Have you ever seen that picture of a crying girl slumped against a toilet? And there's someone else holding a broom, petting the crying girl's back in an effort to comfort her because they're too awkward to comfort them normally? Yeah? Well, I would be the person holding onto the broom. Completely awkward and uncomfortable. Consolation isn't really my strong point. That's why as my mom clung to me crying, I, Allie Heywood, was as stiff as a board, unable to do anything to console her.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" she questioned me for the hundredth time, sniffling loudly.

I squirmed around, trying to get her to release her death grip on me. "Mom, I'm positive. Stop acting like it's the end of the world! I'm moving three towns over, not three states over!"

Her bright blue eyes brimmed over with new tears. "That's still a two hour drive!"

"Holly," my dad interjected, frowning at my mom, "a two hour drive isn't really that long. Plus, Allie Cat has the same habit of speeding as I do. It'd only be about an hour and a half for us."

My mom whipped her head around to stare at my dad incredulously. "Chris! You shouldn't be making that sound okay!"

I took the moment of my mother's shock to my advantage, shimmying out of her slender arms. "Mom, please. You don't need to cry so much..."

"You should realize after seventeen years that your mother's favorite past time is crying, Allie Cat." My dad smirked, his grey eyes flashing in amusement.

A blush blossomed on my mom's cheeks and she glared at him. "You're such a jerk!"

"You guys should act your age, not like teenagers," I muttered. It was supposed to be to myself, but my dad has an unnatural habit of catching things people mutter under their breath. It's kind of annoying.

"Heard that, Allie Cat," he told me with a wink.

"Don't call me that!"

"Chris, call her Allie," my mom scolded, giving him a disapproving look. "You know that bothers her."

He grinned evilly. "Oh, I know. But she's just as cute as you are when it comes to angry reactions."

"You're being annoying!"

"Am I?"

Rolling my eyes, I turned my back on the bickering couple and surveyed the brick apartment complex standing before me. To be completely honest, it was a little intimidating. Not scary, but it was a little too fancy for my liking. Just by glancing at it you could tell whoever lived there had money. A lot of it. It was two stories tall, with white siding and a black slate roof. Vines climbed up the side of it in an elegant way, giving the building a picturesque vibe. It was split into two apartments; one of which belonged to the man I was going to be staying with for the duration of my senior year.

The man who was currently missing in action.

"Paul better get here quick," my dad muttered, frowning at the sky. "It looks like it's going to start raining."

"I think he said he had to stop by Holly's house to give her a late Mother's Day gift," my mom said thoughtfully.

"Mother's Day gift? That was over three months ago."

"I said late. Paul is always behind the times."

Paul. Paul Russet. That was the man I was moving in with. According to my parents, they'd known him since he was a baby. They're also good friends with his parents, Holly (yeah, same name as my Mom) and Andy. As it just so happened, Paul lived near Chennault Academy— the infamous music school I'd spent my whole high school career trying to get into.

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