When my parents told me we’d be moving, I didn’t know what to think. I mean of course I’d hate to say goodbye to my friends, but recently we’ve been growing distant. A part of me says this could be a good thing, while the other is completely terrified. I’ve lived here in Savannah Georgia my entire life, how am I gonna make it in Maine? I’ve tried to stop thinking about everything, but I can’t. Classic Amber, the overthinker.
“Amber! Caleb! It’s time to go.” My mom calls my brother and I.
“Coming.” I shout back.
I take one last look at my room before leaving. It makes me sad to see it so bare and drained of life, All of my photography and awards taken down. By the time I leave my room, Caleb’s coming out as well. I know this move will be a lot harder for my older brother. He was the quarterback for the football team and had a lot of friends. He even has to leave his girlfriend behind. I look over at him to see how he’s doing. He’s grown tall and muscular recently, which is weird. He towers over me now. I’m about to say something to him, but I notice his Airpods. Ever since mom and dad said we were moving he’s been almost fading away– Never coming out of his room and when he does he’s always wearing his headphones or Airpods. This move would be a whole lot better if I had him to help me. The worst thing about all of this is watching what it’s doing to him.
As we step outside, I sling my camera off my shoulder and take a picture of the house. I can almost hear the eye rolls from my family. Maybe it doesn’t matter to them, but I don’t want my childhood to just fade away. Call me sentimental, I don’t care. I hop into the backseat and pull out my phone.
I’m at least twenty minutes into stalking this random guy’s Instagram by the time everyone gets in the car. Caleb glances at my screen and raises an eyebrow. I shrug, embarrassed. He chuckles to himself before looking out the window. My parents finish piling in what we’re taking in the car a plop in, mom driving the other car. We all take one last look before dad pulls out of the driveway. My eyes flicker to Caleb. His eyebrows are furrowed and his mouth is set in a deep frown. I slip my hand in his. He looks surprised, but then gives me a small smile and gently squeezes my hand. I turn to see my entire life growing distant.
The drive to Maine took around six hours. I slept for over half the time, so the car ride didn’t really bother me. My brother on the other hand looked like a mixture between exhaustion and frustration. I snag the house keys from my mom and run to the front door. One thing I was looking forward to was our new house. It’s incredible.
After I unlock the door, I chunk the keys on the kitchen counter and examine the house. I finally find the second best bedroom in the house. It’s giant with a walk-in closet and a bathroom.
“This one’s mine!” I yell to whoever’s listening.
“Hah!” Caleb startles me. “You wish!”
He picks me up by the armpits, sets me behind him and shuts the door in my face.
“Hey! That’s not fair! You can’t- I-” I yell as he laughs behind the door. “Mom!”
“Give her the room, Caleb. She claimed it.”
The door flies open, “Seriously?”
“Yes.” Mom hollers.
Caleb gives me the stank eye.
“Ha-ha.” I smirk at him, crossing my arms.
“You may have won the battle but you haven’t won the war.” He smirks and I know exactly what he’s thinking. Right as he lunges towards me, I slam the door in his face and lock it.
“You can’t tickle me, ha-ha. I won yet another battle.”
“Sure, but you can’t stay in there forever. You’ve got nothing to eat or drink and no furniture.”
After at least thirty minutes, I’m sure he’s gone. I slowly unlock the door, and peak my head out. After making sure he’s not there I come out. I creep down the hallway until I finally make it to the backyard.
“Take that, Cal.” I smile to myself. I walk over to the pool and just as I start to take my shoes off, I’m flying forward. I resurface to see a very proud Caleb. I scowl at him.
“I win.” He smiles.
“Shut up and go get me a towel.” I sit down on the concrete with my arms crossed, trying to keep my teeth from chattering.
He nods and heads inside. When he comes back out– Towel-less – he has a guilty look on his face.
“Don’t tell me we don’t have any towels.” I narrow my eyes.
“They’re all in the moving truck.”
“You shoved me into a pool in the middle of January and don’t have a towel?”
“I’ll just be heading to Walmart.”
By the time Cal gets back, I’m practically vibrating, not to mention I probably look like a drowned rat.
He hands me the towel and a hot chocolate. Every time I’m mad at him he brings me some kind of food or drink. He knows it’s hard for me to be angry when I have something delicious.
“Sorry.” He gives me a small smile. I can’t tell if he’s being genuine or not. “But I still won.”
Definitely not genuine.
“Yeah, what’s the score, three thousand to four?”
“You wish.” He sits down. “First day of school tomorrow. Are you excited?”
“I don’t know. Should I be?”
“If I’m being completely honest, I have no idea. You know I’m not happy with the move, but I can’t keep moping. I mean I completely disappeared for a while and that wasn’t fair. Especially to you. I know it wasn’t easy for you either.”
“Yeah, but you had it way worse. You were popular and had way more friends than I did. Not to mention you were the QB and had a girlfriend. You don’t have to apologize, Cal. My friends and I barely hang out anymore, anyway.”
He rolls his eyes, “Well it’s their loss. How could anyone not wanna hang out with my awesome sister?”
I smile. I’d never tell him this, but I’m kind of glad he pushed me in the pool. After talking it finally feels like I got my brother back.
Caleb honks the horn as I make my way out the door. He’s mad because I took so long to get ready, but it’s not my fault I wanna look my best on the first day of school.
“Seriously, Amber, we’re gonna be late.” He rolls down the window to yell at me.
“I’m coming! Jeez.” I run outside and into the car. Before I can even shut the door he’s driving.
“Caleb! Drive slower. Why are you so obsessed with getting there on time?”
“Nothing is worse than showing up late as the new kid. You wanna make a good impression? Being on time could help with that.”
I sigh, admitting defeat.
We make it to school with ten minutes to spare. Take that, Cal. We walk to the office together and grab our schedules.
“This is where we must part, M’lady.” He takes my hand and bows in a dramatic fashion.
“Yeah, see you in a few hours.” I scoff.
I find my first class pretty easily– Algebra two. I take a deep breath and walk in. Every head turns to me, each with a different expression– Some confused, some belittling, some welcoming. The latter for the most part. I flush before rushing to my seat. I sink into my chair, my eyes trained on my desk. Being new is the worst.
The classes before lunch pass pretty easily– As in me being ignored most of the time. By the time lunch rolls around, I’m petrified. I’ve had a couple hours to think through everything, and trust me, I have. I shuffle into the line, my head down. I peak up for a few minutes to scope potential tables. I almost instantly spot Cal, fitting perfectly with the jocks and popular kids, laughing at some joke. Darn him and his charming personality. I don’t know why he was so worried.
I examine the rest of the table and my eyes stop on a boy around my age. He’s wearing a football jacket and jeans. I can’t help but notice how handsome he is. Before I can look away, the boy’s light blue eyes meet my gaze. He smiles at me before looking away. I immediately turn red.
By the time I’m out of the line I’m standing with my trey, analyzing the room again. Before I can go to one of the empty tables, a hand rests on my shoulder. “Hey.”
I turn to see the boy from earlier. Embarrassment floods through me again.
“You’re Amber, right? I’m Lukas.” He extends his hand.
I shake it, “Yeah, you met my brother?” I nod my head toward Cal.
“Mhm, he’s really nice.” He smiles. “You wanna sit with us?”
I nod, “So are you a sophomore, or..?”
“Oh, I’m a sophomore.”
We reach the table and he pulls the chair out for me. I thank him with a small smile before sitting down. He sits in the seat next to me. I look over to Cal who has his eyes on Lukas. I can tell he’s trying to figure out whether he’s good for me or not. I internally roll my eyes.
“Guys, this is Amber.” Lukas introduces me to everyone. I get a variety of nods and greetings, but that’s about it.
The girl next to me sits a few feet away, but then scoots over to me.
“Hi, I’m Rose.” She’s pretty tall, with thick brown hair and green eyes.
“Hey, Amber, as you know from earlier.” I say, as I notice Lukas is staring at me.
“So you’re from Georgia, right?”
“Yeah, I’ve never even been out of state before. Well, besides now obviously.”
“Really? I would have pegged you as a traveler.” Lukas interjects.
“I mean I’d love to, I just never have. It’s so different being here.”
“Most of us have lived here our entire lives. I can’t imagine moving anywhere else.” Rose comments.
The conversation flows easily between the three of us, but I notice every time I talk to Lukas, a few girls across the table scoff and give me dirty looks. This might be a problem.
By the end of the day I exchanged numbers with Rose, Lukas, Ava, a girl from my last two classes, and Mia, a girl Rose introduced me to. Overall, I think it was a pretty good day. I jump into the car before Cal is even out of the building. He must be with some friends. I wait in the car for twenty minutes before he shows up.
“Sorry.” He mutters as he cranks the engine.
“It’s fine, what were you doing?”
“Just hangin’ at the field.”
“How was your day? I’m assuming you made friends right off the bat?”
“It was good. I didn’t make them right off the bat, per say..”
“What did that...uh what was his name? What did that Lukas guy want?”
“To be friends. At least he invited me to sit unlike my own brother. So much for blood.”
“Sorry, I didn’t know we had the same period.” He shrugs.
“I’m just kidding.” I smirk at him.
“Do you like him?”
“We’re still talking about this? Dude, we just met today.”
Right when we get home, I head to my room. I flop down onto the blow-up mattress and plug up my phone. I have a couple notifications. One from Lukas and two from mom. I open Lukas’ first.
I respond quickly.
nothing much, just chillin’, hbu?
After a few minutes of scrolling through YouTube he responds.
Wyd later? Everyone’s gonna meet up at the beach
Just wondering if you wanna come, there’ll be a bonfire
Before I answer I wanna make sure Cal’s going. I might go if he’s not, but I’d feel a lot better if he was there with me.
I sprint to his room and knock on the door.
“Hey, are you going to the bonfire tonight?”
“Okay then I’ll go.” I respond, happy he’s going too.
“I’m leaving in like half an hour though, so be ready. I swear I’ll leave you.” He points at me, his eyebrows raised.
“Okay, okay, I get it.” I put my hands in the air, surrendering.
I type out a quick response to Lukas.
getting ready, we’ll be there soon
I Jump out of the car and head straight over to Rose. She smiles and waves me over.
“Hey! I didn’t know you were coming.”
“Yeah, Lukas invited me.”
“He must really like you.” She laughs, taking a sip from her soda.
“Well, Lukas is never usually this outgoing.”
“Maybe it’s ‘cuz of my brother.”
“Maybe.” She agrees but her face looks like she couldn’t disagree more.
I talk to Rose and Mia for at least thirty minutes, but the whole time my eyes are on Lukas. He starts to look around, like he’s searching for something, until his gaze finally lands on me. His expression brightens as he makes his way to us.
“Hey, when did you get here?” He asks me.
“About thirty minutes ago.”
“Really? I didn’t see you. I just assumed you weren’t coming.” He slips his hand behind his neck.
“Oh, sorry.” I didn’t know he was looking for me.
The girls from lunch walk past us, the Blonde one hitting my shoulder as she passes. I rub my shoulder. Jeez.. Lukas scowls at them and pulls me to the drink table.
Me and Lukas talk until it’s time to go. Caleb practically has to drag me from the beach.
“That was so fun.” I mutter as I get in the car. I can’t believe I considered not going.
“Yeah. What did you and Lukas talk about?”
“None of your business. I mean if you care just ask him, he’s in all of your classes.” I say knowing he’d never ask.
It’s been a couple weeks since the bonfire, and recently me and Lukas have been getting close. But today was..Different. Before lunch I ran into those girls– Blaire, Cleo and Angela apparently. They stopped me in the middle of the hall.
“Hey, Angie!” Blaire– The blonde– called to me. I glanced around to make sure she meant me. I was the only one around, so yeah I guess so.
“Oh, I’m Amber–”
“Whatever. Who do you think you are?”
“Just coming here with you’re stupid accent and trying to take my man?”
“Who’s your boyfriend?”
“Oh. I didn’t know he was dating anyone.” Why didn’t anyone tell me he was dating someone? “I’m sorry”
“Don’t apologize. Fix it.”
I decided to skip the rest of the day after that. Which warranted many worried texts, a few from Cal and Rose and a bunch from Lukas. I reluctantly open his texts.
Hey, where R U?
Are you ok?
Nobody knows where U R
Srry, just worried
I leave him on read, moving on to Cal’s texts.
U better respond or I’m throwing you in the pool again
I type as fast as I can.
srry, I’m fine
Where r u?
in the car
I just felt like skipping today
I groan, not wanting to talk to him right now. He makes it to the car in less than five minutes. He flings the door open and slides in.
“I already told you. I just didn’t feel like school today.”
“If you lie one more time, Ima tell mom you skipped.”
I sigh and tell him everything. When I finish, Caleb looks like he’s about to strangle someone.
“I’m gonna kill him.”
“No, it’s not that big of a deal, seriously.”
“He led you on while he had a girlfriend.”
“Caleb, please.” I beg him. “Just take me home.”
He must see the desperate look in my eyes because he just nods.
When we finally make it home, I lock my door and snuggle into my bed. I distract myself with some of my favorite youtubers.
I wake to my phone pinging like crazy. I mutter under my breath and check to see who they’re from. Lukas.
You’re brother just sent me a lot of...threatening texts
something abt Blaire?
Can you meet me at the beach?
I spend a long time just staring at his texts. Finally, I text back.
I’ll be there in a few.
I throw my covers off and run to the kitchen. I snag the keys off the hook and drive.
I see Lukas standing on the surf and walk over to him with my arms crossed.
“What is it?”
He looks startled, “Why is everyone so mad at me? What’d I do?”
“You have a girlfriend and you didn’t tell me!” I stare at him.
“What are you talking about?”
“Blaire told me you were dating.”
His expressions change as quick as lightning, first confused, then realizing and lastly frustrated.
“Blaire and I broke up months ago.”
We continued to talk and clear the air. At first, I wasn’t sure if this move would be a good thing. But now a year later I realize it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.