Slick foam rubber smacks against the soles of Maia's feet to the tune of the aging grandfather clock in the living room. Tick flop. Flip tock.
She hurries past a black window where two luminescent eyes flicker unevenly at her from the other side. In the dead of August days, Maia's hair burns just as brightly as those flickering bugs. Now it's just knotted on top of her head to keep from smothering her neck. What was once flowing and smooth was now a nest of uncontrollable frizz.
Stark white shorts hidden behind smears of summer fwap against the wall as she grabs a pair of jeans. The dead duds on the floor came home in a bag from Mom's hand, not hers. But the spaghetti straps are a must. She would have preferred a tube top but Mom didn't allow those. Yet.
Just one more night until 'teen' officially enters Maia's life. The kids at school won't be able to call her a baby anymore.
The porch's screen door slams and Maia jumps at the call. She frowns and walks to the window where an empty, velvet driveway waves back up at her. The screen slams again and she looks to the trees just out of reach. Their leaves hang heavy in the thick, humid air. A stair creaks and Maia's heart starts racing the tocking of the grandfather clock.
First one to morning wins.