California Paradise

Lilly Fall has just moved from Maryland to Huntington Beach, California. She misses her friends, surfing at Assateague, and the general east coast vibe. But then she meets Keaton, Wes and Drew.


1. Moving In

I like Maryland, I really do. Going wild blackberry picking with my best friends in the spring, hiking through the woods in my backyard to get to the places where the brambles grew thick enough for the blackberries to hide themselves in between.   Going to the mall to cool off when the power went out during hurricane season and shopping for new bathing suits. The hot humid summers that melt into cool crisp autumns where leaves turn bright colors and crisp fresh apples are sold at farm stands all around Annapolis.   But, I couldn’t help being excited about moving to Huntington Beach, California.  I could go to the beach every day! I could surf after school! I could wear shorts on Christmas!

When I told my friends, I’ll admit I cried a little, but they were excited.  “I can visit over spring break!” assured my best friend in the entire world, Annabelle.  We giggled and looked through our Surf Scrapbook.  We had started surfing together when we were eight, with surf lessons at Assateague Island.  We loved surfing near the horses, and went most weekends in the summer and fall, and some warmer times in winter.  Our favorite photo by default is of us surfing tandem on a ten foot longboard in the small waves in the heart of summer.

Annabelle whooshed out her breath.  “Here.  Take it.” She held out the book gingerly, as if it were her rabbit, Pepper.  I gasped, “Annabelle, I couldn’t!”  She rolled her eyes.  “Well, Lilly, it belongs in Cali, where surfing thrives.”  Almost as an afterthought she added, “Or Hawaii.  But California works too.”  We giggled and hugged each other tight, and until it was time for me to go home we watched Monty Python and ate popcorn. 

                The next day, we left.  Annabelle came to see us off, promising to visit as soon as possible.  “We’ll THINK about going for spring break, Annabelle.” Her mom said.  We looked at each other and shrieked.  Mrs. Robinson is really strict.  If she was even thinking about it, she must know how connected Annabelle and I are to each other.


                “Come on, Lilly, time to get on the plane!” my dad beckoned to me from that little tunnel thingy where you get on the plane, and of course I had to follow him!  I wasn''t going to miss one day of beautiful California sunshine!


I fell asleep after eating paper pizza halfway through the flight, and was only jolted awake by my three year old little sister Maddie.  "We'r e here!" she squeaked in my ear, pretzel crumbs flinging out of her mouth.  I nodded groggily and settled an Aztec print snapback on my head.  After another hour at LAX airport and another hour in the car to our new beach front home,  my dad said, "Lilly, you turn sixteen in October.  I think you're responsible enough to put your sister in bed while your mother and I go out for dinner.  I inwardly groaned but agreed.  I settled her in and went out with my songwriting journal to the section of our wraparound porch that faced the ocean.  I was surprised to find a hammock there, and setteleed into it.  

I ended a song with the verse , True love is pure gold. and snapped the leather journal shut.  Farther down the beach, three guys started a bonfire.  My parents had gotten back about an hour before, and told me I could explore the neighboorhood.  I figured, why not try to make some friends? So I unlatched the gate to the beach, and walked down the shore towards the fire.

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