"Yeah, I know, I've got it all
under control. The plane leaves at nine tonight so I need to
be at the airport by seven. Mmhm, okay," I groaned.
"So I'll be home around six, we're having a family dinner before you leave," my dad replied, hanging up before I could say goodbye. Ever since I had confirmed to my parents that I was moving, my dad had been trying to be more of a father to me. Which didn't say much, knowing him. He was still the buisness man he always was; crisp, proper, and to the point. At least I could say he was trying.
I walked up the stairs to my room, the second one on the left, and threw my suitcase on my bed. Pulling every piece of clothing I owned out of my closet, I watched as fabrics of every color fell to the floor, landing in a pile bigger than me. Since I practically wore the same thing every day, I barely even realized how many clothes I had. I grabbed my shirts and pants from the floor in fistfulls, dropping them in my suitcase in a crinkled mess. It didn't really matter, no one would pay attention to me anyways. Finally, after packing dozens of outfits into my bag, I zipped it up, placing it by the door so it was ready to go.
"Babe, I'm home!" my mother yelled from the kitchen, and I could hear the jingle of keys and the clunk of shopping bags as she set her things down on the counter. "I brought chinese!" she called.
Of course, it would be just like my mother to turn a family dinner into a takeout meal. Not that I should have expected much more, no one in my family had cooked a real dinner in years.
"Oh, hon, it's already six fourty five. We should probably get you going, don't want to miss your flight!" my mom smiled, gesturing for me to go back upstairs and grab my suitcase. We climbed in the car, and I sat in the backseat with my bag next to me. My parents tried to engage in small talk, which just ended up being awkward for all three of us.
"Well, here we are. I expect you can handle yourself from here?" My dad asked, not even a hint of a sentimental tone in his voice.
"Yeah, dad, I'll be fine. I'll probably see you guys in a few months, but I'll call when the plane lands. Love you both," I smiled, only seconds before my dad sped off. I watched the black sedan drive away, and my mom thrust her head out of the window.
"Loooooveeee yooooouuu!" she called, so distant I could barely hear. I laughed to myself, knowing that by now my father was probably scolding her for embarrassing him in public like that. After all, to my dad, everything was about reputation.
I've noticed that there's a certain smell that only airports have. I don't know what it is, but it greeted me as I walked in the door. Immediately I was caught up in a sea of people hurrying every which way, bags rolling at their feet. Pulling my passport out of my purse, I handed it to the security lady standing at the Delta Airlines desk. She smiled and took my luggage, placing it on the scale, and then set it on a conveyor belt behind her. I watched as a small slip of paper fell out of the printer.
"There's your boarding pass, miss, and have a nice flight," she smiled again, waving the next person up to the desk as I turned and walked away. I made my way through security without any difficulties, not that I expected any. Letting out a long sigh, I walked past dozens of terminals until I found the one that matched the number on my boarding pass: Terminal 28C. "Thank God," I whispered to myself, my lips barely moving.
I sat down in a cushioned, black chair, two seats away from a man who's heavy metal music I could hear clearly, even though he was wearing headphones. I tapped my leg impatiently and pointlessly rifled through my purse, hoping to find something to hold my attention as I waited.
"Flight 184 to Dallas, calling all Delta members flying 184 to Dallas. First class members, please check in," a nasaly voice spoke into the microphone. I shifted in my seat, wishing I was in first class. With my luck, I would probably be stuck between two sweaty men who fall asleep on my shoulder. And snore.
"Flight 184 to Dallas, coach members in rows one through nine may board now," the voice said again. I glanced at the slip of paper in my hand. Row 3, Seat D. Standing up, I threw my purse over my shoulder and walked towards the desk. After waiting in line as everyone else checked in, I finally made it to the front.
"Passport and Boarding pass, please," the lady said, her voice completely monotonous. I handed her what she asked for, biting my lip nervously as she scanned my pass. If it didn't work, I was screwed. I wasn't really worried, but there was always the possiblity. I mentally rejoiced when the scanner blinked green and the lady handed my pass back to me.
"Thanks and have a nice flight. Neeexxt," she called. I walked past her, stepping onto the tarmac in front of me. Silently praying for a painless flight, I stepped onto the plane.
Well? This is it. No turning back now.
After parking my car in the driveway and
walking up the steps, I opened the front door and heard
noises coming from the living room. Laughing. Who was home?
It was 3 in the afternoon, why would anyone be here?
"Hello?" I called, setting my bags down next to the door and walking inside.
"Hi, honey, how was school?" my mothers voice replied, for the second time today. It was unnusual enough to speak to her once, but twice? This had to be some kind of record.
"Fine, I guess," The school day had been rough, but not as much as usual. Aside from my encounter with Johanna before the bell, no one had bothered me.
I walked into the living room to see my mom, dad, aunt, uncle, and cousin, Tessa, all seated on the couches, engaged in conversation. This was a sight. Not only was my whole family in the same room at once, but my extended family, too.
"Hey, Kayli, how are you?" my aunt smiled, patting a spot on the sofa next to her. I took a seat, clasping my hands and setting them on my lap.
"I'm great, Aunt Jean. Sorry if I'm being rude, but why are you guys here?" I asked, turning my head towards my uncle and Tessa, who were sitting on the sofa opposite of me.
"We were just having a talk with your parents about a family matter," my uncle nodded shortly, throwing a panicked look at my aunt. The rest of my family seemed flushed, as if they didn't know what to make of the situation.
"Um.. May I ask what the family matter is?" I asked, furrowing my eyebrows.
"Kayli, your aunt and uncle stopped by to explain to us their opinions on our being gone so often due to work. They think it is in your best interest to you move down to Texas with them, at least until we can spend more time at home, and are able to act more like the parents we should be," my dad explained, rubbing his palms on his jeans.
"We just think it isn't healthy for you to be home alone so often, practically raising yourself," my aunt interjected, giving my mother a stern look as she paused, letting that sink in, "so we thought it might be good for you to stay at our house in Texas for a while, maybe just for the summer."
"You mean, move to Texas? Like, pack up all my things and transfer across the country?" I asked, my confusion slowly turning into panic.
"Well yes, but only for as long as you would like. You can come back any time, sweetie," my mom smiles, obviously on board with this whole thing. Am I the only one who thinks this might be a bad idea? Tessa looked up at me, standing up and addressing my parents and hers.
"Can Kayli and I go to her room for a while to talk about it?" she asked, practically dragging me out of the room without an answer.
"Well? What do you think?" she asked excitedly, closing my bedroom door behind her.
"I don't know, Tess," I murmur.
"Oh come on, it was my idea, Kay! Just think about it. Warm weather, cute boys, a fresh start, and the best part? You're living with me! Your best friend! No more of that Joney girl you've told me about to mess around with you," she shruged, like this is a foolproof plan. I have to admit, once Tess had explained all the pros to the situation, it did seem a lot better than I had first thought.
"It's Johanna, for one. And also, what makes you think that Texas will be any different for me than here? I'll still be the ugly, fat girl. And there it will be even worse because I'll be living in your shadow," I rolled my eyes at Tess. It was true, Tessa was practically the definition of beauty. She had the same features as Johanna: tall, skinny, tan, with long hair. Tess's brown locks were wavy, and they curled into little ringlets at the bottom. I had always envied her hair, it looked perfect all the time. Tess was also the Picasso of makeup, and she looked better and better every time I saw her.
"Please, Kay? If you don't like it you can just leave. I mean, what do you have to lose?" Tessa pouted, already knowing she had won this argument.
"Fine, whatever, but you totally owe me for this," I crossed my arms over my chest, ashamed to admit my defeat.
"Great! Let's go share the good news!" She beamed, racing out of the room, knowing I would follow her. It had always been that way; Tessa was the popular one, the smart one, the pretty one. I was just Kayli, her loyal follwer. Nonetheless, she was still by best friend. My only friend, actually.
Walking back into the living room, I sat back down on the couch next to my aunt. "Okay, I'll go to Texas. Under one condition. I can leave whenever I want, if I don't like it," I told them as if I was making a business deal.
"Of course, honey, it's your decision," my aunt assured me, placing a manicured hand on my shoulder.
And my journey begins.
"Kayli, come down for breakfast, you
have to leave for school in five minutes!" my mom called
from the kitchen, which surprised me entirely. Usually my mom
was out of the house by 5 in the morning, and didn't
return until 10 at night. I barely ever saw her, especially
in the mornings, but I had gotten used to it. Who needs
parents when you can raise yourself? Oh yeah, that's
right, I do, but I don't really have a choice in the
If my parents would rather work all day than take care of their one-and-only daughter, they can do as they please.
"Coming, mom!" I shouted, giving myself a once-over in the mirror, to make sure I looked acceptable. Hah, as if. It didn't really matter what I looked like, anyways, because no one really noticed unless they were making fun of me. I had gotten used to that, too, so it didn't matter. Or at least I had tried to convince myself that it didn't.
Now that I was really looking at myself, I realized that my image didn't look acceptable at all. My light grey t shirt was tight in all the wrong places, and my baggy jeans were still a size too small. I pulled my long, curly, dull blonde hair into a sloppy bun, taking a ponytail off of my wrist and wrapping it around my hair.
Jogging downstairs, I grabbed a granola bar out of the cupboard and dropping it in my purse as I opened the garage door, climbing into the drivers seat of my lame excuse for a car. As the engine rumbled to life and the stereo turned on, blasting a Katy Perry song, I checked the time on the dashboard clock. It was 6:45, and I couldn't afford to get stuck in early morning Chicago traffic, not when school started in fifteen minutes.
Speeding down the driveway and through the neighborhood, I flipped through the radio stations until I found a song I liked. I sang along, tapping the steering wheel as I waited at a stoplight. When the light blinked green I stepped on the gas, feeling the car lurch forward. Needless to say, I wasn't the best driver. It was a good day when I made it to and from school without killing myself. Not that anyone would cry at my funeral. With the exception of my parents. But with their busy work schedules, I doubt they would even be able to attend. Oh, who am I kidding, they wouldn't even arrange for a funeral, it would waste too much time. I would probably just be buried in the middle of a forest somewhere and never spoken of again.
I slowly pulled into the school parking lot, half considering just driving away like I had never even been there and ditching. I could spend my day at a park somewhere by myself. That would be better than school. But no, being the good girl I am, ditching wasn't even really an option. Unbuckling my seatbelt an opening my car door, I sighed, breathing in the fresh air as I stepped outside.
I made my way towards the school entrance, wishing I could just go home. This was my daily routine, another thing I should have been used to by now.
"Hey, Kayli," a perky voice chirped from behind me, one I recognized immediately. Oh God, why now?
"Hey, Johanna," I replied, spinning around on my heels. I forced a smile onto my face, staring at the girl in front of me. Tanned, clear skin; shiny, brown, straight hair; sparking blue eyes; she was everything I wished to be wrapped up in one tall, skinny, b*tch. With looks as good as hers, I really didn't understand how she could be so terrible.
"So have you started your new diet yet, or is the chocolate cake still just too tempting?" she asked, a smirk forming on her perfect face.
"No, but thanks for your concern. How about you? I mean, I've noticed that you've been gaining some weight, but I didn't think anything of it. Maybe d!cks have more calories than I thought," I shrugged, impressed with my comeback. Usually I would never even speak back to her, just run away and fight the tears, but she was hitting my last nerve.
"Oh my god, you did not just say that," she gaped, her eyes wide.
"I didn't? How embarrassing," I pulled my backpack over my shoulder, turning back around and walking through the doors. I knew that Johanna was right, even if she is a total b*tch. I definitely wasn't the skinniest girl in school, that's for sure. If I could change it, I would, but it just didn't seem possible. No ammount of exercise or dieting could make me look like Johanna does. I would give anything to be pretty; to not have to deal with disgusted and pitiful looks from everyone I passed, to have guys ask for my number instead of ask how much I weighed just for a laugh. I would give anything, anything at all.
Kayli is your average teenage girl. Well,
maybe less than average. She's definitely no cheerleader,
and she's not the kind of girl that players chase down.
Not that she wouldnt like to be, it's just not possible
for her, or so she thinks. With her dull blonde, crazily
curly hair, her cardboard colored, not so clear skin, and
too-chubby figure, she's far from being a model. But when
her rich aunt and uncle invite her to stay with them in Texas
for a year, along with her bestfriend since birth and
favorite cousin, Tessa, things are looking up for Kayli. When
she decides to use the upcoming summer to her advantage and
drop a few pounds with the help of Tess, she might witness a