Chapter One: North Bound
It was deep winter in Canada and Kevin Lore was nostalgic for his Texas origins. His father, Mark Lore, was moved due to his work in Hemisphere Incorporated. It was a huge company that, on the outside, dealt with foreign trade, but had numerous under-the-table secrets; pollution, deforestation, global warming, etcetera. At least, Kevin swore they did. Either way, Mr. Lore was to take over as head of a new branch in Canada with a big bonus and annual salary increase. His wife, Andrea Lore, protested against moving the family, but her willpower crumbled at the sight of that brand new diamond necklace. Kevin argued as well that his 17 years of life in Texas can't just be ended, but his father didn't want to hear it.
The last few days of their residing in Texas consisted of Mr. Lore’s drinking goodbye with his buddies, Mrs. Lore rubbing the money in her ‘friend’s’ faces and Kevin saying goodbye to his schoolyard chums.
“I’m gonna write letters. Do they have post offices that far north?” Jared, Kevin’s most trusted sidekick, joked.
“Shut up. Of course they do!” Sheila, the sidekick’s “ball and chain” (as described by Kevin), scolded him.
“Call me often, okay? Face time, video conferences, chats, anything!” Carol hugged Kevin strongly, unwilling to let her “little Hershey Kiss” go (an unfortunate nickname for Kevin based on past events).
“Crushing...me...” Kevin gasped.
After many more promises to call over the next three days, all that was left to do was wave out the back window as Kevin’s friends slowly disappeared in the distance.
“Don’t worry son,” Mr. Lore said, “You’ll make new friends in Canada.”
Kevin didn’t dignify the cliché with a response. For the entire two days of half driving and half pitstops, Kevin rode in silence. His thoughts drifted through variety; What is my new town like? What kind of people live their? How many burger joints can America have? What if my friends forget about me? Many thoughts scared him. Too nervous to stay on conscious thought, Kevin slipped away into sleep. He had pleasant memories of his adventures in Texas; the time Jared got bit by a rattlesnake, his and Carol's first date and first kiss, all jumbled into one continuous trip until the car lurched to a stop.
"Huh…where…?" Kevin mumbled.
"Wake up, sweetie," Mrs. Lore shook her son, "We're going to have some dinner and take a rest."
Kevin blinked away the sleep from his eyes and was greeted with red neon. It curled around in a cursive style spelling out "LARRY'S MOTEL AND FOOD." Kevin had eaten so many energy bars during the trip, he felt like this was heaven on Earth.
He opened his door eagerly and immediately recoiled in shock.
"How cold is it out there?!" He yelled at his parents. The inside of the car was cooled by air conditioning and even that wasn't as cold as the outside.
"Well," Mr. Lore rolled down his window and stuck his hand out, "Oh, come on Kev. It's not that bad."
Kevin braced himself for the cold and shot out of the car like a frightened cat. He didn't stop running until he was inside the motel.
"Geez, kid. You look like you've seen a ghost!" An older man was situated behind the check-in.
Breathing heavily, Kevin answered, "It…is…so…cold…out…"
The man laughed loudly, "You think that's cold? Right now, that is a warm night by our standards!"
Kevin was about to call him insane, but his father walked through the door. He was carrying three duffel bags and a sour expression.
"Thanks for helping us with the bags, son."
Mrs. Lore followed closely behind, only holding her purse, "Kevin, you should've helped your father."
"You folks here to stay the night?" The counter man asked.
"Yes, only one night." Mr. Lore answered.
"Let me show you to your room."