Rubber Band

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Oliver: Recognizable

"Oh, look," his mother giggled, cheeks blushing blissfully, happily, excitedly, "Bridgette's is still here!"

Oliver followed the long, extended length of his mother finger, of which was directing the entire family's attention toward the petite little bakery tucked away in a small corner of a busy street, people sashaying in and out, fluorescent pink go-bags in their grasp. Bridgette's Bakery.

Yes - that sounded familiar.

"Do you remember Bridgette, Rosie?" She quickly spun around in her seat, ignoring the tight squeeze of the car's seatbelt, "She used to change your diapers when you were just a tot."

Rosalie groaned and shook her head, her arms bunching up over her chest, expression drawn into a frown, careless and pouty.

"Stop the sulking, Rose," their father called from behind the steering wheel of their recently bought Mercedes Benz SUV, his voice sternly menacing. Rosalie unhooked her arms, but continued to glare at the surroundings flying past her outside the car window.

"I remember her," Oliver grunted, eager to break the listless conversation, before the merciless threat of awkward silence took over. His mother whirled to face him, eyes brightening, smile widening, just as he cleared his throat and nodded, continuing with his addition to the discussion, "She used to visit. Quite often. Right after we moved." Oliver paused, "Then, she just didn't anymore."

His mother bobbed her head, glancing at her husband before her expression fell solemn, disappointed, perhaps even resentful, "We had a bit of a falling out."

With a nod, unwilling to know more, Oliver merely took to observing the images flashing by outside his window; palm trees, tall and thin, strangely compact, and oddly intricate; people trudging along the sidewalks, an occasional drunk or junkie here and there; families, children, teenagers laughing, punching one another humorously, blabbing jokes.

He had certainly missed the tight, homey feeling of a small town, where almost everyone knew everyone. The big city had been exciting at first, a step away from the common setting, the familiar face, but over time it grew dull, ever consistent, one giant routine you'd better not get in the way of. So when his father had yet again received the job opportunity of a lifetime, when he found out he and his family were moving back into Laketown, he was absolutely ecstatic.

Everything was here.

His childhood home. His first school. His childhood memories in their entirety. Even some of his oldest friends, though he doubted they would recognize him. He had moved when he was just finishing the third grade.

"Almost there," His mother clapped, grinning from ear to ear as they began to pull into multiple side roads, houses on either side, tightly packed, close together. And, to both Oliver's surprise and pride, everything actually appeared familiar, recognizable. He scoffed quietly to himself, eager to get out and explore, to take in the changes, the alterations, to what he had always known and loved.

Turning away from the outdoor view, he glanced at his sister, tapping angrily on her cellphone. Narrowing his eyes, he reached forward and poked her on the shoulder, causing her body to teeter slightly away before falling back into place.

"What, Ollie?"

"You're gonna like it here, you know."

She turned to him, scowl in place, brows furrowed in spite, "Why's that?"

"Because I always loved it here," Oliver shrugged, smiling comfortingly, confidently, "And we have a lot in common."



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