Music of Butterflies

Author: Coni

Author Email:

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimers: All mine!

Summary: Chloe Anderson is a strong girl, but she meets Sky and learns there's more to life than success and good grades.

Chapter Summary: Chloe moves into her new house.

A/N: Hi! Please r/r!

Chapter 3

The next two weeks passed peacefully enough. Mom came home later, spending at least ten hours at the law firm she started after she graduated from Harvard. I didn't want to be in our old empty house alone. So I started spending most of my time at Shannon's house, going there after school to do my homework.

Mostly we stayed in her room; Shannon, always the procrastinator, sat on her bed and talked to her boyfriend Richard on her cell while I wrote essays and did math problems on the floor. Sometimes I stayed for dinner; others I went home and made myself some sandwich.

We didn't talk much, but sometimes I felt Shannon looking at me, as if wondering how something like this could happen to a girl like me. I thought about it a lot too, and still couldn't fathom the answers. It made my mind whirl just thinking about it, and sometimes in the midst of writing homework problems I'd close my eyes and breathe slowly in order to stay calm and rational.

I could tell she felt like reaching out to me, helping me somehow, but we both knew that it wasn't what I wanted. I was always the stronger of us two, emotionally. I wouldn't know how to start to tell her what I felt.

So I didn't blame her. I knew I had to get through this by myself, or not at all. It was hard, and I was inexperienced. I was confused, and I hated not being able to do anything about the divorce. For once, I wasn't in control. At night, I couldn't will myself to fall asleep. I tried to cry, but there was only a lump in my throat and a hole in my stomach. When I did fall asleep, it was always restless and filled with nightmares.

To others I was fine, just fine. My weakness never showed.

Shannon told me on Friday, the day before we were supposed to move into our new house, that she couldn't come with us. She said her grandmother had suddenly taken ill, and they were going to take advantage of the Labor Day weekend to go see her.

"I'm sorry," she said, looking at me, with a smile that was quite sad. "I'm sorry I haven't been much of a help. I know how hard this must be."

I didn't say anything; I wasn't sure what to say.

"Good luck," she said, and she hugged me suddenly, as if I might pull away.

I didn't, and we held it for a moment. "If you ever want to talk," she added, about to leave, "just ask. If you ever need me. I'll be there, okay?"

"Sure," I said, and she smiled. "Have a good trip."

"You too," she said, and then she was gone.

"Chloe, please come give me a hand with this!" Mom yelled from the master bedroom.

I turned from the box I was unpacking in the kitchen, brushing a stray hair from my eyes. It was around midday, and I was hot and hungry. We had been at it since seven in the morning, when the moving men had dumped all our things in the empty house.

My mom was trying to take something out of a box when I peered in.

"I don't remember what I put in here…" Mom said, heaving a huge stack of photo albums out. I got to her side in time to grab the other end and set them down on a table. "I've never been so disorganized."

Mom took out another album. A photo fell out, and she reached down to pick it up.

"Oh!" she exclaimed lightly, looking at the picture. I leaned over to see. It was a photo of Mom and Dad, on their honeymoon in Paris.

If I needed some assistance getting through the divorce, my mom needed therapy. She almost looked like a different person than the one in the photo, who was young and lively, beaming with the man she was in love with.

She sat down heavily on the floor, not saying anything.

The doorbell rang. "I'll get it," I said quietly, glad to be leaving the room.

It rang two more times as I walked over to the front door. "Everyone's in a hurry nowadays," I grumbled, throwing the door open. And I stared. "Oh, my God."

Sky what's-his-face was standing on our front step, grinning cheerily, presenting me with a pan of something that was squishy and yellow and brown.

"Why, hello!" said Sky. "So you're my new neighbor, huh?"

"No, I'm just the cleaning lady," I said, for a moment truly wishing I was. And then, before I could stop myself from being rude, I said, "What is this?"

"Chicken casserole!" he said brightly. I didn't dare take it. "I made it myself."

Dear Lord, I hope I don't have to eat it, I thought. Maybe I'll dump it in the trash before-

"Honey who is it?" Mom said, appearing behind me. She smiled as she saw Sky. "Hello. Are you a neighbor of ours?"

"Yep. I'm Sky, and I live two houses down that way," he indicated to his left.

"Pleased to meet you," said my mom, extending a hand. Sky shook it, and I suddenly found myself holding the casserole. "I'm Pauline Anderson – I mean, Logan."

I glanced at my mom quickly. Logan was her maiden name, and she had said she was going to use it from then on. I tried to change the subject, saying the first thing that came to mind.

"So- Sky, what year are you?" I asked.

He grinned at me. "Senior, of course."

And I was hoping he'd be younger.

"Oh, Chloe is too!" said Mom, finally recovering. "She's at Mountainview High…"

"Yeah," said Sky. "I've seen her at school. I just transferred here from another district, so I don't really know anyone…"

Mom smiled as she looked at the casserole. "Wow, Sky, is this for us?"

"Yes ma'am," he said, nodding.

"It looks wonderful, thank you so much," Mom took it from me, and headed back towards the kitchen. "I'll put this away, and then we can get back to work," she called as she disappeared.

"Okay," I replied, and turned to Sky, wrapping my hand around the doorknob. "Well—bye."

"Wait," he said, just as I was about to close the door. "Do you need any help?"

Not from you, I thought. Instead, I said, "No, thanks. We'll manage."

"All right," he said, shrugging his shoulders. "Well, if you need anything, I'm two doors down. 21."

"Sure," I said. "Bye."

And I waited for him to leave. He did, taking his time, and walking down, but as he got to the end of the driveway, he turned back and waved.

Rolling my eyes, I sort of waved back before closing the door.

End of Chapter 3

A/N: Next chapter: Shannon comes back. Wheee! Please review! And read the Elements, my original fantasy story. It's also here at under Coni.