The first thing I see when I step out of the shower is my reflection on the wonkily-placed mirror. The second thing I see is the new markings that extend from behind my ear to the end of my neck. I shouldn't have gotten a tattoo of a combination of a purple crescent moon and twinkling stars where I told the tattoo artist to mark on, but the pain's long subsided by now. Besides, it looks cool on me. The people at Wilcroft Music Academy are just going to have to suck it.
Literally would be fine, too. I don't judge.
Picking up the clothes I've left folded on the toilet seat, I barely look at them before throwing the towel in the corner and putting them on. My hair, however, might need some attention. I knew I should have gotten a pixie-cut, but I've already spent my money on the tattoo. And frankly, I don't know a lot of girls of Native American descent who has pixie-cuts, so I don't know if I'll look good. Scratch that; I don't know any other Native American girls, period.
I brush my hair a few times before resorting to braiding it on the side. One of the drawers beside me is opened slightly, and a lip balm smiles up at me. I open the drawer more, and several more tubes of lip-related make-up are revealed. A purple lipstick, which I rarely use, goes in my jeans pocket, and I leave the bathroom as is. Until Mom can send the rest of my make-up through the mail, I'll have to deal with 'you look sick' jokes most girls would get if they've missed even a day without make-up.
I have yet to find a guy who wears make-up. It'd be a refreshing change from the usual things I see every day.
Says the girl now living in a new town.
Something hard rams into my side, causing me to fall down to the floor. Whatever it was starts giggling like mad. I groan. "Yes, Brent?" I ask, trying not to shove him off of me too hard. I end up somehow tangling my fingers in his wild mess of black hair instead.
For a six-year-old--and the six-year-old who often demands to be treated like an adult--Brent Trevors tends to grab onto me for no reason. Or, if he has a reason, he's too busy laughing like he's done the funniest thing in history. Like now.
"Hiya!" he says, giving me a gap-toothed smile. If I was less annoyed with him right now, I'd be teasing him about the missing teeth. He wraps his arms around my waist and places his chin on my stomach. "You're up early."
"Yes, yes I am," I say plainly. "Come on, bud, I need to get going." I make an attempt of pulling my brother off of me, instead of shoving like before.
"No." Brent holds tightly, another giggle bursting from him.
At this point, I can't help smiling myself. "Yes. Lacey needs to go now." When he makes a face, I add, "Would you rather I put you in my backpack? It'll be tight in there, but I think I can make--"
Brent shudders, and instantly gets off of me. I take a deep breath. "Thank God," I mutter.
"I heard that!"
"That you did." Brent grabs my hand and drags me downstairs. While my old friends complain about how their younger siblings (or older, depending on the maturity) act like brats and irritate the hell out of them, I have to worry about keeping Brent from latching onto me whenever he can.
It's happened more often than I'd like to admit.
My brother takes me to the kitchen, where a kitchen table and fridge magnets are the only signs that someone frequents there. The rest of the small-ish house has more stuff, but not enough to tell if someone's moving in or moving out.
I squint at the clock just above the stove. It's a quarter after seven, and I'll admit it's later than I'm used to. Not that I'm complaining; it's been a long while since I actually enjoyed a cup of coffee in the mornings instead of chugging it right before first period. And speaking of coffee . . .
"Right," I say, once I notice the coffee maker's absence. My little brother's clinging onto me again. "Brent, wanna play a game with your sister?" I ask.
He doesn't even hesitate. "Yeah! What game?"
"It's called, 'Find The Coffee Maker Before Lacey Gets Cranky'." His face falls, obviously not wanting to participate in that kind of game. "You don't like it when I'm cranky, do you?"
After a long pause, "Nooo."
We spend ten minutes going through some boxes around the kitchen and the living room, before I find the familiar white machine in a single box . . . next to Brent. Instead of continuing the search, he found his Transformers action figures and started playing with them, completely forgetting his task.
"Look, Lacey!" He makes a grand display of Optimus Prime demolishing Megatron, complete with sound effects.
"Sounds good, bud." I plug in the coffee maker and put it on the counter next to the fridge. I prepare the coffee, and don't even wait for it to finish brewing before I slide the pot out and pour the coffee in a mug I've grabbed. More than several drops make a sizzling sound when they hit the warmer plate.
"What?" I've put the pot back in with a snik before glancing in Brent's way. He's holding up his backpack with another smile on his face.
"Are you going to take me to school like before?" he asks.
I shake my head. "Dad's going to be taking you," I respond. "I'm taking the bus." I blow into the coffee, wishing it'll cool down a bit faster.
"I want you to take me," my brother states. And Mom said I was the more stubborn kid out of the two.
I shrug. "Sorry, Brent. Not much I can do." When he looks even more unsatisfied, I ask, "Why do you want me to drive you?"
"'Cause you let me sit in the front seat, while Dad makes me sit in the back."
I resist the urge to laugh. People weren't kidding about kids being very honest. "Well, we're in a new house," I say. "And we're living with just Dad. And living with Dad means new rules are set."
I open the fridge and get out the carton of milk for the coffee. Since there's no sugar yet, I make a mental note to get some as soon as I get home from school.
Dad's finally come down the stairs after I've fueled up and gotten Brent ready to go, so Dad doesn't have to when it's time for them to leave. (You'd think Brent knows what I mean by 'shoes and socks', but apparently he likes to take me literally at the wrong time.) (I don't even know how he was able to take two minutes to pull his socks over his shoes, but it took me far longer to undo it.)
He looks like hell, with a work shirt buttoned in the wrong places and his face unshaven. His attitude, however, is the opposite. "Morning, kids," Dad greets. "Both up for school, I see." An amused smile doesn't go unnoticed.
I make a short wave. "It's seven thirty," I say. "The bus comes in five minutes, so I'm leaving now. Brent, on the other hand"--at the mention of his name, my brother grabs onto me, again--"needs to be driven to his school by quarter after eight."
It sounds weird for me to take charge here--hell, it feels weird sometimes--but I've gotten used to this back when Mom was so frazzled she'd need instructions for even how to sit down and enjoy breakfast. I guess working at a job where pressure is a constant thing is bound to make you like that.
"Brent, let go of me," I say wearily. "I have to go to school now, and I don't want to be late." I nudge at him.
With a huff this time, he lets go. "Are you coming back, Lacey?"
"I'm not going to a boarding school. It's an academy. There's a difference."
"There is?" Confusion is etched all over his face. I'd explain it to him, but I don't have the time. I'm not sure if the bus can wait for me, but I'm not taking that chance until I know definitely.
I grab my backpack and sling it over my shoulder. I mark off the things I have in the backpack that I definitely need, including my microphone, even though I doubt I'll need to bring any equipment. It's nice to know I'll have it with me.
"Quarter after eight," I remind Dad.
He laughs heartily. "I heard you the first time," he says. "I'm not senile." Dad glances at the clock. "Go already. You don't need to be late on your first day of school."
"Tell me about it," I mutter as I close the front door behind me on my way out.