Sammy rubbed his eyes. He was in bed having just slept his last night at home before setting off to his new school. In the corner of his bedroom was a large grey suitcase with his initials “S.R.R.” sewn in large green stitches in the top right hand corner.
Inside the suitcase were five new white shirts, two pairs of new black trousers, ten pairs of new black socks and a selection of his own clothes: jeans, t-shirts, jumpers and a baseball cap.
The items carefully followed a list on the back of the business card his father had been given six weeks ago, at the start of the summer holiday, even down to the contents of the wash bag that lay on top of the suitcase ready for their last use in the family bathroom.
‘Are you awake honey?’
Sammy couldn’t ignore his mother for long. She had promised him a special breakfast of sausages, bacon, hash browns and fried bread before setting off for Dragamas. By the delicious smell wafting up from the kitchen, it was nearly ready.
‘Coming!’ he shouted. He grabbed the wash kit and headed for the bathroom.
‘Slow down Sam.’ Charles Rambles’ voice was muffled through the bathroom door and drowned by the buzz of his electric razor. ‘I’ll be out in a minute. Make sure you wash properly this morning. Create a good impression.’
Behind the door, Sammy grinned and squashed his fingers against his thumb. ‘A good impression,’ he said, waiting patiently for the door to open.
Following his father’s advice, Sammy arrived downstairs looking perfect. Charles Rambles nodded approvingly from behind his paper. ‘Looking good Sam. Just keep your breakfast away from your shirt, eh?’
Sammy grinned. He had swarms of butterflies in his stomach that he decided were both nerves and excitement. He found that between checking each mouthful to make sure none spilled and checking the time, he could hardly eat anything.
‘Are you all right Sammy?’
‘I’m fine Mum.’
‘Nerves I expect.’
‘I’m ok, honestly.’
Sammy felt his mother staring at him. He looked up and saw that she was holding a piece of A4 paper with the shadow of a gold seal shining through.
His mother looked awkwardly at him. ‘It’s nothing honey. Nothing to worry about.’
His father looked up from the paper. ‘You might as well tell him Julia, it affects him as much as it affects us both.’
Sammy felt a new swarm of butterflies hit the walls of his stomach. ‘What is it? What’s wrong? Can I still go to Dragamas?’
His mother laughed nervously. ‘Of course it’s still all right to go to Dragamas. It’s just that, well, your father and I…’
‘Your mother is trying to tell you about her promotion,’ said Charles Rambles. ‘She’s got a new job…’
‘Oh,’ said Sammy, ‘that sounds good.’
‘It’s ok honey, you’ll be away at school and you can come out to Switzerland with us if Dragamas doesn’t work out.’
Charles clicked his tongue. ‘Of course Dragamas will work out. That was the deal, Ratisbury or Dragamas.’
‘They have schools in Switzerland,’ said Julia Rambles, ruffling her hand through her hair like she did when things weren’t going her way. ‘Very good schools.’
Sammy nodded and passed his plate to his mother. ‘I’ll go upstairs and get my things.’
Unnoticed, Sammy slipped out of his chair and went to pack the last things into his suitcase. He picked up the toy dragon and looked into its eyes. ‘I’m going to Dragamas,’ he said firmly. ‘I’m going to Dragamas and my parents are going to Switzerland.’