The first thing I noticed about the house wasn't even the house at all. It was the shore of the ocean, twenty feet away from our front porch.
"Isn't that a construction hazard, or something?" Claire asked. Her eyebrow was raised pretentiously. "How did your real estate agent get you guys into buying this for us?"
"It's high tide right now, Claire-bear," said my mother, who was driving us up towards the closed garage. "That's why it looks so close. And don't worry, it's completely safe."
"Try telling me that when there's a hurricane," the thirteen-year-old mumbled.
"Come on, Dylan," said Mom, ignoring Claire's comment. "Help your father bring in some stuff."
I unplugged my ear buds, which had long ago stopped playing music when my iPod ran out of battery, and sighed. "Yeah, okay." She opened the door for me and helped me out.
The house was quite a bit larger than the one we had back in Wisconsin, and a lot more white. There was a porch in the front, which went out overlooking the ocean, and a porch in the back, with stairs to the ground where a large brick circle sat. In the center was a fire pit, surrounded by a big, sweeping hammock and three wooden benches. Wind chimes rang out from atop the larger porch facing the sea.
"Here you go," said my dad, who handed a large cardboard box to me. Over the tape on the top, the words Dylan's Room had been written in Sharpie in my mom's flowing cursive. The box was a lot heavier than it looked, and I almost dropped it. "Go bring that up to your room."
I was still tired from the plane and car ride, so I at first nodded and started walking towards the house. It was only when I was facing the front door (at least I thought it was the front… it might have been the backside of the house) when I realized I didn't actually know where my room was.
Claire, on the other hand, looked like she knew exactly what she was doing. She carried her box- the first of many, I'm sure- towards a different door, opened it, and continued in with a purpose. I figured that she must know at least the layout of the house, somehow, so I followed her. She didn't take too kindly to that.
"What are you doing?" she asked when she noticed I was going up the same flight of stairs as her.
"Your room's that way." She pointed towards stairs on the other side of the living room, parallel to the ones we were walking up. "Didn't you look at the house plans like mom said to?"
She rolled her eyes and walked up the rest of the steps, slamming the large oak door behind her at the top. I shrugged and walked towards the stairs to my room.
The door to my room was identical to Claire's. I set my box down with a large thud, and opened it. The walls were light brown, and the carpet dark brown. A large window sat on the other side of the room facing the ocean, and another small one on the right side, facing a walkway I hadn't seen earlier that leads towards some rocks on the beach. I would have been excited that I could sneak out the window and go down the path, but there was the small issue that I was on the second floor.
I went back towards the doorway and started pushing my box into the room. When it was situated in the center, I left to go grab my bags from the flight.
I need to find my charger… I thought to myself, wanting to listen to music. And my swimsuit. Maybe later I'll go for a swim.
With a look out the window downstairs at the rest of my family, Claire, who had gone back out to get more boxes, included, I mentally added, Alone. A 20 hour plane ride and a night in a hotel, before the three hour drive all with my family was enough bonding time, thank you very much.
"Linda!" I heard Dad call out to Mom. "Didn't the movers say they'd be here yesterday?"
My mom brushed her soft brown locks out of her eyes and checked something in her purse. "No… they'll be here tomorrow." My dad gritted his teeth. I knew that meant he was going to argue about something, so I made sure to take my duffel bag in the backseat, along with another smaller box from the backseat, quickly.
Right before I made it back inside, I heard him ask, "Then why are we here NOW?" My mother's sigh was almost audible from fifty feet away.
Claire came in right behind me and shut the door. "Do they ever stop?" she whined.
"I'm just glad it's the first fight they've had since we left," I admitted. Claire looked at me weirdly.
"No it's not. Were you even there on the plane?"
I had been. I distinctly remember my ear buds positioned firmly into my ear sockets the entire time as well.
I just shrugged again and went up towards my room. I imagine Claire rolling her eyes at me.
It was funny how everything worked out genetically in our family. Claire got almost everything from our dad, who has blonde hair, tan skin, and blue eyes. She even got his vicious temper. Although, from Mom she did receive her extremely know-it-all personality. Me, on the other hand? Sometimes people ask if I'm adopted. That's how much I don't resemble my family. The only thing I got from either of them was Mom's dark brown, almost-black wavy hair. My own eyes were green, something my Dad assured me his Grandpa had, and skin a lot paler than the rest of my family. I feel certain that this will change, though, now that we've entered this strange realm known as Australia (I heard that almost everything you find in the wild can kill you. I don't doubt it).
And my personality? God knows where that came from. Everyone in my family is so… put-together, if that's the right word. Everything needs to be planned out and well-organized, otherwise it's like there's a mass panic attack. The family reunion two years ago, where it rained on our annual picnic up in Stillwater, MN, had been a disaster. You would have thought it was World War 3, but no. Just a little rain that the weatherman didn't predict.
I, on the other hand, couldn't be less like my family. Sarcasm must not be a genetic trait, because I've never heard a snide remark fall from any of my family member's lips. Especially from Claire, who took everything way too seriously. Sometimes, I truly did wonder if I was adopted, but due to my mother's obsessive scrapbooking, there is a documented trail filled with pictures of her pregnancy and even my- ew- birth. I found something about that disappointing, I think.
The door downstairs opened, which must have meant Mom and Dad had stopped their squabbling and decided to bring in what they could until the mover's showed up. I, personally, would be okay with it if everything there got lost in shipping, since most of it was old scrapbooks and ancient pieces of furniture passed down from my Great Aunt Karen. The only thing I would really miss is my sister's posters of One Direction… ha, kidding. I'm definitely kidding.
All of my important things I had packed in my two boxes: my clothes, CDs, laptop, movies, random trinkets from around my room, and the one scrapbook I actually cared about, filled with pictures of my friends and I from back in Wisconsin.
Yet again, another thing different between me and my family. They're all excited about this move to the other side of the world. My parents, because of the incredible job opportunity for them- both of them being marine biologists and all, I suppose it makes sense- and my sister… well, she might act like she hates it out of her strange desire to oppose everyone else's opinions, but we all know that it's been her dream to live by the beach ever since our vacation to California.
I, unfortunately, had a life. I had friends, and for once in my life, plans for the future. Now? Who knows what life's going to be like in Australia. For God's sake, they start school in January! And all the seasons are completely opposite. It's incredibly unholy.
When I had finished unpacking what I could, something that took a lot longer than it needed to due to the fact I listened to music the entire time, I walked back outside to find my mattress. My parents had attached all of ours to the top of the car.
Once outside, though, I realized that the car was no longer there, and all of the mattresses had been piled in the middle of the living room floor. On the door was a piece of paper from a sticky pad. It read:
Honey, we're going into town for some groceries. Claire came with, and we thought you'd be pretty tired so we'll let you sleep. If you do wake up, do whatever you want besides going for a swim. It's not safe to go alone. :-) Love you, xoxo -Mom and Dad
I smiled. Finally, something to do.
I went upstairs to grab my swimsuit.
(A/N: Hey everybody! I'm back... after a super long hiatus. I'm sorry about the long wait, and you can go read on my Profile all about it. Anyways, this is the prologue to a story I've started about a boy named Dylan who meets a mermaid. The girl's story will follow a lot similar to H2O's, including her two friends that are also mermaids, but this story will all be from the perspective of Dylan. Which will be cool, since everything will be slowly revealed to him, instead of the main character knowing everything at once. I don't want to spoil too much, but I will tell you that the girl's names will be Ruby Devonte, Elaine Pratt, and Tara Mccallum. Hope you enjoy!)