Maybe Just One More

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Chapter 13. Mommy For A Day

Stormie

There was a sizzling sound coming from the kitchen. The smell of eggs, bacon, and cinnamon filled the air. What was strange was that I wasn’t the one making the house smell that way. Nobody in this house ever cooked but me.

“Mom, what are you doing?” I asked, confused.

The curtains were pushed back, and the windows were open. Smoke from the bacon frying on the stove rolled out the window. The sun lit up the entire kitchen. Mom stood over the stove, making breakfast.

“Making Mason and your breakfast, is that okay?” Mom turned her head to look back at me.

My bookbag slipped off my shoulder, and I sat down at the table. “Mason is at Avery’s house. He stayed there last night,” I explained.

“Well, you and I can have a nice breakfast then,” she said.

“Actually, I’m running late,” I said in an uninterested tone. I stood and headed for the door.

“Stormie Lynn, please,” Mom called for me.

I spun around to face her. “Playing mommy for a day, are you? It’s a bit late to start pretending to be a good parent, don’t you think? I don’t know what got into you, and I’m sure it won’t last. I refuse to set myself up for disappointment,” I said sharply.

The venom in my voice made my mother flinch. “W-what on earth got into you? Are you on drugs?” Mom asked worriedly. “Baby, I just want to know you two are okay. I know that I haven’t been around much lately, but that is going to change.”

“Oh?” I tilted my head. It clicked like the last piece of a puzzle. “Oh,” I said with a suspicious realization. “He dumped you, didn’t he? Was it because of us? Don’t waste your time on us, Mom, we’re fine. We’ve made it a long time without you or Dad. Go out and get yourself a new boyfriend, Mom. I’m sure he’ll make it all better again,” I said sweetly. I narrowed my eyes at her for a moment.

Her expression was heartbroken, but I had a hard time believing it was real. My mother was good at faking things. She faked being friends with women she hated. She pretended to have a good marriage and fooled everyone. She pretended not to be an alcoholic, and she pretended to be a good mother. Everything about my mother was fake. She should have pursued a career in acting. She would have been great, no doubt.

I climbed into my car, I turned the key, but the car didn’t start. “What the hell?” I turned the key again, impatiently. It cranked but wouldn’t start. “Fuck!” I yelled and slammed my hands down on the steering wheel in frustration. I grabbed my bag and dashed across the yard. There’s no way I’m getting a ride from Mom. I jumped the fence that divided Avery’s yard and mine.

Mason climbed into the truck and shut the door. Avery hadn’t made it to the truck yet. I sprinted across the yard.

“Avery!” I shouted.

Avery turned around and saw me. He watched me with a mixture of confusion and surprise. He spun the keys around on his finger and looked back at Mason. He shrugged and turned back around. He walked across the yard toward me.

I slowed down to a walk. My lungs burned from the running and anxiety of the already crappy morning. I was sure today wouldn’t be my day.

Avery sprinted across the yard to where I was, closing the distance between us quicker than I could. “What’s wrong, Storm?” he asked worriedly.

“The car won’t start, and I don’t want to get a ride with Mom. Can I get a ride with you?” I asked.

“Yeah, of course,” he said. “What happened? You look upset.”

“Tell you later,” I muttered.

“Okay,” he said. “What’s with the car?”

“Sounds like a dead battery, but I’m not sure,” I said as we strolled across the yard.

“It might be. That battery is like ten years old,” Avery said. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine. It was working great before,” I said and shrugged. “Maybe the lights got left on or something.”

“It was a good battery, but I should have switched it before I gave it to you just in case,” Avery said.

“Don’t worry about it. I’m glad I caught you guys,” I said and sighed.

Avery opened the door for me, and I climbed into the middle seat of the cab.

“What the hell is going on?” Mason asked.

“Car won’t start,” I told him.

“Oh,” Mason said. Mason gave Avery a questioning look.

“Probably a dead battery,” Avery said. “I’ll change it after school.”

The ride to school was quiet, and it felt awkward to me, though I was sure Mason didn’t feel awkward. Mason still had no clue about Avery and me.

We reached the school. “I’m going to go find Claire,” Mason said. He jumped out of the truck before Avery could turn the truck off.

Avery and I both watched Mason walk toward the school.

“What is with him?” I asked.

“I don’t know. He and Claire got into an argument last night. It probably has to do with that,” Avery said.

The last several kids that were standing outside of the school walked in. Avery glanced down at me. He cupped my cheek with one of his hands and lowered his lips to mine.

His cologne and body heat pulled me closer to him. My pulse thumped rapidly through my veins. I clutched onto his shirt. I broke the kiss long enough to take a deep breath and put my lips back on his.

He tangled one of his hands into my hair and nibbled on my bottom lip. He took my lips parting as his invitation and slipped his tongue into my mouth. He gripped my hip with his other hand pulling me closer. The kiss was needier than usual, but we hadn’t hardly seen each other for the last couple of weeks. We were both busy between practices and games, and Avery was the only one who did the farm chores.

We broke apart breathlessly. My eyes fluttered open, and I found him staring at me. Both of our chests rose and fell heavily. Neither of us could speak. We stayed silent until our breathing went back to normal.

“We should ditch,” Avery said.

I laughed. “Right, you don’t think anyone would notice both of our absence?”

“Oh, right,” he muttered. “Forgot about that part.”

We climbed out of the truck and started to walk slower than normal toward the school doors. It seemed like he didn’t want to get away from me any more than I did him.

“Did something happen with your mom this morning?” he asked.

“She was making breakfast,” I muttered darkly.

“Um, okay?” he raised both eyebrows. The look he gave me told me he thought that I was insane. “How is that a bad thing?”

“She hasn’t made me breakfast since, like five years ago,” I said. I rolled my eyes.

“Oh,” he said. “So, what was her motive?”

“I’m not sure. I think Richard dumped her,” I said. “I think what I said a while ago might have sunk in.”

“Maybe you should give her a chance, babe,” Avery said thoughtfully.

I stopped mid-stride and stared at his back.

He stopped, too, and took a deep breath. He turned to face me and let go of the breath he had been holding.

“What?” I hissed. My eyes narrowed at him. “God, are you crazy? You’ve seen what it’s like when she is home!”

“Look, I know, okay?” he said softly. His steps were measured as he walked back toward me. He had both hands in the pockets of his jeans. He shrugged. “It’s just...” he trailed off.

“What?” I snapped.

“You might regret it if you don’t forgive your parents or have nothing to do with them,” he said bluntly.

My eyes widened. “How so?”

“You know, I get really tired of listening to you and your brother bitch about your parents. You two are pissed off at both of them all the time, and for what? Because they’re divorced? Grow the fuck up, Storm. I only wished my parents were divorced. At least your parents are still alive,” he snapped.

My teeth unclenched instantly, and guilt swept over me. I swallowed hard as I stared back at him. I had nothing, and he knew it. He knew that what he said was right, and I hated it. I hated that he made me feel bad.

Avery rocked back on his heels. He rolled his eyes and shook his head. He turned away from me and stormed into the school.

I was frozen for a long moment. I couldn’t find the ambition to put one foot in front of the other. I wanted to turn around and walk home. I gritted my teeth and slung my bag back over my shoulder. With determination, I walked toward the doors ignoring the twisting in my stomach.

***

“Hey,” Mason said.

“What?” I asked.

“Tell Avery that I’m going out with Claire, Mike, and Kristen,” Mason said. He started to turn away from me.

“Tell him yourself,” I said. I started to turn, but Mason caught my arm.

“What’s your problem?” he asked.

“I’m not riding home with Avery,” I said and shrugged.

“Why?” Mason asked, confused.

“We were talking and got into a fight. He’s annoying me,” I said and shrugged.

“He’s always annoying you,” Mason said and rolled his eyes. “Get a ride from him, Storm. It’s a two-mile walk. I’m sure you two will be over your spat soon.”

“What makes you think that?” I challenged.

“You two don’t know how to stay mad at each other,” Mason said and rolled his eyes. “I can hold a grudge against you longer than you can hold one against him or him against you.” Mason turned without giving me a chance to respond and strolled down the hall.

I rolled my eyes and stormed down the hallway. I didn’t so much as glance toward the parking lot where his truck sat.

The sound of Avery’s truck alerted me by the time I was halfway home. His truck rolled up beside me, and the passenger window rolled down.

“What the fuck, Stormie!” Avery yelled over the roar of his truck. “I’ve been looking for you!”

I ignored him and continued walking down the dirt road.

“Get in the truck, Stormie!”

“Go fuck yourself,” I snapped. I had all day to think about Avery and me. We were too different. We fought all the time and what he said to me earlier made me feel guilty, and I hated it. His parents were nothing like mine, and it wasn’t fair to compare them. It wouldn’t ever work out because Avery wasn’t going to let it. He was my brother’s best friend, and he made it clear that he never intended to tell Mason about us. You can’t keep a relationship a secret forever.

Avery peeled away from me.

My heart shattered as I stared after his truck. It shouldn’t hurt this bad. I was with Chris longer. But if I could get over Chris, I could get over Avery too. It was for the better–or at least that is what I told myself.


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