After school was as uneventful as usual, but she didn't hang out with Eric. Claire decided she wanted to hang out with her brother a bit, as well as give him the present she kept on forgetting about. She quickly walks home, but makes sure she isn't too fast or people might think she's in a hurry. She really isn't, there's no hurry. That is what she repeats in her head, trying to convince herself.
She casually opened the door, happy to see no foreign shoes by it, and takes off her own. Sebastian was home, since his shoes were there, and since he did not appear to be downstairs, he was probably in his room. Claire left her bag by the door and walked upstairs, peaking quickly into her brother's room to see if he really was there. He seemed to be studying or doing some sort of schoolwork. She quickly dashed to her room to get that fancy little bottle of cologne. Hiding it behind her back, she tiptoed into his room. A double surprise.
He jumped slightly, turning to look at Claire. His mouth stretched into a grin and he greeted her with a nod. She handed him the bottle, turning to leave the room, when she was stopped by his voice.
"Woah, hey, Claire. Don't leave so suddenly like that; I still need to thank you!" He laughed.
"I saw it while I was out with a friend. Thought you might like it. It's nothing, don't worry about it." She realized how cold she might have sounded, regretting her words right after saying them. Sebastian didn't seem to mind though, laughing it off.
"It's still something though." He stood up from his chair and took a step towards her and that was all that was needed to make her heart race and her hands shake ('in nervousness', she thinks).
He hugged her, less awkwardly than yesterday, and she just stood there stupidly. It was short and got the point across. He removed the cap, sniffing it and making a small noise of approval.
"You've got good taste."
She nodded and smiled, leaving the room. That was enough hanging out with her brother, she decided. Returning to her room, she changed her clothes and went outside to take a quick walk. Fresh air. Time to think and time to completely empty her mind.
It wasn't too late, so the heat of the sun was still present, and Claire almost went back inside. However, she needed to walk and she was going to walk whether or not she would hate herself for it. A sigh escaped her lips, but she ignored her inner turmoil and began her stroll.
About 2 blocks down the road, she ran into Eric again. Honestly, she was beginning to wonder whether he followed her around, but brushed it off as coincidence.
"Woah, what are you doing outside?"
"Oh. Well, I'm walking the dogs here," He gestured towards the two leashes in his hands, connected to two medium-sized dogs. "Care to join?"
There was nothing better to do, so she agreed. Besides, she felt as if she owed him for his company. They talked about a range of topics, nothing really making sense. One topic would be interrupted by an unrelated one, probably prompted by something in their surroundings. Eric was really fun to be around, Claire decided.
They walked around for a few hours, the sky becoming darker as nighttime approached. Her legs were beginning to ache and she was beginning to regret accepting his invitation. He walked her to her house, like the gentleman he was, and said his goodbyes and goodnights.
"Would you like to stay for dinner?" She offered, looking up at the evening sky, completely ignoring the boy in front of her. She acknowledged how rude a thing it was to do, but also reminded herself how pretty the sky was. He blinked and seemed to be at a loss for words.
"Well, I would love to but…" He gestured towards the dogs again. "I have to get these two back home."
"Maybe next time," She gave him a small smile and walked inside of her house. "Goodnight. Thank you for the company."
"No problem, Claire. See you later."
She closed the door and turned around, almost expecting to see Sebastian standing there. That is what usually happens in movies. He wasn't.
A laugh almost escaped her as she realized how funny a thought that was. Well, it wasn't the thought that was funny. The fact that she even thought that thought was the funny and almost ridiculous part. Her feet led her into the kitchen.
"What to eat tonight…"
She ended up making a chicken dinner with a vegetable side. She placed a large portion on Sebastian's plate and a significantly smaller portion on her own plate. She wasn't feeling too hungry. He must have smelled the cooking, because not a moment later, he was standing by the kitchen door. Well, more like leaning against it with that smile of his.
They ate in (mostly) silence. Every now and then, someone would attempt to start some small talk, but it would quickly die out. Claire finished first, as expected, but she just sat and waited for Sebastian to finish his share so she could wash the dishes. He noticed, of course, and shooed her out.
"You've already done enough. Go have fun or something; I'll take care of these."
She went upstairs and changed into her sleepwear. Her window was open and the gentle breeze seemed to be cooler, just as she liked it. She decided to skip smoking that night. She didn't have a strong urge; at least, that is what she convinced herself, fingers twitching. Nobody was outside, which wasn't surprising, and it was a quiet night.
Claire was deciding whether or not to finish off that last bit of homework when Sebastian knocked on her door. She jerked her head towards the unexpected sound, but said a 'hello' anyways.
"Hey, if you aren't busy on Sunday, do you want to go to the opening of that new sweets shop with me?"
"Yes," The word was automatic, but she hastily added onto it so she didn't sound too eager. "If you don't mind my company."
"Of course not, you're my sister!" He smiled and she returned it.
They said their goodnights and he left the room. She was staring outside for much longer though, suddenly wanting that cancerous stick, that bad habit. Instead, she grabbed a lollipop out of the bag she bought not long ago, and ate it.
What a good night.