Chapter 15: Surprise
Dawn was glad she’d already packed up the stuff she’d need for the long weekend, because by the time she got to the parking lot, her parents were standing around outside the car and looking impatient. She held up her bags and waited for her dad to pop the trunk. He took the bags from her and threw them in. “Sorry,” she said, “that ran longer than I expected. But it was important. Why are you in a hurry? We’re not really going to drive all the way home tonight, are we?”
“Get in the car,” was her dad’s only response. At least he didn’t actually sound that annoyed. Just… actually, he sounded like he was going to laugh. Dawn shook her head and went around to the passenger side of the back of the car, where she usually sat.
She got a surprise when she sat down and looked to her left. Her aunt was sitting there, grinning at her. “Aunt Pru!” Dawn cried, startled but pleased. “What are you doing here? They didn’t say you were coming to get me. I didn’t need all three of you. Heck, if you’d let me have a car on campus, I would be able to drive myself home for break…”
“Not until next year,” said her mom from the front seat as her dad started the car. “Buckle up, Dawn.”
Dawn did, still feeling mystified. Then, when her dad turned left instead of right out of the gate, she was even more confused. “Aren’t we going the wrong direction? This is south. Well… southeast.”
“Exactly!” said her dad.
She looked around again, at her grinning aunt (who still hadn’t said anything), her enigmatic mom, and her smirking dad. “Okay… what’s going on? What aren’t you telling me?”
“You’ll see when we get there,” said her mom. “It won’t take long.”
She groaned and leaned back against the head rest. “Come on! I have nothing to do. It’s too dark to read and my phone’s in my backpack. I thought we’d be talking in the car but if you guys aren’t going to tell me anything we’re not going to get very far.”
“Here.” Her mom reached back. Dawn bent forward to take a small object out of her hand. It was a phone. Not a nice one, but at least it had Snake on it. Dawn sighed and opened it to play the game.
About an hour later—she kept checking the time, because Snake wasn’t actually that entertaining—they slowed to a stop and the engine turned off. She sighed and lifted her head. “We’re finally here?” The lights of the area they were in made her blink. Then something huge roared overhead and her jaw dropped. “We’re at an airport?”
“Surprise!” Her mom got out of the car, then opened Dawn’s door for her. “Come on, we have to meet the shuttle.”
Dawn followed her around to the trunk and saw why her dad had taken her bags instead of letting her drop them in herself. The whole thing was full of bags—two for each of them. They gathered them up, then turned and walked down the row of cars in the parking lot.
“Okay,” Dawn said. “Where are we going?”
“Florida!” Pru said finally, then laughed.
“Florida? To see Grandmom and Grammy?” Dawn grinned, her mood going suddenly from confusion to excitement. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You like surprises,” said her dad.
“Yeah, but I’m packed for November in Canada, not Florida!” Dawn hefted her duffel bag. “All my warm-weather clothes are at home.”
“Your warm-weather clothes aren’t even cool enough for Florida,” said her mom. “Remember when we went to Disney World?”
“Sure.” Dawn made a face. “Please don’t tell me you’re going to make me wear the clothes I wore then.”
Aunt Pru laughed again. “I think we can all agree they wouldn’t fit you.”
“We have a few clothes for you,” said her mom. “Enough for Thanksgiving, anyway. And Grammy wants to take you Black Friday shopping.”
“Oh. Well, I guess that works out then.” Now Dawn was looking forward to the trip even more. Her Grammy might be nearly eighty, but she was still pretty awesome to go shopping with. Her taste ran to expensive brands—brands that Dawn would never touch on her own—and she paid for everything. Plus, she was hilarious.
“You still should have told me,” she said, as they boarded the shuttle and were taken off toward the airport. “This is the weirdest surprise ever.”
“Too late,” said her dad. “Now what was the meeting with the teacher about? Anything important?”
Dawn looked around at the other riders on the shuttle. There was a couple who looked half-asleep and a young woman being harassed by two small children. Still… “I think I’ll wait to tell you about that until we’re on our own.”