A/N: Just an idea that popped into my head (obviously). :)
Anyway, this chapter is dedicated to I want to be Jesse's girl who poked me awake from my dormancy. Thanks. :D
Have fun, all of you. :D
It was beautiful, I must admit.
The thick oaks beside the road dappled the mellow afternoon sunlight and the scent of honeysuckle floated in through the rolled down windows as our car glided along.
Of course, the absence of the horning that I was so used to was slightly disturbing, if soothing. Back home in New York, you couldn't be in a car a minute without being horned at.
Voicing my thoughts, my stepbrother, Brad exclaimed, "This place is so freakin' quiet. What, are we going on pilgrimage or something?"
Rolling my eyes, I answered, "Uh, Brad? People only go on pilgrimage if they're religious. Something which you definitely aren't. Unless you call worshipping Hulk Hogan a type of religion."
Jake, my eldest stepbrother, sniggered. "Yeah, and where'd you learn the word pilgrimage from, anyway, Brad?"
"Shut up, homo," Brad said and, as expected, a tussle followed.
"Boys! Boys!" my mom shouted from the passenger seat in front.
With a little pinching and hair-pulling on my part and a little more shouting on my mom's part, the two were finally separated.
"There it is!" suddenly cried my stepfather, Andy, from the driver's seat. "That's our new house, kids! We're home!"
Jake, Brad and I rolled our eyes, sceptic. 'Home' was definitely not the word we would associate with this freakishly quiet and clean and green place we had moved to after living our whole lives in the big city.
"David," I said shaking my youngest stepbrother awake. "Wake up. We're there already."
"Hmph…what? We're there?" His voice held a kind of reproach in it, like he didn't want to reach our new house and finally accept the idea that we were not living in New York anymore.
"Yeah," I sighed and got out of the car. Once outside, I rolled my neck around, trying to relax my stiff muscles. With David's head on one shoulder the whole way and Jake's head on the other, part of the way, my neck had a serious case of cramps now.
After stretching, I looked around. Our Land Rover was parked inside the garage, which a gravel drive led up to. Beside the gravel drive was just…grass. And not the buzz cut-like, short grass which you get on soccer fields. This was real grass. Deep green, ankle-tickling grass. A single huge oak tree completed the country picture.
The house was…a lot bigger than our four bedroom apartment back in New York. It was a beautiful, two-storey, chestnut colored Victorian house. The window sills, shutters and roofs were a darker chocolate brown and the porch wrapped itself around the whole house.
'At least we get to have our own bedrooms with private baths now,' I thought, sighing and picking up the backpack at my feet.
I had once read that it was good for health to be optimistic.
The ring of the doorbell broke us from our unpacking. Coming out of my room, I bounded down the wooden stairs and peeked down from the landing.
Amid all the FedEx guys carrying sofas and cabinets, Andy and my mom stood welcoming an aged couple in. I watched the old woman hand Mom a basket with a few loafs of homemade bread in it.
I raised my eyebrows. Homemade bread? We really were far far away from home.
They chatted a little, and then Mom raised her voice and shouted up, "Kids! Come down, we have visitors!"
I went down and stood next to Mom and Andy, shaking hands with the couple.
"Ah! What is your name, young lady?" asked the old woman, squinting at me.
Blushing at her over-enthusiastic greeting, I replied, "My name's Suze, ma'am. Short for Susannah."
"Oh, please," she huffed, waving her pudgy hand. "None of this 'ma'am' business. You call me Auntie Becca. Everyone around does. And this," she said, pointing at the man beside her, "is my husband, Tom. You call him Uncle Tom.
I blinked. "Um, okay…Auntie Becca," I replied awkwardly, tucking a strand of my hair behind my ear.
She gave me a rosy, dimpled smile which made me wonder how many hearts she had broken as a young woman.
"She looks a lot like you, Helen," she told my mother and I noticed that they were already on first name basis.
'Small town', I thought. 'Figures'
I stood a little aside as my three stepbrothers were introduced to them – I had a hard time keeping myself from laughing when Auntie Becca enveloped Brad in between her small arms and not-so-small bosom – and then came in when they started talking again.
"You kids are goin' to have a great time here," said Uncle Tom. "A little fresh air and sun never did no harm to children. Unlike those dirty, noisy cities."
"Yes, yes," agreed his portly wife. "You will soon make a lot of friends here. Lots of children here of your age."
"Of course, you gotta stay away from those furners," added the old man.
We raised our eyebrows. "Uh, furners?" Mom asked.
"Yeah, you know those funny people from different places," replied Uncle Tom, waving his arm.
"Oh! You mean foreigners?" said Andy, blond eyebrows raised.
"Yeah, yeah, furners."
"Oh, um…where are they from? What's wrong with them?" asked Mom.
"Where're they from, again, Becca? Oh yeah, Spain. Spanish furners, they are. Funny Spanish furners," replied Uncle Tom in his nasal twang.
Brad snorted. I nudged him with my elbow to keep him quiet.
"You kids don't ever mix with 'em. You stick with good ol' American kids," continued Uncle Tom.
I suddenly lost whatever amount of respect I had for the old couple. I mean, how racist can anyone get? We were in the twenty-first century, for God's sake! People didn't hate each other for their nationality anymore!
Apparently, my family was thinking the same thing, from the looks of their false polite expressions.
Then, however, something Auntie Becca said caught our attention.
"The Lord knows what that family did to those poor people a few years ago. Damned the named of this beautiful town, they did!" she said emotionally.
Her husband was nodding his head solemnly. "Yeah, yeah…" he muttered under his breath.
There was an awkward silence as the old couple were lost in their thoughts and my family and I shifted from foot to foot glancing at each other nervously. I looked at Jake. He shrugged at me helplessly, no doubt waiting eagerly for this weird pair to walk out so we could talk about normal stuff and not 'funny furners'.
At last, the two of them broke out of their daze. "Sorry, it's just that most of us folks who've been around here for some time knows what happened and we tend to get a little emotional about it. You children don't need to worry. Just avoid those Spanish children at school and outside you won't be seeing them anyway since they don't live near here," Auntie Becca said.
We smiled uncertainly at them, noticing the way they avoided telling us what exactly happened to earn this Spanish family their bad reputation.
"Well, goodnight, all of you. Helen, if there's anything you need, don't hesitate to drop by – we live right next door in a white hut you can't miss. Goodnight."
With one last wave, they walked out the door, skirted around the two delivery trucks and disappeared into the mesmerizing dusk.
I thought about their warning. At first, I had thought they were just a couple of paranoid, old people stuck in the old ages. But what Auntie Becca had said afterwards…it had been a little scary.
Who was this Spanish family? What had they done to gain so much hatred from the town's natives?
Suddenly, I couldn't wait to see these mysterious funny furners.
A/N: Please review!