be fair to the other students if she were allowed to retake the test. Because then all other students would also have to be given the opportunity to retake the test as well.

"Then just do it ..." starts Rosa, but Mr. Klyne shakes his head before she has finished.

"You surely know that the UPT can only be taken once ... If you could repeat the test until you got the desired result ... how much would the test be worth then?"

"But I don't want to take the test indefinitely, I just want to redo it ONCE!"

"Yes, sure, under very special circumstances a student might be allowed to repeat the exam, BUT:" He raises his arms defensively, "Unfortunately, exam anxiety is not a valid reason. "

A few seconds pass, the only sound being the ticking of the clock.

"Think about it: You were definitely not the only one who stood in front of us teachers with nerves at breaking-point," he begins. "It was really unfortunate that you had such a blackout; but everyone else also struggled with being nervous. We simply CANNOT repeat the test for everyone who did not do as well as they had hoped."

Mr. Klyne leans forward: "If we let YOU repeat the test now, but don't give the others this chance, do you think that would be fair?"

"No ..." Rosa has to admit, "but ... but the others didn't have a black-out!"

"Maybe not," he agrees, "but where should we draw the line? Shall we let you repeat because you were 'completely spaced out'?" Rosa nods slightly, but it is not a demand, but rather a wish, a hope.

"Should we let another student repeat because they were nervous, couldn't answer the first questions and only recovered later?"

Rosa shrugs.

"You surely noticed that Kirsten had quite the cold, didn't you?" Rosa nods. "Should we have let her repeat?"

Rosa looks astonished: She hadn't even thought of that! She had been sorry for Kirsten to have caught the summer flu just when the test was coming up. With a runny nose, headaches and a numb head, Kirsten certainly didn't find it easy to concentrate. Rosa would not have wanted to swap places with her ...

And yet ... and yet she hadn't thought even ONCE that Kirsten should also have the "right" to repeat the test at a time when she was in better shape again ...

For her it had been a case of "bad luck". And, as far as she knows, Kirsten saw it the same way.

But ... on the other hand: Kirsten wants to go to a public university, she doesn't need the test ...

"How long do you think your exam took?" Asks Mr. Klyne suddenly.

She looks at him puzzled: "15 minutes, didn't it?" Stupid question; after all, the oral exam TAKES a quarter of an hour.

He shakes his head and points to the sheet that is still lying on the table in front of her. He points to a comment that she had completely overlooked so far: "Due to the apparent nervousness of Rosalynn Carter, the duration of the exam was extended by 10 minutes."

Rosalynn's eyes open: That's why her torture seemed endless. She didn't imagine that!

"We already showed as much consideration for your situation as we could ... but at some point, we just reached the limit, Rosalynn" the teacher speaks softly but emphatically to her: "We gave you almost twice as much time as the others, but ... it just wasn't enough for another grade. I'm sorry, but there was no other decision we could have reached... "

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #3 on: 01. June 2022, 17:03:30 PM »
Chapter 04/13

The teenager presses her lips together: Just... just don't start bawling in front of the teacher again. "Do ... do you know if Bedford has a ... follow-up-test for people who are just below the 80%?"

One last straw to cling to. A lead-filled straw. She knows that herself.

Because it is crystal clear that there will be NO follow-up test. A university that can afford to raise the average score for admission by 10%; a university that even HAS to raise the bar in order not to be overrun by students ... such a university will surely not hold a follow-up test for people who are stuck just below the magical limit ...

Mr. Klyne doesn't have to tell her that, she knows that well enough. Even then, Rosa hoped that her teacher might know better ... because sometimes even teachers know something ... But his silence says enough.

Her dream has burst.

Admittedly, she hadn't dreamed the dream for too long. Two years ago, she didn't care which university she'd attend. No, that's not correct: she already knew where she wanted to go: where most of her friends go, that's where she wanted to go too.

But then, when she found out that her grandmother had been enrolled in the same university as her mother, interest arose for the first time, perhaps not to go to the nearest university after all.

And after she had talked to the both of them ... the desire to go to Bedford Uni began to take shape. Granted, when her grandmother was there, it was still an all-girls university. And that was a LONG TIME ago. But her grandmother had raved about how nice it was there. Her mother also had a lot of good things to report, which can perhaps be summarized as follows: "You'll be challenged, but also encouraged!"

This principle still seems to apply. The more she read about that university on the internet, the more interesting it got. They offer a lot of interesting courses compared to a public university. Both in the curriculum and optional extra courses. Here she could really "roam free" and learn things that interest her, and not what she has to learn, just because it is on an outdated curriculum.

She had only been working towards that goal for a year. Only a year ago had she got it into her head that she wanted to go to this one special university. Nevertheless: She WANTED to go there, had by now even firmly expected to be accepted there ...

And now that ... Like a branding iron in a cow's hide, this mark has burned itself into her grades. It is no longer enough; her score is too low. Her dream had burst like a soap bubble.

"And ... and where am I going now?"

She runs her hand through her hair and looks at the teacher. For the first time not with a hard smile, but with resignation. All along she had hoped to discuss her situation with the teacher and to be able to somehow save something. But Mr. Klyne had made it clear to her that she may not count on it.

An unpleasant pressure in her stomach. She feels like she is about to get sick. Without it ever really getting to that point.

"But ... that's nothing you have to deal with ... shit!"

A text message: her mother will arrive in five minutes. At least something.

Rosa slowly packs the note into her backpack and gets up. "I ... Mr. Klyne, I wanted ..." A shake of the head: "My goodness, usually I'm not that thick ..." Another sigh. "Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me, sir."

"No problem whatsoever. I was happy to do it." The teacher waves it away and examines his pupil: Yes, she looks composed. Dejected, but composed. Much quieter than at the beginning of the conversation.

He leaves before her. Rosalynn looks around the room again. It's ... strange to be all alone in the room. A few hours ago, several dozen children had been waiting here; were then picked up individually by the teachers in order to answer questions in front of a triumvirate of two.

She entered this room in a good mood and in good spirits. Nervous, but in good spirits, she followed the teacher to the exam room and returned with an empty head and a shattered dream. And now? Now the dream is still in pieces, but at least her head is not as empty as it was at the beginning:

There's no point in pondering any further. What has happened, has happened and she has to accept it that way.

That's easy to say, of course: And of course, it does NOT mean that she can so easily stop brooding and reproaching herself. It also does NOT mean that it will be EASY for her to accept that Bedford Uni will remain a dream.

But she has to accept it. Chasing after a soap-bubble castle built on quicksand makes no sense.

She would love to hide under a stone and stay there forever. But that is of course no solution at all. She laughs dryly: Maybe it is enough to hide under the bed covers for a few hours, to eat buckets of ice cream and to cry her eyes out?

Slowly she sets out for the school entrance. Her mother will soon be waiting at the gate ...

"Tell me, Rosalynn," Mr. Klyne comes back with a thin binder in hand. "How many points did you actually get in the other UPT parts?"

Rosa has no idea why he asked that, but she replies: "91% in the first, then 75% and 83% ... I was actually pretty satisfied ... and now ... well, 45%. Why?"

The teacher nods and seems to be comparing the values with something in his binder. The girl' eyes widen when she notices something: lilac! The folder Mr. Klyne is leafing through is lilac in color. But ... that would mean ...

She knows that official files are always kept in lilac-colored binders. And if he flips through it like that ... then ... She's craning her in the - unsuccessfully - attempt to catch a glimpse.

"I just had a look at your grades ..." The assumption has become a certainty. "Of course I don't know how you calculated your result ... but I can't understand off the top of my head how you got to 78% ..."

"What ... what do you get?" Rosa holds her breath.

May it be? May she hope? Or will Mr. Klyne just say: "I get 71%, so you never stood a chance from the start ..."

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #4 on: 02. June 2022, 16:38:49 PM »
Chapter 05/13

But the teacher doesn't say that. He doesn't give her any other number either. He ponders for a moment and then comes up with an idea: "Tell me, what grade in geography did you use for your calculations?"

Well, as I already hinted at, it is a tad complicated - or maybe we should rather call it "tedious" - to calculate the score, that's relevant for lifting the access restrictions. It starts with the fact that there is not only one UPT score but that the UPT comprises four individual tests; each with it's own grade.

But that's not all. After all, the UPT is only one part of the equation. The grades that the students achieved during the school year, also factor in. What makes it even more complicated is, that some grades will count more towards that final score than others. So some weighting has to be done in the process.

But Rosalynn thinks that the process is actually fair. After all, it SHOULD matter what grades one got during the school year. Because those grades will be on the report; those are the "real" grades. Of course, they should play a role in determining which university is the right one. A SINGLE test at the end of the school year, even if it consists of four parts, can never show a student's performance as well as an entire school year ...

Rosalynn didn't expect an 'A' in the oral exam. But she knew she wouldn't receive a bad grade; she had known the material too well for that. Maybe it would have been an 'A', more likely a 'B' or, in the worst case, a 'C'. At least if she hadn't had a blackout.

After she got the results of the third test, she sat down at home and tried to figure out, what score she could expect in the end. And she had calculated that - with a 'B' in the oral exam - she should get a 83% score. With a 'C' it would have amounted to 82%.

In other words: If she hadn't screwed up the test today, she would have easily overcome the 80% hurdle ... but because of the 'F' she is now stuck at 78%!

She looks astonished at the teacher. Why does he ask about her grade in geography? OK, well, she chose for the oral exam to be examined in 'Geography', that's why. To make it fairer, some grades are weighted a lot higher than others. And - as a matter of fact - the school-year grade in the subject of the oral exam is among the most important grades overall.

That is why her grade in Geography definitely plays a role...

But... no, that still does not answer the question, why Mr. Klyne asked about her Geography-grade. After all, it is obvious, what her grade will be. The school-year has run its course, all the tests have been written. While she doesn't have the report in her hands yet, Rosa knows very well, what grade her report will show.

"'B', why?" She finally replies.

A change goes through the teacher before her. Strange: some of the tension seems to be leaving his body. He smiles at her in a friendly and encouraging way. "Then things have cleared themselves. Now I understand how you get to 78%. Will you do me a favor?"

Actually, Rosa just wants to go home, but she nods: "What?"

"Calculate your UPT score again at home. But this time ... use an 'A' in Geography."

"But ... but why 'A'? I was sure I would get a 'B', and ..." Her eyes widen as she "understands".

"No, Rosalynn, no!" The teacher shakes his head "I wouldn't do THAT. Certainly not. As much as I would be sorry for you, but manipulating your grades, I would NOT do that!" Then he allows himself to smile: "I COULD NOT do it anyway, even if I WANTED to. The grades have been entered and checked a week ago. The computer wouldn't let me change anything by now ..."

"No, Rosalynn, do the math again at home. You will see that you were right on the brink, between 'A' and 'B'. YOU then apparently continued with 'B'." The girl nods with bated breath.

"But look at your grades in geography over the last year: In the first test you started with a 'C', but in the last tests you consistently wrote 'A's ... You have improved significantly and have contributed well... And because you were on the brink, I decided to give you the better grade ... That's all."

With every sentence her eyes have grown bigger and bigger, are now as big as saucers. Her mouth opens, but no sound escapes. "Why ... why is he telling me that?" Rosa runs her hand nervously through her hair: "He wouldn't be so mean and tell me to recalculate my score it if wouldn't affect the grade, would he? That ... he wouldn't do that, would he?"

"Technically, I am not allowed to show you this ..." he laughs, "actually I am not allowed to tell you ANYTHING ... I shouldn't have told you about the 'A' either ... but take a look here:"

He lays the folder on the table in front of him and covers most of the contents with his hands. Rosa steps up nervously. He left a little space between his hands. It reads - still in handwriting: "UPT - final score:"

Her lips are trembling. Before tears fill her eyes, she can read: "81%"

A text message: Probably her mother telling her that she is waiting at the school gate. But that doesn't matter to Rosalynn at the moment.

She giggles and sobs, she laughs and cries.

From somewhere a handkerchief is pressed into her hand and a distant voice asks: "Are you okay?"

She blinks the tears from her eyes and stares again at the report in front of her. Mr. Klyne pulled his hands away, but the girl doesn't care about the other grades. Her eyes wander around until she reads the magical words again. She has to ... she just HAS TO know if she has read it right after all:

"UPT - final score: 81%"

An ear-to-ear grin; an ecstatic giggle.

"Better now?"

A nod, then a shake of the head, then a mixture of both: "Yes ... no ... but ... yes ..." She beamed at the teacher and giggled again. "Thank you..."

"I didn't do anything. It was YOUR solid performance throughout the school year that 'saved' you. It's unfortunate that because of your blackout you didn't get a higher score, but the 81% should be enough for you." He closes the binder and picks it up again. It's time to leave.

"Don't take the matter too much to heart and rather be glad that it worked out against your expectations!" He claps his hands. "I suggest that you don't keep your mother waiting too long ..."

She nods and walks away with a quick pace. Then she turns around with a red head and comes back: "I'm sorry ... I'm completely blown away ..." Rosa grins awkwardly. "Thanks again. Thanks for everything! And ... please don't blame me for the crying, I'm sometimes a bit emotional..." She laughs. With red eyes, but she laughs.

The ringing of her smartphone saves him an answer: "Honey, I'm waiting at the gate, where are you?"

"I'm coming, mom, I'm flying ..." trills the girl, turns around and runs through the empty schoolhouse with a light step.

Offline Sparky

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #5 on: 02. June 2022, 18:14:12 PM »
Absolutely loving your writing. The complete lack of braces just doesn't matter! I'm hooked...

Offline libtech

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #6 on: 02. June 2022, 21:08:15 PM »
Liking it so far. A little slow but should be a good one.... Hurry lol!!! I want to read more! Lol

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #7 on: 02. June 2022, 21:25:29 PM »
Glad you like it. Hope, it stays that way ;D

A little slow but should be a good one....

It IS a slow one. As I said, even in Part 2 (which starts tomorrow), there won't be any braces. Just talk about them.

Hurry lol!!! I want to read more! Lol

One chapter a day keeps the readers at bay

Well... I do not want to keep you at bay, but the rhyme was to good to ignore.  ;D

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #8 on: 03. June 2022, 16:03:57 PM »
Part 2 - At home

Friday Evening

Chapter 06/13

The journey home is relatively uneventful. Of course, she is pestered by her mother, but she fends off most questions. Rosalynn still can't believe what happened a few minutes ago. The roller coaster of emotions, the ups and downs, hopes and fears and all the crying ... all of this has to be processed before she can answer her mother.

At home she has to hold on to herself not to run straight to her room. Her parents are quickly fobbed off with a cryptic "I absolutely have to check something right now", then the children's room door slams shut.

Rosa doesn't think that her teacher lied to her. He certainly wouldn't do that. He's not that type of guy. Actually, she had always liked him.

Mr. Klyne is still relatively young. At least young for a teacher, since most of them are "old geezers". Maybe because he is so young, he's also more committed. His cynical colleagues would say he is not yet bereft of all his dreams. Maybe that's true. Maybe he's still a little naive and gullible. But that also makes him good-natured, friendly and helpful.

What other teacher would have sat down with her, talked to her, "comforted" her and ultimately helped in this way? Admittedly, he didn't do "a lot": he didn't "tweak" any of her grades. But that wasn't necessary either.

And even if ... even if Rosalynn hadn't reached 80% in the end ... simply by "being there for her", he had helped her in that moment. And for that she is grateful to him. But of course she is ten thousand times more grateful to him for giving her the better grade as her geography teacher.

Without that, she wouldn't be sitting at her desk grinning broadly and going over her calculations again. Instead she would be crying under the bed covers.

She had liked him quite well during the school year; during and after the exam she had hated him profoundly; during their conversation she had found new respect for him and now ... now he's her favorite teacher!

No, she doesn't think he lied to her. What was in the binder he showed her will certainly be true. He will have given her the 'A'. But ... but she still has to see it with her own eyes. She can only believe it then ... she only can find her peace-of-mind when she has done all the calculations herself and when the result will actually be 81% in the end.

At dinner she is finally ready to answer her parents' questions.

"So how did it go?" asks the father.

"Flunked it," grins Rosa and shovels a mountain of lasagna onto her plate. She hasn't eaten since breakfast. She was too nervous while waiting for the exam. After the exam she had absolutely no nerve for it and until recently she had to recheck the results.

But yes: It IS correct, she HAS reached 81%. If she can assume that she will get an 'A' in Geography, then her place at Bedford Uni is safe. And she has absolutely no reason to question Mr. Klyne's promise.

She sat giggling at her desk for minutes as the last calculation was done. Her parents may also have thought: "The girl is going crazy" when a shrill cry of joy penetrated the house.

With the 'A' instead of the 'B' in geography, it is just enough. JUST ENOUGH! Of course, she had to check her entire calculations over and then over again. But the number had not changed: 81%. That was an excessively close shave! She only got to 81%, because it was her Geography-grade. Which is weighted to count a lot. A change in ANY other subject would not have catapulted her over the magic 80% hurdle.

Her father laughs at her joke: it is clear that his daughter did not fail, otherwise she would not be grinning so widly.

"No, it's true!" Rosa nods with her mouth full. "I had a total blackout and couldn't answer ONE single question ..."

The mother looks uncertainly at her daughter. What she says doesn't really fit her mood.

Rosa gets up, rushes back to her room and a short time later shows her parents the evaluation sheet.

The mother lets the fork drop in astonishment: "Oh, honey, I'm so terribly sorry for you ..."

Rosa shakes her head: "Thank you, but that's not necessary ..."

"And what happens now? What are your grades overall?", The father joins in.

"It's just barely enough - by a hair's breadth - for Bedford Uni ..." Rosalynn nods happily. Well, as happy as one can be when they have received the worst grade in their school career, but it's still just enough to go ahead ...

Then she explains in detail what happened today.

After dinner, the adults decapitate a bottle of wine to celebrate the occasion. Rosalynn gets her glass too, but she's hardly able to swallow the quite dry alcohol. So the parents have mercy on her and open a bottle of Asti for the daughter. She is much more taken with the sweeter drink.

It is good that a weekend follows, because the girl definitely had her fill of the sweet sparkling wine. Soon she notices the effects of the alcohol; first she's feeling jolly and then tired.

Finally, it's time to go to bed. Tired - and maybe a little wobbly? - she's dragging her feet to the bathroom and begins to scrub her teeth.

Suddenly she is wide awake, her eyes are wide open and she bites the toothbrush in shock. One could almost think that a spider crawled over her face.

That didn't happen, but that doesn't make it much more pleasant either. Something terrible just occurred to her:

"Shit! ... NO! ... no ... FUCK!"

No, she did not find any errors in her calculation, 81% remain 81%. It is therefore not a fear of the future that makes her stare in the mirror, but the memory of an agreement that she made with her parents a few weeks ago.

Absentmindedly, she finishes brushing her teeth and then slips under the covers. Until she falls asleep, her mind revolves around two things:



"F means headgear!"

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #9 on: 04. June 2022, 18:55:50 PM »
Saturday Morning

Chapter 07/13

Rosa had slept badly.

All night long she tosses and turns, crumples the pillow, turns around, smooths the pillow again, turns back ... She cannot sleep. But slowly she is getting more and more drowsy. And the more tired she gets, the more relaxed she becomes. At some point she finally falls asleep.

Still, it cannot be said that she slept well. There can really only be three reasons for this: the after-effects of alcohol, the messed-up exam or the ominous agreement with her parents.

Well, let's look at the matter: the alcohol has left the system; the exam went badly, but the grade is still enough for her dream university... two out of three causes have vanished into thin air.

As long as she doesn't want to blame the full moon for her bad sleep (and there was NO full moon yesterday), she has to face the truth:

What she had so carelessly agreed to with her parents a few weeks ago is now coming back and biting her nose.

Tired, she shuffles into the kitchen. "Good morning, honey", her mother is sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper. "How did you sleep?"

"Miserably", Rosa picks up the ingredients for her muesli rather mechanically. The flakes here, the milk there, the honey over there, the raisins next to it. An apple that still needs to be cut into pieces.

"It's no wonder, as much as you gulped down yesterday."

"Did NOT! It wasn't THAT MUCH. Just about half a bottle!"

"There you go", the mother takes a long sip of coffee. "Considering the fact that you normally don't drink alcohol at all, that was a lot ..."

OK, maybe the alcohol HAD played a role in her bad sleep after all ... Still: Rosa hides the fact that her nocturnal restlessness had at least another cause, and instead prefers to cut the apple in pieces.

She was half afraid that she would be asked about her agreement right at the breakfast table, but that doesn't happen. Fortunately! Rosa doesn't really feel ready to talk to her parents about it yet.

She first has to figure out how to deal with it. Should she just keep silent about the matter for as long as possible in the hope that the agreement will slowly but surely be forgotten? Or should she come up with as many arguments as possible so that she can somehow dissuade the parents from their plans? Or should she wait for her parents to talk to her about it and then pretend that there was never an agreement?

No, at least the last "solution" is not a solution at all, because of course there was this agreement; that is absolutely clear to both sides.

And now I've used the word "agreement" often enough that it starts to get annoying if I don't start explaining what it actually means. Well then:

That one stupid effin 'F'. That not only made her cry in front of her teacher yesterday. Not only did it mean that she nearly missed the entry requirements for her dream university. No, it still has an impact even now:

If Rosa can't prevent it, it will ensure that she will soon have to wear headgear. And that ... that's shitty. Not shitty in the same way as if she couldn't go to Bedford Uni. No, another form of "shitty".

Nevertheless: shit remains shit!

No matter what she does: Whether she is surfing the Internet, playing on her game-console or chatting with LaToya on the phone for hours on end, the nagging uncomfortable feeling always stays in the back of her mind. She doesn't really get the question out of her mind: "Do I really have to wear a bridle?"

By the way: LaToya now also knows that her friend failed the last exam. It's a wonder how much calm a few hours can bring to something. Yesterday afternoon, Rosa was sure she didn't want to tell anyone about it. But then her parents were told about it yesterday evening, today her good friend found out ... The girl is slowly coming to terms with having received this 'F'.

Just like Rosa, LaToya wants to go to a university where she has to prove that she is "good enough". That's why the two of them had studied together over the course of the past few weeks. However, in LaToya's case, 70% is enough, and so she - unlike Rosa - did not have to drive herself crazy.

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #10 on: 05. June 2022, 16:58:19 PM »
Saturday Evening

Chapter 08/13

Noon and afternoon go by and then - just like that - it is already evening. And her parents still haven't spoken to her. Maybe they won't? Maybe they wait for their daughter to take the first step?

Rosa had used the time as best she could to come up with arguments that will hopefully lead to her being able to outsmart the bridle. OK, that's a downright lie. Rosa hadn't used the time to do this but played forever on her console. After all, today is the first day in a long time that she no longer has to study. And a new game came out a few weeks ago that she was waiting for and is looking forward to playing.

But to play for hours on end while she is supposed to study for the final exams and then the UPT ... she didn't want to do that herself; not to mention that her parents wouldn't have let it happen. But now nothing stands in the way of gaming fun:

The school year has come to an end and there is no more homework to be done. She still has to attend school for a few more days, but then it's vacation-time. And afterwards: Bedford Uni is calling.

Rosa was so absorbed in the game that she didn't really notice how time went by.

In the evening, after dinner, the parents retreat to the living room, where they make themselves comfortable with some Netflix flick. Rosa goes back to her room, lies on the bed and continues to play on the console. But she can't really concentrate now.

The parents look up in amazement when the living room door opens and their daughter walks in. "Do you still have some space on the couch for me?" Which is a pretty rhetorical question, because the sofa is huge and consists of three different parts: the father sits in the armchair, the mother lies on the large sofa. And the little sofa is ...

"... reserved for you ..." the mother points to the empty seat.

"What have we done to deserve this honor?" The father is curious; it has become a rare occasion by now that the three of them sit together.

Rosa shrugs her shoulders: "Oh, I don't know either. I didn't feel like being alone ..."

"I can understand that," nods the mother. "Do you want a blanket?"

No, Rosa doesn't need a blanket, it's warm enough and she doesn't feel like "snuggling in" at the moment.

Her parents are watching some historic movie. She has no idea what this is about. No wonder, she missed the first hour or so. But even if she had been there from the beginning, the movie would not have captivated her. Firstly, it's boring as heck, and secondly, her thoughts are already preoccupied by something else.

Rosa waits for a suitable opportunity to bring up the tiresome subject. But none presents itself. Instead, she plays on her smartphone, follows the film for a few minutes, disappears into her room, comes back, watches the movie, plays on the smart phone ...

Finally, when her father gets up and leaves the room, a suitable opportunity seems to have been found. "Mom ..." she asks carefully, quietly and almost uncertainly.

The mother's eyes fix on her "What's up, my darling?"

"I ... can we ... oh, nothing, it's okay ..."

A compassionate smile on the mother's face: "What's wrong? Don't you want to tell me?"

"I ... can we maybe talk about ... our agreement?"

"Oh, THAT'S where you're coming from..." the mother understands and smiles. "Your dad and I thought that after the 'F' you simply needed moral support." She nods: "That's probably true too, but THAT makes so much more sense now ..."

Damn it, her father came back sooner than she thought, with a cold beer in hand. "What's the matter?"

"Our dear daughter wants to talk to us about what should happen in the next few days ... with the reward for the test."

The father nods and sits back in his armchair: "Well, fire away ...", turning to his daughter.

"Uhh ..." Rosa doesn't know how to respond to that.

This is a damn stupid situation she finds herself in. She had imagined it to go quite different. In her mind she was much more confident and had been able to assert herself much better. But now...

The father is sitting in the armchair to her left, the mother is lying on the sofa to her right. And she herself in the middle of it all, sitting on the edge of "her" couch, looking from one parent to the other.

"Uhh ..." she licks her lips nervously ... "I was thinking if we could ... maybe make a deal ..."

"Which would be?"

"Can ... can't we just forget about everything?" Oh, yes ... very subtle and eloquent ... and so convincing ... my ass!

"No." The father shakes his head. His tone is matter-of-factly. Not surprised or in any way angry. Rather almost amused. But also confidant. Very confidant. For him, the question does not arise at all.

"We had already talked it through", adds the mother almost gently. "Don't you remember? It was even YOUR idea ... We had reached an agreement in the end! And YOU agreed ... "

"Yes ... but ... but only because ..."

"Because you didn't think you would fare this badly, did you?" the father finishes the sentence she has begun.

Almost desperate, Rosa nods.

"So now? Should we throw everything overboard just because something didn't turn out the way you thought it would?"

"I didn't even say that we should 'throw everything overboard'" the girl exclaims.

"What then? That sounded quite like it ...", the mothers smiled. "'Can't we just forget everything' definitely sounds like 'throwing everything overboard' to me". She turns to her husband: "Don't you think so too?"

He nods. "What kind of deal did you have in mind, Rosa?"

Damn ... damn, this is all going down the drain. "I ... I don't really know either ..."

For the next few seconds, the television is the only sound until the father turns it off. It is clear that there are more important things at hand than to watch the film. Especially since they can fast-forward and rewind at will anyway.

"Just to be sure: you ARE talking about the reward for the fourth exam ... so the braces ... am I right?"

With a contrite grin on her lips, Rosa nods at her mother's question.

"Well, then I REALLY don't know what you want to talk about, young woman," the father speaks up again. "As your mother said, it was YOUR wish. That YOU want to change something now, that's pretty steep!" His voice however doesn't sound NEARLY as accusatory as the words he uttered. He repeats: "That was YOUR idea"

"Yeah, you're right, it WAS my idea ... no, actually not ..." Rosalynn sighs: "The BRACES were my idea, but ... but not the HEADGEAR ..."

"But headgear is also a type of braces ..."

The girl rolls her eyes "Well ... yes ... but ... can't you understand what I mean?"

"We do, but that doesn't change anything about our agreement: YOU had the idea, WE made you a proposal and YOU accepted the proposal ..." The father lifts his forefinger: "And you can't talk yourself out of it: You knew exactly what was in store for you. Do you want to deny that? "

Rosa shakes her head. "No, I don't want to. I'm not saying anything was unfair or anything, but I ..."

"You just don't want to continue anymore?" The mother pulls back her blanket and sits up.

Rosa nods. Damn it ... this is really all going down the drain now. In the last few minutes, she had thought about a few things that she wanted to say to her parents. And she had also thought of something she wanted to respond with, should her parents made snarky remarks ... but now ... now the parents have the upper-hand.

"You can forget about that, Rosa," replies the father

The mother takes the same line: "We're not going to do it, honey."

"But you don't even know WHAT I want," the girl protests.

"Then tell us", demands the father.

This is exactly where the problem lies: She had already said what she wanted: "Can't we just forget everything?" and her parents didn't jump to it. Yes, they did, but so very different from what Rosa had hoped. Instead of "If you want," she got to hear a simple, but pretty definitive, "No!".

Another attempt: "And ... what if I forego something else instead?"

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #11 on: 06. June 2022, 14:52:04 PM »
Chapter 09/13

It all had started with the mother's suggestion a few weeks before the start of the UPT: "What would you think if the both of us go shopping once the whole thing is done with?"

After all, there is something to celebrate: Not only will Rosalynn - hopefully - have received a good rating in the UPT and can thus attend the university of her choice. No, there's more: The UPT also marks the end of the school year and thus also the end of high school. A few weeks later she will be in university - the "grown-up's school". And that's something worth celebrating, isn't it?

Now Rosa surely does not want to say "no" to a shopping spree. At the same time, however, she had wanted to travel "abroad" for a long time. Torn about what to do for a while, she finally asked her parents if she could exchange the shopping spree for a trip.

It was clear pretty quickly that the parents would reject her desired destination. "Two weeks to Japan" is simply not an option; neither in their schedule nor in the parents' budget. After all, Rosalynn is of course not allowed to travel alone yet. But overall, her legal guardians had shown themselves open to traveling with their offspring.

"What do you think of that?" The father asked a few days later: She could also split it up: Rosa could decide: Either an "epic" shopping spree or a longer trip or a combination of both: She would go on her shopping spree AND her trip, but neither would be as grand as if she only got ONE gift.

Rosa quickly agreed. And from there the idea was born to get a separate gift for each of the four parts of the UPT. The parents agreed. But as children are, they can never get enough.

And so Rosa had negotiated with her parents to convert the four "gifts" into four "rewards": the better she does in the four individual parts of the UPT, the better the reward. The parents had consulted for a while, but then also agreed to it.

But with one caveat: Rosalynn's birthday is coming up soon. If they were to actually go on with the "reward system", it would probably cost a lot of money.

Well ... her parents are lucky in that they - without being rich - don't really have to worry about money too much. Her father has his own company with several employees and her mother works as an optician in her own shop. In other words: They have enough money to be able to pay her daughter the - not exactly cheap - private high school - and to be able to do so with pleasure.

And indeed they also have enough money to buy several presents for their daughter. However: "We're not millionaires ... If you really want four rewards for the test ... then you won't get anything from us for your birthday this year. Okay?"

Rosa hadn't hesitated for a second, but - without thinking twice - had immediately agreed.

And so the "agreement" came about, of which I already wrote earlier: The better Rosalynn scores in the four individual exams of the UPT, the better - or more expensive - the respective gift that she's allowed to choose may be.

However, this does not apply indefinitely: "'Give her an inch and she will take a mile', that is not possible," the parents make clear to her: "You have to think about what you want. And then we will tell you, whether WE think that this is fair and doable, agreed?"

Of course, Rosa agreed. Nevertheless, she had a few problems at the beginning: She had absolutely no idea what a good grade was "worth" to her parents. With a perfect test result, may she expect to be able to choose a shirt and new pants on a shopping trip, or does an 'A' mean a shopping spree until she 'can't carry no more'?

That's why her parents made a few suggestions: "What do you think: What grade will you get in math (the first of the four parts)?"

Oh, hard to say. Math is one of the subjects in which the daughter has a hard time. Definitely dependent on the topic. And it is better not to have too high expectations ... then at least Rosa is not too disappointed if the grade turns out "bad": "Don't know ... probably a 'C'?" Yes, that sounds about right ...

"You wanted a Playstation 5, didn't you?" asks the father.

Rosa eyes widen: That thing has been on the market for a while now and is therefore not as expensive as it was at the beginning, nevertheless: It is still expensive enough: And for a 'C' she would get the PS5?

Not quite: "If you'll bring home a 'B', you will get that thing from us," corrects the father.

"Mean!", Rosa is annoyed in a good way.

The mother laughs: "It's not called 'reward' for nothing: you are SUPPOSED to make a little effort ... "

"It's fine, it's fine," says Rosa, laughing as well. Yes: to trade a PS5 for "a few days of study" sounds quite tempting.

But ... but if a 'B' already gets her a PS5, what if ... what if she wrote an 'A'? OK, that's not very likely, but what if?

With that question in mind, Rosa compiles a list of things she might want to have. At first the list gets longer and longer, before it finally starts to get shorter again: Some things are simply "more important" to her than others:

The furniture in her room is beginning to be a little too "childish" for her taste; but compared to the prospect of having a PS5, it's clear who wins.

The first three categories are quickly populated: a game console, a trip and a shopping spree ...

For a long time, she wasn't sure what she should pick as reward for the fourth test: New furniture after all? Rosa doesn't feel like going to a "really fancy" restaurant as her parents had suggested. What if she merges two categories and turns a shopping trip into a shopping marathon?

In the end, Rosa decides to simply ask for money. Money is always an option and can be used "for everything". Even if she can't think of anything better right now, as long as she saves the money, she can still spend it as soon as she knows what she wants to buy with it.

She had suggested those four categories to her parents, and they agreed.

But the very next day, when she came home from school, she had upset the plan again: Because Amy's braces had been removed. And ... WOW. Her teeth look really nice now, so beautiful and straight.

The fact that her school friend got rid of her braces is Rosa's second encounter with the subject: About... yes, about a year ago - her parents dragged her to an orthodontist after all.

Rosa was amazed to hear his findings. Because they differed significantly from what she had thought of her own teeth: Of course they were not absolutely straight, but also not so crooked that she absolutely had to do something about it.

She wouldn't really have minded getting braces. After all, many classmates have them in their mouths; so it would be nothing unusual to join the group of braces-wearers. At the same time, however, she was also of the opinion that treatment was not absolutely necessary; after all, her teeth weren't that bad.

Dr. Coleman, the orthodontist, had seen it decidedly different: Yes, something should be done about it. The faster the better. He had impressed on the parents that - although it is not yet "high time" - they should not let it slide for another several years. Because that would only complicate later treatment unnecessarily.

So the parents - like many others in the situation - decided to "treat" their child to an orthodontic treatment. So sooner or later she would find herself in the orthodontist's chair.

And after seeing the plaster casts of her teeth, Rosa had to admit that "a little bit crooked" is not entirely true. That it probably was more wishful thinking than anything else. So after a few days she had come to the conclusion that - with those "topsy-turvy" teeth - it might not be a bad idea to wear braces after all.

However, the fact that about a year has passed since then without the treatment having taken another step forward has a very specific cause: Dr. Coleman's treatment plan. Because she doesn't like it. Absolutely not! Not at all!

This plan could be divided into two parts: The first part is the braces.

OK ... we already talked about that: Rosa has no problem with the prospect of wearing braces. She doesn't look forward to her silver smile, but on the other hand she can't imagine having problems with it either.

But unfortunately, that cannot be said of the second part: Dr. Coleman had made it clear that the braces alone would not be enough to correct Rosalynn's misalignments. Unfortunately, this will require a second treatment device.

And more than once the term "headgear" was used in this context.

THAT'S why Rosa still doesn't wear braces. She does want straight teeth by now; but not when she is strapped into a bridle for that! That would be extremely embarrassing! And so she had managed to push the start of the treatment further and further back.

Admittedly: The orthodontist had also suggested a less conspicuous alternative to headgear, but for that there would be a significant surcharge on the "cheap option". Money that apparently didn't seem worthwhile to the parents at the time. Or they hadn't expected their daughter to object to headgear in the first place. Either way: Rosa was never asked whether she would prefer the alternative.

And Rosa had not mentioned much she disliked the prospect of being strapped into a metal bow. In other words, her parents had no way of knowing that their daughter would strongly prefer the alternative. But if she mentions that NOW, after an entire year of silence, she certainly would have to expect her parents becoming "a teeny-tiny bit indignant".

She surely would also have to listen to something like "Your aversion to headgear cannot be THAT great if you kept quiet about it for an ENTIRE year!" And it's hard to argue with that.

By now her parents are slowly getting a little impatient. They agree with the orthodontist that they shouldn't wait much longer. So unless a miracle happens, Rosa will soon find herself in braces and with headgear.

And still she didn't bring herself to talking to her parents. Instead, Rosa had actively avoided the topic. Maybe she would have made some last-minute effort to dissuade her parents even with the risk of irritating them.

But nobody can know for sure, because now that she saw how wonderful Amy's laugh had become ... well, Rosalynn was jealous.

If it hadn't been for the stupid headgear, the girl now almost "wanted" to get braces to straighten her teeth.

Wait; stop! Stop! There IS "a way out" now! A few days ago, a possibility, not to be condemned to headgear any longer, has presented itself:

The parents were astonished. THAT topic had never even come to mind. They were very surprised when her daughter requested "inconspicuous braces" as a fourth reward.

But well... why not?

Offline libtech

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #12 on: 07. June 2022, 05:44:16 AM »
Absolutely love where this story is heading!!!! Can't wait for more!! Well done

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #13 on: 07. June 2022, 15:58:50 PM »
As there were concerns that this story violates some to the forum-rules (especially the one about the age of the people involved), I have bumped up Rosalynns age. All involved are now of age! In that process I had to do some modifications.

Those changes will have no appreciable impact on the chapters to come, and so I had no interest whatsoever in putting any effort in rewriting this story. So the changes made (especially to the first chapters) are very crude (on purpose!):

In this universe, there is now a 3-tier school system, where it is mandatory for every student to go to university after high-school came to a close. For the same reason, the "normal" braces-age has been raised by several years, so that now only 18 year-olds (or whatever the coming-of-age is where you're from) start to wear braces

Chapter 10/13

"And ... what if I forego something else instead?", Rosa asks again to her mother shaking her head.

"We had already talked about the fact that the gifts are fixed and that you can no longer change them ..."

With little enthusiasm, Rosa feels compelled to nod:

Contrary to expectations, the math test turned out to be laughably easy. Or the few days she had studied maths had worked wonders: Anyway: With big eyes and a big grin, Rosa had noticed the 'A' that had shown itself on her math test.

She was less enthusiastic about the 'C' in English. To be honest, she had expected an 'A' here. Accordingly, she was a bit crestfallen when she saw the round letter instead of the pointed one.

Because behind the English-test "hides" the trip that she negotiated with her parents as a reward. And with a 'C' she must now expect less than with an 'A'.

The trip to Japan had been out of question from the very start, but for an 'A' her parents had suggested a week-long trip to France. Her first time in Europe ... yes, that had sounded very inviting to the girl. With a 'C' she can now forget about Europe. But she would have loved so much to fly to France ...

That's why she asked her parents: "Can't we swap rewards? Or ... even better: Can't we just say: I may freely choose which grade I want to exchange for a certain reward?"

But the parents did not agree: a deal is a deal. And her daughter agreed at the time. So she shouldn't ask for changes afterwards.

And that is exactly what the mother is referring to now. "We had agreed that rewards could not be exchanged. And now you are asking whether you 'may' forego a reward - in order not to get headgear... Do you think that is fair?"

Looking unhappy, Rosa shrugs her shoulders: "I was just hoping that ..." she doesn't finish the sentence when her father shakes his head.

Actually, Rosa doesn't have much to complain about: Yes, OK, the 'C' in English means she can forget about the trip to Europe. A weekend trip to New York - which she would have gotten in exchange for a 'B' - now is also a thing of the past. Would have been nice to be able to combine THAT with a shopping spree. But it just won't work, so she doesn't need to cry about it ... The 'C' hides a trip to Death Valley. Not Rosa's greatest wish, but better than nothing. And - from a geographical view - surely very interesting.

The 'A' in math had not only ensured that the PS5 will arrive in the mail in the next few days; her parents are even willing to buy her an additional tablet. Brilliant!

The 'B' in the third test, in which "general knowledge" was tested in dozens of multiple-choice questions, ensures that the shopping trip will not be "grand". But she should be definitely able to get some new clothes out of it. Not to shabby! Maybe she can even talk her parents into giving her some extra "pocket money"?

In other words, Rosa had gotten a lot more in terms of reward than she had initially imagined. That's why she almost feels guilty about receiving so many presents. Almost!

If it wasn't for the stupid fourth category, Rosa really could have been pleased.

"And ... what if I do without the tablet? You ... you haven't ordered it yet ..."

Her parents shake their heads in unison.

"And ... what ... what if I," Rosa licks her lips. "What if I also pass on the Playstation? What if we send it back?" This suggestion really isn't easy for Rosa, she had really been looking forward to the console.

Her father shakes his head again.

One last attempt, Rosa ignores the increasingly bad chances: "What if I give up everything? When we say that ..."

"No, honey, that's not how it works," her mother interrupts her flow. "I understand more-or-less that you are trying to get the best out of it. I would certainly do that in your place too ... But, honey ... You have to see that we have agreed that we - neither YOU nor WE - are allowed to change something later on ... "

"Yes, I know that ..."


"... I ... oh ... nothing," sighs Rosa. "I just don't want effin' headgear ..."

"Do you really think it is going to be THAT bad?"

Rosa looks at her parents as if she couldn't believe what she had heard: "Mom, it's HEADGEAR..."

"Yes, I know that..."

Rosa rolls her eyes: Of course, her mother knows what headgear is. But she has NO idea how bad that must be.

"As a child I had a device like this myself ... AND I survived it ..."

The daughter stares at her mother with big eyes: "You ... you had headgear?"

The mother nods.

"But ... but why didn't you tell me?"

The mother looks puzzled at her daughter: "Why should I have done that?" Then she sighs: "Oh honey, don't make life so difficult for yourself. Headgear is not something to worry about like you are doing ... "

Rosa shrugs her shoulders. She doesn't want to contradict her mother. However, it is clear that she does not share her opinion.

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: story - F means headgear
« Reply #14 on: 08. June 2022, 16:34:31 PM »
Chapter 11/13

A few seconds pass, then she sighs, turning to no one in particular: "If I had even remotely suspected that I could flunk the oral exam like that, then ..."

"What then?" the father asks when Rosa is silent.

"... then I would probably have insisted that the worst thing I could get are braces. But WITHOUT headgear!"

The father looks skeptical: "I don't think we would have allowed that, Rosa!"

She looks puzzled at her father, so that he feels compelled to explain:

"Rosa, you still remember what Dr. Coleman explained to us: The braces are not enough on their own, you NEED an additional device ..."

Rosa nods slightly, not at all liking the direction her father is leading her. "And hopefully we can all see that it makes no sense to only do your treatment half-heartedly. You are a sensible girl. You certainly don't want your teeth to be only somewhat straighter later, do you? "

This time it's not a nod, but a shake of the head that follows. "No ... that ... I don't want that either. I WANT straight teeth ..."

"There you go, Rosa," the father nods, relieved that his darling-daughter is not sulking. "You said yourself that you want to go on with your treatment. Just doing half of it is stupid, isn't it?"

The nod is more fainthearted; her father understands why: "Yes, I know, you want straight teeth but without headgear if possible ..."

THIS nod is quite spirited.

"We understand you, really, we do. But YOU must also realize that there simply is no way around it. Dr. Coleman said that you need such a brace. Can't you see that?"

"Yes, I can ..." And then more quiet: "But still: I think it's unfair ..."

"What is unfair?" asks the mother, who nevertheless heard her daughter.

"Oh ... nothing," Rosa backs down.

"No, Rosa, not like that!", The father demands: "If you throw something out like that, then you'll also finish your sentence. Your mother and I don't particularly like being called 'unfair' without knowing exactly why ... "

"I ... I just mean: Everything else has always been positive ..." she shrugs her shoulders: "Every other gift was always only positive ... or, in the worst case, neutral ..."

"For example, the ... the trip: If I had written an 'A', we would have flown to France. I wasn't able to... it's OK, then we'll go to Death Valley instead ... I always wanted to go there ... and if I had written an 'F' ... then we would have stayed at home..."

She picks up speed: "Or with the Playstation: Because I got an 'A', I even get a tablet from you on top. And if I had written an 'F', then I would not have received anything, but would have had my old Playstation to play on... "

"But now ... with the braces... that sucks! Because I wrote an 'F', I won't get any inconspicuous braces, but the normal metal ones." She looks up and quickly adds: "That's okay. I have no problem with that. I would have liked to have inconspicuous braces ... but the normal ones are also OK ..."

She shrugs her shoulders, her gaze runs straight through her parents: "But ... but the headgear ..." she searches for words: "That ... that ... I think it's unfair! That's the only thing that is negative ... "

"You think it's unfair to get headgear?"

Rosa shrugs her shoulders in an eloquent gesture but is otherwise silent.

"Can you explain to me why you think that is unfair?" the mother asks.

"Everything ... everything else was always positive ... or neutral in the worst case: Either I get something from you if I got a good grade; or, in case I should fail, I wouldn't get anything." She licks her lips: "But that ... that is the only thing that is negative. Just because I got an 'F', I now have to wear headgear ... I think THAT is unfair ..."

"So you mean to say that a headgear is 'negative'?" the mother asks.

Rosa doesn't answer, in her opinion the matter is absolutely clear.

A few seconds of silence pass, in which the parents give their daughter time to add something. But that doesn't happen.

"You only forget one thing ..." the father finally replies. "You forget that you need that brace anyway. You were there with us at the consultation when Dr. Coleman explained all that ..."

Another shrug from Rosa. "Well, yes, but..."

"No, Rosa, no buts!", The father shakes his head: "It is exactly the same with the braces as with the other three gifts! Let's look at it in detail:" The father counts the individual arguments on his fingers while his daughter looks on miserable.

She has learned: If her father behaves like this, the cards are stacked against her.

"First: You are absolutely right: the better your score, the more expensive a reward you may choose. Second: You are right again: If you get an 'F', you will get nothing from us for this part of the exam."

"Third: You have just said again yourself that you still want to have your teeth corrected. Fourth: We have just come to the conclusion that it makes no sense to only do half the job. You understood that yourself ... "

"Oh darling, you don't have to make such a long face..." the mother interrupts her husband's counting.

"And that amazes you?" Rosa laughs dryly.

"A little, yes ..." the mother says softly: "I can understand that you are not enthusiastic about the thought of getting headgear ... But, honey ... believe me, this is really not that bad, as you imagine it to be now ... "

Rosa can just in time bring herself not to say: "You have no idea ... you have no idea how terrible such a thing must be ..." But then she just noticed that she would shoot herself in the foot with it: Her mother knows more about it than herself, how such a brace must feel. Her mother is the only one after all, to have first hand experience.

"I do understand that I need this thing ..." complains Rosa "It's just... that it's so damn embarrassing ..."

The mother nods: "That's for sure" Then she laughs: "I can't contradict you there ... But look here, honey: Nobody asks you to wear this thing to university."

Her child shudders at the mere thought of it.

"I can't tell you exactly what Dr. Coleman is going to tell you, of course, but you'll probably only have to wear the brace at home." The mother nods with a smile. "And even if not ... even IF he insisted that you had to wear your headgear all day - which I don't believe by the way - then I would NOT insist on it. For ME it is absolutely enough if you wear it at home ... "

Two feelings fight for supremacy in Rosalynn's chest: The "desperation" that her parents do indeed insist on her having to wear the stupid thing. And the "relief" that her mother has just promised her not to be ALL-TOO strict.

If ... IF she really has to wear the stupid headgear, then ... then hopefully it won't be as bad as she imagined. "And if mom really wore a brace like this before ... then she can probably relate to me all the better ..." thought Rosa. "And doesn't get mad if I have a bad day... At least that's something ..."

Of course, it would still be better if she wouldn't get the stupid thing at all ...