Riley walked down the sunny sidewalk, en route to the park, her favorite place to study. She loved the beautiful view of the beach, the fresh sea breeze, and the soothing noise of the crashing waves. She was born and raised in sunny San Diego, along with two other sisters. Her wavy blonde hair and blue eyes, along with her long tan legs and athletic structure, reflected her sixteen years spent in America's Finest City.
Finally, Riley made her way to her favorite bench. But there was already someone there. Riley started in surprise. She drew up short, and stood there awkwardly, notebook in hand as she waited for the stranger to recognize her presence. The person that had taken her seat seemed to be a girl that Riley had never seen before. So the blonde teen waited patiently, until it seemed apparent that the girl wasn't going to notice her anytime soon.
Riley cleared her throat in an attempt to grab the stranger's attention. Sure enough, the unknown intruder looked up from her laptop and whirled around. She gasped and stood up quickly, sending her laptop toppling to the cement.
"Oh my gosh!" Riley quickly ran around the little wooden bench and stooped to pick up the shiny laptop. It appeared to be unharmed, but you never could tell with electronics, the way Riley saw it. The tiniest things could completely ruin them. She handed the thin computer over to its owner after quickly examining it. "Is it okay?"
The girl, now that Riley could see her, was a little shorter than she was, with chocolate hair pulled into a ponytail and bright green eyes that were framed by purple glasses. She wore a cream turtle neck sweater, jeans, and tennis shoes. She looked at the grey laptop briefly then met Riley's anxious gaze.
"It should be fine," she said softly with a small smile.
"Phew!" Riley said, her grin broadening. "Oh, by the way, my name's Riley." She stuck out her hand to the girl.
She shook it gently and replied, "Oh, hi, my name is Annie."
"Did you move here recently?" Riley asked. "I don't think I've seen you around." She sat down on the bench and motioned for Annie to pop a squat next to her.
"Actually, I just moved here from Kansas." Annie explained as she took a seat on the wooden bench. "My dad got relocated 'cause of his job, and ya. My mom wanted me to meet some new friends so I came here, thinking it would be the best place."
Riley grinned the smile that her grandma said could "Brighten up anyone's day". "Well, you definitely did come to the right place! Wait - do you go to Triple Oak High?"
"Ya, I just started there on Monday," Annie replied.
"Cool! I go there too. Oh wait - just in time for midterms, huh. That stinks."
"Ya, well, thankfully all my teachers said that I didn't have to take them since I just got here."
"That's nice," Riley stood after watching the orange sun sink into the horizon. "Well, I gotta go. I'll see you at school tomorrow, and maybe we can hang out some time. See ya!" She walked off toward home, leaving Annie to enjoy the dusk alone.
"How'd studying go, honey?" Riley's mom, Nancy, asked over her shoulder as she cleaned the dishes.
"Well, I actually met a new girl Annie at the park. She just moved here from Kansas, I guess, so I talked to her instead. Where are Kristin and Larissa?" Riley slapped her notebook on the kitchen table and plopped down in a chair to take off her white Converse.
"That's nice. Your sisters are studying in their rooms - just like you should. Your midterms are next Friday."
"Chill, mom. It's only Thursday." Riley said. She stood up and grabbed her notebook. As she started up the stairs, she said, "But, if it makes you feel any better, I'll study for English."
In her ocean-themed room, Riley wasn't exactly studying. Sure, she had her English notes right in front of her on her bed, but she also had her new iPhone, and now seemed like the perfect opportunity to call Lexi, her best friend.
"Really?" Lexi's voice came through the speaker.
"Ya," Riley said. She leaned back on her pillow and watched her fan whirl around and around. "She came from Kansas. She was dressed kinda weird - "
"Like, what was she wearing?"
"Turtleneck, jeans, and sneakers?" Riley said, bracing herself for the rapid stream of yelling that was sure to come from her fashion expert friend.
Sure enough, Riley had to hold her phone away from her ear to keep her hearing. "Ya, that's what she was wearing. Mhm. Yes, I'm sure! But anyway, she was really nice, and she doesn't have any friends, so I thought that we can let her join us on our hike this weekend, y'know, just to help her along until she makes more friends."
There was a pause, and Riley could imagine Lexi twirling her curly brown hair while she was thinking. Finally, she said, "Well, I guess we could like, invite her. Wouldn't hurt us, and it would like totally help her! Yes, I love it! Great idea! I'll shoot her an email right now. What's her name again?"
"Annie." Riley said, her nervous face turning into a happy grin. "Yes, I know you're gonna like her! Kay, bye. See ya tomorrow!"
"Bye." Riley hung up the phone and smiled. She was excited for their hike up the little mountain next to their neighborhood. They were gonna have a cute little picnic, and have tons of fun. Riley smiled and started studying.