Pivotal Moments (In Time #1)

By: Trinity Hanrahan

Chapter 1

I sat in silence and glared at the unfamiliar red SUV currently residing in the driveway—my parking space. I didn’t know who it belonged to, and I’ll admit to a brief moment of curiosity. But whoever it was, they were in the way. After pulling up to the curb across from my house, I jerked the gear shift into park with a huff before I snapped off the engine and shoved open my door. The humid Florida heat immediately wrapped itself around me and did nothing to improve my mood.

I grabbed my backpack and purse from the passenger seat, got out, and elbowed the door shut behind me. If it happened to slam shut with more force than necessary…oh well. Today had been less than pleasant, and now I had to admit to Mom that I was no longer the reigning Golden Girl in the Munroe house. As I headed for the front door, the gas-guzzling monstrosity sat defiantly in the driveway, and my inner child won the battle against maturity. I gave the front passenger tire a mighty kick.

The excruciating pain that lanced through my foot and ankle and radiated into my shin reminded me why my tantrums, or Aislinn Fits as my mother called them, weren’t a great idea. Self-injury hardly made the point I was trying to get across. I made a mental note to avoid these conniptions, but that was probably a lost cause.

Limping and cursing under my breath, I made my way to the house. Inside, I tossed my things on the bench stationed in the front foyer. “Mom?”

“In here, Ash.”

I stomped to the kitchen, contemplating different versions to explain what happened and discarding them just as quickly. Well…more like limping with a purpose than storming around. However, that would’ve then led me to admitting—once again—that I didn’t always make the best of decisions. Deluding myself into thinking I was a mature and ready-for-the-world seventeen-year-old was much more pleasant. I held on to denial like a starving woman would hold on to a vanilla wafer.

When I entered the kitchen, the smells of garlic and tomato sauce in the air indicated Mom was making her signature lasagna. There was also the sweet, warm scent of a cooling cake. My mom could cook. And not just in that pansy, open a can of sauce and toss it onto noodles type of cooking. No. We’re talking homemade, from scratch, everything tastes like manna from heaven cooking. This skill should have been genetic but didn’t see fit to grace me with its presence. My older brother, on the other hand, could cook like Chef Ramsey and it’d taste divine.

I claim this was a freak accident of birth, and it only further proves my theory that Connor is a female in disguise—his attempts to dunk my head in the toilet notwithstanding.

Mentally lamenting how I was culinary challenged, I smiled at Mom and gave a quick squeal of glee when I saw it. It would be the enormous bowl of homemade buttercream frosting set aside on the counter. Buttercream frosting was my only sugary weakness, and Mom’s concoction made from scratch was amazing. Willpower didn’t stand a chance with that stuff around. Glancing quickly toward Mom—she was washing the vegetables for the salad—I snuck over to the mixing bowl and readied a finger to swipe a glob of the sweet goodness from within.

I yelped when the woman slapped my hand away from the bowl.

“Aislinn Munroe, just what do you think you’re doing?”

Rubbing my hand, I snapped, “Dang, Mom, that hurt!” I eyed my reddening skin. “You didn’t have to smack me that hard, you know!”

I caught her rolling her eyes as she turned away. I stuck my tongue out and squinted a look at her behind her back. I figured if I was going to ride the immaturity bus today, I might as well go all the way. Reaching over to the cutting board, I snagged a carrot and hopped up onto the counter next to where she was working. Sighing and munching on the carrot, I began softly thumping my heels on the cabinet door below me, lost in thought.

“I already know,” she said.

I tensed. “Know what?” I asked. It was better to play dumb than to spill everything I thought she knew, when we’d really be on two totally different pages.

Mom sighed, and with the back of the hand holding the paring knife, she rubbed her forehead. “I know about the fight, Ash.” Her thumbnail scratched her eye near her nose before she went back to peeling the cucumbers. “You’re wondering why I’m not flipping out on you right now, aren’t you?”

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