The family could see that Roddy was exhausted, so left as soon as the ceremony had finished. Zeron and Steve went on to the parties and apologized for Roddy. The rest returned to the New York Apartment.
As they walked out the media was all over them and as they walked the red carpet to the cars they must have been captured by every newspaper and magazine around the world. The President and Ellen stayed close to Roddy. Ellen was in her agent mode and fielded all the questions. By one in the morning they finally reached the apartment.
Ellen just looked at Peter and Ricky, “Take Roddy to bed and stay with him. I think he needs some friends tonight. He’s absolutely exhausted.”
By the time Roddy woke up in the morning it was midday, and everyone had been up most of the morning. Ricky, Peter and Nicky were on the roof swimming in the private pool and Mason and Ellen were fielding calls from different media and producers wanting to have Roddy star in their next creation.
Colum, Penny and Roddy already had a film in production, but there were one or two films specifically that Ellen wanted Roddy to seriously think about. One of them was a comedy and would show Roddy’s all-round talent. This time it was based in America and was about the life of a child Olympian sport star. It was a book that Roddy had read when it was first published, and he fallen in love with the character. He’d laughed all the way through it and often returned to it to make himself feel better if he was feeling low. Steven Roma’s character was just, so funny.
The other film was a musical but based on a successful Broadway show that they had written the music for. Eddy Golightly after seeing the show had investigated the story and written a screen play. He then wrote the songs and once that was done, he wrote specific music for Roddy whilst keeping to the true feeling of the stage production.
They had seen it on stage when Roddy’s production company produced it. This one was a script that Zeron wanted to film, but Penny and Colum would have to work on the music, so that it was tailored to Roddy’s talents.
When Ellen talked Roddy through all the facts, he accepted both offers. His production company agreed to co-produce the musical with Zeron. The other film refused to let them in on the production. Roddy again insisted on certain provisions in his contract and they all gladly accepted. Of the two films the musical was hugely successful and made the production company loads of money. The other film slowly went into the archives of history and hardly recouped its costs.
As Roddy had both roles the producers agreed to work together to make Roddy’s schedule workable as his school schedule got ever the more demanding now he was a junior. Other than having the two film roles, Ellen negotiate a television series and a series of concerts to be held over Christmas but that was in the future.
* * * * * * * * * *
As they started school in the autumn Roddy was worried that the children wouldn’t accept him. This school was different though and the teachers let the students challenge Roddy to see if he was ‘worthy’ of being a member for the class. Roddy readily accepted the challenges as it meant that the classes took on Roddy in a question and answer competition. If any of the classes beat Roddy, then he agreed that in all of them he would move back one year since he had jumped two.
The first day Roddy sat at the front of class after class and answered the tests that the teachers put the class through. Each question the students could choose anyone they wanted to answer, if they got it wrong then Roddy could take it. Every test he gained several extra points for answering or expanding the answers when clarity was asked for.
By the time the day came to an end Roddy had come top in every test they had set, and the students as a whole had to accept Roddy. As the time went on, he became tutor to several of them to help them in their final year. That day Colum watched as a proud brother as Roddy conquered his peers.
* * * * * * * * * *
During that day amidst all the challenges there was an assembly with all classes attending and of course there was singing. The drama club was on the stage and was doing their best as the hall filled. They were singing Ave Maria and you could hardly hear them, as a result the audience was unruly.
Roddy stood and as he did, he let his voice ascend to the heights with the words he loved. At the very first sound of this voice all noise ceased, even teachers stopped talking. The conductor looked around and started conducting him. The choir gained confidence and hummed in time as a backing to his singing. The affect was stunning. He truly was the voice of an angel when he sang.
The conductor beckoned him to the stage, and he stood and reprised the song. He then whispered something to Roddy who simply nodded. Walking to the front of the stage the conductor announced “Lord Fracondiel, Duke or Leventhorpe with the ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.”
Roddy stepped forward, “Hi I’m a Rooksfeld lad at heart and to me growing up in the mining village this was my national anthem because I am proud to be from Chrysland.” At that the music started and as Roddy sang the place went wild. His voice defied all description as he sang the words “Makes thee mightier yet.” He was in his element and as he sang, he simply bowed as the place went wild. He then looked up and said, “Please welcome the headmaster to the stage.”
As the headmaster stepped forward Roddy jumped down of the stage and sat next to Colum. Everyone in the place as he walked back to his seat were whistling him or patting him on the back. As the assembly ended and before they were all excused for their next class the headmaster looked at him, “Young man do you have something American for us to close with?”
“Aye I guess I have if you all want some more. American you say?” The place cheered and Roddy walked back to the stage. Before he started, he began beating the time of a song by clapping his hands. The audience followed as he sang, “Mine eyes Have Seen the Glory…” The orchestra fumbled to get their music, so they could play. Colum and Penny were the first to stand, with flute and violin already in action without music. It was the headmaster that sat at the piano and played.
As he was singing people stood one by one and joined him. The music gradually rose to a crescendo that was wonderful. As the singing stopped the cheering started. He just stood there and bowed. Eventually he nodded to the headmaster and sang “God Bless America” the place went wild. Even the teachers were on their feet cheering and jumping up and down. When the singing stopped, he simply bowed and stayed there.
He then stood up and sang “America the Beautiful” and the place went wild again and this time, even though it wasn’t the national anthem people put their hands on their hearts as the song was sung with so much heart and faith. Meaning that tears were rolling down the pupils faces by the time it finished.
As Roddy was singing Penny could see that he was getting to the point where he had done too much and with Colum raced across the stage to get to him. As he reached the final notes where his voice reached the gods you could feel them listening in the room, with silence he collapsed, and Colum managed to catch his beloved brother.
The place was silent as he and Penny walked down the aisle with Roddy in their arms. His form tutor picked up Colum and Penny’s things and raced after them to get an energy drink which Penny had told him they would need. The headmaster simple stood and said, “Lord Roddy DeWalter of Fracondiel people, our new student.” The hall was silent as they watched the boy carried out.
As Colum sat with him, he looked into his face and said, “When are you going to learn that enough is enough Roddy? You always take it too far and push yourself that little bit more. By god mate they loved you in the hall. As we walked out everyone was silent and had tears running down their faces, even the jocks. You were fucking magnificent.”
Roddy shook his head, “No I need to get stronger, but vocal training will help.”
* * * * * * * * * *
The final lesson of the day was sport and Roddy took up swimming and weights. The weights were added when Colum spoke to the coach and they agreed that they would help Roddy build his stamina, so that he could cope better during performances. One thing that Roddy did enjoy was running and he could use the fields for jogging when he needed to, always with Colin or Byron at his side. They would often run a five-mile course during the lesson.
Roddy was a success at whatever he put his hand to and as the final exams were sat it was discovered that not only was he University standard and had earned sufficient credits to enter the university, but also Penny and Colum were also ready for university.
That year Roddy’s school got to the State football championships and it turned out to be a home game. Roddy was asked to open the evening with a little music. After singing the national anthem which they started with he ran off the pitch and then spoke into the microphone. “Give me some men who are stout hearted men” It was the Nelson Eddy’s anthem that he was famous for.
As Roddy spoke his voice fast starting to sing…
Give me some men who are stout-hearted men,
Who will fight, for the right they adore,
Start me with ten who are stout-hearted men,
And I'll soon give you ten thousand more.
Shoulder to shoulder and bolder and bolder,
They grow as they go to the fore.
Then there's nothing in the world can halt or mar a plan,
When stout-hearted men can stick together man to man.
At that point they heard Colum’s voice off the field sing…
Men, you who have dreams,
if you act they will come true.
To turn your dreams to a fact, it's up to you.
As his voice faded, Mason stood. As he stood in the crowd, he also sang …
If you have the soul and the spirit,
Never fear it, you'll see it thru,
Hearts can inspire, other hearts with their fire,
For the strong obey when a strong man shows them the way.
At this point the team entered led by Colum and the Coach with Roddy on their shoulders. The music was playing as the school band had run onto the field. As the team came into sight their voices were loud and clear and you could hear Roddy above everything.
As the team marched around the pitch, coaches and fathers came out of the stands and joined them on the pitch, as did the male teachers and reporters… it had all been well rehearsed that afternoon. They formed a v shape behind Roddy who was by now marching on the spot, singing at the top of his voice. Behind him all the men sang and marched with him. By the time they had sung it twice through the boys from the other team had joined them and stood arm in arm with the home team. It was a sight to be seen, and that part was not planned.
The only thing that spoilt it was when the opposition coach complained at which their Quarterback stood face to face with him and told him to back off!! The media went wild. It was screened around the world. As they reached the last note, they all had their fists it the air. No-one would know if it was the boost the singing gave to their morals or if it was the fact Roddy kept the audience chanting and cheering right through the interval by singing. He only sang three songs, but it had the effect that he wanted the fans were kept cheering for them.
When it was time for the team to come back Roddy shouted “Give me some men!” and the fans started singing as the teams walked on to the field, of course the result was that the school won the championship.
* * * * * * * * * *
The dean of the university almost laughed when Mason and Nicky presented the kids to gain admittance to the next academic year; a sixteen-year-old who wouldn’t be seventeen until March next year, Colum who was just old enough and Penny who was so timid you would never know she was there.
The dean of students was almost about to dismiss them when Roddy stood up. “I claim right of challenge, for me and my family, in all of our chosen subjects. Set us exams more advanced than year one finals and I guarantee we will beat all expectations. Set the exams to be the same as second year finals.”
The dean looked up and his face visibly paled as he saw who it was that was challenging. He suddenly knelt, “Your Grace! I am so sorry I was not aware that it was you. Of course, you can have your places.”
Roddy was furious. “How dare you pamper to me just because you respect title and money. No! We insist that we sit the end of term exams for second year students in all the subjects that we are required to have credits in. My major will be Business Management and Law. My brother Colum is concentrating on Law and Penny his fiancé is majoring in music and design.” Roddy looked deep into the Deans eyes, “Are you willing to accept the challenge? Set the exams, if we pass the challenge then we enter as third year students. If not, then we will go back to home tutoring.”
The Dean sat back, “Accepted, so that the challenge is fair it will be invigilated and marked by facility from a fellow university who will approve the papers prior to the exams. We did have President McVicar call us and warn us that you would do this. He has approved your attendance only if you can smash all of the exams.”
Roddy smiled. “I believe that he will be staying with us during the week of the exams. He will also be attending with his family to support us during the challenges.”
The Dean looked shocked, “Oh, I expected your fathers to be with you.”
Roddy looked from Mason to Nicky, “No Nicky Decosta is travelling with DeWalter Fashion over the next few weeks promoting our new ranges with my assistant in the ladies fashion house, his sister Stella Decosta, and arranging for the new shows in Aquamaine, Paris, Milan and New York. As for Mason he is involved at the film studios and has travel to Scotland for some final takes on scenes in the film which don’t include me. In fact, they are being filmed on my private estates out there at Shadehaven Gardens. They should both be away for just less than a month, but in the meantime President McVicar and the First Lady are my guardians. I believe Grandpa Gerald may even be coming with them. Both the President and his father are alumni of this university.”
“As long as you are sure sir,” Roddy nodded, “Very well, it is my pleasure to inform you that the challenge will be taken over the next complete week. Best of luck Lord Fracondiel, once our fellow university has marked and graded the papers, we will hold a special conference to announce the results at which all will be free to attend.”
As they walked out Colum was sweating. “Roddy what have you done? We could have just walked in there and they would have welcomed us.”
Roddy glared at him, “I will not take handouts! If I do anything it is because I am worthy of it, do you not think Penny is worth a place? Have you seen her designs?”
Colum turned red, “You know I think the world of her, and she could do anything.”
Roddy smiled, “Then there’s you, the man who won an Oscar because he made my music work and all because he cares. Of course, you deserve a place. I don’t know about me, but I want to find out. If this works who knows…”
* * * * * * * * * *
The rest of the week was a joy for them as the tutors were ready to meet the challenge and really put them through their paces with their lessons for the next four days. At the end of the week, Penny’s parents arrived to support them along with the Presidential family. Over the weekend they enjoyed the weekend swimming and horse riding.
Roddy was annoyed as he wanted to study, but the tutors insisted on a complete break. The stable master did surprise him with the purchase of a new stallion that he told Roddy had simply called to him when he saw him. The horse was magnificent and was black as midnight. He was stunning. “It’s Midnight no one is to ride him but me or my son when I have one.”
“Of course, your grace.” Roddy was happy when he rode Midnight, as he felt at home and calm as he rode. All good things come to an end though and soon it was Monday, the first day of the challenge.
That’s all for now folks ... Chapter 18 will be posted soon.
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