To say that Wendy Smith was pleased to be moving all the way from Australia to Britain was a complete and utter lie.
“Why do we have to go?” She raged to her big brother for what seemed like the eight hundredth time since he had announced that they would be moving all the way to the island.
“Wendy,” Liam sighed, setting a heavy box down and wiping at the sweat on his brow, “Britain is a good fuckin’ chance for us, and we’re takin’ it.”
Wendy crossed her arms and gave a pout, glaring at Liam, who raised his eyebrows, bemused.
“Pouting isn’t gonna help, WenWen.”
“If I pout hard enough, I feel like I could maybe break ya,” Wendy said, refusing a smile that threatened to appear on her face at the nickname. Behind Liam, Kyle, too, set down a box he was carrying.
“Don’t be sad, Wendy,” he said in that everlasting calm voice of his, “I’m sure everything will be just fine in the U.K.”
“I’m sure it won’t ,” Wendy huffed, placing her hands on her hips and drawing herself to her full height, which made a bit of a difference compared to Kyle, who was barely a few inches taller than her, but Liam still seemed to tower above her.
“What makes you think that?” Kyle asked kindly. Wendy wrinkled her nose slightly. Damn him for being so nice and making her actually feel guilty when she protested.
“Because it’s not…” Wendy turned and gestured to the house they had lived in all her life, and all of Thomas’s life, and a majority of Liam’s, as well, “Well it’s...It’s…”
Wendy spun around to face her oldest brother once again, “It’s not home . I want to stay home! I don’t want to go to some snobbish, stinking British town waaaaay up there.”
“I already bought the house and tickets, can’t change that now,” Liam said sternly, but his eyes were still good natured. Kyle smiled at her before turning around and picking up the box again, carrying it to the van. Wendy watched him go with a frown on her face.
“It’s okay, Wendy,” Liam said in a serious voice, and he knelt down so he was eye-to-eye with her. Green eyes met brown, and she jutted her lower lip out as he smiled.
“They’ve got hella good schools there, and I’m sure you’re gonna make a ton of friends, okay?”
“Cark it, Liam, I don’t care about school,” Wendy responded sourly.
“You gotta,” Liam said, before straightening up, “How ‘bout we make a promise, huh?”
“Promise me you’ll try to make some friends, and then I’ll promise you somethin’, how’s that?” Liam asked, sticking his pinky finger out. Wendy raised an eyebrow.
“Really? Is that how we’re gonna do this?”
Liam only smiled back. With a sigh, Wendy held out her pinky finger.
“Fine, I’ll promise to make a friend if you...If you…” She thought, for a moment, what sort of thing she could make Liam to do that could benefit her in some way, before deciding, “If you don’t kiss Kyle in front of me anymore!”
“What? That’s not fair, how is that even a thing?”
“It’s gross , that’s why it’s a thing! I don’t wanna see two people eating each other’s faces off!”
“We don’t do that--it’s more like sucking.”
Wendy narrowed her eyes at her brother before saying, “We have a deal or not?”
Liam studied her before grinning and giving his pinky a little wiggle, “It’s a deal. You make some friends, and I’ll stop smooching my boyfriend whenever you’re around.”
“You better,” Wendy too, wiggled her pinky, before letting go. Liam straightened up, still grinning.
“Ace! Well, we better get goin’ soon, gotta stop for petrol on the way, ‘kay?”
The sky was a concrete gray that seemed to reflect Wendy’s feelings as they pulled up to the house they would be living in from now on, a small thing in Birmingham that instantly made her miss the large, airy hallways of her old house. Crammed on either side were identical houses, with only slight variations such as different curtains hanging in the windows or a rocking chair on the porch. The bleak air made it look even more miserable, or perhaps it was just her imagination. As an artist, she saw this as something to be painted in dark colors, and if she were to add in her family, maybe paint Kyle and Liam in a bright way that was much different from her, Thomas, and the house--the two of them seemed extremely optimistic about it all.
“We’re here!” Liam said unnecessarily as they pulled to the front of it, beaming at it, “Reminds ya of home, doesn’t it?”
“I’m gonna chunder,” Wendy said, only for Thomas to hear. He gave a short burst of laughter that ended nearly as quickly as it started as he gazed ruefully up at the house. Kyle stepped out of the car, stretching his back, before smiling and leaning towards Liam, who quickly shook his head and pointed at Wendy, who was gazing out the window. With a sigh, Kyle turned away.
Taking their bags into the house, Wendy noted the cracks in the pavement where weeds were growing through, and the crabgrass. This would not be a fun place.
That night, they all slept on the floor in the living room. Wendy refused to explore the place at the moment and Thomas had moodily picked up his book and continued reading, which was so out of place for him that Wendy wondered if they had left his personality behind as well.
“I think this place is gonna suck,” Wendy said when Kyle and Liam had fallen asleep, Liam’s heavy snores filling the air and Kyle’s short, breathy ones.
“Bloody oath,” Thomas agreed, and for a while, neither of them spoke. Then, Thomas turned on his side so he was facing Wendy.
“But it’s a place to start, isn’t it?”
“All the peoples here are probably dills and dags,” Wendy sighed, tapping her fingers on the wood floor, “I already miss everyone back at home.”
Thomas snorted, “Yeah, Sophie sure is ‘everyone’, and she was already acting like a mongrel after the whole birthday fiasco.”
His old figjam personality showed through his eyes as they conversed for a while, and finally, they turned away from each other.
“I think we should give this place a fair go, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad?” Thomas said, but his words sounded empty and Wendy knew he missed home just as much as she did, maybe even more so.
The next morning, all their stuff arrived, packed haphazardly into boxes.
“I’d say you didn’t even try if I personally didn’t see you crying about it when you couldn’t fit your boomerang with the houseplants,” Wendy heard Kyle telling Liam. Wendy gave a huff and carried all of her own boxes to the room Liam had said was hers--it was at the front of the house, a sort of circular room, the outside looking a bit like a castle. The window was wrap-around and there was a bench underneath it.
She would’ve liked it, if she weren’t so determined to hate this new house and it’s peeling gray paint and the mocha-colored walls. Liam sure was a dipstick if he thought they would last in this place. Wendy would personally burn it down herself if she had to.
Opening the nearest box, scrawled with “WENWEN’S STUFF :)”, Wendy dug around for a bit before sighing and opening the next one, discarding the package knife as she did so. She found what she was looking for--her sketchbook, and copic markers. Straightening up, she began looking around for a good place to sit, before noticing she had accidentally carried one of Liam’s boxes with her. Deciding she wasn’t going to carry it back downstairs, she called,
There was a thumping sound, and then the door flung open, Liam racing in.
“Yeah? What’s wrong?”
“I got one of your boxes, come get it.”
Liam scratched his head, “You sure? I only used the duct tape with the gummy bears for your boxes, mine have the flowers.”
Wendy pointed at the mentioned box, “I’m sure my boxes aren’t supposed to have ‘Liam’s shit’ on them.”
“Oh yeah, you’d probably be right about that,” Liam said, grinning, and stooped down to pick up the box. He straightened up, balancing it in his arm, and cast a look around.
“I thought you’d like this room best. Whaddya think?”
“I don’t like the color of the walls or the outside paint, the wood floors are creaky and the lights are all old-fashioned,” Wendy said, crossing her arms.
“C’mon, now, don’t be a knocker, I’m just...Tryna make everything work.” Liam’s grin faded and he suddenly looked uncomfortable. They stood there for a few seconds, before Kyle called for Liam, and he shuffled out of the room. Wendy gave a sigh, and flipped open her sketchbook, prepared to sit down on the bench beneath the window, when a voice said,
“Rack off, you whacker!” Wendy screamed, falling backwards onto her rear in surprise. Looking up, eyes wide, she saw a young boy standing there, maybe ten or twelve, with blond hair and blue eyes. He was grinning merrily at her, and only wearing a pair of light blue pajamas.
“What are you doing in my room, you pommy bastard?!” Wendy near-shouted, scrambling to her feet. The door flew open once again, but this time, it was Thomas standing there.
“Wen, what’s wrong? I heard screaming. If it’s a spider, you’re gonna have to call Liam to do that shi-” Thomas stopped mid-sentence, staring at the boy. Wendy pointed at him angrily.
“This guy just snuck up into my room! How did you even get in here?”
“I live here,” The boy said simply, sitting down on the window seat, “Right? And I don’t know what pommy is, but I know what bastard is, and that’s just plain rude .”
“But---nobody was here yesterday,” Thomas looked absolutely bewildered. The boy looked offended.
“I was here, I live here, I watched you guys sleep on the floor! That’s gotta be uncomfortable, you know.”
“LIAM!” Wendy raised her voice, calling for her brother, “LIAM, COME HERE NOW!”
“What are you doing?” The boy asked, raising an eyebrow (which, Wendy noticed, was notably thick, just like everyone else in her family).
Liam appeared behind Thomas, looking a bit agitated.
“What is it?”
“I was lookin’ through my stuff, and I was going to draw, but then this freckle showed up and started claiming that he lives here!” Wendy pointed at the boy again, and Thomas nodded. Liam, however, looked confused.
“Uh...What? Thomas, if you’re bothering her, leave her alone for a bit, okay?” He turned to his younger brother, “And you put the wrong tape on your boxes, Kyle is the one with the teddy bears, yours has the crowns on it, and-”
“What? It wasn’t me,” Thomas looked offended, “It’s the lil pom boy here, you see--”
He, too, pointed at the blond boy, who was now giggling. Liam only looked more confused.
“Stop yankin’ my legs, guys, I gotta--”
“There’s a boy right here !” Wendy turned to him, grabbing his arm, “Here, you see, Liam, are you blind?”
Liam only looked confused, and now, even more agitated.
“Look, guys, I know you’re upset about all this, but,” He shook his head, and seemed unable to say anything else, so he left the room, slamming the door behind him.
“Nice try,” The blond boy laughed, “But nobody can see me, you know.”