“Ella, hurry please. We need to get going!” My mother’s voice echoed through the house for the fifth time as I zipped my final carry on shut and made my way out of the bedroom and down the stairs, suitcases in hand.
“Three suitcases, really El?” Niall chuckles and I nod.
“I had a lot here.” I sigh, looking around the now empty house for the final time. I’ll miss this house, but I won’t miss this place. There are just too many bad memories here. I glance over at Niall as he casually rolls his black suitcase along the ground and to the car. “Will you miss it?” I ask him, even though he’s answered me the same question so many times.
“Of course, but it’s for the best. For all of us.” I nod slightly, looking down as the wheels on my suitcase reach the car. Niall lifts it into the car and sends me a reassuring smile as he closes it.
“Did you say goodbye to your friends?” He asks, lifting his case in along with my own.
“Yeah,” I lie. I don’t have any friends. “Did you?” I ask, keeping the attention away from me.
“Yeah, I did. Well, the one’s that I could get around to.” He half smiles, chuckling lightly. Niall has so many friends here, he wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to them all. I know this must be hard for him, having to move away from a place that you love. Although, I don’t know what that feels like.
I hate this place. I hate the memories, the “friends” and just everything about it. Niall on the other hand had a great life here. Even after, well even after our lives changed six years ago. After our father’s death, my life turned upside down. I was only twelve and Niall was fourteen. It wasn’t easy for any of us. Including my mother. She hasn’t been the same since, and if I’m totally honest, I don’t think she ever will be.
“Ella! Hello, Earth to Ella!” My brother’s voice brings me back from my thoughts and I sigh. “Ma says we have to go now.” I nod slowly and get into the car, taking one last look at the neighbourhood and I can’t help but smile contently and lean back into my seat knowing that I’ll never have to see this place again.
“That was one long ass flight” Niall whines as we exit the airport.
“It was only an hour, Niall.” I chuckle, yet can’t help but feel drained from the flight too. “I can’t wait to just get into a bed and sleep.”
“After you unpack, of course” My mother chimes in, grinning.
“Tomorrow.” I ask hopeful, grinning along with her.
“We’ll see.” She laughs, shaking her head.
We get a taxi to bring us to our new house. It’s nothing like I expected. I was expecting a small, not very fancy looking three bedroom house, yet it’s a big house that looks like it may have four or five rooms in it. As we walk in, I gasp a little. It’s beautiful. I turn to Niall, grinning at the thought of my next move. I swiftly pick my suitcase from the floor and begin running towards the stairs. “I call dibs on the bedroom.” I scream, running to find the biggest bedroom before him. He always had the bigger bedroom back in Ireland, but I didn’t mind.
I open a door to find a big enough bedroom with a double bed, a double window wardrobe and some drawers. This is perfect for me. I throw my suitcase to the side of the room, not bothered about it right now. Niall walks into the room with my other two cases in hand and dropping them beside the other one. I smile at him, still a little out of breath. “I won,” I brag, pointing around the room as we both let out a laugh. “And, thanks for that.” I smile, gesturing towards the suitcases thrown on the floor.
“No problem” He grins, shrugging. “I am jealous of the room, though.”He adds, looking around the bare room.
“Well, can you be jealous in your own room please? I need sleep.” As if on cue, I yawn and Niall laughs. I love our humour. Sometimes we come across as though we can’t stand each other but, we’re so close it kind of scares me. He’s always been there for me.
“Right, me too. I’m wrecked from that flight.” He nods, walking towards me for a hug which I happily return. “Get some sleep; you start a new school tomorrow.” He teases before walking out the door and to his own room just down the hall.
I fall onto the bed after changing into some pyjamas. So many thoughts race through my mind at once. What will school be like tomorrow? Will it be like back in Ireland? Will I let what happened before happen again? Before I know it, I’m questioning whether or not coming here was a good idea. I’ve spent so long building my own wall and strengthening myself to be dragged back down to rock bottom. I can’t let my guard down. Not to anyone.
After minutes of convincing myself that this new place won’t be the same and that we’re here for a fresh start, I fall asleep.
The smell of breakfast lingers through the air as my eyes open. I look around, taking in my new surroundings again. Although I haven’t seen much of this place, it’s so much different than Ireland already. I just hope that being here, in England, will be the new start that I need.
“Breakfast is ready” Niall appears in the room, smiling sleepily.
“Why are you awake so early?” I half laugh, getting out of bed and making my way downstairs for breakfast.
He follows closely behind, chuckling. “Because, Ella, I am going to look at colleges.”
“You are going to college?” I laugh, eating some toast.
“No,” He laughs with me, shaking his head. “I have to drop you, though.”
“Oh.” I nod, taking a sip of my orange juice. “I could have walked”
He grins, finishing his own breakfast. “Do you know where it is?”
I shake my head. “No idea.”
“Exactly. Now, come one. You don’t want to be late for your first day at a new school, do you?”
I quietly shake my head and make my way to my room to get dressed. I decide on simple clothes, jeans and a top. I quickly go over my hair with the straightener, allowing my blonde hair to flow past my shoulders. After getting ready, I grab my bag from my room and make my way downstairs.
“Ready?” Niall asks, grabbing his keys from the counter.
I nod, walking towards the door. “Where’s mam?” I look around, noticing my mother hasn’t been here all morning.
Niall shrugs, following my outside as we get into the car. “She went shopping for food and house materials.”
“Oh” I smile, buckling my belt as we leave for school.
The whole ride there is taunting. I can’t help but be nervous and afraid. If this school is anything like my old one, I have every right to be. We pull up to a huge building with a sign reading the words ‘Queens High School’ on the front wall. So, this is it for the next year. I sigh, staring at the school and the people going in and out of it.
“Nervous?” Niall’s voice brings me back from my thoughts.
“Not really.” I lie. I’m petrified.
“Well, I’ll pick you up at four, okay?”
“Thanks, Niall.” I smile and get out of the car. “See you then.” I wave as he drives off, leaving me to face the school alone.
I walk towards the door and gently push it open. Floods of people are walking around, standing at lockers and going to their next classes. I look for a room that reads ‘Principal’s Office’ and knock lightly.
A tall man with black hair in a suit opens the door. He looks to be about forty. He greets me with a smile. “You must be Ella.” He holds out his hand for me to shake. “I’m Mr. Styles, the principal here at QHS. It’s great to finally meet you.”
“Nice to meet you, too.” I smile back at him, reaching my hand out to his to shake it.
“Come in” He steps to the side, allowing me to enter the office. He rummages through some drawers before handing me a couple of sheets. “There are your classes, timetable and all the other information you really need to know about our school.”
“Thank you.” I smile, glancing over the pages.
“So, any questions?” He asks, closing the drawer. I shake my head no with a smile. “Okay. It’s great to have you transfer to here, Ella. I think you’re going to like it.” He smiles proudly as we walk out of the office.
“I hope so.” I nod, mostly reassuring myself.
He guides me down the hallway, telling me a whole lot of information that I’m not really paying attention to. I can’t help but look into the different classrooms as we pass them. One classroom has about twenty students in it, all my age. They were all taunting the teacher when she was explaining something. Seeing the way most of them were acting, I can’t help but feel so out of place.
We stop outside a classroom and I glance inside. The students in here seem a little more behaved but, not much. “Did you get all that?” He chuckles, startling me a little.
“Yeah.” I lie, nodding.
“Well, this” He point to the classroom I had just been looking in. “Is your English class. Come on, I’ll introduce you.”
The moment I had been dreading is happening right now. I take a deep breath and follow Mr. Styles inside as he opens the door. All of the attention in the room is immediately on me. I can feel my cheeks redden and I try not to focus on the number of eyes staring at me.
Mr. Styles leaves the room after having a brief talk with the teacher, who I have been told is called Ms. Smith.
“Class, this is Ella Horan. She has only just moved here from Ireland. I trust you will all be nice and help her settle in.” Ms. Smith smiles to the class as she gestures for me to take a seat.
I slowly walk to an empty seat, still feeling everyone’s follow me as I do. I sit in the seat and take my English book from my bag. A finger taps me on the shoulder and I turn to see a boy smiling at me. “I’m Ben. Ben Devine”
He has brown hair and beautiful brown eyes that are a little distracting but I just nod and smile back at him. “Ella Horan.” I whisper before turning back to my book as the teacher begins to talk about Shakespeare.
At the end of class I put my books away and stand from my seat. I thank the teacher for the first day before leaving the room. I see the only familiar face that I know in this school standing outside the classroom. “Hey.”
“Hi, Ben.” I chuckle.
He scratches the back of his neck before shoving his hands into his pockets. “I was just uhm, letting you know that if you need someone to show you around or if you need help, you can ask me.”
I nod with a smile. “Thank you. That really means a lot, considering I have no idea about anything here.” I laugh.
He laughs along before speaking again. “Oh, also, there’s a little party at my house on Saturday, if you want to go. I mean, you could get to know people there?”
I’ve never been the ‘party girl’ type. I mean, of course I’ve been to some parties but, they never really ended well. There was always only one reason that I was invited anywhere, and that was for people to get to my brother. I guess Niall is just a likeable person.
I look back up to Ben, thinking through my options before nodding briefly. “Sure, I’ll think about it.”
“Great.” He smile brightly at me before looking around.
“I better go” I nod somewhat nervously. “I’ll let you know about the party” I smile before walking away and to my next class.
Maybe this is a fresh start. Maybe things can be different here.