“Guess what?” Ella said.
School was over and the three of us were walking out the school doors.
“What?” Me and Maryam said at the same time. I guessed it was something related to her horse competitions, because every time she says, ‘guess what?’ it’s always something about horses. No matter what.
“I won the horse show last night!” she exclaimed and jumped up and down. I squealed and gave her a hug. Maryam joined. We pulled away and congratulated her.
“Hooray!” Maryam grinned. “Why didn’t you tell us earlier today?” she asked. I was about to ask the same thing. I hopped over a pebble that was in my path.
“I wanted us to be stress free when you guys get the news.” she said and hugged us.
“Oh, guys, speaking of stress free, I’m kind of stressed at the moment.” I said.
My friends studied me, “What…”
Before they could continue, “THE ENVELOPE CAME IN TODAY AND I HAVEN’T OPENED IT YET!!” I shrieked. I got looks from other people and a loser sign from Maddie. Raven was nowhere in sight. She was probably messing with someone else.
“Oh my gosh!” Maryam squealed, “Congrats!” she and Ella said together.
“Hold it, girls,” I laughed, “I don’t know if I’m even qualified yet or not.” These two girls have been supporting me through every step of this competition.
“I gotta go. Mum’s here.” Maryam said, smiling. She jogged ahead of us. “Bye! Congratulations again, Ella-Bella and Julia Jewel!” she called back and waved.
A few moments later, her mom’s Honda drove off with her. We continued walking down the pathway. “I have to go soon, too. Grams is expecting me early today.” I said.
“My dad’s here anyway.” Ella said, running towards her Mazda, “See you tomorrow!” She called back. I smiled and waved at her.
“Tomorrow it is.”
“Tomorrow!?” I shouted.
I had come back home and was greeted with the fresh smell of chicken roast. Me and Grams had eaten it and now, we were sitting in the living room, soaking up some sunshine through the open windows.
Grams nodded and took another bite of her ham sandwich. “What time?” I asked.
“Noon time. I booked the flight last night.” Grams said, munching. “I forgot to tell you in the morning.”
I sat back down on the blue living room couch. “I can’t believe it. I’m finally going to see my cousins, after…” I trailed off. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen my cousins. Not even one. “Never. I guess.” I shrugged. “Did you pack your bag?” I asked her. Grams nodded. “I’ll go pack mine. But wait, school just started!” I said.
“Well, this is the earliest flight I could find, hon.” Grams said, looking up at me.
I shrugged and excused myself from the living to go pack up. I ran up the stairs and opened the door to my room.
I sat on my twin bed, the window right above it. I had two bookshelves – on either end of my room. I love reading. There was a bright blue rug in the middle of my room and a dark blue study table set to the left. Also, I had a walk-in-closet and my personal bathroom. I grabbed my phone and went to iMessages and texted my friends in the group chat.
Me: Guess wut gurls!?
A few minutes later, after I had taken out a bag and zipped it open, I got a reply.
Ella: Waz up?
Me: I’m goin’ 2 ma cuzins!!!
Ella: Eyy, gurl, u’ve never seen them right?
Maryam: How many do you have?
Me: Nope n 3 :P
Me: Lemme just pack my bag n I’ll answer questions. Get ready 4 facetime!
Ella: kk :)
Maryam: See you soon!
I tossed my phone on my twin bed and went to the bathroom. I looked into the mirror. A girl with a few freckles, green eyes, short raven black hair with side bangs and thin lips stared back at me. She had a grin on her face, and she looked as if she was about to burst with joy!
I exited the bathroom. I was going to see my cousins.
As I sat on my bed, I wondered, I had never seen them before.
Worry washed over me.I bit my lip and fiddled with my fingers for the second time that day. What if they were different? What if they didn’t like me? I know quite a lot about them, so I guess I’m good. Maybe. Maybe not.
I sighed, then flopped on my bed and stared at the ceiling. I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Suddenly, I remembered something. The envelope. I’ll open it once I’m done packing. And after that, I’ll tell Maryam and Ella everything through FaceTime! I jumped up from my bed and raced to the bathroom. I grabbed my toothpaste and toothbrush. Then, I reconsidered it and only took my toothbrush. They probably had toothpaste. I grabbed my mascara – the only cosmetic I use – and my lotion. I stuffed these things in a little pouch and threw it in the bag that was laid open on my bed.
“Sweetheart?” Grams called out from the opposite side of the door.
“Yes?” I called back.
“Can you help me with the dishes really quick?” Grams asked.
“You go rest. I’ll do them later! Promise.” I said. I could tell Grams was smiling. She said okay and shuffled into her room, which was right next to mine. Grams was lucky with that room; she had a TV. Well, I guess we’re fair because I have a laptop and a computer, and she has neither.
I had packed a few clothes; black, white and denim jeans, two tights, black and gray, two sweatshirts, three different hats, five different tees and five crop-tops that I matched cardigans and shawls with. Grams promised me that before we left, we would go and buy a few gifts for the kids.
I galloped down the stairs – literally – and went into the kitchen. The envelope stayed where it was. I tip-toed towards it as if it were a monster that would eat me if I even made a peep.
I screamed my lungs out and dove under the table. “Who is it? Don’t eat me!” I screeched. I heard laughter. It sounded familiar. Oh. How could I have been so dumb? I crawled out from under the table.
“Very funny,” I said flatly, “Grams.”
Grams chuckled and got up from behind the counter. “Dishes?” she said. More like asked. I nodded, but then looked at the envelope helplessly. “Go ahead.” Grams said.
I teared it apart and ran through the names. First place was…
Maddie? I shook my head. She probably cheated or something. She didn’t even like Science! Oh whatever. Second place was… I almost fainted.
I screamed and ran to Grams and embraced her in a huge hug. I started crying. “Oh, Grams, I made it! I made it!” I whispered.
“I know, honey! I knew you would make it.” she said back into my hair. “All that work really paid off, huh?” I nodded. She let go of me and I quickly turned and did the dishes. It was currently six-fifty-two.
I ran up the stairs when I was done and slammed open my door. I shoved out my laptop from the study table drawer and took a seat on my chair. Opening FaceTime, I called the other two. They answered right away. Maryam first, then Ella.
“I MADE IT!” I screamed. The girls were confused but then realization dawned upon them – it was clear.
“YOU MADE IT!” Maryam and Ella shrieked. I could hear a male voice asking if Maryam was okay. That was probably her brother, Ahmad. His room is right next to hers, so he can hear basically everything she says. Me and Ella giggled. Maryam just rolled her eyes.
“What place?” Maryam asked.
“Obviously first place.” Ella said in a ‘duh’ tone.
I frowned and shook my head, “You can’t always expect me to be first, El.”
“Sorry…” she winced.
“It’s fine.” I said, “I was second!” I exclaimed, cheering them up. Maryam grinned widely.
“Who was first?” she asked.
“Um, you guys know her.” I said. When neither of them responded, I told them who it was. They gasped and said to show them proof. I brought the paper and held it out so they could see.
“She doesn’t even like Science, though.” Maryam said flatly. I just shrugged. Ella could sense the tension, so she changed the subject.
“What are your cousins like?” Ella asked me. “You said you had three, right?” I nodded.
“To be honest, I don’t know too much about them, because I’ve only talked to them on the phone like a couple of times.” I confessed.
“Girls or boys?” Maryam asked.
“Two boys and a girl. The oldest one is Timothy, he’s eighteen. The middle one is Avery, he’s fifteen, and the youngest one is Isabella. And, she’s ten.” I said. “To be honest, I know them quite well. We’ve chatted a lot through the phone.”
Ella smiled, “That’s cool!”
“Ooh. I have a cousin, and she’s always wanted to be friends with someone named Isabella. Very annoying child.” Maryam shook her head. Ella chuckled.
“I don’t have any cousins,” Ella sighed. “I have two aunts and an uncle, but they aren’t married yet.” She said. She got up from where she was sitting and disappeared for less than a second and came back with a glass of water.
“Hey, I have an uncle and he isn’t married yet!” I exclaimed. Ella has a single aunt and I have a single uncle… Ella told me to stop sitting in fantasy world and told me to not even think such a thing and we all laughed. My uncle was forty and divorced and both Ella’s aunts were only twenty; twins.
Later, we ended our call because it was already time to go to bed. It was nine-forty. I tucked my bag under my bed and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and change. I combed my hair real quick even though it would be a tangled mess when I wake up the next morning. It had just become a habit.