Tosha Go is 22; Angel Go is 18; Vivian Thomason is 23.
Last update here.
Vivian Thomason gazed around the cluttered second hand shop in delighted anticipation. Second hand shops, yard sales, markets... she loved these places. She loved the beautiful, unusual things that she could find for next-to-nothing.
What she didn't love, was having to find a place to store her treasures.
Their tiny apartment couldn't hold much more, and her mother was already dropping heavy hints about the growing number of boxes in her garage. But Tosha had finished college now too, they were both working, and it wouldn't be long before they could afford a bigger place.
"Just the picture frame then?" asked the old man behind the counter.
Vivian started to reply, then hesitated. She'd only come here to find a frame, something special for Tosha's graduation portrait. But then she'd seen the mirror. And the candleholders.
You don't have any space!
But it was only a little mirror.
And the candleholders.
No. Just the mirror. She got it and placed it on the counter next to the frame. Behind the counter, Herbert Goodie smiled. Well, he would. In the couple of years she'd been coming to his shop, he had never known her to leave with only one thing.
"Will you join us for dinner tonight, Vivian," Herbert's wife Faith asked.
"I can't. Tosha's sister is coming over, and Tosha is cooking."
Faith and Herbert looked at each other.
"What?" Vivian asked.
"It's just... well, you know you've told us stories about your young friend's cooking... "
Vivian smiled. Given their age and reasonably conservative outlook on life, they'd been very good about accepting the idea of two women in a romantic relationship, but there had been some debate over exactly how to refer to the couple.
"Partners?" Herbert had suggested.
"Sounds like a business arrangement" Faith snorted.
"Sixteen year olds."
So, for want of a better term, Tosha had become her young friend.
"She's trying to learn," Vivian said, "but... well... just keep putting aside the beginner cookbooks for us when you get them, ok?"
Herbert smiled. "Will do. So... " he gestured to the mirror and the picture frame, "this is all for today, then?"
"Yes... no, wait." Vivian got the candle holders and put them on the counter as well. "I'll take them too, thanks."
There were a lot of things that you don't learn, when you're growing up in a children's home. Cooking, for example.
Tosha imagined that most girls learned from their mothers, but there was no opportunity for that in the home. So, slowly, she was teaching herself.
A bit too slowly, at times.
No one in the building really enjoyed evacuating on a winter evening, but at least the snow had stopped.
"I think we'll just order Chinese or something."
"So, how's Meadow?" Tosha asked Angel, as they sat down to their not-so-glamorous Chinese dinner.
"She's good," said Angel. "I was at Jamie's house the other day... you know how Jamie's parents' old dog died before the holidays?"
"Well, they just got the cutest little puppy! It's adorable... I want one just like it some day when I have my own place."
"You'll need a pretty big place to have a puppy," Tosha said, "Little puppies grow into big dogs, so you'll need a big yard, and that's expensive. So is keeping a dog... It takes a lot of money to have a pet."
"Well, yeah... " Angel said. "Jamie's family definitely have money... they've even hired a butler now."
Tosha laughed. "And I suppose you want one of them, too!"
"Well... no... but... "Angel stammered.
"There's nothing wrong with having dreams," Vivian said between mouthfulls. "That's what motivates you to do stuff... "
"Maybe... "said Tosha, "but I just don't want her filling her head up with silly ideas about things she'll never have."
"It's not unreasonable to think that someday she'll have a puppy if that's what she wants," Vivian said.
They sat in an uneasy silence for a few minutes, then Vivian put her chopsticks down. "Your spaghetti would have been better," she said to Tosha. "Or, it will be next time."
"I could try again tomorrow night," Tosha said, then she turned to Angel. "Do you want to come round tomorrow night and I'll give the spaghetti another go?"
"Uh... I can't," said Angel. "I've got tutoring."
"You've got tutoring a lot lately," Tosha said. "Are you sure that's all you're doing... are you sure you haven't got some secret boyfriend or something you're not telling us about?"
"N-no," Angel stammered. "No, of course not!"
"You're blushing!" Tosha said. "There is something going on, isn't there?"
"Drop it," said Vivian. "She's probably just trying to avoid another encounter with your cooking."
They laughed, and Tosha let it go - for now. She'd find out what was going on, though. She always did, like a mother who always found out what her kids were up to. She'd been 'mother' to Tosha since they were small children, and she wasn't about to stop looking out for her little sister now.
----The room was empty when Angel arrived the next evening. She always loved it here in the music department, with the fascinating instruments and the sounds of lessons and rehearsals from the other rooms.
Tonight, there was an orchestra playing. She wasn't sure if it was a rehearsal or just a recording playing somewhere. The slow, steady beat beneath the snaking melody line gave it a mysterious sound, she thought. Mysterious - and a little bit dangerous. But in a good way.
She still felt a little guilty for not telling Tosha where she was going. They'd never kept secrets from each other in their lives... but the few times she had mentioned learning music to her sister, her reaction had ranged between dismissing the idea as unrealistic, and outright mocking it. Professor Rusewicz didn't think that it was unrealistic, though.
It had been his suggestion that she keep the private lessons a secret from Tosha, at least for now, when she'd told him what Tosha had said.
"And is your sister more of an expert in this than I am?"
"Well, no but - but why would she say something like that?
"There could be many reasons, none of which have anything to do with your musical abilities. She might, for example, be jealous that you have an opportunity that she never had."
"I don't think Tosha would do that..."
"Well, you know your sister better than I do, but my point is that people say things for many reasons. Sometimes even if they mean well, the reasons have little to do with what they're actually saying. You are an adult now, follow your own desires. Later, when you've developed your confidence and your natural talents, you'll be proud to tell the world... but for now, its far better to avoid such negativity."
She sat down at one of the pianos and started to play, stumbling awkwardly in through the more difficult parts of the piece Professor Rusewicz had assigned her to learn.
She was so engrossed in her practice, that she didn't hear him come in. She jumped when he applauded at the end of the piece.
"Why are you clapping?" she asked. "I was terrible... I made so many mistakes... "
"Of course you made mistakes," he said. "You're new to this. Everyone makes mistakes at the beginning."
"So why do you even bother with someone who's just beginning?"
"Because you have a natural talent," he said, "as opposed to half my other students, who only want to be rock superstars, and don't give a care about much else."
"My 'natural talent' isn't working with this piece," she said, gesturing to the music.
"Then, lets just step back for a minute and take a slower approach. Concentrate on one thing at a time." He gestured for her to move along the bench, and sat beside her. "You play the melody line..."
Tosha tried to concentrate on the music, but it was hard, with him sitting this close. She could smell his cologne, feel the warmth of his body where their hips touched on the bench that was only meant for one person. But she tried. She had to do well, he was depending on her.
She wouldn't let him down.
"There, you were fine," he said, when they had finished. He leaned over and brushed a strand of hair off her face. "You did wonderfully, just as you always do. You're very special, you know that, don't you?"
He stepped back suddenly. "Now, I have to go check on something in my office. Run through the piece again, and I'll be back shortly."
She could still feel his hand on her cheek after he left. She liked him, even if he could be a bit mysterious at times. Mysterious, and a little bit dangerous. But in a good way.
... I haven't forgotten about Samantha etc... but this one has been delayed already so I wanted to slot it in now before I play my students again. Angel's part in this is from a college update I would normally do in hood December. I left it out because it would have been immediately after Melissa's update. The stories are quite different, but I still didn't want to have all my creepy guys in one place :)
Vivian is the daughter of Allyn (Thomason) Pitts and stepdaughter of Ashley. More about their complicated family at the bottom of this post.
The only thing that happened at the Centowski house (apart from the fact that neither Meadow or Jamie rolled a single study want!) was the dogs, but that turned into a problem too. James really missed the dog when it died, and he wanted another pet, like, now!
When I think about it, YA's in base hood uni apartments with no adults can have pets, too - Kyla had her dog when she was in college. She was given the puppy, offspring of Orlando and Jane's dogs - I never thought about the fact that she was at uni and therefore shouldn't be able to have a pet, at the time.
Also skipped in December: Semester Grades, for the students you've met so far:
Alan Gold - A+
Richard Gold - A+
Ivy Pitts - A
Angel Go - B
Meadow Thayer - B
Angel Go - B
Meadow Thayer - B
Anna Phoenix - C+
Danny Tarro - C
Jamie Centowski - C
Jamie Centowski - C