I stared up at the house, looking at Evan and then looking at Henry. They were the only thing I could call family in this country.
“It’s too hot today,” I said in passing, holding their hands tighter. I couldn’t believe they were giving me to these people. Granted, they were supposed to give me up for adoption, but still. I didn’t hold it against them. I just wished they wouldn’t do it. I didn’t have much of a choice, though. They’d take me, but my aunts wouldn’t let them. No, this was what they wanted, and so this is what I would give.
I looked down at my shoes and sighed. Why did I agree to this? It was late summer in Chicago, and I wanted to by anywhere else but there. But, I really had no choice, the papers were signed and sealed, and now… well, now I was here. The street was reminiscent to the set of Desperate Housewives, all the lawns were neatly trimmed, all the houses were neat and clean. I think this is what is called suburbia, right?
“It’s going to be fine!” Evan said cheerily and I scowled at him.
“That’s because you’re not the one who’s moving away from everybody, it’s me.”
“Cheer up, Charlie,” Henry said, patting my hand reassuringly. “I’m sure you’ll like it.”
“Always the bloody optimist,” I said under my breath. “Alright boys, let’s do it.”
We walked up to the large suburban house and I sighed. I still didn’t see why I had to be exiled to Chicago, of all places. I wondered who in their right mind would adopt me, but I thought that anything would be better than living with my aunts. I knew one thing; I certainly wasn’t in La Rochelle anymore. I didn’t live in the city, so Chicago was a welcome change. Evan and Henry were children of family friends, and my best and closest friends. I was going to miss them dearly, but I knew I’d see them again eventually. Evan knocked pleasantly on the door and I bit my lip, nervous. What if the people were complete spazzes? What if they were just deranged? Thousands of negative possibilities ran through my head, until a little girl opened the door. She looked youngish in appearance, and was eating a cookie.
“Ma! Ma, come get the door!”
American people are just weird. She just walked away and left us there. I looked at Henry, who looked at Evan, who just laughed. Laugh at my confusion, why don’t you? A woman with gentle features came to the door, and gasped.
“You’re Charlotte, right?”
I believe so, yes. What does it look like!?
Evan and Henry came in with me because, well, technically they were my legal guardians until the papers were signed. I tried getting rid of them – the papers -, believe me I tried, but I couldn’t find a lighter to burn the papers. She led us through her house and to the dining room. Everything was so clean and orderly, it kind of scared me. But maybe she just cleaned the house to get ready for me? I don’t know. So engrossed was I in my musings about this delightfully strange place that I didn’t notice Evan and Henry were getting ready to leave until Henry poked my side.
“Aren’t you going to hug us goodbye?” he asked, curious. I laughed, hugging him.
“Group hug!” Evan exclaimed, wrapping his arms around us both. “Yay!” We pulled away and Evan ruffled my hair. “You behave yourself, you hear?”
“Define behave,” I muttered.
It was our inside joke, something only the three of us understood.
“Don’t be too reckless, okay?” Henry said, smiling crookedly. I just smiled and waved, they did the same and walked away.
“Okay, so I’m Rachel and-” the young woman began, only to be cut off by the child that opened the door.
“Mommy! Is she the-”
“Yeah, she is,” she said, beaming at me. Okay, Rachel smiles a bit too much. “This is my daughter Geraldine.” She gave me a tour of the house after that, and to my amusement, all my things were already squared and packed away.
“I didn’t know how you wanted it or anything so I just kind of put everything away. You can fix it later if you want.” The room was large – well larger than my old one – and it seemed as if she had ransacked magazines to try to give me the perfect room. And the room was indeed perfect, for an American teenage girl who was into the whole pop culture thing. But as for me, I was a French teenager who wasn’t really for American pop culture. I made a mental note to ransack eBay when I was by myself.
“It’s fine,” I said, smiling fakely.
She was talking about her son or something like that but I tuned her out, sitting on the bed. The room was light and airy, which was something I was happy for.
“Alright then, I guess I’ll just leave you up here, just holler if you need something.”
“We’re really happy to have you, Charlotte.”
I’m sure you are.
I sighed into the dark purple and lavender duvet as she shut the door, getting some much needed rest.
One thing’s for sure, this year is going to be a very interesting year, isn’t it?
I woke up in the late afternoon, sometime after five. I sat on the edge of the bed, running my hands through my hair. I was tired, much too tired to do anything. I remembered Rachel mentioning something about the room having a bathroom, and decided to take full advantage of it. A cool shower might just wake me up, right? I opened the door, and gasped. The bathroom was pretty and spacious, a mirror going the whole length of one side. The other side held the shower. The sinks were a tad strange; there were two instead of one.
I turned off the water and dried myself off, before changing. I let my hair air dry; I wasn’t in the mood to pull out my flat iron. I walked downstairs in a pair of flip-flops, a tank top, and a pair of shorts. It was much too hot for long pants, and the fact that I had just showered would do me well and helped me keep cool.
I walked into the kitchen, Rachel told me to help myself to anything I wanted, I was part of the “family”. Whatever that was supposed to mean…. She said that she had to step out for a moment, and that she’d be right back. Okay, then.
I helped myself to a can of soda and teen magazine [the room was just loaded with them for some reason or another, and sat down at the table. So engrossed was I in the relationship between some famous teenagers [who’s names I wasn’t going to bother to learn] that I didn’t hear a bunch of teenage boys flock the kitchen.
What happened next set into motion a few acts that even I didn’t see.
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