Best Friends

"The plane is now landing. Please prepare to exit," the attendant said over the speaker. Kira looked up from the paper she'd been doodling on. She'd been sitting on the seat curled up, with the notebook balanced on her knees. Groaning, she put her feet on the floor and nudged Shanon awake.

"Mom, we're here! I can't wait to get off; I'm so cramped."

Shanon said something inaudible and lifted her head, blinking.

"Oh dear God," she moaned, looking out the window. "We haven't landed yet? That's the worst part!" she hated planes with a passion.

"Close your eyes?" Kira suggested.

Shanon gritted her teeth and leaned back, her eyes squeezed shut as the plane began the descent.

Finally they were on the ground and ready to get off. Shanon stumbled into the terminal clutching her stomach. Kira followed, dragging a backpack behind her as the two headed for the baggage pick up.

"Mom, why don't you go find a bathroom real fast?" she told her mother. "I can get our stuff!"

Shanon nodded and bolted. Kira felt sorry for her. Every time they flew, it was exactly the same. Her mom just couldn't handle planes. When she'd been little, Kira was fascinated with the flights and loved them; now she was just bored by long journeys, even in the air.

She sank into a chair next to the luggage conveyer and waited, thinking. She and her mother were coming back to San Diego, the southern Californian city they'd lived in before they went to New York. What Shanon had assumed would be a year-long job; three at the most, had turned into an eight-year contract. Now she was starting sophomore year and actually going to the high school she'd passed every day on her way to elementary school.

Kira was excited to be coming back to her childhood home; the first one she could remember, although she and her mother had moved twice when Kira was a baby. She wondered if any of her old friends were still around and if her neighborhood would be as she remembered it. She and Shanon were actually moving into a house not far from their old one.

It was funny how chance had led them back to almost the exact same place they'd been eight years ago. Excepting the fact that Shanon had been offered a well-paying job teaching at San Diego State U instead of a horrible job with benefits like crap, as it had been before.

Her thoughts wandering back to childhood memories, Kira thought of Spencer for the first time in years. 'That's right,' she thought. 'I might actually see him again...' Once ever so often, when she reminisced about San Diego life, Kira thought of her old best friend and how she would act if she ever saw him again. Her daydream scenarios had ranged from beating the bastard up for never writing her to finding him just as wonderful as before and rekindling their friendship, and everything in-between.

Kira suddenly laughed out loud. Even if Spencer still lived in the area and was going to the same school, the chance that they'd have classes together, or even recognize each other was slim. Kira's looks had changed a great deal from the last time she'd seen him at age seven: she'd lost the baby fat in her cheeks sometime in her eighth year, her brown hair was cropped to her shoulders and streaked with shades of blonde and lighter brown, and colored contacts made her blue-gray eyes an attention-grabbing shade of green. She was short for sixteen; she'd always been short for her age, but it wasn't as if she could be picked out by stature. Anyone she'd known here as a child would probably be much changed, if not as much as her.

'I can make new friends,' Kira assured herself as her mother came up behind her and the baggage started to roll onto the conveyer belt.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Here it is," Shanon said, dropping her bag on the sidewalk in front of the house. Their car was already sitting on the street in front; they'd sent it ahead several days ago. The house was nothing special; it was a small ranch style place painted yellow with white trim. The yard definitely needed work, and the realtor had mentioned something about the bathroom plumbing. But with a little fixing up, the house could turn out quite nicely.

Shanon fumbled in her pocked and withdrew the keys to the house. "Let's go babe," she told Kira, hefting her bag onto her shoulder once again. "Let's get unpacking! I think we'll like this house a lot. The pictures looked good." They made their way up through the yard and stepped inside.

Kira wandered around the house, looking for her room. She'd been skeptical of selecting a new house based only on photos and the realtor's word it was a good place. But it seemed they'd lucked out and her mother had been successful in finding a decent place to move in to. The house could be described as cute; it had a charming appeal with somewhat small, cozy rooms painted in warm colors and tan carpet in all the rooms except the kitchen and bathroom. There was certainly a lot more room than in the two-bedroom- one-bathroom-one-kitchen-and-that's-all apartment they'd stayed in for the last six years. Kira only vaguely remembered their first apartment in New York, but it had been even smaller than the second.

She finally came to her room, which was painted a honey-yellow color. There were no furnishings in it, save for a medium sized round mirror leaning against one wall. Kira wondered why it had been left there. It wasn't as if it were a piece of trash; it was in one piece, gave a smooth reflection, and had a metal frame around the edge of twisting and interlacing wires that she liked. Kira decided to keep it. She dropped her bag on the floor and headed back to the front to bring in what was left. She'd only brought two bags. The rest of their things, including furniture, would arrive within a week in a moving van. Until then, they'd be camping out in sleeping bags.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Kira started school the next week. She and her mother had moved back just in time for the beginning of the school year. Kira walked onto the Patrick Henry High campus that morning in hot pink Dickies, a short-sleeved white button up shirt over a lighter pink tank, and a black and white polka dot ribbon around her waist. Black flip-flops and backpack tied up the outfit. She'd put about ten minutes that morning putting together clothes and making sure her hair was perfect. She always liked to look extra cute on her first day.

She set off in the direction she hoped was the office was in, head held high. It was always to her advantage to look confident, although she was in fact completely lost. She was increasingly self-conscious of how pale her skin was compared to others here as she walked down the halls. It wasn't as if she spent a great deal of time indoor either. She'd come to the conclusion that the sun simply shone brighter here than in New York.

Presently, someone tapped Kira on the shoulder. She spun to face a boy about her age. He was taller than her by about a head, with especially tan skin and bleached blonde hair. He seemed to be sporting the surfer look.

"Hey," he said in a low voice, "you got any weed?"

Kira almost took a step back in surprise. "What?" she gasped.

"Dude, don't freak out," he said. "I can pay you for it. Or do you have a thing with dealing?"

"I have a thing with drugs," Kira snapped. "What the hell do I look like to you?"

"You look like you're inside all day!" the boy retorted. "Will you lighten up?"

Kira turned away, disgusted, but the boy grabbed her shoulder and pulled her back. "I'm sorry, ok?" he sighed. "But can you blame a guy for assuming?"

Kira relaxed, but continued to glare. "Since when do you go around asking total strangers for drugs anyway? For all you know, I could go to the office and report you right now!"

The boy looked genuinely surprised. "Where the hell are you from? Only the worst people are snitches," he replied, and then grinned. "But if I thought you looked like that, I wouldn't have talked to you!"

"You thought I was a pothead too,' Kira said shortly. "I need to go register for my classes." She walked away without looking back. The boy watched her for a minute, then turned and also started to walk.

"Spence!" a voice called from behind him. He turned around, and another boy drew up beside him. "Have fun back there?" The boy called Spence threw him a dirty look. The other boy persisted. "She looked mad." He gave Spence a somewhat leering grin.

Half a second later, he realized his mistake. Spence grabbed him by the front of the shirt and pulled him so close that the other boy could feel his breath coming in rapid puffs.

"She wasn't a dealer, you shithead, that's all!" Spence growled. "Mind your own business." He pushed the other boy roughly away. "Don't fuck with me man!" He strode off in the opposite direction.

The display had drawn a small crowd, which now began to disperse. The boy tugged at his shirt, and it fell back in place. "That guy's got issues," he muttered to himself, and shooting the crowd a glare, walked away.