After School

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The next day, my mom
enlists my help in the kitchen
preparing some dishes before we
head over to Aunt Margo’s
for Thanksgiving dinner.
I’m always the one
that she goes to when
she needs help with dinner,
or just food in general.
Dad can’t cook at all,
and Eunice is much the same way.
Mom says that the two of them
could probably burn water
if they put their minds to it.
And Thias really has
no interest in food unless
it’s what he’s eating
at any given moment.
We couldn’t get him
to help us if we tried.

Despite their lack
of culinary talents,
Mom and I have no problem
making headway towards
finishing our portion of
today’s meal.
Little Eddie tries his best
to help us out, bringing
whatever measuring cups
and spoons and bowls
that we instruct him to fetch,
and beaming the whole time
because of his ability
to help in some small way.
It’s adorable, really.
Mom promises to
start teaching him
how to cook in the
near future, and his
smile only grows.

“Now, as for you,”
she tells me
as I get to work on
chopping the pile of vegetables
set on the counter before me,
“don’t you dare
cut yourself again.
I don’t feel like
giving thanks for
emergency rooms today.”

She’s only teasing -
but there's a hint of warning
behind her words,
and I dutifully heed it.
I’d only just taken off
the bandage on my hand
a few days ago, revealing
the shiny skin of
a mostly-healed wound.
It shouldn’t scar badly,
but it will definitely remind me
to be much more carefully
when handling a knife
in the future.
Though, when I
think about it,
that probably means
not using one when
Natalia is anywhere
in the vicinity.

Speaking of Natalia,
I can’t help but remember
the latter half of yesterday
all over again -
particularly what had transpired
after school let out.
As soon as class was over,
she had dragged me outside
to the bleachers behind
the football field,
where two boys had been
waiting for us.
One I had recognized as
her boyfriend, Manny;
she had hugged him as soon
as we had gotten close enough.
Then, she’d introduced me to
the other boy.

“This is Seth,”
she’d told me;
Seth had nodded
in my direction
with a bit of a
distracted expression,
like he was anticipating
something else.
Sure enough, after
greetings had been exchanged,
he’d excused himself, saying
that he would be late to practice
if he didn’t get going.

“I can totally see it,”
Natalia had told me
on our way back to her car -
once again, she had
insisted on driving me home
since my siblings had
gone on without me.
“Matty and Seth…
Is that what we'd
call you two?”
At that, she’d collapsed
into a fit of giggles,
while I had simply
rolled my eyes.
“Definitely better
than Bratty,”
she’d assured me
shortly thereafter.

Now, though,
I can’t help but wonder
what she possibly sees in him,
and how we would
‘suit each other,’
or whatever it is that
she had said.
Sure, I guess you could say
that Seth is good-looking -
he isn’t ugly,
as far as I can tell -
and while I’ve only
very briefly talked to him,
he doesn’t seem like
a very bad guy.
I’m sure Natalia
wouldn’t try to set me up
with some creep, anyway.
Then again,
one can never be sure
when it comes to her…

As soon as Mom and I
finish with the food,
our entire family piles
into our van
to head to Aunt Margo’s.
As with any holiday,
trying to get out the door
involves a lot of
getting in each other's way,
fingers getting pinched in doors,
and forgetting things.
That last one was actually
Mom’s fault -
she forgot to grab
the green bean casserole
before leaving, and Dad
had to turn the car around
to go back for it.

Squished between Euni and Thias
in the backseat,
I can only hope that today
goes much more smoothly
than holidays with my family
normally do.
Even so, I resolve
to focus on the present
and nothing else,
because there is no way
I'll be able to enjoy
today's festivities if
I allow my mind to wander
as much as it normally does.


Aaaaaand here we go, here's Seth. We'll have a closer look at him later, but I told you guys he'd be in this story B) But can you guys do me a favor and kind of forget about the part he plays in Misalignment? It would do you guys some good, I think, if you look at him from a new perspective (p!atd reference unintended) because he isn't so much of a jerk yet, I guess? There's plenty of time for that later. For now, he's just a dude, alright? Just a dude...

Anywhooooo, if you guys liked this chapter, I'd very much appreciate if you would vote and leave me some feedback <3 Also, not to clutter this up with self promo, but I'd love if you would check out the other story im working on at the moment, Steps in the Dark. It's gonna be renamed as Clandestinely soon (once I get another cover), but I've just started it and I really need some feedback, if you guys would be willing. It's written in a bit of a different style from this story, but there is a purpose to it, I swear!! Gonna address some pretty important issues that I feel pretty strongly about, though that won't be until later on.

Okay, I'm done with that. Sorry, lmao.

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