I didn't mean for my words to be so biting

I didn't mean for my words to be so biting. But when you've got to deal with a bastard like him, you've got to make it clear who's the alpha dog around here.

That would be me.

I know I shouldn't react to what people say; they'll only see that what they're doing is eating away at your nerves and delight in that fact by doing it even more. But how could I not when he keeps flashing his secret smile (which is evil, believe me) and annoyingly witty comments?

He's waiting for me to crack, I know it. But this alpha dog is by no means stepping down.

I arrived home, less steamed than when I left Forrest's. I noticed my mom's Volvo already parked outside on the driveway. Which is strange, because she is never home before 7:30.

"Mom?" I hung my coat on the hook near the doorway and kicked off my shoes. "Where are you?"

A voice sounded from upstairs. "Up here in my room, hon."

I jogged up the stairs and leaned on the frame of the door to her room. "What are you doing home so early? You're usually still at the office."

She turned to face me. "My assignments director just told me today that he has a story he wants me to follow up on."

Here's something you should know about my mom: she's a journalist for the county newspaper. She realized she had a knack for writing articles when she joined her high school press during junior year and decided to follow that when she went to college. My mother is an amazing writer and I still don't know why the press hadn't promoted her to editor-in-chief instead of sending her off to write articles constantly.

"Oh? What story would that be?" I watched her drag out the suit case.

"The protest in D.C. Have you heard about it?" She unzipped the luggage and proceeded to pick out some business suits and pants.

"Yeah, I have. Look, Mom, you should know that I'm holding a job after school."

"Doing what?"

"Baby-sitting."

"Give me the phone number. I'll want to be able to talk to you have I happen to have time. You won't be home until six?"

I nodded and scribbled Sherry's number onto a notepad Mom kept on the nightstand.

She stopped packing and looked. "I'll call the parents right now to tell them you're unattended for this week."

She whipped out her cell phone from the pocket of her trousers, speedily dialing the numbers into her phone.

"Hi, this is Simone's mom." She gestured for me to move out of the room while she spoke on the phone.

I slipped into my room next door and it wasn't until another hour later that she knocked on the door.

"Simone," my mother sat down on my bed and stroked my hair, the way she hasn't done in a long time. "I called and guess what? Mrs. Long happened to be in the same sorority as me when we were in college!" I didn't mention to her that I called my employer Sherry.

"And?" I raised my eyebrows because I knew there had to be more to this, the way I could feel my mom's excitement from the way she held my hand.

"We reconnected and talked about what went on the past few years…And then I told her how I was leaving town for a week. She offered to…"

Suddenly I had a very, very bad feeling at the pit of my stomach.

My mom looked very guilty. "She offered to have you stay at her house for the time I'll be gone." She quickly averted her eyes.

I felt my jaw drop. "You…don't trust me? To be home alone?"

"No, no. It's not like that. I'll just be more assured that you're safe if I know someone is there with you." She puts her arm around my shoulders, and I immediately stiffen under her touch. She recognizes this and pulls away.

"I'm so sorry, hon. But I'm just worried that's all." She stands up and leaves. "Remember to pack, alright?"

Maybe I should crawl into my suitcase and die.

A/N: This is another in-between kind of chapter, to prepare for the next chapter. This will probably the last update I do before school starts. I don't know how this story will pan out once I start school. Hope I'll still be able to update as frequently as I do now.