05 November 2005

Story: Viva Mexico, Part I

Part of the Terrence/Brianna series.  Bri's soccer team takes a trip to Mexico for a soccer tournament.  (At the time of writing this story, my knowledge of Mexico and Spanish wasn't necessarily the best.  Therefore, please excuse any errors in either of these areas.  I promise that my knowledge is greater now.)

Viva Mexico
Part I
by Breanna Carter

"Have you started packing yet?" was the first thing Ana asked when I answered my cell phone on a Friday afternoon, only a few minutes after Ashton had dropped me off at home.

"Ana... we have a week left..."

"That's right! Only a week... which means this time next week, we'll be on an airplane to Mexico!! And then the next day is your eighteenth birthday! And we're going to party it up with some good-looking Latinos."

I smiled. "Anyway, why did you ask? Have you started packing?"

"Of COURSE!" she said, as if it would be a sin to not have started packing yet. "I've got three pairs of jeans and some cute shirts, and was going to get some shampoo and a new toothbrush from Wal-mart, but Ashton won't take me, dammit. Wish Dad would hurry up and get me a fucking car."

I giggled. "Well, don't fret. It's still a week away."

"How come you're not excited? You've never even been out of the country before! You should be bouncing off the walls more than me... and plus, you'll be 18... so you can get into the bars in Mexico!"

"I know, I know.. and anyway, I guess I've had a lot on my mind, and Mrs. Meachum still hasn't signed my damn slip yet. I mean, I know she will because the soccer girls would slash her tires if she didn't... but it's still making me nervous. And Terrence and Tonya have been driving me crazy with their wedding plans and talking about me wearing a dress and all that crazy shit."

"I'm glad that you're getting along with them now. For a long time you hated her."

"Yeah... actually, it wasn't a long time, just after I found out they were going to get married. I'm a bitch, what can I say?"

Anastasia giggled. "Well, at least you're over that now. And anyway, get to packin'. I'm going to pester Ashton into taking me to Walmart... need anything?"

"Nahh, I'm good," I said, smiling. "See ya later!"

We hung up the phone and I sighed, reading more of the stupid book I had to read for English class. I'd made a deal with my English teacher, Mrs. Meachum, that I'd be a perfect angel so long as she'd sign that damn slip so I could go to Mexico. Coach was more than willing to give her the extra time to sign it, just so I could go, but not after the team had to practically beg Mrs. Meachum to consider me going. I'd done well so far... turned in all of my homework, kept my smartass comments to a minimum, and she said as long as I finished my reasearch paper and had it in on Monday, she'd sign it. So I was reading a book on John Locke, a boring British philosopher. That was when Cole called me.

"Hey, Bri," he said and I could tell he was smiling.

"What do you want?" I teased.

"Ah, well, you told me today at school that you had plans to do nothing for the night, so I was wondering if I could swing by and save you from your boredom."

"Who says I'm bored?" I asked, throwing down the book on John Locke.

"Aww, come on, let your prince save you from despair without all the questions!"

I giggled. "Okay, Prince... you may save me... but I have to talk to the King first and make sure it's okay with him, and put on some shoes or something."

"Ahh, okay, well ask your majesty and call me back?"

"I might."

"Okay, see you in an hour then?"

"Sure thing."

I gave Terrence a quick call then hopped in the shower to get ready. Truthfully, nothing serious was going on between Cole and me, nor would it get that way. But this could still be considered a date, so I was going to look hott.

I called him back after I was all clean, my hair up in a towell. "Yeah, your highness said it was fine, as long as you have me home by midnight."

"Awww... okay. When do you want me to pick you up?"

"As soon as you want. What? You think I'm going to get all decked out or something?"

"Fine. I'll see you in twenty."

"Later!" I yelped, throwing the phone down to dry my hair. I put on something cute and straightened my hair, just in time to hear Cole ringing the doorbell.

"I thought you weren't getting 'all decked out'?"

"I didn't... I'm naturally this beautiful," I said, putting my license in my back pocket.

"Ohhhh.. well, you look nice."

"Thanks!" I answered. He led me to his car. It was a totally hott BMW... have I mentioned that the kids at my school are super rich? He even opened the door for me!

We didn't do much, just caught a movie (yes, he paid), rode around a little, then a goodnight kiss I totally wasn't expecting. Made it home by eleven and called Ana who was as ecstatic as always.

"Did you get to go to Walmart?"

"Yeah! Got a toothbrush, toothpaste, spiffy shampoo, then loads of junk food. Got your stuff, too!"

"What stuff?" I asked, hauling a big suitcase out of my closet.

"Toiletries!"

"Oh, Ana!" I began, about to bitch her out, but she cut me off.

"Where were you tonight anyway?"

"Don't change the subject!"

"You don't change the subject! Did you go out with Cole?"

"Maybe."

"Did he kiss you??"

"Maybe."

"Bri! Oh my gosh... that's so awesome!!!"

"And anyway, why'd you buy me stuff?"

"I didn't, Ashton did."

I opened the suitcase and threw some stuff inside, dropping the subject. The stuff was already bought, so why pursue it further? I'd just have to pay her back somehow. "Mexico is going to kick ass!" I concluded, much to her agreement, soon thereafter, conking out on my bed, with only a couple of pairs of jeans in the suitcase that was in the middle of the floor.

"Briiiii!! Wake up!!" I heard and groaned, noticing that it was Tonya's voice. I wasn't groaning at Tonya, per se, just the fact that she was waking me up.

"Whatttt?" I muttered.

"Your cell phone has been ringing all morning. Won't you get up and answer it already? It's a boy."

"How do you know??" I said, waking up and about to be enraged if she'd answered my phone.

"Cause he called the house a minute ago and said he'd been trying to call your cell and was just making sure you were okay."

"Oh, okay," I mumbled, then lay back down. "Who was it?"

"Cole."

I smiled a little, giggling.

"Oh? Is he your new boyfriend?"

"Nahh, we're just sort of talking. We went out last night. Terrence didn't tell you?"

She sat down next to me on my bed. "He told me you were going out with some guy, but I didn't get any details. So now it's your job to provide them!" she teased.

I rolled my eyes. "He's just a guy that I go to school with. He's a junior... totally adorable. Has a GREAT car!"

"Oooo! That's really awesome!"

She was about to say something else but my cell phone began blaring some outrageous classical tune. I glanced at the caller ID and it was Cole. I showed it to Tonya then answered.

"You must sleep like a rock," he said.

"Hello to you, too."

"I've been calling all morning."

"So I noticed."

"And you didn't even bother to call me back?" he said, not angry, just picking on me.

"Don't start with me."

"Anyway, they're having this all-day concert thing downtown and there's this band that I really want to see who plays at two, so I was wondering if you wanted to go with me."

I glanced at Tonya, smiling and rolling my eyes. "How come you didn't tell me this last night?"

"Didn't find out about it til today. So do you wanna go or not? Cause if not, I'll call the other hundreds of girls lined up at my doorway who are all dying to go out with me."

"Well, I guess I'll cancel my other five dates to go out with you, prince charming."

"Awesome. Pick you up in an hour?"

"Oh? You gotta get all beautiful for me?"

"Of course!"

"Okay, see ya!!" I hung up the phone and bounced on my bed, squealing. "Ahem, I hope Terrence doesn't mind."

"I'm sure he won't... I'll just tell him that I said you could go," Tonya told me, giving me a hug.

"Better get ready!" I ran to the shower, and was ready thirty minutes later, baggy jeans, T-shirt and my soccer jacket, my hair in pigtail braids with a fuzzy beanie (or ski cap, for those of you who don't know teenager lingo). I was totally casual-adorable, everyone had to admit it.

"Another big date?" Terrence asked.

"You're so corny, Terrence," I answered. "It's not a date... we're just hanging out."

"Ohhh, excuse me. Who is this kid anyway? You don't talk about him much."

"He's a FRIEND of mine... his name is Cole, he drives a BMW... no corny comments around him!"

"Would I do something like that?"

I gave him "the look" and sat down on the couch with my cat, watching tv for a little while til Cole came around. He met Terrence, and I'll admit, I'm proud of my brother for not embarrassing me, then we headed off to this concert thing. One thing about Cole that was better than most guys at my school, we actually liked the same type of music, for the most part. Like Jayna would have hated anything I listened to, and while Cole and I didn't listen to the same bands, we would probably still *like* the same bands... if that makes sense. Anyway, the concert was pretty cool... and it wasn't too cold outside, so that made it even better. Ana had called sometime between three and four and said that she was going to see if Blake wanted to meet us out there for a double date, and I thought that'd be cool, except her and Blake were loads closer than Cole and I were.

It started to get dark around 6:30, when Cole bought us a hotdog and some drinks, and some cotton candy to share. It was quite adorable, to say the least. We sat on the ground in front of the stage where bands were changing. The main band was coming on about eight and we'd decided that we'd stay to see them since it was like $15 a piece to get in. Neither of us had heard of them, but they were supposedly a big emo band that most people had heard of... might as well stay.

It was nearing seven when I felt my phone vibrate. We were halfway through our bag of cotton candy and the band was almost set up on stage. I glanced at my phone and noticed it was Ana.

"Just a sec," I told Cole, interrupting him mid-sentence. "Hello?"

"Bri," I heard Ana say, then sniffle.

"Ana?? What happened?" I asked.

"I need you to come over," she gasped. She was either crying, very close to it, or had just finished.

"Sure, okay. Right now? Can Cole come?"

"Ask Terrence if you can drive. I need to hang out... without boys... pleaseee ask him if you can have your car."

"If I can't can Tonya come pick you up? Then we'll come back to my house and watch movies or something?"

"That's fine... pleaseee hurry, Bri."

"Okay, I'll be there as soon as I can.. promise."

"Thanks..."

I glanced at Cole who had a hand full of cotton candy. I couldn't help but smile. "Ana needs me... something happened. Do you mind taking me home?"

"Not at all," he answered, not sounding slightly agitated, which surprised me, since 90% of the guys I know would have been pissed that I was ditching them for a friend. I'd never put guys before my girl, though.

He sped back to my house and I thanked him once again for understanding, giving him a big hug and kiss... so maybe we were a *little* more than just friends... but we definitely weren't an item... yet. I ran inside the house and interrupted Terrence and Tonya's conversation about the wedding (they talked about it all the time anyway!)

"Terrence! I need my car."

He raised his eyebrows. "You sure are demanding."

"Really, Terrence... I need it. Ana needs me. I promise I'll be good, I won't speed, I won't drink and drive, I'll be an angel. Pleaseeee let me have my car... just for tonight... then you can have it again til I'm 90 and can't drive anyway."

He must have noted the panic in my voice because he nodded. "Okay, you can have it tonight, but be careful, Brianna, okay?" he said. He gave me that look, deep into my eyes, enough to make my stomach churn and I knew he meant business.

"I promise I will, Terrence."

He dug through a drawer in the dining room and threw me my keys. "Don't be out too late, and call me and let me know what's up."

"Okay," I said, smiling and hugging him tightly. "See you tonight."

I ran out the door and drove a mile under the speed limit to Anastasia's house. I gave a quick knock on the door, then pushed it open. Ana was lying on the couch, box of tissues at her side, watching "Titanic."

"Ana?" I asked and walked towards the couch, dropping the keys on the floor and kneeling down in front of her on the floor. "What happened?"

"Guys are ASSHOLES!."

"Yeah, they are. Was it Blake?"

She nodded.

"What'd he do?"

"Sleeping... with... Jayna," she murmured, the burst into tears.

"That dirty motherfucker," I began, then went to call him every name I could think of. "I'll kill him!"

"Noooo, don't kill him."

"How'd you find out?"

"His sister called me... said I needed to come see something... walked in on them... he swore it was the first time, and Jayna looked at me like I was the devil and laughed in my face."

"I'll kill that bitch..."

"I'm okay.." I gave her a look that I didn't buy it. "Really, Bri, I am. I just want to sit here and watch Titanic... forever..."

"Oooookay... we're not watching stupid Titanic," I told her, taking the remote control and turning the tv off. "You're not going to sit here and mope. We're going to go driving around... come on."

I grabbed her wrist and dragged her off of the couch, tissues dropping to the floor. "I don't wanna," she whined.

"I don't care." I handed her a pair of shoes and ordered her to put them on and she complied, glaring at me the whole time. Then I dragged her outside. "Terrence finally gave me my car back and we're going to waste the gas in it since he paid for it."

She smiled slightly at that statement. "I didn't know he'd break my heart."

"Ah, well, most guy are heartbreakers anyway. Steph's boyfriend broke her heart, too... and then I got my ass beat later that night for being out past curfew and taking Terrence's car..." I rubbed my bum thinking about it. "But I didn't steal anything this time and we have hours til curfew... so we're going out."

I unlocked the doors. "I'm so stupid."

"No you're not!" I assured her and hopped inside, changing the cd to bitchy girl music... the best thing for a broken heart. Within a few minutes she was dancing and singing along with me and we got on the topic of Mexico.

"Okay... here's the thing," I began, turning the music down a little. "I'll be eighteen... my eighteenth birthday is on a Saturday night... a week from today. Anyway... I'm going to party with YOU dammit... and I don't know about the clubs in Mexico, but I know the drinking age isn't 21... the U.S. is the only stupid country with that drinking age. So you're going out with me, and I'm getting you a fake ID."

She stared at me, then laughed. "You want Ashton to kill us, don't you?"

"Nahhh... we won't die. We'll be in Mexico.. no one will know... we'll be miles away from Ashton. He'll never find out..."

"Famous last words. But we're not drinking, okay?"

"Nooo... not drinking, but we are going out and dancing. I want to have a Mexican 18th birthday."

"And we'll have one hell of a night. Hopefully our host family will be ultraspiffy."

"And if they're not, we'll just sneak out... and if they find out, we'll beg them not to tell coach. 'Por favorrrrr! No habla con mi...' What's the word for teacher in Spanish?"

She giggled. "No idea..."

"Eh, oh well. I'm sure with our adorable American girl charm we can convince them not to tell."

"If you say so, Bri. But if we get caught, I'm blaming you!"

"That's fine.. I'm a senior! What are they going to do? Send me home?"

She shrugged.

"So anyway... Steph can hook me up with a fake ID... are you in for it?"

"Of course I am."

"But after we get back you have to get rid of it so Ashton doesn't find it. Deal?"

"Deal."

We drove around a little more and even drove by Jayna and Blake's houses, flipping them off (or their houses...). Then I drove her back by her house.

"Keep packing and it'll cheer ya up," I told her.

She hugged me tightly. "Thanks for being here for me."

"No problem."

"Sorry for breaking up your date with Cole... was going to call you back and tell you not to worry about it... but I really needed some company."

"It wasn't a date and even if it was, I'd break up any date to help ya feel better."

"Thanks," she smiled. "See you later."

"Later."

I watched her go inside, then wave back at me and disappear behind the front door. I was very tempted to call Cole on my ride home but wasn't sure if Terrence would consider that wreckless driving and decided against it. I called him after I explained the situation to my brother, Tonya having been gone for a few minutes.

"You're a good friend, Bri," he told me. "There's plenty of people out there who wouldn't have done that... I'm proud of ya."

"Awww," I giggled, blushing. "Thanks, Terrence. Guess I should call Cole and apologize."

Terrence nodded. "And I'm going to bed. See you in the morning."

"Goodnight."

I dialed Cole's number while changing into my pjs and talked to him as I stared at the dark ceiling in my room. He was cool with everything that'd happened... didn't bother him that Ana broke up our semi-date... didn't bother him that I would always put my friends before my guys. He said he'd do the same. That didn't bother me either. I don't know how long we talked... must've been hours before I finally realized it was after midnight.

"Should be getting to bed," he said. "Church in the morning."

"Have fun with that."

"Loads. Goodnight, princess."

"Goodnight, prince," I joked.

I turned my phone off and sighed... Ana's relationship was over, the same time that Cole had begun taking an interest in me... how crazy is that? Oh well... I wasn't looking for a relationship anyway, and I think I hinted around enough to Cole... Guess time will tell.

*****

The week of our Mexico trip was the slowest week EVER! Mrs. Meachum finally signed my slip and everyone clapped for me as I bowed to the class. The rest of my classes went smoothly, but the soccer team was so excited that we barely paid attention and ended up having half the day off on Thursday to pack.

"Ana!" I called, meeting her in the hallway while she chattered to some friends about the trip.

"Hey, Bri!" she giggled. "How excited are you! Tomorrow we're going to Mexico!!"

"I know, I know!! I got the thing I was telling you about.." I told her, referring to the fake ID.

"The thing..?" she began, until she realized what I was talking about. "Ohhh, yay!!!"

We walked in a big group to my car that Terrence had finally given back to me. He told me later that he had been planning to give it back to me on my birthday anyway, so just a week earlier wouldn't hurt.

"Go pack your shit!" I told the rest of the soccer girls and unlocked the doors.

"Of course we are!" they shouted back. We waved goodbye to each other and I sped off, trying not to break any laws on my way to Ana's house. However, the two of us were so excited, I might have let my speed increase above the speed limit a couple of times.... but at least I didn't get pulled over!

I lay on Ana's bed as she finished packing her clothes and handed me the toiletries that they'd bought me.

"What do you think it's going to be like?" I asked, staring at the ceiling.

"You know more about Mexicans than I do," she admitted.

"True... but you know more about foreign countries than I do."

She threw the last of her things in the suitcase then sat on it to zip it up. "I haven't been to *that* many foreign countries!"

"Yeah, right... since I've known you, you've gone to Paris, Madrid, and London. And I've been to... Chicago."

She giggled. "Okay, but none of those were that great anyway."

"Shut up... only a spoiled rich brat would say that!"

She stood up, successfully having zipped up the suitcase. "Now you sound like Ashton!"

"He's a spoiled rich brat, too. And I love it. Wish I was a spoiled rich brat."

"Well, you've got the spoiled and brat part... now ya just need to marry a rich guy.. *coughColecough*."

"Meh, I'm not even thinking about marriage yet," I said as she plopped down beside me, staring at the ceiling as well.

"That's the way to go. Sometimes love isn't that great, though, and it can fool you into thinking you want to get married."

I looked at her. "So you really loved Blake, huh?"

She shrugged. "Maybe... I don't know. I at least felt like I was in love... it was nice while it lasted, I admit it. But I'm over him."

"We'll party in Mexico and find a good-looking Latino for you."

"Except I don't speak Spanish."

"Si, senorita! Si habla Espanol!"

"No, no hablo Espanol."

I laughed. "I'm so excited about tomorrow. I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight."

"Me either... How's things with Tonya, by the way... and the wedding stuff."

"They're okay. I told you that Tonya wants me to be her maid of honor?"

"Yeah... that's awesome... after what you did to her." She was glaring at me.

I glared back. "Hey! You would have done it, too! You don't want anyone taking your brother away."

"I'd be relieved! Ashton won't get off my back about anything lately."

"Yeah, yeah... you know you'd miss him."

"You're right..." she began, then heard the front door slam. "Speak of the devil..."

We heard him jogging up the stairs and he arrived to Ana's room, hands on his hips. "And what are you girls doing home this early?"

"Chill, Ashton... don't get your panties in a twist," I giggled.

"School was let out early so we could pack. Isn't that great?" Ana told him.

"Well, I assume you have everything packed?"

"Of course! Now we just have to get Bri's stuff packed."

"Better hurry... you only have fourteen hours to get everything finished," he said sarcastically.

"I know, I guess I'll speed home.." I joked.

"Speed home and you'll be sitting on a sore bottom the whole way to Mexico tomorrow."

"Oooh, I'm soooo scared."

"Yeah, you better be. Anyway, you should probably get to packing, Bri. Gotta go to bed early so you can get up at the crack of dawn."

"Like I'll be able to sleep anyway..." I giggled.

"Yeah, yeah, I know. But it's best to try. Are you going over there with her?" he asked Ana.

She nodded.

"Okay, well, I gotta work on some psychology homework. Good luck with the packing."

"Psychology homework? Don't you have that class in... two hours?"

"Ooooo! Ashton is a procrastinator!" I said mockingly.

"Actually, if you must know, the homework is finished, I just need to proofread it and add a couple of things."

"Mmmhmmm... sure..."

"Just go home, Bri," he said, punching me playfully in the shoulder.

"I'm leaving!" I assured him, rolling off of the bed and dragging Ana with me. The two of us giggled through the house and yelled goodbye to Ashton then got in the car. "Oh, I forgot to show you," I began, digging in my back pocket and taking out a shiney ID. "Here's your ID."

Ana took it in her hands and read over it. "Haha... yay! I'm older than you are!"

"Yeah, I know. I figured if they asked you for your birthdate, it'd be easier to remember only the year you were born..."

"Very true. It's just going to be weird pretending like I'm older than you. But oh well. I'm so excited!"

From there we went onto my house and chattered about the trip with enthusiam. She helped me pack my suitacse then we lay on my bed and dreamt about what would happen. I figured that our predictions wouldn't come true, but it was nice to think about it.

"Do you think we'll be able to stay out of trouble?" Ana asked.

I laughed out loud. "Yeah, right.."

*****

The loud shrill of my cell phone bellowed through my cold room before the sun rose. I didn't even open my eyes to see who it was calling -- already had a good idea, plus was so tired and delerious, didn't really care.

"Hello?" I muttered.

"BRI! Guess what! We're going to Mexico! Wake up, wake up, wake up!!"

It took a minute for it all to register, then I realized... "Ahhh! It's Friday morning! We're going out of town!!!" I finally opened my eyes and rolled out of bed to jump up an down for a second. "Ana! It's three thirty in the morning! We don't have to be at the airport for two hours!..."

"I know! But I woke up and realized what day it was and was sooo excited that I had to call and wake you up!"

"Otay!" I giggled, turning my light on and searching around the room for the clothes I'd already picked out to wear. "But I can't wake Terrence up yet... because he'd beat my ass."

"Yeah, as would Ashton mine. That's why I called you!"

We giggled for a little while, getting giddier by the moment, until Ana pried me away so she could take a shower. I skipped through the house, undoubtably waking Terrence up, and taking my own shower, singing a song that I'd made up about going to Mexico. I'd never been so happy and excited in my whole life. If it'd been up to me, I would have told everyone in the city what I was doing. Of course, the news had already been covering the fact that we were selected to go on the trip, and when we got back, if we did well, there'd be a good chance that we'd be on the news even more... so essentially, the whole city *would* know what I was doing...

"Would you settle down already?" Terrence asked for the fifth time in the last ten minutes.

"I can'ttttttt," I replied, bouncing in my seat and singing along to the song on the radio as he drove me to the airport.

He shook his head at me, smiling, then turning the radio down. "Do you want something to eat?"

"Nooooo... I want to go to the airport!"

"Chill. We're going to the airport, but we don't have to be there for thirty minutes."

"Sooooo?"

He rolled his eyes at me. "Fine... but you're going to starve for the next two weeks.. you realize that, right?"

I thought about that for a moment, then said, "Okay, we can stop through McDonald's to get one last good American meal before I go, but only because I know you reallllly want to." I was trying not to let him know he was right, even though he knew that I knew he was. I hated Mexican food... so I would starve... and breakfast really didn't sound that bad...

After stopping at the drive thru, I pestered him to speed the whole way to the airport and he actually did, in order to get me to shut up. Then Ana called me to see where we were and I talked to her for a few minutes, much to Terrence's annoyance. After finally hanging up the phone, he started in on the lecture.

"Bri, I know you're excited, and I know you don't want to hear this, but whatever you do, you have to follow the rules, got it?"

"Yes, sir!" I said, saluting him.. taking the "Ana-approach."

He glared in my direction. "I'm serious, Brianna. You're going to behave on this trip because I don't have the money to fly you back home if you get in trouble. And if I *do* have to fly you back home, the money will come from selling your car, got it?"

I gulped. "I got it. Can we stop talking about the depressing stuff, now?"

"Fine, fine," he teased, "I just worry about ya, kiddo. I'm going to miss you while you're gone!"

"Oh, now, don't go getting all mushy on me," I answered dissolving into ecstatic screams when we entered the gate to the airport.

The guard gave me a crazy look to which Terrence replied, "her first trip out of the country."

"I'm excited!" I answered.

The guard smiled and gave us the parking slip thing. Ashton and Ana were standing out by their car when we got to the parking lot, and had saved us a spot right next to them.

"I made Ashton park way out here so you could park next to me!" Ana said and hugged me tightly. We jumped up and down and squealed like crazy, meeting a couple of other girls from the team and giggling with them as well. We sort of walked away, too, letting our brothers get our luggage for us. They didn't mind, though, I don't guess. At least they didn't tell us they did... or if they did, we weren't listening. Who cares? We were so excited that we felt like we were the center of the universe and that everything should revolve around us anyway.

After a few giddy moments with our soccer friends, we all went back to our family and I helped Terrence carry some of my stuff. I let him handle the big suitcase, a rolly one that Tonya had bought for me especially for the trip, and I carried my soccer bag as a carry on, though the only soccer-related thing inside was my soccer ball because it wouldn't fit inside my suitcase. Instead of its usual contents, it held my portable cd player, some cds, school work, and food. Thus, it wasn't nearly as heavy as the suitcase that Terrence was lugging. It was on wheels anyway... and I'd be dealing with it the rest of the trip, so it wouldn't hurt Terrence to carry it for once!

As we made it inside, we met up with Coach and most of the rest of the team. Everyone was in line to get their stuff from the airport people and to give their luggage to them to put on the plane. I really wasn't quite sure what I was doing because I hadn't been on an airplane in so long, so I just let Ana and some of the other girls lead me around because they seemed like they'd flown waay more than I had.

After checking our luggage, we got in a big group again, heading towards the stairs where security sat to check our carry ons. They wouldn't let our families go past the metal detectors with us, so I gave Terrence a big hug, a little nervous, but mostly excited.

"Have a safe trip, and have fun. Be careful, okay, Bri? I'll miss you! And you better call me!"

"Stop being a sap," I told him, though I didn't mind that much, really. It was good to know that he still cared about me. "And I'll be fine."

He smiled, releasing me from the hug. Ana and I switched brothers for a moment and I hugged Ashton tightly, remembering the super crush I had on him and wondering if there'd ever be a chance. One day I'd talk to Ana about that... but at that moment, my mind was only on the trip to Mexico.

We all successfully made it past the metal detectors and x-ray machine, though some people had to walk through more than once or get checked over by the officer. Luckily, I wasn't one of those people. Once on the other side of the gate, my heart was pounding so much from the adrenaline. I looked back on the otherside where the rest of my group was waiting to go through the metal detectors and waved a final time to Terrence, then followed Coach to the gate.

The flight wasn't set to leave until seven, so we had plenty of time to wait. Some of the girls were still in their pjs and carried pillows and blankets, listening to their portable cd players and falling asleep in a corner, making sure we promised to wake them up when it was boarding time. I played cards with Ana, Shellie and another freshman. The other girls just sat around and talked. We all stuck close together, though, anxiously glancing at the clock every so often.

Finally, we heard the words we'd been waiting for all morning: "We are now boarding first class passengers on flight 2893 to Houston, Texas."

Okay, so maybe *those* weren't exactly the words we'd been waiting for... more like waiting for "we are now landing in Mexico City"... but they were still nice to hear! None of us were first class, but we all started standing up and getting our stuff gathered, waking all of the girls who'd fallen asleep. Before the lady even got the chance to call for the next section to board, the team was standing around the gate, craning their necks towards the speaker to listen to whatever seat numbers she'd call next.

I think there was a collective yelp when they called the sections that the soccer team was in. We were almost excited enough to fight each other to get in line faster, but we didn't. We tried to remain civilized.

Lucky me, I had a window seat, and Ana was next to me, Shellie next to her. We couldn't sit still, or be quiet. I tried to listen to the video that explained safety procedures, but we were moving and that made me nervous, so instead of watching the stewardess show us where the exits were, I held onto Ana's hand and closed my eyes.

"Never been on a plane?" Shellie asked.

"Not in a looooong time. Since my parents were alive. I must've been eight or nine. We went to New York City."

"The flight to NYC will be longer than this one. We'll be in Houston in an hour... and from there it's only two and a half hours to Mexico City. We're going to be fine... Loosen up on your grip a little!" Ana pleaded.

"I can't! I'm scared," I affirmed, loudly, I guess, because a couple of the girls on the soccer team giggled.

I leaned back in my seat, head planted firmly against the rest, eyes still shut. I held onto Ana's hand for dear life, then started making God-awful whining noises, until finally Ana told me I looked like I was having a baby and the plane sped up, pointing its nose to the air and rising above the surface.

I opened my eyes, noticing that nearly everyone around was staring at me, and then giggled. "Okay, that wasn't so bad," I admitted. Ana rolled her eyes at me and I raised the shutter over the window, watching the city below me and wondering if I'd miss it in the next two weeks.

Ana was right when she said the flight wasn't so long. Within an hour we were back on the ground again at the Houston airport. Our moods were elevated when we got off the plane and many of us grabbed a bite to eat then waited in the next gate for the flight out to Mexico City. No one slept through this wait because we were too giddy. There were loads of different ethnicities around, many Mexicans and Latinos from other countries, as well as some Asians and Arabs. Since this was the international airport in Houston, the flights went to all over the world.

"Bri! They're speaking Spanish!" Anastasia told me, tapping me on the shoulder to interrupt my conversation with Shellie.

"Wow.." I answered sarcastically. Unlike Ana, however, I'd been around plenty of Hispanics, seeing that I used to work with them. That's what happens when you have a boss from Texas who's used to hiring only those of Latino descent.

"That's so cool!"

A group of soccer players next to us were practicing their Spanish.

"Como estas?"

"Como te llamo?"

Ana looked at me. "I can speak Spanish, too!" she said, then said "Adonde es el mano?"

I giggled. "Mi mano es aqui," I said, waving my hand around.

She gave me a confused look. "Huh?"

"My hand is right here.."

"And?"

"You asked where my hand was!"

"I did?"

"Yes.." Now I was confused, too. "What were you trying to ask?"

"Where is the bathroom.."

I giggled again. "That's *bano*."

"Oh," she said, blushing. "Oh well... close enough! I can count.." she said, rattling off the numbers as quickly as possible then "hah!"ing in my face.

I clapped for her. "Muy bien!"

She bowed just in time to hear them calling for first class to board the flight. We jumped up and down in giddiness, and waited around with the other girls for our seats. They called out the seats in Spanish and English, finally calling our rows. Unfortuantely, this flight, Shellie and Ana were next to each other and I was stuck on the row in front of them next to a Hispanic man. It was sort of frightening at first, since I was scared of planes anyway, and the rest of my group was behind me, but I was so excited about the trip that I was talkative and before I knew it, I was carrying on a conversation with the man at my side.

We talked most of the trip, ignoring the movie that was playing overhead (in Spanish with English subtitles). He was wearing a business suit and I wanted to know all about him, all about Mexico, and all about his time in America. He didn't seem annoyed in the least (or I could have been blinded to his annoyance..) and just answered my questions with patience. He told me that Mexico City was one of the biggest cities in the world and that I'd probably love it. He told me some of the bars that I'd need to check out and promised to introduce me to his nineteen year old son.

"So you're going for a soccer tournament, you said?"

"Mmmmhmmm," I nodded.

"Very nice. Where are you from?"

"Louisiana."

"Where are you going to university?"

"Somewhere far away! Maybe even in Mexico! Know of any good colleges around there?"

He thought for a moment. "The Universidad de Guanajuato."

"The what?"

He chuckled. "University of Guanajuato. It's northwest of Mexico City. Nice town. Have you taken Spanish before?"

"Um, no."

"They offer Spanish classes."

"FUN! Did you take English classes?"

He nodded. "I went to a private school in the upper class part of Mexico City. My father is a stock broker and mother a doctor. My family came from wealth. I'm one of the lucky ones." He went on to describe the poverty in Mexico and told me to be careful. "Do not walk the streets alone at night. It's very dangerous. Tourists are always in danger, because the locals know that they are ignorant about what happens."

I nodded.

"But you'll have fun. Are you only going to Mexico City?"

"Yeah. We have sooo many soccer games." I pulled out the stapled itenary, equipped with rules and all. "But we are going to get to tour the city some." I showed it to him.

"Sounds like you're going to have a good time." He explained some of the tourist sites we were going to and told me different stories about Mexican history, then about their culture. He was still talking when the pilot turned on the "fasten seatbelt" sign and told is we were about to land. I was nervous about landing and excited about getting into Mexico, I couldn't sit still to save my life. He finished up the last story and smiled, watching me halfway turn around to explain my excitement to Ana and Shellie. As the plane landed, he wished me luck and told me that he enjoyed talking to me.

Everyone on the plane got up at the same time, crowding the aisles and shoving each other around. I was too ecstatic to stand in one place, so I just grabbed my soccer bag and got out of there. The airport was different, mostly because everything was in Spanish with little English subtitles, the complete opposite of how it is in south Texas or California. I read off some of them, testing out my Spanish, though it was hard to not look at the English translation of the signs.

The rest of the soccer girls were finally off the plane and coach rounded us up to take us by customs. I was confused and stayed by Ana so she could help me out by telling me what to do. It wasn't so hard, really. We just went through this big thing where they x-rayed all of our bags, including my huge rolly suitcase that felt like it was getting heavier by the minute. My mouth was dropped and eyes wide open when we finally exited the airport. Mexico City was HUGE and everyone was speaking Spanish and it was so completely and utterly awesome!

"Girls! Listen up!" Coach said, a hush falling over our group. "We must stick together. We're going to get on a bus then head to the school that is hosting the competition. Classes ARE in session, so I expect you girls to be on your best behavior," she said, looking directly at Ana and me. I couldn't help but give a cheesy grin. "All of the other schools will be there, too, so keep the gloating to a minimum. We know we're going to win, but don't let them know that, because we want to surprise them."

We laughed.

"We'll have lunch at one.." she began, glancing at the itinerary.

"Coach... we all have itineraries!" I told her.

"Fine, fine! Let's get on the bus!"

I snuggled up in my jacket, grinning from ear to ear and holding my itinerary. "This is so awesome," I whispered.

The bus was like a brightly painted school bus, and was super big compared to our small soccer team. That was probably a good thing, though, so we could have room for our luggage. A Mexican tourguide stood at the middle of the bus and took our suitcases, lugging them to the back for us. So we sat on the front half of the bus and our luggage stayed on the back half.

"We're having a big meeting with all of the soccer teams at 11, eating at 1, meeting our host school at 3, and going home with the families shortly thereafter. No practice tonight, just getting used to the country," I told Ana when we sat down in our seat. I'd been holding the itinerary in my hands through the whole flight and walk to the bus.

"That's cool! I'm excited! I hope our host family is fun. What if they don't speak English? I don't speak Spanish! I'd never be able to communicate with them!"

"Ana, calm down. It's okay. The man I sat next to on the plane spoke great English, and said he learned it in school. This is a high school.. I'm sure the kids know plenty of English, even if their parents don't."

"Bienvenido a Mexico!" the tourguide said from the front of the bus.

"Gracias!" I answered loudly and the girls giggled.

"De nada," he said, smiling. "Did you girls have a fine trip?"

We chanted, "Yess!"

"Muy bien. Are you ready to get this futbol stuff started?"

"Si, senor!" I said.

"Ahh, that senorita, she knows her Spanish."

I beamed.

"My name is Pedro and I will be your tour guide, and this is Benito, our bus driver."

There was a unamious "Hola!"

Benito waved at us and closed the door to the bus. Pedro stood beside him as the bus took off. He talked about the different places we were passing by and enlightened us on some of the customs, then tested us in our Spanish. He was an adorable little Mexican, probably in his mid thirties, wore a baseball cap and had a mustache. The typical Mexican I was used to at work. Benito was similar, except he wore a cowboy hat and boots.. like a cowboy Mexican. Benito looked a little younger, maybe in his late twenties, and he was cute, but didn't speak a lick of English, it seemed.

We finally pulled up to a school on the more decent side of town. It seemed bigger than our school, with three wings, three gyms, and an auditorium. Benito let us off under a covered area where three other multicolored busses were parked. Students were walking around everywhere, Mexicans as well as students from other countries who were obviously there for the soccer tournament. We filed out of the bus.

"Adios, amigos!" I giggled.

"Adios!" Benito and Pedro said.

"Oooh, I love me some Latinos," I told Ana.

She agreed. "Oh yesss," she added, catching the glimpse of a good-looking Mexican boy wearing a hoodie and baggy jeans.

We walked in a group to the auditorium where various different schools sat. There were banners in different sections that had been made for each school. Some schools were from Italy, others from Ireland and Great Britain, even some from France, Russia, Japan, and India. There were also a lot of schools from Latin and South America. It was so amazingly diverse. There were so many different languages being spoken. It was so cool.

When all the schools had filed into the auditorium, the leader of the whole thing stood up and gave a speech in English, then showed a video that was in Spanish and had every subtitle that you could think of. It was actually quite boring. Shellie and I giggled through the whole thing, mostly at Ana who was concentrating so very hard on the Spanish so she could learn it. That was amusing.

After the stupid gathering thing, we met Pedro and Benito again to take us to have dinner.

"I've never been so happy to see you two!" I told them. Benito smiled, having no idea what I'd said and Pedro offered a reply.

"Well thank you! After a while you'll get sick of me, though."

"Nahhh!" I told him and went back to my seat next to Ana.

The drive to the restuarant, Pedro taught us a song in Spanish that we could all sing and dance to. Ana was really confused and couldn't pronounce any of the words which humored me to no end. Lunch was uneventful. I tried something Mexican, but hated it and only ate a couple of bites. Ana, on the other hand, who was used to eating in foreign countries, ate every last bite on her plate.

"You're going to be shitting all night," I whispered.

She laughed. "So will you."

"I only ate a little!"

"It's Mexican food.. it only takes a little!"

After we ate, Benito drove us to our host school. It was waay smaller than the other school we'd been to, not to mention on the other side of town (I think?). Pedro and Benito as well as some of the boys from the school helped get our luggage out.

I nudged Ana, pointing to a good-looking Latino with a soccer jacket on. "Hey! That's the boy whose host family we should be in."

"Yummm," she said, dragging her suitcase across the ground. "He's delicious! You think his family is hosting?"

"Why else would he be here?"

She shrugged.

The boy led us towards the gym where a crowd of kids and their parents were waiting for us. A couple of the kids seemed excited and I kind of looked at Ana. "Wow... this must be an all ages school."

She nodded.

Everyone smushed inside and the soccer coach from the school clapped his hands together, scolding a couple of the younger kids in Spanish. "I would like to welcome our American students!" There was a burst of applause. "I know that everyone is anxious to meet who they'll be staying with for the next two weeks, so I'll start calling out names and you may leave with your host family."

He began calling off the names, one by one, with the families. Luckily, with the young kids always came older kids, though there didn't seem to be many seniors. He finally came upon Shellie's name and I glared at her, because the good-looking Latino boy was HER host family instead of mine!

"No fair," I pouted.

"Awww," Shellie said. "I'll try and hook you up with him, okay?"

I grinned. She was still totally lucky because he wasn't the only boy in the family: there were two others, both younger than he, one closer to Shellie's age and one probably a little younger, but still cute.

"Brianna Carter and Anastasia..." he began and the two of us stepped forward. "Ah, very well. You'll be staying with the Hernandez family. This is Lizbeth, a freshman soccer player. You'll love her." A family came towards us, one without hott guys, which left me upset. Lizbeth was short with long black hair tied back in a ponytail. She was there with her mother and a younger boy. They were really a cute family.

"Hi!" Lizbeth said, leading us out of the gym. "I'm Lizbeth and toooo excited that you two are staying with me. This is my Mom, and my little brother, Brandon."

Brandon said hi to us, and her mom said "Hola."

"Do you have any other brothers and sisters?" I asked, keeping my fingers crossed that she had an older brother.

"I have younger twin brothers who are two and a half. But they're at home right now with our housekeeper."

"That's cool."

"Mama doesn't speak much English, and Papa's isn't that great, but Papa used to live in America and picked up on some of it then. I went to visit him one summer."

Ana and I nodded in interest as Mrs. Hernandez opened the trunk and helped put our suitcases in there.

"It was a lot of fun. I'm going to go back one day."

"So you play soccer?" Ana asked.

She nodded. "One of you can sit in the front," she said.

I hurriedly chose the backseat because I had this thing about sitting in the front. Ana shot me a glare.

"How old are you?" Lizbeth asked us.

"I'll be eighteen tomorrow, and Ana is sixteen."

"Tomorrow's your birthday?" she asked.

"Sure is."

Lizbeth's mom muttered something in Spanish to her daughter, to which Lizbeth argued for a second then quickly shut her mouth and sunk into the seat, rolling her eyes at her mother. I wasn't quite sure what was going on, nor did Ana, who gave me worried look from the front seat.

"Hey, a friend once told me that they only put up new bridges if one of them breaks. Is that true?"

Lizbeth just giggled.

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