By the time she got home, Jordyn was sweaty and sore, but she felt good. Even better knowing she had at least one friendly face to look for at Cedarwood High Monday morning. She couldn’t believe how friendly Alice was, so open and welcoming to the new girl whom she didn’t know. She hoped she’d run into her Monday, though. Originally, she’d thought making friends in a town full of people who’d probably known each other their whole lives was going to be hard. She figured she wouldn’t be welcome into their already tight-knit society. But after the friendliness of the town people today, she wasn’t dreading Monday so much anymore.
Jordyn had slowed to a walk by the time she’d made it to her driveway, the gravel path so long it took her nearly ten minutes to walk to her house through the trees. There, she was surprised she didn’t see her brother’s Mustang. Weird. Tryouts ended at noon, and he had been home by quarter after or 12:30 every day this week. Now it was nearly 1:00, and he wasn’t there. But there was a shiny new Dodge Charger with a siren on top and Cedarwood Police splashed across the side. Her dad was home.
Inside, Jordyn could hear her parents in the kitchen, talking. She decided she would peak in, let them know she was home, then she planned to disappear up to her room and Skype with Shay for a little while.
When she walked into the kitchen, she found her mother washing her hands and her father leaning against the counter with his arms folded over his broad chest. They were discussing dinner, it seemed, because she heard the words “--have really good steak.”
“Hey, guys,” she said. “I’m home.”
“Did you have fun?” Zara asked with a smile.
“It was just a run, mom,” Jordyn chuckled, walking over kissing her father’s cheek. “Hey, daddy.”
“Afternoon, baby girl,” he replied with a smile. “How did you like Cedarwood.”
“Up close, I guess it’s alright,” she said, grabbing an apple from the fruit bowl and taking a bite. “Where’s Ty and Logan?”
“Ty went out with some guys from the football team after final cuts,” Zara explained. “And Logan has a friend he met at the skate park. He’s hanging out at his house tonight.”
“Wow, they’re adjusting, huh,” Jordyn said. She just realized she hadn’t seen a lot of her brothers this week. Logan had quickly fit with the skateboard kids, and now Ty was hanging out with his football friends. Jordyn was really falling behind, she realized. She thought her brothers were as bummed about the move as she was, but apparently she was wrong. They weren’t even home because they already had friends. One week in and they had friends. Jordyn knew the name of the really nice girl at the bookstore and was spending all her time indoors.
“School starts in two days,” Jack said with a smile. “You’ll make friends quick.”
“Actually I met someone today,” Jordyn said. “This girl named Alice works in the book store downtown. She says she’s a junior at Cedarwood.”
Zara looked excited. “Aw, that’s wonderful, honey! And there’ll be even more on Monday. Just you wait. And you still have dance Monday night to look forward to.”
Jordyn cringed. “Yeah.” She took another bite of her apple. “I’m gonna go upstairs and see if Shay’s online.”
She headed upstairs to her new room—which now had sky blue walls with white trim so it felt like her own—and pulled out her laptop. She texted Shay, “Skype?” and waited for a response while she booted her computer up. It came quickly. “Yes, please!”
Jordyn chuckled, and pulled up her Skype. She couldn’t wait to tell Shay all about Cedarwood. But mostly, she wanted to see her best friend’s face, something familiar. Something to remind her that her previous life actually happened.
When her screen filled with Shay’s smiling face. “My love!”
Jordyn grinned back. “Shay Shay! I miss you!”
“I miss you, too, girl. What are you up to?”
Jordyn just shrugged. “Not much. Just went for a run. Five miles to town and back.”
Shay’s jaw dropped. “Ten miles? Wow. You are bored out there. You make any friends yet? Any country “folks” replace me?”
Jordyn chuckled and shook her head. “Nope. Well, I talked to one girl today. But for like five minutes. I mean, school doesn’t start until Monday, so we’ll see what happens then. And shut up! You can’t be replaced.”
Shay gave a smug grin. “Of course I can’t. There’s only one Shay Shay.”
Jordyn laughed. “I agree.”
“So you see any boys, yet?”
“No. I’ve only left my house once besides shopping with my mom. And that was to run this morning.”
“There’s nothing to do here. There’s a Wal-Mart, but it’s not even a Super Wal-Mart. I didn’t think those things still even existed.”
Shay laughed. “Oh, wow. Are you joking? No malls?”
“In Pittsburgh. But that's obviously not walking distance. There’s a Target in Woodbury That's just slightly closer than Pittsburgh.”
“Wow,” Shay laughed. “Seen any cows, yet?”
“Yes. Plenty. Oh, and the football team here is like, crazy worshipped.”
“Is Ty on the team?”
“Yep. You know it. He’s already hanging out with guys on the team. And Logan’s made friends at the skate park. Neither of them are home, right now.”
“Wow, lucky you.”
Jordyn twirled a loose strand of hair that had escaped from her messy bun around her finger. “Yeah, I guess. If you consider sitting at home while your brothers are living it up in hillbilly land, yeah, I’m lucky, then.”
“What, you’re looking forward to tractor pulls and cow tipping?”
“It’s not that bad, here.” Jordyn saw the look of surprise on Shay’s face. She was surprised, too, that she’d said it. But it was true. It wasn’t so bad here. Nothing too awful had been happening. She had this awesome new room, and she wasn’t even in school, yet, but she already knew someone.
“You’re high, right?” Shay asked. “You let peer pressure get to you? Jordyn, did someone get you hooked on crack?”
Jordyn laughed. “Hell no. It’s not Moon Bay Beach, but it’s alright.”
“You’ve been smelling the fertilizer too much there, Jor,” said Shay in a sing-song voice. “Look, I gotta go. Me and my mom are gonna do a little back to school shopping. Text me later?”
“Sure,” Jordyn said. “Talk to you later.”
“And hey! Stop sniffing the fertilizer.”
Jordyn just smiled, waved, then shut her Skype off. She closed her laptop just as she heard her brother’s Mustang. She peaked out the window, wondering if any of his new friends were with him. No such luck. But her eyes widened and her jaw dropped when she saw there was something else new with him.
“Oh my gosh,” she whispered before turning around and bolting out of her room. She hadn’t made it halfway down the stairs before she heard her mother.
“Tyler Hamilton, what on earth have you done to your hair?”
Jordyn walked into the kitchen, and saw her father smirking as he sipped on his coffee. Zara’s face supported the shocking exclamation she’d just made. Jordyn was shocked herself at what her brother had done.
Ty was smiling as he took a long drink from his water bottle. He reached up and rubbed his new buzz-cut. Last time Jordyn saw her brother, his hair was almost at his shoulders, surfer-style shaggy.
“You like it?” he asked.
“I like it,” Zara managed. “It’s just, well, different.”
“What possessed you to cut your hair?” Jordyn asked in astonishment.
“Made the football team,” Ty explained. “Coach said it was too long, needed it above my ears.”
“Well, that’s way above your ears,” Jordyn said. She touched her brother’s head. “There isn’t a lot left at all.” She exaggerated a gasp, putting her hand over her mouth. “Oh my gosh, Ty, they sucked the California right out of you. This place is like the Stepford Wives or something."
“Who did this?” Zara asked.
“It’s a buzz cut, mom,” Ty chuckled, rubbing it again. “It’s not rocket science. One of the guys from the team did it.”
“That’s cute how you and your new friends give each other make overs,” Jordyn teased. “Do you have pillow fights, too?”
Ty cleared his throat loudly, and narrowed his eyes at his sister. “What’d you do today?”
“I went for a run,” Jordyn replied.
“To town and back.”
Ty’s eyes widened. “Whoa.”
“Yeah, that hill coming up Cliff Road’s a beast.”
“Who were you hanging out with today, Ty,” Zara asked her son.
“Just some guys from the team. We went to Mickey’s.”
“Mickey’s?” Jordyn asked.
“Oh, Jordyn, the place is awesome,” Ty said. “I’ve never tasted pizza like that before. They got this arcade in the basement, they got pool tables, a DJ on Friday and Saturdays. Well, it’s like Blue Moon a little. You have to check it out.”
“By myself?” Jordyn asked, her arms folded over her chest.
“You can go with me tomorrow,” Ty said. “Hey, better yet, there’s a party tonight. One of the guys on the team is having, like, an end-of-summer thing.”
Jordyn had a feeling it wouldn’t be long before she was tired of hearing “one of the guys on the team.” She figured soon enough they’d learn names. It was weird to think Ty had gone from cool, California surfer kid with shaggy blond hair to Mr. Popular East Coastall of a sudden. Now he was ‘one of the guys on the team’ himself. He was hanging out with the football team, officially making him small-town royalty, and he hadn’t even started school, yet.
“What party?” Zara asked.
“Honey, it’s fine,” Jack said. “We can trust him. He’ll be fine. Won’t you Ty?”
“Yeah, I mean, if this wasn’t a good idea, I wouldn’t invite Jordyn,” Ty said, motioning to his sister.
Jordyn rolled her eyes. Of course big man Ty wouldn’t put his baby sister in any danger she couldn’t handle. He got that overprotectiveness from their father.
“That’s OK,” Jordyn said. “I’m not really in a party mood. I’m just gonna grab a shower and kind of chill out tonight.”
“You sure, Jor?” Ty asked. “There’s going to be a lot kids from school there. Give you a chance to meet some people before school starts on Monday.”
Jordyn knew her brother had a point, but the way she saw it, she didn’t want to go to a party with a bunch of people she didn’t know, and she didn’t want to tag along with Ty and his friends, either, looking like an annoying little sister. Because that was not the reputation she needed.
“I’m sure,” she said.
“It’s probably for the best,” Zara said. “Ty you be home by midnight, OK? Jordyn, you and I can work on some combos tonight. You need to get yourself ready for Monday night.”
Jordyn reluctantly nodded, then excused herself to go get her continuously detoured shower. Right. Because she wanted to spend her Friday night with more dancing.
Yep. Just great.