•12• red spandex

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Mom was ecstatic when I brought Sterling home for supper, she thinks I haven't had anyone over since Aldens' death, little does she know, Sterling's here quite often. After telling me lowhat happened to him when he was younger, I couldn't bear knowing he's alone in the house that haunts him with execrable memories of his childhood.

"So Sterling," mom said when we began digging into the pot-roast, "you two know each other from school?" She asked.

"Yes," Sterling Answered, "Ms. Calloway." He added for formality.

"Please, call me Aspen," she beamed, "Ms. Calloway makes me sound so old!"

"Aspen," Sterling repeated to himself, "Ashlyn, Axel, Alden, Aspen."

"Their father, Anderson, suggested their names begin with A," mom waved her hand to the side, "we never expected to have three children."

"Isn't he dead?" Sterling asked; Mom nearly spit out the wine she was currently drinking.

"Sterling!" I choked.

"Is that Ashlyn told you?" Mom asked disapprovingly.

"No, Alden said something about him being gone, I just figured." Sterling shrugged.

"You don't just say that to someone!" I scolded.

"You knew Alden?" Mom asked.

"Um," Sterling hesitated, "yeah."

"Ashlyn, I want you to go to the store to get some milk please." She said calmly.

I blinked, "why?"

"Because we're out." She replied.

"Can't you do it?" I asked.

"Ashlyn," She warned, "go get milk."

"Can't Axel do it?"

"He's recovering from surgery."

"Fine, Sterling, your coming for a walk." I huffed.

"No," she stopped him by holding his arm, "I want to speak with him."

I groaned. Judging from moms persistence, she wasn't going to take no for an answer. Because Sterling is here, she won't raise her voice but she will do little things, almost undetectable by company, that will make you know for sure, just how mad she is at you for disobeying her. Sterling shifted in his seat to look at me with pleading eyes.

"Don't leave me." He whispered so she couldn't hear him; I rolled my eyes, following mom to the front door.

"Just milk." She handed me a twenty dollar bill.

*

One thing I have grown to notice, moving from a big city to a small, quiet town, is that lights don't litter the streets, illuminating the road like a second sun, on certain winter days, simply walking down a Greengate City block meant being assaulted by the sharp, metallic scent of the bitter, icy air and exhaust from people trying to heat up their cars; here, I'm met with the sweet aroma of fresh coffee, baked goods and the unmistakable stench of skunk. Every night, I'd fall asleep to the blend of sirens wailing, cars honking and road rage. I never knew anything could be this quiet, so quiet that the loudest sound around me is the occasional whistle of wind passing by my ears.

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