Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or cities in this story. All characters and cities are the property of Rockstar.
Packing up what had been her whole life in the space of a week had been hard. Deciding what to leave at home and deciphering out the essentials had been a lot harder than she had originally thought possible.
"But mom, I'm going to need these!' Zoey sighed, throwing down a pair of immaculate Fendi heeled leather boots.
"What? To match the other three pairs of boots you packed yesterday? Zoey, come on, be real. This is ridiculous!" Her mother Camila hissed, fisting her blonde bob.
Zoey stood in the middle of her room, staring at the mess. She had one day left before she would get on the flight that would take her to her new life in Los Santos.
"I just don't know, mom. This is so much harder than I thought it would be. I'm going to miss you guys… more than these boots. A lot more." Tears began creeping up on her.
"I know you can do this Zo. You stuck it out at college; you can stick it out in Los Santos. You're made of tough stuff." Her mother placed a comforting hand on her right shoulder. "You didn't work your butt off for nothing now, did you?"
Zoey took another glance across her bedroom. Three piles of clothes sat on top of her hot pink duvet, she was surrounded by an array of shoes; heeled, flat, boots – you name it, it was there. She sighed again.
"I don't need half of this stuff. Essentials." She said aloud to herself, rather than to her mother. "Pass the trash bag." And she began loading in materialistic thing after materialistic thing, feeling the odd sensation of a weight being lifted from her shoulders.
That night when Zoey laid in her bed feelings of excitement, terror, angst and something else she wasn't quite sure of mixed around in her head and clouded her thoughts. Has she made the right decision? Moving to Los Santos was such a big gamble, such a change from her life here living on the outskirts of Chicago. Life would be different, a lot different. She hoped and prayed that she could ride it out. The last thing Zoey wanted to be was a failure. Zoey didn't fail. Ever.
She supposed having family out there would be the main thing keeping her from getting the first flight back to Chicago the second she arrived in Los Santos. Her uncle, aunt and two cousins had lived in Los Santos for a long while now, and they had been out of touch for some time; rarely sending birthday and Christmas cards, let alone regular phone calls or anything like that. In fact, getting back into contact with her cousin Tracey had been a total accident.
Last year, Zoey and a few of her friends had been on a girls holiday to Ibiza, mainly to celebrate her friend Amelia Calden's birthday and her friend Kloé Tates break up from her 3 year relationship. They had been in the toilets in Es Paradis when a blonde girl about the same age as them staggered over and asked if the girls had any cocaine. The girl already looked whacked off of her face on some other drug, and the girls didn't have any narcotics on their person (Amelia had scored some weed the previous night but the girls had already smoked half that before venturing out that night). Just as the girls were exiting the toilets, the blonde turned to Zoey and had slurred "Hey, I recognise your face. Whusssyourname?"
Zoey who was completely stunned, said to her "Um, Zoey." To which the blonde began cackling like a witch, bent over double and had to lean against the wall to catch her breath. Zoey looked over at her friends who were looking back at her just as confused.
Once the blonde had finally recovered her breath, she said to Zoey "You're my freakin cousin. Trace! I'm cousin Trace!"
At first, Zoey shook her head and thought shut up, I don't even have… and then it dawned on her. She remembered a conversation her mom and dad had had in front of her a couple of years previous…
"It's his own fucking fault Dom! We can't send out any more money! End of!" Camila had been yelling at her husband.
"Cam, he's my brother. What the hell am I supposed to do? Let him starve?!"
"You won't be! We all know he's spending it on that crack-whore prostitute of a wife and his bratty ass kids!" She retorted, almost a whisper by the end of the sentence.
"Come on, Cam. You know that's not fair. Tracey and Jimmy can't help it if their mother is a mess."
"I suppose that's true. Still. My opinion stands. No more pay-outs, Dom."
"Cousin Tracey?" Zoey repeated, figuring out the loose ends through her drunken haze. "No way."
"Yeah way!" Tracey had laughed. "Small world, huh?"
The two had exchanged cell phone numbers and said their goodbyes. Once home from the holiday, they talked constantly on Facebook and awkward conversation became easy flowing chit chat. You could even call them friends.
That was why Zoey decided that Los Santos would be the place to move to. Far enough away from her parents that they didn't drive her insane, and near enough to her cousins, uncle etc. so that she could still feel kind of like home. A bit. Not really.
She was still yet to meet her uncle and aunt for the first time since she was five. She can't even remember them.
Eventually she drifted off into a restless slumber, waking up several times and being pleased that she was still lying in her own bed, and wondering what it would be like waking up the day after tomorrow in her strange new bed, in her strange new house, in a strange new location, surrounded by strange new people. Well, most of them new.