Richmond Airport, Virginia // ALORA
"To recognize each user and ensure that nobody is left behind at a lone bus stop in the middle of nowhere, the company has sent a long sleeved, loose shirt to every Movellian with their profile photo pictured on the front, and username written below it in the same font as the Movellas logo."
- From The Movellas School Pamphlet
I stood in the middle of the bustling Richmond Airport, earbuds blasting a Skillet song at top volume, eyeing the frantic travelers as they fought to get through the security gates in an ‘organized’ and ‘timely manner’, only to be stopped by the guards and told, ‘Calm down, ma’am, sir, we’re all going to the same place’. To which they’d reply with gaping mouths and a fair amount of grumbled curse words.
I could relate - I wanted to get going, get to my flight, get to the place I needed and wanted to be. I had no time to be calm; I had to be somewhere, and I was due to meet three people - Snow, Sniper, and Brynna - at the first layover to Germany. But I wasn’t going through the airport security. No, I was going through my mother.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” I yanked out my earbuds, silencing John Cooper’s voice, and then turned to roll my eyes at my mother. My father wasn’t present to see me off; being that my flight was scheduled to leave during the week, he had to go to work. But he had woken me up at around five o’clock in the morning to wish me good luck, and to also show me how to properly throw a punch if a passenger on the plane got a bit too cozy with me.
So that left me with my mom, and my little brother, Jay.
Mom was short, so short, in fact, that I was taller than her. She claims that I like to show off and lift my chin so that I appear taller than I really am, but really, that’s just me being the prideful dufus that I am. People say we look alike, and I suppose I can see where they get that - with the blue eyes, and freckles - but we’re opposites for the most part.
My brother, Jay, looks a lot like my dad, but he’s a complete and utter wimp and mama’s boy. We often get into fights, and it’s a well known fact you can pinch him one time and he’ll start sobbing. He was carrying his precious ‘blankie’, sucking on one of the ties that held it together, which he had named ‘new one’. Jay wouldn’t go anywhere without that stupid thing, and was looking at me mournfully as he fiddled with new one.
I put up my fingers at him, our secret gesture of flying the bird, and earned a glare from him. Mom, realizing what I was doing, gave me a look that clearly said, if you didn’t have some place to be, you’d be getting yelled at. But instead of giving me a lecture, she began,“E-”
“Mom,” I groaned, throwing my hands in the air. “Alora. Alora. I don’t want to be called that any more… anything but that!”
“Your name is beautiful! I swear, when did you turn into this? You were such a cute little girl…” Mom looked at my Christmas patterned leggings, and the long sleeved, slightly baggy shirt that the school had sent me. It was blue, with a large white m on the back of it, and then, on the front, in a circle, was a picture of a pirate girl. Under the circle were the words ‘Lady Alora Wiley’.
Mom shuddered. “And you used to like princesses… and brushing your hair….”
Rolling my eyes again, I crossed my arms, tapping my foot gently on the tile floor. I wanted to move it in to the security line, but my mother found it to be the most important thing in the world to look through my suitcase and make sure that I wasn’t smuggling any stupid looking clothing.
I was, but she didn’t know that, and she never would. She nearly drew the line at my wearing my Christmas leggings, but I insisted that they were what I was going to wear to the school in Germany. I heard it was snowing - what better thing to wear than Christmas leggings depicting snowmen?
There is no better thing to wear.
“Anyway,” Mom said, turning my suitcase upright from the ground and handing it to me, “Alora, are you sure that you want to go to school in Germany. I mean, I can see why you’d want to go back there, what with all the great food, and-”
I listened to her babble on. Hmm...Maybe I should explain this a little bit better.
See, I belong to a website for aspiring writers and artists and musicians called Movellas. I’ve been around there for about a year, not counting the two months in which I completely abandoned ship and joined a number of other writing websites. I eventually gave up on those writing websites, because Movellas is… how can I describe Movellas?
It’s like a second family to me. These people, some all the way across the world, others maybe only a few blocks away, probably knew me better than my friends in real life. Movellas was a safe-place for me to complain, debate about topics that I would never have been able to have my own opinion on in the real world, and be the crazy person I am. And at the same time, I was able to hone my artistic abilities by sharing my writing and art.
People are accepted there, no matter what race, gender, belief, sexuality - as long as you weren’t a complete jerk face, you were welcome.
But around a month ago, an author who started her career on Movellas made a huge donation. She gave Movellas her family’s huge old hotel in Garmisch, Germany, and helped them open it up as a school for us Movellians.
When I first heard about it, it was probably the best news of my entire life. No more annoying snobs from school who take my writing for granted. No more struggling with not having classes with my friends. No more crying over the hard math homework. No more stupid freakin' as- OK, sorry. I'm getting ahead of myself.
My parents, on the other hand, were kinda - oh, excuse me - pretty damn skeptical about the whole thing. They thought it was a trick, a way to get me to meet up with a bunch of murderers and rapists. But after a long distance phone call was made in order to talk to the community manager, Skye, about the school, they found out it was real. Not a hoax.
So I signed up to go. While Dad had pretty much grasped the reality of the whole thing, Mom was still slightly suspicious.
Mom finally stopped talking about Germany. “Anyway… are you sure?”
My brother tapped me on the shoulder, making a slashing sound with his mouth as though he was pretending that his fingernail was a sword. “Yeah, Alora. Are you sure you want to leave your room to me?” He grinned devilishly. “I’ll delete all your IPod songs!”
I yanked my IPod out from my pocket, and then kicked my suitcase. “Too late, Dumbo!” I said, pulling on his big ears. “I got everything in here. But… I’ll always be watching!”
“I told you!” Jay whined. “I don’t have big ears!”
Mom ruffled my brother’s hair before planting a kiss on my forehead. “You’ll be OK?”
“Yeah, Mom,” I said, picking up my suitcase. Just in case she attempted to check my luggage again. If she did, she’d probably find the secret pocket with my year’s worth of exercise shorts and fandom t-shirts then. Carefully rolling it towards the security gate, I smiled and gave a little wave.“I’ll be more than OK, I’ll be great. I’m going to a school devoted to fangirling and writing. What could go wrong?”