Sophie walked through the halls of her school on her last day, saying good-bye to the blank walls and rusting lockers for the next three months. She sighed as she absorbed the fact that after today, she would be halfway done with high school.
“Hey, Sophie!” A girl with long, brown hair called from behind.
“Hey, Annie,” Sophie said, a smile spreading across her face as her best friend ran up to her.
“Are you ready for our big summer extravaganza?” Annie asked, throwing an arm around Sophie`s shoulder.
“Totally!” Sophie answered.
They walked the rest of the way to Sophie`s car, going over the plans they had thrown together for the past three weeks. Finally they stopped in front of a vintage agave green Beetle and Annie plopped herself in the passenger seat, tossing her backpack behind her. Sophie climbed into the driver`s side and did the same. She started up the engine and drove away from New Burnside High School. A mere ten minutes later, they pulled up in front of Annie`s house.
“Hey, do you want to stay for a while?” Annie asked, reaching back to grab her bag.
“I would, but I can`t. I have to go home and take care of my brother,” Sophie responded, giving Annie an apologetic smile.
“Alright, I understand. I`ll see you later!” Annie called as she hopped out of the car. Sophie waited until the door shut and she shifted into reverse and left the driveway.
Another ten minutes later, Sophie stepped over the threshold of her house. She dropped her bag next to the door and threw her keys in a bowl on the table. She went upstairs into her little, eleven year old brother`s room. Zane came home a good half an hour before Sophie so he was predictably in is room, reading comic books.
“Hey, dork. Do you want something to eat?” Sophie asked him, pausing to look at his messy room. “And you know, Mom is gonna kill you if she sees this,” she added, raising an eyebrow at him.
“I know, I`ll get around to it. And yeah, can you make me some food?” Zane said, sighing. Zane was a strange eleven year old. Because of the divorce between their mother and father, he had grown up too fast. He still had his little things, like reading comic books, having a messy room, and needing food cooked for him that reminded one that he was still young, but other than that, most people think that he`s closer to eighteen then ten. Sighing at the thought, Sophie simply muttered an okay and went back downstairs. She gathered the makings of a grilled cheese sandwich and got to work to make Zane his snack. Their mom didn`t usually get home until nine at night with the two jobs that she had to work.
So, one could say that Sophie was extremely surprised when Lynn Atkins burst through the front door, loaded down with bags of junk food. That meant one thing. They were going on a road trip somewhere.
“Hey Mom, what are you doing home?” Sophie asked when her mother entered the kitchen, tossing the bags on the counter. Instead of answering Sophie`s mom simply said, “go get your brother,” and Sophie did as she was told.
“Hey, Zane. Mom`s home and she wants us both downstairs,” Sophie said after bolting up the stairs to her brother`s room again. Zane sat up immediately, sighed and walked with her down the stairs.
“Alright, guys. I have some news. It`s good for me, but I`m sure you`ll have a different opinion. But, we`re moving!” Lynn said, her eyes shining with excitement. Zane and Sophie shared a look.
“What?” Sophie asked, hoping she had misheard her mother.
“Why?” Zane asked, trying to understand the change of plans.
“I got a new job. And with this one, I can quit my other two. The money is good, it`s something I enjoy doing. I`m sorry that it`s not close enough to stay here, but I need this. Please understand,” Lynn begged her children, hoping they wouldn`t freak out on her.
Sighing, Sophie nodded. “When?” was all she asked.
“I have to be out there by Saturday. So we`ll be leaving here in two days,” Lynn answered her hesitantly. She was asking a lot of her kids and she knew it.
“Okay. I`ll go call Annie and tell her our plans are off and start packing. Do we still have the boxes from the last time we moved?” Sophie asked, slowly turning on auto-pilot mode. She knew there was no point in arguing, so when her mom nodded her head, Sophie walked down to the basement and dug around for the boxes that were designated for her room. She carried them to her room and set them on her bed before digging her phone out of the pocket of her shorts. She dialed Annie`s number and flopped on her bed, waiting for her to answer.
“Hello?” The ringing stopped and Annie`s voice echoed slightly through the phone`s messed up speakers.
“Hey Ann, its Sophie,” she said, surprised by how emotionless she seemed to sound.
“Oh, hey! What`s up?” Annie asked, instantly perking up.
“I have some news. And I don`t think you`ll like it,” Sophie sighed.
“Sophie. What`s going on?” Annie asked, suddenly serious. She must have understood the tone was not a joking one.
“I`m gonna have to cancel the summer extravaganza,”
There was silence on the phone for a while.
“Just absorbing. You`re really moving? You better call me. A lot. Wait, when are you moving? Maybe we could still fulfill our plans!”
“Annie, I`m moving in two days.”
“Oh. Well, hurry up and pack and we`ll do something special!”
“Alright, I`ll hurry.”
“See you tomorrow!”
“See ya,” Sophie ended the call and tossed her phone on her pillow. All she wanted to do was curl up in a ball. But now she had to get her stuff together in a day, then go out with Annie. And who knew what she wanted to do. Groaning, she got up and began to pack up her books and magazines. Then, all her miscellaneous things that she didn`t use regularly went in the next box. Sophie dragged her laundry basket downstairs and started to her load before going back up and packing all her winter stuff in the winter box.
Suddenly, Sophie`s phone began to buzz with a zillion texts from her friends, all about her moving. She ignored it until the buzzing reduced to the annoying notice that she had a new message. She picked up her phone and scrolled through the texts, surprised at some of the people that said they`d miss her. She sent out a generic message to everyone, telling them she appreciated the sentiment and that she was really moving and how she`d miss them too. Frustrated, she plugged in her iPod and began to blast music throughout her room before falling onto her bed again. She glanced at her clock and realized with a jolt that she had been packing and working for a good three hours now, so it was almost six.
“No wonder I`m so hungry..” Sophie muttered to herself, still refusing to get up. She closed her eyes and drifted to sleep.
Sophie didn`t wake up until the next morning, and she saw a plate of food on her desk and her basket of laundry sitting next to her bed. Yawning, she got up and went to the bathroom connected to her room. She looked at her reflection and made a face. Her make-up was smeared all over the place and her hair was a tangled, frizzy, mess. She dragged the brush through it to try and fix it, eventually giving up and taking a shower. She stood under the hot water, letting it relax her and melt away some of her frustrations. Yes, she was moving. Yes, her life was going to change tomorrow. No, she wasn`t going let that change her. With that thought in mind, she finished her shower went back to her room, putting on some shorts and a t-shirt. She let her hair air dry for a while as she ate the sandwich her mom had probably left in there for her the night before. She did her hair and make-up mechanically, ready to finish packing except for the very few things she would need for the road trip tomorrow.
A good four hours later, and Sophie was practically done. She grabbed the stepladder she used more as a chair than anything and unstrung the twinkle lights down from the ceiling. She wrapped them carefully around her hand and put them back in their box carefully. She looked around at her incredibly bare room and sighed. Irritatingly, her phone buzzed for the thousandth time, and Sophie checked it wearily. But it was a simple message from Annie.
Come over now. I have a surprise for you!
I`ll be there soon. Sophie replied, shoving her phone in her pocket. She bushed the hair from her face and walked down the stairs.
“Hey, Mom? I`m going to Annie`s for a little while. I already finished packing up my stuff. I`ll see you later,” she called through the house, not bothering to find her. She grabbed her keys and walked out the door and to her little Bug. She`d be driving it all the way to Pennsylvania. With a cringe, she got in and started it up, shifted into reverse, and drove off to Annie`s house.
She was there in what felt like an instant, climbed out of her car and walked through Annie`s front door like she had for the past eight years that she lived in New Burnside. Sighing at the thought of never really being able to do this again, she walked upstairs to Annie`s room, to only find a note on her door that told Sophie to count to fifty and go back downstairs. Annoyed as she was, Sophie did what she was told and found an enormous group of her friends waiting for her. Her eyes widened and a huge smile broke out over her face.
“SURPRISE!” Was yelled at the top of everyone`s lungs as they pulled her into the crowd. This was her going away party. And surprising even herself, she started to cry. She would never see these people again, or at least wouldn`t see them for a long time. Mentally slapping herself, she wiped her eyes and enjoyed the party.
Hours later, Sophie left Annie`s house sore, but happy. She got to see all her friends one last time before she had to leave, which made her feel better about going. She climbed into her Bug and drove home.
The instant she got upstairs to her room, she changed into her pajama shorts and fell asleep on top of her sheets. She should have left the party sooner so she could be alert when she was driving for twelve hours to Indian Lake, Pennsylvania. But it had been fun, and her mom had promised a stop at McDonald`s before they really started, so she`d just get some coffee to get her going. Tomorrow, Sophie`s life was going to change and she knew it.