I got a phone call at about 4 in the morning. Aaliyah was murdered and Catherine was put in a shelter for homeless teens for the night.
"Are you able to house another child Ms. Bueno?" The woman from the shelter asked me.
"Yes, of course." I said.
"Okay great. How soon can you be in New York to pick her up?" The woman asked.
"I can be there tomorrow." I replied.
"Okay, so I’ll need at least 2 forms of state and picture I.d., your last 3 electricity bills and your last 3 pay stubs. All for security purposes of course." The woman said.
"I’ll be sure to have everything. Thank you." I said and hung up. I walked into Sam’s room.
"Sam, wake up." I said lightly tapping him. He shifted and sat up, yawning.
“What time is it?” He asked while stretching.
“It’s 4:30. Pack a bag, quickly, we’re going to New York.” I said.
“But what about football?” He asked me.
“I’ll explain everything to your coach, but um there’s a family emergency so we need to go.” I said.
“What happened?” He asked looking worried. I took a deep breath.
“Well, Aaliyah was murdered and Cathy’s in a shelter. We have to go pick her up. She’s going to move in with us.” I said. He looked extremely confused, but he didn’t ask questions. He just got up and went to the bathroom. I went back to my room and packed my bag.
Half an hour later we were on the road and going to New York.
After the cops realized I have no immediate family in New York, they took me to a homeless teen shelter. The lady that works here is really nice, but I really didn’t want to be here. She gave me a change of clothes (a short sleeve t-shirt, sweats and socks) and showed me the room I could use for tonight, well this morning. I couldn’t sleep at all. I just stared at the ceiling and cried silently. Aaliyah was really gone. My older sister, my best friend, my rock, the girl I looked up to, the only one I could really relate to…is gone. I tried going to sleep, but every time I closed my eyes, I saw Aaliyah. I tried listening to music, but every song annoyed me. So I just sat there in my own grief and misery. An hour passed and I watched as the sky started to get brighter. I watched the sunrise and then the people going about their daily lives. I ended up falling asleep around 7:30 am, but the lady woke me up an hour later to let me know there was breakfast in the cafeteria. I was far from hungry, but I got up and sat down at a table by myself. I plugged in my headphones and buried my face in my arms. I felt someone rubbing my back. I lifted my head slightly and saw my boyfriend, Josh. Cassie and Trey were here too. I pulled my headphones out and they all kinda half smiled at me. I closed my eyes and the tears came back. Josh hugged me and that only made me cry more.
“I’m so sorry baby, my mom said that if this place lets her, she’ll take you home and you can live with us until college.” Josh said kissing my forehead. I finally stopped crying and hugged Trey and Cassie.
"We brought you ice cream." Trey said holding up the Haagen Dazs carton and smiling.
"Thanks, but I’m really cold. They only gave me this short sleeve tshirt and they’ve been pumping that AC since last night." I said.
"Here." Cassie said handing me her oversized cardigan. I took it graciously.
"I don’t wanna eat that whole thing of ice cream by myself guys." I said.
"So we’ll share and talk." Josh said showing me 4 spoons.
"Okay." I said grabbing the ice cream and zoning out. I’m not sure what they were talking about, but I saw that lady coming towards me again.
"Catherine, sweetie, someone is here to pick you up." The woman said. I looked at Josh and he just looked confused.
"Come with me to the office." She said. I stood up and followed her. I saw Sam and Titi Emily sitting there. I hugged them as tight as I could. God knows how happy I was to see them.
"Titi, where are we going?" I asked her after we left the shelter.
"I’m staying with my friend from high school and she said you could stay there with us until we go to Virginia." She said.
"Oh okay, when are you guys going back down?" I asked.
"In three days, we are ALL going back to Virginia." She said.
"Oh no, I can’t, I have school in a few days." I said.
"You’re transferring to Woodside and going to school with Sam. You’re moving in with us in Virginia." She said.
"But all my friends live here, my boyfriend lives here. I don’t wanna start over." I said
"I’m sorry Cathy, but we can’t just uproot our lives and move to New York." She said.
"You don’t have to Titi, I can live with Cassie or Josh or Trey." I said. She just ignored me for the rest of the drive and I knew that was it. I could kiss New York goodbye in a few days.