The way the leaves fall

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Chapter 4

Complicated, things always got more complicated. Julia sighed as she lay on her bed. She could hear the shouts coming from downstairs as her parents argued. They were arguing about him again.

Her brother, Greg, had moved out a few months ago. Her parents and him had argued frequently enough before that she suspected he wouldn't be around long, but it had still come as a shock when he had actually left for good.

Life since he moved out had been hard. She began talking to him on the phone, and that was nice. He would talk about his life in the city. He'd gotten an apartment with a friend and started dating someone who he refused to describe, leaving Julia hungry for information.

It turned out her brother had gotten a job at a cafe where he waited tables. Julia didn't think that sounded very interesting but she didn't say much about it, she enjoyed hearing about her brother's travels. Growing up in such a strict household her brother's life seemed like fantasy, something that didn't seem like it could really happen.

After awhile her parents starting regulating her conversations with her brother and then they straight out forbade them. That was when her life really started to go down hill. Not only was her means of escape blocked but now her parents were stricter then ever, apparently having learned nothing from Greg.

She was made to go to church every sunday after that and her mother started regulating the people she hung out with. The only upside to the whole affair was that with her parents away so much they didn't really have much authority over her. Still that was little comfort.

"I don't care it's still not right!" Julia winced as her mother continued to yell. It was around nine now, but her brother had called at five when they were eating dinner.

Julia hadn't really given much thought to the call at the time, after all her brother had stopped calling awhile ago, but when her mother ordered her to go straight to bed and leave the dishes she knew it had to be him.

As much as she ached to talk to him, she didn't want to fight with her mother and so she had gone up to her room and lain down, trying to be content with listening to fragments of what her mother said. She began to fiddle with a strand of hair as she thought back to the day he had been kicked out. It really was strange how suddenly it'd happened.

One minute they were all getting along fine, the next her brother was packing a suitcase in tears, telling her that he had to leave. Julia shivered at the memory, she'd never seen her brother cry before, he'd always been the strong one. But there he was crying, and she didn't know what could make him cry like that, but she had a feeling she didn't want to find out.

He'd left right after packing his suitcase. He hadn't said goodbye, he hadn't even told her where he was going, he'd just left. She'd been in denial for awhile, convinced herself he couldn't be gone, but when his first phone call came a week later she'd had to admit he was gone.

She sighed as she glanced at her alarm clock it was 9:00pm, her parents had spent four hours on the phone arguing with her brother but she doubted they would stop anytime soon.

Closing her eyes she leaned back on her bed and folded her hands over her stomach. She tried to close her eyes and block out the noise, quiet unsuccessfully. Rolling over she grabbed her phone and turned it on. She then reached into the nightstand and grabbed the piece of paper Kelly had given her.

She typed the number into the keypad and waited while the phone rang, and rang and rang. Frustrated she hung up and tossed the piece of paper into the nightstand. She knew that Clara would probably be up and so she began to text her.

Hey, you up? She texted Clara.

Yeah, why? Clara responded

My brother called... She explained

Oh, I'm so sorry you alright? Clara asked

Yeah, it just sucks they argue with him so much you know? Julia curled up with her phone, and blinked her eyes as they grew blurry. She dried her cheeks with her nightgown sleeves Without even realizing it she'd started to cry.

Yeah... Julia could tell Clara didn't know what to say but she was glad Clara was saying something.

I met this girl in my neighborhood. It's funny my mom didn't know her name. Julia texted.

Huh, that's weird. She go to our school? Clara inquired.

I don't think so. I've never seen her there before. Julia responded.

We can look for her tomorrow I guess. Clara suggested.

Yeah. Listen I was thinking of inviting her over for the sleepover this weekend that okay with you? Julia asked.

Sure. Why wouldn't it be? Clara responded.

I don't know, glad you're alright with it : ). Julia texted back.

Yeah. I gtg, ttyl.

Julia sighed and placed her phone on the nightstand. Clara had acted weird these last couple months and she didn't know why. It certainly didn't help her. With everything going on her life she just felt like she needed a break.

Yawning crawled into bed and turned off her bedside lamp. She knew full well she wasn't going to get to sleep that night with her parents arguing full blast but she didn't really care. The dark was nice it helped her to think, and besides it wasn't like her parents arguing was anything knew.

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