The First Day

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"Jesse, wake up." My whole bed feels like it's quaking as someone shakes me awake. At the foot of my bed Tucker is curled up, faintly growling to himself at the disturbance.

"Mhmm," I groggily groan, stirring awake. My hands stubbornly knot up around Sue's
hand picked blankets, struggling to pull them over my head. Like any other normal person, I'm not exactly a morning person.

"Wake up. It's time for school." Through the heavy thicket of sleep I vaguely realize it's uncle Beck's voice forcing its way through my consciousness. I can make out uncle Beck's form sitting at the edge of my bed fully dressed already.

"Uncle Beck?" I squint up at my uncle through the darkness.

"You gotta wake up for school, Jesse."

"What time is it?" Patting around for my phone I keep charging under my pillow, my half shut eyes tear up at the brightness. "Uncle Beck, it's five thirty in the morning." I croak, desperate to shut my eyes.

"Well," uncle Beck falters. "What if you're late on your first day?"

"The sun isn't even up yet." I try to roll over, but uncle Beck won't let me escape by giving my shoulders a vigorous shake.

"Jesse, I can't let you be late on your first day. The-the hot water always runs out when both showers are running. You gotta eat breakfast—hell we gotta make breakfast first. Someone has to take Tucker out for his walk and feed him too. You have to be there early to find your way around—what if my truck has a flat?"

"Uncle Beck," my voice is thick with sleep. With every passing moment it gets harder and harder to easily fall back to sleep. "School doesn't start till eight."

"I can't let you guys be late today. Your dad—your parents wouldn't let you be late on your first day of school." In my entire life, I've never heard uncle Beck sound so wounded. It was such a small noise, I'm not entirely sure whether I fell back asleep and dreamt it. I urge myself to try.

I'm awake now.

"I'm up, I'm up," I murmur softly, kicking off my sheets. The look on uncle Beck's face is worth it.

"One up, one more to go..." uncle Beck grins goofly to himself, proud of his achievement. By now he's probably forgotten how burnt dinner last night.

"Uncle Beck," I yawn, already wishing I could fall back asleep. "I would give Cooper at least till 6:30." I warn, shuffling across the room purposely snail like.

"But he's gonna take the longest to get out of bed." The anxious look in his eyes is back.

"Didn't you say something about a hot water situation? He can't shower the same time as me with this plumbing." I switch gears, my eyes staying close a little longer with every blink.

"After your shower then." Uncle Beck gives in. "Make it a quick shower, Jesse." I'm going to pretend I'm too tire to argue.

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"Ugh, I wanna sleep damnit!" Cooper is awake.

"Get! Up!" I can hear Cooper's and uncle Beck's argument from the ground floor. A few rays of golden sunlight filter through the kitchen, stinging my puffy eyes. With uncle Beck preoccupied with Cooper I debate going back to sleep and risking a few extra minutes of sleep.

"Leave me alone!" A door slams somewhere upstairs, the old house shakes like it's trembling.

"I want you showered, dressed and clean shaven!" Uncle Beck barks up the stairs as he climbs down.

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