Chapter 1:

It's Alright, It's OK

Todd Holloway is a Total Loser!

“I don’t wanna go!”

Todd’s voice came out louder than he expected, all eyes on him now as he stared at his dad. He hadn’t meant to create a scene, but things never really seem to go how he wants them to. His cheeks went hot as his father reached to touch his shoulder, but he jerked it back with a shake of his head.

“Todd--” His father started, narrowing his green eyes at the boy.

“Dad…!” Todd tried to beg, but the rest of his sentence got stuck in his throat. He looked up at his father with wide eyes, only eight years old. He understood why everyone was looking but that was enough for him to not absolutely hate it.

“Don’t make a scene...” The man across from him spoke in a low voice, taking a quick glance at all the other people in the cafe. It seemed that all the attention they had garnered from Todd’s initial outburst had disappeared, which allowed him to give the boy an apologetic look. “This isn’t a choice, we’re going. We have to…”

“But that’s not fair…!” His voice was quieter now, “I don’t wanna go! I don’t wanna leave my friends--!”

“You’ll make new ones. You can try--”

“No I won't! It was so hard to make these ones…!” Todd was trying extra hard to not burst into tears, “I won’t be able to make new ones!”

His father’s voice deepened as he leaned over the table, “Todd… Buddy-- I can’t do anything about this… My hands are tied, we move this weekend.”

“Whatever…” The boy sniffled, looking away as he continued trying to stop the tears from coming out. He couldn’t believe that his entire life was being uprooted and he had absolutely zero say in it. That wasn’t very fair at all, now was it?

He knew it wasn’t fair, but he also knew it was out of his control. All he could do was move the eggs around his plate with his fork, creating a soft scraping sound as his dad took a sip from the white mug in front of him. He sighed, and Todd could feel his gaze on him.

“Please don’t mope, Todd.” His father’s voice was softer now.

“I’m not moping.”

“Really?” His dad reached over to gently flick his nose, and Todd looked over to see him wearing a sad smile. The small boy tried to hide his smile as his body betrayed him, letting out a surprised giggle as his dad’s smile grew wider.

“I know this isn't what you want. But it’s for my job. It’s really just out of my control…”

“I get it dad…” Todd sighed, looking up at him with sad eyes, “But… I really wish it didn’t have to be like this.”

His father couldn’t say much against that, opting to solemnly nod as he reached to ruffle Todd’s messy brown hair. He could only look deep into the boy’s green eyes that looked so similar to his own as he let out a heavy sigh, pursing his lips and frowning. The younger boy continued to look at him, but eventually the look got too intense for him and he looked off to the side while taking a sip from his cup.

“I’ll do what I can to help, okay?” Todd looked back over as his dad continued speaking, “I know it won’t be easy. But I really want you to be happy.”

“Where are we even going?”

“It’s a nice little town. It’s called… Lakeview? Gladeview? Something like that.”

“Oh…” The smaller boy sniffled, “Is it gonna be like this? Like the city?”

“Actually, no.” His father perked up, “It will be better for you. We’ll have our own house. A real one. Doesn’t that sound nice?”

“Not an apartment?”


“Oh… Maybe that could be cool…”

“If you’re lucky, maybe we’ll get a nice family as neighbours. That would be a good way to make new friends, huh?”

Todd shrugged, “I don’t know…”

“Trust me. Things will be better for you.”

“Okay… I-I trust you…”

That’s all it took for Matthew and Todd Holloway to fly across the country, settling down in the cozy town of Lakeview. At first Todd could barely stomach the thought of introducing himself to the neighbors, and decided that feigning illness and staying in his room all day would be a much better solution. He was content with that, and it was going fine until he heard him.

Soft crying from outside his window. Too quiet to be a real bother but loud enough to notice, and Todd definitely noticed. He wasn’t thinking properly when he peered out his window, looking over to see a young boy no older than him staring right back at him with wide blue eyes.

“O-Oh…” He coughed a little, trying to wipe his tears. “I… I didn’t know that there was someone inside--”

“It’s okay…” Todd tried to play it cool, frowning at the boy. “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”

Sniffling, the boy shook his head. “It’s nothing… It’s stupid…”

“I’m sure it isn’t…” Todd’s voice was so soft, and it must’ve caught the other boy off guard since he looked at him in awe.

“Well… T-The other boys aren’t playing with me…” The boy sniffled again, playing with a tuft of his black hair. “I don’t know why…”

“Um…” Do or die, Todd. “I could… play with you.”

“Really?” The dark haired boy lit up, “Wow…! T-Thanks…!”

He rose to his feet, coming closer to the window. He was smiling now, his blue eyes erasing any trace of sadness as Todd smiled back.

“I’m Oliver.” He said, “I haven’t seen you around here before… Are you new?”

“Yeah…” The brown-haired boy awkwardly nodded, “I am…. I’m Todd.”

“Todd.” Oliver repeated the name, still smiling. “Cool. Go get dressed and come outside!”

“Okay--!” Todd was eager to maybe make a friend, and he hadn’t even realized he was dressed up in his best pair of zebra pajamas. But that was not something Todd Holloway had time to worry about, because Todd Holloway had one simple mission: Make Oliver his friend.