The Wells Legacy

Without you, today's emotions would be the scurf of yesterday's ~Hipolito


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Twenty Two

Weeks after our movie night, Dani appeared to get better. She sulked less and started dressing like herself again. By that I meant, with more effort than I ever put into my outfits during the week. I wasn’t going to take credit for anything, but I noticed that Dani’s change in attitude only became more apparent the more time she spent with Otto.

Yeah, I was going to take credit for that. She’d deny it, but when I looked up at her from the floor where I was sorting through my papers, I had every bit of proof I needed.

“So, Otto and I are heading to the arcade and to grab some beers. You in? Sabin’s welcome, of course.”

I cocked my head to the side and smirked. “You’re going out to the arcade?”

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“Yeah,” she scoffed.

“With Otto.”

“Yeaaaaah,” she grinned. “Now, don’t say anything. I’m just going to let this play out. I mean, he even invited me to come visit his family with him.”

“Oh wow, that’s really good though. You like him, huh?”

Dani rolled her eyes, “Are you coming or not?”

I took a moment to think about it, but I just kept thinking about how Otto was already thinking about introducing Dani to his family and they weren’t even officially dating, as far as I knew. On my end, Sabin did meet my family, but it wasn’t often he talked to me about his family. Guess that stumped me for a second before I looked back up at Dani.

“Ah, I think we’ll pass this time. We planned on staying in and getting some studying done. I have an exam next week and he offered to help. Maybe next time? I’m pretty good at skeeball,” I smirked.

Dani didn’t seem convinced. “A night in, as in, you two are getting busy?”

“You make that joke every time,” I stated.

“And it never gets old.” Dani smirked and grabbed her coat. “Well, be safe with your studying!”

Before I even got a chance for a comeback, Dani was out the door.

It sounded funny to her and I’m sure to anyone who heard any of our conversations while passing by, but I guess I felt a little off. Now, I wasn’t holding back from having sex because I was terrified. I wanted to, believe me. Sabin was older than me, some would say significantly older, and I really loved him, more than anyone before. In fact, he was the first person I even considered sleeping with. In my head, I pictured the perfect moment where I would look attractive and be super smooth with my words. I didn’t want that dirty stuff, but the right set of words that would just make the moment perfect. Being that Sabin was older, I knew that he definitely had more experience than I did, so I didn’t want to come off as this inexperienced child. I hated that feeling but what if he would be super into it and I would just lay there like a pancake? I couldn’t handle that. Ugh. The thought made me tense, but I tried to shrug it off. Maybe it would just be easier to go ahead and study.

Later at Sabin’s place we spent a good hour going over our studies before we landed on the couch with the TV on. As usual, we had on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. The ridiculous antics of the group never failed to make us laugh. It was the perfect show to have on in the background.

“God damn rum ham…gets me every time,” Sabin chuckled.

I’ve seen that episode so many times and I still found it hilarious, but instead of watching Danny Devito on the screen, I stared at Sabin. I couldn’t stop thinking about him and well, who he was. As much as I already knew, I wanted to know more.

“You know, I can feel you staring at me, right? Do I have a booger hanging out of my nose?”

Half-snorting, I shook my head. “No, just thinking.”

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Now apparently interested, Sabin paused the show and turned to face me. “Want to talk about it?”

I actually did.

“I already feel like I know a lot about you, but come to think of it I haven’t heard anything about your family. What are they like?” I smirked. “You basically know my family and they already love you…”

With a long sigh, he scratched his head. “Wow, where to begin. I have three sisters, all who are younger. So, I guess I’ve always been very protective of them, but they’re the same way with me, considering, well, you know…”

His PTSD.

“What are they like?”

I watched Sabin’s cool exterior soften the moment I asked him. “Leela is the oldest girl, but still 3 years younger than me. She’s definitely spirited. She’s the only kid in my family that settled down and got married. So far, at least.”

He soon shifted his position on the couch and sighed happily. “Then there’s Moli. She’s the middle sister who definitely has more of a rebellious side. Acting out and all that. She’s studying film in New York. She has spirit and it definitely helped having her around when I returned home after my deployment. She’s that spunky kid that keeps you distracted from the monsters in your head.”

“So far, I feel like I’d love all of them,” I uttered.

“That makes me really happy to hear, but wait till the third little lady.” He clicked his tongue and chuckled. “That’s Poppy. She’s the youngest and well, that about says it all. She’s quiet and kind, and I feel like I’m writing their dating profiles. Jesus.”

Amused, I leaned into him and kissed his cheek. “Well, they sound amazing. I’d love to meet them some day.”

“And I’d love that, too. Sorry, I didn’t bring it up. I’ve been trying to keep tabs on all this crap going on. Therapy, class, and wanting to seem normal enough for you.”

“Oh stop.”

“It’s true, though. My family means everything to me. Introducing you in person would be a big step considering the last time I had a serious relationship it ended up poorly. I mean, a real shitstorm.”

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“What do you mean, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“I don’t mind at all. It’s just, the second time I was deployed, I was engaged to a girl I knew since I was a little shit, you know? We were inseparable until the incident overseas and well, when I was diagnosed with PTSD. She couldn’t handle the episodes, the screaming, and the anxiety. She left me for a guy she was seeing while I was away…”

All this was new to me and it came crashing down like a cyclone.

It felt like a kick to the face, but it was nothing in comparison to what Sabin must have felt. All I knew was that I wouldn’t, no, I couldn’t even think of doing something like that to him.

“Sabin—I…”

He chuckled and wrapped his arm around my shoulder to bring me in closer against him. “So, as distant as I am sometimes, I want you to know I love you. I really enjoy the time we spend together like this. You’re beautiful and you make happier than I’ve been in years. The things you do to me,too,” he smirked when my face turned two shades of a deeper red. “Do you know that it’s hard not to kiss you when you make that face? Can’t keep my hands off you…”

“T-then don’t.”

I didn’t know what it was, Maybe it was the strength of his grip around me, or how intoxicating his breath was, but my heart was pounding incredibly strong in my chest to the point it could be heard how staggered my breathing was.

“Wow…are you okay?”

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My next moves  weren’t too thought out. It didn’t look like something out of a romance novel. Not even close. I quickly wrapped my arms around him and kissed him with such passion that I could feel him flinch against me. He could have pushed me away, but his body reacted in response to mine with just as much emotion that ended up with his hand pushing against the small of my back to get me as close as I possible get.

“What’s going on here?” Sabin whispered against my lips before gently nipping at my lower lip.

Unable to answer, my hands crawled up his shirt. My fingers traced his muscles like braille and I found myself urging him to do the same to me. I wanted Sabin to touch me with a hunger that I could only imagine in my filthiest thoughts. I wanted him more than I could verbally admit, but I had to. He was surprised, but not rejecting my advances. I couldn’t pretend I knew exactly what I was doing anyway.

“Y-you keep doing this to me and I won’t be able to stop,” Sabin exhaled against my neck. His arms were snaked around me and already under my shirt where his hands found their way to my breasts.

“Please don’t. I want this, Sabin. Do you?”

He pulled away for a moment and nodded. “O-okay. Absolutely. Yeah…”

I felt like I was impressing him, especially since when we were making out, I could feel the bulge in his pants against my leg. God–I wanted so much for this to finally happen, but I felt like I would make a fool of myself unless I told Sabin that he was going to be my first.

“I just,” I groaned, “I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t done…”

My lips didn’t even have to utter the words to finish the sentence before Sabin got up from the couch, picking me up in that same motion.

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“You want me to stop anything at any moment, you just let me know,” He said quietly. “If something doesn’t feel good, or if it does, just let me know…”

“It doesn’t bother you, though, that I haven’t had sex before?”

Sabin rolled his eyes. “All I care about– all that matters to me is you. No, it doesn’t bug me.”

I could feel his heavy breath against my chest when he returned his focus to what was going on between us. His sighs were deep as his hands traveled all over my back and down to my rear. Was I really doing that to him? I kind of liked that.

We ended up in his room and returned to our embrace, except this time while our lips were locked and traveling from each others mouths to our necks, and arms, we were working on stripping each other of our clothes. Sabin’s shirt went flying to the other side of his bedroom before he dropped to his knees to kiss my stomach while his quick fingers undid the buttons on my shorts.

Oh my god…

I held my breath in hopes that I wouldn’t let out a sound, but the way my body flinched was enough to give away how I was feeling.

“Good?”

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Impatiently, I shimmied out of my shorts and kicked them out of the way. I did the same with my shirt, which finally left me exposed in front of him. I thought about this moment for the longest time. Standing in front of someone who I was ready to sleep with and it wasn’t just some smutty dream I was having. No, this was the real thing.

My face was red-hot, but I didn’t want to pause.

Sabin was still down on his knees, his lips grazing the edge of my panties while one of his hands pushed me closer into him. His hot breath against my skin resulted in goosebumps erupting all over my arms and legs, and especially my stomach. His light grazing turned into hot kisses from my stomach to between my legs. I could barely stand by then. I had to hold onto his head, doing my best not to pull his hair, before I was ushered to the edge of the bed.

“My god are you beautiful,” He smiled widely. “Every inch of you.”

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“Words are nice, but why don’t you show me, and I’ll show you how much I like you, too.” My words were laced with lust of adrenaline-juiced hormones.  Even I turned red when I heard myself, but it only seemed to fuel Sabin’s desire to get closer to me. He seemed to enjoy it and I wanted every bit of him. I wanted to touch him, taste him–I moved back on the bed and watched him follow until my head was resting on his pillow and my face was cradled in his hands. He soon moved down to my breasts, nipping at my skin in between kisses. Each peck inched lower and lower…

“Ahh!”I exclaimed when I felt Sabin’s lips between my legs. Sure I touched myself, but what he was doing to me did not compare to the one-woman show.

I felt him flick his tongue, tasting my wetness. “Is that good? Let me know how much you like it,” he smirked, lowering his head back.

“O-oh god, Sa–”

“Come on…”

“S-Sabin, let me feel you…”

My body trembled under him when he crawled back on top of me. Before he even had a chance to confirm, again, if I really wanted to sleep with him, I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him in close. My lips instantly found their way to his. I was more than ready for a lot of things with him, but this was something truly special. In the midst of the heat, I watched Sabin’s body. I observed every scar on his stomach and his arms. I couldn’t imagine loving anyone but him, not just in that moment, but every moment in between.

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I knew in the back of my mind that it wouldn’t exactly be the best feeling at first. The pressure was rough, but Sabin took it slow until I began to relax.  It got better with each thrust of his hips into me, and with each touch. But what really mesmerised me was hearing Sabin moan. His forehead was beaded with sweat, but each time he looked in my eyes, he never fought back a smile.

“It’s not raining sweat on you, is it?” He chuckled, kissing my cheek.

“No,” I giggled.

Laughter aside, our bodies moved in sync that afternoon. Despite the occasional discomfort, I enjoyed every minute of it. I was lost in ecstasy with Sabin and I didn’t want to come back. Of course, unlike movies that talk about making love for hours on end, our time wasn’t quite that long. We were human after all, and we got tired. but it didn’t mean that we didn’t go back for seconds…and thirds. I didn’t think that I could get tired of him and all the ways he made me feel. Physically, he satisfied me in every way I could think of. Emotionally, I loved him and I wanted him to always know that. I didn’t know every detail of his previous relationship, but I would never give up on him. What we had was a partnership, and I would stand by him. Always.

When we finally decided to slow down, we still didn’t get dressed or even think of leaving his bedroom. Instead we watched each other and basked in the moment of what just happened.

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“How are you feeling?” Sabin asked, playing with a strand of my hair.

“Mmm, tired, but great.”

“Did you want to get any of that studying done?”

Of course that was a joke, but I still shook my head and nestled against him.

“Frankly, I’m just going to enjoy being near you while not thinking about studying, or what I’m going to tell Dani when she asks how my afternoon was.”

“You think she’d know?”

I sat up. Oh, if only he knew.

“Dani will know the moment I step in the room. My face always gives it away, I’m sure. Plus, we have a 6th sense type of thing when it comes to stuff like this. We’re basically sisters at this point. We’ve come to know the norm, but this?” I pointed to his body and then my own. “This she will know immediately.”

Intrigued, Sabin reached over to take my hand in his, “What would you say about this then?”

“A review?”

He snorted. “Whatever you’d call it.”

“A great experience with a man I love,” I paused and shifted my position, “that may result in some soreness tomorrow.”

Before Sabin could utter another word, we heard the door to their apartment slam shut.

“Yo, Sabin! You here?” It sounded like Dani and Otto’s arcade date ended earlier than anticipated.

“Uh, yeah…?”

“Alma with you?”

Not how I pictured this.

Sabin quickly slipped into his jeans and stuck his head out from him room. “What’s up?”

I couldn’t see what Otto’s expression was, but I could only imagine what I would be hearing later.

“Uh…sorry to interrupt, but Dani has been blowing up Alma’s phone for the last 4 hours.”

While Sabin was talking with Otto, I sprang from the bed and worked on picking up my clothes from the floor. I didn’t even try to keep it down. Otto already knew I was there.

“Hey Alma! Having fun?” I heard him say, half-chuckling.

“Uh-huh! Can you text Dani that I’ll get back to her soon?”

I was frazzled to say the least when I finally got my clothes on and ran out of the room to yank my phone out of my backpack.

58 texts.

5 Facebook messages.

2 phone calls.

All from Dani.

“Oops,” I winced at the sight of my poor phone blown up with notifications. I did my best to scroll through all the messages, but I kept seeing:

“BITCH! GET OVER HERE!”

Clearly, it was something of a significant importance. How could I tell? The phone calls. Dani never calls unless the Earth is shattering. At this point I was slightly worried, so I ran back to Otto, gave him a quick hug, and wrapped my arms around Sabin before giving him a quick peck on the lips.

“Love you! I’m so sorry, but I have to go see what’s going on with Dani!”

Was the campus on fire? Did I miss a fight?

Oh my god.

Did she kill my plant?

At this point, I quickened my pace into a legitimate run.

God, I hoped everything was okay…

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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Twenty

Before I knew it, my holiday break was over and it was time to get on a plane and head back to campus. As much as I loved my time spent with family, I was extremely excited to see Dani back at our dorm since she was spending the holiday break with her boyfriend, Saul, and his family. Guess things were also moving along well for her with her relationship and I couldn’t wait to hear all about it. I half-expected for her to be off with Saul at his place, but Dani was actually in our room seated on her bed with a pillow in her lap.

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“My sista!” I exclaimed and threw down my bag. “I’ve missed you! Tell me everything! You’ve been radio silent this entire time!”

Which was odd, by the way.

It wasn’t till I got closer to her that I noticed how swollen her eyes were. I immediately dropped my playful demeanor and rushed to her side. If there was anything that set me into full Mama-Bear mode it was knowing something was wrong with my friends.

Dani only looked down and mumbled incoherently. Her speech soon became riddled with her heavy sobs.

My arm quickly found its way to her back, so I could soothe her any way I could.

“Hey,” I whispered, “what’s going on? Was your trip no good?”

Dani snorted and looked up. “Alma, there was no trip.”

“Where were you then?” Heck, she could have come spend the break with my family.

“Visited family…”

“Well that’s good, but weren’t you supposed to go see—”

“Nope. Not once I found out he was fucking some freshman.”

“Woah, what. Hold on. WHAT?”

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Dani took her time explaining since she had to take breaks to sniffle and apologize (no matter how many times I told her it was necessary). She never caught him in the act. She never noticed anything pop up on his phone. Nothing. There was nothing that would be stereotypically assumed of a cheater. Saul actually approached her and said it to her face. The nerve!

She wiped her eyes and sighed. “He told me that he was seeing someone else and that he cared about her. He’d rather introduce her to his family than me. I mean,” She winced as the words were forming. “Is there something so wrong with me that he doesn’t even want to consider introducing me to his family? Why did he suggest it? Why did he invite me before?”

I placed my arm around her and pulled her in close before she started wheezing as her questions quickened. One followed the other till she was crying again. It was hard to see her like this, because Dani always carried herself in such a way that made her seem impenetrable.

We were only human.

For a while I didn’t say anything. I just hugged her and listened because I could tell she needed to talk. Sometimes it was incoherent, but it was her expression and I was going to be there for as long as she wanted me to be there. After a while she stopped sniffling and sighed slowly.

“Do you think there’s something wrong with me?” She asked quietly.

“Absolutely not,” I replied. “You’re a kind and courageous woman. You rock colored hair like it’s nobodies business and you’re someone your siblings look up to. You’re amazing. Things didn’t work out with Saul because—” I paused. “His head is so far up his ass he can’t see what a mistake he made. That only means that he’s not the guy for you, and that’s okay, because that means you’re going through the duds till you find that right person who treats you the way you deserve to be treated.”

She did her best to smile. “You mean like a ‘Sabin’?”

I shrugged. “Could be like a Sabin. You know, speaking of which, we were going to have a movie night. I figured you’d be out tonight, but why don’t you join us?”

Dani’s eyebrows raised. “Um, you sure? Aren’t you two going to get all naughty and stuff?”

I fought the blush and shook my head. Sabin and I hadn’t actually been quite that physical yet, but I wasn’t going to get into that.

“No,” I smirked. “Just movies and junk food. I have a lot of comedies lined up and B-Horror movies…”

“Mmm, I guess I don’t see why not,” Dani smiled. “Thanks, Alma.”

“What are sisters for?” I grinned.

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As much as I wanted to be by her side every second that day, I knew she needed her space as well. I used that time to catch up with what was going on around campus. The snow was light this year, so the ultimate Frisbee team was still going at it when they weren’t trying to have “epic” snowball fights. In the quad, there were always activists handing out flyers about the next events they were going to host. They were passionate and very free-spirited. It was awesome to see them participating in important events and speaking about circumstances that would affect many people.

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While I walked around campus, I took in all the sights of everyone returning to their routines, so naturally, I returned to mine. Like an instinct, I walked down the winding paths to my safe haven, the best place to get a damn good cup of coffee.

“Didn’t take you too long to stop by,” the barista laughed once I approached the counter. “Same thing?”

I nodded. “You can’t go wrong with the usual.”

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The conversations I had with the barista were always excellent. I never left without having a good laugh with them, even more so on that day when I was startled at the feel of a hand on my shoulder. Luckily I didn’t have a drink in my hand, otherwise it would have gone flying.

“Boo?” Sabin cackled. “Oh, you’re very jumpy before you have your coffee.”

“I thought you’d know that by now,” I smirked before reaching on the tips of my toes to give him a quick peck on the cheek. “When did you get in?”

“Late last night,” he replied. “Still on or movie night? I picked up the movies.”

Since I spent the majority of the morning with Dani, I failed to let Sabin know what happened, so once I got my drink, we moved to sit at a table. After I explained the situation, I watched Sabin’s expression soften. I didn’t know why I expected him to not be on board with the idea of having Dani with us. It was Sabin after all. The moment I introduced him to my friends, he was extremely friendly. He was a great person all around and it didn’t matter if he knew the person for years or if it was someone who he had just met. He treated everyone with equal respect. For a moment we sat in silence until I had a light bulb moment.

“What’s up?”

“Why don’t you invite Otto to join us?”

Sabin smirked and nodded. “Sure. I don’t think he has any plans tonight, so I’ll ask him.”

Now, I wasn’t trying to set anything up. I simply wanted good company for a movie night, but I guess I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t hoping for some sort of spark. Otto was one of the nicest people I had ever met. He was with Sabin for a long time. They had gone through a lot together, so it certainly said something special about him. I loved Dani like a sister, so I only wanted her to be happy. At least if Otto was there for our movie night, it wouldn’t seem so much like her being a third wheel.

Who knew, maybe the move night would prove to be the right distraction for Dani. If she ended up having a great time and making a new friend in the process, then how could any of that go wrong?

All I ever wanted was to know my friends were happy and if there was anything that I could do, then well…

I would do it.

[Author’s Note: To my readers in the good ‘ol USA: Happy Independence Day 🙂 ]


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter One

“Okay, kiddos! Breakfast time!”

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Mom’s voice was loud and clear even from where I was–buried, surrounded by plants that needed my attention before I could even allow myself the pleasure of enjoying Mom’s homemade banana pancakes. I was now a junior in high school and the interests that I had as a child only intensified. The older I got, the more I began to realize where my passion was focused. Despite knowing that, my case was still a bit different with me being named the heiress. I mean, this was pretty big even though Mom said I wouldn’t have to focus on that too much. When I looked at my Mom and listened to the stories from her childhood, it was  difficult to think that the legacy had nothing to do with who she became after all these years. From someone so shy and doubtful, even someone who denied affection and commitment, to someone I really, really looked up to. My mom was the perfect example of who I wanted to become in life. I wanted to be just like her–strong, kind, and nurturing, although I suppose that quality was always being fine-tuned when I spent much of my time at home nestled in my garden.

Ah well, if Mom knew what she was talking about, then I probably should’ve listened. After all, she was the heiress for a very long time. She grew up having that title, and I suppose I was going to do the same.

Okay, I thought, brushing away the thought of a future I had no way of predicting. I had more important things to do than to worry.

I slowly reached out with my shears and carefully clipped a wilted branch. Snip after snip, I watched my plant regain its healthy look. Although I was happy and relaxed that morning, I felt that it hadn’t truly begun until I felt a shadow cast over my sweet potato.

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“I’m almost done, Mom…”

“No rush, sweetness; though I must ask if you’ve seen your brother. He was in the kitchen a few seconds ago and it seems he has run off, again.” Mom crossed her arms and exhaled sharply. “It’s the twins’ first day of preschool and Oren is acting like we’re sending him away.”

“Kaden sure wasn’t like that, right?” I smirked and stood up, dusting the dirt from my pants. “I got it, Mom.”

I walked past her after earning a quick pat on the back.

See, life now was a lot different. Maybe not crazy different,but different nonetheless. The twins were starting preschool and no longer spending their evenings screaming their heads off while I was trying to study On a good day, at least. Heck, even Mom was getting some more sleep. But getting to the point, all of us were involved in something, whether it was work or school. In my case (hopefully soon) even both! Everyone seemed to be good with that program, but I suppose that my little brother, Oren, wasn’t so keen on leaving the house. Always such an awkward little shy bug, but if he was anything like the people in our family, then there was no doubt that he would find his place sooner or later. If he was anything like me, then he would feel much better after starting to school. I sure wouldn’t mind going back to preschool. Nap time, play time–who could ever want to give that up? Oren might have complained now, but I would gladly trade places with him, even if for only a day.

If it wasn’t obvious already, Oren was one sneaky little guy. He was painfully shy and quite clingy when it came to Mom. He was very close to us, but when it came to meeting new people, then he would hide as quickly as he could. Whether it was behind Mom, under her jackets, or in a completely different room, Oren would find a way to make it work. Once the boys were able to up and down the stairs on their own without freaking out our parents, the possibilities for hiding became endless for Oren. That wasn’t the case when I was the one looking for him. I had my way.

After excusing myself to go look for my brother, I walked inside to find that at least Jax was hanging out at the table with his hands covered in syrup. Clearly someone was getting a head start on eating that morning. Good for him. While walking out of the kitchen, I began to look more intently at ever crevice where a little tot could hang out.

“Oren go bye-byeee!” Jax whined and twisted his little body in his booster seat. “Wheo he go!?” He continued from the kitchen while I quickly reassured him that I was putting my thinking cap on. I was on a mission to find my little brother and from the looks of an empty living room, locked front door, and empty garage, the ground floor was out of the question. Oren had to make his way back upstairs. Once up there, I quickly did a check of our parents room before heading towards our rooms. First things first, I checked the twins’ room. Verdict? Not there.

“Oren, ya little stinker…” I scratched my head and stopped at the sound of Kaden’s voice from next door. Now there was a possibility.

After quickly knocking on his door, I grabbed the handle and let myself in.

“Hey, you’re actually not running late?” I joked as I walked in. Already my eyes were peeled for any sight of blue hair in Kaden’s relatively neat room.

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The squawking of Leonidas, Kaden’s new bird, filled the moment of silence long enough for Kaden to face me. There was nothing out of the ordinary there as Leon was obnoxiously noisy nearly every morning. Yup. You guessed it. The only way that anyone could sleep in was if they had ear plugs in their ears. I admit that I ended doing that on more than one occasion.

“Come on, Leo. Alma’s trying to be sarcastic. Let’s give her a moment for that, eh?” He snickered and  nodded in my direction. “Well, g’mornin’ to you too. Is breakfast ready?”

“Yeah, yeah—make me look like a fool in front of your bird. Typical.”

“I’m just saying!” After he settled down, Kaden rolled up his sleeves and was ready to listen. After all these years, I suppose we learned not to push our petty banter when we didn’t have time for it.

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“Have you seen Oren up here?” I began. “Apparently he’s a bit nervous about school and totally split from the kitchen before Mom could sit him down to eat breakfast.”

“Little dude skipped out on breakfast?” Kaden asked, gasping dramatically, though he did have a point. Oren had no idea what he was missing, because when Mom made pancakes–she went all out.

“Apparently,” I sighed and looked past him to see his pets roaming around their homes. “Well, I’m going to check my room and then the bathroom just in case he really ventured away.”

“What about upstairs?”

“Dad’s studio?”

Kaden nodded. “He’s up there right now.”

I thought about it for a second, but the thought of my three year-old brother going up two flights of stairs made me a bit skeptical. That didn’t mean that it wasn’t kept in the back of my mind, of course. I thanked Kaden either way for offering me some sort of guidance before I walked out of his room. Standing in the hall I glanced across at the door to my room. With the majority of the rooms check off, I guess I had to keep moving along, and my room was next. Taking the few steps that were needed, I pressed my ear against the door to see if I could catch the little guy in the act of sneaking. I expected to hear giggling or even some mumbling, but when I heard sniffling, I knew my search had some to an end.

“Oh man…” I pursed my lips and slowly opened the door. From what I learned, young kids had a pretty different short-term memory, so the sooner I started being all cheerful the sooner Oren could possibly get out of his funk. Well, whatever would happen, I just didn’t want to startle him enough to send him running out of my room.

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“So there I was, about to eat my yummy pancakes, when I noticed that someone very special was missing at the table!” I cooed, stepping inside to look around the room for Oren. I thought it would’ve been much more difficult to locate a little guy like him, but all it took was a turn of my head. It had become mainly a habit to check up on my plants, and this time it really paid off. Sitting in a planter I had set up for the season, in hopes of growing some basil and thyme, was Oren with his little elbows propped up on his knees. Again, with a little wrinkle of his nose, he sniffled.

“I dun wanna go,” He whimpered and squeaked. “I wanna stay.”

I had to be honest, hearing him say that in his little sad voice was a bit heartbreaking. Poor kid probably didn’t realize all the fun he could miss if he wouldn’t go.

Out of curiosity, I squatted down to his level and nudged his knee. “Why don’t you want to go, bud?”

“Skeh…we.”

“Scary?” I said, correcting him. “What’s so scary about playing and snack time?”

Oren looked up, pouting, and shook his head. “No. I have toys heo..”

“But…” I smirked and reached out to poke his nose. “Did you know that you get to do fun little projects? When I was little, like you, I used to bring Mommy lots of pretty pictures that I drew. And when Daddy was out playing all around the world, I would send him pictures to show him that I was having fun.”

Little did he know, I knew his weakness. It appeared to be quite common, but even more so when it came to my snuggly little brother. Oren loved to draw pictures for Mom and Dad, and even sometimes for me, too! I didn’t wait for him to give me another excuse, so I picked him up and planted him on the swing seat I had beside my plants. After wiping his bum to make sure no little remnants of soil clung to him. Little dude had to look good for his first day of school. And after me mentioning the fun projects, he seemed a bit more on board with actually going. In fact, he was even smiling a bit more and not sniffling.

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“Mommy will come fo us?”

I smirked and tickled his tummy, finally getting a giggle out of him. “You bet your bum she will! She just wants you and Jax to have a fun time. Then she’ll pick you up in the afternoon and you can tell her all about your time at school…”

Oren looked up at me, still with his pouty look plastered on his face, but through the cracks of small smiles and giggles, I had a feeling that I was slowly making a point to him. Silly boy would be thanking me later, I was sure of it. Once I could tell that he wasn’t going to flee, I held out my arms for him to scoot closer, so I could pick him up. At this point, we would’ve been lucky to get a bite of breakfast before all of us would have to head out to school.

“Ama,” Oren said softly against my shoulder while we walked back to the kitchen. “If yo wong, den…”

“Me? Wrong?” I scoffed and leaned my head against his. “Oren, buddy, let’s do this. If you won’t like school, then I will build you the tallest Lego castle.”

Immediately excited at the idea of my giant creation, I stopped and raised my hand to poke his nose. “Now, you can’t just fib in order for me to do that, okay?”

“Buh….Legoooo!”

“Nope. See, if actually end up liking school, then…” I paused to watch his little face scrunch up in fear of what I would suggest. Oooh, what could I do? Maybe I could have him help me plant flowers? Or maybe write my history paper? Now, those ideas were just ridiculous, because it was Oren I was dealing with. My sweet baby brother who never failed to bring a smile to my face, and when I saw him worry like that over nothing, I had to stop stalling.

“D-den what?”

Smiling, I walked into the kitchen while keeping my face close to Oren’s ear. “If you like school, then you’ll just have to give me fifteen hugs, okay?”

Oren smiled at the decent “payback” I had come up with just in time for Mom to take him from my arms and straight to his booster seat where his cut up pancakes were ready for him. Mom mouthed a silent “thank you” and nodded towards the table where my food was already set down and ready for me to enjoy. Well, if Kaden didn’t get to it first.

And it was like we were back on schedule the way we would every other day.

 

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Kaden and I would basically inhale our food while the twins would take their time messing around with what they had in front of them. The sounds of utensils clinking against the bowls and plates rang throughout the kitchen while Mom continued working around the kitchen while we all waited for Dad to finally join us for breakfast. He was running out to his studio in the city a lot more often now ever since his band members suggested coming together a reunion concert and a possible tour. From the looks of it, with his frequent visits to the studio and long work hours, it sure looked like he would be going on tour again. That meant that Kaden and I would definitely have to step up our game when it came to helping take care of the house and the twins. Now that we were older, we had a lot more responsibilities as well as simply opportunities to help Mom out around the house.

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But Dad wasn’t gone yet and we didn’t even know if the news of the reunion album meant that he would be going on tour. I suppose we had to be ready for anything. For that time being there was no reason to think about what we would have to do when we had that present moment to enjoy the way that we did every morning. Plus, what kind of morning would it have been if it started off worrying? The day was still young and if I learned anything from my days in high school, then it was that anything stressful that happened probably originated in the classroom in the form of an impossible essay about old philosophers.

I shook my head at the thought and excused myself from the table to help clear off the empty plates and bowls before quickly gathering my belongings and stuffing them into my school bag. With a quick kiss on Mom and Dad’s cheek, I rushed outside to catch the bus that was parked at the end of our street.

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After all, I too had to get to school and experience what the day had planned for me. Now as the heiress to the Wells name, I was ready tackle whatever would come my way, and if it meant signing up for new clubs and dealing with obnoxious assignments, then that’s exactly what I would do!

Man, oh man–even then I knew that this was only the beginning.