The warm breeze sweeps over my bare legs and slithers through my tousled, blond hair as I slowly wake up. I know this breeze isn't reminiscent of Toronto, but still, I lie in my comfy bed and let the morning wind caress every inch of my exposed body. I remember turning off the too-cold air conditioning in the room and instead opting for the cool of the night. Now, the sound of dancing drapes thinly covering the windows and the cries of seagulls and morning song birds wakes me from my comfortable sleep. I know I should be pissed right now about not waking up in my bed in down-town Toronto, but I allow myself a morning reprieve from being so miserable.
I yawn and kick back the rest of the sheets covering me. Stretching, I finally catch a glimpse on my new room in the morning sunlight. Last night, Gabrielle and I had returned just before our moms headed for bed. This was obviously a mistake since they'd made a huge fuss about showing me my huge new room. It was a soft purple with expensive-looking decor on the ceiling. I now have my own private bathroom and a shared balcony with Gabrielle, whose room is right beside mine.
Sitting up in bed, the events of last night at the party flood back. All the beautiful teens and Gabrielle fully enveloped in his girlfriend's hug. I know I shouldn't care, but a part of me stings with something that tells me that I should be caring. I try to shake off the feeling and get up from my new king sized memory foam mattress. God, even I have to admit that this bed is perhaps the most comfortable thing in the world.
One of the few things I'd done last night was unpack my laptop. Now it sits expectantly on my new black and white desk (small white flowers inside the black borders). The few things that my mom and I had packed into a small moving truck are on their way now, passing through intersections and small towns. My books, DVDs, and other miscellaneous objects will be here in a few days and the idea that that will make the move all the more permanent, makes my stomach churn.
I press the on button and walk through the double glass doors leading to the wide balcony. How anyone can get used to this kind of lifestyle is beyond me. Everywhere I look, from the grandness of my room to the oasis-like quality of the backyard, seems over-the-top for me. I mean, it is beautiful, but it makes the house feel more like a museum than a home. But hell, I am new here, what can I possibly know?
My hands grasp the stone railing of the balcony, taking in the heat from the morning sun that has already seeped in through the hard surface. The smell of grass and salt water from the pool is carried on the wind and it awakens me further. I may be mad at mom for doing this to me, but I might as well make the best of the situation. She just doesn't have to know that.
A loud grunt from somewhere in the backyard catches my attention. I lean as far as I dare to on the railing and see a very shirtless, very tanned Gabrielle working out on one of those large abdominal machines that are often on commercials. For a few minutes, I stand there and watch him from my voyageur’s spot, but then a loud melody from my laptop back inside signals to me that I've got mail and I duck back into my room. It's from Sophie. I groan with embarrassment as I recall her making me promise to write her as soon as I was here.
From: Sophie LeVerde
To: Kristina Trinity
Where have you been? I'm freaking out here because last time I remember, I told SOMEONE to send me an email when that said SOMEONE arrived in Cali. Okay, whatever your reasons, save them because right now I'm just curious about your situation. Is it as bad as you thought it would be? Did your mom meet up with some Spanish dude or something up there? Were we right to assume that she just wanted to start her new dating agenda? Spill, spill woman! Without you, I just have Clara and Trista's gossip, which if you recall, isn't much compared to our looooong storytelling adventures! How's the new place? The new family? Oh god, how is that guy that you haven't seen since you were four?
Patiently yours, Sophie
From: Kristina Trinity
To: Sophie LeVerde
Ugh, the first thing I noticed when I got here was the heat, so maybe I got a heat stroke or something and forgot to write. Sorry!!
My mom didn't meet with a Pablo or Roberto or whatever, she just met up with her childhood friend, who by the way is ridiculously pretty, maybe I can get some tips from her about her awesome skin? There are a gazillion tanned people here, I feel like such an ugly duckling with all of these permanently bronzed individuals around me. I went to a party last night full of Typical L.A. guys, but they just talked on and on about football or whatever, so dull. Just remember that looks don't make you interesting, no matter how much you wish it were true. And as for Gabrielle he's... different.
I'll keep you updated! Stay patient :)
P.s. tell Trista and Clare to not even think about taking my place in the group.
I look over my email a few times, before deciding that this is the right way of introducing Gabrielle to my best friend. He is definitely different from what I had expected before coming here. Honestly, I don't even know what I'd expected to see when we’d finally meet again.
After a long shower and a messy search for a t-shirt and shorts amongst my two suitcases, I am exploring the kitchen. How two people need such a large kitchen is beyond me. The massive, stand-alone island hosts a top-of-the-line stove top and a bowl of fake fruit. Several bills are thrown at one end and a few school books are propped up against a box consisting of six Powerades, on the other end. Several pictures of famous chefs and restaurants around the world decorate the baby blue walls. The fridge, probably the biggest one I've ever seen, hosts a small flat screen TV and ice can be heard freezing and breaking for when I want crushed ice. I yank on the heavy door and pull out a large jug of orange juice. Placing it on the island, I focus on trying to find the right cupboard with the drinking glasses.
"It's the one just above the sink," Gabrielle's voice chimes in from where he's just walked in through the sliding glass doors. "You're looking for the glasses right? Use the ones above the sink."
I know that I should be going to that cupboard right now. I know I should be quietly thanking him before pouring myself a glass of juice, but all I can do is stare at him in all his half-naked glory. I hope to god he can't see me ogling him, though I haven't been able to take my eyes off him. Sweat clings to the creases that the muscles on his stomach make and his tan perfectly accentuates his arm muscles. If only time could stop for a minute...
"Kris?" His intrigued voice wakes me from my stupor and I walk towards the cupboard and pull out a glass, silently chiding myself.
"Thanks," I murmur, hoping to god that he can't see my face turning a brilliant shade of red.
"I'd go to my cupboard, the one by the fridge over there," he points to a large cupboard, "if you want something good for breakfast."
I nod slowly and he smiles quickly before heading out of the kitchen and towards his bathroom, I'm guessing, where he'll have to clean off all that sweat...
What is wrong with me? I've turned into some sort of pervert.
The sound of rustling trees in the wind relaxes me as I sit at the lawn table by the pool, a bowl of Special K cereal and glass of orange juice enticing my hunger. I also nabbed some yoghurt from the fridge before deciding to eat outside. The pool, Maria had told me yesterday, is salt-water controlled. This explanation, I later realized when I'd stepped on the balcony the night before, works alongside the sea-salt smell that wafts up from the pool.
The sliding door to the kitchen opens just as I start eating my cereal. Maria smiles widely at me and saunters over. How she can have so much energy all the time is beyond me. Her curls are safely tucked back with a headband and her warm chocolate eyes show a lot more emotion than her smile, which is a feat itself. Her small figure is in a loose-fitting red summer dress with a few flower vines rising up the sides and Greek-style sandals. She looks like some kind of tanned goddess.
"Hey you," she says, her voice as warm as the morning heat. "How'd you sleep?"
"Not bad," I admit, "though I do miss home."
She makes a sound of understanding as I continue eating my cereal. "Your mom is out hunting for a job as we speak, she's pretty determined to make this your new home."
I nod, trying to ignore the annoyance building in my gut. But then I remember something that shouldn't fit. "But, how can she get a job already? We just moved here."
"Didn't she tell you?" Maria sighs when she sees my confused expression. "Your mom was born in Florida, but her parents moved to Toronto a few years later. She's a citizen of the United States of America, so she can start working immediately."
I cough and some milk somehow makes it out my nose. My mom never told me she was born in the U.S. I just assumed that she was born and raised in Canada. This is all adding up to be one unfair coincidence. Maria giggles as I clean my face and she pats my hand.
"Later today I'll take you to the DMV so we can get your driver’s permit. You have your G1 from Canada right?" I nod and she claps her hands like an excited kid in Wonderland. "Great, then it's settled. That way you don't have to depend so much on Gabe to drive you everywhere!"I smile at her show of emotion, wondering what other secrets mom has yet to share with me.