"I'll have you know," I turned to the three of them and walked backwards, "I make wonderful cereal."

"Cereal is already made, Val," Ray-Ray pointed out.

"But I know the perfect quantity of milk to add to it so that it stays crunchy-ish while you eat it; as far as I'm concerned, that's cooking," I concluded and swirled around.

We'd reached the O'Brien's car and I waited for my neighbor to unlock it.

"Besides," I added as I took my place in the passenger seat, "I can bake cookies. And I bet I can make one heck of a decoration for them too."

"As long as you buy a pre-made dough and pre-made glazing," my brother chimed in, closing the back door and snuggling into Hunter.


"So, Hunter," dad cut off another piece of the cheese-covered steak my brother had made and brought it to his mouth, "have you found a place to move in yet?"

"Haven't looked much into that yet, George." My friend picked up the bowl of my twin's other creation - lump-free mashed potatoes - and scooped some into his plate. "My priority is to find a job here first. Once I know how much I can spare for rent, I'll know what to search for."

"Raiden's got an idea about that, don't you, Ray-Ray? Nat, pass me the mushroom sauce."

"Yeah." Raiden placed his cutlery next to his plate and turned to Hunt. "Val told me you are pretty handy with cars."

Hunter nodded.

"Jimmy - the guy I work part time for, has a garage and one of his full-time workers is leaving soon so we'll need a replacement. It's nothing too big - you'll rarely see more than three or four people working the same shift - but he pays well and my co-workers are pretty cool. I'll be heading there this afternoon; you can come with and check it out for yourself if you want."

"Sounds good." Hunt took a sip of his beer.

"The thing is that you won't be able to start for another few weeks; that's when my co-worker is leaving."

"That's okay," Hunter assured. "That will give me time to find a place and move in."

"Looks like things might work out for you." Dad made a feeble attempt to smile. "Before you know it, you and Nat will be walking hand in hand around town."
"Dad." My brother reprimanded quietly and our parent sighed.

"I'm afraid of how your mother will take this. She's still in denial and so she's not particularly upset, but if she sees you around town..."
"Mom is at the Norville clinic for addicts and that's out of town." I chewed on my steak. "If she sticks to her treatment, she's not going to see them in town any time soon. Besides, it's something she'll eventually have to come to terms with."

"I should probably get going." Dad wiped his mouth with a napkin and got up. "I promised her I'd visit this weekend."

"Tell her Val and I will go next time," my twin hurried to insist. "If she asks, tell her... Tell her we are busy preparing for the first day in the new school and that's why we hadn't come."

My father nodded silently and left the room.

"You know, it is not your fault mom can't adjust to you being with Hunt, right, bro?"

"Of course." He seemed surprised at my words when he replied.

"And you also know that she will never accept it if you keep making things up every time you boys see each other?"

My brother looked down at his lap. I kept chewing and staring at him.

"I'll clean up." He uttered.

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