narrated by: Rachael
I’m finishing up my junior year of high school, unexpectedly it has brought a sliver of a rift between me and Lulu. Our parents aren’t the type of parents to put “Honor Roll Student” on the back of their mini van. We don’t even own a mini van. But that hasn’t stopped others from giving me high accolades, and Lulu taking notice.
I get an A+ without effort, and by that I don’t mean that I get away without doing my homework, cause I do. It just isn’t hard for me to find the motivation to stay on top of my academics, and I don’t struggle with the curriculum. Lulu spends more time then me on her homework, and is scraping by with a B-. No one in our family even cares what we score as long as we don’t flunk, so they don’t give me a high five or a twenty dollar bill for getting high marks. However, I have noticed that Lulu seems to be taking it to heart, and feeling low about herself.
She’s been spending more time hanging out with Jake and watching movies then me lately. Even though he’s totally annoying, and she’s spent her entire life antagonizing him.
I wish she wasn’t taking her insecurities out on me, I’m always happy to help out with anything whether it’s sports, advice, academics, or friends. I’ve been helping Jake get better at sports, he just wants to hold his own with our cousin Holden.
The only thing I can’t give advice on is cooking, Mom says I get too distracted and need to just focus on the task at hand. She’s terrified of house fires, it’s how my Dad died, as well as my step Great Grandma that I don’t remember.
The hardest part is that I’ve been plagued with nightmares and anxiety lately over my up and coming senior year. Feels like all these years spent dreaming and being full of possibility, is about to become reality, and what if it doesn’t pan out?
Lulu usually rolls over and huffs if I wake her up with my nightmare. Dad says that she will be fine, just needs to learn her own strengths and work on her weaknesses. We are just wasting time though, because this time next year I’ll be packing my bags for university, and we probably won’t ever live together again.
Since I can’t sleep, I end up taking an early bus out to Eastborough University to take advantage of their ballet studio. I’ve already been accepted into their ballerina program and I haven’t even taken the SATs yet.
The Arts hall is quiet, usually only a few professors and students working quietly, the smell of coffee and sharpened pencils. It’s the only place that I can find my center, and feel confident that college won’t be the end of the world, but a new beginning.
In the studio I don’t have to force myself to relax; it just comes naturally. Elias has been plaguing my mind as I realize we are moving towards different paths. He hasn’t decided yet if he will attend university for Agriculture or just learn at home. We both know that it will likely come to down to scholarships and debt management. His parents are taking out massive loans, adding acreages to farm, a barn for storage, and their house so Elias has his own space as an adult.
It all boils down to the fact that they can’t help Elias pay for college, and he doesn’t know if he wants to take on the debt.
I’m not even attending yet, and Millwood seems a lifetime away when I’m here. The students are independent and mature compared to high school, and a long distance relationship seems doomed.
But when I’m with Elias, these fears dissipate, and I can’t imagine kissing anyone else. It was a panicked fear that these years were passing too quickly, and coming to an end of childhood, that I decided to go all the way with Elias. If we did break up, I wanted him to be my first. I didn’t tell him those morbid thoughts, but it was part of my motivation.
Lulu hasn’t been coming home on the bus with me, so we were able to avoid suspicion and be on the sofa reading when she finally got home.
When Mom came home she looked pissed, and I thought she might have had cameras in the house and knew everything.
Turns out I’d left a mess from my cooking failures, and her brother Luca was getting married next month. I thought that meant they were eloping, but Mom waved it off, that there was an actual wedding, and most called it a shotgun wedding.
Apparently Mom was going to be a bridesmaid, which is nice of Nadia, considering Mom hasn’t ever been welcoming or friendly to anyone, ever. She insisted that I go dress shopping with her the upcoming weekend, but I told her I was busy with a school project. I should have known it was wasted breath, Mom still plays the mom-card when she wants. She let up the rage once I agreed to change my plans.
It was pretty much the worst Saturday I’d experienced in a long while. There were too many people in the boutique, and no one could concentrate on the dresses or decor, and just kept talking about babies that were due in June.
Caitlyn is a junior bridesmaid, she’s thrilled. Even Mom showed her some sisterly affection. I’d almost say that weddings make my Mom in a better mood, despite her griping.
The only positive that came out of the torture was that Lulu was forced to hang out with me, well at first she tried chumming it up with Kai, but clearly I’m a better conversationalist. He’s seven, not the most verbose, though a good kid. Soon he’ll be our first cousin on Mom’s side of the family, though technically he’d be step since he’s not blood related to Luca, not that it crosses my uncle’s mind.
If Mom’s family decides to throw a Christmas party one year, we’d finally have kids there to play with, well Jake would.
Mom headed out to a bachelorette party, and Dad allowed Elias to come hang out. He was hoping to get an invite to Luca’s wedding, but it’s a pretty small ceremony, and Mom said no already. I partly wish he could go, but I’m also excited to spend time with Lulu since we got along all day at the bridal boutique.
Mom came home rather early from the party, though two of the ladies are very pregnant so that could have been a factor. Of course it wasn’t though. Mom was riled up, saying that Erin kept insisting that someone had to tell Grandma Meredith about the wedding, that on some level she’d like to know.
It’s not a topic that anyone broaches with Mom, when we first moved out here, Grandma would come around asking for money until Mom threatened to call the police on her. We haven’t had any contact with her since.
Mom said that Emma stayed neutral, which was even more infuritating. She felt outnumbered by a bunch of kids, though technically they aren’t that much younger than Mom, she just acts older since she had me so young.
Mom went to the bar to rage to the bartender, I guess he was a good listener and totally fed into Mom’s rage.
Nadia dragged Mom back to the party, but she bowed out early anyway after she felt it wouldn’t hurt the brides feelings. She doesn’t want to cause strife with her future sister-in-law, none of her siblings have gotten married yet so it’s new to her as well.
Sunday brought Uncle Luca over, and Mom was on edge still from the previous night. It’s not that he isn’t welcome, it’s just that no one lives in Millwood, so there’s always a purpose to the visit.
Naturally Luca wanted Mom to visit Grandma, and invite her to the wedding. I guess that Luca doesn’t have the spunk to face her, nor will Nadia allow it, seeing he’s still naive in regards to his Mom. It’s Nadia that was insisting that Grandma be invited, she doesn’t want any ill-will on their wedding day. Mom said later on that Nadia was just overly emotional from the pregnancy.
She relented though much to my surprise. She’s putting more effort into this wedding then she did her own courthouse one. She said that she could relate to what Nadia was feeling, having been in a similar situation when pregnant with Lulu. She’d practically been in labor when she told Dad that they had to get married that day.
Mom went to Grandma’s and told her about the wedding, I guess she could have just left it at that and come back home.
Apparently Grandma didn’t seem impressed, and her empty face just struck a nerve with Mom, and it ignited her. Dad had told her to wait for him to finish his shift, and he’d go too. Naturally Mom did not listen to his sound advice.
As Mom listed off her grievances, I guess that Grandma joined in with incriminating herself, and smiling about it the entire time, like ‘Don’t forget that I kicked you out when you got pregnant with Rachael.’
She had said that she was a lousy Mother, and knew it, and didn’t need to be told all the time. Which was passive considering Mom hasn’t talked to her since I was ten years old! Surely that’s not a regular occurrence.
My Mom isn’t the most affectionate, but she’s worlds better than Grandma. At least Luca and Nadia were glad that Grandma at least knew the details of the wedding and it was now her choice to come or not. Mom really hoped she didn’t bother showing.
Notes: Nadia and Luca were going to get married one day irregardless I was certain of that, but I happened to roll a shotgun wedding for them! How serendipitous is that?! Nadia had already gotten pregnant when I had rolled, and I wanted a large belly wedding since I haven’t had one since Caroline and Reed Welsh were hitched.
Lulu seemed to be a bit low in spirits this round, Rachael seems rather lucky in life, and I’d say Lulu was the opposite of that. Her and Jake usually fight and antagonize each other in a child-like way (not hateful), but she spent most of her free time with him instead of Rachael.
I can’t believe that she’s going to be a senior soon! She’s accepted to Eastborough absolutely for ballet, and her score is good enough, but I haven’t officially counted it.
Wedding up next!! And Carla this is the wedding I was planning! 🙂