This lockdown is going on forever. Sterling doesn’t think it’s ever going to end.
After the full family secret revelations Sterling finally got on her feet again.
She talked and cried.
She yelled at her parents until her voice stopped working.
She hid in her room until Blair dragged her outside.
Until she slowly but surely started being a functioning human being again.
She started talking to Blair again, joining her in her room. Sitting on the bed together and talking about bounty hunting and senior year and getting kidnapped and star signs and making their own definition of twins.
She went outside on her own sometimes. Well not completely alone. She went outside to take Chloe for a walk. At first she kept her head down but she started to greet the people she passed. She had polite conversations with her neighbors and started feeling ready to go back to school.
Her first day back at school was horrible. It got so bad that she cried before her first period during Fellowship when Ellen (because April stepped down as Fellowship Leader) was talking about the meaning of family. Then in Spanish the topic for their conversations was family and during her English class they discussed the theme of family in books. Safe to say Sterling cried a lot and by lunchtime she felt so numb and exhausted that when Ellen asked her if she was okay she just shook her head and got sent home.
The second day back was already so much better. And then the third and fourth and every day after became easier. She got back with her Fellowship friends and they studied together and laughed together. She went to the mall with her friends. She went to some (supervised) parties and even had a couple of sleepovers.
In her Forensics team she got a lot better too. In fact she got so much better that she won almost every debate and shocked everyone (mostly April, but Sterling wasn’t thinking about April or paying her any attention. No way.) Basically Sterling entirely submerged herself in schoolwork and school friends and school related activities.
She didn’t stop working on herself and on her family though. She went to therapy twice a week. Once by herself and once with some member of her family. Sometimes they would all have to come in. In the first few sessions it was mostly Sterling and Debbie or Sterling and Blair. But later Anderson would join Sterling. And Sterling was so mad but also so scared. She was scared of being afraid of her own mother. She was scared of losing everyone around her and scared of losing herself.
In her fear of losing herself Sterling also figured out she didn’t really know who she was yet.
She knew she liked boys and girls (and decidedly not April).
She knew she loved being a twin.
She knew she loved bounty hunting.
But what else?
Did she believe in God because she believed in God or because her parents did?
What was she actually really passionate about?
Just when Sterling was accepting that these were just things she would have to figure out the lockdown started. Sterling couldn’t hide herself away in school anymore.
She couldn’t find enough things to keep busy.
Couldn’t find the things to get her mind off of herself.
That’s when the gardening started.
It started with just a suggestion from her therapist when Sterling told her she was losing motivation to do anything. Which led to Sterling asking her parents for a part of the garden to be her spot. Which led to them agreeing because Sterling finally asked for something so of course they would give her that.
So now, two months into lockdown, Sterling has a garden to attend to. A garden with a mix of flowers and herbs and fruits and vegetables. She tried to plant foods she would actually use, so now she’s not only into gardening but as a side effect also into cooking.
And surprisingly Sterling really, really likes gardening. It’s the one and only time of the day when she likes being alone. Her mind is on her plants and only her plants. She digs and plants and waters. She researches and writes lists and keeps track of her plants. She cares a little (a lot) more about those plants than she likes to admit. Eyes stupidly watering when she sees her first red strawberry or when her family tastes the first salad she made with her own lettuce.
One night when Sterling is spiraling deep into the gardening side of the internet she sobs when she finds out she planted her tomatoes in the wrong month.
But most of the time when she’s gardening she’s fine.
Outside of gardening though… Well let’s just say that the friendships she thought she had weren’t really strong enough to endure a ongoing lockdown. And Sterling really is a people person.
So she’s going a little bit crazy. She cries over the smallest things. She laughs over the most ridiculous things. Gets mad over Blair needing a second alone. Gets mad over Blair wanting to spend time with her.
The other day she made a fruit pie with her self grown fruits and Anderson told her he wasn’t really a fruit pie kind of guy. And Sterling lost it. She yelled at him and cried and then took the Volt to have an angry drive (passing April’s house, but not on purpose of course. Sterling didn’t even think about April anymore.)
Sometimes Sterling felt so crazy that she used her fake account to look at April’s Instagram account. April didn’t really post a lot, but she did use her stories. A picture of her cat. A video of April diving into her pool (and no Sterling didn’t rewatch that one). A reposted textpost about a book she apparently read.
Sterling wasn’t like, stalking April. It’s just that her self control left her sometimes when it was late and she missed people. It wasn’t about April per se. Just about keeping up with someone and April just happened to still have the most interesting life. (it’s not about April, it’s not about April. It’s not about April.)
This night is one of those nights. At 2 am she logs onto her Instagram and searches for April’s account. There’s actually a new post and a few new stories. She likes the post, cause she’s polite and no one knows it’s her anyways. There’s a picture of April’s cat again and it’s really cute so Sterling sends a heart eyes emoji.
Then she goes back to her homepage, where she doesn’t follow any other mutuals. But she sees a picture of Hannah B. with her mom. And then a picture from Blair.
Oh heck no.
She just liked a picture and sent a message to a girl she hadn’t talked to (or thought about) in months. With her regular account.