Chapter 3- Across the Pond
“I’ll see you later,” Hannah called walking out the front door, with her perfect chocolate hair flouncing down her back.
“Bye,” I call back. I close the door behind her and then turn my focus to my mother in the living room on her laptop. I begin my slow walk over to where she is sitting. She doesn’t look at me as I stand in front of her. I clear my throat to get her attention. She glances up at me behind her cheaters with the black frame. Her fake smile makes me a little angry, but I try to keep my cool, thinking back to what Hannah had told me.
Kiss up to her! Do anything she wants! You have to make her let you go to London.
“I see your up and walking. Is Luke coming over?” she asks me, attention now back on her laptop.
“No, he left an hour ago.”
“Oh, must’ve missed him. I was busy all day,” she sighed and closed her laptop seeing that I wasn’t leaving. She pulled off her glasses and set them down. “Everything okay?”
No, but what will you do about it? “Yeah, it’s good actually. How is the magazine thing coming?”
“Good!” she seemed relieved that the conversation was now on her. “The editor called me and said she loved the kitchen. She is sending people to come take pictures in a couple of months for the fall issue.” Sometimes I forget how thick her English accent is. We’ve been living in America for almost six years now and hers hadn’t faltered at all. Her accent was slightly thicker than mine, but a lot thicker than my brother’s who now was some awkward American-English accent hybrid.
“Good, I am happy for you,” I lied. Honestly, the only thing she did was work on that stupid kitchen. It wasn’t that big of a deal. She always had magazines coming and taking pictures of the houses she was working on, but always made each one dramatic to get more attention for herself.
When I didn’t leave after this, she asked again, “Everything okay?”
I nodded again. “I have to tell you something.”
“What?” she asked cautiously, but her attention wasn’t fully on me. She was more so focused on everything else in the room, but me.
“Hannah, for my birthday, is taking me for a trip.”
“Oh that’s nice, I hope you have fun,” she said, her accent making it sound more sincere than it actually was.
“Do you want to know where to?” I asked. Was she really that disinterested in me?
“McKenzie, please! Don’t make this so dramatic. Remember, a great dancer remains humble.”
I stare at her for what seems like an eternity. What the hell does that even have anything to do with anything I said? “Sorry, I just thought you would like to know that Hannah planned a summer long trip to London.”
She freezes in her spot. Her eyes now looking directly into mine. I shift uncomfortably on my crutches under her gaze. “London?”
“Yup, London,” I say. “Do you care now?”
She dismisses what I just said and instead carries on, “Just London? Nowhere else?”
“Um, I think. We are seeing a One Direction concert the first week we are there, than-” she cuts me off.
“Then what? Are you going somewhere else?” She questions. Is this about Dad? We hadn’t been to Europe since the whole divorce thing went down, but I didn’t think she would get so defensive. I quickly form a new plan in my head, leaving out the part about dad, and visiting Doncaster.
“No, just London. We are, um, visiting Hannah’s cousins,” I say. What? Why would Hannah take me to meet her nonexistent cousins in England for my birthday?
“Oh, okay. I hope you have fun. When are you leaving?” She seems to have settled down and I instantly relax.
“Wow, that’s soon.”
“I know, but the concert is that Friday,” I say all the sudden feeling excited all over again. This will be the first time seeing them in concert ever, being in the same room as them, breathing the same air as them, and making sure, in fact that the five boys I have devoted the small part of my life left over from dancing are in fact real.
She nods. “Did you hear about Noah?”
I frown for a second. Did I miss something? Were we not just talking about me going off into the world by self for the first time? I guess not, by the way she slips my 14 year old brother into the conversation like it’s nothing. Was I being selfish? I should be used to it now, I guess. God knows we can’t talk about just me for five minutes, unless it is dance related, without Noah fitting somewhere. “No I haven’t.”
“Oh, well he is getting all straight A’s this semester and that private school seems to be interested in him for next year,” she starts. I block her out half way through her story of random nothings my brother, who is one of the farthest people away from being any outstanding being, by any means. I nod and smile and gasp at random points, acting like I care. I love my brother. I just don’t care about how his suit for his eighth grade formal is at the dry cleaners. I wasn’t allowed to go to my formal, because I had to go to dance. It is still a sore spot for me, after hearing stories about it from Luke and Hannah.
They aren’t growing up to be famous dancers, now, are they, Kenze?
That was true, but they got to decide what they wanted. I didn’t. That was the biggest thing in my life. I never got to decide what I wanted my life to be. Everything was all prearranged. Planned out. Perfect. No bumps. Sometimes I feel that is why Mom left my dad in Doncaster, because she spent so much time trying to fix me before I was broken, that she forgot to repair herself as her marriage was falling apart around her. Not a day goes by where I don’t feel guilty.
Luke drove Hannah and me to the airport. When we stopped in the parking garage, Hannah unlocked her door and hoped out going around the back to take out her bags. As I was about to do the same, Luke reached his arm over the door, pulling it back closed.
“What’s wrong?” I ask a little startled by his actions. His face is very close to mine and his hot breath gives me goose bumps up and down my arms.
“Nothing,” he starts and kisses me on the forehead. “I am just going to miss you.”
“I’ll miss you too.” I kiss him back on the lips this time. He instantly pulls back. I stare at him.
“Will you?” he asks.
“What? Of course I’ll miss you!” I say wondering where he is taking this.
“I know, you’ll miss me, but its three months away from me,” he says sitting back down in his seat.
“So? You can call me whenever you want.”
He smiles sadly. “There’s one more thing I want to tell you.”
“I love you,” he stares at me through his long lashes. I freeze as I feel my chest tighten. Something feels different this time he says it. It sounds like he is waiting for me to say it back. Hannah was right.
Think, Max. Think! “I’ll miss you saying that.” I don’t breath, waiting to see his reaction. He just keeps staring at me and I am getting uncomfortable. His smile is faded and now he just looks sad. Shoot. Why can’t I just say it back? Do I love him? I really like him, but, maybe that is the problem. I really like him. Maybe liking him isn’t enough.
Stop, Max. You only have a couple more minutes with him. Make the most of it.
I get up out of my seat and place my legs on either side of his waist. “I am going to miss you,” I say again. I kiss him and he kisses me back this time. Our lips move as one and I can feel his hands travel up and down my back. I still can’t stop thinking about what he was saying before. Will you?
A knock on the window breaks up our kiss along with my thoughts. Hannah is outside the window yelling at me to stop ‘whoring it up’ and get out of the car. I lean down to kiss Luke one last time before opening his door and stepping out.
“Can’t you two keep it in your pants?” she says. I laugh as I look back to Luke who is now out of the car making his way over to the trunk to take out my bags.
“I got it,” I say to him, pulling out my crappy suitcase set. He shrugs and watches me without his typical ‘let me be the gentleman’ argument. Maybe he really is catching on.
I start lugging my bags behind me to the elevator behind Hannah. We reach the sleek metal doors of the elevator and press the down button. Waiting for the doors to open Luke kisses me on the head one time and says, “I am gonna go.”
I look at him for a second. I feel like I should be more upset than I am, but I’m not. “Okay.”
Hannah looks at me shocked. “Wait, Luke, you’re not going to come into the airport and have lunch before we leave?”
“Nope,” he says as he walks back to his car hopping in side. He sits there for a while just staring at me and I stare back. I have no clue what I am feeling right now as he starts the car and pulls out of the garage.
“What the hell, Max?” Hannah starts.
“What?” I reply.
“You just let him walk off? What is going on between you two?” she asks.
“I honestly don’t know, but I guess so.”
“You want to talk?” Hannah says now, her voice dripping with sincere concern.
“No!” I shoot back quicker and sharper than I had intended.
The doors open and we step instead. “Okay, don’t need to activate bitch mode,” she says.
“Sorry, I just don’t know what’s going on with him,” Hannah says. Now pulling both hers and mine suitcases, because of my crutches. The doctor said in one week I can lose the crutches and just walk on the boot. I am counting down the days. And I am sure Hannah is as well.
“At least give me my backpack,” I say as she struggles to walk out of the elevator.
“No, I got,” she huffs.
“No you don’t, I can carry a backpack,” I say grabbing it from her.
“Fine if you insist,” she surrenders. We walk into airport. It’s modern architecture and bright white lights contrast the drab concrete of the parking garage we just exited. “I always forget how big this place is.”
“I know,” I say walking up to lady at counter to check our luggage. Hannah and I both weigh our luggage which of course is over the fifty pound weight limit in our three bags. We pay the extra money too excited to even care and walk each with our one carry on item through security.
“McKenzie? McKenzie Carter?” I hear a voice from behind me. I spin around to come face to face with an old friend.
“Katie! Hey!” I say, trying to sound more enthusiastic as I really am.
“What are you doing here?” asks Hannah, before I can open my mouth to ask the same questions with a lot less venom.
“Oh, Hannah. Hi, I didn’t see you there,” said Katie laughing and then refocusing on me. Oh Katie, where do I begin? She is the most two faced girls I have ever come across, and that’s saying a lot with me meeting uncountable, cocky dancers. Before me and Luke started going out, Katie tried setting us up. It was at some party one night and she had come up with some plan to get us together. I had had a crush on Luke so I willingly went through with it, but when it came time for my part in it, she had taken advantage of the lone Luke in the dark hall. I found them with their tongues shoved down each other’s throats. Luckily, she decided Luke wasn’t her type and let me have him. That was the third time she had taken the boy I was after since I had been here in America.
“What are you doing here?” I ask this time.
“Going to London for a modeling thing,” she said tossing a loose blond curl over her shoulder. Oh yeah, did I mention she was a model? Katie was the definition of perfection. Perfect face. Perfect nose. Perfect hair. Perfect body. Everything was perfect except her personality and everyone knew that, but looking the way she did, she could have been god damn Satan and the boys would still be lining up. It’s safe to say she made me, a decent looking girl, feel like an uprooted potato. Even Hannah, a gorgeous girl, couldn’t out shine Katie if she walked in a room with the freaking sun as a hat and Katie knew that.
“You’re joking, right?” Hannah asked reading my mind.
“Nope, how about you, Kenze?” she said, purposely leaving out Hannah.
“Hannah and I are going to London for the summer and seeing a One Direction concert,” I said back as politely as I could.
“Oh so you two are all into One Direction?” she asked.
“They’re only our lives!” Hannah said. Just the thought on those five boys could pull off the defensive layer she had towards Katie.
“The concert on the 1st, I am assuming,” she said.
“Yup,” Hannah and I said in unison.
“That’s great! I will be there, too!”
“That’s great why?” Hannah asked. Walls back up.
“Because, than I can get you into the after party on the roof!” she said clapping up and down.
Hannah and I looked at each other in disbelief. An after party? Katie was going to get us into an after party?
“That would be incredible!” I say.
“Okay, so it’s settled. Call me and I can hook you two up,” she says, taking my phone and putting her contact info in.
“Great thanks! Hannah?” I say.
“Yeah,” she says, attempting to sound sarcastic, but I know her little heart is beating faster than the speed of light. “Great!”
With that, Katie turned and walked away, leaving Hannah and me to do a silent fan girl dance with excitement.
We go through security with no problems- or interruptions- and decide on a little cafe for a bite to eat before our exciting eight hour plane ride.
I bite into my Philly cheese-steak. “Max, what if we meet them?”
I chew and swallow, “I don’t know! I would die!”
“Me too! I can’t even think about it right now. I will never get anything done.”
About an hour later we are on our plane, in first class may I add. We take off leaving the dazzling lights of Philadelphia glittering behind us like the sequins of my dance costumes I have grown to loathe. I stare out the window, an over whelming joy washing over me. A summer away from my mother and dance. A summer where I can finally discover who I am. A summer where anything can happen.
And I mean anything!
Hey guys! Thank you so much for reading this! Please let me know what you think. Please like, reblog, and help spread the word! I am still trying to figure out where I am going with this, but I am excited. Thanks again! xxx