When I woke up, I was disorientated.
For a split second I completely forgot where I was. These pale blue walls, the cream carpet, the bedding...nothing looked familiar. Until it all flooded back to me and the memories of the previous day swam into my mind.
'Oh,' I frowned to myself, sitting up.
My room was illuminated with the morning sun and, glancing over at my alarm clock I saw that it was half past twelve - the latest I had ever slept in before.
I hopped out of bed and for a few blissful moments just enjoyed the feel of the sun's rays against my skin. I closed my eyes against it all and sighed in contentment.
My door opened but I ignored it.
'Zoeyyyyy,' Maddy wrapped her arms around my waist.
'Hello you,' I turned to face her. 'How was your first night in the new house?'
'Soooo comfy. I love my stuffed animals.'
'Good,' I laughed. 'Are you ready for school tomorrow?'
'No,' she shook her head vigorously, her blonde hair flying about her face.
'Sweetie, you'll be fine. Come on, let's go see dad.'
I took her hand in mine and led her downstairs, where I knew dad would be waiting. Sure enough, he was lounging on one of the extravagant cream sofas, mum sitting opposite him and Aunt Lisa sat beside him.
'Hello Zoey, you slept in late,' Dad greeted. 'I've only been waiting two hours.'
'Sorry,' I mumbled.
Seeing him was both a relief and extremely hard. I wanted to shout at him, scream until my lungs hurt asking him how he could cheat on mum, how he could tear our family apart so callously. I also wanted to throw my arms around him and thank him for coming with us and for not staying back in Beverly Hills. I wanted to tell him how much I loved him and how we were all going to pull through this and how it would make us stronger.
I didn't do any of this, I simply stood in my dressing gown.
'The neighbours are coming over later,' Aunt Lisa told us. 'They're lovely and they have a daughter your age who's going to the same school as you.'
'So you might want to go get ready,' she continued.
I sighed and headed back upstairs, leaving Maddy with the rest of the family.
I took my time getting ready, deciding it was best to make a good first impression, washing my hair thoroughly and using my favourite cherry shower gel which I had brought with me from Beverly Hills.
Choosing simple white shorts and a red and white polka dot halter neck, I left my hair loose around my shoulders and trotted down the stairs.
'You look nice,' mum commented.
'Thanks. Are they here?'
'No, they'll be here in twenty minutes though.'
'Oh he went back to Tom's house, just whilst the neighbours are here. He thought it would be best, to not provoke gossip and all that.'
The next twenty minutes passed very, very slowly and I found myself getting more and more nervous as the time progressed. By the time the minutes were up, I found my heart hammering wildly against my chest, giant butterflies settled in my stomach and my hands were clammy.
The doorbell rung.
'Oh God,' I couldn't help murmur.
'Will you relax Zoey? You're getting Maddy in a tizzy.'
I glanced beside me at my younger sister who looked just as worked up as I did and I pulled her closer to me as we went to answer the door.
There were a total of five people stood on the doorstep, each were a picture of neighbourly friendliness with giant smiles plastered on their faces. One of them even held a basket. The two older people, the parents I presumed, both had straight auburn coloured hair and were wearing clothes with colours that complimented the others. They had obviously put a lot of thought into their wardrobe.
The three younger people couldn't have been more dissimilar. There were two girls and a guy. One of the girls looked like the daughter of the adults. She was very pretty and had a very quirky style. She shared her parents straight red hair and wide green eyes. She was smaller than the other two by a good head or so. Except right now she was wearing an expression of slight hostility.
The other girl had gorgeous ash blonde hair that fell to her waist in natural waves. She was stood with a hand on one slender hip whilst the other was entwined with the boy's. She stared at me with curious brown eyes, thickly rimmed with eyeliner.
The boy was handsome in his own way but I had been spoilt by the Californian all-American good looks of guys back home. He too had blonde hair carefully gelled into stylish spikes, a pale complexion and bright green eyes.
'Hello dear, you must be the new neighbours,' the woman smiled brightly at me. 'My name is Julie, this is my husband Dave, our daughter Verity - ' she gestured to the red haired girl. 'Her friend's Eloise and Ray.'
'Hello,' I replied, keeping my voice steady. 'My name's Zoey Taylor and this is my little sister Maddy.'
'Oh, isn't she precious,' Julie smiled. Maddy hid behind me, clutching my leg.
'Sorry,' I blushed. 'She's a little shy. Did you want to come inside? My mother is just in the other room.'
I led them all inside and took them into the front room where my mum introduced herself.
'Zoey, why don't you show Verity and her friends to your room?' mum suggested. I shot her an icy look behind their backs mouthing Get lost.
She glared at me and I sighed.
'This way,' I smiled.
I took them up the stairs, listening to their appreciative murmurs and sounds of awe, suddenly feeling incredibly pretentious.
'Sorry I haven't made my bed yet. I slept in late because of the journey. It's a long way from Beverly Hills,' I babbled nervously.
'That's okay,' Eloise sat herself easily on my bed and the others followed her example. 'So then, I've always wanted to know, what's it like in Beverly Hills?'
Verity scoffed, flicking her hair slightly. I stared at her, baffled.
'Um, it was nice,' my gaze never left Verity's face, assessing her reaction. 'It could be a little...materialistic but it was lovely.'
Eloise ignored her.
'What were your friends like? Tell us about them.'
'Oh,' without warning, a lump filled my throat at the memory of my old friends that threatened to dissolve into tears. 'They were, sweet. There was Char, who was perhaps the coolest out of all of us. She had this slightly icy demeanour and could silence you with a look. But she was caring to me. Then there was Candice,' I smiled fondly, relaxing. 'She was my best friend, always looking out for me.'
'Did you have a boyfriend?'
'No,' I replied quickly.
Their eyebrows shot up.
'Well, I did but...yeah.'
Sensing I didn't want to say anymore about it, they shut up.
'Were you rich?' Verity spoke up, and her tone wasn't particularly friendly.
'I guess,' I mumbled, rubbing my arm uncomfortably.
'Figures,' she sniffed.
'Verity!' Ray hissed.
There were a few moments of awkward silence before the door opened and Maddy entered. She settled into my lap and I focussed on nothing but her as they all looked at me, silently judging.
I didn't know what I was to expect living here.