A/N - Okay, I know I promised that this chapter would be long, but I didn't really have much of an inspiration to make this longer. I will try to make it up to you with the next chapter.
Only expecting for her parents and twin brothers to be waiting for her at the airport, April was surprised to see the rest of the family also as everyone rushed up to her once she appeared out of the double doors. Surrounded by her cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, she never realized how many there.
Hugging and telling everyone how much she's missed them, April then noticed an auburn head in the sea of brown. Pale green eyes meeting brown, April was face to face with Rachel Evans, her other best friend.
"Rache," April whispered happily. "I've missed you so much."
"I've missed you too girl," Rachel whispered back. "I'm glad you're home."
Slowly letting go, April then scanned around looking for two people who still haven't given he a hug when she noticed the only two who weren't shedding tears of joy. Figuring it wasn't manly enough to be standing there, happily sobbing away like everyone else, April could tell her brothers were having difficulty holding back their emotions as she set her gaze upon them. Their lips slightly twitching, both sets of eyes darting back and forth, and avoiding her smile with their arms crossed tightly against their chests, April slowly spread out her arms, moving closer towards them and smiled when finally one broke down, rushing forward as he picked her up into a tight embrace.
"Baby sis," smiled Sean. "You're finally back."
"Hey Sean," she grinned as he swung her around. "I've missed you."
As soon she had let go, April was suddenly engulfed in another set of strong arms and turned to see Seth grinning at her, his green eyes bristling with tears.
"Welcome home Pickle," he whispered that she finally was unable to hold back the tears any longer and began to cry on his shoulder.
On the first day she was born, Seth couldn't help but scrunch his eyebrows in confusion when he glanced at his new baby sister cradled in their mother's arms, and commented how much she resembled a pickle, dressed in a green sleeper and matching bonnet their grandmother had given her.
Then as April grew older, Seth continued to torment her, calling her 'Pickle' whenever he had a chance that the name eventually stuck. The weird thing about it was only this particular brother was able to get away with it and there was a reason why.
When she was eight years old, Seth was angry with her for tattling on him to their mother that he had grabbed her favorite doll, a stuffed monkey, held the head tightly in his hand and pretended to twist it when the head fell off. Her mother tried reasoning with her that even though Seth shouldn't have did what he did, it was an accident and she should forgive him. But April was so angry with her brother for destroying the thing that was her only comfort at night she refused to acknowledge him, even when he tried to apologize right after it happened.
As she continued sobbing on her bed, soaking her pillow with tears, she suddenly heard a quiet knock on her door and lifted her head to see Seth peering in. Quickly yelling for him to get out of her room, Seth continued pleading with her to listen to what he had to say. Finally giving in as he hesitantly sat on her bed he began telling her how sorry he was and shouldn't have done something he knew would hurt her the most. He even tried making amends by showing how he tried to repair the monkey. Sitting up and staring at it with his head partially being held on with duct tape, she hesitantly looked at Seth before launching herself, wrapping her arms around his neck. Shaking and sobbing without a sound, Seth then wrapped his arms around her and held onto her, whispering that he would do anything he could to make everything better and had been inseparable since.
Over the years as they both grew older, whenever April had a problem and needed someone to talk to, Seth was always there. He was even there to comfort her the day she had expressed her feelings towards Jake and held her until she finally fell asleep.
"Hey Seth," she whispered. "I've missed you the most big brother."
"Yeah well, you're staying for good this time," said Sean.
She pulled back, wiped her tears and grinned. "I knew you two couldn't hold up that machoness for very long. You two always tend to falter when it came to me."
"How could we not?" smirked Seth. "You're our baby sister. It's our job to always spoil you rotten —"
"— and protect you from harm," added Sean. "Speaking of harm, any guys on the other side of the world try to do things to you that they aren't supposed to?"
"They better not have."
"Yeah or we'll have to go over there and whip some asses."
April just rolled her eyes. "Always the same," she muttered, pursing her lips, but then quickly ran into their arms again and held on tight, hoping to never let go.
Later as she sat at the bottom of the stairs watching her family, April couldn't feel any happier and content than at that moment. She wondered why she had left all of this in the first place when a thought flashed into her mind. She let out a sigh remembering her reason for having to leave. Even though things had ended on rough terms with Jake, at least April was able to find some kind of happiness somewhere else.
When she first arrived in London, at the beginning April was scared with the idea of being in a new place all alone, a stranger in this strange new world, surrounded by people she didn't know. She was tempted to quickly turn around and run home, back to where she knew was safe, but she had to do this if she wanted to begin fresh and forget about things.
Finally arriving at the place she was to call home, she took a deep, placing a hand on the handle as she held out her chest, and slowly walked in. Quickly surveying the room that had a homey feel to it, she then began to walk around when her eyes landed upon her new roommate sitting on the couch, quietly reading a book.
She had soft, blonde curls that rested on her shoulders; perfectly pink lips and natural rosy cheeks. April couldn't tell what color this girl's eyes were, but something inside her told her this was someone she should definitely get to know. There was some kind of aura surrounding her, as her eyes darted back and forth across the page she was currently reading, a content look strewn across her face.
As she moved a graceful hand up to her face, tucking a stray wisp of hair that had fallen forward behind her ear, April then decided to make her presence known and cleared her throat.
The girl looked up to see who had interrupted her. A grin slowly crept across her porcelain face and her soft blue eyes gently sparkled as she stood up and headed towards April.
"Hi, I'm Mandy Abbott," she said.
"April James," April replied, grasping her outstretched hand.
"So you're my new flat mate from across the other end of the world."
"I guess I am."
"Then it pleases me to be the first to welcome you to London."
Following Mandy as she picked up one of the suitcases, April was in awe at what she saw before her. As soon as you walked in, there was a great view of the country side from the huge bay window in the living room. A flat screen TV hung on the wall above the entertainment center, and a bookcase housing all different sorts of novels stood in the corner. An open spaced kitchen was off to the side with a small area in the corner you could consider calling a breakfast nook, and a burgundy oriental rug ran down the hallway, leading to two bedrooms and a washroom at the end. Noticing the walls were painted a soft green, the furniture was simple, yet modern, and the lighting from the spotlights in the ceiling made the place seem tranquil, almost like a perfect place to unwind down after a long day.
"Anyway, I hope you enjoy it here in the flat, and if there is anything you ever need, don't hesitate to ask."
"Thanks Mandy," April said.
"You're welcome," Mandy replied as she started to walk away. "Oh and one more thing, all my friends call me Dee."
Once April was settled in, Mandy had showed her around town, checking out the historical sites, the gardens and museums London had to offer. They even had a great time taking pictures with the Changing of the Guards where both made silly expressions and gestures, each taking turns trying to outdo the other. She then showed her all her favorite cafés and places to dine, grabbing a quick bite of the best fish and chips in town, before continuing on with their adventure.
After showing places around town for fun and partying, Dee then brought April to one of her favorite hangouts to meet her friends. Noticing April was beginning to feel nervous again, Dee reassured her everything would be fine andgrabbed her hand to pull her in. By the end of the night, all of Dee's friends had made April so at ease, it was like April already belonged there.
Then when it was her last day in London, Dee threw her a Going Home Party that April almost didn't want to leave, but the urge to go home was too great. Once everyone had left, Mandy then came into her room to hand April her gift. Laced in an intricate fabric pattern of blue and yellow, the middle of the scrapbook held the picture of them sitting in an open field, the sun setting behind with both arms wrapped around one another.
Decorated with real pressed flowers to add just a touch of femininity, April then noticed while flipping through the pages that the scrapbook was basically a story of her life in England, starting from when she first set foot in the flat, to the ending of her party, and she became completely overwhelmed with emotion at how much work Mandy must have put into the gift.
Thinking about how her and Mandy would be watching a late night movie if she was still back in London, April let out a sigh when someone approached and sat down beside her.
"Hey April," Rachel said softly. "What's wrong?"
"Oh, just thinking about London," she replied.
"You must miss them, huh?"
"I do, but I really am glad to be back." April glanced around the room and watched her family. "I just never knew I would miss what I had here so much."
"Well I'm glad you're back too," Rachel said as she placed a comforting arm around her best friend's shoulders. "You don't know how much I missed our girl talks, especially complaining about Joshua."
"I know," April grinned. "How are things going on with you two?"
"Well, we've decided to move in together and just found a place not far from here."
"So, you finally get to snog him senseless and explore that magnificent body, huh?" April mischievously grinned as she lightly nudged her on the side.
"Snog?" asked Rachel, a little confused.
"It means kiss," April explained. "Picked up a few other sayings back down in Jolly Old England!"
"Anyway," April went on, shooting a glare at her friend. "I take it it's safe to say the two of you are thinking about the future?"
"We are," Rachel answered happily.
"And Joshua asked me to marry him."
"A couple of weeks ago," Rachel happily grinned. "We were waiting for you to come home, before letting all of our friends know."
"April, I wasn't going to let anyone else know without you here," she said. "Only my family and one other person know about our engagement. You have always been my best friend besides Joshua, and the both of us really wanted you to be one of the first of our friends to know. You've always been there for us through it all. What better way of showing our thanks by telling you our wonderful news first. Anyway, we weren't going to have our wedding yet, until you came back. There was no way I was going to let you miss it."
"Of course I wouldn't miss this for the world, Rache."
"Then all I ask for you now is that I want you to be my Maid of Honor. And I'm not taking no for an answer."
"I would be delighted," April grinned.
"I thought you would say that," Rachel said hesitantly. "Although…you might change your mind after I tell you this."
Rachel inhaled a deep breath. 'Well, you know that Joshua and Jake are best friends, right?"
A thought suddenly dawned on April's face. "Oh," she said as she pursed her lips.
"Yeah," Rachel sighed. "Joshua asked Jake to be the best man and of course he said yes."
"Well, I'm still going to be your Maid of Honor, no matter what."
"Are you sure?" Rachel asked hesitantly. "I don't want to pressure you into this if you aren't going to be comfortable."
April just nodded. "Positive."
"I'm glad to hear you say that," Rachel replied with a sigh of relief. "I thought you might change your mind when I told you that."
"Why would you think that?"
"Well, um, let's see. You moving half way across the world just to be away from him may have crossed my mind."
"That may be true, but things have changed for me," said April as she turned from her friend's gaze to watch her brothers playfully wrestling each other. "Maybe even for the better."
"Yeah. I mean, it's been five long years away from all of this. I had plenty of time to think things through and have learned to deal with those feelings. Back then, I was a girl completely, and utterly, in love with her best friend, but things have changed. I don't have those crazy feelings any more and am happy that I finally found some kind of closure from it. Moving so far away helped a lot and I'm glad I chose to do this. And besides, no man is going to come between me and you…and your wedding. Speaking of Jake, I thought he would be hear too."
"He really wanted to, believe me, but something else came up. He will be at your Welcome Home party tomorrow though."
"And I still said you really don't have to."
"And I say I do since all your friends want to see you."
"Then tomorrow it is," April smiled and began to tell her the tales back in her surrogate home.
SSC and F13 - Since I always write from one point of view, I decided to take a stab at something new. Don't know how I'll do, so I hope this story won't end up sucking.
x Tequila Moonlight x - Don't worry about it. As for Jake, he will be showing up soon.
artistic dreamer - well if you think the beginning is sensitive then get ready to shed more tears. Also the italicized bits are indeed flashbacks. Sorry if it seemed confusing.