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The Start of Something New
Author's note: I got this idea off a creative writing prompt. Enjoy!
I stepped off the plane and into the terminal, leaving all remnants of my old life behind. I was scared, unready to face a new, unfamiliar lifestyle. Yet, I knew it was the best thing to do. As I reached the end of the terminal, I began to look around, unsure of my surroundings. I followed the crowd and saw a row of people waiting for passengers. Each had a sign with a different person’s name. Reef. Johnson. Braxton. Smith. Wait, my last name is Braxton. I got a good look at the boy holding the sign. He was around my age, tall, blonde, and pretty good looking. I began to walk toward him. He noticed me walking to him and gave me that weird ‘up-down’ thing. I cocked my head and he smiled.
“Leah Braxton?” the blonde boy asked.
“Um, yeah, that’s me,” I managed, faking a smile.
“It’s great to meet you! My mom hasn’t stopped talking about you. I’m Keith Landon,” he said, then reached out to shake my hand.
“Nice to meet you,” I cleared my throat. “Should we go, uh, get my luggage or something?”
“Oh yeah, sure. I’ll bring you to our house, my mom got stuck at work, so she asked me to come pick you up” he started as we began walking toward the luggage pickup. “You excited to be here in Texas?”
“Yeah, definitely. When I was a little girl I used to dream about coming to Texas. I don’t know why, I just did,” I shrugged. I had to be nice; he obviously didn’t know why I was really going to be staying with them.
“Well now you’re here!” Keith chuckled. He grabbed my luggage off the machine and began to wheel it. “C’mon, the car’s out this way.”
We walked to the car in silence. The situation was incredibly awkward. It was worse than a first date. Soon, I realized that Keith had no idea who I was. No one did. I was a new person, why not make Leah confident?
“So tell me about your family,” I asked at an attempt to make conversation.
“Well, my parents are John and Kay, which you already know. I have three other brothers-Blake, Everett, and Harrison. My mom’s going to love having another girl in the house,” he chuckled.
“How old are you and your brothers?” I questioned.
“I’m 18, Blake’s 17, Harrison’s 16, and Everett is 5,” he replied.
“Well that’s an odd age gap,” I joked.
“I know. Mom and Dad really wanted a girl. Here we are,” Keith said. We pulled up to a huge house. When I say huge, I mean it. I got the impression that the family I was going to be staying with was pretty well off. The house had to be at least three stories, with a large backyard, complete with a pool. This was definitely not was I was expecting. I started to get nervous, what if they didn’t like me?
“Leah, are you coming?” Keith asked, tapping on my window. I didn’t even notice he had gotten out of the car.
“Oh, yeah, sorry” I blew out a breath I didn’t know I had been holding.
I thought the house was big on the outside, but it was even bigger on the inside. I had never seen a house so big before in my life. The foyer opened into a large family room, complete with a big screen T.V. On a sectional, leather couch sat a boy, with a younger boy sitting on his knee. Suddenly, the little boy ran toward me and clung to my leg.
“Hi, my name’s Everwett. I’m five. Are you Weah?” he asked.
“Hi, Everett! Yes, I’m Leah” I said, flashing him a smile.
“Come here, Ev. Sorry about him, he’s a hugger,” the boy on the couch said, walking over. “I’m Blake by the way.”
“Leah” I smiled, getting a good look at Blake. He was tall, with short, brown hair, and dark, blue eyes. He was definitely good looking, but he didn’t really seem like my type of guy.
Before Blake could respond, I heard a shriek. Confused, I turned toward the source of the noise. I realized it was Mrs. Landon.
“Leah! I am so excited to have you here! Sorry I couldn’t pick you up at the airport, I got stuck at work. John should be home soon, he has to pick Harrison up from football. Are the boys treating you okay?” she asked.
“Oh yes, of course. Thank you so much for having me. It means a lot” I replied.
“Of course, honey. It’ll be so great to have another girl in the house! There is way too much testosterone in this house if you ask me” Mrs. Landon laughed.
Mrs. Landon showed me up to my room. I was shocked, to say the least. The room was huge, probably two times the size of my old room. The walls were painted a soft pink, and there was small hint of the same shade of pink in the zebra print comforter on the bed. In the corner, near a medium sized window, was a white desk, with a white MacBook on it. Across the bed, a small, flat screen T.V. was mounted on the wall. In the corner opposite the desk stood a small bookcase, filled with paperbacks of all kinds.
“Mrs. Landon, this is crazy. I can’t accept all of this,” I whispered.
“Please, Leah, call me Kay. You deserve all of it, honey; you’ve gone through enough in the past few months. Just to let you know, John and I are the only ones who know about you’re “situation”. None of the boys know, so you won’t have to worry about anything at school. You’ll be fine,” Kay responded.
I muttered a thank you, and she left me alone to explore my new room. I got the new computer set up, and soon heard a soft knock on my door.
“Come in,” I said.
“Weah, it’s me, Everwett,” I heard a small voice say. “Bwake is being mean to me. Can I watch Blue’s Clues with you?”
“Sure, Everett! I love Blue’s Clues, hop up!” I said.
For just meeting me, Everett seemed really comfortable. Two hours of Blue’s Clues episodes later, I found myself unable to move because of the five year old asleep on my shoulder. I shifted carefully, not wanting to wake him. I noticed that Everett looks exactly like Blake. I wonder if people have mistaken Blake for his dad. But who knows. I didn’t know how long he would be asleep, so I decided to doze off with him.
I dreamt about my old life, back when my parents were still alive, and I was still a brunette. I was back in Nebraska, and everything was back to normal. I was with my best friend, Austin. She and I were hanging out at my house and watching movies. All of a sudden Austin screamed and pointed toward the door. A man with a gun was standing in the doorway. I opened my mouth to scream as he began to call my name.
“Leah, Leah,” I was jerked out of the dream to Blake shaking my shoulder. “Leah, are you okay?”
“What?” I asked, dazed. “Oh, um, yes, I’m fine. Sorry, bad dream.”
“I heard shrieking from my room next door, and it sounded too girly to be Ev. Of course, I see he’s still sleeping like a rock,” he replied, chuckling and glancing at Everett.
“Yeah, he’s been out for forever. He came in here and told me you were being mean to him. He sure warms up quick.”
“He loves everyone, especially new people. He was so excited when Mom and Dad told us you were coming.”
“That’s good. It’s better than the alternative,” I joked. “So, what do you do for fun here in Texas?”
“Well, there’s a lot to do, it just depends on what you’re interested in. My friends and I are hanging out tomorrow, you can come if you want,” Blake offered.
“That’d be awesome. At least I’ll know some new people before my first day.”
After talking a little longer, Blake went down to see when dinner would be ready. Everett was still asleep and showed no sign of waking soon. I carefully grabbed my laptop off the table and opened it up. I hoped all my old friends kept their twitters public. After the accident, I had no contact with any of them, not even Austin. When the agency said, starting over, they really meant starting over. Every aspect of my old life was gone, and I had to get that in my head if I was going to survive here.
Shortly after Everett woke up, Mrs. Landon called all of us down to dinner. Before leaving my room, I quickly checked myself in the mirror. My newly dyed blonde hair was straightened and I was wearing a black tee and dark pink Nike shorts. I definitely looked like I had been on a plane, which was true. I took a deep breath, straightened my shoulders, and walked into the dining room.
Everyone was shuffling into the room around the time I did. A middle-aged man with graying, black hair was sitting at the head of the table; I assumed him to be Mr. Landon. To the right of him was Mrs. Landon, sitting tall in a dark gray dress. Next was a Harrison, the spitting image of his father. In some ways, he reminded me of Harry Potter, complete with dark black hair and piercing green eyes. To Mr. Landon’s left sat Keith, next to him was Everett, then an empty chair, which meant I got the seat between Everett and Blake. Well, this is going to be an interesting meal.
“Leah! Come sit by me!” Everett said his face lighting up as he saw me.
I took the seat and saw we were having pizza. At least one thing about this family is normal. From the huge house with sleek furniture and the expensive clothes, I was beginning to think I wouldn’t fit in. However, the pizza told me a different story.
Mr. Landon broke the silence. “Leah, sorry I didn’t introduce myself earlier, I’m John. I had to pick up Harrison here from football. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?”
“It’s nice to meet you Mr. Landon. Well, I’m 17, but you probably already know that” I chuckled to hide my nerves. “I love volleyball, and I’ve always been somewhat decent at school. My favorite color is red, and I absolutely love mint chip ice cream.”
“I wike mint chip, too, Weah!” Everett exclaimed. “Will you take me to get ice cweam later?”
“Ev, stop, I’m sure Leah has a lot of other things to do,” Blake said.
“Actually, I don’t have much to do. I’d love to take you, buddy, but I don’t have a car” I sighed.
“Well, that shouldn’t be a problem! Keith has to work, but Blake has his own car. He can take you!” Mrs. Landon said.
“But, Mom,” Blake said while rolling his eyes.
“No buts, Blake Edward, you are going to take your brother and Leah out for ice cream after dinner.”
The dinner continued with some idle chatter, and before I knew it, I was sitting in the passenger seat of Blake’s Chevy Tahoe, going to Emilia’s Ice Cream Emporium. Mrs. Landon and Everett suggested that it had the best ice cream in the whole country, but I was skeptical, I loved Ted and Wally’s back home in Nebraska. Wait, scratch that, not home. I live in Texas now; this is my home, here with the Landons. We pulled into a parking spot and I was surprised to get there so fast. I was zoned out, Blake was bobbing his head to some Blake Shelton song, and Everett was blabbing on about the newest Toy Story movie from the back seat.
Sliding into a booth, I was ready to devour my mint chocolate chip waffle cone. Everett was bouncing in his seat, and I began to wonder if ice cream was such a good idea.
“Blake, my man! What’s up? Hey, Ev. And hello, stranger,” an unfamiliar voice spoke, sliding into the booth beside Blake.
“Hey, Brett,” Blake replied. “This is Leah, she’s from Nebraska. She’s staying with my family.”
“Well, hi pretty lady. Welcome to Texas. I hope we have some classes together,” he said, adding a flirtatious wink after.
“Brett, stop. You have a girlfriend, remember her? Alicia?” Blake sniped.
“Shut up, man. Yes, I’m just trying to show her some Texas hospitality, yeesh,” Brett responded. “So, Leah, what year are you? What brings you to Texas?”
“Um, I’ll be a senior. I’m in Blake’s grade, I think. No reason, I just needed a change of scenery,” I said.
“And your parents just agreed to let you come down here?” he asked.
“You could say that,” I replied, shrugging. “I’m excited to be here though! New places, new people, new volleyball team, I can’t wait.”
“You play volleyball?” Brett asked. “That’s so cool, so does my girlfriend, Alicia. Maybe you’ll play together, but I have to warn you, she’s a killer out on the court.”
“I love a challenge. I think I’ll be a varsity starter even though I’m a transfer. I’ve been playing since I’ve been able to walk,” I bragged, remembering Leah’s confidence.
“Feisty. You have nerve, girl. Good luck. I can’t wait to see you play.”
“Brett, if she says she’s good, she probably is. ‘Course, we’ll have to see how tryouts go,” Blake commented.
“Guys, don’t be mean to my fwiend, Weah. I wike her,” Everett said in my defense.
Brett hung around for a while, until he left because he had to go to work. I knew it wouldn’t be the last I saw of him. I had a strange intuition that he would be in most of my classes at school. I was somewhat nervous to be starting a new school. I had lived in a fairly large city, but went to the same school for practically my entire life. I had never had to come to a school only knowing one, well two, other people. I just had to remember not to blow my cover.
We left Emilia’s shortly after Everett finished his cone, although half of it was on his shirt. Blake and I talked about what school was like here, and who were the “big dogs”. I was unsure of where “Leah” would fit on the high school social latter. I’m hoping it’s with Blake’s group, because that means I know where at least one person. It was Friday, so I had exactly two days to plan the perfect outfit, background story, and personality for “Leah” before I started school. I also had to get some volleyball workouts in so that I can make the varsity team as I told Blake and Brett I would. This was going to be a long weekend.