Dad, Taylor, Sy, and I all piled into the car. I was still wearing the stupid cap and gown we had to wear for graduation.

Taylor, in the front seat, turned back and looked at me. "So, Blake. You're officially done with high school. Any regrets?"

Being your little brother, I thought. It's not that they didn't get along—in a lot of ways, we were two peas in a pod. It's just...Taylor was a tough act to follow. She didn't have a lot of friends, but she got straight A's in honors classes, lead some clubs, and was active in the community. She had a close group of friends, a stable relationship that kinda fell apart her senior year, and enough of a presence that she hadn't hit much trouble for being a nerd. She had trouble early on, some bullying, but that wasn't surprising—they'd just moved here. Taylor managed to persevere, and while she slipped up some in her last final exams, her school career was stellar overall. She was going to a top-rated college, got a good scholarship, continued to be successful and popular there.

Me? From an objective standpoint, I did well in school. Good grades, some friends, a few girlfriends, relationships that didn't work out. I didn't join any clubs, but I tried sports a little. In most respects, I was above average. It's just...I knew everyone was comparing me to Taylor. I wasn't as smart, I wasn't as clever, I messed up more—it didn't help that my first year started rocky, due to outside interference. One of my uncles got married, some of the guests had to stay at our house, it was hectic. Sure, I had friends, but I couldn't help but wonder how many of them wouldn't have even noticed me if I hadn't been Taylor's little brother. Some probably wouldn't . Everyone had expectations

"Eh...a few opportunities I missed, I guess. Some things that were too muddy. Probably could have dealt with finals better." While I managed to avoid making any major mistakes like the coulple big ones Taylor did, I kind of muddled through my last couple months of school. I managed to finish pretty strong, all things considered, though I still wasn't satisfied. And this being my last year of high school meant I'd drift out of contact with all but my closest friends, which kinda sucked. I never got to know a lot of people that well, left some people hanging. Not unusual, life was rarely that tidy, but...I felt like Taylor had sorted that better. Probably helped that she got to spend more time at home before going to college—I was going to a summer class before the fall term. Lots of loose threads.

"What did you like the most?"

"Probably the people there. Good to make some close friends, you know?"

Sy fidgeted. He was going to be going to high school soon. He was a bit nervous, probably foreseeing the same problems I had.

"Don't worry, Sly. Dad's raised you well. You'll do great."


You have no idea how much I slipped into third-person limited.