Status: updates when inspiration and free time collide.

Sotto Voce


“BAMF means bad ass motherfucker,” I explained to Brett as we left Saturday school together.

“Oh, Zack, I am not a BAMF,” Brett laughed, tying her blue cashmere scarf around her neck. She let me open the door for her and we walked outside, but she just stood on the steps, pulling out her phone. She swore softly a few minutes later and sat down on the steps, though.

“Need a ride?” I asked. She usually drove. I wonder why she didn’t have a car today.

“…Only if it’s not too much trouble,” Brett hesitantly conceded.

I held out a hand to her, smiling when she took it. “You’re never too much trouble, Brett,” I told her as I pulled her to her feet.

I made sure to open her door for her before getting into the car myself. I started the car, turned up the heat, and turned on the radio. “Where to?” I asked, holding out my GPS system to her. Brett typed in her address before handing it back to me, breathing on her fingers to warm them up.

“Zack, thank you so much… I would have had to wait out there for hours,” Brett laughed as she buckled up. “My aunt and uncle are working right now, you see, and my parents are using my car, so…”

I nodded in understanding. She hadn’t explained why she lived with her aunt and uncle; she only said that she did. “How long are your parents in town?”

“For the week. They leave…tomorrow,” Brett said with a sigh, looking out the window. I followed the GPS for a few minutes in silence. “My parents both work for Delta, so they’re away frequently and for prolonged periods of time… It’s rare that I get to see either one of them, and even rarer to see them both at the same time.”

“That sucks ass,” I muttered, turning into our subdivision. Brett lived three blocks away from me. Fancy that.

“That it does,” Brett laughed before sitting up straighter in her chair. “That’s the one.”

Her house was in the older part of the subdivision. It was small, but it was completely made of brick. Ours was bigger, but it had vinyl sidings and only the front was brick. Her house had a nice porch, too – plenty of potted plants, a small wooden table, and a matching porch swing, as well. The windows had drapes so you couldn’t see inside, but they also had wide, white shutters which contrasted nicely against the red brick.

“Is that your room?” I asked when I spotted a large window with a pale grey drape instead of the usual navy blue. Grey was Brett’s favorite color.

Brett looked up at where I was pointing before smiling. “Yes,” she said as she unbuckled. I quickly got out opening the door for her. “You don’t have to do that, you know,” Brett laughed as she got out of the car.

“No, I do.”

Brett tucked some stray hairs behind her ear and smiled up at me before hugging me. “Thanks, Zack.” I hugged her back even more tightly, lifting her a few inches off the ground in the process. It was the first time she’d ever hugged me. I was always afraid to touch her, because I never knew how she’d react to it. Also, she was so slight, I felt like I would break her, but I was too happy in finally hugging her to care.

“Ok,” Brett laughed a bit breathlessly when I tried to be gentler in setting her back down. “Do you want to…Do you want to come in?” Brett asked as she shouldered her backpack. I nodded vigorously, which made Brett smile in relief. “Cool. Come on in,” Brett said as she motioned for me to follow her. She opened the front door and let me in, shutting it after us.

“You like spaghetti?” she asked as she sauntered into the kitchen, shedding off layers of her clothing as she went – shoes in the foyer, scarf tossed onto the banister of the stairs, coat hung on the rack, beanie thrown carelessly on the couch in the living room. I took off my shoes, too, following Brett past the foyer, stairs, and living room to the kitchen. “That’s what I planned on cooking right now, if you don’t mind.”

“Oh, I don’t mind…as long as I get to help,” I said as I pushed my sleeves up.

“Really? Well, then, could you boil this pasta?” Brett asked, holding out a large pot to me, in which was a large box of angel hair pasta. I nodded and went to the sink, filling up the pot with water from the sink. “I’m glad you’re here, Zack… I don’t like being home alone,” Brett admitted, mincing some onions and garlic.

I said nothing; just quietly put the pot on the stove. For some reason, I didn’t really like the idea of Brett being home alone, either. “Should I put salt in here?” I asked as I covered the pot and put the element on high.

A loud barking suddenly came from the living room and a large dog jumped me, continuing to bark. “James! James, Zack is a friend, see?” Brett told the St. Bernard dog firmly, hugging me as she petted him. The giant dog took his paws off me and sniffed at me surreptitiously before licking my hand.

“Hi, James,” I greeted the dog, petting him. I laughed when he licked my face.

Brett slid her arms off me. “He never takes that well to strangers…” She trailed off before shrugging and continuing to cut up the onions and garlic. She started to sauté the garlic and onions in a pot, then browned and seasoned the meat. “Can you grab me a can of crushed tomatoes in the pantry there?” Brett asked, pointing to the door at the other end of the kitchen.

I did just that, and I also opened it for her. She poured it into the pot with the meat, along with some wine, Italian seasoning, and a couple of Bay leaves. “That smells amazing,” I said as she covered the sauce pot. Adding salt to the pot of water, she covered that pot, too.

“And now we wait,” Brett sighed, washing her hands again. “You want a drink?” Brett asked as she opened the fridge. “We’ve got…milk, orange juice, apple juice, uh…”

“I’m down with apple juice,” I said as I looked around the kitchen for the cups. I held them out to Brett and she filled them both up with apple juice.

“What do you, uh, wanna do while we wait for the spaghetti?” Brett asked, after a sip of her apple juice.

“We can just…sit and talk?” I asked, taking a seat at the kitchen table. “If that’s ok with you, I mean.”

“Y… Yeah, ok,” Brett said reluctantly, with an undercurrent of happiness. “What do you wanna talk about, then, Zack?”

I put down my glass of apple juice. "You."
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thanks for reading; hope you liked it! long overdue, i know.
sorry; still trying to get a hang of the new mibba...
anyways, feedback would be lovely and greatly appreciated!
recommending this would kind of make my day, too! :D