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Raven and Travis sitting in a tree, doing things they shouldn’t be.
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I place the last box in my new room. I’ve been here a few times over the past couple of months as is expected when your dad is getting serious with a new lady. It was a guest room before but Shonda had it cleared for my stuff. Nice of her.
I’m not exactly bitter about it.
There are a lot of pros to this move:
This house is bigger than my last one.
It has a pool.
It’s closer to the beach.
There’s a pool.
It’s further from the school so I have an excuse to be later home. Though not if they make me carpool with my hermit stepbrother. Dad won’t let me have another car after I got high and crashed my last one into Mr. Brunswick’s prized giraffe-shaped hedge.
My room is bigger than my last and has a roof below the side window. One I might be able to utilize in future.
It smells like lavender furniture polish.
I have a stepmother who actually likes me and makes the effort to talk to me. She’s nice and she smells like lavender furniture polish too. She’s also a badass accountant at some stuffy rich-man’s building in LA, so she has money. But then again, so does my dad and he never let me spend any. Well, not beyond my allowance anyway.
There’s a pool!
The cons are simple:
My new stepbrother has hated me since forever. Though this isn’t really a con because he mostly ignores me and leaves me alone.
My dad has less time for me now that he’s all loved up. It’s nice but it’s also sad. I’ve been his world for as long as I can remember.
There are more people around which means I’ll have to sneak out to get high before bed. Nothing major. I’m not into the heavy shit, not for the most part. But my body does require a certain amount of green in its system to sleep. To shut off the brain noise that I can never escape.
There’s a knock at my door but I know who it is. Dad’s knocks don’t sound like that.
“Come in,” I call as I pull the brown tape from the brown box and tip the contents onto my bed. Dad built it yesterday. It’s new. My old one squeaked too much so I now have a solid frame double bed with a drawer underneath. I’m wondering if I can hide people in there. It looks big enough.
Shonda steps one foot over the threshold but keeps the rest of her body out. That’s something else I really like about her, she doesn’t impose or force her way into my life.
When she looks at me I can tell she cares.
“I’m going to make sandwiches, are you hungry?” Shonda is a really beautiful woman with light brown hair to her shoulders and warm, yet sharp, hazel eyes. She has this way about her that commands respect yet oozes acceptance at the same time. There’s nothing cold about her at all.
“I’m starving.” I look at the mess on my bed. At this point I’ll do anything else but this. “Do you need help?”
Her smile brightens. “Not at all. You’ve got enough to do. I’ll help you when I’m done if you like?”
“I’ll be fine.” Really, I just don’t want anybody poking through my stuff. “I was actually going to leave most of it in boxes until I’ve painted. Can I still do that?”
“It’s your room,” she replies earnestly. “I meant that when I said it. So long as you don’t damage the walls or windows.”
“Shonda is ballin’,” I mutter, grinning at the blank canvas before me.
“I’m hoping that’s a good thing,” she replies. “Come down in ten for something to eat.”
She shuts the door behind her and leaves me to my silence.
It’s too silent.
I plug my headphones into my ears and turn the music on my phone before starting on my clothes. I have a decent enough closet. Maybe I could hide a person in there too.
I snigger at the thought and get on with my job.
I only just finished packing this shit yesterday. Packing sucks. I don’t want to pack anymore. Or unpack.
Still, I get on with it, taking care to hang up my clothes neatly. I’m not a slob, for the most part. I might forget to dump a mug in the sink, but I don’t leave my clothes everywhere.
It’s as I’m bopping to the music and sticking my favorite black skater dress onto a metal hanger that fingers tap me on the shoulder.
I startle but I don’t show it, I just yank out my headphones and let them hang around my neck.
“You shouldn’t play your music so loud,” Stepdork tells me, frowning in that way he’s always frowning. “You’ll damage your hearing.”
I blink at him and reach up to yank on the dark hair that’s tickling the edge of his long lashes, beneath large rectangular glasses. “You should get a haircut.”