Soon, Maria and Carter will be getting up to go to work, and considering the mood I’m already in, it’d be best if I didn’t see them.

Maria and I have lived together for a few years, and we had a good thing going until she became more serious with her boyfriend. When she asked if he could move in, I should’ve said no, but I couldn’t afford this apartment on my own. If I would’ve been against it, she would’ve moved out and left me with the lease. I could’ve tried to find a new roommate but was worried that I wouldn’t in time. With rehearsal and everything else going on in my life, I caved and have regretted it every day since. Carter’s a slob, and I need to get the hell out of here as soon as possible.

After my coffee finishes brewing, I make a cup and go into my room and shut the door. I’m so damn angry as I sit on the edge of my bed, waiting for the liquid to stop steaming. Thankfully, my phone vibrates and pulls me away from my annoyance. When I see it’s Lennon, my entire demeanor changes, and I’m thankful.

Lennon: Forgot to tell you we made it here safe and sound. Mom and Dad love Hunter (shocker, right?), and today is when the REAL fun begins.

Her message makes me smile, and I’m so relieved she’s texting me. Today is the big Fourth of July celebration in Utah, and the day will be full of events. The church helps with a lot of activities, so it’s pretty much a given that Lennon and Hunter will be around my parents all day. I’m glad they love Hunter, but he can be very charismatic when he wants to be.

Sophie: About damn time, woman! I wasn’t sure if they kicked your asses out or not. I mean, based on the situation, it was kind of a toss-up.

We make small talk, and I nearly snort when she asks me if all guys get morning wood. I know exactly why she’s asking too. She and Hunter are sleeping in her old bed that’s so small it’s laughable. Of course, I give her shit about it when she asks me if it’s normal.

Sophie: Probably when there’s a body pressed against it. Especially YOUR body.

I bet she’s regretting texting me now, but we continue to chat about all things Hunter. I know Lennon cares about him deeply just by the way she looks at him when he’s around. Though she hasn’t admitted it, and I haven’t pushed her on it too much, eventually, it will come to a crossroads because it’s more than obvious how Hunter feels. They’re in a weird non-relationship, relationship. I just don’t want my sister to get hurt; she’s gone through enough this year.

We continue to go back and forth, and she promises to keep me updated. The fact that my parents love Hunter has me smiling, and it’s a relief they don’t see through the lie. They act natural and believable around each other because there’s more there than either of them wants to admit. The underlying tone of her text messages makes me happy. She’s needed this break.

As I pick up my cup of coffee and take a sip, I hear Maria and Carter scurrying around the apartment. Part of me wants to walk out there and tell them both how I feel about this arrangement while ripping Carter a new one, but it’d be a waste of time. He’s immune. No matter how much I bitch or how nicely I ask, he’s still a slob and refuses to change his ways. Maria accepts it because she’s sleeping with him. I really don’t know how much longer I can stand it, but I’m going to try to hold out.

Once the front door closes, I grab my violin and go into the dining room to practice today’s lineup a few times. I allow the music to whisk me away from the filthy apartment and my annoyance. After three hours of playing, a sense of calm moves over me, and I decide to jump in the shower.

While I’m washing my hair, I think about my life and how I’m single as hell. Mason slides through my thoughts, but I immediately push him away. As much as I want there to be something between us, I’m giving up hope. I’ve waited around for so long, and I’m sure he’s wondering why I haven’t gotten the hint yet. Knowing he’ll be at my concert today makes me nervous, but it also gives me a glimmer of hope when I shouldn’t have one.

I step out of the shower and dry off, then dress in the black uniform we’re required to wear for concerts. Before I grab my keys, I text Maddie to see what she’s up to. Considering she lives in the dorms and sold her car to move to California, I already know what the answer will be, but I text her anyway.

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