What’s your name again?
“Get out of the way!”, one of the men called out and Valerie backed into a corner of her room. After dumping the box he was holding next to the bed, the man left without giving her as much as a second glance.
It was no use; she had to get out of this house. Dodging a few more of the movers Valerie successfully made her way downstairs. The spacious living and dining area was a mess, full of boxes, crates and half-positioned furniture. In the midst of all this mess stood her mother, decisively giving orders.
Valerie could only assume that her dad was around somewhere doing the same thing. They won’t even notice I’m gone, she thought as she walked through the open front door.
Once she had made a few steps away from the house she slowed down and looked around. She remembered that Willow Creek had a library, maybe she could go there and sign up for a membership.
It couldn’t be far, the town was not that big. But it still occurred to Valerie that she had no idea where to go. It was a different neighborhood than the one she had lived in as a child. And it sure was a huge difference from her home in Windenburg, where cobbled streets and Tudor style homes had dominated the view. She missed it, the city, the school, her friends… Of course Aimee had vowed to text her every day and even come to visit next Summer but Valerie wasn’t dumb. She knew how these kind of promises usually worked out. Time to find a new best friend.
Valerie was distracted from her thoughts when she saw a girl stepping out of the house next door.
Perfect timing, she thought as she quickly walked up to her.
“Hi, excuse me”, she smiled, “could you tell me where to find the local library?”
The girl slightly titled her head, but smiled back.
“Of course. You’re not from here then?”, she wanted to know. Valerie thought she seemed familiar. She was confused as she was sure she had never met this girl before.
“Well, no, not really. I just moved in next door”, Valerie halfheartedly explained. She had no intention of spilling her whole life story out to a stranger. But fortunately it seemed like the other girl had no intention of asking her about it.
“Oooh, welcome to Willow Creek then. So nice to meet you!”
“Nice to meet you, too”, Valerie said still trying to remember where she knew this girl from. She wanted to ask her name, but the blonde just started talking again.
“It’s awesome that you live here now, finally someone my age. The people who lived in your house before were sooooo boring. And Old”, she babbled on without giving Valerie a chance to reply. Suddenly, she jumped on the spot and almost knocked Valerie over. “I have a great idea. My parents are out of town for the weekend and I’m throwing a party tomorrow night. Why don’t you come? I’ll introduce you to everyone.”
Valerie took a cautious step back as to not get hit by more sudden excitement attacks. She shrugged. She wasn’t the party type but she knew no one in this town. It wasn’t like she could just meet people at school. So this might actually be a good opportunity to get started in Willow Creek. To meet everyone.
“Sure, thanks. What time?”, she accepted the offer.
“Eight will do”, the other girl told her. Great, Valerie thought. I can probably finish another book by that time, given these movers are finally done with my room. Thinking of reading reminded Valerie of the original purpose of this walk.
“Hey, where did you say the library was?”
“Oh, silly me, I never answered that question, did I?”, the blonde laughed and proceeded to explain the whereabouts of the library to Valerie. As she had thought, it wasn’t all that far.
“See you tomorrow then”, Valerie said goodbye to the girl as they set off in different directions. But after a few steps, she heard someone call out.
Valerie spun around only to find the other girl staring at her intently.
“What’s your name again?”, she wanted to know.
“Valerie. Valerie Bouchard”, she said slowly as she watched the other girl’s eyes go wide.
“Val!”, Valerie was confused at the use of that nickname. No one had ever called her that since –
“It’s me, Jenny Crawford!”
Oh my god…
Next: Chapter 2