The door slammed behind him as Erick dragged himself into the old house. “Mom, I’m home!” He yelled, dropping his backpack down on the worn rug. He ambled into the kitchen, and took his usual place at the table.
“What's for dinner?” He said absently, grabbing an apple from the bowl on the table. As he did, his shirt rode up, showing part of his forearm. Erick quickly tugged his shirt down, and glanced nervously up at his mom before resuming his eating. “Oh you know, the usual.” Her soft voice was almost drowned out by a thundering sound that resonated all over the house. A dark-haired girl popped her head in the door, pulling a boy into the kitchen with her. Erick did a double take, and then swallowed, coating his dry throat. His dark brown eyes widened and he quickly wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans. The boy glanced around the kitchen, his dimples showing as he smiled. He brushed his dark blonde hair out of his eyes and shyly looked down at the ground.
“Hey, Mom I’m going to go out with Jason, and we’re going to meet up with a couple friends, alright?” said Erick’s sister. His mom sighed, and brushed a piece of gray hair out of her eyes before putting her hands on her hips and giving the girl a stern glance. The girl smiled playfully at the boy before gently grasping his toned forearm.
“We’re going to get dinner as well, kay?” Her mom gazed suspiciously at them before saying, “Well, you have to be back by at least ni-“ “Ok, thanks mom!” She rushed out of the room, pulling the boy with her and a few minutes later Erick heard the door slam. He looked incredulously around at his mother, whose back was turned to him yet again. “Mom! She’s barely thirteen, why’re you letting her go out like that!?” Erick said “and with some popular pretty boy, of all people.” His face burned, and he glanced down trying to hide his blush. “Well, what can I do?” his mom replied, “She’s going to do what she wants, regardless of what I say.” Erick let loose a long heavy sigh. He placed the apple down on the table, and rested his head on his hand, letting his eyes glaze over as his mind drifted elsewhere. Every single day she goes out. Yet, I’m three years older and I haven’t gone out once in the past year. And now she’s going out with cute boys too, not just her girlfriends. Erick blushed again, his face flushing bright red as he recalled the boy’s huge blue eyes and charming dimples. “Ugh…” Erick groaned in dismay before placing his head against the cool glass of the table. Maybe I can just fall asleep, and when I wake up, all my problems will be solved. He felt a light touch on his back, and shifted his head slightly so he could see his mom lightly stroking his back. “Erick, honey, what's the matter?” She said, creases forming between her eyebrows. “Mom, if only you knew…” Erick laughed hoarsely, a quick laugh, before he sat up and rubbed his face in his hands. “Ok, mom, I’m going up to my room now.” “Sweetheart, if you want to tell me anything, anything at all, I’ll always be here. You know that, right?” She looked down at him, her eyes searching his, trying to figure out what was causing him this kind of weariness and sadness. “I know mom, I know. Hey, have you gotten the letter from USC yet?” He said, his face alighting with hope. “Oh Erick… You know even if you do get into USC, you won’t be able to go… It’s too expensive. UGA is