"I always hated this part," Bea sighed. "Where I’m all packed and ready but I still have so much time before I actually leave. All that’s left is saying goodbye, but even that isn’tuntil tomorrow."
She looked around the little guest room,where she and Hero had been making a final once-over, checking for anything Beaforgot to pack, picking the blue sticky-tac off the walls where her posters had been. The room felt bare and oddly foreign to her already, with all of her stuff packed away, the walls blank and white, the floor fully visible for the first time in ages. Every trace of her had been wiped away. It was like Beatrice Duke had never lived in this room, had never been here at all.
She was leaving tomorrow, after two years of living here, and even though she was so excited about the coming year, moving out was still just as bittersweet as leaving Wellington to live here had been- possibly more.
She’d grown and changed so much since then, and so many big and terrifying and amazing new things had happened in her life here, some of them in this very room. And now she was moving out.
"Doesn’t it feel just like when I had to leave at the end of the summer every year? We’d be miserable my entire last day here, remember?"
Hero nodded, sinking down onto the bed whose covers she’d just finished neatly arranging. “Didn’t we hide you under this bed once and try to convince your parents you’d been kidnapped by pirates and they should just leave without you?”
"Oh, yeah! But it was so stuffy and hot under there, I had to give up and come out before I died of heatstroke,” Bea laughed. “And then I had to go home.”
"I can’t believe you’re really leaving," said Hero. "It feels like you just got home from Wellington again, and now you’re off to see the world. I’m going to miss you so much."
"I’m going to miss you too," Beatrice replied. "Who’s going to remind me to be nicer and to keep an open mind now?"
"Who’s going to get me into all sorts of trouble and adventures now?" Hero grinned. "I guess I’ll have nothing much to do without you around, Bea!"
"Hero Duke, I knew I was rubbing off on you!"
They both fell silent for a moment, thinking of memories more resilient than the oldest bit of sticky-tac, filling every surface of the empty bedroom.
“Hey, Hero? Can I stay in your room tonight?” Beatrice asked suddenly, reluctant to spend her last night here feeling like a stranger in her old room.
Hero was smiling again. “Cousin Sleepover?” she asked excitedly.
“Cousin Sleepover,” Beatrice confirmed, bounding for the door. Hero followed her and turned out the light, and Beatrice closed the door on her old room for the last time.
Bittersweet was definitely the word of the day. Hero’s room was still full of life and personality and posters on the walls, because she had some time still before she had to start packing herself for university. Everywhere Beatrice looked, she saw reminders of the days when they’d still been making YouTube videos. The memories were mostly good ones, and under those were more days like today, when Beatrice’s parents had tried to round her up to take her home to Wellington at summer’s end.
She and Hero had spent many a day hiding in here, giggling and whispering and knowing their parents would never be able to find them, so Bea would never have to go home. Crying, when they were found again in no time.
They didn’t cry this time, they were too old for that, but this was the same strange feeling, like having nostalgia for something that isn’t over yet.
The girls had a movie marathon and entirely too much chocolate, and Hero painted Beatrice’s nails bright orange just for fun, and they laughed and teased and talked for ages. It felt like a normal night between best friends, except that it went by so fast.
As she drifted off to sleep, Beatrice felt kind of like a kid again, hiding from the grown-ups, from the world, pretending she wouldn’t have to face it soon enough. She was hiding from the dreaded leaving moment, but like always, it came anyway.
The morning came, stern and sudden like a parent finally spoiling their fun. Time to go, enough dawdling now Beatrice, we have a long road ahead of us…
She was so excited for her world journey, but she was still really going to miss living down the hall from her best friend.