Placing the last folded t-shirt in the case, a breath of relief leaves my mouth."You'll be careful, won't you?" My mother asks quickly "And you won't get into any kind of trouble?" She asks without giving me time to reply. A chuckle escapes my lips before I wrap my arms tightly around the women. "Mum, I am going for 3 weeks, not 3 years, calm down" I laugh.
"I wish I could Sophie but you hear all these stories" My mother's brows pull together forming horrible creases in her forehead. "I'm kind nervous" I admit to my mother. "What if the American kids bully me or no one likes me?" I threat.
"They will love you".
"Where's Daddy?"I ask, thinking of where he could possibly be on the morning I departed for my school trip. My mother's face softens as she looks at me."He'll be here" She says trying to convince herself more than me. He always forgets important things. Important things being me.
Taking in my surroundings I noticed small things that never really stood ours before. My old photos sit neatly on the dresser and my packed book shelf, lastly, I look at my mother. 5,9, skinny with brown hair. "I'll miss you mum" I breaths letting go of the figure.
"Same her princess".
I pull the bag off the bed and lift it heading down the hall. Any minute he would walk in the door and take me to the airport where my teacher, Mr. Coleman would be waiting. 'Any minute now' I think sitting on my bag. I start to play with my long nails ignoring the world around me, I watch as the light dances over the clear polish that sits on them. "Ready?" A deep voice asks.
My dad. 6 foot and bold, highly intimidating."Let's go" I smile. He takes my bag and places it in the back of his Volvo while I proceed to climb into the passenger side of the car. He shortly joins me, taking the seat next to me and starting the engine. The radio turns on instantly, blaring out the latest R'n'B songs. Dad turns up the volume till my ears start to ring and sings along to the music."YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THAT BIG FAT BUTT!" He shouts.
"DAD!" I scream, turning down the music. He chuckles at me and turns into the airport car park. He climbs out, as do I and we walk to the boot of the car.
"Bye Dad," I say while kissing him lightly on the cheek.
"Be good Sophie!" He says back giving me the last bag. I pick up the huge suitcase and small hand luggage bag before heading towards the receptionist. There are 4 students in the make-do reception (Which in reality is Mr. Coleman's car boot) all participating in the exchange. 5 British kids go to an American school and 5 Americans go to a British school.
"Name?" The women holding a folder asks flatly. Her hair is pinned up and is obviously dyed red. Her roots showing.
"Sophie Andrews," I say shyly.
"Here is your timetable, Locker combination,necessary notebooks and you and Cam Marshall will be sharing a room," She says coldly handing me a binder and 5 plan notebooks. I shuffle out the way and pull my bags with me.
"Cam, we are sharing a room!" I say poking my best friends side. Cam had recently dyed her hair purple but keeps it pulled up in a small bun. She wiggles her eyebrows causing me to laugh."I know we are, I was told too!" I embrace her for a quick fan-girl moment before turning towards the sound of a whistle.
Mr. Coleman. A plump, short man with short ginger hair. "OK, we need to check in and head towards our designated gate. The first person to mumble or complain gets to carry all the luggage!" He smiles at Rhys in particular. He complains about everything.
Mr. Coleman leads our group of 5 to the front desk. "Hello, how can I help you today?"The woman at the desk asks with great amounts of joy. "Masefield Secondary school"Mr. Coleman politely says.
"6 Tickets to California, flight 203 gate 4" She smiles pointing to the stairs. I inwardly groan, I will not pull my bag upstairs. "Oh, bag check-in is here" She pulls the first bag onto the scales before slapping an identity badge on with the flight details on. She turns to the next and starts repeating her steps.
Walking up the stairs Cam admits her fear of getting lost in America."You'll be fine" Rhys nods while tapping at the railing of the staircase with his drumsticks "I hate to admit it but Rhys is right" I cringe at my words. I only want to get on the plane and read my book."Flight 203 to California is now boarding, Flight 203 to California is now boarding. Anyone sat in Zone 2 may start making their way towards the gate" An electric voice fills the building. "Her we go" Cam cheers, excitement overflowing as we walk towards the gate. In a matter of minutes, we are all settled in our seats.
I sit quietly with Cam on my left and Rhys on my right. Mr. Coleman sits in front of Cam, Leyton McNeal in front of me and Belle Morgan on the end of the row by Rhys."I'm bored" Belle moans again.
"We've been on the plane for 30 minutes. We haven't taken off yet. It's another 10 hours just to get there and another 1 to get settled in" Cam fills in Belle again.
For a girl who's name literally means beauty, Belle has the short straw. Her hairs a wiry brown that sticks out in every direction, her nose is crooked from where she broke it 3 years ago fighting a popular girl and her eyes are small and dull like a mouse.
"Can it, Cam" Belle bits.
"Who let the dogs out?" Rhys laughs
"Seriously?" I groan "We have to spend 3 weeks together and you want to start an argument? Fine, do it but don't forget that we only know each other over there" I reasons. Belle huffs to show her aggravation. Cam rolls her eyes and Rhys ignores me and continues drumming the seat in front. "Childish" I mutter.
Writing my name in perfect curls on the front of my notebooks, I turn back to the sleeping purple-headed girl on my shoulder. Smiling at her, I decide not to wake Cam till we arrive in California. She would murder me for it otherwise. Cam Hates being woken up before she's need to, so waking her up in California is the best option.
Once in California, we will be staying in our teachers holiday home with 5 bedrooms. Cam and I in one, Rhys and Leyton in another and Belle is on her own as Cam and Belle would try to kill each other over a wrong coloured curtain if they have the chance."Sophie?" Leyton asks turning around and popping his head over the top of his chair to face me. His brown hair in a perfect little quiff, his bright blue eye's staring, almost peering into me. "Yeah?" I reply yawning, we have been on the plane for 2 hours but I am struggling to keep my eyes from shutting. "Mr. Coleman did say he had a guitar right?" he asks panic on his face. A giggle escapes my mouth. "Yes Leyton, he has a guitar. He also has a drum kit and keyboard" I laugh. Leyton sighs before sinking deep into his seat"Thank God" I hear him, another giggle escapes my lips.
Leyton, Rhys, Cam and I started a band 2 years ago. Leyton on guitar, Rhys on drums and Cam on the keyboard. I am the lead singer. Occasionally we write our own song but not very often as we never agree on the lyrics.
"Is Mr. Coleman asleep?" I ask quietly to Leyton who has returned to his former sitting position.
"Yeah and the lady on my right is snoring on my shoulder" He moans.
"Listen to music" I suggest.
"Can't headphones are in the suitcase" He states.
"Sleep like the rest of the plane, we have 8 more hours to go yet"Another yawn flows out my mouth. "OK,I'll take a nap" His voice rises over the top of the chair. I give in to the pressure pulling at my eyelids and let a gentle sleep take over my body.
I open my eyes to Cam and Rhys. "You were talking in your sleep, you were talking about Chris" My heart drops. Chris is my twin brother. He moved away with my uncle to Washington DC to learn about all sorts. He joined the U.S Army and just doesn't write or email me. I feel like I lost him. "You think we'll see him?" I ask hopefully.
"We need to get off the plane now," Rhys says pulling me to my feet and grabbing my hand luggage.
"Thanks" I mutter.
"We are in Sunny California, forget Chris for a while, he'll be back in home in 5 months anyway!" Cam smiles. Chris has gone away for 5 years.That ends in 5 months.
Pulling my suitcase towards Mr. Coleman, it twists and turns as it hits the cracks in the tiles and makes me walk in a diagonal line. "My neighbour's son will pick us up in his car, I want you all to be polite, Understood?" A chorus of mutters fills the air from the 5 of us "Good".
Mr. Coleman leads us outside,where a large minivan sits."Hey, there Terry" A young man says from the front. "Hello Caleb" He smiles greeting the young man. As Caleb steps out the car, I hear Cams breath hitch. I suppress a giggle at my best friends new found crush.
Caleb has dark black hair that compliments his bright green eyes. His chin is perfectly chiseled and his lips are plump and pink. "Hey, there guys" He smiles, removing his hand from his back pocket to wave.
"Hey, I am Rhys,this is Leyton and these lovely ladies are Belle, Sophie and Cam" Rhys introduces us all.
"Climb aboard" He smiles opening the side door. Each person files in one by one dragging our suitcase behind us.
Despite the chatter filling the van, I only notice Cam whose eyes are glued to the back of Caleb's' chair. "At least make it less obvious" I giggle.
"Okay" My hands rise in surrender "I'm just saying, though we've been on this bus for 45 minutes and you haven't looked away once"
"Oh," Cam quickly looks at me. "What street was the house on?"
"I don't know,why?"
"Because I hope it's this one" Outside the window are the largest houses with huge gardens. Most without a fence. "Cam half the streets look like this one" Cams face turns red as she realizes she has just spent 45 minutes staring at Caleb she missed everything we have passed on the way here.
The minivan slows before stopping completely in front if a large white house,identical to the last. "Hop off Campers,we have arrived" Mr. Coleman cheers opening the door. Each person shuffles out awkwardly, our cases getting stuck or caught to someone else's. "Thanks, Caleb" He smiles before slamming the door shut. Mr. Coleman leads the way up to the front door before turning to face us. "Okay, You guys will be going to the High School around the corner. On your first day, I will go with you to help sign in THEN I shall leave"
Leyton whispers to Rhys. Mr. Coleman pushes down on the handle and slowly pushes open the door. The large reception area with a door at either end and the staircase to the right are the first things to see. The guitar, drum kit, bass guitar and keyboard sit in this area of the house. "This door," Mr. Coleman says pointing to the right of the front door, "Is the living room, the other door is the kitchen. Upstairs each room has a sign on, your names are on these signs. The largest rooms have their own bathrooms otherwise please use the toilet on the landing. "Mr. Coleman looks at us quietly, "Well, go then!" He laughs.
We all race up the stairs carrying our suitcase and hand luggage with us. At the top of the stairs sit 5 doors all facing each other. "Mine,"Belle says smugly pushing into the first room"WHAT? ITS TINY!" She screams.
"Lose weight then!" Rhys laughs.
"So,we are in this one" Cam smiles before entering the room.
Behind the plain white door stands what I, personally call heaven. Two beds sit at opposite ends of the room. One with baby pink sheets the other with baby blue sheets. "Dibs on the blue" Cam cheers jumping on the bed. A bedside table sits next to each bed with a lamp on, the shades matching the bed sheets. On both sides of the door is a desk with pots of pens and pencils on. A large shelf of books is what catches my eyes the most."Dibs on the pink" I laugh.
After changing into my pyjamas, I turn to Cam. "Do you think I'll make friends?" I ask.
"We're friends, right?" Cam asks rhetorically, "So why will no one else like you?" I smile at my friend. I would be lost without her.
"Help me unpack?"Cam asks.
"In a bit, I have to sort out my bag first" I take out my folded t-shirts and places them in the top drawer of the dresser next to the bookshelf. Next, I hang up my trousers in the wardrobe by Cams desk. The last thing in my case is a picture frame. Inside sits a picture of myself, Cam, Chris, Rhys and Leyton in my back garden 8 years ago. I place it on my bedside table next to my lamp. "OMG! Look at use, we all look so adorable, I mean that's nothing new for me but Rhys and Leyton?" Cam laughs.
"I know, I miss those summers" I state. I would stay out with them all day and play every game we could name. It was simple and fun.
"You get some sleep, School tomorrow!" Cam smiles, nervous push into her voice.
"Cam, tomorrow will be fine, you have me" I smile pulling back the covers and settling into the sheets.
"I know, night" I smile and let the silence sit around us. I wonder what American schools are like. They don't have a uniform which is a plus. I roll over and close my eyes, I am going to need a lot of sleep for tomorrow.