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The Drip

It was coming late into the evening when Ambrose walked me to my front door. I look up, past the tangerine glow of the porch light, to the pristine exterior. It was unsoiled, nothing tainted could ever touch.

My attention traveled towards Zoey's bedroom window, as expected, her curtains drawn to black out the possibility of a worldly shine.

I bit my lip; I hadn't thought at all about her today. So, I now wondered if she had a good day at school – that is, if she'd bothered to go.

Zoey wasn't always like this. I couldn't remember if it was an essential part of growing up or not, but basically since she started high school, she'd fallen into the wrong crowd. While things had never been painless or perfect for her, it didn't stop me worrying about her future.

She could be a good kid. I'd grown up with her, I'd like to think I knew that much.

I returned to Ambrose, who pinched his glasses further up his nose.

"I think you should rest, it most likely won't get any easier for you."

Nodding, I went to ascend the steps, when the soft firm hold of his palm on my shoulder stopped me. Looking back, I predicted on him saying some kind of cheesy remark. He was a sucker for those.

But whatever he’d planned to say, it got lost somewhere. Since the moment I stared into his eyes again, he collapsed and just decided to present me with a soft smile. If I wasn’t on fire constantly, it would be roundabout the only thing able to extinguish the licking flames.

I entered the complex, the deafening silence leading me in further. It wasn’t too late; why wasn’t Zoey blasting screams?

The dull glow of the foyer beckoned me into the connected rooms. The kitchen was the same as it was last night, save for the rumble of the dishwasher. Everything here was fluffy, no tension to spare.

That led me to the lounge, where the television buzzed like a bug on a light, where you could see the static but it seemed so far out of reach. Especially since my mother was sitting on the extreme edge of her cushion, eyes narrowed so hard I was expecting the opposing wall to crack in half.

She muted the TV, a glass of red wine in her other hand. She swished it around once before raising her head, not saying a word.

I rolled my eyes.

“Your father has gone to work, apparently there’s been a hunting accident in the peaks.” She said, rather coldly, might I add. It was no secret she hated my dad’s career. She bit her lip. “Did I hear Ambrose outside?”

I shifted feet. I hadn’t taken my shoes off yet; she’d revel in tearing me a new asshole over it.

“And? Are you going to demand I stop seeing him too?”

She made a noise that sounded close to agreement, but then casually sipped her wine. The sharp short screech of her nail on the glass made me shiver.

My mom and I didn’t have the best relationship, since she could be somewhat abrasive and unforgiving. I mean, there was a reason she and dad were fighting non-stop.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Talk about what, mom? What could I ever possibly tell you?”

“Ashley,” Her voice was low, tender, as if even the best of intentions could shatter her. “What happened last night, that wasn’t like you. I’d just like to get to the root of the problem. Was Ambrose helping?”

Just as I was beginning to think things weren’t all bad, we came back here. It seemed like no matter what I said, it wasn’t good enough. I’d told myself that plenty of times, but I hadn’t truly believed it.

Besides, from the day I met Jesse, he’d never met the high expectations enforced by my parents. We’d dated steadily for over a year and not once did they invite him over for dinner, or ask what he was treating me to on my birthday, or acknowledge he looked out for me when nobody else would. I didn’t know why they held a grudge against him and, frankly, I couldn’t care less about their perception.

But if Ambrose is around, it’s a completely different story, at least in my mom’s eyes. She called him a good kid, even if my dad shot her daggers when she did.

Either way, my parents never agreed on anything – except that Jesse was the villainous ex-boyfriend they had to lock me away from.

“I don’t care, mom. Seriously. You can wait here on the sofa all night on an ‘explanation’, but I’m an adult now, and if I don’t feel like I should have to defend my decisions, then it’s just something you’re going to have to deal with.”

Her eyes bulged so hard I waited for them to fall out of their sockets. Lips pursed; her burgundy lipstick smeared outside of her liner.

Scoffing, I slipped off my shoes and waited for insults to be hurled my way. She’d never been good at bottling emotions up.

“I’m your mother, don’t speak to me that way.”

If only you weren’t , my mind wondered. I guess that was cruel to think about, but her overbearing nature was a key factor in why she had no friends, a marriage on the rocks, and two daughters who wanted nothing to do with her.

“If you’re such a good mom, why do I wish you weren’t mine?”

Fuck, if I could take that back.

If it dazed her, I couldn’t tell, since she just crossed her eyes before taking another sip of alcohol, guzzling greedily as she tended to do.

“Sweetie, I know you–”

“Get a job.”

I left the room, relieved that she hadn’t screamed for me to return. Climbing the stairs to my room, I came to the realization that perhaps I’d been too harsh on her, but I couldn’t dwell on it.

Because as I reached the upstairs landing, I could decipher low noises. Secretive, and definitely something that I shouldn’t have been eavesdropping on, but human curiosity was a spark we all had within us.

I nudged Zoey’s door open a few millimeters, to see her on a phone call, as she paced back and forth. Between her lips, a thick cigarette burned slowly.

“… but it doesn’t matter anymore, she doesn’t remember anything. You’re in the clear, be content with that, jeez.”

I retreated.

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Hey guys! ^_^ Since we're currently in quarantine, my upload rate should be faster. So, hopefully every fortnight or so. Looking forward to it, and thanks for reading! xo