I hung back as Colt gave Mom and Samaara giant hugs that left them gasping for air. Despite the stormy cloud hanging over my head, I smiled at his exuberance. He was an idiot, but he was likable.
Samaara stepped towards me. Her braids sparkled like gold under the kitchen light, and she seemed shy, which is not a word I would usually use to describe my sister.
“See you, Matty.” She gave me a half-smile filled with hope. I grimaced back. Matty? Since when had we gone back to baby names?
Her waiting expression asked patiently for permission to touch me. She probably wanted to hug me, or, more likely, for me to hug her, like Colt had.
Why do people hug? It’s awkward, you never know when the person you’re hugging last showered, and it’s a pointless invasion of your personal space. The backs of my hands got slippery just from thinking about it.
I shook my head. She obviously tried to hide her disappointment, but she still drooped.
Sorry kid. You’ll have to settle for Colt playing ‘big brother.’ He does it better than I do, anyhow, even if he is your boyfriend.
Mom cleared her throat. “You have your maps?”
Colton patted the back pocket of his faded jeans. “Right here, Mrs. North.”
“Don’t lose them.”
That was my mother; stating the obvious happened to be a hobby of hers. I gritted my teeth together in irritation. The rasping sound it created was somewhat comforting, oddly enough.
Colt didn’t seem bothered by Mom’s nagging—he kept on smiling brightly, like a puppy with two tails to wag. “Don’t worry, Mrs. North, I’ll keep Matt here safe.”
I rolled my eyes. “Colt. It’s 6:30.” If he wasn’t going to leave now like he told me we would, I was going back to bed.
He gave me a look. A ‘if-you-don’t-show-some-love-to-your-mom-I’m-going-to-kill-you’ look. I sighed.
“Hug her,” he muttered.
“Just do it already.”
“I’ll wave.” I lifted an awkward hand. “Bye, mom.”
She smiled and waved back, slightly less awkward. “Bye, Matt. I’m going to miss you.”
I examined my fingernails. Half-moons of dirt caked beneath them. When had that happened?
Heat simmered under Colt’s skin. “It’s usually polite to say ‘I’m going to miss you too,’ you know,” he said through clenched teeth.
I kept inspecting my fingers. Mom knew. Mom understood. Besides, why should I “express” an emotion that I didn’t have? It didn’t make sense.
Mom gave Colt one last hug, then swatted him away. “Get lost, you two idiots. Half fun. Keep your phones on. Call me.”
“Shall do, ma’am.” Colt clapped a hand on my shoulder, and I instantly stiffened. “Shall we meander, my man?”
“If you mean, let’s go, I agree. It’s stuffy in here.” Too many people crammed into one room. The back of my shirt stuck to my skin with sweat.
We were barely out the door when Mom shouted one more command after us. “Matt! Don’t forget to call your dad!”
My fists clenched.
“Right.” I didn’t turn to look at her. “Dad. Call. Right.”
“I love you!” That was Samaara.
“Thanks.” I took her words to be directed at me, not at Colt, seeing as Mom was present—and I didn’t think she was aware of the extent of my little sisters romantic life.
“Come back soon!” the fool girl wouldn’t shut up. Colt’s truck—where was it? I had to get away. I was suffocating, smothered in something I couldn’t breathe.
The passenger door handle was jammed. Of course. Just to make my day even better. I looked at the storm drain by my feet. When I was little, I had been afraid of getting sucked into that black pit. Now, all I wanted was to be small enough to disappear into it.
This trip was such a bad idea.
Finally, it oepened. I slid into the truck, then slammed it shut behind me, cutting off whatever emotions my family might be shouting out now. I couldn’t handle it, hearing them right now. I might shut down.
Colt slid into the drivers seat, waving at the house still. He smiled, but his face was hard.
“You’re a creep,” he said.
“And you’re a jerk.” I crossed my arms. “I don’t touch people. You know that.”
“Your mom isn’t people.
“Whatever. I’m sleeping now. Wake me when you’re tired of driving.” I ignored his strangled noises and turned towards the window.
Well, this trip was off to a great start. 

{i finished NaNo yesterday. Looking forward to the days to come.}


  1. YOU FINISHED1!!11!!!!!!!!1!!!! :D :D SO PROUD OF YERZ!!!1!!

    ...ahhhhhhh...I love this story. I hope you love your story as much as I love your story. If so, you're off to a fantabulous start.

    Keep the excerpts a-comin'! ;)

    Love ya,

  2. Aw. I feel bad for him, and like him! I really love your writing style a whole love, and I think I really, really love Colt. And I know I really want to know what happens next!


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