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I was still doing the dishes when Michael came home later that day.

He stopped in the kitchen's doorway and looked at me with a surprised expression. Reasonable when considering that I was doing something I really neither had to nor wanted – but I had decided to be a nice guest since he allowed to me stay at his home for a year for free.

So here I was, soaked in dishwater while my hands were safely protected by big yellow rubber gloves I had found. I needed them if I didn't want my hands to look like they belonged to an old man rather than a fresh sixteen year old boy.

"Wow," Michael said once he had taken in his surroundings. "I didn't ask you to do this, did I?"

"Nope. I got the idea completely on my own," I replied. Michael nodded, clearly impressed with my commitment.

He went over to the dining table and sat down. "Thanks, Kiri," he said with a lowered voice. I almost missed it with all the noise I was making. "I never got around to do the dishes lately."

I raised a brow. "You mean for the past five months," I said, holding up a molded piece of bread that had been hiding between two plates. "This is so disgusting, I wouldn't be surprised if a whole family of mice would live here."

Throwing the piece of bread into the already full bin, I glanced at Michael.

"How was work? And don't reply with 'it's work' or I'll empty the bin on your bed."

Not that that would be such a horrible thing to do. His bed was probably already filled with all kinds of nasty things, considering how messy his room was. Maybe I could get him to clean it someday. Living like this was gross.

Michael shrugged. "It was like it's been for the past eight years. People bring in their cars and I repair them," he said with a tired voice.

Not content with his reply, I decided to dig a little deeper.

"But you like your job," I concluded. "Otherwise you wouldn't have kept it for so long."

The man who had helped producing me shrugged, a weak gesture from a tired man. "Life doesn't really change a lot once you start getting older," he said. "You just keep doing what you do because you're good at it, and because it's necessary. You need a job, money, things to sustain your family."

"You don't have a family," I stated.

Michael lowered his gaze to his hands. "I wasn't talking about myself."

Snap, I did it again. Hurting him with my words hadn't been my intention yet that was exactly what happened. Why was I so awful at social interactions sometimes?

"I didn't mean it like that," I said slowly, careful about my choice of words. "You do have a family, just not one to come home to every day."

Was that better? I couldn't tell by Michael's indifferent facial expression.

"Any ideas for dinner?" he asked and shot me a weak smile. "I should probably cover that since you're doing all this already."

I turned back to the mess on his counters that had gotten a little less since I had started but was still big enough to be considered horrendous.

"Surprise me," I replied. Dinner was the last thing to bother me right now.

Michael behind me cleared his throat as he fidgeted with a pen he had found. "So, are you going to soccer practice again today?"

I flinched at the anxious tone of his voice.

"That's the plan," I replied. "Although their uniform is the first outfit I have ever tried on that doesn't suit me."

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