You can call it Home

Chapter 17

“Wake up, daughter for a year today!” I heard a voice sing from the door. Due to Arizona being a very cheery morning person I found myself being woken up like this often, and would normally have stayed right where I was and continued sleeping. However, today was different so after a minute of letting my eyes adjust to the light I jumped up, nearly head-butting the wall as I tripped over a shoe, and hurried over the door to hug her.

“Feels more like sixteen years, to be honest.” I admitted in all honesty. I may have only known these guys for a year, but it felt like they’d been my family for my whole life, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Well, I could, since I’d done it for fifteen years, but it didn’t feel like it. I still contacted my aunt and uncle, because they were halfway to accepting me, but it was a rare thing.

“Yeah, I get what you mean.” Arizona nodded as we made our way through to the kitchen to find Sofia and Callie messing around. They seemed to be dancing, although it wasn’t as much dancing as it was spinning in circles waving their arms around. And to think this was a normal thing for them.

“Morning, buttercup!” I exclaimed as I hugged Sofia, using my favourite nickname for her. It was actually kind of weird how little Sofia was ever grumpy. I mean, of course she had moods and tantrums, and I’d experienced a few myself, but those were rare and she always seemed in a good mood. I guess she took it from Arizona, who always seemed happy herself. Callie and I however were more calm, and had often had to stop them dancing around before they hurt themselves.

“Poppy!” She greeted me. “Madre said that you’ve been here for a whole year!”

“Well, Madre was right!” I said, watching her eyes go wide, as if a year was an unfathomably long time.

“That’s such a long time!” She exclaimed, then looked deep in thought as her smile drooped. “Does that mean you’re leaving? I don’t want you to.” She asked as she looked up at me with tears in her eyes.

I raised my eyebrows and hugged her tighter. “Oh no! I’ll be here forever. I’d never leave.” I promised and the smile that had so easily vanished reappeared again.

“Good! Cause I love you.” She told me deadly seriously and I felt my heart melt.

“Oh, well I love you too.” I said, before turning round to give Callie a hug too.

The rest of the morning was spent lazing around, since Callie and Arizona both had the day off and it was Saturday, so none of us needed to be anywhere. Sofia spent a good half hour begging me to go out into the garden and build a den with her, and after a while I agreed. We spent most of the day, accompanied by Charlie at our heels, trying to find different ways to make it stand and still be safe, and it wasn’t until Callie and Arizona insisted that we give it a break and come in for dinner that we finally went inside. It took us a few minutes to de-layer- it was the end of November so the weather wasn’t exactly warm any more.

“There’s no snow in Miami, though.” Sofia pouted as we discussed our upcoming trip to Miami, to take place in just under three weeks. It was a little weird, thinking of Christmas without snow.

“Yeah, but there’s Abuelo and Abuela, and Aunt Aria.” Callie said. Apparently, although I had no idea when, Callie and her family seemed to have reached an acceptance of sorts, apparently when Aria had announced she’d had enough of ignoring her sister and knocked some sense into Carlos and Lucia.

“Yeah, I guess.” She replied, seeming to get over the fact that there was no snow, and instead began to talk about what country Santa visited first.

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“Thank you, Christmasss!” I sang as the final bell before the holidays went. I knew from the weight of my bag that there was no way I’d have no work to do over the holidays, but the fact that school was ending and I’d be in Miami next week made me more than glad to get out of here.

“Ooooh, look, Clara Jorris is coming over!” Lizzie whispered into my ear. Clara Jorris, who was in my Chemistry class, was actually insanely cute. We’d talked a few times since the year had started and to be honest, I’d develop a bit of a crush on her, which Lizzie went out of her way to point out whenever Clara passed in the hallway. My head snapped round in the direction Lizzie was pointing to see that she was indeed making her way over.

“Poppy, Lizzie, hi!” She exclaimed as she walked up to us, flipping her long brunette hair over her shoulder. She smiled at us and I found my brain going crazy.

“Hi, hi Clara! D-do you need Chemistry notes?” I stuttered, slapping myself mentally. Who even says that? Ugh. Clara was actually really smart, one of the top in the class. “I mean, uh, I just noticed that you weren’t here the other day, sooo…” I tried to correct myself but it just made me cringe more. I could feel Lizzie shaking with giggles beside me and I resisted the urge to elbow her in the side. She was not helping.

It came as a relief when instead of looking offended, Clara laughed and waved her hand. “Don’t worry; I got them from Miss Wynne yesterday. Thanks for offering.” She said, standing there for a moment.

“So…” I trailed off, not wanting to be rude, but the halls were emptying out quickly and she didn’t seem like she was going to say anything.

“Oh, sorry! I forgot!” She laughed, playing with her hands and looking more nervous. “I was actually going to see if I could talk to you?” She asked. I turned round to Lizzie who hadn’t seemed to catch on yet and gave her a pointed look.

“Oh, right!” Lizzie exclaimed, as though a lightbulb had turned on above her head. “Call me later, Poppy.” She said seriously, giving me that knowing look. Ever since Grace and I had stopped talking Olivia and I had kind of drifted, and I found myself getting closer to Lizzie as a friend.

“What’s up?” I asked Clara as I continued emptying books from my locker into my bag, which was increasing in weight as I piled them in. I tried my best to keep my head on straight as she started talking again, this time with a less confident tone.

“So, um, my mom owns this restaurant, and I was wondering that if tonight youwouldgoonadatewithme?” She rushed the last bit, and I could hardly make it out.

“Come again?”

"I was wondering if you'd go on a date with me tonight, to my mom's restaurant." She repeated a bit slower and calmer, and my brain went haywire. Before I could even think I found myself agreeing, and before I knew it we'd made plans.

"Mom, Madre!" I called into the house the minute I burst into the door, probably scaring them with the urgent tone of my voice.

"What, what is it?" Callie asked as they both came rushing through, Charlie following them closely as he began jumping up at me. I took a deep breath to calm myself down and pet him for a minute before reciting the whole incident that had just taken place to them. They listened intently, both of them with smiles.

"Well, it's about time." Callie laughed and Arizona nodded in agreement, making my confused.

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, come on." Arizona laughed, leading us all through to the kitchen. "I've never even seen her, but you weren't exactly keeping your voice down while you were talking to Lizzie about her the other day."

"Oh my God…" I gasped, face palming and probably turning bright red.

"It's just cool that she's taking you on a proper date, it's so adult." Callie said. "Normally in high school, it's 'call me, we'll hang out'." She remembered.

"It's definitely not a bad thing though." Arizona completed for her, returning to the dishes she'd obviously been halfway through when I got home.

"Where's Sofia?" I asked curiously, realising that I had yet to see my favourite five year old.

"Well, since we're off to Miami next week she was saying how much she'd miss Zola, so she's over at the Dream House having dinner." Callie informed me. 'Dream House' was the everyone used for Meredith and Derek's house, because 'Dream House' literally summed it up. I'd only ever seen it when we dropped Sofia off or picked Zola up from there, but I'd seen it enough to know how amazing it was.

"Anyway, don't you have a date to get ready for?" Arizona smiled, and I felt my heart skip a beat. I'd actually nearly forgotten that it was actually tonight, and as I remembered I started freaking out.

"I don't know what to wear!" I stressed half an hour later as I stood in my bedroom, surrounded by clothes that I'd discarded onto my bed. Arizona then appeared at the doorway wearing an amused expression. "It isn't funny!"

"It kinda is." She admitted, walking further into the room and sorting through the clothes. "What restaurant is it?"

"Cibos, it's Italian." I told her, remembering the details that Clara had told me earlier. She was to pick me up around six and we would head over.

"Oooh, Callie once took me there on a date, back when our relationship was still new." She smiled. "I had the worst case of floordrobe that day, and Teddy sat there and laughed for ages before she was any help."

"So what do I wear?" I sighed, casting a hateful look over the clothes. She thought for a minute before sorting through the pile, before pulling out a beige skirt. "This," She instructed, still rummaging, "and this." She finished, holding up a simple, black, long sleeved t-shirt.

"Are you sure?" I asked apprehensively, and she nodded confidently.

"Just put the clothes on and come through to the living room when you're done." She said.

It took me barely any time at all to get ready, and once I was I had to admit Arizona had done a good job. This outfit was pretty cute.

"See, I told you!" She exclaimed once she saw me, and Callie nodded in agreement.

"She's right, you look great." Callie added.

"Thanks!" I smiled, looking at the clock on the wall. "I only have an hour!" I exclaimed, noting the fact that my hair was still in a messy ponytail and my eye makeup was probably smudged.

"Relax." They both called at the same time as I headed back to my room. I spent half an hour trying to get my hair to stay put, because it was turning into a big frizz ball, when I decided to put it half up half down, so as to keep it out of my face. After that was done I re-applied my makeup before grabbing some black flats and shoving them on. Just in time, apparently, because the doorbell just rang and I checked myself over in the mirror before heading out.

Too late. Callie and Arizona had already opened the door and were chatting to Clara before there was anything I could do about it. I peeked round the corner, relieved to see that she was dressed no fancier or more casual than me, and walked out a little more confidently than I felt.

"Clara, hi!" I greeted. "My moms aren't interrogating you, are they?"

"Nope, just talking!" She laughed. "We'll be home by ten." She told Callie and Arizona, and after a few more words we left.

The conversation in the car was a little awkward, but quickly relaxed more as we chatted nonchalantly. We were greeted by her mom at the restaurant door, where she guided us to 'the best seat in the place', just by the window, and left us alone while she got drinks.

"My mom loves working here, she's very enthusiastic." Clara laughed, and I wasn't sure if it was a warning or not. We took our seats and I looked around, surprised by nice it was here.

"It's really nice here, you mom does a great job." I commented.

"I always loved growing up around here. I'd hang out in the kitchens and steal food all of the time. Mom used to tell me not to, but she never actually did anything to stop it." She said. "Your moms seem pretty cool. I've only ever been on one date before and my mom was going nutso."

"Don't worry, they're probably freaking out right now. " I laughed. "Maybe not as much as David and Sarah would, but definitely freaking out."

"Oh yeah, that's right." She mumbled, as if remembering something. "Was it weird, y'know, when you first met them?"

I thought for a minute before answering. I'd never really thought much about this, but I realised how quick it had all been. "Well, yeah, I guess so. I never really thought about it, it all felt so natural at the time. I guess it was a little awkward, because I was living with them before I even properly knew them."

"Yeah. Not that it's the same, but when I was seven my dad got this girlfriend who had two kids. It was weird at first but now they're just as much my siblings as they would be if we were related by blood."

"It is the same. It's like that with Sofia. Neither Arizona nor I are related to her by blood but that doesn't mean we don't love each other."

"Exactly."

The rest of the night ran smoothly, and we made it home by ten as promised. I gave Clara a hug at the door, gave her my number and promised that we'd do it again sometime before going in and spilling all of the details to Callie and Arizona, who had of course been waiting for me to arrive home.


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