"Shutup, Lexie. You're really starting to piss me off." I said.
"C'moooon now, you know I hate it when you call me that Belle." he said, with as much charm as possible.
"Seriously though Alex, this year is going to fucking rock. Who cares if we're at the bottom of the food chain as freshmeat? Middle school was shit... We gotta turn this year around! Start something new!" I knew I was rambling, but I didn't care. I was nervous outta my mind.
"You're doing it again," he said with a chuckle. "C'mon now, hop in. Don't want to be late for the 'start of something new'." Alex gave me that smile that always made me feel right - made me feel at home. I hopped in the back seat of his dad's car and buckled the seat belt.
We started down the familiar path that was our street. A place we had called home since we were both small children. Where at friendship had formed.
I was three. Alex was a few months older, but he was already four. I had hoped and prayed that when the new neighbors moved in they would have a girl my age that I could play with and call my best friend.
Looking back, boy I was happy I was wrong.
From the shelter of my curtains, I watched as the family slowly started getting out. I saw the dad, then the mom, then two girls who looked about 10, then a boy, younger, who was about 7. I sighed, and just as I was about to pull away from my window, he walked out. He was my age - I knew at once. He saw me looking through the window, smiled up at me, then ran to his new home after his brother.
When I finally got out of my room, my mother dragged me along to their house with a 'Welcome to the Neighborhood!' basket. Still to this day I have no idea what was in the basket. Knowing my mother it was probably wine, chocolates and a card. My mom knocked on the door and when it opened she introduced herself. "Hello there! I'm Caterina and this is my daughter Isabelle! Welcome to the neighborhood, we live just next door!"
The mom and dad smiled and looked down at me and accepted the basket with many thanks. "Kids, come down here quick!" I heard the father say. Then the mother spoke up in her soothing voice and said "My name is Isobel too. This is my husband, Peter. We are the Gaskarths. We'll introduce you to his three kids and then our boy once they get downstairs."
The two girls came down and I found out that one was named Jilian and the other Helen. Then the boys came down. We were then introduced to Thomas and finally Alexander. "This is Caterina and her daughter Isabelle..." the youngest, Alexander, quickly cut her off "Like you mom!" Isobel smiled at her son and said "They live right next door. Caterina," she looked at my mom. "Why don't you come with myself and Peter and we'll give you a quick tour, but please mind the boxes. Alexander, you are done packing, why don't you show Isabelle your room and get to know her a bit, hmm?"
Alexander looked me up and down, then smiled. "You can call me Alex."
"And you can call me Belle." I almost whispered.
"I'm four, how old are you?" he asked as a breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, someone my age.
"Three. I'll be four in May." I said, grinning from ear to ear.
"My birthday is in December," he said as he grabbed my hand. "Follow me! I'll show you around the house!"
I spent the whole day with Alex. After he showed me around the house, he brought me to his room where we built forts with the empty boxes. His mom would come in and check up on us every once in a while and sometimes even asked me questions. My favorite was when I learned how to spell her name.
"I-s-o-b-e-l. How do you spell your's dear?"
"That's very lovely Isabelle." she said gently.
"Mom, she goes by Belle," Alex said sharply,
"I-It's okay," I stammered. "Call me whatever you want Mrs. Gaskarth."
"Please call me Isobel," and with that, she was gone.
"Whatchya thinkin' about Belle?" Alex said. I didn't even realize we were in the parking lot. I jumped out of the car "Thanks Peter!"
He smiled at me from the wheel. "Anytime honey."
Alex grabbed my arm as he dad drove away. We had almost every class together, which was typical. The only thing that was different was our second hour classes (I had photography, he had music) and our fourth hour (I had graphic design, he had gym). I looked at the school and shivered without meaning to. He squeezed my arm once more then dropped it. I followed him to first hour Spanish.
"Lex, did you really mean what you said back there?" I asked timidly.
"Like I'd leave you Belle? You've been my best friend since I met you the day I moved."
"That's what I was thinking about, by the way."
"What?" Alex gave me a look of confusion.
"You asked me in the car what I was thinking about. I was thinking about the day we first met."
"Oh Belle, don't get all girly on me now."
I glared at him. So what if I liked sports and playing video games. I was still a girl. I still liked shopping. Alex used to say that I had the best of both worlds.
"Don't give me that look! What, do you want an award for being the only one with a vagina that can kick my ass in Halo?"
I smiled. "As long as it's glittery and pink."
As I had assumed, that shut him up and we walked towards the door of our first class of Freshman year.