Milo sits at his desk playing with the phone in his hands. He looks down at it, nervous to open up the screen and see if Sophie messaged him. Every couple of minutes, he taps the screen to check; she never messages him.
He tosses the phone on the bed and holds his head in his hands. He keeps seeing the image of Sophie in the hallway, looking sad and hurt as ever. He feels horrible for turning his back on her, especially learning what Mollie did to her in the lunchroom.
He looks up and gets out of his desk chair and falls on his bed. He looks up at the ceiling until his eyes feel heavy and he drifts off to sleep.
The rain is pouring down the streets of Brooklyn. Two teenagers are running down the block, trying to take cover from the rain. They both run up the steps of a house.
Milo: Are you okay?
Sophie: *laughs* I’m alright, too bad we didn’t make it to a dry spot on time though!
Milo smiles and takes out his keys from his pockets. Sophie watches him.
Sophie: What are you doing?
Milo: Going inside?
Sophie looks anxiously as he turns the key into the front door. Milo notices.
Milo: You’ll be fine, Scout. Let’s go in to dry up.
Sophie doesn’t say anything, she follows Milo behind him as he enters the house. The teenagers kick off their shoes in the hallway. Milo walks up the stairs leading to the house. Sophie follows behind him.
Once they both reach the top of the stairs, Milo opens the door and holds it open for SOphie to walk in. She looks around as he closes the door behind her.
Sophie: This is a cute place.
Somebody walks out of the bathroom; a tall red-headed woman, Jennifer. She looks up at the teenagers and gets startled Sophie hides behind Milo.
Jennifer: Gosh, you scared me! Why are you guys all wet?
Milo: It started raining when we were hanging out.
Milo puts his head behind his back to grab Sophie’s. He slowly gets Sophie to stand next to him. He lets her hand go.
Milo: This is my friend, Sophie. *to Sophie* This is Jennifer.
Jennifer: It’s nice to meet you, Sophie. I might have some clothes you can barrow while I dry your clothes up.
Sophie smiles and nods her head.
Sophie: Thank you so much, Mrs. Kamalani.
Jennifer: Please, call me Pep.
Jennifer walks back to a bedroom while the teenagers stand in the walkway. Milo looks at Sophie.
Milo: She likes you.
Milo: Pep likes you if she’s allowing you to call her my her nickname.
Sophie: Why do you call your mum by her first name?
Jennifer walks out of the bedroom with clothes in her hand.
Jennifer: There you go, sweetheart. The bathroom is to your right. *to Milo* Remember to grab the clothes and put them in the dryer.
Jennifer walks into the kitchen to get the dryer ready. Milo walks into his room to get changed, and Sophie walks into the bathroom to do the same.
A little while later, the door of Milo’s room opens. Milo and Sophie walk into it as they overhear Jennifer yelling to keep the door open. Milo rolls his eyes as Sophie laughs.
Sophie: Mums can be overprotective, huh?
Milo: Uhm, yeah.
Milo walks to his desk to turn on his computer. Sophie sits on the edge of the bed, watching.
Sophie: Are you a gamer?
Milo: Nah, this is all for music. I record myself playing at times and see if I can become better. I gotta prepare for the Waverly audition.
Sophie: That’s exciting.
Milo: I guess.
Milo gets lost in his music while Sophie listens on. She’s amazed at how much Milo knows about the equipment and the different sounds to make everything come together. After awhile, he stops to take a break.
Milo: This is just a little bit of the things I work on.
Sophie: You’re so utterly talented, it amazes me. Who taught you all of this?
Milo: My dad. When I was a baby, he had his own recording studio in his apartment. Him and his band used to record demos when they were teenagers.
Sophie: Have you ever listened to it?
Milo: *shakes head* I haven’t. I feel like that’s something I have to do later, find my own sound, y’know?
Sophie: Well, what is your sound?
Milo looks at Sophie and ponders on the question.
Milo: I guess I still have to find out.
Sophie crosses her legs on Milo’s bed. She looks comfortable in his presence.
Sophie: Your mom is really nice.
Sophie: Her red hair is so bright! I wish i was able to dye my hair, but my mum would kill me.
Milo: Are you not allowed?
Sophie: *shakes head* In Korean culture, the longer and natural your hair is, the more beautiful and feminine you are. I mean, I call bullshit on that.
Milo: *smiles* You sound so tiny when you curse.
Sophie: *laughs* Whatever! If I could, I would be a leader instead of a follower, like you are!
Milo: I am no leader, Scout.
Sophie: Sure you are! You don’t try to fit yourself in what everyone wants you to be, you’re loyal to the friends that matter to you the most, and you are a style not all boys in our grade would ever have. That’s being a leader, Milo.
The conversation dies down and silence fills the room. Milo doesn’t look at Sophie when he begins talking again.
Milo: Jennifer isn’t my mom.
Milo: She’s not my mom. I never got to know my actual mom. She died when I was a baby.
Sophie doesn’t say anything, she sits there and waits for Milo to continue.
Milo: Sometimes… I feel like I don’t belong. That I don’t fit in. School doesn’t make it any easier. Everyone wants to fit in and then there’s me, not even fitting into my own family.
Sophie: Is you little brother…?
Milo: Mom and dad. They’re a family, and then there’s me…
Sophie: *stern* Hey.
Milo looks at Sophie.
Sophie: Family isn’t always blood, you know. Family is what you make it to be; those who love you no matter what you do in life, support you no matter how concerned they could be for you, and always welcome you with open arms. Jennifer is your mom, Milo.
Milo doesn’t say anything, he sits there and takes in what Sophie said. Moments later, Jennifer walks in with some folded laundry.
Jennifer: Alright, everything is cleaned and dried up for you guys.
Sophie: Thank you, Mrs– uhm, Pep.
Jennifer: Of course, sweetheart. Do you live far from here? Milo and I can drive you home since it’s getting late.
The two girls talk as Milo looks on, relieved that Jennifer takes a liking in Sophie and vise versa.
Milo’s phone lights up in his dark room. The vibration on his face wakes him up. He sees a notification from someone and instantly wakes up when he realizes who it’s from.
leesophie: Who would've thought you were the best friend to a mean girl, follower.
Milo unlocks his phone to write back a response when he sees Sophie has blocked him. Milo sighs in frustration.