1| Creamy White Skin

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Tristan Hobbes

Tristan Hobbes stared at the brightening ceiling above his bed. He had been staring at it for nearly an hour. He never could sleep well the night before the first day of school. He recalls fondly that his mother used to be aware of this. She would peek her head into his room, smile at him when she saw that he was awake, and stay with him until it was time to get up. He remembers that she always smelled of flowers.

It has been seven years since his mother and father died. He had forgotten a great deal about them; he could hardly picture them in his mind anymore without the help of a photograph. But he could never forget the way his mother smelled.

With a sigh, Tristan reached over to his nightstand to turn off his alarm clock before making to get up. He should have known there was no point in turning it on last night.

A quick shower and a game of Call of Duty later, Tristan made his way down to the kitchen. He arrived to find his older brother staring intently at the brand new coffee maker, his arms crossed over his chest. He was dressed in his usual shirt and tie, his long dark hair neatly tied in the back of his head.

Their mother always said that both of her sons were the spitting image of their father. They all shared the same dark hair, bright blue eyes, and sharp square noses. As Tristan grew older, he realized that there was one thing he didn't inherit, but Joshua did; their father's towering height. While Joshua shot up to the envious height of five feet and nine inches at the age of fifteen, Tristan was still shorter by a solid six inches.

A fact that torments him and invite others to torment him too.

As Joshua rubbed his chin thoughtfully, he had that look on his face. The one he usually wore when he wanted people to think he was deep in thought when in actuality he didn't have a clue.

Dropping his backpack by the kitchen entrance, Tristan went to stand next to his brother before taking a look at the coffee maker. The two brothers were quiet for a few moments.

"I swear, they keep making these things more complicated with each new model," Joshua said quietly. "They say 'better and improved,' but it has to be a gimmick."

This was nothing new. First of all, the coffee maker was new, bought last night when the old coffee maker gurgled and spewed its last brew of coffee that morning. Secondly, Joshua was utterly useless around anything electronic. A mathematician to boot.

"Can't get it to work?" Tristan asked.

"I followed the instructions to the tee," Joshua said, tearing his eyes finally from the coffee maker to look over the small instruction booklet on the counter.

"I think I know what the problems is," Tristan said as he reached behind the coffee maker.

"Thank God," Joshua said with obvious relief. It appeared that he had been at it for some time. "I thought I'd be here all morning."

Pulling back the power cord, Tristan dangled the unplugged end in front of his brother's face.

"You need to plug it in," Tristan said before leaning over the counter to do just that.

Joshua was silent for a few moments before turning to beam a smile at Tristan.

"I was going to make a light joke about how tall you've grown over the summer, but on second thought I think I'll keep it to myself," he said.

"Right," Tristan muttered, throwing his brother a hard look. He made sure everything was set correctly in the coffee maker before turning it on. "You could have just asked me to set it up last night," Tristan said.

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