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Cuts and Kisses
Annabel Schultz woke to her alarm sounding, thinking, Today's the day.
The slim black haired teen crawled out of her bed and did her usual morning routine, getting ready for school. Breakfast was the same as always. Howard, or Howie, as everyone is used to calling him, was Annabel's 9 month old brother who was lying, still fast asleep, on his mother's chest.
Her mother was sitting at the kitchen table, glancing through the newspaper with a cup of orange juice at her side. Her father was gone on business, as he always was, so we can leave him out of the picture. Now, all that was left was Annabel's older sister, Stacie. She was at the stove, frying some bacon and eggs for the family.
"Morning Anne," she greeted her sister with a smile. "Do you want some breakfast? I'm just about finished."
"Yeah, sure Stace. Sounds good," Annabel absentmindedly answered, grabbing a cup of milk from the fridge and taking a seat at the table.
"How bout you mom? Want anything?"
"No thank you honey. I'll grab some for myself later."
"Alright then." Stacie came to the table with two plates of food, setting one in front of her and her sister, who happened to be thinking about later's plans and didn't even notice.
"Hey Anne, you alright? You don't have a fever, do you?" Her sister placed a hand on Annabel's forehead. "You don't feel warm...."
Annabel pulled the hand away and grabbed her fork, stuffing some eggs into her mouth. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just thinking bout... school and stuff."
"Being a sophomore isn't hard on you, right? If there's any homework you don't get or a situation you need an older mind's opinion on, remember to come straight to me, alright Anne?" Stacie gave Annabel a comforting smile.
"Stop fussing over your sister Stacie; she's a straight-A student. You should be worrying about yourself; you're going to be graduating soon and you have lists of scholarships just waiting to be looked at."
"I know, mom, I know...." Stacie gave a little sideways frown, "I'm just worried, okay? I want my little sister to succeed too."
"It's fine Stace, just concentrate on your own life; make yourself as happy as you can be. You'll be heading off to college in a year or so and I'll be off and gone by then too." Annabel flashed her a smile that didn't seem quite right.
"What do you mean by that Anne? You're only going to be a junior when this school year ends, with senior year still to come."
She just chuckled and got up from the table, putting her dirty dishes into the sink. "We should get going Stace. We'll be late."
"I'm coming. Go and get the car warmed up."
"'Kay." Annabel grabbed her backpack and the keys, calling out a goodbye to her mom and heading out the front door.
Stacie sighed. "I swear, something's off with her today...."
"I don't see anything wrong with Anne, Stacie. She's the same as always. Are you sure you aren't the one sick? Your allergies do kick up with winter comes around," her mom replied.
"I'm perfectly fine mom." She kissed her mother on the head and caressed Howie's cheek for a moment. "Oh, I'll be coming home late today. I have cheer practice then French club. Bye!"
"See you dear!" Mrs. Schultz called back as the front door clicked shut.