Jenna still couldn’t believe it. What kind of family just up and moves to Japan? she thought sullenly. She was still mad at her parents. They’d promised! Last time they’d moved, they had promised her it was the last time before she graduated high school.
For once, she’d been somewhere long enough to make some real friends, and even had a boyfriend. And now her parents had gone and ruined everything.
“Jenna, you ready? It’s almost time for the driver to pick you up!” Jenna’s mom’s voice penetrated her thoughts.
Jenna sighed and checked her reflection one last time. What did it matter anyway? she thought miserably. No one ever likes the new kid. How could my parents do this to me?
“Coming, mom,” Jenna answered, trudging slowly down the stairs.
“Oh, Jenna, it’ll be fine,” her mom said soothingly. “You always do such a good job making new friends.”
“But mom, it’s not fine. I don’t want new friends,” Jenna heard herself whining, but she just couldn’t help it. She wanted her parents to know how much they’d hurt her. “You promised, you and dad said I could graduate…”
“Jenna,” her mom interrupted, “we’ve been through this. I know you’re disappointed, sweetie, I really do, but you know this is what we needed to do. We really didn’t plan to move before your graduation, but sometimes God leads us in directions different from our plans. Your dad will be able to help make significant improvements in the company, and I’ve already found such a wonderful ministry that really needs my help.”
“Oh, mom, I know all that,” Jenna conceded. “I know… everything happens for reason, it all works together for good, blah, blah, blah. But did it have to be during my junior year? Right before prom and everything?” Jenna wiped a tear from her eye.
“Honey, I am sorry you are feeling sad, and I do understand it. But God’s timing isn’t always our timing.” Jenna’s mom wrapped her in a hug. “No more of this, look for the positive. Now let’s get going, I think I hear the car outside.”
Look for the positive, Jenna thought, rolling her eyes. Easy for her to say, she doesn’t have to spend all day with people who don’t need or want any new friends. And who has a driver to take them to school anyway, this is just too weird.
Jenna kissed her mom as she left, and walked toward the white sedan that awaited her. She was sharing a ride with Kelly, a Canadian girl who lived up the mountain and whose father worked for the same company. Here goes nothing, she thought, as the driver opened the door for her.
“Hi, you must be Jenna, I’m Kelly!” a bright-faced, red-haired girl was grinning at her as she made room for Jenna on the seat. “I’m so excited to finally meet you,” Kelly giggled. “Just wait till you see everyone, we’re all so happy to have you here.”
“Um…, what?” Jenna faltered, still trying to look friendly despite her confusion. “What do you mean, everyone?”
“Well, it’s a pretty small school,” Kelly explained. “Everyone knows everyone, and we always hear about the new kids before they get here. Josh just started last week, he’s excited to have another person from the States in our class. He’s coming to the hana-mi picnic this weekend – you’re invited too.”
“Hannah who?” Jenna asked, unsure of what to think. She’d never experienced a welcome quite like this before. “I… don’t know what that is.”
“Oh, it’s so much fun,” Kelly gushed. “We go down to the park where all the cherry blossoms are blooming, and everyone brings something to eat from their native country. Ha-na-mi,” Kelly pronounced the word slowly, “literally means ‘see the flowers’. We all eat till we’re stuffed, then head downtown to go shopping and to the movies. It’s usually an all-day thing.”
“Sure, I’ll come, as long as it’s okay with my parents” Jenna said. It did sound kind of fun, and suddenly she started to feel excited to have something to look forward to.
“Here we are,” Kelly announced. “And hey, there’s Josh!”
As Jenna turned to look, her heart did a little flip. Walking toward them, with a huge, gorgeous smile on his face, was the most amazing-looking guy Jenna had ever seen. Maybe this isn’t such a bad move after all, Jenna thought with a smile.
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