22 of March, 2021 - 7:27 AM
Once I was done, I hurried upstairs and got ready for school. It was simple enough to get back into the routine: brush my teeth, change out of my pajamas, put on antiperspirant, get dressed, and fix my hair. I had just finished pulling back the top half of my hair and fastening it with a clip when Val knocked on my door.
“Car? You ready?” She let herself in and gasped as I turned to face her. “You look so cute in your uniform!”
“Thanks,” I simpered quietly, fidgeting in place. “You were right about me looking tired, though.”
“Oh, they’re just dark spots,” Val insisted as she closed the space between us. She had changed out of her sleep shirt and into a pair of indigo blue jeans and a sleeveless emerald green blouse. Tucked under her arm was a black leather handbag, and in her hands was a small bottle of concealer. “That’s actually what this is for. Jean Felix sent me this sample for a new line of makeup they want to introduce.”
My eyebrows furrowed. “Jean Felix? As in Jean Felix De Mortie?”
“Yup!” Val brought her hand to my chin and lifted my head, examining the shadows beneath my eyes. “It's a concealer that’s supposed to match your skintone.”
I pulled away, wary. “Wait--has this been tested? What if there’s some weird aftereffect?”
My sister tsked. “Stop worrying! I use it, plus I’m pretty sure they have to test this stuff before they hand out samples, right?”
Defeated, I stood still and let my older sister dab concealer under my eyes. It only took a matter of seconds. “There! Now look at you, kiddo!”
I studied my reflection, relieved to see the appearance of my eyebags was greatly reduced by the product. “Wow… Thanks!”
“C’mon, let’s blow this popsicle stand!” she gushed. I had to sweep my secondary backpack--the hand-me-down that I designated for mortal school--up off the floor and practically run out of my room in order to catch up to her. “And tonight, I’ll show you how to treat those eye shadows when you go to bed. It should be more than enough before you have to go to AOA.”
“Are you taking me to school?” I asked, confused. Nanny usually drove me himself.
“Yeah, since I have to go on the hunt for a job, I figured I might as well be your ride for today,” Val shrugged. “Unless you want to ride the school bus.”
I shuddered. “Ugh. No, thank you.”
“Thought not,” she teased. “So I’ll be your chauffeur today, miss. Just text me when school’s almost done as a reminder, and I’ll be there on the double.”
“So, what kind of job will you be looking for?” I asked, genuinely curious, as I followed Val out of my suite and into the second floor hallway. Axel’s suite was across the hall, while Nanny and Val were staying on the first floor.
“I don’t know yet,” she admitted, leading me down the stairs. “Maybe something easy, like a receptionist or a secretary position.”
She shrugged and stepped down onto the first story landing. “I mean, it can’t be that hard, right?”
My eyes darted between her, her handbag, and her now empty hands. “Don’t you need something like a resumé when you apply for a job?”
“I have a digital one I can email upon request. Most places will probably ask that I fill out online applications anyway.”
We reached the front door just as it opened, and Axel came bounding in. He wore a black jacket over a grey hoodie and black jeans, and his blond curls were covered with a black knit beanie.
“Mornin’,” he huffed. “Put on your coats, it’s windy out.”
I shuddered as the chill came through the door. That’s spring in Boston for you.
Val handed me my coat that was hanging beside the door as Axel kicked off his boots and trudged passed. “Hey! How was your interview?” she called out, taking her own hazelnut brown coat off its hook.
“Horrible,” he grumbled, stomping up the stairs. “I start tomorrow.”
My sister and I shared wide-eyed, amused looks as we stepped outside and broke out in giggles. Poor Axe.
We climbed down the porch steps and hit the dark, cracked sidewalk. Parked parallel to the home sat Nanny’s black Hummer, Axel’s red Mazda, and a third car I had not seen there before. It was a silver Tesla, with black rims and tinted windows.
“Is that your car?” I asked.
“Yes she is!” Val gushed, practically running to the driver’s side door. “Cari, this is Tes, my baby. Tes, meet Cari.”
Aaaaaand she’s lost it. I couldn’t help but grin over her silly antics. She really is different from the Val I knew.
22 of March, 2021 - 7:49 AM
We couldn't have arrived soon enough. Once the car had pulled up to Sacred Heart’s student drop-off zone, I opened the passenger door and catapulted out of my seat. “I am never getting in the car with you again.”
Val scoffed. “What? I’m a great driver!”
“You nearly hit someone!” I hissed back, hoping Val would take the hint and lower her voice.
“First of all, that lady came out of nowhere--”
“She was elderly. She was maxed out at half a mile per day,” I exaggerated.
“Oh, hush! You’re alive, aren’t you?” she contested. “I’ll pick you up around five!”
“This is high school, not a job,” I pointed out. “I get out at three-forty.”
“I knew that! Three-forty, got it.” One of the cars behind us honked, urging my sister to pull away. She waved them off and said, “Alright, I gotta go. I’ll see you later--have fun!”
Then I shut the car door and watched as my sister cut off another car and sped away. Jeez. She’s a hazard.
“Yo, De Ardo!” I turned in time to see Lilly and Helena making a beeline for me. “Took you long enough!”
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