Page 1 (1/2)

"Your baby brother called Three ti in my hands to meet Tori&039;s dark eyes She&039;s ten feet awaybehind the Formica countertops in the kitchen My cool, confident rooo when she rescued ets anxiously with the rian She knowson Itrand since July, six o, and the last time I actually spoke to hi me for Christmas break, he&039;d done so via eood

"Did he say what he wants?" I croak I pressrow of deadbolts poking into ertips, but I&039; the stack of bills and postcards from Tori&039;s parents I&039;m too worried about why Seth has called s her bare, shimmery shoulders, squints down at the splash of clear liquid in her glass, and then downs the shot in one swift flick of her wrist There&039;s no bottle in sight, but I know she&039;s drinking peppermint schnapps Her telltale bottle of a chaser (chocolate syrup) sits next to her phone Plus, schnapps is her usual Friday night pre-gamer Sometimes - when my boss has an off week that inevitably rubs off ona little I&039;ht now, though

There&039;s already aspot between my eyes

"He just said call him" she says But as her voice trails off, I know she&039;s thinking the sa I am

What the hell has my mom done this time?

Because last tio, Mom had made a suicide attempt which she later told me she fabricated for attention I ball hed at

"Always so quick to please," she&039;d said in her thick accent Then she took a long drag of a cigarette that she probably had to do unhts of ive Tori a fake sht?"

The answer is obvious It is Friday night, and even though only her upper body is visible, I can tell she&039;s dressed to kill Immaculate hair and make-up, check Strapless red dress that&039;s probably no longer than h, "screw-uard with Ben, Stacy, and Micah" Her jet black, perfectly arched eyebrows knit together as she parts her lips to say so else I shake my head stubbornly, and she snaps herwill convince ood chance that whatever Seth is about to tell ht and the rest of ain, in et rid of the burn in the back of my mouth

"That&039;s it," Tori snaps She reaches across the counter to grab her phone "I&039;e forward and pluck the cellphone out of her hand I drop the balled-up - and now practically fused together - pile of lass

"Please, justdon&039;t You look way too hot to spend your night with me I-I swear I&039;ll be fine" She doesn&039;t seem convinced because she purses her full lips into a thin, scarlet line I slide her phone into her hands and curl her fingers around it I hter smile and tell her in the ood ti me, but I can barely hear her exact words I&039; down the narrow hallway to rip

Seth picks up on the second ring, as I&039; my bedroom door behind myself On those rare occasions that we speak, he always lets o to voicemail and then responds to ood

"Thank God," he hisses before I can get a syllable out "Where&039;ve you been, Si? And why the hell didn&039;t I have this number?"

Less than ten seconds into our conversation and Seth&039;s arguing withwith a bunch of tampons and makeup spill out onto the lavender cotton sheets and some fall on the carpeted floor I&039;ll clean it up later "I work And I&039;ve tried to call you from this number several tiry, which is how I feel, but like I&039; myself to my brother Like I&039;like that

"Sienna, it&039;s Gran," he says

And this - this is when I literally freeze in place, standing between ic, serious statues in the cemeteries back ho I&039;d assu to reach ain I hadn&039;t even thought ofand resilient and wonderful

She&039;s also 79 years old

I try to say so, but there&039;s a lu the back ofwhen Seth finally exhales an exasperated sigh and snaps, "She&039;s fine, Si Well, physically fine"

Then, he tellson He says words like foreclosure and eviction notice Nener - so musician from California Court on Monday And then he tells me that I need to be there for her, for hiine what To besides a funeral or the certain iht fire ive et another wardrobe job for the rest of ot to be here"

"Seth, I can&039;t just" But I&039; in front of my laptop with my online bank statement pulled up on one tab and a discount ticket website on another I&039; in ht, biting down so hard on my lower lip I taste blood I&039;m broke Half of what&039;s in o to Tori forup with s inside of the beaten Coach suitcase hteenth birthday present

It&039;s rees to be precise - and snowing lightly when I scoot into Seth&039;s e pick-up truck on Monday afternoon Froh, you would think it were the ust and that I&039;d arrived in Nashville dressed in head to toe wool The flutter sleeve top I so carefully selected because it s toto just above my knees

The sudden spike in perspiration is ht fro over how I&039;d convince Graht about it, the randdad had built her that cabin and land as a gift after my mother was born in the early seventies There&039;s no way in hell Grah froone

"What&039;d your boss say?" my brother asks as he turns onto the interstate He slae skids on the slippery road, jostling us around, but Seth et the truck under control halfway into asp

Seth doesn&039;t so ht ahead, the same way our dad does when he drives in crappy weather, and rubs the tips of his thu wheel - another Dad trait With his dark blonde hair, brown eyes, and year-round tan that puts my easily-burnt skin to sha to answermy hands into the he "I worked through Christmas and New Year, so he didn&039;t have much of a problem Besides, I&039; Tomas for the time off and that he&039;d pointedly said I better take care of my family drama and have my ass back in LA before the end of the month - two and a half weeks