Nova never seemed to fit into her family. Her eyes were different, her hair was different, her mind was different. She always felt as if she had a different calling. When she met a new boy in her math class, she felt as if she belonged with him. When her parents dropped a huge surprise on her life, Nova is forced to say goodbye to everything she knows.


2. Old people, new business

"Tia Ana okay today?" Fatima asked me the next day, referring to my mother. "Yeah," I replied, wondering the same thing. As we walked to school together, we were both silent. "What classes are you most excited for?" Fatima nervously asked me. "English, and French," I replied quietly. We were both on pins and needles, today was our first day of school the new year.  Fatima had been moved up a grade, so we were together. I couldn't wait to take my extra language classes. I had always wanted to learn English, and of course French. She told me about her new classes, but I wasn't listening. I watched as a beautiful boy walked by. "Nova, stop staring!" Fatima whispered loudly. "What?" I asked, not realizing how awkward I made the situation. I couldn't take my eyes of of this boy. He was gorgeous. Fatima laughed as I practically drooled over him. A few minutes later, our names were called on the attendance list. We had the first class together, math. Just as the bell was ringing, someone knocked at the classroom door. My face couldn't help but bust into a smile when I saw the beautiful boy from earlier. I felt Fatima stare at me but I knew if I looked at her, we'd both end up laughing so hard. I tried to not make it too obvious to smile at the boy. Our last names were called. "Nova Vargas, first chair on the right. Estevo Ventura, second chair on the right." I could not believe I'd have the luck to sit next to him. We both took our seats. "Hi, partner in crime," He joked as we sat down. Even his voice was amazing. "Hi," I shyly laughed. I saw Fatima all the way across the room, and I knew she was mad her last name started with an A. I watched as the boy, Estevo, took out his papers. His hand writing was small, and perfectly organized. "Want a paper?" He asked as he noticed I was staring. "Oh, sorry, I have one, sorry," I sounded dumb. "No problem," He laughed. I watched the way he loosely gripped the pencil. His hand writing looped and fit perfectly into the lines on the paper. As he wrote his name, I noticed the way he put a curve on the top of the O, interesting. When the bell finally rang, I realized I hadn't learned anything. "Hey," I felt someone tug on my wrist. I turned around, it was Estevo. "Oh, hi," I replied, feeling my face blush. He smiled awkwardly and said, "Just wanted to say bye!" He quickly left the class room. I couldn't help but smile after he left. 
"Nova, what did you learn today?" Mom asked when I got home. She's been asking this ever since I was five years old and going to school. I learned a lot today. I learned that Estevo curves his O at the end of the name. And I learned that he had perfect writing. I also learned that his brown eyes sparkle when he's concentrating. "I learned basic stuff," I told my parents. I could tell they weren't satisfied with my answer, but I went up stairs and left anyways. As my alarm clock buzzed the next morning, I was surprised to find myself actually wanting to go to school. Not that I ever liked it, I just wanted to see Estevo. As I walked with Fatima, she mentioned him. "I mean, he seems nice," I said, trying to be shy about it. "You like him, and he obviously likes you," She replied. I was kind of taken back by the tone of her voice, I think she was too. Estevo was smiling as we entered the class room. During the whole period, he tried to make small talk with me. I found it hard to talk to him because I'd focus too much on his eyes. Once I realized his eyes would be watching me, I'd have to look away. Just as the bell rang, he called my name. "Do you want to maybe hang out at lunch?" He asked me. "Sure, thanks!" I replied. He smiled and I ran to Fatima. "Oh, when's the wedding?" She joked with me. I joked back, saying, "Soon enough." 

We hung out at lunch. It was just him, he was alone and so was I. I found out that he lived not too far away from our apartment complex. Just as I was getting ready to leave, he asked me another question. "Maybe one day would you like to get lunch together?" I thought we already did. "I mean, like lunch on the weekend, hang out again?" He asked. I shook my head and felt myself blushing. He nodded and walked away. The weekend? Today was already Friday. I'd surely hang out with him on the weekend. I finished my last few classes and left school. When I got home, I was in for another strange conversation with Mom and Dad. "Dad, why have you been getting off of work early?" I asked. Again, they did that strange thing when they looked at each other for approval first. "I've been working more lately," He replied, ignoring my question. I gave up and went to my room. When I opened my math notebook, I saw familiar writing. Small, curved hand writing that had written numbers on it. I recognized the hand writing as Estevo's. He had left me his phone number, now was my turn. I picked up my cell phone and dialed the wrong number three times before I found the courage to dial it again. Soon enough, he answered. I was amazed at how quickly two hours of talking passed. It was now time for me to eat dinner, work on homework, and turn in for the night. I couldn't forget Estevo's question that he had said, "Do you want to go to lunch tomorrow?" I had said yes, for tomorrow was Saturday.

I couldn't believe I had slept in so late. The clock red 10 AM when I finally woke up. I wondered why Mom and Dad never tried to come in my room. When I walked down stairs, there they were again. I wasn't surprised, they had been doing lots of paper work for the last three days. I told Mom and Dad I had plans with a friend, and left it at that. They waved me out before returning to their work. "Hey," Estevo greeted as he met me outside the apartment. I greeted him back and we started walking. Before I knew it, we were out of the bustling city, and into the cobblestone streets of Old Lisbon. I felt older too, and Estevo seemed more mature before my eyes. We walked into a small cafe, ordered, and went back outside. I looked across the park at the families. Perfect families, a mother and two children. A father and a baby. Two girls and a son. Everyone belonged together, except for me.  I looked at Estevo, he was pointing to a tree rustling in the wind. We stood under it and he picked a flower from the branch. He reached down and planted the flower in my blonde hair.  Just as I was going to do the same for him, he pulled my face. I spun and turned, staring into his beautiful eyes. Estevo stared at my eyes too, then he grabbed my face. Under the tree, he kissed my lips. I smiled as we walked back to pick up our drinks. We talked for a long time. I felt as if even though I had just met Estevo, he cared for me. He explained to me that he wanted to be a doctor when he went to college. I was shocked and told him how I had wanted to be a doctor since I was seven years old. We talked for a long time about our future, and our careers. He seemed interesting to me the way his mind worked. He was a dramatic speaker, always using great gestures and pronouncing his words dramatically. I found myself very similar to him. He told me that he had three brothers, but they never got along. I explained how I was the only child. I asked him why they never got along. He didn't have a solid answer, so I left the subject alone. I changed the subject to myself, explaining how I'd love to travel to France. "I just love that country, and I'd love to see the Eiffel Tower," I smiled. "I don't feel right here, I mean in Portugal." That was the first time I had ever told anyone how I felt. I had admitted what I had been feeling for years. I never felt as if I belonged in this country. I always felt as if I was too different from everyone, even my own family. As Estevo and I continued down the old streets, I watched all the faces we passed. I felt stupid to say it, but I said it. "See?" I asked, pointing to everyone walking by. "What?" Estevo asked me. "Nobody here is like me. They all have the face, they all have the aura, I don't belong," I laughed. "You're beautiful, so you belong in a beautiful place," Estevo replied, hugging me. I realized that I had told Estevo things I had never told my parents. How I felt different, how I felt alone. I realized he didn't judge me, because he felt the same way. "This might be one of the best days," I thought to myself. He had to leave for family business, so I walked myself home.

My mood soon changed. "Nova, sit down," Dad demanded as I walked in. I knew something was up. Dad wasn't calling me "Querida" or any nickname this time. When called me by my first name, I knew he meant business. I wondered if he had seen me with Estevo, and why he was angry. "Nova," Mom started talking. "Can we just get past my name and talk?" I thought to myself. "We, we have to leave Lisbon," Mom told me. "What?" I asked, shocked, "Why? Where will we go?" I expected Dad to say Porto or maybe even Madeira but he didn't answer me. "Why are we leaving, and where are we going?" I asked again, this time I stared hard at Dad. "We have to go because we aren't making enough money here," Mom explained. I didn't believe her for one minute. If we weren't making enough money, then why did we always take trips? Why did we always have enough money for clothes, too much money for food, and money for fun? "Where are we going?" I asked Dad again. They looked at each other. Mom said, "California." "What?" I cried, having to sit down before falling over. California? So we were moving to America? Why, why so far just for money? "I don't want to move!" I cried. Dad said, "I know, but it's for the best, especially for you." Why'd he say that, I didn't even work yet. "It's not fair!" I cried as I left them and ran to the stairs. Just when I finally started feeling happy, just when I found someone I liked, we were moving? I felt that Mom and Dad had done this on purpose, somehow.  Then, a horrible thought crossed my mind. What was I going to do about Estevo? I cried harder and harder before picking up the phone and dialing Fatima. Her voice came loudly over the phone. "My mom told me, why are you leaving?" She sobbed. That made me get even more upset and I told her just to come over. When she arrived, I could tell she was crying the whole time. "I don't want to leave," I said after I explained my story to her. "Stay with us!" She cried, her eyes lighting up. I had never thought of that. I didn't want to leave Mom and Dad but then again, I didn't want to leave Fatima, Estevo, and Portugal. I had dreamed of traveling, but not moving.  Estevo and I had just talked for hours about our secrets. He had helped me feel that even though I didn't feel like I belonged in the country, I belonged with him. How was I just supposed to tell this boy all of my confessions, and then just leave him? Fatima and I  walked down stairs and presented the idea to my parents.  The idea about me staying in Lisbon with Fatima and her family. "Nova, I can't believe you wouldn't want to go with us," Dad yelled, and it kind of scared me. "I just don't want to leave," I whispered. "We are moving for you," Mom shrieked as she left the room. "Don't listen to her, she's just upset," Dad told me before leaving to console Mom. I felt as if I had stepped into a dream land. Why all the sudden were we just leaving the country? Just because of finances? Something didn't make sense. I told Fatima she might need to go home now, she left. "Dad, when are we moving?" I asked. He bit his lip and turned his back to me. I spun him around and faced him again asking, "I said when?" "Next week," He said. It was as if a bomb had been dropped. I find out we're leaving the country in a week? I couldn't believe it. Then Dad forced me to do the hardest thing I'd ever imagine doing. Telling my teacher I'd be moving. That would mean facing Estevo, and having to leave him. I couldn't imagine the confusion he'd have after telling me his secrets, and then having me leave.

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