Welcome to Crescent Springs
All I could think was that I looked nothing like my mother. She looked stunning as we sat together in the middle of a field, the sunlight beaming off her scarlet hair. Our features were remotely the same but they looked much different on her. My red hair was brassy and dull but my mother's was the color of autumn leaves. Her eyes were a bright sapphire and mine were more gray than blue. And my mom didn't have freckles or glasses like me.
My mother braided my hair with the flowers we were surrounded with.
"How is your father?" Mom asked as she tied off my braid.
"Fine," I gulp. I didn't want to mention the fact that he was engaged to a younger woman, Andrea Nichols. I loathed her; she treated like a child, like I couldn't walk without her hovering over me.
"I wish you were always with me," I say. I rarely got to see her and it felt like I didn't have a mother at all.
"I want the same thing," Mom replies. "But I can't."
"Why not," I ask.
"Because I'm not really here," she whispers and she vanishes in a blink of an eye.
"Courtney!" my father yells as he shakes my shoulder.
My eyes snap open as I realized I wasn't with my mother at all; I should have known anyways, my mother died when I was three months old. I rubbed the sleep crust off my eyelids, I must've fell asleep.
"Welcome to Crescent Springs," Andrea, my stepmother-to-be, says behind him.
Crescent Springs was a ramshackle town in the middle of North Dakota, large enough to have a mall, tiny enough to be unknown by the majority of the United States. While the name sounded pretty and exotic, there weren't any springs or anything roughly crescent-shaped in the whole town.
I unbuckled my seatbelt and hoisted myself out of Dad's truck. Once I stepped onto the snowy, crunchy ground, one word registered into my mind: freezing. Crescent Springs was freezing. The blustery air was like the inside of a refrigerator, practically solidifying my blood. Granted, I was from Orlando, Florida where we consider 75 degrees cold, but this was a whole new level of cold. It finally occurred to me that I should've bought winter clothes before moving.
I looked at the tall, foreboding mansion that Andrea inherited from her great-uncle fifteen years ago. Eight months ago, Dad announced that he and his long-term girlfriend were engaged. And then one month ago, he announced we were moving into Andrea's house, more than two thousand miles away from our cozy sunflower-yellow house in Orlando. The wedding was in in February, and it was the beginning of January right now. We spent Christmas packing up our stuff and saying heartfelt goodbyes to our friends. I had to leave my only friend, Bella.
"You're going to love it here," Andrea squeals. Sometimes, it sounded like she was looking down on me even when she was complimenting me.
"Remember kid," Dad whispers in my ear. "No matter how much things change now that Andrea is a part of the family, I'll always be here."
"Thanks Dad," I say. Dad has always been my family; it was now strange that I have to share him with Andrea.
My dream still echoed in my head when Dad and I unloaded the moving truck. Ever since I was little, I've had strange dreams about my mother. I knew what she looked like before Dad showed me a picture of her. I've never met my mother but with my dreams, it seems like I did. My dreams were always weird but seeing my mom in them feels real.
A cardboard box slips out of my arms when I attempted to carry it to the house. Photos and various knickknacks spilled out onto the snow-dusted lawn.
I kneeled down and picked up a picture. It was my mother holding me as a baby. I tried not to cry as I scooped up the belongings off the icy ground. I never had a real mother and Andrea simply wasn't going to cut it. These things were all I had left of her. Dad sold most of Mom's things when we were moving
Suddenly a flash of light blinded my eyes and world around me vanished. I felt light as air, barely existent. Everything around me became white and was bathed in light. Everything was blurred and slowed down, like a dream. I couldn't hear anything or say anything. A face appears in the mist. It was a boy, tall and dark-haired, wearing a black coat. He was handsome in a strange, unconventional way. His lips moved as if he was about to say something but he suddenly disappeared like smoke.
"What are still doing sitting there?" Andrea screeches, her voice finally interrupting my hallucination. "It's getting chilly."
I looked up, the world materializing in front of me again. I was still in Andrea's front yard, picking up boxes. But I swear, I was somewhere else for a moment.
"Are you coming in or not?" Andrea shouts. "It's going to snow again soon!"
"I'm—I'm coming," I stutter, picking myself up. My legs felt stiff from the unbearable cold. My head aches like it couldn't register what just happened. Where did I go a few seconds ago? Whatever happened, it was just a daydream, right?