Everything was packed at last, including Delorfinde, who was strapped into the back of the car, her headphones already in her ears. "Bye!" yelled her sister Bella from the doorway, and a grunt from her brother seemed to echo the shout.
Del smiled, pulled out her notebook and started to write. "Uh, Delorfinde?" said her father from the front seat. "I thought you said you got travel sick..."
"Yes, but this is important," she replied. "I just have to finish killing off this particular character, then I'll put it away. I promise!" And after about half an hour of frantic scribbling she did indeed return the notebook to her bag.
Then she settled down for the long journey. Not too long afterwards, her parents turned around and saw that she was asleep--with her eyes open. But that was perfectly normal for Delorfinde. They ignored it and carried on driving.
3 hours later and they were almost there. Even Del was starting to get cold feet. She looked nervously out of the window, but couldn't see anything she recognised. "So, in the holidays..."
"You'll stay with your sister, who will be coming home from uni especially to look after you," her father Richard said.
"And the house?"
"Is being looked after by the next door neighbours, and Ben is still living there." Ben was Del's brother. "But some friends of ours from France will be staying there for a month or so around October."
"And the school?"
"Is supposed to be very good. So, behave yourself, work hard ... and for goodness sake, don't get into any trouble with aliens or something." He was joking, but it was all too likely when Del was involved.
And Spook, she thought with a sudden grin. At least she wouldn't be alone, in this strange new place.
"Email me," she begged her parents. "Every other day. I expect updates! And photos, lots of photos."
"Of course," said Penny. "Don't forget, come summer you'll be out here with us for two months. It'll be fine. And then if you like the school you can stay and we'll stay out here, and if you don't we'll all come home." Del nodded bravely and blinked away rebellious tears, but inside she was scared.
How would she live without her parents for ten months?