Sophie ©️

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Chapter 3

I woke up fresh like always, ready to jump out my bed. I wasn’t one of those people who took a while to wake up. I was ready to go from the moment my eyes open in the morning. According to Tiffany, Vanessa, my mother and my aunt I was one of those really annoying people you want to kill in the mornings. You know the one who’s run about 3 miles before you’ve even managed to get downstairs for a coffee. I used to achieve that a lot. I just swirled my finger because well what’s the point in dressing manually when you can get dressed in a perfect outfit with the flick of your finger, today’s well today’s outfit for now. Was some light grey quarter length yoga pants and a light blue sports bra, my hair was in two boxer braids. I look at myself in the mirror, I look well I admit it I’m not bad looking. My brown hair and amber eyes just highlight my heart-shaped face, my nose was perfectly small and I had grown into my ears about 3 years ago. I have to admit I am hot like all the guys at school would say to Jacob. Yeah, I didn’t have much in the boob department but I was happy with what I had, they didn’t get in the way. I realize then that although I was always comfortable at home with my mom walking around in my sports bra that I doubt my sperm donor would be happy with the outfit. so I wave my finger and a light blue tank top goes on to me. I read today’s top it simply said ‘Run because punching people is frowned upon.’ Okay, then I was in that kind of mood. I wave my hand and my yoga matt comes out of thin air rolled up ready to go. Another wave of my hand and my iPod and headphones come flying over to me. I plug myself in. then I go out of my room.

The house was empty, well no I could still hear the sperm donor snoring. so not empty just quiet. At home even when I was up this early there would be sounds. I decide to go outside into the garden to do my yoga. I wouldn’t go for my morning jog just yet first I will do an hour of yoga and then be polite and see if Charlie actually wanted to come for a jog. I doubt it but it would be polite to ask.

I was on my head when I noticed him, Charlie that is. My earphones were in and he was holding a coffee like it was his life preserver. he and mom had at least one thing in common then. I pull my earphones out but stay on my head.

“How long have you been up?” he asks me interestedly, looking at me like I was a mystery. I was almost at the end of my routine so

“About 90 minutes,” I tell him calmly. “Would you like a coffee? Do you drink coffee?” he asks me sounding torn.

“No thanks, and no I don’t,” I tell him. He nods.

“I have about 3 more exercises to do then I am going for a jog would you like to join me?” I ask.

“Um no, that’s fine you go ahead.” He tells me.

“Do you do this every morning?” he asks me.

“Yes,” I tell him.

“Okay,” he says looking at me like he can’t understand me.

“Where are you going for your jog?” he asks me.

“I don’t know, I will just run until I can’t run anymore,” I tell him truthfully.

“Do you know your new address?” he asks me. I still am stood on my head and seeing his face upside down is rather odd.

“Nope but I am sure I will find my way back,” I assure him.

“Have you got a phone number I can reach you on?” he asks me. after 4 years of having a cell, my dad was actually going to have my number? for years a simple call from this man would have made my day. I’m not that innocent kid anymore.

“Um sure, I am a teenager, of course, I have a cell,”

“Well, I would like you to take my number and give me yours before you go on a run.” He tells me.

“Of course Charles,” I say, I see the look my words cause but I don’t care. He can’t pretend to care now.

“Maybe Justin and Nathan are going for a jog they normally do this time of day,” he says thoughtfully.

“um Charles I don’t need a chaperone to go for a run, believe it or not, I am a red belt in karate and a purple belt in mixed martial arts. I can look after myself better than most men and I feel highly insulted that you believe I need a male to chaperone me. I believe that is rather sexist of you.” I inform him.

“Not a black belt?” he questions me ignoring me calling him sexist.

“No, I quit before that I didn’t like being hit,” I mumble the truth, mom had found that so funny. it was before I had my magic and she wanted me to be able to protect myself. So mixed martial arts and karate lessons from 6 years old it was.

“Do you want anything for breakfast?” Charlie asks me changing the subject.

“I will eat after my run and after my shower,” I tell him. He nods.

“But I will take an apple, pineapple or melon if you have any and a sports bottle of water,” I say. “Yeah, I think I got an apple and water.” He says weakly.

“I will be in in a few minutes Charles,” I tell him. He goes back in the house without another word, obviously deciding on his battle. I take a deep breath, he had knocked me out of my relaxing zone even listening to my yoga music of the wind that always relaxes me won’t help anymore. mom would never dream of interrupting me whilst I was in the zone, she said being able to reach such a relaxed state was so important and she was proud of me for discovering it so young. I did my last two poses. The handstand scorpion and then just the corpse pose, because lying flat on my back and breathing and calming myself is extremely important, I need to always keep a lid on my temper. I just can’t get to my inner peace now though, I had achieved it before Charlie had interrupted but now I just couldn’t. I jump to my feet and roll my mat up. Then I walk back into the house. Charlie is in the kitchen he is stood at the window, I know he had been watching me and I didn’t know what to say to him, he was a stranger but then so was I to him and to me.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come for a run?” I ask him. He pulls a look that I know from mom, he obviously couldn’t think of anything worse.

“Did your mom join you because she never used to be a morning person?” He asks me, the first time mentioning mom.

“Sorry, Sophie I know its.” He starts as if he is so torn, as my eyes had filled with tears before I could stop them. Why when I’m constantly thinking of mom, why him mentioning her made me cry I didn’t know.

“No mom never joined me, I would do my morning routine and by the time I got back, she had sometimes made it to the kitchen for coffee. But not all the time.” I admit tears in my eyes I refuse to let fall.

“I won’t be too long, what’s your number?” I question pulling my phone out of thin air and putting it on an arm strap that had appeared out of thin air. but I’m done talking. I attach my iPod to another arm strap. Then I go up to the sink and fill my water bottle. I take a long sip from it then refilled it.

With his number in my phone and mine in his, I leave out the front door, glad to be able to breathe again. I start a slow jog and the further I get away from him the faster I get. My music now pumping out on my run mix. I watch as the paperboy bikes past me he looks about my age and he was cute in that boy next doorway. really cute in the boy next door way actually. but he gives me a look that says that he thinks that I am a freak for well being up this early as he let out the hugest yawn as he passes me. But I run past him, wondering what is in the water in this town when every guy I’ve seen so far except my dad is cute.

When I get back to Charlie’s house, I am covered in sweat and out of breath and it takes me a moment to collect myself. but I feel great. I knock as the door again was locked when I try it. Charlie opens the door.

“I need to get you a key cut.” He tells me calmly as if it’s just crossed his mind. I go in past him as he opens the door wide for me.

“Did you want anything to eat?” he asks me actually sounding hopeful that I will say yes, feeding me seems to be something he wants to constantly do as he’s constantly offering me food or drink it seems.

“Have you got the stuff to make a smoothie?” I ask him slightly hopeful.

“Um no but I can go to the shop and get it,” he tells me, looking like he wants to go right then.

“Do you have any juice?” I ask. He smiles.

“Cranberry or orange?” he asks me going to his fridge like it will save him.

“Cranberry,” I tell him. He fills me a glass of cranberry juice and then holds it out to me.

“Please tell me you eat more than this for breakfast Sophie.” He says worriedly.

“Yeah don’t worry I do,” I assure him.

“Would you like some pancakes?” he asks me. yep, he’s trying to fatten me up. I nod, I wouldn’t ever say no to pancakes.

“Do you mind if I go have a shower before I eat?” I ask him.

“Of course. Be careful with the shower it comes out really hot.” He tells me sounding worried.

“I will keep that in mind. Thanks.” I tell him.

I walk into the bathroom he had shown me last night when I asked where I went to the toilet here as I didn’t have an ensuite like I did in my bedroom at home. I manage to find the right settings for me in the shower after nearly scolding myself about three times. When I get out I dry and then I think about what I wanted to wear today. My black skater dress with stars on that settles just above my knees settles onto me a second later. My chestnut brown hair then goes into a half up half down curly style. I look at myself in the mirror I look amazing. I look at my bare feet. The cute sandals that I thought would match the dress settle on my feet a second later. It takes me 8 flips of my fingers after that to find the right shoes. When I am happy I go out of the bathroom. Charlie is still in the kitchen area actually making pancakes his back to me. I watch him as he flips them silently cheering himself on. it is really dorky but I have to admit it got a weak smile out of me. I remember visits with him when I was younger where he would make me pancakes in funny shapes and tell those really corny dad jokes. What was I about 7 the last time I had stayed with him? It was only for a week in the summer and I had a good time. I had loved every minute. It’s strange how I couldn’t really remember that till now. But all the times that he has stood me up are at the front of mind.

“Charlie?” I question. He looks at me,

“What’s wrong Sophia?” he asks me, obviously seeing something on my face, that I can’t even put into words. Why had he stopped coming? Why had he stopped trying to be my dad?

“Nothing I just.” I start. I just wanted to clear my head, I just wanted to interrupt you. I just wanted to let you know I was here. All of it came to my head but no words came.

“That’s a pretty outfit, but it’s a bit short.” he starts worriedly. Okay, he’s got the outfit convo down pat it seems.

“It’s fine, it’s just above knee length. Don’t worry I will never have a wardrobe malfunction don’t worry.” I tell him. My clothes would never allow me too. He nods worriedly.

“So what would you like to do today Sophie? It’s only 7 am and you seem to have achieved more already than most people do in their whole day.” He tells me a weak smile on his face, but I can tell he’s trying to joke with me, it just all seems so forced.

“I am a morning person,” I tell him.

“So am I, like your pawpaw used to say the early bird gets the worms.” He tells me with a smile.

“Why would I want to get worms?” I ask I remember the saying though.

“Can’t you remember that saying?” he asks me looking tired. I shrug, I had heard it but currently, I had no clue who pawpaw was and didn’t want to ask him. Did I have more family than just him and Aunty Beaty? He plates up my pancake.

“Now I have syrup or chocolate sauce or I’m sure you can get yourself whatever you want to top them,” he tells me sounding worried. Why can’t we just know how to act towards each other. why doe’s it have to be so awkward. a year of eggshells. I weakly smile.

“Chocolate sauce would be great,” I tell him taking it from the side where he has put it. I spread it all over my pancakes, I wasn’t even gentle with it as I drowned my pancakes in chocolate. I might be healthy most the time, but chocolate is my kryptonite. My dad watches me as he tucks into his own pancakes with chocolate sauce, I realize we are both left-handed. unlike mom who was right-handed. Did I have more in common with my dad than I realized?

“So I was thinking about going food shopping and maybe get your school supplies today what do you think? Do you do that sort of thing?” he asks me worriedly.

“Yeah I do and I would love to go shopping conjuring the food out of thin air is really draining on me,” I admit. He nods.

“Well why don’t we go food shopping and then I can show you around a few places in town?” he asks me, sounding slightly hopeful.

“If it’s not too embarrassing to be seen with this old man,” he says weakly as if he doesn’t want to push me too much.

“You’re not actually that old though are you?” I point out, it was also a question. Mom had been 20 when she had me. If I remember rightly dad was only a year maybe 2 years older than her.

“Is that your polite way of asking how old I am Sophia?” he asked me a weak smile on his lips. “Yeah,” I admitted, why not be honest. “It might be hard for you to believe but I’m 39 this year.” He says in mock shock.

“Gosh, you are old,” I tell him, but I have to smile. It went quiet for a while but strangely it is a comfortable quiet as we both eat our pancakes not feeling the need to fill it. Charlie broke it after a while though.

“Now I know it will be embarrassing getting a ride to school from your English teacher but I like to be there at least half an hour before school starts anyway so no one will see you.” He says seriously.

“So do you mind riding in with this old man?” he asks me, looking at me with my own eyes as if begging me to understand my new life.

“No I don’t mind, it’s not like I’m going to have any social standing at this school, so hell why not slap teachers kid on me to” I mumble.

“What do you mean, you were a cheerleader and I know your team was good,” he says like I make no sense. surely working in a high school he has an understanding of teen girls!

“Squad and yeah we are better than good we are the best,” I feel the need to inform him.

“So?” he questions me.

“I am joining a new high school my senior year, that alone limits my possibilities on making friends. I also cannot join another squad.” I tell him.

“Why not?” he asks me confused.

“I just can’t.” I huff out, my shoulder alone is one reason. my cartwheels have been sloppy since the accident and it still hurts me a lot of the time.

“I will just concentrate on my studies this year,” I tell him.

“As much as the teacher in me likes to hear you say that there is so much here that you can enjoy. When’s the last time you went to the beach?” he asks me.

“Uh,” I admit I had run in the opposite way today to the ocean but that hadn’t meant I wasn’t tempted.

“Why don’t we go to the beach you used to love it there?” he asks me trying to encourage us to bond I think.

“Charlie you can’t just throw things from the past at me and expect us to be okay. I am 17 I am not 3 anymore.” I tell him. I see the look of hurt on his face.

“I deserved that,” he tells me.

“What do you think about counseling?” he asks me.

“What you think I need counseling?” I snap at him.

“Maybe talking to someone about how you feel and about your mother and me would help,” he says weakly.

“Do not go putting moms death.” I start angrily my magic bubbling. I did what was best I walked out again.

When I got outside two guys from next door were just jogging down the road. Thankfully the hot guy from yesterday wasn’t with them but they were just as hot.

“Sophia,” Dad yells at me opening the front door that I had slammed behind myself.

“Leave me alone Charlie,” I shout at him.

“Sophia please can we just talk like adults. You want me to treat you like an adult so behave like one. Come talk to me.” he says firmly. I’m not acting like an adult? really is that what he was going to say to me! I did what I was best at it seems I ran away from my problems. Stones keep slipping in my sandals as I run.

When I finally stop I was up on a cliff. Woo good thing I stopped. I look down at the ocean crashing on the cliff and I sigh, with each deep breath I let my anger go.

“If you’re not going to try out for cheerleading can I suggest track.” A guy’s huffing voice says from behind me he actually sounds to be out of breath. I turn to look at him, wondering who the hell he was! No one should know me. The guy had shaggy blonde hair held back in a bandana, bright blue eyes that seemed to sparkle even though he was still trying to catch his breath. He looked older than me too. Really Vinnie was right there’s something in the water lately affecting the guys.

“Who even told you I was a cheerleader?” I question, rather than asking who the hell he was.

“My mom.” He informs me still out of breath.

“Mind if I sit.” He says indicating the bench thats a bit further a long that still has a view of the beach below. I wave my hand not caring one bit what this guy did.

“It’s a free country,” I tell him.

“Do you really think so?” he asks.

“Do I really think what?” I ask him confused.

“That it’s a free country?” he asks me.

“Um?” I ask as a question. Wasn’t it a bit early for this debate? we didn’t know each other.

“Did you follow me?” I have to ask, even though it’s obvious he did.

“Would it be weird and stalker-like if I had?” he asks me worried, but hey hes starting to get his breath back, he sits down on the bench and lets out a relieved sigh as he sits. I have to force myself not to laugh.

“Yeah, yeah it would,” I inform him but I have to smile. I don’t know what it is about him. maybe it was the fact that he had a bandana tied around his head and sweatbands on his wrists that just make me question his sanity? The easy-going smile on his face? The fact that he is leaning back on the bench obviously out of breath, but looks like he is in good shape and works out a lot. The fact he actually reminds me of Jacob, with his boy next door looks and dirty blonde hair that I wondered if it would pass uniform policy for school or if he was even still in school.

“So your Sophie right? Or is it Sophia as I’ve heard you be called both?” he questions me with a smile in my direction.

“Both are fine I don’t care which.” I shrug, I honestly don’t.

“Fair enough.” He shrugs.

“Soph,” he says with a smile that shows his perfectly straight white teeth, yep something in the water.

“Yeah not that,” I tell him having to laugh, he just was a typical jock I decide and I can cope with jocks. I know jocks.

“So how are you finding it here?” he asks me interested.

“I haven’t really been here long.” I point out. He shrugs.

“You seem to have run a lot of it.” he shrugs but hes still smiling.

“Not nearly all but I will look around later.” I shrug.

“Have you gone and looked at the college campus, there are a lot of cool places to hang out there.” He tells me.

“I’ve been here one day. But I will keep it in mind.” I tell him weakly.

“Maybe I could show you around sometime if you’re not too busy.” He shrugs.

“why?” I ask him, why the hell is he trying to be nice to me?

He shrugs. “Just being neighborly.”

“And the real reason?” I ask interested because I know that wasn’t it.

“My mom said I had to be nice to you.” he shrugs. I have to chuckle, least he told me the truth without too much pushing.

“And you must be Justin?” I question, smiling I can’t help it.

“Yeah how’d you guess?” he asks me interested.

“Mystery,” I tell him having to smile at him, if I had met Justin anywhere else, I possibly would still have liked him, although I wanted to pull his bandana off.

“I heard a rumor that I was staying for a year?” I question him with a raised eyebrow, but I am teasing him.

“That’s strange I heard the same rumor,” Justin tells me with a huge grin, his eyes sparkle. I look at him and put a hand on my hip.

“How come your not out breath and sweaty.” Justin moans at me, wiping the sweat off his brow.

“Because I’m in shape,” I inform him, I look down at the ocean below crashing into the cliff. This would make a brilliant take-off area. Just jumping from here with my broom then skimming the ocean. Safety lessons from my mom come back about the wind and water.

Alright, I get it not safe. My broom would possibly flip out too.

“So why did you follow me, Justin?” I ask.

“Ah well, I thought it was best to when your new in town and don’t know anyone.” He admits to me.

“And I know you?” I question.

“You will soon enough.” he shrugs.

“Because you’re my neighbor?” I question Knowing that wasn’t the reason the moment I ask and already knowing part of me didn’t want to hear the real answer. That was on his mind. Shit I knew my dad wasn’t not going to have someone, come on mom had a few different guys as I grew up. I also kind of understood that need. Not that I’d given in to Jacobs pestering, I wasn’t ready and he had to respect that. Although a part of me knows he hadn’t. he had cheated on me more times than I could count with a girl who would put out. well actually a few of them. He also had told most of the team we had already done the deed. It annoyed him we hadn’t. But I don’t know, part of me knew he wasn’t the right guy and I wanted my first time to be extremely special. Someone who understood me. I know the romantic notion from a girl who can wave her hand and have anything she wants in life. Except for love and people back from the dead, because even a full-grown witch’s magic couldn’t succeed with that. Even a full coven or circle or anything couldn’t achieve that. Nothing would ever bring my mom back to me.

“Sophia,” Justin says, doe’s he realize he’s lost me to my own thoughts?

“Sorry I zoned out,” I admit.

“Jetlag,” I tell him.

“Um same time zone, I get it you feel like you’ve been dragged miles but you haven’t gone that far,” Justin informs me with a lazy smile. He then starts talking to me about time zones. I look at him absolutely bemused. He is so weird.

“Justin do you hit your head a lot”? I ask after a while.

“No why?” he asks me confused but he was smiling.

“I’m just wondering,” I tell him laughing.

“So are you ready to go home and face Mr. D?” he asks me when he looks like he’s fully caught his breath.

“Mr D?” I ask.

“That’s what everyone calls him. Hes Mr. D.” Justin tells me.

“Great and high school is going to be so fun,” I tell him sarcastically.

“There’s the spirit,” Justin says with a smile. I raise my eyebrows at him.

“Oh come on you have to admit that you want to laugh.” He tells me.

“It’s more your outfit, why the hell are you wearing a bandana?” I ask.

“I get asked that question a lot.” He admits getting to his feet and throwing his arm over my shoulder.

“Eww, you’re sweaty,” I say in disbelief.

“Yeah well princess I saw pictures of you in your boyfriend’s arms and he looked sweatier and you didn’t look like you were complaining.” He informs me. I look at him confused.

“Uh, what pictures?” I ask confused.

“The ones your dad has of you,” he says shrugging.

“He doesn’t have any pictures of me with Jacob,” I say looking confused, hell if mom was actually sending him pictures she wouldn’t have sent any like that. Jacob was the only boyfriend I had ever had and it was only the squads constant jabbering that I needed to date him when he asked me out that had made me.

“Alright maybe the ones Nathan and I found of you online, I can’t remember which ones he showed us and which we found by googling you and your school and looking through Facebook and Twitter pages.” he shrugs.

“Can I ask you something?” I ask interested.

“Yeah sure.” He shrugs.

“How long has your mom been dating my dad for?” I ask.

“3, almost 4 years.” he shrugs. Shit, that long?

“Alright,” I say torn.

“So why did you and Nathan google me? and who the hell is Nathan?” I ask.

“My kid brother.” He tells me shrugging only answering one of my questions.

“So hes younger than me?” I ask, hey at least not everyone was older. Justin ruffles my hair.

“You wish hes a few months older apparently.” He tells me smiling.

“MY HAIR,” I say exasperated. Not that a single hair was out of place when he finished. I kind of spelled my hair too much for that.

“That’s odd I hoped to make at least a bit of mess,” Justin says a glint of his humor in his eyes.

“Hair spray works magic,” I inform him.

“I need the spray you use.” He informs me.

“No you need to ditch the bandana,” I tell him.

“Ah and you’re the fashion police I take it?” he questions me a smirk on his face.

“Omg you have no idea, that wife beater with those shorts and trainers come on. What are you trying to do give an old lady a heart attack?” I ask him, having to smile. I take him fully in, he really is hot.

“Do you think it would work?” he questions me but I know he is joking. That is when a messenger dove lands on my shoulder. I chuckle things were looking so promising, not.

“Uh Soph don’t touch it, you don’t know how many diseases it has. Hold on I will get rid of it,” Justin tells me taking a step towards me in a shooing motion.

“Don’t worry it’s just a tweet,” I tell him smiling, I need to get Abe a cell. I know it is odd. I take the message off the bird’s leg. I read the message.

Tweet to Sophie Tempest – No matter how far you feel like you’ve gone you are only a message away. Need me or Vinnie send a message. Messenger Dove or smoke signals. We are always here. P.s. hurry up and pass your license. meet me Saturday before you go to Vinnie’s as I’m closer and I will join you the rest of the way there. Respond ASAP. I miss you both, hating my roommate hes a freak. – Tweet from Abe Lawson.

I laugh reading it I couldn’t help it, my friends really would never understand the real world. At the same time, they did understand it enough to know that communing this way just made everyone think we were wacko. Thankfully only having 5 doves whilst in public has helped slightly. But everyone at my old school thought that Abe was a geek who trained birds.

“That is so weird,” Justin says reminding me he is still with me and he is tall enough to see my message over my head.

“Hes a geek. I don’t even want to know how long it took him to train his birds.” I say laughing. I pull out a small pad of paper and a tiny pencil from well thin air but it looks like it was in my pocket.

“You just randomly carry that?” he asks me, looking at me in disbelief.

“You never know when you’ll get an important tweet,” I tell him laughing.

“I give up my new stepsisters a geek and she had so much promise,” he says throwing his hands up in mock exasperation. I couldn’t help but laugh even though I want to tell him we weren’t related and I doubt I'm going to be his stepsister anytime soon. But the dove was waiting for my reply pecking at me so I jotted down my reply.

Tweet to Abe Lawson – Alright I will meet you Saturday before I go to Vinnie. It’s called a cell phone get one. How’s your roomie a freak. Call me or smoke signals on where to meet you. or just come pick me up. – Tweet from Sophie Tempest.

“You’re so weird,” Justin tells me laughing as I attach my note in the bird's little holder and it took off.

“Hes never going to get that message.” Justin laughs.

“You’d be surprised.” I laugh.

“Can we pretend that never happened.” I laugh.

“No, no we can’t, because I can’t believe it happened,” Justin says with a grin.

“Then surely it would be best to pretend it didn’t,” I suggest.

“There is some logic in that,” Justin says thoughtfully. I laugh. We walk back in what feels like a comfortable silence. I kind of know that he won’t tell anyone because he actually wants me to like him and like my time here. He wants my dad and me to work out our problems because he likes him and he didn’t get how Mr. D had screwed up being a dad so bad when he is such a great guy. It made him more worried about my dad and his mom’s relationship than he had ever been.

“So Justin how old are you?” I question.

“20 I’m about to start my 3rd year of college.” He says.

“What you studying?” I ask interested.

“Masters in computer science,” he tells me I look at him in shock. I don't want to accuse him of lying or pulling my leg, I also know it is the truth.

“What don’t I look smart?” he questions me.

“Is that a trick question? You’re wearing a bandana.” I say.

“You really have a problem with the bandana don’t you?” he accuses me.

“Yeah, I really do,” I tell him, I reach up and grab it pulling it off his head.

“Hey!” he cries out laughing.

“If you want it back you’ll have to catch me, slowpoke,” I tell him and then I run off towards the house I can now see in the distance. His bandana trailing behind me. He actually chases me. I laugh and run faster. I don’t think I had laughed this much since even before mom had passed. It was like I don’t know there was something about Justin that makes me laugh. I run up to the front door and knock. Justin still halfway down the street, he's so slow. Charlie seems to take forever but he eventually comes to the door and opens it. Justin is at the bottom of the steps.

“Sophia,” Charlie says looking so relieved to see me when he opens the door. Then he takes in Justin.

“Justin?” he questions.

“Hey Mr. D,” Justin says.

“Sophia, can I have my bandana back?” Justin questions me. I debate it.

“Will you ever wear it again?” I ask him, pretending to seriously be debating it.

“I won’t mention the Pidgeon to anyone if you give me it back,” Justin teases me.

“It was a dove,” I say.

“I won’t mention the dove,” Justin teases me. I see Charlie taking us in and he looks a mixture of happy confused worried and I can’t really work out what else. I chuck the bandana at Justin's head, he catches it in one hand.

“It’s a fashion no,” I tell him.

“I am so sorry I didn’t realize the fashion police is now in town.” Justin laughs.

“I’m surprised you’ve never been arrested for it before,” I tell him. Charlie is watching me and it is becoming uncomfortable.

“Well see you later, Mr. D, Soph,” Justin says then with a wave he walks off.

“Don’t call me that,” I shout at Justin but I still can’t help my smile.

“Na you’re the one who can’t decide if your names Sophia or Sophie so I’m just calling you Soph to kill both birds. Oops, I said I wouldn’t mention birds,” Justin calls laughing as he walks away. Charlie actually looks like he wants to laugh. I slip into the house then.

“Where have you been?” Charlie questions me worried.

“Talking to that weirdo,” I tell him, indicating outside. I see the worry cross his face, he was worried I knew before he had a chance to explain things to me.

“You don’t have to explain I get it, a man has needs. You and mom were divorced and separated it’s not like you cheated on her. Mom dated all the time.” I tell him shrugging and I do mean that. I gave up on the idea of my parents ever getting back together a very long time ago. My mom dated all the time. Keeping a guy interested or sane though was mom’s problem. They started to think they were going crazy quite quickly.

“I don’t have a problem with you dating,” I tell Charlie surprisingly I knew that’s what he wants to hear and actually how I feel.

“Can we go food shopping now?” I ask.

“Yes Sophia we can,” Charlie says, looking at me like I'm a bomb and he's scared to set me off.

“Would you like anything to eat or drink first?” he asks me. I walk up to the fridge and actually pull out the juice that he already had.

“Want some?” I ask pouring myself a glass. “No that’s fine,” Charlie tells me. I down the cup. Maybe this place won't be all bad.

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