"You doing good, kid?" Her uncle Brandon had always been one of her favorite people. It was her mother's brother-in-law, married into the family but part of it, nonetheless. Now, she was just thankful that he asked the question with genuine concern and not just condolence-filled pity, like so many others had. Though, she supposed she would be genuine too if she had to take in a kid whose parents had just died.

      Sloane nodded. "I'm fine now. I just didn't want to hear that song." And she never wanted to hear it ever again.

      "Understood." And that was that. She knew Brandon wouldn't ever play it again, just because she had said so. He was understanding in that way. Sloane looked up at her aunt Rachel's face, at the softness there, and understood that her aunt would never play it either. "You ready to go? We'll go pick up your bags from your grandmother's house and catch your flight. It's at seven, so we can grab something to eat at the airport." 

      Right. Sloane was moving. Among all the funeral plans and funeral process, she had forgotten that her parents being dead meant relocating. Her grandmother from her mother's side had demanded that Sloane come and live with her, but Amy and Garrett Saunders had made it clear when they said they had wanted Sloane to live with Rachel and Brandon, should anything have happened to them. Sloane wondered that if they knew something was going to happen, they would have chosen differently, but she doubted it. Her aunt and uncle had always been the more reasonable option. "Sounds like a plan," Sloane said softly, accepting her aunt Rachel's hand and allowing herself to be pulled upwards, righting herself once gravity hit. The three parts of the dysfunctional family made their way to Brandon's beat up Honda, and Sloane spotted the Washington license plates, faded slightly over time but still depicting the state she would now be living in.

      She remembered the day her aunt and uncle moved to Forks. Sloane's mother, Amy, had spent the entire day sobbing and hugging her sister close with goodbye in her voice every time she spoke. Sloane had visited them at their home several times over the course of the ten years they had lived there, but now that it would be her home, she knew it would feel unfamiliar. Sloane wasn't looking forward to the uncertainty of new rooms, new walls, and a new house altogether. As the blonde slid into the old car, her mind wandered off, back to before the fire, when her parents were still alive. Before Sloane had been designated an orphan and Rachel and Brandon had to worry about taking care of a teenager that wasn't their own. Sloane wasn't even sure they had ever wanted kids of their own, and now they were stuck with one. She didn't know how she could apologize for something like that.

      After ten minutes of driving, Sloane felt the car pull to a stop in front of her Grandma Susan's house. The elderly woman was waiting out in the front yard, big smile on her face and arms outstretched for the hug she knew Sloane would need. Once the car had fully slowed and Brandon had cut the engine, Sloane was jumping out of the car and rushing to her paternal grandmother, accepting the embrace with a sigh of relief. While Amy's mother had never really approved of Sloane's father and was always cold towards her granddaughter, Garrett Saunders's mother was different. It was the only person Sloane would consider living with had Rachel and Brandon not agreed to take her in. Her grandmother was the person who helped Sloane get through the first few hours of shock, holding the teenager as she cried.

      "Hi baby," her grandmother said affectionately, running her hand through the ends of Sloane's long blonde hair. "I've got your stuff inside. Luckily the firefighters got most of the flames controlled before it hit the back end of the house, so most of your stuff is okay. Some things are a little charred, but we'll make sure we clean all the ashes off, yeah?" Sloane felt herself nod as Susan wrapped her arm around Sloane's shoulders and started to lead her into the house. "Some of your parents' things were okay, too, so I added those in. I thought you might like to go through it and see what you want to keep. I'd be more than happy to split the rest between me and Amy's mother."

Saudade ▸ Jasper HaleWhere stories live. Discover now