Tiny raindrops splatter their way down the window, running down and down until they fall off the end. To the humming of the car engine, I stare at the continuous cycle of depressing weather droplets, not bothering to look beyond the sad image. As time moves on, in slow-motion time, it’s a surprise when the engine cuts and all is left is the drone of silence. Adjusting my eyes I look beyond the window to see a house, my house. Finally, after all this time, I’m home.
“Annabel, would you like a hand with your suitcase?” My Grandfather’s voice asks kindly from the front seat.
I look up to see his head swung round the seat, grinning at me. “I guess.”
We run out into the typical freezing-cold English weather. I sprint straight to the door whilst Granddad reaches for my suitcase in the boot of his old red truck. I slam my hand against the door - banging as hard as I can - and in no time my Dad’s opening it, welcoming me inside.
“It’s only rain, Bella.” He laughs, ruffling my hair like I’m a three-year-old. I’ve always wondered when he would realise I’m a teenager, so I hate my hair to be ruined. But for now, I guess I can live with it.
Granddad appears at the door a moment later, shaking off his boots and his hair like a dog. I slip off my pumps and disappear into the lounge where Maizy is watching some boring cartoon on TV as usual.
“No!” She screams when I change the channel, “I wanted to see what they were going to cook in the Café!”
“Well I don’t,” I mumble, turning up the volume a few notches. She sits quiet for a moment before piping up.
“Stop being mean!” Maizy grumbles, before shouting, “Daddy, Annabel’s being mean!”
My Dad appears at the door a moment later, clutching my bag. He holds it out and I roll my eyes, getting up and taking it from his grip. There’s no point in arguing; we’ve been there so many times before. And just as I’m stalking upstairs, bag tagging along behind me, I hear my little sister’s voice, loud and clear, “I don’t like it now that Annabel's back.”
Despite my efforts to call back ‘Shut up!’, I don’t because I’m already in my room, jumping onto my warm, comfy bed. Okay, it’s quite nice going to stay with Grandfather for the weekend, although it’s meant to be a way of grounding me for stupid behaviour, but it’s always better being here. Even though I have the most annoying younger sister you could ever come across; an over-protective Dad who always takes Maizy’s side, and an invisible Mother who’s always lurking about somewhere, though never to be seen since she passed away a year ago.
I was never always like this – grumpy, mean, selfish. Once, believe it or not, I was the kind, sweet, little girl who got the best grades in the class and had lots of friends at school. But since what happened with my Mother, everything died inside of me. Now, I guess, I’m just a shy, awkward, loner who just takes everything out on my family because where else am I meant to put it all? Crying doesn’t help – even if I try – and no friends means no one to have deep chats with, right? So basically that leaves me with zero options.