Welcome to Austin
I swing open the door to my new bedroom and squeal. When I saw the huge balcony outside, I begged my dad to give me that room. My new room is huge, with a glossy wooden floor and French windows that open into a Juliet-like balcony.
I love my new house! I always dreamed of living in a big Victorian house with a balcony and secret passageways. Okay, Auggie and I didn't find any secret passageways, yet but it's fun to hope. Dad bought this house for two reasons, because I begged him and second, because he liked the historical feel to it. A house is so much more different than an apartment: bigger rooms, stairs, more windows, an attic, and a backyard. Texas is more fun than I thought it would be. At first, I was disappointed when I found out we were moving because of Dad's new job as a college professor, but now this new house makes up for it.
"Hey kiddo, are you settling in okay?" Dad asks, appearing in the doorway.
"I LOVE IT! Where are my bags? I need to unpack, ASAP!" I squeal.
"We still need to set up the kitchen," Dad says, patting me on the head.
"I love it here in Texas," I exclaim, unable to hold in my excitement.
"Well, I'm happy that you're happy, Riley, but remember, a whole new school and town is a lot to take in. I just don't want you to become depressed," Dad replies.
I frown. "Dad, you said I need to explore the world and stop living in my little bubble filled with shopping and cheerleading."
"I remember when I was fifteen and I had some wacky adventures—" Dad starts.
"Dad," I interrupt. "I will be fine."
He smiles. "That's my girl. Do you want to wear your lucky pin on your first day?"
"Of course," I say and I take the pin out of my pocket and Dad clips it to my dress.
When Aunt Morgan went to Paris for a business trip, she stopped by a French market and bought a gold four-leaf clover pin. She gave it to me for my thirteenth birthday and told me it was lucky. It was. I wore it when my cheer squad won nationals. I wore it when I won tickets to a One Direction concert with my bestie, Isadora. Speaking of Isadora, I need to text her about the details of my new room.
"Mommy, Daddy, Riley, there's a lady at our door!" Auggie yells from downstairs.
Dad and I cut our heartfelt conversation short and clomp down the stairs to see what Auggie meant. He was right; there was a woman at our door. She was carrying a tin of cookies in one hand and holding the hand of a little girl's in the other.
Mom opens the door and greets them with a warm smile. She says, "Hi there."
"Charmed to meet you," the woman says in a British accent. "I am Judy Morgenstern and this is my daughter Ava. We live right next door. We would like to welcome you to the neighborhood."
"Oh, are you British?" I ask. "I always wanted to go to England."
"No, she just fakes an accent to impress people!" Ava pipes up.
"Ava, shush!" her mother scolds without the accent. She smiles again and says, "Would you like these homemade cookies?"
"They aren't homemade, Mom. Remember, you told Dad to get a box of Chips Ahoy when you saw the moving truck!" Ava chimes in again.
"Excuse my daughter, she doesn't know when to shut her mouth," Judy says. She nudges Ava and says, "How about you play with that little girl over there? She's about your age."
"Actually, Auggie is a boy," Mom says.
"Auggie, what a quaint and amusing name," Judy says condescendingly.
"Auggie is short for August, actually," Dad chimes in.
This was going to get ugly. I turn away from the adults and introduce myself to Ava.
"Hi Ava, I'm Riley," I say.
"Isn't Riley a boy name?" Ava replies.
Huh, it's only been five minutes and I already hate my new neighbors.
"I'm Auggie," my brother says.
"How old are you?" Ava asks. "I'm this many." She holds up nine fingers.
"I'm this many," Auggie answers, holding up eight fingers.
Ava smiles and says, "This many"—she holds up nine fingers—"tells this many"—she puts down one finger—"what to do."
"I don't think that's how friendship works," I interrupt.
"Riley, leave us alone. She's my new friend," Auggie says. I have lost him.
Auggie and Ava run off to play with Auggie's toys while my parents argue with Mrs. Morgenstern. I clutch my pin and hope that perhaps things will get better.