Kate looked up with a small smile, but let it fade when she remembered the news she'd have to give. Frowning, she said, "I'm being traded." "What do you mean traded?" Blake asked. "People don't...
Kate Harlot sat at a table out side of a small, London pub with her head buried in her arms and all of her friends surrounding her. She'd been like that for a full five minutes. Alex, who was sitting closest to her, tapped her shoulder.
"Come on, Kate, tell us what's wrong," he coaxed. A mumbled sentenced was all they got. Alex sighed and leaned in close to Kate's ear. "Try again, Kate. You know you want our sympathy, so out with it. If you make it coherent, Blake will buy you a milkshake."
Kate looked up with a small smile, but let it fade when she remembered the news she'd have to give. Frowning, she said, "I'm being traded."
"What do you mean traded?" Blake asked. "People don't generally trade their children in for newer models."
"No," Kate started in reply, "but they do sign them up for a bleeding foreign exchange program with out first discussing it with them."
"But why you?" Alex asked, "I'd think they'd send Sarah. She's older." Kate shrugged.
"They say I need this more." Kate glanced at Taylor, who looked like she was about to cry.
"How long will you be gone for?" She asked, trying to keep her bottom from lip quivering. Kate lightly rubbed her friends back.
"Just for one school year, then I'm back in a heartbeat and we'll have twelfth year together."
"So where are you going?" Blake asked. Kate sighed.
"America. What sucks is I'll be in grade twelve over there, but a year younger than them."
"Really, they're that far behind?" Alex asked. Kate nodded. Blake stood up and walked to the counter to place the order for the milkshake he owed his friend. Setting it on the table in front of her, he sat back down to rejoin the conversation.
"You better enjoy it, it's the last of my allowance." Blake commented. Kate smiled and thanked her dark haired friend.
"So this exchange program must cost a bomb huh?" Taylor questioned. Again, Kate shrugged.
"I don't know, and I don't really care either. Mum's handling it." The group was silent for a bit before Kate spoke up.
"I'd rather not dwell on it though. I'd like to make this rest of this summer the dog's bullocks. One we'll never forget. After all, it's the first summer we've spent with out each other since grade six."
"I think that's a terrific idea. So, who's up for shopping?" Taylor asked, they all looked around at each other. "Window shopping, even." She corrected. They all chuckled at their youngest friend.
"Sounds good." Blake replied, still laughing a bit. Slowly the lot of them stood up and started their walk to High Street.
Kate zipped up the last of her bags and took one last look at her room. She'd miss it no doubt. She'd spent her entire life in this room, and now she was leaving it for some hole-in-the-wall in a totally different country. It almost felt as if she were cheating on it. She sighed.
"Kate! Are you ready?" Blake called from the living room.
"Yeah, I'll be out in a second!" She yelled in reply. For her, the worst part of the leaving process was that her parents, the ones who signed her up for this hellish trip, wouldn't even be sending her off. No, her friends had to do it, not that she minded. Still, it upset her knowing how much her parents didn't care. She picked up the two duffle bags and grabbed the stuffed rabbit from her bed. As she entered the living room, Blake grabbed one of the bags and they made their way out to his car.
"Where's everybody else?" She questioned as he placed the bags in his trunk. He closed the trunk and unlocked her door.
"Um, they're busy. They couldn't make it. They send their apologies and best wishes though." He walked around to his side, got in, and started it up.
"Oh, that's fine. I guess." Kate looked down at her feet as Blake looked at her, trying to keep his smile at bay.
"Um, we have to stop at my flat too. I forgot my wallet." He backed out of the driveway. Five minutes later he was pulling into his drive.
"I think I'll just wait here." She mumbled as he got out. So my parents hate me/, she thought, /and so do my mates. It's terrific.
"It's really hot out here, you're coming in." He ordered, and shut his door. Not having the will to argue, she sighed and stepped out of the car. She followed him to the door and waited behind him to unlock it. Once he did, he ushered her in first.
"Surprise!" Her friends shouted as she walked through the door. Tears instantly fell from her eyes.
"I swear, I thought you guys hated me." She said through her tears. She embraced them all the best she could. "And you!" She said, pointing at Blake. "You arse, you lied to me."
"Ah, but it was for your own good. So why don't you stop fretting over petty lies and ask about your presents." She looked from him to her other friends.
"Presents?" She asked. They smiled and nodded. Taylor handed hers over first.
"Oh my goodness. I love it." Kate exclaimed as she held the yellow, button down, cardigan up. She hugged her friend and put it on over her light blue tank top. "It matches wonderfully. Thanks Tay."
"You're very well welcome. I wasn't sure if it was you're style though, so I was a bit nervous. But I'm glad you like it."
"Mine next!" Alex shouted, then stood up and handed her a somewhat small gift bag. After taking out the tissue paper, she looked into see a bunch of hair barrettes and make up pieces. She smiled at her friend.
"Thanks Alex. I needed these. I was running low." She took a few barrettes out and placed them in her dark brown hair. "Pretty!" She exclaimed. She looked back at Blake, her best friend of them all.
"What makes you think I got you anything?" He joked. She pouted and he sighed. He walked over to the coat closet and pulled out a somewhat thin, large rectangular box and handed it too her. She had to set it on the coffee table to open it. When she did, more tears came to her eyes. In the box were many framed, black and white photos of her, her and Blake, her and Taylor, her Taylor, and Alex, one of just her, and one of just Blake, but what made her cry was the largest one that was split in half down the middle. The left side held a picture of the four of them in grade six, the right held the picture they took together at the beginning of summer. She hugged her best friend and kissed him on the cheek.
"Thanks." She whispered.
"Anything for you." He replied just as low as she.
"Well, I think it's time we got going! You're areoplane leaves soon does it not?" Taylor said while standing up. She helped Alex up and they walked to meet their two friends by the front door.
"Yeah, it does." Kate answered. She grabbed her bag of hair barrettes and the one picture off the coffee table. "Can I leave the others here until I get back?" She asked. Blake nodded. They left the flat and made their way to the airport. After a tearful goodbye, she was finally on the plane. She'd never acutally flown before, so she was a bit nervous, but she had her rabbit, her barrettes, her sweater, and her picture. She'd be fine.
That was, until she reached America.