“I’m telling you, that sounds like the worst vacation ever.” Max laughed, tossing his baseball in the air and catching it in his mitt as he walked.
“That may be,” Lance replied with a chuckle. “But it’s still a hell of a lot better than no vacation at all.” He reached out and grabbed the baseball out of the air.
It was the last day of summer vacation, and the two of them had spent it in the park, practicing for the baseball team tryouts. Now, on their way back to Lance’s house, they were discussing Lance’s family’s cruise of the Caribbean that they had just gotten back from.
“Hey!” Max complained, reaching for the baseball. Lance held it out of his reach, making him trip and almost stumble into the path of an oncoming car.
“Watch out!” Lance quickly grabbed Max by the back of his shirt and pulled him back from the edge of the sidewalk. They both watched as the car passed them and started to slow down.
“Hey, isn’t that your house?” Max asked, pointing at the house whose driveway the car was turning into.
“No.” Lance muttered, his attention fixed on the car. “Mine’s one over this way.” He half-heartedly nodded at it. The house that the car had pulled up to was vacant, or at least, it had been when Lance had left on vacation.
Now, he watched as people emerged from the car. From the driver’s seat came a man who looked to be about the same age as the principal of the local high school. A woman who was probably his wife emerged from the front passenger seat. They both looked at the house in front of them with satisfaction, the look of new residents.
“Would you look at that.” Lance heard Max breathe. He was staring at the third figure to emerge from the car. A teenaged girl with golden blonde hair was stepping out from the back seat. She looked like she was around fifteen, a few years younger than Lance and Max.
Once the girl had both feet on the smooth surface of the driveway, she looked up. Her eyes instantly found the two boys who were watching her. A wide smile spread across her face and she waved at them.
“Wow.” Max said, waving back. “She’s pretty cute.” He gave Lance’s arm a playful punch. “And she’s your new neighbour.”
Lance shrugged. “Yeah, sure.” In his opinion, there wasn’t really anything special about the girl. Compared to Lance’s girlfriend, Nicole, his new neighbour was just a child.
Lance and Max had to walk toward the new family. As they approached, the girl said something to her parents, who glanced at the two boys. Then she started running toward them. As she ran, her long hair spread out behind her and her skirt lifted a little.
“Hi!” She said cheerfully as she met up with the boys in front of Lance’s house.
“Hi.” Lance returned. Max just nodded at her.
“I’m Holly.” She grinned at them again. Something about her introduction made Lance question her age. Was it possible that this girl was tall for her age and was really no older than twelve?
“Are you two in high school?” Holly asked, looking them up and down.
Max smiled at her. “Yes, we are.”
“Oh, good.” She breathed a heavy sigh of relief. “I was really nervous, since we’re only getting here now and school starts tomorrow. I didn’t know if I’d be able to find the school. But now I’ve met you.” The grin returned to her face. “Could you give me directions to the high school?”
Lance blinked at her in surprise as Max quickly ran through the most straightforward way to get there. The high school? He wondered. Why does she need to get to the high school?
Just as Holly was thanking Max for the directions, another car drove past them and turned into the driveway of Holly’s house. This car was very striking in appearance, being a bright yellow-green colour. Lance stared at it as it stopped behind the first car.
“Ah!” Holly gasped slightly. Then she started waving frantically. “Fletch!” She shouted. “Over here!”
The car door opened and the driver stepped out. Lance could see his face over the roof of the car as he turned to Holly’s shouting. He shook his head slightly and walked around the front of the car. “You don’t have to shout.” He told her as he walked toward them.
Lance thought there was something strange about the boy. He wore a black t-shirt and tan coloured cargo pants, which looked normal enough, other than the fact that it was summer. It was his hair that drew Lance’s attention. He guessed that the natural colour was a dark brown, but there were also patches of other colours. Streaks of a golden blond that matched Holly’s hair, a green that matched his car, a blue that looked like the ocean, and even a strong fiery orange were all scattered around his head.
“This is my brother.” Holly quickly introduced the boy.
“Hi.” The boy said, smiling at Lance and Max. “I’m Fletcher.”
“Max.” Max introduced himself. Then he stuck a thumb in Lance’s direction. “And this is Lance.”
“Hey.” Lance nodded at Fletcher.
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