2: Sisters and Scrooges

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C H A P T E R    T W O

Sisters and Scrooges

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                   THE TEXT MESSAGES began rolling in the morning Louis was certain he was going to quit his job before his lunch break. He already had a splitting headache, and it wasn't even ten o'clock yet.

                  "Lou, will you please please pretty please consider letting me move in with you?"

                  "I swear, as soon as I can afford/find my own place I'll leave."

                  "I'll pay for half the rent and get groceries every other week PLEASE Louis. If I stay at home any longer I'm going to go mad."

                   He decided to ignore Lottie until he could think properly about that. It isn't that he necessarily wants to share a flat with his younger sister, but he knew he still had responsibilities and obligations to his family and anyway, he'd be damned if he became that asshat of an older brother who didn't do all he could to take care of his baby siblings. It was just super unfortunate that he happened to have...well, many of those.

                  Six and a half hours, Louis thought to himself, running a hand over his face and through his hair. He knew this was his fault; he should have never gone out with the guys last night, should have never let them convince him he deserved it and that one night wouldn't hurt. No one deserved this, and one night can hurt a lot.

                  The next thing Louis knew, a student was standing beside his desk waiting patiently for him to return to Earth. The student – Aaron Aubrey – set his textbook and notebook in front of Louis once he knew he had his teacher's attention.

                  "I'm doing exactly what the book says to do and what you taught us yesterday, but I can't get this problem to work out right," the boy sighed, frustrated.

                  Despite how much Louis hated his life currently, he was unable to direct any of his own frustration, exhaustion, and irritability toward Aaron. He was simply confused about the homework Louis had assigned the class, and if Louis was going to throw a fit about it in front of anyone, it was going to be himself in a mirror later. Until then, he'd help the kid and he'd be happy to do it.

                  "Alright, let's take a look. Show me what you've done so far."

                  Louis was grateful he only had to teach one math class a day, or he'd surely have given up on his job a long time ago. He wouldn't have even tried to find another teaching job elsewhere; he'd have just quit. Moved back home, probably. Would have likely tried to get into contact with the old lads to see if they wanted to get the band back together. But he's got new lads now, so maybe he would have just devoted all of his time and energy to getting this one on its feet. Who knows? Not Louis. That's why he's grateful he only had to teach one math class a day.

                  Instead of using his prep period after lunch for, well, prep, Louis decided to take a long lunch and head home for a power nap. Before he could fall asleep, he received another text message from Lottie.

                   "Louis, I know you've seen my messages. Please get back to me, you have a lunch period at some point here."

                   He didn't answer. He turned on his alarm, swallowed the pills he found in his cupboard, set his phone on the coffee table, and allowed himself to crash quickly on his sofa.

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