June 26

"What?" Kiya said louder then she had expected to. "You cannot be serious."

Even as she said it, Kiya knew her father was serious. He had talked to her briefly about a teaching job he had been offered at a hospital up north. He said it might be a good thing for the family.

"Ki, I've given this a lot of thought. This teaching assignment is a great opportunity."

"My senior year starts in two months and you want to move us to Massachusetts" Kiya said frustration building inside her.

"I'm spending too much time at Johns Hopkins and not enough time at home. If we move I'll only have to work 30hrs a week," Kiya's father said "I'll be home a lot more. Able to see you complete your final year of high school." Taking a breath he continued "With you going off to college, I need to be home with the boys anyway"

"So just like that we're moving . . . to Massachusetts?" Kiya said. Anger showing in her dark brown eyes. "How long before we go?"

"I report late August, we'll spend the summer here in Baltimore and move around the 25th."

"Fine . . . fine . . . fine" Was the only response Kiya could muster as she turned from the living room and started up the stairs to her bedroom. Once behind closed doors she flipped open her cell phone, calling first her cousin Randi and then her best friend Toya so she could talk to them at the same time.

"He's moving us to Massachusetts."

"What!" Randi and Toya said in unison.

"Yeah . . . we leave in like seven weeks or something like that." Kiya said holding back the tears that wanted to fall. How could her father do this to her? Take her from everything she had ever know. Move her to a new school, a new state, away from her friends and family.

"Damn girl . . . this is messed up." Randi said "What are you going to do?"

"What can I do?" Kiya said into the phone "Nothing but pack up my shit."

"Make sure you pack warm cause it's mighty, mighty cold up there." Randi replied with a laugh. "I hope you can find someone to do your hair cause you know it ain't no black people there."

Kiya and Randi hear sniffing before Toya spoke "I'm going to miss you so much, you've been my best friend for like nine years."

"Trust me . . . I will miss both of you too." Kiya said wiping away the lonely tear that fell.

*~*~*

August 29

After four days in the new house all the unpacking was complete. Kiya was just on her way downstairs to make breakfast for her brothers, the three as she liked to call them, when she heard a loud crash.

Turning on the stairs she went to their rooms "What are the three of you doing?"

"Nothing." Her triplet brothers said in unison.

"Well don't let nothing happen again. It's time for breakfast, come downstairs."

Upon entering the kitchen Kiya found a note on the counter.

Went in a little early. See you this afternoon. ~Dad

It starts . . . Kiya thought to herself.

*~*~*

September 5

"This is a good look right?" Kiya asked her reflections. Looking in a full mirror she analyzed her appearance from head to toe. Kiya was by no means self conscious at 5'8" she usually wore a size eight depending on the cut and she filled out her clothes nicely. The only makeup she wore on her chocolate skin was lip gloss. Her relaxed black hair was brushed back off her face. It fell just below her shoulders and she used a pair of aviator sunglasses for a headband. She wore two tank tops for a layered look, one white, one yellow. Next came a dark pair of skinny jeans (Kiya always wondered, if you're a size eight are they still considered skinny). Followed by yellow flip-flops (at 5' 8" Kiya often did not wear heels) on her french manicured feet. Picking up her oversized yellow KLS bag and notebook, she walked out of her room and down the stairs.

She met her father in the kitchen. "The three need to be at their school before 8:20am."

"Yeah, okay . . . " Kiya's father said before he looked up from the morning paper. "Have a good day"

"Yeah." Kiya said as she put an apple, granola bar and juice box in her purse. "Bye boys" she yelled up the stairs before leaving. It was only a 15 minute ride to Kiya's new school and she made it there with 10 minutes to spare. After parking her 2005 black Jetta she opened her purse, reached for the apple, the juice box and her cell phone. Moments later after receiving encouraging words from Randi and Toya, Kiya got out of the car and headed into school.

As soon as she entered the school and headed to the main office she noticed the stares. It seemed like everyone was looking at her, and after living here for two weeks she noticed it. She noticed when she went to the market or the shopping center and she definitely noticed it at school. Luckily she reached the main office without incident, where she was greeted by Rose McKee. Rose was a redhead, gray eyed senior who volunteered to show Kiya around the school.

"Hi, I'm Rose . . . Your Kiya right?" Rose said with a smile.

"Yeah, I'm Kiya." Kiya responded. Finally, she thought, someone nice, maybe?

"Well, I was told we have 1st period College English, 2nd period Lab and 4th period World History together. Rose said as she handed Kiya her class schedule. "So let me show you how to get to 1st period." Rose continued as they took a short walk down the hall. "By the way I love your outfit."

And that's when Kiya realized . . . everyone, every single student she looked at had on the same outfit. Damn . . . she thought . . . I have to wear a uniform.

As they entered the classroom Kiya noticed there were only about 15 students.

"Good Rose you're here and you have Kiya with you . . . Everyone this is Kiya. She's joining us from New York." Mrs. O'Riley said as Rose walked over to her seat

"Maryland" Kiya corrected. When she spoke all conversation stopped and it seemed most everyone in the room gawked at her.

"Oh, Maryland." Mrs. O'Riley corrected herself. "Why don't you take a seat next to Austin, second row, second seat back."

At the sound of his name Austin looked up and watched as Kiya walked toward him. So this was the new girl so many people were talking about.

As Mrs. O'Riley wrote on the board Kiya looked around the classroom. The seats were three rows back, five across, so she could see almost everybody. There was an Asian guy, two girls who where clearly mixed with black and whiteand ten white kids. After her eyes traveled across the room giving everyone the once over, they settled on Austin. He had dark red almost brown hair that he wore long; it was cut similar to the twins from the 4th Harry Potter movie. Kiya could tell he was tall cause his legs were not only under the desk, but in the aisle to. He wore the same uniform as every other student here, khaki slacks and red polo shirt. She looked back at his face to find his steel gray eyes on her. Cute she thought. Actually he was very cute.