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as i'm dancing down the halls,

We were sitting on the steps of her front porch, a sweat forming on my neck from the Arizona heat that settled around us. My jeans were rolled up to the middle of my calves and sleeves had been pushed up five minutes go, but I still felt like I was about to burst. Avery was calm next to me, a contemplative look on her face. We had been sitting in silence since her mom had told me to leave twenty minutes ago, but the farthest I had gotten was the front porch before Avery stopped me. It seemed talking wasn’t one of our strong points, but most of me didn’t mind.

The sky was a deep purple color, the backdrop of the stars complimenting it nicely. I could see my house across the street, the porch light on and the light of the TV flickering through the curtains of our living room window. I wondered if I should have been getting home soon.

“I'm sorry about my mom. We don’t really get along anymore so she tends to forget how to act appropriately in front of guests.” Even though she spoke quietly her voice still startled me in the silence. I looked down at her, a tiny frown gracing my lips. She looked utterly defeated, her hair hanging in her face as she hung her head, her elbows resting on her knees and her chin propped up by her hand. She was wearing a light jacket and I wondered how she could even stand it in this heat. Sensing my eyes on her she looked up, a small smile coming to her mouth, but it didn’t reach her eyes, and that to me was worse than her not smiling at all.

I wanted to ask her why she and her mom didn’t get along, I wanted to ask how a mother could show such indifference to her child; I wanted to pull her into my arms and comfort her, but I felt as though it wasn’t my place to do so, yet. Instead I simply settled for resting my hand on her knee, my thumb rubbing across the smooth skin there as I returned her small smile with one of my own.

I didn’t tell her everything was going to be alright, mostly because I'm sure Avery had heard those words too many times before, and I was going to make it my job to not be like everyone else. Rather than say anything I stood up, stretching my arms above my head and letting a yawn escape my mouth. Avery stood beside me, her arm linking with my own as we walked toward my truck. It felt silly, really, to have to drive my truck a mere matter of feet to get across the street and into my own driveway. A laugh escaped my lips involuntarily as we stopped beside my vehicle, Avery’s head tilting up and her chin resting against my tanned skin as she looked at me.

“What’s so funny Mr. O’Callaghan?” she asked, genuine curiosity in her voice as she waited for an answer. There were so many things I felt were funny about that day. I wanted to tell her how funny it was that we had ended up in this situation, her and I. We went from not knowing each other to spending a night together, talking about nothing yet having the silence say so much for us. It was funny how comfortable I felt with her; I wanted to open up to her, tell her everything I had to share, even if it wasn’t important. It was funny how badly I felt the need to protect her, to see her happy, but it was funnier how I didn’t know if it was because I genuinely cared or if I was simply suffering from some sort of courageous hero syndrome. Because out of everything, it was quite humorous how badly I wanted to save her.

She probably thought I was crazy as I took so long to answer and I could feel her shifting her weight from foot to foot impatiently. I looked down at her, my grin widening as her big eyes stared up at me, as if I held all the answers to any question she had.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” I told her, removing myself from her grasp and climbing into my truck, putting the key in the ignition and waiting as the old engine roared to life. Avery still stood next to the truck and I rolled down my window, leaning my head out of it as she asked,

“Well who said I wanted to hangout tomorrow?” but the grin on her face was enough of an answer. I chuckled to myself as I backed out of her driveway, making the small trek to the other side of the street and parking my car in its rightful place. I walked up the pathway to my front porch, looking across just in time to see Avery close her front door behind her small frame.

The familiar scent of vanilla flooded my senses as I opened my own front door, dropping my backpack by the stairs and slipping off my shoes next to the several other pairs lined up against the wall in our foyer. I could hear the television on in the next room over and the sound of the oven beeping in the kitchen a little ways down the hall. It smelled like a bakery, but then again it always did.

My family was almost stereotypical, my mom was like every one you'd see on television, my dad was strict but caring, and my little brothers were just as you'd expect- annoying. I loved them though, and I was grateful for them, even if they did get on my nerves sometimes.

I walked into the kitchen, smiling at the sight of my mom with her back to me, humming to herself as she washed the dishes. A pan of brownies was laid out on the countertop, the smell drifting over to me as I leaned against the archway. My mom jumped as she turned to look over her shoulder, her hand coming up to grasp at her chest as her breath quickened.

“John Cornelius O’Callaghan, you can’t go sneakin’ up on me like that, especially when I haven’t seen you all night! Band practice run a little late?” There was concern in her voice and I looked to the clock, noticing the fact that it was almost eleven. Had I been gone that long already? It hadn’t felt like it. I smiled to myself just remembering time spent with Avery, but quickly hid it as my mom turned back to look at me, expecting an answer.

“Uh yeah, we had a couple disagreements on some songs and we wanted to get them sorted out before our gig next week,” I told her, completely lying through my teeth for reasons unknown. A small part of me just wanted to keep Avery a secret. A part of me felt like telling people would ruin it.

“Well I'm sure you talented boys will do just fine,” she told me, the corner of her eyes wrinkling as she smiled wide. I smiled back at her, bidding her goodnight before making my back to the front of the house and up the steps, all the way to the attic. It was convenient having my room up there. It was wide and secluded and quiet. I could hardly hear anything once I had climbed up the old, steep steps to the tall ceilinged room at the top.

There were clothes thrown across the floor and papers littering the desk in the corner. The black leather couch just at the end of my bed was the only real clean surface, my guitar the only thing marring its otherwise spotless appearance. I walked over and picked it up, setting myself against the leather and letting my fingers drift across the strings.

Sleep didn’t come to me for hours that night.
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This chapter may seem pointless, but I swear it's not! & sorry it took so long to update, I swear I'm trying. Will get more out soon though, promise. Sorry for any mistakes/grammatical errors!

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