Chap. 24

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"We're Unit E2," Parker said, as he came out of the front office.

It's pretty sad that Parker had to go find out which unit we were.

"Lead the way," Emily said, reaching up and tightening her ponytail.

"Take your time," I added.

Parker gave me an unreadable look.

I just shrugged, because it was the truth.

I was in no rush to take a trip down memory lane.

The storage units started at A and went through E, and as they wen up in the alphabet, they got larger in size.

"Why do we have the largest unit in the whole damn lot?" I asked, as we stopped outside our unit.

"I told you, I have no idea what's in here," Parker said, unclipping the key from his keychain.

I looked over at McKenna, who had her arms folded across her chest, a look of anxiousness on her face.

When I'd invited her to come and meet my dead parents, she hadn't quite understood.

She thought I was inviting her to come to their grave with me.

I think this was a little more interesting though. She was going to see a piece of my parents, and a piece of me. Well, maybe. Maybe Parker had just filled the unit with furniture.

Or maybe it was empty.

"You're not lifting this," Emmett declined, taking the key from Parker.

When Emmett had found out yesterday that we were opening up the storage unit today, he'd driven up to Tallahassee last night to join us.

Parker didn't argue as Emmett bent down and unlocked the storage unit, lifting up the door.

The first thing that hit me was the smell.

It smelled like a musty old garage.

There were boxes neatly stacked against the sides of the unit, a couple of walkways conveniently snaked their way throughout the unit.

I started on a pathway with McKenna right behind me, gritting my teeth as the boxes surrounded me.

This was not the ideal place for me.

And then I stopped as I reached the back of the unit.

The boxes cleared out.

And in the back was my mom's artwork.

It was stacked against the back walls, but leaning against the back wall, in plain view, was the piece the four of us had created together.

I was about 13, and I was being my usual dick of a self. 13 was a hard year for me. I was going through the normal puberty and weird hormone-stuff that teenagers go through, and I was also going through medication changes with my psychiatrist, and I wasn't too pleasant of a person to be around.

So we were sitting around the dinner table and my parents had really gotten into it. My mom's eyes were puffy and my dad was silent. And Parker began going off about something he'd done at school, and I snapped on him for no good reason. And my mom just burst into tears, right in the middle of dinner.

So after dinner I went and found her out in her paint shed, and she didn't say anything or offer up any sort of advice or reasoning. She just offered me a paint balloon. And the two of us began to wing these paint balloons at the giant, blank canvas in front of us.

It wasn't long before my dad came to seek us out, and my mom handed him one too. And he joined us, wailing paint balloons. And Parker was soon to follow.

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