Preface: The Move
I stared absently out the window of my Dad's Vanquish, watching endless plains roll by. It was still impossible to believe that I had left everything in back in Beverly Hills. I mean that literally. I had everything. The beautiful mansion, the designer clothes, the popular clique; what every other girl envied. Unfortunately, whenever Dad gets an amazing job offer we leave. Even if that amazing offer takes us thousands of miles away to a desolate land where they only eat hay. That land was Ontario, Canada.
"Look, I know you're upset about the move, but could we at least talk about it? It's not going to be so bad. Stratford is a beautiful town." Dad finally worked up the courage to say something after hours of silence.
I looked over at him; he was staring ahead with a stern expression on his face. "Beautiful town?" Nothing could make me feel better about this move, Dad. Not even if the streets were paved with gold and every store was giving away free Chanel flats. It will never be better than the Hills." I quickly looked away as I felt a tear fall down my cheek, wiping it off with the sleeve of my Marc Jacobs sweater.
"I know, but can't you just give it a chance?"
"What choice do I have?" I slouched down in my seat and pulled my legs up to hide my face. Usually Dad would have a cow if my feet were up, but this time he kept quiet. More tears started to pour from my violet eyes, making black streaks of mascara run down my moist cheeks.
"I'm sorry Rain."
Yeah, I know you're sorry Dad. Just like you were sorry the last five times you dragged me around the country.
I wanted to say so badly, but I knew no good would come from it. So I just shut up and kept feeling sorry for myself. Who cares if Beverly Hills was the one place I was finally settling into? Who cares if I had friends? Who cares if I loved it there? Why would my opinion matter now, it never has before. I buried my face in my knees, and cried the rest of the drive.
Chapter One: House Sweet House
"Here we are!" Dad exclaimed, nudging me until I lifted my head.
Outside was a huge mansion, bigger than the one we'd had back home. Its roman-style white walls curved around artfully trimmed rose bushes. The driveway was made out of red bricks, the windows were huge, and an elegant, bubbling fountain lay in the middle of it all.
I opened the passenger door and took my first step towards my new home. Everything looked even more exquisite when I wasn't looking out of the extremely tinted windows. I smiled to myself, feeling a lot better about the move than I had a minute ago. I would still miss my friends terribly, but when I got to live in this house, who cared if it was in Beverly Hills or Stratford?
"So, what do you think?" Dad asked, biting his lip as he climbed out of the car.
"Well, I think that I could stand to live here." I grinned ear to ear as I ran up to the huge front door. The front steps were made out of red brick, just like the driveway and had intricately designed columns on either side. I peered in through the glass door to find a winding stair case covered in red carpet and a massive crystal chandelier hanging in the entry room.
"It's pretty nice, huh? We were so lucky to find a house like this here, not to mention a house like this that happened to be on sale." Dad said as he followed me up to unlock the front door.
"Pretty nice? Are you kidding me? It's incredible!" I pushed the door open and walked into the brightly lit room. "Where's my bedroom?" I asked, anxious to see how amazing it would be.
"Well you can pick any room you want, there are plenty of bedrooms. However, I think the nicest one is right up those stairs." He replied, gesturing to a pair of double doors directly above the staircase.
I started to run up the stairs, then stopped myself and ran back down to embrace Dad in a bear hug before continuing. "Thanks so much!" I yelled back down.
The bedroom was even more amazing than the exterior and entry way. It was totally modern and looked like a room that a super model might have. It had black and white walls, and even though those two colours are total opposites it worked. All the furniture was also very modern. There were random items of a deep purple (my favourite colour) for accents. Off to the side were two more doors, where my own bathroom and walk in closet were. And not to mention the size of the room! It was as big as my living room back in the Hills! My favourite part of the whole room though, was that the whole back wall was made out of glass, like a giant window. It over looked a huge swimming pool and golf course that I had no clue existed in my new backyard.
I practically skipped in joy all the way to my king sized bed where I flopped down and opened up my Coach purse. I pulled out my purple iPhone and called my best friends, Kelsey and Madison for a three-way conversation.
"RAAAAAIN!?" The both picked up after the first ring and almost burst my eardrum. I dropped the phone and rubbed my ear, feeling pretty startled.
"Hey guys! Guess where I am!?" I yelled back in an overly excited tone."
"Oh em gee! You're in Stratford already!?" Madison gasped.
"Well, the jet did take us to Toronto silly. Of course we didn't drive all the way here! But yes, I'm here!"
"Wowza! So how's the house? Kelsey questioned.
"It's about 10 times the size of the one back home. And ten times as nice. My room is amazing! And there's a golf course out back, and I think I see a bunch of horses out there too!" I exclaim, noticing the horses. This just kept getting better and better!
"I cannot believe it Rain! You are ultra lucky! Have you met anyone new yet?" Madison now asked.
"Anyone of the opposite gender? Hmm?" Kelsey said giggling.
I rolled my eyes. "No, I just got here. And I don't think that I'll ever meet anyone as awesome as you two anyways." I said dramatically.
"Aw, Rain! You are too sweet! Canadians have funny accents, eh?" Kelsey asked still giggling.
"I don't know, haven't talked to any. Oh well, at least they don't live in igloos and ride polar bears to school, eh?" I took my turn to laugh now, instantly feeling home sick. These jokes would have been so way funnier in person…
"Well, I gotta go before Miss Hyde tears out my eyeballs. Talking on cell phones in the middle of class… tsk tsk." Madison sighed, and I suddenly noticed that she was whispering.
"Oh man! I am so sorry guys; I totally forgot the time difference. I thought you would be just starting your lunch break..." I smacked myself in the head.
"It's okay Rain, but I have to go to. Art class is starting and the substitute looks like she's going to roast me over a fire." Kelsey added.
"Good luck up north, and call me as soon as you meet someone or have anything else to report! Talk to you later!" Madison hung up.
"Peace, love ya!" Kelsey whispered before she hung up.
I sat there with the phone up to my ear, listening to the steady beeping of the phone. It hit me again, just like it had on the drive here, just how much I missed home. More tears started to fall down my cheek, and I let out a small whimper.
Oh gosh, get a grip Rain!
I jumped off the bed and frantically searched for the remote that would turn on the huge plasma TV across from my bed. If I didn't get something to distract me quick I would be an emotional wreck. I opened a drawer beside my table and emptied its contents, which conveniently happened to be pictures of me and my friends back home. I collapsed on the floor and let the tears come down, flipping through the pictures. I would never make any more of memories with Kelsey and Madison. There would never be any more pictures to take. And how long am I going to stay here? I might not even have a chance to make new friends before Dad makes me move again. My life has officially hit its all time low.
It turns out that I didn't need to find the remote anyways, because at that moment the doorbell rang.
Chapter Two: The Neighbour
The words running through my mind that moment as I skipped down the stairs were, words cannot describe him. For your benefit though, I will try my best. I don't know where to start… he was just so amazing. I suppose I could start with the thing that caught my eye first. His big, dark brown eyes and the way the light from the chandelier caught them. Then I noticed his perfect smile as he saw me, teeth so worthy of a tooth paste commercial that I swear I saw them glisten. His dirty blonde hair and how it flipped out to one side and fell over his eyes. His too perfect tanned skin. His way too cute skater styled clothes. Then last I noticed an acoustic guitar slung over his back and the skateboard that lay on the ground beside him. Wow, what was he doing here?
"Rain, honey, this is our new neighbour, Justin. He's your age and he even goes to Bedford, the same school that you will soon be attending." Dad said, staring at Justin's muddy sneakers on our maple flooring. "I'll just leave you two now…" He said as he walked away, pulling a giant suitcase behind him.
There was a very awkward silence before I finally had the nerve to speak up. I had never been good at talking to guys, especially extremely attractive ones. Heck, I can't even remember the last time I said hi to a guy I wasn't related to! "Hi, I'm Rain. I moved here from Beverly Hills." I extended my hand and he took it. I felt so embarrassed about the excessive sweat on the palms of my hands that I immediately let go and hid my hand behind my back.
Justin flashed his gorgeous smile, "Hey, the name's Justin, as you already know." Oh gosh. His voice was so amazingly smooth, like melted chocolate. The moment he opened his mouth I found myself speechless. My own mouth was hanging open in a very unattractive manner but I couldn't help myself. I have never heard a voice like his, I'm sure it would have put Edward Cullen's to shame. Sorry Bella.
"What did I say? I'm sorry." Justin shifted from foot to foot and bit his lip nervously.
I finally came back to earth when he said that, and quickly shook my head. My chestnut hair fell into my open mouth and I practically gagged myself spitting it out. I made a bunch of dying cow sounds before my hair was finally back where it belonged. Great, just call me Ms. Smooth. "Nothing! Well no, you said something, something amazing. I just was- I don't know – I umm," And now I am rambling like an idiot, very impressive, Rain. "I'm sorry that I'm so socially challenged…"
Justin just laughed. His laughed sounded as natural and effortless as the water that runs down streams. "No, you're fine. It's actually amusing when you stress it so much." He shrugged and flipped his hair out of his eyes. "Do you want to come to my place? I have some friends over and I could introduce you to them. They go to Bedford too."
"Uh, okay." I realized how unenthusiastic I sounded. "I mean no… no as in I'd love to." I smacked myself in the head for sounding so stupid. Whenever I got a case of the butterflies in my stomach, it showed.
"Alrighty then, no as in I'd love to? I'm getting mixed signals." Justin laughed again and picked up his skateboard before starting out the front door. I started running to try to catch up, and he noticed. "Hey, do you skateboard, by any chance?" He questioned as he came to a stop.
I grinned to myself. I actually did have a skateboard, strange enough. Back when I was eleven I had been really into it. Dad put me into all these West49 skate competitions and everything. I have to admit, I was actually good at it. When I moved to the Hills at the age of thirteen it wasn't really 'in', so I had quit. I'm sure that I still have a few moves though…
"Yeah, I do actually. I have no clue where it is --"
"Is that it over there?" Justin interrupted, pointing beside the farthest garage. A big box of sport equipment lay there, still packed up. And sure enough, right beside it was my pink, Swarovski crystal studded board.
"Huh. That's it alright." I nodded, surprised that I hadn't sounded like a total idiot. Maybe it was because I was looking at the skateboard, and not into Justin's eyes. "Hold on a second." I yelled over my shoulder as I ran to get my beloved skateboard.
As I ran, a million thoughts raced through my mind. I don't want to sound cheesy, but it's true that whenever I look at Justin my heart beats faster than normal. There's just something about him. Maybe it's the way he is easily the hottest guy I have ever seen, but he doesn't seem cocky about it. Heck, who am I kidding? He's said what, two sentences to me? I should get to know the guy before I come to conclusions. For all I know he's a huge jerk! He just doesn't seem to be...
I picked up my skateboard, glancing down at the helmet that lay beside it. Dad had always forced me to wear one, but having helmet hair didn't seem too desirable. I stole a look at Justin to see if he was wearing a helmet, and just as I had suspected, he wasn't. Then again, I haven't been on this thing in two years… what if I was to fall and crack my head open?
Shut up, Rain. You're being irrational. You won't get hurt. I told myself as I picked up the skateboard and ran back, leaving the helmet behind.
Justin raised an eyebrow when he saw my skateboard. "Nice deck." I couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic so I just smiled in return.
"C'mon, let's see what you got!" He yelled as he took off. I loved the sound the wheels made as the rolled across the pavement. I would have enjoyed to just sit there and reminisce on all the memories that particular sound reminded me of, but there was no way I would pass the chance to impress Justin.
I hopped on my skateboard, and tensed my leg to get a powerful push off. I carefully placed my foot on the side of my board and immediately caught up with him. Again, I pushed off with my right leg and went sailing past him. I was coming up to some steps that let off my house out onto the street, so I jumped up and tucked my board under my legs until I was sliding down the side rail. I could hear Justin laugh in the background and say something about some of the crystals on my board falling off, but I didn't look back. In mid air, I pulled a 360 and landed perfectly. I had nailed it! I kept skating all the way down the road until I came up to the next house, which I assumed was Justin's. I jumped off my board again and brought it up with me before I caught it and landed on my feet.
About ten seconds later Justin came up behind me, looking flustered. "Wow, I have to admit, you have skill!" He blushed and flipped his hair into his brown eyes. "Okay, you totally showed me up." He smiled then, and I swear that my heart melted.
"Aw, its okay Justin, I can train you in the ways of the skateboard if you wish." I gave him the biggest, most sincere smile I could muster. And I think I saw his mouth drop a little before he quickly snapped it back up and smiled again in return.
"No need, that was just a warm up!" He laughed my favourite smooth laugh, and again my heart totally melted.
Just then Justin's eyes went wide and his cheeks turned the colour of his red Quicksilver tee. From behind me, I heard a girl yell, "Excuse me!?"
Chapter Three: The Girlfriend
She has long, thick light blonde hair that fell in light waves down to the small of her waist. She was wearing a pink, tight fitting Abercrombie tee shirt and short denim shorts. Everything about her seemed perfect, plastic, cheerleader or model type gorgeous. She was extremely tall, had a perfectly formed face with a thin nose, full lips and thick lashes framing her purple eyes. I could never compete with her.
I stared down at the ground and kicked at the dirt. Although I had no clue why she seemed so ticked, but I wasn't so clueless as to would make her even more aggravated. I zipped my lip and took a few shy steps away.
"Who's she!?" The girl yelled, and it was obvious that she wasn't as mad at me as she was at Justin.
"No, Becca, it's not like that. This is just Rain, my new neighbour." Justin shook his head and it sounded like he was pleading for her mercy. I felt my heart drop when he said 'this is just Rain', like I wasn't anyone.
"Oh, well any friend of Justin's is a friend of mine!" Becca said in a fake, sugar- sweet voice. She also flashed me a huge smile that somehow, didn't touch her eyes. Justin sighed and rolled his eyes. The second his gaze wasn't totally fixed on her she gave me a cold glare. I bit my lip nervously and smiled back at her. I really didn't want an 'enemy' after only having been in Stratford for half an hour.
"This is Becca… my girlfriend." Becca smirked when Justin said this.
Again, my heart sank. She was gorgeous, and probably deserved him much more than I would have though. If I were a guy I know that I would love to have her as my girl friend. Still, I felt instant disappointment when he had said that they were an item. Wait, who am I kidding? I just met the guy, why would he want me in the first place? I was attracted to him, but that was it. Gosh, I could shoot myself for always getting so ahead on things…
"Oh, hey Becca." I gave a timid, half smile and a tiny wave.
"Hello Rain! I am sure that you would love to come inside and meet everyone else, right?" Becca grabbed Justin by the elbow and started pulling him towards the house. I silently followed behind them.
This was the first time that I had gotten a good look at the house. It was huge, just like every other house in the neighbourhood. But his house has a much more 'homey' feel to it. It was less flashy and in your face. I'm sure that it cost at least a million dollars, but it didn't look like it did. I was built with a mixture of classic red and brown bricks, with old fashioned white window panes. It had a big, red front door with wooden steps leading up to it. The front lawn was impressively green with bright flowers and neatly trimmed hedges. Over all, it was a very normal, friendly looking place.
I entered open door and stepped inside the house. Instead of finding an elegant entry like the one in my house, I was welcomed with the familiar, warm feel of a fireplace. It was a bit odd for a fireplace to be right there in the middle of nothing, but I liked it. The floors were covered in a rich, dark hardwood that was shiny I could see my reflection. The aroma of freshly baked cookies filled the air, really topping off the whole cozy feeling this house gave me.
The sudden noise had caught me off guard and I whipped my head around to face Justin. I quickly blinked a few times, waking up from my comfortable, happy state of mind to remember that Justin was waiting to introduce me to a bunch of new kids.
"Sorry." I apologized, "I just really like your house. I have a thing for houses. When I'm older I think I want to be an interior designer or something." Oh gosh, another ramble. As if Justin needed to know about my strange house obsession after only knowing me for a few minutes. And I'm sure that he wasn't interested in my future plans. I felt my cheeks warm, sure that they had changed colours to a very unattractive red. I smacked myself in the forehead.
Justin laughed, "I think that's cool. You would laugh if you knew what I wanted to be when I'm older." He smiled and motioned for me to follow him down the hallway.
Desperate to keep up the conversation and avoid any awkward silences, I said, "What is that? An astronaut? A fireman? …A plumber?"
"Ha-ha, no. It's kinda out there. Well, nothing that I would actually ever get anyways." He shrugged.
"Oh, duh! I read this in a book. It's every Canadian boy's dream, an NHL hockey player!"
Justin burst out laughing. Unable to help myself, I let out a nervous chuckle. Even though I wasn't sure what was so funny about hockey players. "No, but it's good to see that you've been catching up on your facts."
"Oh, what is it then? Just tell me."
"Well, it's really lame. It's never going to happen anyways." He rolled his eyes; I was hoping that it wasn't supposed to be at me. I didn't want to annoy him after all.
"Sorry." I mumbled.
"Why do you always apologize? It's cool. To be honest, I kinda want to be a singer." Justin shrugged and turned away from me, staring at his feet.
"That's awesome! How is that lame?" I smiled. Oh gosh. Justin could sing too? Catching myself before I slipped into fantasies involving Justin singing to me beneath the stars, I added, "And you play guitar too, hey?" For some reason he had carried that guitar all the way to my house. What was he planning on doing with that, playing a song for me? Heck, maybe he was! Oh gosh. No more fantasies or him singing or playing guitar to me beneath the stars.
"Yeah, uh thanks. It's a hobby of mine."
My eyes left his for the second that it took to see that we were no longer alone. We were approaching a big open room with tan leather couches, a big screen TV and pool tables. There were three other guys there fawning over Becca and one other girl who was also extremely gorgeous. Unlike Becca though, she was tan with black hair and big, warm brown eyes. I automatically felt out of place.
Justin must have noticed because he reached out and took my hand, pulling me into the room. I shivered at his touch. It was warm and strong, and even though it only lasted for a few seconds it felt like time had froze.
"Hey Rain." Becca's sharp voice woke me up from my little fantasy. She was sneering at me; her totally cool eyes looked cold. She flipped her blonde hair over her shoulder and kept staring at me which was really unnerving.
"Hey, the new girls here!" A perky voice yelled after Becca's, lightening the mood in the room. I turned to see where the voice had come from to find a short, but really cute blonde guy with freckles. He was smiling, and though it couldn't really compare to Justin's smile it seemed really sincere and friendly.
He stood up from his spot in front of the plasma TV and waved. "I'm Christian."
"Oh, hey Christian. I'm Rain, the new girl." I smiled and followed Justin over to the couch.
"This is Ryan and Jake." Christian gestured to a tall attractive guy with dirty blonde hair styled like Justin's. Then he pointed again to an average looking guy with short dark brown hair and blue eyes. They both smiled.
"Sup?" Ryan said. I looked over to see that he was holding the other girls hand. She was snuggled close to him on the couch and I got the impression that they must be dating.
"Hey." Jake added.
"And that's Kelsey and Becca." Christian finished. Kelsey didn't even look up at me, but she still managed to say hi as she played with Ryan's hair.
"We've already met." Becca snapped at Christian, giving me a cold stare.
Christian didn't say anything but looked at Becca without any expression. I had a feeling that he was the kind of guy that wanted everyone to like him, but he didn't really have a thing with Becca. Not that he hated her, but she just didn't really get along. If that made any sense.
"Thanks for introducing me to everyone." I said to Christian, who automatically turned back to me and smiled.
"Ugh, stop trying to be so sweet Rain. Like yeah, you want to make a good first impression or whatever but I know you're not really like that." Becca rolled her eyes at me and I cringed. Why did she hate me so much?
"Take a chill pill, Becca. All she did was thank Christian. That's a lot more than you'd ever do." Justin snapped at Becca. Oh gosh, if there was one thing I didn't want it was to be involved in a fight and have everyone hate me so soon. Or ever, for that matter.
"Whatever Justin. Stop trying to stick up for new girl." Becca practically snarled.
"Stop being jealous of 'new girl'." Justin said, adding air quotation and rolling his eyes.
"Well I saw you, like, flirting with her or something Justin! We are together, and she's bad news. But I am so not jealous." Becca said in her usual, cold voice.
Justin didn't say anything and I saw him look over at me for a second.
"What ever. I can tell I'm not wanted here. Call me later, babe." Becca stormed out of the room, and as she passed Justin she purposefully grabbed his arm.
Justin frowned and the whole room was totally silent. With just my luck, I had caused the thing I didn't want to happen to happen. Great.