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< HSoS 90 | H So S Timeline | HSoS 93 >

Furuds mom is pushing a cart of 'career woman' fare: TV dinners with pretensions to healthiness, yogurt cups, et cetera. She looks tired, and isn't paying close attention where she's going.

Antares mom is picking meticulously through a carton of eggs, the latest news on them being reasonably positive. The fruits and vegetables piled into the cart right next to her don't quite cover the amber gleam of whiskey hiding beneath them. She steps back, finally satisfied with her haul...right into the other woman's path

Furuds mom "Oh!" She hits Antares' mom with her cart, pulling back enough to keep the impact light. "Stella, is that you?"

Antares mom spins, looking as if she's about to snap, the eggs clutched to her chest like a protective mother hen. "Oh." She takes an extra step away from the cart, pulling her snarl into a polite smile with an effort. "Yes. Elaine, isn't it?"

Furuds mom "That's right," she says, with a smile that stretches her lips in an obvious effort. "Look, have you..." she seems to reconsider the sentence halfway through, and restarts. "Our children have been doing a lot of homework over at your place, I suppose?"

Antares mom "Ah..." She puts her carton in the cart, and turns back to the chill of the refrigerated case. "Actually, I was hoping they'd been diligently doing their homework at yours... ha ha." The laugh is as transparently false as her ostentatious necklace that she'd worn to cheer herself up.

Furuds mom "Ah-hah, yes, well." She studies the freezer elaborately for a few seconds. "I didn't even realize Antares was back at school, and now apparently they're dating. Or whatever the little ducks are calling it these days."

Antares mom "Mmmm... Yes, we moved back recently. I uh.. hope your boy is doing better at school than my Antares is." Her fingers dig into her purse, seeking a cigarette, which she fingers before releasing it back into the depths.

Furuds mom "No, no, I suspect they have that in common." She smiles brightly, humorlessly. "I'm sure Maia will keep them straight, though."

Antares mom "Oh... maybe they're both studying with her then." She brightens slightly, her gaze straying to the milk cartons and their accusing pleas for information

Furuds mom Her smile goes more strained for a second, as the thought are we even talking about the same Maia? visibly flashes through her head, then she says, "Yes, that must be it. Only... you don't think they've been getting in any trouble, have you? Furud looked a little roughed-up, and I know Antares has had... problems."

Antares mom "Antares promised me she wouldn't get into any trouble this time." Her voice cracks a little. "But... ha ha... you know kids!"

Furuds mom "Ha-ha!" It comes out a shade too loud, and Furud's mother busies herself for a minute deciding between two brands of frozen fettucini alfredo. "Look, Furud and I had a conversation about his SAT scores, and he's been avoiding me since. Has he been over at your place with Antares?"

Antares mom "No, she... I. We had a little chat, and she's going to be ah... on her own for a while." She smiles tightly.

Furuds mom considers that for a moment, then says grimly, "Well, I'm sure they'll both be fine. They're so responsible, and all."

Antares mom "ha ha." She clears her throat. "Yes, they'll be fine. Besides, they'll come back as soon as they need money or a hot, healthy meal."

Furuds mom "Of course they will." Her fake smile is back, going for the marathon record. "Still... you will give me a call if you see them first, won't you?"

Antares mom nods, running a thumb over the bright red glass pendant on her necklace. "Of course, Elaine."

Furuds mom Her smile softens for the first time, a flash of sympathy for their difficult children. "Take care of yourself, Stella."

Antares mom digs around in her purse for a business card, which she hands over, meeting her gaze for the first time. "You too."

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< HSoS 90 | H So S Timeline | HSoS 93 >