“Good morning everyone!” Mrs. Morano greeted as we all got in our seats. Nina and I had rushed to class, almost beating Hugo to the door, until Antony came into view. Of course, Nina had to get distracted causing me to lag behind with her. By the time we actually got into class, Hugo was already seated and avoiding my gaze. Why, I had no idea. Maybe it was something I said?
“Good morning Mrs. Morano!” We all answered in chorus, almost robotic. It had been almost four years since we’d had Mrs. Morano, so we’d gotten used to her and how to behave around her.
“Today we will be discussing the trip to Paris, France,” she said, reaching for a stack of papers atop her desk. The permission slips!
“These are your permission slips which you will give to your parents and/or guardians. Have them cut and fill out the bottom part and returned to me by Friday,” she continued, passing out the white sheets. I skimmed the small text rapidly, glancing up at my teacher over the rim of the paper.
“I expect good behavior from you all during this trip. No pranks or rude jokes on people. We have never had to cancel a trip due to behavior, and I expect that to stay that way. Have you all decided on who you’ll be sharing with?” Mrs. Morano asked. Even though Nina and I already planned who we’d be rooming with, we shook our heads to be able to discuss it with Hugo and Antony. If they weren’t comfortable, then they’d share with Jeremy and Lucas, and us with Charlie and Louise. I doubt Jeremy and Lucas would let Hugo and Antony room with Louise and Charlie whether they shared a bed or not. Jeremy raised his hand.
“Ma’am, how long is the trip”? He asked.
“One week Jeremy, five days to travel and one day to travel back. The seventh day will be the day we get there,” Mrs. Morano answered, returning to her desk. “Discuss quietly who you’ll be rooming with. Once we make the list, then we’ll talk about where we’ll be visiting and other things.” She sat on her chair, and we took it as our cue to begin discussing.
We sat in rows of two, so Hugo and Antony moved their desks along with the others around Nina and I to form a small group. It was like when we have centers in fourth grade, except with desks and not tables.
“So... who’s rooming with who?” Louise asked first. Charlie snorted.
“Is that even a question? Obviously boys in one girls in the other!” She exclaimed. Jeremy shook his head and Hugo shuffled in his seat.
“No way! I want to share with Lou, even if I have to sleep in a separate bed!” He demanded. Lucas nodded slowly, eyes darting between himself and Charlie.
“Okay, so that leaves the four of us,” Antony said, counting.
“I-I don’t really mind sharing a room with you guys,” I stuttered, suddenly feeling shy. Hugo smiled at me, and opened his mouth to speak, but shut it again, looking downcast. I glanced at Nina, and saw that her eyes gleamed, even though her cheeks reddened.
“Um... Antony, do you mind if I share with you? Adrienne kicks a lot.” Nina asked. Antony glanced between Hugo and I, the look not going unnoticed by either of us.
“Sure Nina” he replied, much to my embarrassment. Hugo too, was turning red.
“T-Tony”! He spluttered. Antony shrugged.
“Sorry bro. Ladies first,” he said. It hurt me a little, that Hugo was disgruntled by the idea. I bit my lip, turning away, and I felt his hand touch mine. My head shot up to meet his apologetic eyes.
“I’m not uncomfortable in any type of way Adrienne. It’s just... never mind” he decided. I nodded, Nina winking at me. Louise and Charlie giggled.
“Welp, looks like we’re all sharing with the opposite gender.” Charlie said.
“You could’ve just said the boys.” Jeremy said.
“Yeah, but opposite gender sounds more sophisticated.” Charlie replied. Louise pushed her desk closer to the center, her dark eyes scrolling the paper with a newfound interest.
“I can’t wait for the sightseeing!” Louise exclaimed. I picked my sheet up, reading the sightseeing list.
“Like the Eiffel Tower? Château de Versailles”? I asked. Louise nodded
“Yes, but also the sights of proposals and weddings!” She swooned. Charlie rolled her eyes, but conceded with Louise’s idea.
“Paris is the City of Love,” she said with a shrug. “I’d bet we’d be seeing weddings and proposals every day.”
“Who knows, people might get on the love boat this trip. Right Lover boy?” Lucas snickered, nudging Hugo with his elbow. Hugo blushed and I felt my face grow hot. Nina giggled.
“I love anything that has to do with love,” she stated “but I’d bet my dollar that the person who loves love more than I do is Adrienne.” She poked me with her pencil. “Right Adrienne?” I scowled.
“What’s that supposed to mean”? I asked.
“Oh c’mon Adrienne.” Louise chided. “We all know you’ve dreamed of the wonderfully cliched romantic proposal at the Eiffel Tower.”
“Not a proposal” I mumbled “but maybe like a declaration of love, or admiration? I dunno. Just something cute and romantic.”
“Cute huh? Never thought that would ever come out of Adrienne Agosto’s mouth. Ever.” Charlie teased. I rolled my eyes.
“Haha. Just because you have a boyfriend doesn’t mean you get all the romantic gestures,” I shot back. Hugo didn’t seem to be paying attention to our conversation. He looked more like he was thinking of his funeral colors, his eyes unfocused and gazing at something that I couldn’t see.
“So, back to the main topic, where else will we go?” Antony asked.
“What about the Alps?” Jeremy suggested. I nodded.
“Yeah. It might be cold but we also might be able to touch a glacier.”
“Cool. We also have to check out some clothing shops. Paris is the city of fashion.” Louise added.
“That would be nice, but I’m broke” I replied, pulling the socks of my pockets. Lint tumbled from one side, and I quickly stuffed my pocket inside. Hugo glanced down at the floor, then back up to me.
“Me too.” Nina added.
“I have some money, but I’m saving it for college.” Charlie said. Lucas wrapped his arm around her buff shoulders.
“I can buy for you,” he shyly offered. Charlie beamed and kissed his cheek.
“You don’t have to, but thank you,” she said. Lucas nodded, a dopey grin on his face. That was probably the most affection I’d seen him publicly get from Charlie ever since they’d started dating!
“What about you Antony? Planning on buying anything?” I asked. Antony shrugged, picking his nails with his pencil.
“Maybe. I’ll probably get a souvenir for Josephine and my mom, but that’s about it.” he said. He looked around the table, groaning inwardly when he caught Nina’s questioning eyes. He stopped for a moment, before saying, “I can buy for you if you want Nina.” Nina blushed, but I frowned. He looked as if he didn’t want to offer to spend his money on her.
“You don’t have to, but thank you,” she said shyly, repeating Charlie. Antony raised his eyebrows and sighed, looking down at his notebook again. Hugo leaned in, whispering something to him, and Antony caught my prying eyes. With a groan, he sat up.
“I’m definitely buying for Louise,” Jeremy said, as if that wasn’t already certain. Louise giggled girlishly, kissing his cheek, and he twisted his head, catching her lips. Groans echoed around the table.
“Dude! PDA!” Antony gagged.
“I agree. Definitely not the right place.” Hugo said, wincing and looking away.
“Nor the right time.” Lucas added quietly. Jeremy broke away from his kiss, scowling.
“Like you guys can do any better.” He sneered. Nobody bothered replying to him.
“What about you, Adrienne?” Hugo asked, grunting as he sat up. His blue orbs peeked up cautiously at me, and I found myself staring at them for far too long. I coughed, trying to scrap up whatever dignity I had left to answer.
“I would buy something, but like I said earlier I’m broke.” I replied.
“How?” Louise asked.
“I spent my money on buying a birthday present for my brother” I said. Adrien’s lucky he liked it, or I would’ve socked him.
That’s the funny thing about our names. We’re twins, Adrien older by a few minutes. My dad used to be a clown, so he wanted our names to be similar. My mom wanted to name me Adrienne, so we decided to call my brother Adrien. We get teased because of it a lot. Jeremy especially likes to call me Adrien when I’m mad at him. I love my brother, but if he messed up my mood, I would definitely murder him.
“Oh! What did you get him?” Lucas asked eagerly, making grabby motions on the table. I giggled, and Hugo’s eye twitched.
“I got him a shirt and a new video game.” I explained.
“You know, when we do go to Paris, I can buy something for you,” Hugo said suddenly, getting us all back on track.
“It’s okay Hugo. I’ll just take pictures” I said. He shook his head.
“Really, it’s of no bother to me. Besides, Dad will probably give me more money than I need,” he pressed. I contemplated arguing with him, but knowing it was no use fighting against him, especially because he was very stubborn, I sighed and nodded.
“Okay,” I agreed “But I’m paying you back” I said. He shrugged and leaned back on his desk, smiling smugly.
“Deal.” He said. A chair scraped behind us.
“Finished guys?” Mrs. Morano asked. I turned my head and nodded as the boys fixed the desks.
“Excellent,” she said. She pulled her wooden stool, the one she kept for debates, to the front of the class and sat on it.
“Now,” she studied her clipboard “Mr. Jackson has informed me that we will be staying at Ibis, one of the more common hotel’s in France.”
“Is Ibis like Best Western?” Hugo asked.
“I think so. This is Europe after all, so if might have a few differences, but I think it should be good” Mrs. Morano replied.
“What will the temperature be like?” Antony asked.
“Warm. Probably hot. Bring a jacket and some fall clothes just in case though. We will be going to the Alps after all.” She said. The bell rang abruptly, cutting off whatever she was going to say. We all began to quickly collect our books.
“Class dismissed.” I ran out of the building, yelling a few incomprehensible words to Nina as I jogged.
My house was regular. Nothing too fancy about it. Modest. My mom, Madeline, built this house, along with my dad Gavin. The paint was slightly chipped and the wooden boards were a bit creaky, but apart from that, our house looked as good as new. Adrien was already home by the time I had reached.
“Not hanging out with your girlfriend today?” I asked, setting my backpack on the counter with a tired sigh. Recently, Adrien had gotten a girlfriend, Maria. She was pretty and really fun to hang out with. They were a good pair, I had to admit. Not that I harbored anything against Maria. She was a really good friend of mine.
Adrien shrugged. “She had a couple of rain checks for her friend Aliyah. But we are doing something tonight. Why? Nothing with Nina today?”
“No. I have to get my permission slip signed. Can you sign it?” I asked. He nodded.
“Sure. Where are you going”? Adrien questioned, taking the paper I gave him.
“Paris, France.” I took back the slip and stuffed it in my bag.
“Oh, well you should start packing early. That way you’ll have ample time to do your homework.” Adrien suggested, running a hand through his blond hair. I nodded.
“I don’t have any, but I do want to work on my French, just in case I need it,” I said. Adrien smiled and ruffled my hair. I laughed and shoved his hand away.
“That’s awesome. I gotta go do the laundry now. Have fun” he said, running up the steps. I smiled after him.
I was lucky to get a brother like him.