"Well, we can't keep him."
Rico looked at Gabby's reaction when he listened to his step-mom in the kitchen. He knew Gabby thought he was being smug. He didn't mean to be that way. But no way, were they going to keep that kid Randy. Here. Especially, if he'd had a relationship with Gabby.
Rico sighed, as if he was the good son, after all. Even if he wasn't always on the straight and narrow. Especially, with Lizzy.
Of course, he was petrified of Lizzy's father. He was an officer in the Air Force. Rico was sure he would choke on Christmas dinner at Lizzy's house. He was doubtful, her folks would let them keep dating. Especially, since he had no desire to go into the military.
"That was so long ago." Gabby was starting to cry now, but Rico wasn't buying it. She was faking, as far as he was concerned. Before he knew it, she was on the phone to Will's step-mom.
Rico rolled his eyes at that, but he got busy with homework at the kitchen table. He wouldn't get involved with this.
Oh, that Gabby, she was a mess. Crying over a boy named Randy. Rico fumed.
A few seconds later, Gabby announced that Clare was coming over.
"What for?" Rico's step-mother didn't see the need, and quite frankly Rico didn't, either. Wasn't Randy used to living on the streets?
"She wants Randy to stay at her house." Gabby swallowed a pout that made it all the more impossible to look away from her.
Rico wasn't budging, even if he did finish his Algebra.
Macy almost called home. Almost. But she put her cell down, and nursed her bottom lip. Where would she start, with her Mom?
She didn't live at Molly and Archie's anymore. No, something happened at Christmas.
Well, it really wasn't Dustin's fault. She'd gone with Maxie instead of home for the holidays with Dustin.
Yes, it was finally over. Really, deep inside, it felt as if she was making a clean break. Although, she didn't think Dustin was listening at the time. There was a new sibling in his life now. And there was talk of the baby. His mum didn't have the room for Macy.
"You, go ahead and go." She had to work, anyway. There was no winter vacation for her. Before she knew it, she was home alone. Molly and Arch were off to see his Dad, and Macy felt so alone.
Seriously, it was the last thing she ever thought it would happen. Getting together with Maxie.
But it was Christmas and it felt right. And she liked being so close to the bakery. After all, Maxie and Ste lived upstairs. And even if they didn't have much to celebrate, there was food and some laughter.
For the first time, she didn't feel so much like a foreigner, but she knew if she told anyone of it, they'd say she'd thrown her life away.
She went back to her phone, and thought of her brother Rico. She couldn't. No. It wouldn't be right. Before she knew it, she clicked into Gage's number like some old habit.
It rang to her surprise, and he picked up.
"Hullo." His voice made her shake, ever so cautiously.
"Yeah." He said quickly, and then very sadly asked. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." It didn't sound that way. She sighed, and sat down on Maxie's old bed as if she really needed to find the strength to tell him. "I'm..uh..Dustin and I are done."
"What?" He sounded almost frantic. "Where are you?"
"Its OK. I'm still taking classes online. And I'm working. I dunno..if you knew. Its different..than, at the grocery store. Its..its these brothers..they run a bakery..and..and well, I'm staying with them."
Gage said nothing for the longest time. At first, she wondered if he was on the phone.
"I see." He finally said.
"So I guess.."
"Yeah, I'm still with Halie." He said as if it had been the right thing to do. "Alec..Alec had problems walking, but he's OK now."
She could tell he was a real father, after all. Just as she always knew he would be. Yet she could sense herself unraveling, as if she was breathing in a certain poison that melted her into tears.
"See..I knew it would work out." She barely managed to say. "I did..if..if..if..you two had a chance." She wanted to tell him that she was proud of him..but the words weren't there. She clicked off the phone.
It wasn't long until Maxie found her, His warm arms came around her. He hugged her as if it was all right now. Even if the cold rain outside was turning to ice. And she'd left a teenage life, without even looking back. Yes, she was certain of it now. This was the home she was looking for.