Hey, I'm soooooooooooo very sorry I haven't updated in forever! My computer decided to die peacefully in it's sleep. R.I.P. Dell Laptop, you will be missed... but I got a new computer :) and I'm back! No, I haven't abandoned my other story. I just started writing this one and couldn't stop. :) Hope you enjoy!


"How do we say our goodbyes? Do we laugh or cry?"

~Savannah Outen


I sat waiting, waiting, and waiting some more. It was quiet in the little office, except for the impatient tapping of my nails against the wooden desk.

Dadadum, dadadum, dadadum.

I sighed dramatically. How long have I been waiting? An hour? Maybe two?

I glanced around the office in hopes of finding something to entertain myself with.

No such luck.

It was all so plain, gray walls, gray carpet. All in perfect order. I'd bet money that the binders were alphabetized by subject.

The only sign that an actually human being inhabited the office, rather than a robot, were the pictures perfectly organized on the desk. There were three. The first was a wedding photo of a much younger Mrs. Davis and her hubby. The second was a picture of her little boy, he looked about five, and was in his soccer uniform, covered in dirt, his brown eyes shone as if his team had just won a game, his huge smile and dimples only encouraged my theory. I smiled. The next was a family shot, they all looked older. Mr. Davis had started developing a beer belly, Mrs. Davis crow's feet were becoming more and more apparent, and the boy looked about ten years old, but they smiled with the same enthusiasm. A happy family.

"Sorry it took so long, you would not believe how those people like to talk!" chirped Mrs. Davis.

Her voice caught me by surprise and I shot up about ten feet out of my chair.

"It's no problem, Mrs. Davis," I answered.

She smiled.

Mrs. Davis was one of those people who are always cheerful; she's like a 50 year old cheerleader. However, her super nice nature comes off quite fake. I guess that made sense. She was prom queen and head-cheerleader back in the day, though you'd never guess it now. Somewhere in between then and now, her hair began to gray, her face started to move downward, and wrinkles began to form.

"So, here's the rest of the paperwork," she said as she handed me a stack of papers.

"Thanks, is that everything?" I asked.

"You're free to go, I hope you have a lot of fun this year in England!" she said as she waved me out the door.

As I stepped out of the office I smiled and felt strangely nostalgic. Weird, never thought I'd feel that way about leaving high school. I mean It's not like I'm leaving forever, I'll be back next year, because this year, in less than two days I'll be in Liverpool, England, with the Matthews.

It all began last year, when this girl came to us from Norway as foreign exchange student. She told us all kinds of amazing stories about all the places she'd been and all the people she'd met. I was fascinated and began to want to become one myself. I asked my parents and they said yes.

And well, here I am, about to move in with my host family and learn British slang. My host family seemed very nice; I've had a couple of phone conversations with Mr. and Mrs. Matthews, where they laid out their rules and what was expected of me. Their rules were reasonable and coincided with the guidelines laid out by the foreign exchange organization. My host family is pretty small; it consists of Thomas Matthews, Lindsey Matthews, and their son, Landon Matthews.

In preparation for my trip, which lasts the entire school year, I decided to get the inside scoop by doing some English research so I don't look like a complete tourist.

After, seven Harry Potter books and eight movies, a dash of R-Patz in the middle, and One Direction on repeat, I felt prepared.

Well, kinda sorta.

As I was lost in deep thought, I ran smack dab into Rachel, my best friend.

"Hey loser," she said as she flicked her auburn hair.

"I'm really gunna miss your insults," I said as I grabbed her and hugged her tight.

"Of course you are! I'm gunna miss you too, Char," she replied.

Rach and I have been inseparable since I met her in Pre-Kindergarden and some jackass little boy took my stuffed rabbit and threatened to chop its head off. Then came Rachel, who was the runt of the class, and kicked the little sucker where it hurts. After the incident, he cried to the teacher, who firmly believed sweet little Rachel could never do such a thing, and she put him on his knees for lying. As we watched, Rachel turned to me and said, "I gottcha back Blondie."

Aw, the good old days.

Things haven't changed that much, Rachel will still kick anyone's ass who tries to mess with me, though you'd never tell by looking at her. She's like 5 feet tall, with gorgeous curly auburn hair, perfectly manicured nails, and a black belt in tae kwon do.

Beware.

"You have gotto find me a British boyfriend," she demanded.

"Of course, I have nothing better to do," I replied sarcastically.

"HEY, CHAR!" I heard out of nowhere, I turned around and saw a smiling boy with brown eyes and dimples, in his dirty soccer uniform.

I smiled.

Yes, Zane Davis, has barely changed at all.

"How'd the meeting with mom go?" he asked as he made his way to where Rachel and I stood.

"Good, how's soccer practice?" I asked as he slowed his pace and until he is directly in front of us.

"Hot," he replied as he leaned down to kiss me.

"Bleh, get a room," said Rachel, though she was used to this by now.

Zane and I have been dating for about a year. He used to be a little dipshit, picking on me all through middle school. Until the summer after our ninth grade, my awkwardness, pimpled-face, and Harry Potter glasses were gone, and replaced by clear skin, contacts, and confidence.

He made a face at her.

They don't really see eye to eye.

Rachel wants to brand him for all the hell her put me through.

She doesn't forgive easily.

"Please, don't fight, please," I begged.

"Fight? Who's fighting?" Zane smirked.

Rachel looked annoyed. "So, I'll see you tomorrow then?" she asked.

"Yep," I replied.

"Bye," she said as she walked away.

"Bye"

"I really don't get how your friends with her, she such a-" Zane began, but I cut him off.

"Stop, your seventeen, not seven, and she's my best friend and has been long before you began talking to me" I replied dryly.

Did I mention he can still be kind of a dipshit?

"Am I still coming over tonight?" he asked.

"Are gunna keep acting seven years old?"

"Charlotte"

"Why do you always pull that 'she's a horrible friend' shit?" I asked.

"Forget I said it," he replied indignantly, "Am I still coming over tonight?" he asked again.

"I guess, look I gotta go, Danny's wondering where I'm at," I said as I look at the five texts from my older brother on my IPhone screen.

Overprotective much?

"Love you," Zane said as I walked away.

"Love you too," I said as I made my way down the hall to the glass doors that lead outside.


"What am I missing?" I said to myself over and over as I looked around my room. My room is pink, covered with pictures and awards. I looked at my bed and the three Luis Vuitton suitcases on it, completely full Louis Vuitton suitcases.

Hmmm.

"Damn, you've got a lot of clothes," said my brother in my doorway.

"What do you mean?" I replied confused.

"Three suitcases?" he said as he eyed the Louis' on my bed.

"Yeah, ones for shoes, ones for beauty and shoes, and ones for clothes," I replied as if he should've known that, "and I have another fully packed one with more clothes," I pointed to the suitcase in the corner of my room.

"How does one person have that many shoes? I have three: sneakers, cleats, and dress shoes" he said looking confused.

"It's a girl thing," I responded.

"Ah, is little douchbag coming over for super tonight?" he asked with a smirk.

I groaned.

Rachel isn't the only person who doesn't like my boyfriend.

"His name is Zane, not dipshit, and yes he is," I sighed.

Just then we hear a little shriek that means only one thing.

"Gotta go, duty calls," Danny announced as he went to get Caroline.

You see, my brother used to be the man. The guy every girl wanted to date and every guy wanted to be. He was rich, the star quarter back, decent grades, life of the party, and so on and so on. He was a good guy, respected women and adults. His life was a blast, until Natalie.

Picture this, you're senior year in high school, ever major college football scout begging for you to go to their school, with a promise they would make sure you got a good shot at the pro teams, your whole life ahead of you!

That was Danny's life, football was his whole life.

However, my brother is a lover and when he began dating the prettiest (Yeah, right!), most popular, head cheerleader at Mayberry High School, he swore he was in love.

They had been dating for about three months when she found out; she didn't even tell him. He found out from his best friend that his girlfriend was pregnant and that she was getting an abortion that day. He was livid and hurt, he jumped in his car and raced to the clinic, hoping and praying he wouldn't be too late.

He wasn't.

She was in the waiting room, a picture of ease. He ran up to her, got on his knees, and begged her to reconsider. Her argument?

"But I'm gunna get fat Danny, and I won't be able to cheer anymore. I mean it's not like it's a baby yet!"

Do you wanna kill her yet?

He promised to pay for everything, and I mean everything. Want fake nails? Here's some money. New car? Take my sisters (I still haven't forgiven him for that one).

She eventually agreed to continue with the pregnancy, and his life did a three-sixty.

He quit the football team to go to Lamaze classes with her. He gave up his whole life, friends, fun, his senior year, prom, and his dream of playing football professionally.

Nine months later, Caroline was born, she was six pounds and eleven ounces, and she was perfect. I'd never seen my brother look a person the way he looked at his daughter when he saw her for the first time. Natalie signed over all rights to my brother and moved far away, telling us she didn't want to have any part in Caroline's life.

Now, Caroline is four months old, and a little sweetheart.

Danny would do anything for her; he gave up his dreams for her without even thinking about it. He will never hold that against her, because he feels that keeping her was the best decision he ever made.

Ding dong.

"CHARLOLETTE, YOU'RE PRICK IS AT THE DOOR!" shouted my brother.

DING DONG DING DONG DING DONG DING DONG.

"COMING!" I yelled as I ran down the stairs.

I threw open the door and saw Zane, with his hand still on the doorbell.

He smirked, "Hey"

"Come on in,"

"You do realize trying to put a baby to sleep is a little bit difficult when someone is obnoxiously ringing the door bell," said Danny dryly.

"I didn't know she was trying to sleeping," replied Zane.

"Come," I said as I took Zane's hand and lead him up the stairs.

"NO F-U-C-K-I-N-G," my brother spelled after us.

He does not allow cursing around Caroline, so he spells it out.

I rolled my eyes.

"Wanna watch a movie?" I asked Zane as he planted himself on my bed.

"Sure" he replied as I went and sat on his lap.

We decided to watch "Where the Heart is." Well, I decided.

Next thing I know, I was dreaming that I was living in Wal-Mart, with Zane and we had a dog named Natalie, we were zombies, and the cast of "The Walking Dead was there signing autographs.

I was about to meet Norman Reedus when I was awoken by ice water being poured on my head. I screamed, jump off my bed, and then landed on the floor.

Ouch.

"What the fuck man?" asked a livid Zane.

"I said no fucking," said my brother with a smile, "Bye Zane"

"WE WEREN'T FUCKING, YOU ASS, WE WERE SLEEPING" I screeched at my brother as Zane left.

"I know, I just thought it would be funny," Danny said as he laughed.

"Get out," I commanded.

He held his hands up in mock surrender, "Don't forget to set your alarm, we have a long drive ahead of us tomorrow!"

I threw a pillow at his head.

He laughed as he left.

I got up to a warm shower, got dressed, and decided to crash on the floor.


The next morning, I woke up, got ready and came down to see everybody waiting there.

Mom and dad were nowhere to be found, but I expected that.

Danny looked exhausted, Rachel looked irritated, Zane looked pissed, and Caroline was screaming her little head off.

This is going to be a fun four and half hour drive.

"Shh, it's gunna be okay hunny," Danny whispered.

"Why is she crying?" I asked him.

"She started running a fever around three in the morning," replied Danny as he continued to try to soothe her.

"Do you wanna just stay home with her Danny? I can drive Char." Rachel replied.

Danny looked at me sadly.

"It's okay Danny, she needs to be home not all over the state," I try to smile back at him, even though I want to cry.

He comes over to me, Caroline on his hip, and gives me a huge bear hug.

"I'm gunna miss you, Scout," he said.

I wanted to cry, I won't see him again for a long time.

"I'm gunna miss you too, Jem," I said back to him, and smiled at our inside joke.

"Skype me EVERY day, not excuses, and be careful," he said as he pulled away from and looked at me seriously.

I hugged him again, and then turned my attention to the baby on his hip, who seemed to have calmed down a bit.

"Hey there pretty girl, I'm gunna miss you sooooo much," I said as I kissed her forehead.

"Rach? Make sure Caroline is dressed well, do not let Danny just grab things from her closet and throw them on her" I said to lighten the mood.

"I will," she replied somberly.

"Tell mom and dad I love them?" I asked Danny.

"Of course," he said.

"Sorry to interrupt, but the plane leaves whether Char's there or not, so…" said Zane awkwardly.

I hugged Danny one last time, kissed Caroline's little head again, told them goodbye, again, and walk out the door.


The drive was long and awkward, four and a half hours of indie music, courtesy of Rachel, and Zane staring out the window, looking bored.

I'm gone for ten months people and you guys don't wanna talk!

We arrived at the airport early and Zane decided to get something to eat, leaving me and Rachel alone.

"Promise me I won't come home to find a knife in Zane, and blood on you and Danny's hands," I said.

"No promises," she said with a winks.

I laughed.

"You'll make sure Danny's okay, right? And help him with Caroline?" I asked.

"Yes, yes, we've been through this a thousand times!" she said as she rolled her eyes.

After a few minutes of silence, Rachel spoke again, "Are you scared at all?"

"Are you kidding, I'm terrified" I replied honestly.

"You're gorgeous, tall, blonde, tan, blue-eyed, and American! They're gunna love you!" Rachel said with a laugh.

I gasped in mock surprise, "Was that a complement? From Rachel? NO WAY"

She rolled her eyes, punched my arm and said, "Don't get used to it,"

We both laughed.

Zane decided to appear then and Rachel's smile fades.

He hands me my mango pineapple smoothie and sits on my other side.

"What did I miss?" he asked as he took my free hand.

"Nothing," I replied.

He rolled his eyes, kissed my cheek, and whisperd in my ear, "Wanna go exploring?"

"Bye Rach," I said, answering his question.

"By back in an hour," she replied and tapped on her phone for emphasis.

Zane and I got up and left. We didn't know where we were going we just walked.

"Promise to play nice with Rachel when I'm gone," I said with my best puppy dog eyes.

"Is avoiding her at all costs and option?" he countered with a grin.

"I guess that would be best for your health," I said with a wink.

He rolled his eyes and kissed me.

I kissed him back more forceful that usual, because it will probably be one of the last times I kiss him.

It made me sad.

I didn't realize I was crying until he pulled back and wiped my tears away. I tried to laugh. It sounded wrong, so he just hugged me and kissed my head promising me I'll be okay.

I'm gunna miss him so much.

After we stood like this for who knows how long, be sobbing into his shoulder and him rubbing my back. He pulled away, took my hand and said, "I guess it's time to head back."

What? How did that hour pass so quickly?

He took my hand, kissed it, and we made our way back to an anxious Rachel.

"Finally you guys are back!" she exclaimed, "Your plane is here early"

I gulped and thought about running home to Danny and Caroline.

"Guess this is it," I said, my voice breaking on the last word as I heard that boarding for my plane has begun already.

They both reached for me, but Rachel was faster.

She hugged me tight for like minutes, until I was like, "You've gotta let go sometime"

She laughed and said, "I'm gunna miss my partner in crime"

I smiled.

Zane grabbed me next he hugged me tight and kissed me like a hundred times. I looked at him and he was smiling at me, "I love you," he said.

"I love you, too" I replied and hugged him one last time.

I backed away from them as they called final boarding for my flight. I turned around gave my boarding pass to the flight attendant, and stole one last peak at them. I waved at them, they waved back. I took a deep breath and boarded the airplane, leaving my comfort and familiar life behind me and preparing for the scary, new one.