“Wake up, sweetheart.” A voice crooned in her ear. Through a filmy haze, she felt hair softly being brushed out her face in a loving gesture. “Come on dear, wake up. You’re going to be late.” Allison’s eyes snapped open and flew to the alarm clock resting on the dresser beside the bed. Angry, glowing red numbers assaulted her eyes and she threw the sheets off herself, vaulting out of the bed somewhat clumsily. Sleep still clouding her senses.
Meredith chuckled from her seat on the corner of the bed, “Don’t hurt yourself, now.” She said, “You have just enough time to get ready.” But Ally was already streaking out of the room. She made quick work of a shower and brushing out her wet hair. Toweling it and herself dry, she secured the still damp length into a ponytail. She managed to run a bit of mascara over her lashes, and to line her eyes with her favorite black pencil, before she quickly made her way back to her room, clad only in her bathrobe.
Meredith was just setting Ally’s shoes on the floor, in front of the outfit she had so kindly picked out for her, that was resting on the bed. A short sleeved, white lace top that petalled out just above the waist, skinnies and just above the ankle, black combats.
“Thank you!” Ally cried, rushing forward so she could don the ensemble as quickly as possible, knowing that if it weren’t for Meredith’s forward thinking she was most likely going to be late. She hated being late ….
Jared sat on the porch, a book in his lap. He hadn’t been able to sleep the night before; he had eventually given up and had decided to enjoy some fresher air. The air inside the house he was forced to reside in was cloying, threatening to suffocate him more and more each day. The tension that had been steadily growing in that house was almost unbearable at this point in time.
It was apparent that his father … his father wasn’t going to quit indulging himself, and skillfully managing to tear his family apart all at the same time. Stitch by already loosened and fraying stitch. Jared sighed, stretching. Glancing at his watch he decided it was about time to get going. How can summer be over already, he thought to himself. He was in no way ready to get back into the routine of school. Things were still so rocky, with his parents, and his friends …
Jared’s phone rang and he pulled it out of his pocket. The name displayed on the caller ID made him wary about what was coming next, but he answered it nevertheless. Wanting to see what the bloke had to say.
Derek, on the other end of the line, snatched up the reigns of the conversation before Jared got the chance, “I’m on my way to pick you up, so you better be ready, man.”
“Pick me up? What the bloody hell are you talking on about?” But Jared’s words, heated by confusion and a leftover and unresolved anger, had been voiced in vain. Derek’s Ford pulled into Jared’s large driveway and came to a stop. The guy himself, leapt out of the truck after it was cut off and made his way over to where Jared now stood, leaning against a column. A scowl on his face that he couldn’t seem to remove.
Derek came to a stop in front of him, hands raised in a motion that suggested he came in peace. “Look man, I know you’re angry -,” Derek started.
Jared arched a brow, “Angry doesn’t cover the whole of what I’m feeling, mate.” Crossing his arms, he stared Derek down, someone who not too long ago he had considered to be one of his best mates, a brother … now he wasn’t so sure.
“I know, I know and I’m sorry. I really am. You just have to understand why I myself reacted the way I did …” Derek trailed off and tried a different approach, “I know I speak for the rest of the gang when I say that we were way out of line, asking you that. I can totally see how that can be upsetting and it isn’t at all something that should come from a best friend. There’s no excuse, but there’s also no way that I’m letting us go into our senior year, likely the last time we’ll be in school together, as anything but brothers.”
When Jared didn’t say anything, Derek stuck out his hand, a grin on his face, “Even you can’t hold a grudge forever man. We all miss you … you know Liz won’t shut up about it, same with my sister and Sam … and Drew and I need my wing man. Come on, friends?”
After a moment of serious contemplation, Jared felt his own grin spread out of its own accord. Derek was right about this one. He wouldn’t be able to hold his grudge, he missed his friends too much and Derek had also made another great point. This was their senior year. Jared didn’t want to waste any of it holding a petty grudge for something they were apparently sorry for, it wasn’t worth it.
Jared clasped hands with Derek and they pulled each other into a hug, laughing, “It’s good to have you back, J.”
“Good to be back,” Jared said. “If you’re still up for driving, let’s get going. I hate being late.”