Chapter One

The harsh summer sun beat down on Naomi Grimes' back as she exited her dirtying Toyota Corolla Sedan. There was no button on the keys to pop the trunk and Naomi had to roughly jiggle the key in the lock to even open it. Despite the fact that it was horribly hot, her car sucked and the luggage that she hauled over her shoulder weighed her down, Naomi was glad to be back home, ecstatic to see her little brother and parents. It had been way too long that she had spent away at college.
The next two weeks would go pretty quickly.

Walking up the steps that led onto the small patio on the front of the house, Naomi soaked in the differences made to the home during her absence. Hanging plants littered the balcony, some were flowering from the weather and smelt lovely and others just looked aesthetically pleasing and a basketball was sitting in tatters on the padded chairs. Before she could even knock on the door, it swung open to reveal her little brother Carl. He grinned up at her happily, chocolate icing spread over his lips.

"Hey Nay!" He exclaimed, wrapping his skinny arms around her and snuggling his face into her stomach.

She giggled and ruffled his short brown hair playfully before wiping the leftover chocolate off of his lips.

"What have you been eating Carl?" She joked kindly making him grin even more and practically drag her through the door and down the white, family photo corridor and through to the kitchen where the rest of her family was waiting…including Shane, the family friend that had known her when she was just a baby. Her mother, Lori was finishing icing some baked cupcakes while her father, Rick and his best friend, Shane were drinking beers, still dressed in their cops' uniforms.

"Hey sweetie!" Lori exclaimed, dropping the cupcake that she was currently icing onto the cooling rack and rushing over to her daughter to pull into a warm and comforting embrace.

"Hey mom," She sighed contentedly, dropping her bag onto the timber flooring so that she could hug her mother better, because there really isn't anything better than coming home to your family.

After her mothers' nimble hands released her, her father instantly pulled her into a rib-breaking hug. She laughed as he let her go, walking over to Shane who not only worked with her dad, but was a close family friend who practically lived at their house when she was still in school, he also knew both of her parents back when they were in high school. She embraced Shane quickly before grabbing one of the finished cupcakes and licking some of the frosting off of it, an old habit that she had yet to stop.

"How was the drive? It was a little rainy before…was it bad when you were driving?" Rick asked making Naomi roll her eyes.

"Oh come on dad, I know that you guys are like five hundred years old but you're talking about the weather to your only daughter. I am twenty years old! Stop trying to make me old like you guys." She groaned, a cheeky smile spreading over her face.

Rick matched her smile, the two sharing almost identical looks. He approached slowly and picked her up, spinning her around while she yelled at him to put her down. The two had always been close. But the only things they shared were their noses and the same curly hair, everything else she looked like the spitting image of Lori.

"You still think that I'm old?" Rick asked when he finally set her down. Sure, her dads' occupation made sure that he was fit but the way that he spoke, he was playing football back on the high school team.

She and Carl were both laughing and after glancing over at Lori and Shane, Naomi grabbed Carl's hand and her bag, looking at the little boy with a brief smile before finally answering her father's question.

"Yep." She said before turning and running up the stairs, Carl in tow, the boy giggling hysterically, obviously happy that his sister was back to play with him.

"Glad you're back!" She heard Shane call after her from downstairs while she opened the door to her bedroom that she hadn't stepped foot in for close to six months.
Her bedroom was painted a soft blue, the point was peeling in a large area above her bed where baby stickers once were and that weren't taken off properly that ended up staining the walls. Her dad had promised to repaint when she was eight years old but he never got around to it. To try to hide the marks, teenage Naomi had hung Polaroid pictures of her and her high school friends on some rainbow string around her room. Apart from the photos, the room was empty; the possessions had been transported to her dorm room. Naomi was always reminded about how empty it looked whenever she went home.

With a sigh, she set her bag on the ground and stared rather pitifully at the space that she had disconnected from. It was quite a strange experience really.

"I wanted to play with my cars in here but mom wouldn't let me." Carl said behind her and when she turned to face him she saw that childish pout that he almost always adorned when he didn't get his way.

Naomi let herself laugh and walked over to him, ruffling his hair just the way that he hates it. It was very amusing for her to see her ten-year-old brother moodily fixing his hair after reprimanding her for hurting it in the first place.

"Sorry Carl. To make it up to you, you can get your cars and play in here." She said with a smile.

Carl looked up at her hopefully, still smoothing down stray hairs that stuck up from her attacking it, "Can you play with me?"

With a smile, Naomi nodded, "Sure bud."

Beyond excited, Carl practically skipped out of her room to get his toys and he wasted no time in dragging his box filled to the brim with toy cars and pulling Naomi down to sit next to him on the floor. Laying out all of the cars, Carl told her all of the names of the models and how good each of them apparently would run. It reminded her of when her dad once taught her how to drive and give her tips when she was ready to buy her first car. Though he did do that in a more innocent, childish manner.
He taught her how to play a game that he had made up all by himself and before Naomi knew it, the sun had begun to sink out of the sky and the two were quickly called down to eat dinner. That both excited and disappointed Carl but his older sister was quick to assure him that they would continue playing after dinner.

Shane had left and they were eating lasagne. Naomi could easily gather that the food was pre-cooked and store bough as no offence but her mother couldn't cook. At all. But Naomi didn't say anything about it because she'd let her mom have that achievement. Plus, it was kind of burnt.

"Everything going good with college? How are your classes?" Her father asked as she took a seat at the dinner table, something that Lori made sure to keep up with every night. To be honest, Naomi was used to sitting on her couch in front of the TV eating pizza with her roommate.

She nodded, taking a sip of water, "Good. Glad to get a break after all of those exams." Her parents nodded with small smiles on their faces and it was the truth because studying ancient and modern history at the same time was extremely challenging.

Carl finished the awkward silence by slamming his cutlery accidentally on his plate. He was practically butchering his lasagne trying to cut it. Yeah, it was pretty burnt.
That made Naomi laugh and look at her brother lovingly. You'd think that having an nine year age gap with your siblings would make them hate each other, but that only brought her and Carl closer together. To him, she was that cool older influence that would play toy cars with him and buy him ice cream after picking him up from school. They became really close because Rick was always working and Lori was always more protective than loving.

Apologising lowly, Carl looked at Naomi and then down at the food, "Can you cook the pancakes tomorrow? Mom can't cook." He asked as if he was hopeful that his older sister had improved cooking when she was gone.

"I can cook just fine Carl." Her mother defended but was clearly trying to hide her smile by taking a sip of her water.

Naomi giggled at the innocence that Carl had, "I'm definitely not going to be any better. I've lived off of my roommates cooking." She answered honestly. She had relied on Monica's awesome cooking skills to feed her and Naomi didn't know what she was going to do when they both finish college and moved out of their dorm room.

Carl looked over at their father with a hopeful gaze but he shook his head, "Sorry son. I have an early shift tomorrow, but I'll pick up something to eat for dinner."

Lori sent Rick a disapproving look, "I don't think we should be eating fast food, what is that teaching Carl?"

That comment made the whole atmosphere from laid back and happy to annoyed and serious. Tension practically radiated throughout the room. Naomi had forgotten about that. She had forgotten about the snarky remarks and fights that she would walk in on or hears when she was trying to fall asleep.

Naomi knew that they had married pretty young, mainly because her mother had fallen pregnant with her when she was only nineteen-years-old. Naomi was the reason that her parents had gotten married so early. Every year the petty fights get worse and she couldn't help but to feel that she was part of the reason why they constantly fought. She pushed those feelings down and got caught up in her own selfish problems.

Suddenly Naomi had no appetite, she pushed her stained white plate away from her and standing up, pushing the chair that she was sitting on back with a screech, "I'm not really hungry." She murmured, refusing to look at anyone as she excused herself and going back up to her room.

While she lay on her bed she couldn't help but feel that Carl had to deal with that every day. But he was still young and didn't really know that it was that serious. He just believed that that behaviour was normal and that is not okay.

A knock sounded on the door not long after she excused herself from dinner. Before she could answer, the door swung open to reveal Carl standing hesitantly in the doorway. Naomi looked over at him with a weak smile.

"Hey." She muttered, closing the book that she was reading to make him feel more comfortable to approach here.

"Hi," He replied sitting next to her and slapping a comic book that she had brought back for him that afternoon down onto the bed and looked at her with his cute bright blue eyes, "Can you read with me?"

Naomi nodded, regardless of the fact that he was ten years old soon to turn eleven and knew how to read. She knew that he needed comfort from his older sister. The two snuggled in her bed as she read to him, making sound effects and voices, making him laugh, the two completely unaware that their parents stood at her door, watching with smiles both on their faces.

Author's Note:
Hey guys! I'm back! As promised back in December, I have been working on making this story a better one for a few months now and here is chapter one. I am finished writing season one and starting season two, so the updates will be fast!
I hope you enjoy the first chapter!

Thank you for reading and have a great day!