Chapter 1

"Torrie Marie Adams. If you aren't in the car in ten minutes -"

"What? You'll leave me?" I screamed.

"And give you exactly what you want?" My mother screamed back. "Absolutely not!"

I rolled my eyes.

"I will get your father to throw you over his shoulder and walk you out onto the street and right into the car. Now, I realize you're sixteen and no longer five years old, but when you choose to act like a child, we are forced to treat you like one."

I knew they weren't joking. My mom left the house in huff and then, I heard the car door slam shut from where I was sitting with my arms crossed.

We had finished packing up our house the day before. My uncle had gotten the job of driving the van full of our crap, while our family followed close behind in our own car.

But, I probably put a snag in the plan when I decided once and for all that I was not moving away.

It didn't matter to me that my father had gotten transferred. To a better job.

He had actually been promoted. Big time.

But, that didn't mean I should be forced to uproot my whole life. And move across the country.

My best friend, Annabelle, had offered her spare room for me to stay in. I only had two more years of high school. Uprooting me now was pure torture.

When the last of my boxes left my room, I could no longer take it.

I sat, crossed my legs and arms, and refused to move.

My brothers had each tried to convince me that moving to Georgia from New York was a good idea.

That leaving my best friend in the entire world would be fine.

That starting over in some hillbilly town would improve my life.

Thomas came first. The small scar that ran through his right eyebrow distinguished him from his twin brother – but, I could tell them apart easily. It was odd that a scar was the thing that visually separated them. Anyone would expect Trey to have a scar – he was the one more likely to do activities associated with scars.

But, Thomas's scar was twelve years old – two years younger than the owner. He had gotten it when I decided it would be a good idea to have him try my Barbie skates. It didn't work out well.

Thomas and Trey shared their blue eyes, blonde hair, lightly freckled faces, but their similarities were purely superficial – like most twins. Thomas was kind and compassionate. Trey...was also kind, but he believed in tough love.

Thomas sat in front of my silent protest and placed a hand on my knee. When the twins hit puberty, they sprouted to a tall 5'8, making them finally an inch taller than me. I knew they would be slouching to look into my eyes soon, like Thomas was doing now, because the doctor said they had a few more years of growing to do. His eyes were nearly level with mine though for now, and he was trying appeal to my emotions rather than reason, "Tor, you know we can't do this without you."

I frowned. "I don't want to leave, Thomas. This is my home. That's never going to change. I can't leave."

He went to speak, but Trey – the less-compassionate, blunter twin popped his head in the room and tried to appeal to reason, "Look, Torrie, you know you'll get in the car eventually. Why fight fate? Just get in and bitch about it the whole ride there. That will really piss them off," he raised his eyebrows once and nodded, as if he were telling himself he had come up with a good idea.

"Thomas and Trey!" my mom's voice called to them from the kitchen. "You guys need to get in the car. Maybe Torrie seeing her fourteen year old brothers follow directions efficiently will embarrass her into cooperating."

"Not likely," the twins said together.

They almost made me smile.

"You know she's going to win eventually," Trey said over his shoulder as he turned to leave the house he grew up in.

Thomas looked around my room, the bare walls and bare...everything, patted my knee once and left the room, following his brother.

The stairs creaked under their weight and started creaking a bit more after a second – someone else was coming to try.

"Let's not make this a thing, huh?" my dad said, popping his head in the doorway. He looked like he was scared of an explosion. Which wasn't an incorrect response to the situation.

"A thing?" I crossed my arms tighter.

I admit, I definitely wasn't winning any points in the maturity column, but my entire family had taken the news of the move without any objections.

"Yes. A thing." He tried to match my tone, but he couldn't quite reach the level of contempt, "Torrie, we need the money. It's a great area. Mom and I checked out the house weeks ago,"

"Yes, I know," I said, cutting him off. "And it's beautiful. And bigger. And we actually have a huge yard all to ourselves." I mimicked the excited tone our parents had used when telling us about the move.

I had just gotten back from my last day of sophomore year, excited to start the summer with a day trip to Manhattan with Annabelle.

Instead, on May 25th, my parents told me that we would be in our new house, in a new state, on June 1st.

My parents seemed to think that moving before the summer "truly" started was better for their precious children. Somehow, they believed the summer would give us all time to get used to the new town. The new community. Etc.

But, instead, I would probably end up stuck in my room, with no friends, and eating compulsively.

"Don't be rude, Torrie. And I was going to say...we met some of our neighbors. They're very nice," my father was saying, and he could tell I was ignoring him. "I'm trying here, kid."

"Dad," I said, trying desperately to get him to see my side, "I finally broke up with Justin. It's the first time that I've been single since I was thirteen. I made the varsity basketball team. I belong here."

He sat and thought for a minute, "Torrie, I understand your frustrations, I really do. Your mom and I have a good group of friends here. But, guess what? Georgia has people, too. Your new school also has a basketball team, and you're so good, they'll definitely let you join."

I rolled my eyes.

"Now, none of that. I'm telling the truth. And as for the Justin thing, it's not my fault you decided to break up with him months ago. You shouldn't have started dating him in the first place. I don't know what your mother was thinking letting you 'date' so young," he actually used air quotes. I fought the oncoming eye roll.

"You're missing my point."

"No, I'm not. You're missing mine-" He was cut off once again.

"We are not negotiating, Bill. She is our child. She will listen just because. And besides, she's sixteen. She's got no sense to negotiate with." My mom screamed up the stairs again.

"I was just about to say that, Patricia," my dad yelled back.

"I do have sense," I said, and he raised his eyebrows at me.

"Could have fooled me," he said, in a matter-of-fact tone.

"You know she hates it when you call her Patricia. You only do it when you're being an ass," I mumbled.

His eyes widened, "And I thought I was being clever." He went to leave but came back, "Look. Just get in the car. We wouldn't do this if we honestly thought it was detrimental to your development." And just before he left for good, he peaked his head in, "And watch your language."

I strained to hear whatever he was going to say to my mom. "I tried, Patty."

I heard mumbles as they continued to discuss their difficult child. They probably didn't know how to handle it. I was usually pretty chill. I turned my back to the door, willing them just to leave.

And here we are.

With my last ten minutes of freedom ticking away. I debated on whether or not my father could physically get me down the stairs without hurting himself.

My phone buzzed in my pocket.

I pulled it out quickly, wishing for a surrender text from parents, but knowing, with a nagging feeling in the back of my mind, that it would never come. I would be living in Georgia. Whether I liked it or not.

It was from Trey. It read: "Mom said you got 3 minutes. That vein in her forehead is starting to pulsate. I think she's about to stroke out."

A knot in my stomach started to form as I realized how ridiculous I was being.

The knot moved from my stomach to my throat. I tried to swallow, but it just stung.

I would give myself three minutes to cry.

Three more minutes of this pity party.

Everyone was right – I would be in that car eventually. Might as well go voluntarily and not thrown over my dad's shoulder...possibly sprawled out at the bottom of the stairs once he tripped down them.

Tears rolled down my face, making the phone screen blurry, but visible enough: "It's really happening." I typed to Annabelle. "I'm gonna miss you more than anything. Come visit."

I pressed send, stood up, wiped my face and tucked my hair behind my ear.

I made my way to the door. My phone buzzed twice. Two texts.

One was from Annabelle: "I'm so sorry, Tor. Miss you already, and love you more. And you know I'll be visiting as soon as I can. And every time after that. And plus, our Manhattan trips can't just stop just because you're in...Georgia." I could almost hear her voice saying "Georgia" like you would say "snot bubbles." And I loved her for it.

The other text was from Thomas: "Incoming."

I looked up, and I was suddenly face to face with my mom.

She looked like she wanted to yell at me.

But, she caught sight of my puffy eyes.

I rarely cried. She said even as a baby I was pretty calm.

I broke my arm when I was five and shed a few tears when they did the x-rays.

But, this was just too much for me to handle.

All the fury went out of her in a huff. She held out her hand with a small smile, trying to be comforting, "Come on, baby," she said, her voice sounding liquidy, meaning she was probably going to cry soon.

I took her hand. And suddenly, I found myself on the way to Georgia. My new home sweet home.