Chapter 1

I grabbed my last bag and ran…well…stumbled downstairs, only to be stopped by my mom. She looked at me for a moment before grabbing me into a rib-crushing hug. When she pulled away, I could see her eyes were tearing up. "Mom," I groaned, "I'm going to be back before you know it." She ignored me.

"Oh my baby's all grown up. She's moving away and leaving her poor mother behind!" She sobbed. She had always been a bit dramatic.

"I'll be back for Christmas!" I protested as I struggled to carry my suitcases to the door. I was never able to pack light…

"But…It's…that's so…far away!" She wailed.

"Don't worry! I'll be home before you know it…and this is only for a little while." I hugged her once more and pecked her cheek. "Besides, you have Jack, remember?"

She laughed and brushed my hair off my face. "Of course…but it's just not going to be the same without you!" I rolled my eyes and got in the car while my dad attempted to stuff my bags into the trunk. She leaned over into the window. "Have you got your phone?"

"Yes."

"Money?"

"Yes."

"Passport?"

"Yes."

"Ticket?"

"Yes, Mom! I have everything! I've checked!"

"Alright, alright. Call me when you get there! I'll miss you sweetie and good luck! Have fun! Say hello to Katie and Alice for me, won't you?" She called as my dad reversed out of our driveway. I nodded and waved to her and Jack, until they were just two specks in the distance. I turned and looked out of the window, staring at the last few sights of Oxford that I would see for a while.

"Have you got everything?" My dad asked.

I chuckled lightly. "Yeah, Dad. Mom already went through this. Y'know…I'm only going to school in America…not moving there permanently, I'll be back soon." I reassured him.

He sighed. "You never know Ayla, you never know."

Are all parents this dramatic?


When we finally got to Heathrow, my dad helped me carry my luggage in and get checked in. When we got to security, I turned and hugged him tightly, feeling tears spring into my eyes. This was it. I was actually leaving. He kissed the top of my head. "I'll miss you," I mumbled into his chest.

"I'll miss you too, Ay. Have fun and call us when you get there."

I nodded and turned to walk through the airport security. I looked back at my Dad who waved. I waved back, offering a watery smile before passing security and walking away. I walked past all the designer shops until, finally, I reached Waterstones. I bought a book and immediately felt a bit better knowing I could keep myself busy on the long journey.

Luckily, the flight was pretty empty so I got a row to myself. I sat by the window, looking down at England as it gradually diminished from my view as the plane rose high above the clouds. The closer I got to San Francisco, the more my excitement grew.


11 hours later, the plane finally landed. I was still half asleep when I passed through customs and immigration but immediately perked up as I reached the baggage claim area. I saw my suitcases coming and prepared to grab them. I'd forgotten how heavy they were. They were half on and half off of the luggage carousel and I was running along with them. I pulled one off which landed with a thud next to me and pulled the other one as well. Except, this one landed on my foot. "OW!" I yelled, frantically hopping up and down. Some of the other passengers had turned to stare at me, laughing lightly. "I'm glad I amuse you," I muttered and refrained from bowing.

I pushed my luggage cart through the large double doors and froze as a bright, glittery sign caught my attention. In large bubble letters someone had written 'Miss Ayla Braxton.' Only Katie would do something like that. I smiled as her head popped up from behind the massive piece of card. She saw me immediately and broke into a huge grin. "What'cha doin' over there, girl? Get your butt over here!" She yelled. I ran forward and hugged her. She looked the same as always: petite with honey coloured hair and hazel eyes. She looked the same as she had five years ago when she'd moved here, except she'd grown a bit taller.

"You're finally here- It's been so long! We need to catch up! C'mon!" She yelled, dragging me with her to the entrance. She grabbed one of my bags as I grabbed the other. "Dang, what have you got in here? A body?"

"Shhh!" I whispered. "It's supposed to be a secret. No one needs to know." I winked at her as she winked back.

"I missed you!" She giggled as she threw an arm around my shoulders. "Oh hey, there's the car!"

I stopped and turned around to find a sleek black limo pulling up. I looked at her and followed her eye line. Nope. She wasn't kidding. The limo was her car. My mouth dropped open. "You're joking right?" She shook her head, clearly confused. I knew she was rich, but I never really realised how rich she actually was. The driver took my luggage from me and placed it into the trunk. "Thanks," I muttered still in shock. He smiled at me before getting back in the limo.

"C'mon, Ay! You gonna just stand there? We still have a ton of shopping to do before school starts!" Katie called from inside the limo. I got in slowly and gasped at the interior of the limo. It had a small bar and TV, with leather seats and a plush carpet. Katie giggled. "I guess it's different, huh?"

"You have no idea…" I muttered.

"Well anyways, I guess you want to get back and get some sleep, you look exhausted. It's, what, eleven thirty, back in England, right?"

"Yeah." I stifled a yawn. "Eight hours difference."

"Oh, that's got to be tough, what with school starting in a few days. Don't worry; we'll just go shopping tomorrow!" I nodded, still feeling excited at the thought of being in a new country. "Oh and you'll see Luke again! He's back from university. You remember him don't you?" My heart fell. Yeah, of course I remembered him. How couldn't I remember him? I felt sick to my stomach, the excitement gone. Suddenly, the trip seemed very grim.


A/N: Hey guys, so this is my first story and I realise that was a short chapter but I'll make others longer! This was just to introduce Ayla and to tell you a bit about her background so the real story will be in the next chapter where you will meet Luke, so please don't be put off by this awfully boring intro, the story gets better, promise!

Anyway, thank you for reading! Please rate and review! Oh and do tell me if I have any typos-I have checked but one might have snuck in…

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