On the bus to Scotland, Bella was talking on her cell phone to her friend, Kelly.
"I mean," Her friend was rambling on, "Why would you go to Scotland? Why not somewhere cool? Like France, for example. Or Italy."
"Well, considering I don't have any family there, that would be kind of difficult. I told you, I'm only going for a month, I'll be back in time for anything that could possibly happen."
"All right, well, have a fun time. I've gotta go, Trevor's here."
"Say hello to him for me. Bye."
She hung up the phone and stowed it in her bag, then placed her headphones on her ears. Her CD for the long trip was Led Zeppelin 4.
On the way to school, Tony and his mom drove down a long and scenic road along side a cliff that plummeted down to a placid and beautiful sea. Dottie sighed.
"Scotland is beautiful, isn't it?"
"If you don't have vampires." Tony scoffed.
"And you know we don't, right? A dream is just – "
"I know what a dream is, mom."
"Ok, I'm just saying."
Looking forward, Tony noticed a large tractor moving in the opposite direction on the same lane.
"Mom, you're on the wrong side of the road!"
Dottie's head snapped forward, and she shrieked, swerving the car violently into the other lane. The driver of the tractor began ranting loudly in a thick Scottish accent.
"What did he say?" Dottie said, trying to catch her breath.
"Everybody talks weird here." Tony offered as a reply and shrank back down in his seat.
"Well, you're gonna make some new friends today, I promise. And when you get home, you're cousin Bella will be here! Won't that be nice?"
"Yeah." Tony said, doubting his mother's first assumption.
They drove by a fine manor with some construction-work going on outside it.
"Hey look!" Said Dottie. "Wave hi to dad and Lord McAshton!"
Lord McAshton was perched on a horse with a construction hat stupidly balanced on his meager amount of gray hair. He had a half-minded grin on his face as he held up a hand in acknowledgement of Dottie and Tony's presence. Bob was standing next to him holding a blueprint and waving happily.
"You're dad's going to design Lord McAshton a great golf course." Said Dottie turning back to the road
"McAshtonland Bus Terminal, next stop!" The driver announced. Bella shoved her copy of Pride and Prejudice into her bag and waited, fingering her necklace: an old piece with a black and pewter gothic cross pendant. Outside, the scenery was stunning. It was around lunchtime, the sun was climbing high in the sky, though the land was enveloped in a mysterious mid-day fog, giving the beautiful landscape an odd, eerie look. The bus pulled to a halt outside an old-fashioned bus station. Outside the window, she saw her Aunt Dottie beaming and waving frantically. She smiled and waved back, then stood up and got off the bus with her back pack. Stepping off, she hurried to her aunt and gave her a hug.
"How are you?" She asked.
"Oh, fine. It's nice here. And you – How was your trip?" Her aunt asked as she pulled her duffel bag out of the bus luggage compartment.
"Fine. Long, but fine." Bella answered. They put the luggage in the back of the car and climbed in.
"So," Dottie said as they drove out of the terminal. "What's up? I haven't seen you since what, last March when you came to visit us in San Diego? You've gotten tall, though I know you're probably tired of hearing that." She laughed.
"Not much. I mean nothing very interesting ever happens in my life."
Aunt Dottie laughed again. Once home, Bella took a sharp intake of breath. The house was a gorgeous stone house with two stories and an old-looking tower at the side. She picked up her bags and followed Aunt Dottie into the house.