”Adie, why do we have to move? The old house was fine," my little sister says as she groans from her seat next to me in my small car. The car that somehow seems smaller every time she asks me the same question. Shitadoodle, what do I tell her? I look over at Sophie, who is sat with one ear plug in and doesn't take her eyes off her tablet as she waits for an answer I don't want to give her. I can't worry my fifteen-year-old sister with the facts about our money situation, and the fact we have absolutely none. The truth of the matter is that our parents liked to travel around all the time, and that wasn't good for keeping a long-term job. All the traveling meant that when they died two months ago, in a car crash, I had to sell our house to pay off our debts and then move my sister into the house left in the will. I look out at the snow and ice on the road, deciding I’m not going to like this small town. Well it’s not that bad, as Scotland isn’t too far away and remote. The new house is only seven hours’ drive away from York, where I was at university. Deep breath, and answer her, Adelaide.
"Adie," Sophie sighs louder than before, and I put my foot on the gas a little more and pray my piece of crap car will actually get us to the house. God knows I don’t have the money to pay for a pickup truck or any idea who to call. The old Peugeot is traveling way too far than I would have ever trusted it to, but I really can't afford to pay for a new car.
"We are nearly there,” I finally say. That was a lame answer, and I know it.
“Great,” she huffs, and I just catch her rolling her eyes at me from under her brown hair before she goes back to whatever game she is playing on her tablet.
“I know this is a big change, but it will be good for us," I tell her as she finally looks at me for a second before huffing in response, again, and going back on her tablet. Sophie used to be a chatty twelve-year-old who loved sports. Or at least that’s what I remember her being like when I left for university, but now she is a shell of herself since our parents’ death. My heart drops as I remember that they are really gone, and I have a teenager to look after, with no job and hardly any money. I haven’t had time to grieve because I can’t melt down in front of Sophie. It's going to be difficult enough to find work that works around Sophie in a small town. A university dropout isn't a good person to hire. I had no choice but to leave when the accident happened; I couldn't move Sophie into my shared dorm at university with what the world is like now. They would kill her and me for one slip-up. The small village finally comes into view after over an hour of driving down an empty country lane. The village is near enough to a big town, so I can drive there to work in the day, and it apparently has a very good school that I've gotten Sophie into. She doesn’t start for a few weeks though, and considering we can hardly talk to each other, the idea of being stuck in an old house for weeks is not appealing.
It takes me a few wrong turns down empty roads until I find a row of four houses. Our house is the last of the attached houses, and it has its own driveway that I pull up in. Sophie finally looks up from her iPad and frowns at the sight of the overgrown lawn and old paint falling off the outside of the old house. Home, sweet, home. The house looks close to falling apart, and it takes everything in me not to slam my head against the steering wheel at the sight. The estate agent said it was in good order, this isn’t what I thought it would be like. I wrench my door open, muttering "fuck" to myself as I slam it shut behind me and go up the two steps to the door. Thankfully the locks look new, kind of, and the door opens easily before I walk in.