Walking out on the deck, she notes that the night air was cooler than she'd expected. She sits down on a step, looking at the illuminated tree as she puts her cup on her knees. Her flesh prickles at the sudden invasion of heat. She sighs, breathing in the warm steam, her head bowed. She looks up.

"Hey, I didn't notice you were there."

"I saw you come out and decided to come over and say hi."

"Hi." A gentle flick of her wrist shows that she was paying attention.

"Hi. What're your parents doing?"

"They're trying to find some insurance papers. The closing for…for Grandma's house is going to take place tomorrow."

"Oh yeah, I'm sorry to hear about your grandma."

"It's okay, she's in heaven now." She looks up at the stars.

"Were you close to her?"

"Yeah…she was my mentor. I never really realized it until she d- was gone. She taught me a lot." A tear escapes her dark eyes, trails down her cheek.

"It must be difficult, having to deal with so much that has been going on this year. Your dad, your senior year, college applications, your grandma, graduation…"

"It has been a rather difficult year. I got through with it. Dad's better now, his appendix is out and the infection has left, I celebrated my birthday with my friends a few months after it took place finally, I got accepted into the college of my choice, Grandma's in heaven and isn't in pain anymore, plus I just graduated a week ago. Now I need to find a job, although it's really difficult at the moment. With all that has happened, I know that I can handle anything that comes my way."

"How do you deal with it all?"

"I pray…and drink a cup of tea."

She smiles to herself and lifts the teacup to her lips, drinking the lukewarm liquid.