Kimberly is 43, Marc is 41, Michael is 19, Kathleen is 17, Amber is 13.
Marc recently got promoted to a cadet at the Octavia Police Academy, and with it came a hefty bonus. Marc and Kimberly decided to immediately use that money to go towards further renovations of their historic home. Some unforeseen costs and a higher income tax led them to put off several of their plans. They’d currently only renovated the upstairs bathrooms, which cost around $8,000. Needless to say, they had a long way to go before the renovation would be complete.
Marc’s promotion also led him to focus more on his fitness. A place in the Police Academy meant fighting to keep your place, and Marc didn’t want to fall behind the other cadets.
Amber recently turned thirteen, and her clothes were getting too small. At their mother’s request, Kathleen took her shopping. Kathleen was excited at the chance to bond with her sister. They didn’t get along well when Amber was younger, but recently she started warming up to Kathleen. Naturally, Kathleen jumped at the chance to get close with her sister.
Kathleen didn’t care much for Amber’s choice in fashion, but she wasn’t interested in telling her sister how to dress, especially since it took thirteen years for them to get along. She did, however, suspect that Kimberly wanted Kathleen to influence Amber’s purchases.
Amber was excited about being able to pick out her own clothes for the first time in her life, and she excitedly showed Kathleen her outfit ideas. Kathleen didn’t like any of them personally, but tried to be supportive.
Kathleen ran into a guy from school while she and her sister were leaving the clothing store. His name was Orlando, and he was a senior like Kathleen. They chatted for a bit and he made a few jokes. He gave her his number when they left. Kathleen was worried Amber would be upset, but Amber excitedly decided that Orlando liked Kathleen and told her that she needed to make a move. Kathleen was relieved that her sister wasn’t the jealous type. Not that Amber had ever displayed a romantic interest–or even a friendly interest–in anyone before.
Amber talked Kathleen into going to a salon so that Amber could spend her last remaining birthday money. Kathleen was slightly concerned about what questionable hair choices a thirteen-year-old would make with her own money, but wasn’t in the position to decline her sister’s wishes. Kathleen warned Amber not to go too crazy, otherwise their mom would get upset.
Amber, however, did not heed Kathleen’s warning and instead decided to get several inches of hair chopped off. She also decided she wanted it dyed black. Both the hairstylist and Amber loved it.
For once, Amber liked the reflection she saw in the mirror. She’d had long hair for so long. Kimberly didn’t like to pay for haircuts, and Amber never liked the result when her mother cut her hair. Amber loved the asymmetrical style and how the hair framed her face.
When Kathleen and Amber got home, Marc was concerned about Amber’s new haircut and clothes. He got a little upset at first, but told Amber he could live with the changes. Like Kathleen, he warned her about Kimberly’s reaction and told her to a) be prepared and b) he wasn’t helping.
Michael was home for the summer, and much to Amber’s dismay he reacted exactly like Marc. He didn’t outright hate her haircut though, so Amber felt as though she at least had someone on her side. Michael and Amber had always been close, despite their six-year age difference. She hated the fact that he was at SLU for most of the year and that their schedules conflicted so much that they barely talked.
Kathleen was anxious for the inevitable fiasco when her mom came home, so she spent most of the day avoiding her family. She spent the rest of the day researching scholarships. In a few months, she would be starting her senior year of high school. She knew she wouldn’t get a full ride to college like Michael did, and she also knew her parents didn’t have the extra money to spare on tuition. Kathleen also started working at a cafe washing dishes for a few hours after school to fall back on in case she needed to find the money for college herself.
She decided to take Amber’s advice and call Orlando. She was a little worried about seeming desperate, but she needed something to keep her mind off the situation with her sister. Plus, it wasn’t like she just met the guy. They talked for a few hours, and set up a date for Friday night, which was Kathleen’s next day off from work.
Kimberly came home late from work, which Kathleen mistakenly took as a sign her mother truly didn’t care, so Kathleen ended up witnessing the beginning stage of Kimberly’s anger. Kathleen nervously watched as her mother lectured Amber on her hair and her clothes. Michael stared straight ahead, refusing to help either one of them. Amber, despite multiple warnings, was shocked at her mother’s reaction. Hair will grow back, and clothes are just a way of expressing oneself. Kimberly didn’t see it that way, unfortunately.
Michael and Kathleen left before it got really heated. Amber usually didn’t fight back when she was in trouble, but she did this time, which just made Kimberly angrier. She told Amber that she was sick of her disrespect and was appalled by her actions, and that she was sending her to a therapist to fix her behaviour. Amber had no idea how to respond to that, so she went upstairs to her room and locked the door. Kimberly and Marc had considered sending Amber to a therapist when she was younger, because she didn’t show interest in anything, but as she got older Marc let the idea slide. But the idea had now been rekindled in Kimberly, and she was determined this time. She had no idea why Amber wasn’t more “normal” like her older children and she wanted answers.
Kimberly used a sick day to take Amber to Collin Claiborne’s office the next day. He seemed somewhat confused at Kimberly’s plight, but agreed to see Amber anyway. He specialized in marriage and family therapy, which he greatly preferred over patients with mental illness, but he was fairly certain Amber didn’t have any type of disorder like her mother believed. He thought he could, in time, help Amber and Kimberly come to a mutual understanding.
Unsurprisingly, Amber wasn’t interested in sharing personal details with Collin at first. She kept insisting she was fine– she just preferred to be alone and hated middle school. Collin believed her, which she appreciated. She grew to even kind of like him a little as the session continued.
She was honestly confused about why she was sitting in a therapist’s office at all. She started venting a little bit about her tumultuous relationship with her mom and how much she missed Michael when he was at school. She confided that she was worried about Kathleen going to college too and being the only kid in the house with parents who didn’t understand her. Collin reassured her that he would try his best to help the situation, but Amber would need to keep coming to sessions. He said he also wanted to see Amber and Kimberly at the same time for their next session.
A few days later, it was time for Kathleen and Orlando’s date. They decided to go to a local favourite, Exploding Dragon. They shared good food and good conversation. Kathleen felt like she’d known Orlando for years, despite only moving to Octavia Valley a year and a half ago.
They also took a trip upstairs to the tea room. Kathleen was so nervous that she almost spilled the hot tea all over herself, but luckily she was able to keep her composure.
It was dark by the time they left the restaurant, and the summer sky was filled with fireflies. Kathleen excitedly ran over to them, while Orlando watched fondly.
And then Orlando kissed Kathleen amidst the fireflies. It was beautiful, magical, and everything Kathleen had dreamed her first kiss would be. She was excited to see where this relationship with Orlando would go. She didn’t know him all that well, but he didn’t seem like a womanizer, and he seemed interested in getting to know Kathleen more. She was definitely interested in getting to know him, at least!
When Kathleen got home, Kimberly immediately cornered her and said there was going to be a family meeting. This slightly frustrated Kathleen, because her mom didn’t ask her anything about her date, but she was also really curious about the meeting, since they were a relatively infrequent occurrence. She figured it had something to do with Amber.
Marc and Kimberly announced to their children that Kimberly was pregnant with her fourth child at the age of 43, and that the baby was due in March. Michael was appalled– no nineteen-year-old man truly wants to hear their mother is pregnant. Kathleen was excited about the new addition to the family, but somewhat saddened because she would be going to college. Amber was happy that her parents would probably leave her alone for the next few years, but irritated that she’d be sharing a birth month with the new baby. Kimberly and Marc were surprised about the mixed reactions, but they were eventually understanding.
Thanks for reading!
I decided to try out the third person narration for this entry for two reasons. One being that I really wanted to try it to see how it worked, and the second being that I had no idea how to write this entry from one person’s perspective. I don’t condone Kimberly’s actions of sending Amber to a therapist just because she started dressing more alternatively, but Kimberly is definitely the type to freak out over it. She’s always been concerned about Amber, and her new style pushed Kimberly over the edge. Amber isn’t depressed or anxious aside from the typical middle school experience. Collin recognizes the situation for what it is, and wants to help both of them communicate easier. By the way, Amber’s birthday was back in March but I completely forgot she turns thirteen this year. I thought it was next year; her birthday being in spring confused me a little. I didn’t plan for Kimberly to get pregnant again, but Marc really wanted a baby and Kimberly’s recent frustration with Amber (this has been building for months prior to this update) spurred her into wanting a baby too. Marc literally rolled the want for a baby and it didn’t go away.