It would be a big change from the life he'd known on a ten-acre mini-farm in a suburb in eastern Colorado. Bill was all of twelve years old, but rather tall and strong for his age; not surprisingly his p.e. teacher at the middle school let Bill try out for any team that interested him. Lots of his teammates were sad to hear that their friend had to leave, and there was a big going away party for him at the end of the term.
The sale of the family horse in March was kind of hard on Bill because he took this as a sign that there would be no turning back. Over the ensuing weeks, other artifacts of their countryside lifestyle got auctioned off on eBay or given away to lifelong friends: numerous motorbikes in varying stages of readiness, a few small-bore rifles and shotguns, an eight-foot plastic rowboat (nobody was sure where it came from or how it got there). When it was time to move their stuff, all the unique property Bill was basically left with were his clothes, his electronic still-camera, his snowboard, and his mountainbike, which last two he had pleaded with his parents to leave alone.
And then came that trip to Florida. As the rising sun ended their last night in Colorado, Bill's mom and dad awakened him, urging him to gather up his camera and his warm-weather clothes. Tne movers were waiting outside with a small truck to pack up the DeLuca's mattresses, clothing, and what little property was left in the house. Sal's truck and Nan's car had already been towed to the railroad station; a taxicab was waiting to take the family to the airport.
When they checked in for their flight, Bill noticed something. "We're moving to California, right? So, why are we going to Orlando and not Los Angeles?" he asked.
"Aw, we thought we'd surprise you," explained Sal.
"Besides, it's been a while since we took a genuine vacation," Nan said.
After they cleared security and entered the concourse, Bill noticed two very familiar looking people waiting at the departure lounge for the Orlando flight. Lewis Carter, who looked like an extra from a Mark Twain movie with freckles and a straight blond mop, and Brian Malone, a black-Irish with wavy hair, Bill's classmates and best friends, would be going with them on vacation as well. Equal parts jock and thrill-seeker with a little bit of nerd thrown in, they rose and greeted the DeLucas and grabbed Bill in a three-way hug, each scratching the heads of the other two. Most of Bill's waking time outside of school had been spent with either or both of these guys.
"This is gonna be so good!" Bill exclaimed.
"Dude, we got the place wired. Everything I know about the best theme parks, and everything Brian knows about water sports--we can't lose!" Brian said.
"Yah right. The time you yacked up your lunch on El Rollo--" said Lewis.
"Says you. What about the time I saved you and Stacy Morgan at Lake Smith--" laughed Brian.
It took them a couple of weeks to make the rounds of the various theme parks and tourist attractions. And then, for good measure, the first time Bill had seen an ocean. Miami Beach was Bill and Lewis' first time on a surfboard (Brian's at least second; he had visited Hawaii about a year earlier). They had made their way down to Key Largo and had a good time there with snorkeling tours. The boys liked diving so much they and Sal went on a guided scuba tour of a coral reef.
Then eventually came the time, sadly, to part company. From Miami, Brian and Lewis were flying back to Denver about an hour after the DeLucas would be flying to Los Angeles, and it was all they could do to console Bill, who was literally in tears.
"I... I really like... being around you guys. I wish I could always have friends like you who can do everything I can do and like the same kind of stuff." cried Bill.
"That's all right," counseled Lewis, "you'll be around for Christmas, right?"
"And I'll be heading out your way next summer," Brian said. "The crew out in Ocean Shores will have a few things to teach me. I hear there's a fellow out there a year or so younger than us who snagged the state skateboard championship from an 18-year-old. It follows that he's also a pretty good snowboarder, so he might be a pretty good surfer too. I think you'll have no problem finding the right kind of people to hang with."
"You guys take care," Bill said with a teary smile, as the trio scratched each others' heads. "Une pour tout," he began their salute.
"Et tout pour une!!" they replied, as Nan led Bill off to join Sal.