The new pack of cigarettes sat mockingly on the kitchen table. Her mother stood next to the table with her arms crossed tightly against her chest. Amanda wished that this wasn’t how her morning had started, and yet, there was a brand new pack wrapped in clean, crisp plastic right next to the half empty basket of laundry.
“I can explain.” Her voice came out as a squeak.
“I’d love to hear this.”
“My friend,” her brain searched for a name that wasn’t actually attached to any person her mother knew. “Mary, bought a pack of cigarettes.” She motioned to the pack on the table. “I didn’t want her to smoke, because I know how you’ve said that smoking is bad, and I took them from her before she could open them.”
“And that’s how they found their way into the back of your sock drawer?” Her mothers voice had gone quiet, that wasn’t a good sign.
“No.” Amanda nodded, her shoulders slumped. Nothing left but the truth. “I’m sorry. My friends were saying how I looked like I’m twelve and that I would probably get carded for a Slurpee. I wanted to prove them wrong, so I bought a pack of cigarettes.”
“They didn’t card you?” Yes, the rage had been diverted.
“I.” She smiled at her mother. “Flirted with the guy behind the counter.”
“You what?” Uh-oh, rage back. Her mothers ears turned red.
“Mom, look at me.” Amanda shrugged. “I do look like I’m twelve.”
It wasn’t her wardrobe of jeans, sneakers, and a T-shirt that made her look younger than her fifteen years. Her hairstyle was a cute bob which was just long enough to cover the tips of her ears. She avoided pig-tails and shorty-shorts, anything that would make her look younger. At her full height she stood a few inches above five feet tall.
“I’m the shortest person in my group of friends, if I put on shorts I look like Dora, and anything I do to try to look my age makes me look like I should be on a talk show.” Amanda pointed to the cigarettes. “I wasn’t going to smoke them, they were a trophy.”
“This is a stupid trophy.” Her mother picked up the pack and tossed it in the trash. “You’re grounded, straight home after school, got it?”
“Yeah.” Her shoulders slumped. “I look like a freaking Elf.”
“What did you say?” Her mother snapped, the color drained from her face.
Amanda looked up at her, this was new. “I said I look like an Elf. You know Santa’s little helpers.”
“Don’t.” Her mother waved her finger in the air. “Never say that.”
“Elves, or Santa?”
One moment her mother was standing by the kitchen table and the next she had her hand against Amanda’s mouth. Her eyes were much too large, it took Amanda a moment to realize her brown eyes had lost their irises. The orbs were now full white with a tiny spot of black for the pupil.
“Mom, you’re scaring me.” Amanda watched as
“Go to school, come right home, and no more of this business.” A strange lilting accent crept into her mothers voice. “I’ll talk to your father once he gets home.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Amanda grabbed her backpack and rushed out the door.
[_-_- NOTE _-_-_]
The story-line with Emilio is being developed into a possible full length selection. If all goes well I might have my first YA offering reading later this year. Until then, I will continue to practice getting the voice right. Oh, and doing my summer course. That’s kind of important too.
I’m thinking of making this one a series too.