Damage Control

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Baboons and an IQ of 40

“How kind of you to finally grace us with your presence.” The obnoxious voice of my younger sister stated as she flashed me the most unamused look. I squinted my eyes towards her as an attempt to intimidate her but she simply rolled her eyes and huffed at me before turning to walk towards my car.

“What crawled up her butt?” Sebastian, another one of my best friends questioned as we slowed to a stop in front of my car. His midnight black hair was messy on top of his head and his golden face was slightly covered in dirt. There were a couple stray pieces of grass lingering all over his body as a result of his grueling soccer practice he had undergone during his gym period.

You see, Sebastian and I were polar opposites that completely clicked.

He was an athletic gym rat, whereas I was a lazy potato couch. I was a ‘gringa’ as he liked to call it, and he was a Hispanic heartthrob. We had both met during our first days in Kindergarten and knew our friendship was meant to be when we both revealed our mutual hatred for Mildred Balkins, a fellow classmate of ours for as long as I could remember.

Even as a child she was terrible.

Mildred Balkins was quite literally the most irritating thing on this planet.

Yes, I said thing.

That girl possessed no decent human qualities and had made it her life goal to ruin everyones life.

Not only was she stuck up and obnoxious, but she worked for the school paper. You’d think from the outside that she was a sweet quiet girl that kept to herself but oh boy was she far from that.

Don’t let the crappy bangs and boxy glasses fool you.

She was purely evil.

I cannot tell you how many times she has published a false paper about me, Sienna, or Sebastian, rambling about some bullshit she thought about us or had supposedly ‘observed.’

It still baffled me how the school was oblivious to the things she published. The articles resembled a gossip magazine more than a traditional school newspaper.

Sebastian and I had wanted to corner her one day when she had published a particularly ridiculous article about a secret love triangle she suspected we were all were a part of. Although it would bring me nothing but satisfaction to scare her shitless with empty threats, she was quick on her feet. Anytime she saw us approaching, whether it was in the cafeteria or in the halls, she would turn and bolt the other direction.

It was frustrating yet amusing at the same time.

“Thats just Avery being Avery.” I waved him off, responding to his earlier comment about Avery’s moody behavior. He simply scoffed in response as he hoisted his soccer bag farther up his shoulder.

“No, thats her being possessed by a demon. Seriously, whats with the whole skull and death theme she’s got going on” He questioned as his slight accent pushed through his words. Pointing his thumb backwards towards the car that Avery was seated in, he stared at me with a raised eyebrow. A laugh bubbled out of me at his facial expression and comments as I leaned my body weight against the vehicle behind me.

I opened my mouth to respond when I was interrupted by an array of girls screaming out their goodbyes to Sebastian who in return, shot them a cocky smile.

Sebastian Torres fit the role of the typical high school guy that every girl fawned over.

Not only was he blessed with a perfectly sculptured face and body, but his athletic abilities on the soccer field along with his charming ways was enough to make the ladies at Westbridge go wild.

I cannot put into words the amount of times I have been in the restroom doing my business and have had to hear various girls gossip about how sexy his accent was or how hot he looked that day.

He even has his own group of fan girls that would freak out anytime he came near them. He swears he hates but you can just tell he lives for the attention he gets.

Narcissistic Moron.

“Seb, you look like a freaking baboon and Mallory I’m almost positive your IQ is less than 40.” The angry voice of Avery screamed as she stuck her head out of the open car door.

I’m going to take a wild guess and assume that she had heard what we had said about her a couple seconds ago.

Pulling my lip into my mouth to conceal my laugh, Sebastian and I shared a silent look before bursting out laughing which only angered Avery more seeing as she simply glared at us before loudly slamming the car door shut.

“Alright baboon, I should get going before she literally explodes in there.” I tell Sebastian who was now rapidly moving his fingers across his phone screen, his attention now focused on whatever was occupying him on his phone.

“Alright IQ of 40, you and Sienna are coming to my try outs tomorrow right?” He questioned, finally looking up from his phone as he ran a hand through his slightly damp hair that was coated in his sweat.

“Yeah.” I said nodding as I edged closer to my car. Every year Sebastian asked us to attend his soccer try outs as moral support even though he made the team everytime.

In reality, he just wanted a big audience to show off to.

I scoffed lightly to myself.

Attention seeker.

“Sweet, see you then mi amor.” He yelled, sending me a quick wink before jogging over towards his truck that was parked a few spaces down from mine.

Shaking my head at his running figure, I slung my backpack off my shoulder before tossing it into the backseat of my car.

Though it may seem like Sebastian and I were a thing, we both had made it clear that things between us were completely platonic. We both saw each other as sibling figures and nothing more. But that didn’t make it any less amusing when people would try to come up to me and comfort me because they had seen Sebastian out with another girl and assumed that I was his oblivious girlfriend that was getting cheated on.

I used to play along with it and even shed a couple of tears just for the hell of it but it got boring pretty fast. Plus, girls began to hate on Sebastian and gave him crap for supposedly ‘cheating’ on me.

Even though it was amusing for Sienna and I to witness him receiving death glares instead of the usual compliments and flirtatious remarks by various girls, he got word of what was going on and forced me to clear his name.

And because I was such a good friend, I did so.

But not without getting a good laugh out of it first.

Rounding my car, I slipped into the drivers side and was immediately greeted by the sound of Avery’s music through her headphones as she leaned back in her seat with her eyes closed. Turning the radio on to a random station to tune out her heavy rock metal music, I pulled out of the parking lot and made my way towards Mrs. Nelson’s house, where she watched Brandon everyday until I could come get him.

Mrs. Nelson was a sweet widowed mother to a boy in Brandon’s class. Her husband, who I had met when a couple years back after they had just moved here, was a great man. It was both shocking and devastating to hear about his unfortunate death due to a tragic car accident three years ago.

Despite the tragic loss that rattled her world, she always kept a smile on her face and lended a helping hand to anyone. We were especially grateful for her kindness towards our family because if it wasn’t for her, nobody would be around to watch Brandon after school since both Avery and I were released an hour after he was.

Parking outside the middle class suburban home, I ran up the steps and rang the doorbell quickly while tapping my foot. I could hear fast footsteps running towards the door before it swung open and I was met with a small body colliding with mine.

“Mallory!” My brothers energetic voice screamed as he wrapped his tiny arms around mine. My heart warmed as I ruffled his full head of hair. As much as my brother annoyed me, I loved him to death and wouldn’t replace him for the world.

“Hey kid, you ready to go?” I questioned as I bent down to get a good look at him. He had left over chocolate all over his mouth and his eyes were twinkling with happiness.

“Yeah!” He exclaimed just as Mrs. Nelson walked over with his backpack in her hand, a sweet smile marring her face.

“Hey sweetheart, how’s it going?” She questioned, her southern accent slightly slipping through her words. Before moving to Seattle, Mrs. Nelson had lived her whole life in a small town in Georgia. Her accent was adorable and I would even catch myself mimicking her accent when I was around her.

“Fine and dandy ma’am, and you?” I questioned, taking on my best attempt at a Southern accent. She simply laughed out loud and shook her head at me before handing Brandon’s spider man backpack to me.

“I’m great, tell your mother I said hello.” She said as I slowly began inching backwards on her front steps.

“Will do, Mrs. Nelson.” I yelled, waving at her before turning around and jogging towards the car where both Avery and Brandon sat.

“Where to next, captain?” Brandon asked in a serious voice as he stuck his head in between the two front seats as soon as I slid back into the drivers seat.

“Back to the lair!” I announced, causing him and I to giggle loudly. Anytime Brandon and I were together, we would always act like we were characters in some random alternate universe to make the rides home more entertaining. It appeared childish to some people but it made Brandon happy which is why I didn’t mind.

Also, a teensy part of me loved it deep down.

I could see a hint of a smile on Avery’s face for a couple seconds as she watched Brandon and I converse before she turned away as soon as she realized I was watching her. Once upon a time not too long ago Avery would have joined in on our childish antics but it all changed when she made a compete 360 change in her appearance and personality. Ignoring the bundle of questions that threatened to bubble out of me, I quickly buckled on my seatbelt and made sure Brandon had also done the same before pulling away from Mrs. Nelson’s home and towards ours.

Just as I pulled into the driveway, my eyes caught onto odd activity taking place right beside our home. Boxes upon boxes littered the driveway next to ours as a large U-HAUL truck was parked on the curb. The house beside us had been vacant for years now, and to be completely honest, I didn’t think anyone would occupy it again ever seeing as it had been on the market for a while now with no signs of anyone attempting to purchase it.

Hopping out of the car, I took my bag from the backseat along with Brandon’s before making my way up to my front door. My eyes hadn’t left the house beside us as I peered across the lawn for a glimpse of our new neighbors.

After failing to see anyone, I quickly jogged up the stairs where both Avery and Brandon stood groaning and complaining about how I took forever to open the door.

Rolling my eyes, I stuck the key into the whole and stepped into the house along with the other two, but not before taking another curious look at the newly occupied home beside ours.

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