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You'd think that after years of living with your alchemy-graduate of a roommate, you'd get used to cleaning up messes and hearing explosions coming from their room which was often followed by "I'm okay!"
In the beginning, Laura had made a list and ticked every time she heard a loud boom or every time she had to scrub the floor while glaring at a rather innocent looking blondie. After almost a year, Laura had honestly lost count. So when she tried to stop Lafontaine from making a volcano that spewed eggnog, she was barely even surprised when it blew up in their faces - literally.
"Lafontaine, I swear to God, if you don't stop turning my living space into your chemistry lab, I will stuff you down a chimney and you know I will!" Laura threatened, wiping her eyes of the eggnog that had landed all over her, dirting the clothes she had just washed.
Lafontaine pulled up their safety goggle and revealed the skin around the eyes that was left untouched by the flying eggnog. They tried to hold back a laugh but hopelessly failed, almost rolling on the floor.
"Oh, shut up!" Laura flicked some eggnog at them "It's not funny!"
"Kinda is tho," they said as their laughter died down.
"I don't understand why you're even doing all this," Laura grabbed a napkin and started wiping away the sticky liquid, "I mean, it's just Perry."
She looked up but Laf was cleaning the mess they had made on the table. Laura smiled "It is just Perry, right?"
Lafontaine and Perry had been best friends since kindergarten. They did just about everything together; from studying to going mountain climbing and even bungee jumping (an experience Laf found to be extremely not fun, especially when they emptied their stomach on the bridge right after it). After coming out to Laura as non-binary almost two years ago, the young girl wouldn't be surprised if Lafontaine caught feelings for Perry.
"It is!" Laura squealed, clapping her hands excitingly at the thought of two of her best friends actually dating.
Lafontaine rolled their eyes but they were smiling "Stop it. We are not having this conversation again."
Laura pouted "Oh come on, Laf. You know that you have nothing to hide from me!”
“Exactly the reason why I’m telling you for the tenth time, I am not in love with Perry.”
"You sure?" Laura insisted, walking closer to her friend "You are having her parents over for dinner after all."
“Stop being a nosy journalist and help me.” Lafontaine was now battling with more eggnog that was spewing from the mouth of the volcano.
Laura rushed over with more paper towels and clogged the plastic volcano she had spent way too much money on (“Oh come on Laura! It’s just twenty bucks! I swear I’ll pay you back.”).
She's still waiting on her twenty bucks.
“I hate to be that person,” Laura stated, “but I told you so.”
Laf blew her a raspberry “Big deal. You’re not even going to be here for the dinner. What time are you leaving?”
Laura never spends the holidays with her roommate. She had promised her parents and her family that she would join them at least once a year for the Christmas Hollis-days (the name was her mother's idea) if they promised to stop coming down to Styria every weekend. Every year, the Hollis family - including drunk uncles, annoying cousins and the like - all met at Laura's parents' house to have a huge family dinner. It was always the same dinner every year. Her grandparents would complain about anything, her uncle and aunt would flood her with questions like ‘Do you have a boyfriend yet?’ and her annoying screaming little cousin would... well, scream. Laura only looked forward to it because she would see Ally, her five-year-old cousin who she loved more than any of her other family members besides mom and dad.
“Depends. I think probably around three. It’s almost a four-hour drive there and if it starts snowing I’m screwed.”
She would later find out that she was screwed but not because of the snow.
❅ ❆ ❅ ❆ ❅
Laura was late, which was odd on its own because Laura Hollis is never late. She's either punctual or very early.
It was almost five and she should’ve been in the car, halfway to her parents’ by now. She was late because of her continuous procrastination. She had made a mess of her room as she searched for appropriate clothes and other personal belongings to take with her and it was only when Lafontaine hit her across the head with a book and told her to get the hell out of the apartment that she actually decided on what to wear.
She drove fast but steadily, her eyes darting continuously towards the sky. She had checked the weather earlier and the snow was slowly approaching Styria. Her family, of course, didn't live far from there. Sure, Salzburg and Styria were a four-hour drive apart, but that was the closest her parents could get. They had always been very overprotective over their daughter, especially her father. When she first left for Silas, Sherman Hollis gave his younger daughter a backpack filled with bear traps. You name it, it was there!
If Laura disliked one thing about her parents was this way of theirs of being extremely cautious about every step they took. It embarrassed the hell out of Laura back in high school and it's one of the main reasons she was glad her parents lived a four-hour drive far from her home. It wasn’t as far as Laura had hoped but it was good enough.
The drive was rather quiet. She had put some Christmas music to sing along to and in case she got bored, she could always call Laf.
It took her four hours to get there but to Laura, it seemed like the drive lasted only two. Soon, she was turning onto a curb and she saw it. The Hollis residence was a huge house in a neighbourhood full of huge houses. One could easily mistake it for a mansion. The outside was white and there was a beautiful green garden freshly cut every week. It was a two-story house, with many bedrooms. Two sturdy columns in front of the porch held up a small closed off balcony overhead.
Laura parked the car in front of the front lawn and walked up to the door, scraping her boots on a green mat that read in white cursive letters "Merry Christmas!"
Laura rolled her eyes. Typical mom.
Not finding a doorbell, she knocked a few times.
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” she smiled as she heard her father’s booming voice come from the inside. The door slowly swung open and Sherman Hollis spared one look at his daughter before wrapping her into his famous bear hug.
“Hey dad,” Laura laughed, her voice strangled.
He finally set her down and grinned widely “Hey sweetheart! We didn't think you'd make it!"
Sherman Hollis was a man roughly the size of a bear. Looked like one too. He was a sturdy but chubby man with big hands and kind brown eyes that could warm any frozen heart. Laura noticed his beard was slightly longer than usual. She knew her dad hated his beard and trimmed it even if so much as a single hair started growing. He had big bags under his eyes and the wrinkles in his forehead had become more prominent since the last time she saw him.
He let her walk through the entrance and the girl kicked off her boots and took off her jacket.
"Here," her father said, taking her luggage from her hands "let me get that for you."
Laura looked like she was ready to protest but he nodded reassuringly before carrying the luggage upstairs. The girl walked into the kitchen and slim arms wrapped around her frame, pulling her into a hug.
Her mother pulled away and gave her a big grin, not able to hold back her excitement. Soon, a smile matching her mother’s painted over Laura’s lips as well.
“Hey sweetie. How are you?”
“I’m good, mom.” Laura replied, “It smells great in here! What are you co-“
Laura caught sight of another person in the room and jumped, almost letting out a scream. The person was leaning against the door frame, a glass in her hand and a smirk playing on her lips.
“Welcome back, Creampuff.”