I stared at the clock as each tickand tock led closer to my approaching doom. As much as I wished that time would magically slow down and stop, the clock still sounded, as if it was taunting me. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Now before you start wondering, "What the hell is she talking about,"let me get something straight. A few things actually.

I do not have any issues. I don't normally spend every single day staring at clocks and counting seconds.

I'm not emo. And I don't believe in all of that "end of the world" crap either.

Yes, I'm in my room. I'm not counting seconds in front of people like a nut job.

Now that we've got that straight, I guess I'll introduce myself. I'm Maximum Ride (but call me Max) and I like cookies. Chocolate chipcookies. Now if you're going to ask me how that has anything to do with what I'm saying, it doesn't. It's my introduction. Anyways, I'm fifteen years old and I have half-sister named Ella and a brother named Ari-well, I had a brother. We're not really sure of his whereabouts.

"Max! It's time!" yelled my mother, Mrs. Martinez.

"Yeah. I'm coming!" I shouted back. I quickly took one more glance at the room, my room, before stepping out the door.

"Max, I know that it's hard for you-moving and all that-but we're going to have to make the best of it. I know that you don't want to leave all of your friends but I need this job I-"

"Yeah, Mom, I get it. You're trying hard to make ends meet. Don't worry, I'm not going to complain too much," I interrupted.

"Thanks Max. You don't know how much that means to me."

"No problem."

It all happened so quickly. Ever since my mother was offered a higher-paying job, she had quickly accepted it. And I was happy and all that, but there was one drawback-yep, there's always a draw back-we had to relocate. Not even to a different city. A different state. All hopes of enjoying my summer vacation with my friends were quickly obliterated in a matter of seconds. I had the right to complain, but I didn't. I didn't want to make things harder for my mom. She had done enough for me already, it was time for me to do the same. And if it meant simply keeping my fat mouth shut, then I would do it.

"Max! Heyyyyyyyy! Max!" chirped Ella.

"Yeah?" I replied, as I climbed into the back seat of the van. Ella jumped into the seat next to me.

"Don't be too depressed. I mean it is kind of a good opportunity. You know, we can make new friends and start all over."

"And that's a good thing?" I asked, raising my eyebrows.

"Well yeah! Now you don't have to be known as 'Depressing To The Max.' I mean you've had that nickname since second grade!" Ella giggled.

"Gee thanks," I muttered. The engine began to sputter. Great. And off we go.

"Oh sorry Max! I didn't know it was still a sore topic for you. I mean if it helps, Ididn't call you that!"

"That's really comforting, Ella." Goodbye my beautiful trees. Hello repulsive oil factories.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk. Max you better become perky unless you want to be known as that even in California!" Ella said, waving her index finger at me.

I gave her a knowing smile. There was no way I was going to fit in. I mean California? After listening to Katy Perry's "California Gurls," I was pretty sure that the "popular" ones there would be the people who wore the least amount of clothes as possible. And I was definitely staying awayfrom beaches. Don't even make me repeat that line that she sang about beaches.

"Don't worry Max. You'll absolutely love California. I mean there's even a beach near our new house! It's sunny almost every single day there!" Ella continued.

Oh God.I looked up at the clouds that covered the sky. I loved rainy weather and sunshine was really not my type of weather. Of course Ella was convinced otherwise and thought that I hated the rain. If California really was that sunny then I was so going to lovebeing there.

"I don't know about that, Ella. I kind of like the cold."

"Hmph. Maaaaaax. Don't rain on my parade. Ha! Get it!" Ella cackled to herself.

I stared at her with an eyebrow raised.

"Oh come on Max. You know what I mean!"

"Mmhmm. You're hilarious"

"Ahahaha. You are sosarcastic Max. Jeez. Lighten up," Ella snubbed as she twirled her hair around her finger.

"Ugh. As much as I hate to say it, you've got a point there," I sighed.

"Yeah! I mean there has to be at least one good thing about moving away from here for you! I mean,come on."

"Well yeah….I mean I'm glad that Dylan will be out of my life now," I shivered just thinking about dark-blonde freak. He had arrived in town when I was in sixth grade and he's been bugging me for like, I don't know, forever.Always muttering on about use being "born for each other" and "soul mates." I didn't know what creeped me out the most about him: the fact that he followed me everywhere or how I was slightly and I'm saying slightly attracted towards him. I mean it wasn't like I had a crush on him and it was mutual feelings or anything. It was just-ugh-I don't even know. The most logical explanation for this had to be hormones.

"Ewwww. God he was gross. Hot, but gross."


"Girls, you know what I said about gossiping," Mom scolded.

"Awwwwww. Mom, come on. A girl cannot survive without gossip. It's like food-a necessity," Ella whined.

"Hold up, hold up. That was gossip?" I asked incredulously. I had never really bothered talking about people much so I wasn't so sure whether I was gossiping or simply talking.

"Max, I'm old and all but I still know the difference between talking good and bad about someone."

Dammit. I wasn't even halfway to California and I had already taken my first to becoming a girly girl. Darn.

"Oooh. Max might need to be called Maxinenow!" Ella taunted.

"Ewwwww. Ella if you say that name one more time, I'm going to make sure that you'll regret it," I threatened, cracking my knuckles.

"Okay, if that'll make you feel better, Maxine," Ella teased.

"Okay that is so it!" I screamed as I lunged onto a yelping Ella. I began to tickle her in her ticklish spot; her neck.

"Ahahaha! Okay! Okay! Ahahaha! Stop it Max!" Ella gasped.

"Not until you say sorry!" I chirped.

"Ahahaa! Okay! S-s-sorry! Hahahaha! Max!" I let go of Ella as she began to gasp for air.

"Okay, not funny Max."


"Well anyways, I think that it's time for payback!" Ella yelled as she lunged on me.

Man, it was going to be a long ride to California.