By Kylee Day
Aryn Miller has always been far from what people call normal for a sixteen year old girl. She’s a fiery soul, passion running through her veins, yet she isn’t sure what for. She isn’t very talented at anything that will matter in the long run. She’s good at skateboarding, playing video games, and she’s good at getting herself in trouble. None of which will amount to much.
Before, she was a fiery, trouble-making girl in San Diego, doing nothing but bad for herself. And now, she’s a dying flame, trouble-making girl in Bellwich, doing nothing but nothing for herself.
Aryn stepped from her mom’s station wagon, her hair blowing in the warm wind, and into her face. She pushed back the red strands of hair and gazed up at her small, unwelcoming, sad house. She thought of it as small because of the one story frame, unwelcoming because of the way it stood so emotionless and because of the white chipped paint around the house, and sad because of the way it looked as if no one had taken care of it in a few years. The grass around the house was tall and thick, itchy to move through. You could see right through the windows, no blinds or curtains, and the inside looked empty and still. It was clear just from the outside of the house that no one had lived in it for a while. And now they’re living in it.
Aryn sighed, gripping her skateboard a bit tighter. It was the last thing she had from Cali. She bought her first skateboard when she was nine. She saved up for it with birthday money she’d received over the years. It ended up being too big for her then, so, she had to tuck it away in a closet in the downstairs living room while her mother went out to get her a smaller, pinker one. It was all pink, heart stickers layered the board and one even said ‘GIRLS ROCK!’. As you could imagine, Aryn never asked her mom to pick out anything for her ever again. Now, she’s old enough. Now, she sports a skateboard that she’s held in a closet for seven years. And she loves it.
Her room was a mess. The previous owners had obviously not cleaned the house properly, just shoved everything into one room, Aryn’s room. Hangers and trash littered the floor, a dresser stood in front of the closet door, and there was a hole in the wall, just next to the only window in the white room.
It took two days for the moving truck to get there. Waiting was torture. Sleeping on an air mattress was torture. And every morning Aryn would wake up and could feel the floor beneath her. Waiting was mornings of back pain and Tylenol, afternoons of healing and boredom, and evenings of watching the mattress rise as it filled with air. She refused to go outside those two days.
By the day the moving truck arrived, Aryn had finished cleaning the room. The trash was stored in a black garbage bag, the hangers were hung safely in her small closet, and the dresser was cleaned from dust and gunk.
When her things arrived, Aryn was eager to put everything away and to rearrange her room because it was something to do. But she finished in an hour and a half and she had nothing to do again. She still refused to go outside.
“Why won’t you go? It’s nice out. You’re getting a bit pale,” her mother would tell her. Aryn didn’t care that she’s getting pale or that it’s nice out. She didn’t know anyone and it’s a small town. She knew it was a matter of time before the news travelled of her family’s arrival in Bellwich. News travels in small towns like the ripple of a large earthquake. It was only a matter of time before people knew the reason Aryn and her family moved far away from any skyscrapers. “A change in scenery” her therapist called it. Well, Aryn called it bull.
The first morning that Aryn woke up in a bed instead of on the floor, she felt better. Better than before, better than she should have. She felt a sense of… home, yet, she knew she hadn’t found it. She knew she hadn’t found her home. Most people have houses, yes but, very few have homes. Somewhere they feel they belong and can be accepted no matter what. Aryn knew that anywhere with her step-dad wasn’t home at all.
Aryn thought it’d be another day of looking out the window and doing nothing until her mother announced she was going out of town for date night. “Just stay home and watch the house!” her mother yelled as she slammed the front door shut.
As much as Aryn hated this town, she loved to rebel more. Rebellion had always been something she was interested in. To go against the rules and take pride in it, was where she found solace.
She rode her skateboard all the way to an old diner. Vintage, some people would call it. Maybe so if it were just built and remodeled, but, this diner was old. You could tell in the way it stood with grimy walls and a big, rusted, half-gone neon sign above the front windows. The sign, from what Aryn guessed, was supposed to read ‘Maeve’s Place’ but, instead it read, ‘Mees lae’.
The inside wasn’t all that pretty either but, Aryn could still tell it was a hotspot for people to dine in the small town. Mostly because there were about 20 or so people already sitting. Aryn took a spot at the bar and waited for a server of some sort.
“Hi, what would you like to order?” The waitress asked. Aryn searched for a name tag on her uniform. Leonie.
“Well, Leonie,” Aryn began, smirking a bit, “I’d like a cheese burger with fries and a chocolate milkshake.” Leonie started to write and then stopped, tilting her head up but, not taking her eyes off her notepad.
“And what kind of cheese would you like on the burger, dear?” She asked.
“Hmm… I think I’ll go with cheddar.” Aryn answered, nodding to herself. “Oh, and no onion please.” And the waitress was gone. Aryn was alone once more. Alone and bored out of her mind. She rested her head on the palm of her hand, her elbow pressed against the counter. She looked around the diner, sitting next to her was a group of teens, one girl and four boys. Behind her was a middle-aged man appeared to be in his forties. A small, four person family sat in one of the corner booths, and in the only other corner booth sat an old lady, all alone. But she didn’t seem lonely. She seemed content with things in the moment. Aryn only wished she could be content with her life, content with sitting in a diner all alone with no one to talk to and nothing to say.
It was then that Aryn met Rory.
See, Rory had been sitting with her brother, Charlie, and their friends, Jaden, Henry, and Levi. She was too busy talking to Levi about some new book she had read to notice Aryn walk into the diner. It was tradition, even before Rory joined Charlie’s small family, for the group to go to the diner on Fridays and drink milkshakes. And when Aryn walked in, no one paid much attention. Jaden was talking to Henry about some video game, Rory was talking to Levi, and Charlie sat between Henry and Jaden, listening in to their conversation. No one really noticed the redhead that sat just three stools away from them until Aryn started to speak. She then caught Charlie’s eye.
Charlie has never had a crush on anyone before. Never. And although Charlie didn’t have a romantic crush on Aryn, in that moment, he had a friend crush on her. Platonic, if you will. He knew he wanted to be friends with her. I mean, who wouldn’t? Aryn was just about the coolest thing to wash up on the shores of Bellwich, with her skateboard and I-don’t-care attitude. You could tell, just by looking into her eyes, that she was a force to be reckoned with.