Wow, it's only been a couple of weeks since I've in this school and there's already a break coming up - how great was this school?!
I was a bit surprised when I first heard the announcement and I knew for a fact that mom and dad wouldn't be happy if I were to go back home after only a few weeks of school. The two of them spent a lot of money to send me to this boarding school, not to mention the fact that it was a boarding school in France!
Everyone in my family - well, on my dad's side anyway - has all been to a boarding school. My five older sisters have all gone and my youngest one, Pauline just got back from hers last year. Though my mom hates this tradition and the costs of it, due to all the different destinations my dad thinks of for us to go to, but she doesn't do anything to stop it and after all she gets used to it.
I think it's a good thing for us to do this. It's a chance to see the world and meet new people and plus, mom and dad get some extra time alone; not that they need it or anything, I mean, six kids is a whole lot to handle. I have no idea what I'd do if they were to have another kid and I don't think they would either.
A trip back to Italy would cost a lot, so in the end, after a long time of contemplating, I finally came up with decision to just go over to a friend's house for the break. He was actually more of a pen pal than a friend. We've been writing each other since my second grade teacher gave us a list of students from a school her sister teaches at for a special assignment. Most of the other students had stopped writing their pen pals after the school year was over, but not me, I kept on with it and now here we were nine years later and still continuing on and on with different conversations written over emails and letters and postcards.
His name was Andrew Calhoun and he was one of those very rare people that I could tell everything to. He knew all about the huge burden of my five older sisters and the responsibilities that came with handling them, even though I was the youngest one. He may not have understood my interests in the philosophies of life and love, but at least he has never made fun of me for it, unlike some people who shall remain nameless.
Andrew was a really nice guy with two different personalities. On the outside and in front of his school friends, he came off as the cool and popular jerk. But, on the inside and when he was with his family or talking to me, he was the typical all around nice guy that understood things better than others did.
I had never met him in real life, but I was sure that he'd be delighted to have me come over - I mean, he did say that it would be an awesome experience if we were to really do that one day - and we'd have a great time together. And I was totally right, because he even offered to pay for the plane ticket - or do whatever else it took to get me to his place the fastest - but I humbly refused. In the end though, he did end up paying for a little more than half of it and I was deeply grateful to him for it. I knew I'd find some way to repay him back though before I left again.
-♥- -♥- -♥-
When I got off the plane, after long sleepless hours spent between a little brat and a snoring granny, I was picked off from the airport by Andrew and his father. My ticket had once again gone through a giant mix up and it left me really pissed. I mean, how many Odd Della Robbia's were there really? So, I had to take two planes just to get here. I had to stop off at Florida, I think it was, before boarding another flight - and might I mention that it was scheduled for at three o' clock in the morning?! - before I could finally arrive at my destination.
I tried not to let my exhaustion show on my face and seem upbeat to be finally seeing Andrew for the first time. I had seen his picture before and as had he, but meeting someone in public, was just something else; it was far greater than seeing someone in a picture, because everything there would be perfect and flawless while seeing someone in real life and in front of you, you could really point out the small details that aren't really eye catching on films.
I explained that to Andrew as we went through the heavy afternoon traffic. He just laughed and commented, "You see what I mean, dad? Odd and his philosophies!"
I smiled; I knew he had meant that in a good way.
"Hey, maybe you could learn a thing or two from Odd while he's staying with us," his dad joked back. "Seeing as though you haven't learned a thing from your old man."
I grinned then; I had almost but forgotten that Andrew's dad was an English professor and that he was probably just as philosophical as I was.
"So, how are your parents and the rest of your family doing, son?" Mr. Calhoun asked me after a few minutes of silence.
"They're alright. Thanks for asking." I replied back.
"I heard from Andrew here that you have five older sisters? You all must be a big bunch."
"Oh, we are," I couldn't help feeling sad; my sisters and I didn't get along that well, but we were still a family and there were times when they weren't around that I felt very lonely without them. "It can get pretty out of hand sometimes, but we usually end up coming around in the end."
"That must be...interesting." Andrew said from next to me.
I turned towards him. "Oh hey, Andrew, didn't you mention something about having a twin sister in one of your old letters? What's she like?"
Andrew made a sour face. "Oh, she's, eh, alright, I guess."
Mr. Calhoun gave Andrew a look through the rear view mirror and he slumped back in his seat, his arms crossed over his chest.
"Where is she anyway? She didn't come along with you guys?" I asked, trying to make Andrew sit up again and continue talking.
Talking made me feel less tired and I didn't really want to end up falling asleep on the car ride - that kind of thing didn't exactly make the greatest first impression.
"Oh, she's gone with my mom to go pick up our cousins, they're staying with us too. Sorry I didn't tell you about it before, both of your visits all kind of happened together and unexpectedly and I didn't really think it was fair for her to get her friends to come over all the time and for me not to be able to the same thing. So, mom finally agreed on letting both you and our cousins live together." Andrew explained to me.
"Oh." I wondered if all of us would fit together in that one house of Andrew's - not that I've seen it or anything, but I've heard a lot of it - and if we'd have as much as fun as I thought I'd have with just Andrew.
"Don't worry," he assured me then. "It won't be as bad as you and I both think. Hopefully."
I went back to smiling. "Yeah, it probably won't." I was used to thinking on the bright side, so I knew I'd find one after we all met and got to know each other.
Hey, who knew, maybe I'd end up going back to Kadic with a few more pen pals as well.
-♥- -♥- -♥-
When I got to their house - which was amazing, by the way, I was shown to my room where I rushed to go to take a long cold shower, you know to shake out the last minute sleepiness in me. I told Andrew and his dad that I would eat and talk and do everything else they wanted as soon as I was done with my shower.
Rich people sure did have weird bathrooms. There were like three different shower heads attached to the wall of their bathtub. There were also multiple faucets with no words or symbols to indicate what they meant. So, I just tried winging it and I ended up being blasted in the mouth with severely hot water and had icy cold water dumped on my head.
After a few minutes, I had had enough and tried shutting off the shower heads by spinning around as many faucets as I could get my hands on. But, that only seemed to make things worse, because then I didn't know what it was that I was doing and I couldn't tell what was cold and what was hot.
I finally just gave up and stumbled out of the bathtub, slipping and sliding in the process. Two of the shower heads were still on and pouring water into the tub. The one that had sprayed me in the face and one that was at an angle over my head.
I wrapped a white towel around my bottom half and walked out of my room to find Andrew and ask him just how to operate that thing he called a shower. It was then that I found myself face-to-face with someone I'd never expected to see here in a million years. Saphire. I was so shocked to see her - and I could tell she was too - that I totally forgot about my sudden anger at the bathroom.
"Odd?!" she cried aloud, the same time I yelled, "Saphire?!"
"What are you doing here?!" we both demanded at the same time.
"Wait, you two know each other?" I heard Andrew say.
I took my eyes off of Saphire for a brief moment and saw him standing with two other girls. One of them looked familiar to me and I realized she also went to Kadic with me.
"Y-yeah." I answered him, placing my eyes back on the top of Saphire's head.
"We go to the same school." Saphire said in a quiet voice.
We stayed quiet for a long time and I suddenly felt a breeze and about a million goosebumps rose over my skin. I wondered why and then realized I was still wearing just a towel.
"But, what are you doing here?" I asked, despite the fact that I was feeling cold and embarrassed.
"I came over for Winter Break to visit my cousins," Saphire seemed almost reluctant to answer me. "What about you?" she crossed her arms.
"I came over for Winter Break to visit my friend." I told her.
Saphire dropped her arms.
"W-o-w." Andrew sang behind us.
"So, are you two like friends or something?" one of the girls - who I assumed to be Andrew's sister, since she looked so much like him - asked.
"Well-" I started to answer.
"No!" Saphire cut in.
"Whoo, harsh!" Andrew commented. Saphire snapped her heads toward him and seemed as if she were trying to give him a death glare, because at that same moment Andrew smirked and said, "Nice try, sweetheart, but your looks can't kill me when you've got all that hair in your face."
Saphire huffed and then stomped away. I shook my head and was about to turn back towards my room to put some clothes on, when I remembered the reason I had stepped out in the first place.
"Hey, Andrew, come fix your bathroom; I think it's gone a bit haywire." I said to him.
"Just like his brain." his sister muttered.
I smiled at her. "Hey, nice to finally meet you in person; Aliyah, right?"
She smiled softly. "Right," she turned then and started walking the way Saphire had just gone through, when she turned back around to look me right in the eyes. "I really hope you're nothing like Andrew is. Come on, Aelita, let's go see where Saphire's wandered off to."
The little pink head next to her nodded and followed after her. Now I knew where I had seen her before. She, Aelita, was friends with one of my friends, Jeremie. But, how did she know Saphire? And what the hell was going on here?
'Duh, Odd!' my thoughts said to me. 'She's here on Winter break to see her cousins, just like she said.'
I couldn't help smiling to myself as I just registered something; Saphire and I were going to be spending Winter Break together. Wow. Well, maybe not together together, but we were both here at the same exact place in the same exact house at the same exact time. If that wasn't a sign, then I don't know what it else it could possible be.
-♥- -♥- -♥-
After I was fully dressed and my hair was all combed and gelled, I came out of my room and walked into the kitchen, hungry for something to eat. I found Aelita in there, sitting alone and looking bored.
"Hey." I greeted her, as I came around the table she sat at and took a seat across from her.
"Hi." she answered shyly.
"I'm Odd." I extended my hand out to her.
"I know," she shook it. "I have class with you back at Kadic."
I grinned at her. "So, Saphire's your sister?"
"No. We're cousins."
"Ah. You a single child?" I asked next.
"Unfortunately." she told me.
"What's so unfortunate about it, besides the constant loneliness. If you were me, you'd dread having siblings."
"How many do you have?" she asked me.
"Five - and they're all girls! Can you believe my bad luck?"
Aelita laughed. "Well, that's not so bad," I furrowed my eyebrows and gave her an are-you-serious look. "Hey, you can learn a few tricks from them though."
"Such as?" I wanted to know.
"How girls think." she suggested.
"I'm already a master at that, as you can see." I gave her a wide smile, one I knew that all the girls were crazy for. But, it was just as a joke; I didn't seem at all like her type.
"Don't even think about it!" I heard someone say from next to me. I turned my head around and was frightened to see Saphire glowering down at me. "She has a boyfriend."
I tried to laugh it off and tell her that I wasn't seriously considering asking Aelita out, when I realized something.
"Wait, Jeremie's your boyfriend?!" I asked her, incredulously.
"Um, yeah." she blushed.
"But, whenever I see you two together, you're always either talking about homework or schoolwork," I shook my head at the thought of them actually being together and not talking about nerd stuff. "Have you two even had your first kiss yet?"
Aelita opened her mouth to answer, but Saphire's voice was the one that came out instead.
"That's none of your business!" she told me.
"Hey," I leaned back, so I could see both of them and didn't have to switch my eyes back and forth anymore. "If it makes you feel better, I haven't had my first kiss yet either."
"What a joke!" Saphire scoffed and I imagined her rolling her eyes underneath all that hair she used as a veil.
I watched her as Saphire pulled herself onto the kitchen counter and grabbed a green apple from the large bowl filled with them next to her. She began swinging her legs around and taking bite after bite out of the fruit.
"It's true!" I tried to tell her.
"But, what about Sissi?" Aelita asked me softly.
"What about her?" I turned my head back to her.
"Well, isn't she your girlfriend?"
"She's...ok of a person and she's...pretty, I guess and she may think of me as her boyfriend, but that's not the way I think of our relationship at all." I hoped by clarifying just what Sissi and I had together, Saphire would understand and I would be back on her good side - not that I've ever been on it, so I guess I'd start being on her good side then.
But, she didn't seem to care at all. I expected her to say something, to wonder why I was with her at all. She didn't want to know why I was with someone like Sissi when I could've been with someone like...someone like her?
Aelita didn't ask me any other questions and I was too dumbstruck to answer any anyway, so I was glad for the heavy silence that hung in the air. It was immediately interrupted though as soon as Andrew walked into the room filled with all life and energy.
"Hey," I didn't know which one of us he was greeting - actually I did, but I just didn't feel like saying anything in case the wrong thing came out of my mouth and made things all around us feel even worse. "Wow." he commented, when no one answered him.
'That seems to be his favorite word or something.' I thought absentmindedly to myself.
Saphire was the first one of us to make any movement. As she was done with her apple and had eaten down to the core, she jumped down from the counter and tossed the core into the trashcan before walking out of the room as effortlessly as if she were gliding away instead.
I have no idea why, but I followed after. She didn't seem to really notice until I was right there next to her, standing a small stone balcony.
"What do you want?" she asked me, acknowledging my presence.
"Why do I get the feeling that you don't like me very much?" I asked her, ignoring her own question.
"Because I don't," she told me bluntly. "At all."
"Why?" I turned my head then away from the spectacular view with its breathtaking horizon and towards the girl that was so full of death and depression, it made me want to almost cry.
"It's pretty obvious." she said simply.
"Well, would you mind telling me, because I have trouble seeing things that are right in front of me sometimes." I told her.
Saphire sighed deeply and finally turned around to face me.
"You heard what Sissi said in the cafeteria that day; I don't trust anyone and that includes you!"
"But, what does not trusting me have to do with not liking me?" I challenged her, even though I knew it wasn't the right thing for me to be doing.
"It's-!" she cut herself off and turned her gaze back towards the outside world. I thought it was because she was getting upset and was about to place a warm hand on her shoulder to assure that it was alright and that I would never betray nor hurt her in any way, when I heard her curse out loud. "Are you effing kidding me?!"
"What?" I reacted immediately. "What is it?"
"Anthony." was all she said.
I furrowed my eyebrows and tried to pinpoint the exact location where Saphire's eyes were.
Saphire just groaned and pointed with her finger. I followed her point and saw a tall redheaded guy heading towards the house. I wondered who this Anthony guy was and what effect he had on Saphire's life. I knew I was about to find out, because at that same moment I could hear loud footsteps echoing through the whole house, letting everyone know that we were expecting a guest.