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When I Was Your Age

They watched the sun drip past the horizon as they hauled the old tobogan into the back of the truck, mittens fumbling to get a good grip. Once secured, Anna hurriedly moved to enter the truck, but was pulled back, leaving thick muddy lines in the thin layer of snow covering the ground. North twisted her around and kissed her quickly, before she pulled away from him.

“No, c’mon, let’s go. I don’t want them to feel more like the third wheel than they already do.” Her eyes flickered to the short black hair in the driver's seat.

North tried not to roll his eyes. “But you look so beautiful with the snow in your hair…” He tried to pout like she did. She laughed, tugging him towards the car by the sleeve of his flannel jacket.

He relented, but not before adding that “it’s not like he has anything better to do”.

“They,” she whispered.

“Whatever.”

She climbed into the passenger seat, fidgeting with the radio buttons as her sibling pulled out of the driveway. She smiled when she noticed they’d taken off their sweatshirt.

“Getting used to the new haircut?” she asked.

Casper shrugged. “I got too hot. I wanted to keep the car warm for when you guys got in, but you took longer than I expected.” Their voice lacked judgment but North's displeasure from the back seat was practically tangible.

Always making himself the victim. God, you know I don’t like him, why did you invite him along?

Them.” she responded in her head. “And they’re my sibling, it’s important to me that you guys get along, bond, I don’t know. Please?”

“What’s with the face?” Casper asked jokingly, pulling her from the depths of her imagination. It took Anna a second to realize she’d been making her pouty face in reality as well as in her head. They made eye contact with her through the rear view mirror, one eyebrow raised, the closest to a smirk they ever got. She just blushed in reply.

They pulled up to the spot where their corner of Illinois warped from flat land to hillside as the very last ray of light striped the sky before completely giving way to the stars. Casper checked on the tire chains before helping North move the tobogan from the back. Then Casper quickly climbed back into the car, only to have Anna knock on the window.

“You’re not joining us?” A suppressed frown pulled her bottom lip between her teeth.

“Not this year, I think. It’s a high school tradition, A, and I’m all done with that these days. Besides, I’m sure you two will have more fun going alone.” They could tell she wanted to argue back, but North put his hand on her shoulder, silently pulling her away, and she finally moved from the car and into the thick fog-like snow. Through the snow dusted windshield, Casper watched as they disappeared into the dark, dragging the toboggan behind them.



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