July 30th, 2018
Blaise darted her blue-eyed gaze to her brother, Dutch, who mindlessly played Roblox on his laptop. She reached for her cell phone that was precariously balanced on their wobbly kitchen table. "Whatcha want for breakfast, Dutch? Mom and Dad will be home soon."
"I don't know." He replied in a bored tone. "When is 'soon'?"
"I'll make you cereal. And all I got was a text from Mom." She ruffles his honey-colored hair. Blaise poured milk and Honey Nut Cheerios into a red porcelain bowl, the only one he used a lot of the time. "Breakfast is served, Dutch-ess." She laughed quietly and turned her phone on; three missed calls, four emergency texts.
Dutch removed himself from the game to grab his bowl, and returned to the computer. "Who texted?" His sister's distant attention diverted his eyes to her. "What's wrong, Blaise?"
Blaise's eyes glanced over and her free hand covered her mouth in horror of what had happened.
'Hello, Blaise. This is an emergency responder calling to let you know about your parents. Their car, a 2007 Honda Civic, veered off the side of the road - there don't appear to be any survivors. I am very sorry for your loss and hope you'll come down to the station, and chat with us about funeral preparations.'
Dutch wrapped his grimy, stubby arms around Blaise, bursting into tears. He had to go through this again.
"I'm so sorry, Dutch. I'll miss them too. But we can't live here anymore." She patted his back comfortingly.
"Why not?" Tears rolled down his chubby cheeks in rivers.
"I'm barely eighteen, and you're fourteen. They want us down at the station to discuss details." She wiped away her tears and squared her shoulders, holding her head high. "We'll get through this, Dutch, one step at a time." She collected her keys and a light jacket from the coat closet, helping Dutch into his. "You can finish your game later. Right now, we have bigger fish to fry."
The Ford started without complaints and backed out of the snow-covered driveway.
"I can't believe the snow keeps coming. It's July for Pete's sake." Dutch breathed on the glass, drawing shapes into it.
"It's California, Dutch, not South Carolina." Blaise chuckles, pushing the radio knob in and it plays 106.7 The Bull, their favorite guilty pleasure; country music.
"I wish it was South Carolina." Dutch huffed, resting his elbows against the glass.
"Mom always joked about how we lived in Antarctica. Maybe we'll be granted the chance to start over." She pulled into the police station where two women were patiently waiting on their arrival.
"Coffee?" The blonde offered, pouring a cup.
"No thanks," she mumbled, sinking into the two-person couch. "This is my brother, Dutch."
Both women politely shake his hand and sit across from the brother and sister, papers clasped to their chests.
"We've looked through both your records, and it turns out, you have family out in Colorado. Since you are not eighteen, Blaise, it would not be legal for you to keep the house and Dutch, so we're sending you two to your dad's parents' ranch in Elbert, Colorado."
"What exactly happened to our parents? They never drunk."
"DUI crashed into the walkway and your parents veered off the side of the road to avoid the other car." Officer Oray crossed both legs, pulling out paperwork from the file cabinet with all the families in the county labeled on a folder. "First we must situate you with your family. Is a funeral wanted?"
Blaise looked to Dutch for support. "No thanks. We'll collect their ashes from the hospital later."
"Right. I'll call to have them ready. Here's all your birth information and I can promise they're ready to meet you. Address will be sent to you."
"Thanks, Officer Oray." Dutch waves bye.
"Are we actually moving?" Dutch hugged his knees, fat tears rolling down his cheeks.
"Dutch, we have to. I'm not of legal age yet, and if this means we can start over, then I'm going for it."
"But I don't want to live on a ranch." He pouted.
"Dutch, you're fourteen, not eight. I'm sure you'll be able to help with barn chores."
He grumbles at her suggestion. "Horses smell."
"You used to love horses, Dutch. When you were five, Mom couldn't get you off." Blaise chuckled, packing her suitcase for their seventeen hour road trip to Elbert, Colorado. Dutch didn't move a muscle when it snapped shut and stubbornly crossed his arms, a pouty expression on her face. "Look, I don't want to move either, but a new start could be exactly what we need.
"I guess you're right, Blaise." He trots to his room and ransacks his entire closet, packing everything into his suitcase, a Lightning McQueen one to be exact. Even his cowboy boots went in, which she was surprised at.
She missed the feeling of a 1200lb animal between her legs, and she immediately stashed her boots, World Champion barrel racer belt buckle, and her favorite headstall into her dusty traveling tack bag she took to competitions before her fall.
"Alright, Dutch. Let's get moving." She buckles her seatbelt once everything is settled in the back