Something hit Jordain’s face as she stirred awake. She groaned as she stretched out across the bed and tried to roll over, ignoring the voice above her. Something else hit her and she slowly began to sit up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes and blinking at her surroundings.
“Dad called, said it’s time for dinner. Come on, you don’t want to be late.”
Astrid stood over her, holding a pillow tightly in her fist. Jordain assumed that was the weapon that had been used to wake her. She dropped the pillow on the bed and left the room, and Jordain slowly turned and rested her feet on the floor. As she stood up and stretched her tense muscles out she noticed that Astrid had left the door connecting their rooms open. Jordain peeked her head around the door and gazed into the room. The walls were dark, almost pitch black, with posters and paintings covering most of the available space. It seemed to be a similar setup to her own room, same furniture in the same places.
“Jordain! We don’t have all night!”
Astrid’s tone was impatient enough to have Jordain racing out of her room while holding an elastic in her mouth as she hurried to put her hair up in a messy bun. Astrid was waiting for her at the bottom of the staircase and gave her a sharp glare as she raced down the stairs tying her hair up.
“Sorry, just takes me a while to get up.”
“Mmhmm, I can see that.”
Before Jordain could reply, Astrid had walked away and down a hall Jordain had yet to explore. The older girl followed in silence, gazing at the unfamiliar walls and photos, a family that wasn’t hers. The hallway opened up into a large kitchen with a window-framed dining area to the left of the room. The windows looked out into the back of the house, where tall trees filled the area as far as the eye could see. Her mother sat at the table, Thomas was at the kitchen counter bringing a large dish out of the oven and resting it on the cool marble. Astrid took a seat at the table, gesturing to the spot next to her. Jordain nodded and sat down next to her, watching Thomas bring the food over to the table and sitting across from Astrid.
“Alright, welcome to Wolfpine. Glad to have you both with us. I hope it’s an enjoyable experience here,” Thomas paused to gaze at Jordain’s mom, “for both of you.”
Astrid rolled her eyes and began filling her plate with food, immediately shoving food into her mouth to avoid any conversation. Jordain moved to do the same, but her mother glared at her. She sighed and slowly filled her plate, her mother smiling and turning back to Thomas, beginning a light conversation that would last through the majority of dinner. Once Astrid finished her plate, she stood up and placed her dish in the sink before rushing out of the room. Her footsteps faded up the stairs and her bedroom door slammed.
“I’m going to go sleep, thank you for dinner.” Jordain said politely before following in Astrid’s footsteps.
She raced up the stairs, pausing in front of Astrid’s door. Her hand reached slowly for the doorknob but she quickly pulled it back and walked into her own room. Spreading her body out across the soft sheets under her, Jordain closed her eyes softly before hearing Astrid’s voice from the other room.
“Couldn’t stand them either?”
Jordain sat up and noticed that the door connecting their rooms was open by a crack. She moved closer to the door and pulled it open, Astrid sitting on her own bed and staring at the doorway.
“Well, it’s not my favourite thing in the world, I must admit.”
“Are you just gonna sit there? I don’t like talking from such a distance.”
Jordain rolled her eyes and moved into Astrid’s room, sitting across from her on the bed.
“Absolutely, now be honest with me. What do you think of them?”
Astrid’s stare drilled into Jordain, who started chewing on her lip from the tense aura in the room.
“I don’t think they’re bad…I just don’t understand why they suddenly got together and all of a sudden we’re moving here. I miss the city honestly, not that it isn’t great out here or anything I just-”
“I get it. Honestly, for me it’s like your mother just appeared out of nowhere and my dad was infatuated. He claims they met ages ago but I don’t know how much I believe him.”
“Yeah, my mom said the same thing. But when could they have even met? Neither have ever really left their hometowns. I know my mom travelled a bit when she was young but it’s unlikely she made it all the way here…”
Astrid held up a hand to Jordain to silence her for a moment, turning and pulling a notebook out from under her pillow. She wordlessly opened the book and began scribbling down on the paper, her hand racing across the page as the pencil’s soft scratching noise filled the air.
“I’ve kept this notebook since Mom died, evidence that Dad’s been planning something since then.”
Jordain’s eyes widened as she gazed at the pages full of writing. Most of the writing seemed like speculations, but parts of it did seem to reflect Jordain’s own concerns.
“What are you implying?”
“I want you to help me break them up. Then you can go home and things can go back to normal.”
Astrid’s face was blank, no hint of humour or sarcasm.
“Are you kidding me? This is the first time in years my mom has been happy, and you want me to end it?”
“Yes, if not things are gonna get weirder around here.”
Jordain rolled her eyes and got up from the bed, making her way back to her bedroom. Before she could shut the door behind her Astrid called out to her.
“Fine! But be careful out there. Don’t go exploring yourself, Wolfpine got its name for a reason.”
Jordain chuckled and nodded, closing the door and sitting on her own bed. She let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding, laying back and gazing out at the night sky. There were a lot more stars than she’d ever seen in the city, but she hadn’t been lying. She missed it, more than she would ever admit to her mother. Her friends, her life, her home. Everything had been dropped and now here she was. Barely a week’s notice, and now a new home and life to adjust to. Sitting on the bench at the window, Jordain gazed out into the night, soft tears rolling down her cheeks for the first time in a few weeks. Gradually, her tears turned into sobs, and she curled into a ball on the bench. No matter how hard she tried to calm down it wouldn’t happen.
“Jordain?” A hand landed on her shoulder and she gasped, looking up at the small figure in front of her. “I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t have asked that of you. I just,” Astrid paused for a moment, taking a shaky breath, “I want things to go back to how they were.”
Jordain pulled the smaller girl into a hug, Astrid letting out her own tears as the girls cried together, the moon’s light illuminating them as they finally let themselves mourn.
Photo credit to Isabella Kurniawan