Just like she’d promised, as soon as I’d finished unpacking and gone downstairs, Ivy introduced me properly to all of her family members. Ivy’s mother, Jennifer, who was a stay at home mother but often volunteered at the local shelter; Ivy’s father, Phillip, who was a tall and good looking man; Ivy’s sister, Summer, who was in year 3 and very shy; Ivy’s grandmother, an old mean looking woman with a hunched back and saggy skin; and Brandon, Ivy’s older brother, who I was still waiting to meet because he lived in the boarding school at college.

When Ivy had finished introducing me to everyone she took me on a tour of the house. The living room was large and airy; the kitchen and dining room was again big but was had a very homely feel to it; the back garden which had a small tennis court down the back, a swimming pool to the left, along with a spa and sauna, a vegetable garden to the right and a large patio and grassy area in the centre. Ivy then took me upstairs to the bedrooms. There were 6 in total, including mine, each with an en suite. The most amazing thing I found though was walking up to the tower. The tower was circular and narrow and a brick staircase led the way up. At the top was the tower room. It was a lot larger than I had expected, it must have been bigger than the stairwell, but much smaller than any of the other rooms. It was filled with cushions and magazines, a mini fridge and beanbags. A small stereo was squashed in the edge of the round room and a TV was placed next to it. The windows surrounded the top half of the wall all the way round the room and curtains were half open to allow light in.

 “This is sort of my hang out area. No one else comes up here, especially not grandma ‘cause she can’t walk up the steep stairs. Summer sometimes uses this space with her friends, since it’s away from everyone else, and the mini fridge is stacked with drinks and snacks. When we have our friends over we hang here,” Ivy explained.

We spent the rest of the afternoon there, talking about our different lifestyles and how where we lived affected what we did in our spare time, until we were called to dinner. The family had made a special dinner, a large roast and chocolate fondue for desert. I hadn’t eaten much on the plane so I stuffed myself with food. After eating we watched some TV and talked about different TV shows in Sydney and LA and then went to bed. The next day I would be starting school, and I needed a good night’s sleep. However, my body clock had a different idea and I didn’t get to sleep until 4 in the morning.

I was woken up at 6 the next morning by Ivy. I normally woke at 8 when I was in Sydney and my body felt dead as I dragged myself out of bed. After quickly brushing my teeth and tying up my hair, Ivy and I walked downstairs together for breakfast. Her father was cooking pancakes and gave us each a serving. He poured us each an English breakfast tea as we sat down on the table. Summer was already sitting there drinking orange juice and eating pancakes smothered in Maple syrup. When Ivy and I had finished we excused ourselves and went upstairs to get dressed.

I took a quick shower and gave my hair a blow dry just to stop it from being soaking wet. There was a small package in the door and I opened it. Inside was my school uniform. I took it out the khaki skirt and a white collared shirt and got dressed. I tied a black ribbon around my head, and a khaki tie around my neck. I pulled on shin high white socks, and my black leather school shoes as well as my khaki blazer. 

Somebody knocked on the door. "Olive? Hey can I come in?" I could hear Ivy shuffling her feet from behind the door.

"Yeah sure, come in. I'm in the wardrobe, but unfortunately for you, I'm not naked!" I said flirtatiously. 

Ivy giggled and walked into the closet. "Oh it's so sad. I was looking forward to seeing you naked!" She came over and hit me on the but. 

I gave a little squeal and jumped away. "Hey! That was uncalled for!"

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