Colton swore he meant to wake up early the following morning. Normally, he was an early bird. But, as usual, whenever he needed to be up really early, he ended up waking up way later than he intended. Usually, that didn’t cause any problems, but this time it was on a school day.
They were very late in waking up - they had to leave in half an hour if they wanted to get there on time.
His mom made them something to eat on the way to school while they got ready. Audra ended up having to wear something from his mother’s walk-in closet. That would’ve been fine, except for the fact that all that would fit her were dresses, and some black high heels.
She would’ve just worn something he had, but he doubted the school would let her wear an oversized shirt for a dress.
While she was searching for an outfit that would match the shoes and gloves she had, he showered and changed. When about half of the time was up, he switched with his mom so she could go help Audra, who had just finished changing and doing her teeth and hair.
“Ma’! We’ve gotta go! It’s just school, so nothing too fancy! All the other guys will be jealous and- Actually, nevermind! Do whatever!” He called up ten minutes later, putting the oatmeal which his mother had burned, causing him to start a new batch, into bowls for them to take. He topped it with fresh, chopped up strawberries and blackberries, walnuts, a drizzle of milk, pinch of cinnamon, peanut butter, and a little bit of chocolate because why the heck not. Then he turned to fix the coffee that he’d been making at the same time, preparing Audra’s just like how she had on their first date.
Right when he’d finished up and set everything in the car so they had less to carry, Audra and his mother came downstairs.
Colton turned to greet them, but found himself momentarily unable to speak.
Audra had on a grey halter dress that flared out from her waist and fell to her knees, the pair of black heels that fit her, and her silver colored gloves. Her curly, chocolate brown hair with darker roots was put into a bun on the back of her head, the piece of white hair curled more and hanging free. She had on a faint layer of make-up, as well.
She walked over to him, her brows raised in amusement. “You okay there, Colt?” she asked with a bit of a chuckle.
He managed to snap out of his thoughts and nodded, smiling. “Ye- Yeah. I’m, uh, I’m okay.” He cleared his throat a bit, his cheeks turning pink. “You, um, you look great, Auds.”
She smiled a bit at him. “Thanks. You don’t look too bad yourself.” She paused, then asked, “Could I please borrow your heavy leather jacket?”
“It’s already in the car. So is breakfast. We’d better get going.” He reached down, lacing his fingers with hers as he took her hand, and started leading her out the door. “Bye ma’!”
“Have a great day!” she called after them.
They both climbed into his car and, after Audra slipped on his jacket, took off down the road towards the school, eating whenever they could.
The day seemed to go by in a blur. Before they knew it, it was lunchtime. Audra sat next to Colton, as always, with his friends. Only, this time, Ersa joined them.
He could feel Audra tense beside him and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her closer to himself.
“What are you doing here, Ersa?” Audra asked tiredly.
Ersa laughed, eyes closed and her head tilted back. She looked at her, brows slightly pressed together. “Can’t I spend time with my own sister? I’m only here because I haven’t got anyone else back at home. You, of all people, should know that.”
Colton couldn’t tell if she was trying to hint at something or not. He only narrowed his eyes as he glared at her. “You’re only going to make her worse. Leave,” he said after a moment.
He felt Audra’s shoulders sag a little bit, and he looked over to see her mouth barely pulled into a frown, brows pressed together. Her head was tilted downwards.
“Hey, what’s wrong, Auds?” he murmured, using a gentle finger to tilt her chin up so that he was looking into her eyes, his own concerned.
She shook her head, smiling faintly. “Nothing. Just… thinking about my family…”
He nodded a bit and pressed a kiss to her forehead before pulling her even closer to himself, resting his head against hers. “It’s okay. I’m sorry she brought that up.”
She nodded, wrapping one of her arms around him. She remained silent.
He turned his attention back to Ersa, who was watching the whole thing with amusement.
He scowled at her. “Do you not care about your own family? Or are you really that cold-hearted?”
She sighed, rolling her eyes. “Oh, come on. I’m not that cold-hearted, handsome. I’m her older sister. I know when something is too much for her.”
“You are not my sister,” Audra snapped. “You never have been, nor will you ever be my sister.”
“Of course I am. Remember a few years ago? You used to always want to hang out with me. You’d follow me around.” She leaned forward and leaned against her hand. “My mother was a mother to you for a time. Surely you remember that, Bubbles.”
Audra stood and slammed her hands on the table, the entire room falling silent.
She leaned closer to her, her face creased with anger. “You don’t get to call me that. You never were allowed to call me that. My brothers were the only people to call me by that name, and I’ve made that very clear to you before. Surely I could do it again. Your mother never replaced my mother. Do not speak these lies to me ever AGAIN!" With that last remark, she turned and stormed out of the room.
Silence followed her.
Colton pushed himself to his feet and followed after her, ignoring the bell completely as he found her in the lounge, sobbing.
He sighed softly, then made his way over to her, gently wrapping his arms around her, saying nothing.
For several minutes, they sat there, on the floor, Audra shaking in his arms. Once she started to calm down, he brushed away her tears, and helped her to her feet. Fortunately, her make-up was waterproof, so none of it smeared.
He smiled softly at her. “Hey, it’s alright. Do you want more time?”
She shook her head a little. “No… I just-” She sighed, looking away. “I’m fine. I just want to get this school day over with so I can lie down…”
He nodded, wrapping an arm around her shoulders as he shepherded her out of the room.
“You know, I’ve been thinking…” he started after a moment or two as he led her to her next class. “We’re taking the vow tomorrow after school. We’ve been dating since the end of October, and it’s December. I… I care about you a lot, Auds. I want to get you something. I was going to take you somewhere after school today, if that’s alright.”
Audra looked over at him, smiling a little. “Yeah, sure. It sounds fun, if you’re not already sick of me and having to depend on you for everything.”
He shook his head, smiling softly as he pulled her closer to him. “Oh, I could never be sick of you. I love helping you.”
She smiled a little more. “Oh, good. I was worried…”
They’d reached her next class, then, and he let her go after pressing a kiss to her forehead. Once he’d helped her to her seat, he turned and left the room to go to his class.