He figures his mom has been acting pretty weird ever since Moe died. That’s a couple of years ago now but she still has some of the weirdness left.
She’s grieving, people tell him. People act strange when they grieve.
He supposes they’re right. Mom has been obsessed with fitness ever since, however, and that seems so far from the woman he knows that it’s hard to see it as anything other than strangeness. She’s working out every day now, on her way to work and occasionally at home, as well.
She’s even started drinking protein drinks afterwards, which Atticus knows some of the gym rats in school do. He’s been telling her only silly people get this obsessed with their workout, that it’s slightly embarrassing for an old lady to be this enthusiastic about it but his mom merely laughs it away.
“I’m fifty-one,” she says. “I can do whatever I feel like. Sorry if it disturbs your idea of the universe.”
But most of the time she’s at work any way, so he supposes that whatever she wants to do for her spare time, he should be fine with it. They are family but they really do live two separate lives most days. He goes to school and tries to sit through the last months of his so-called education without yawning too much or exposing how little he’s learned during his high school years. Mom is at the bakery from early morning until the sun sets, almost every day.
She bakes, restocks, works with the bookkeeping and the overall management of the place and Atticus knows she’s been swamped ever since Moe died. They used to be two people doing what Martha does alone now and he also knows she’d love it if he would offer to help her out. He doesn’t. Sure, some weekends or evenings he might come with her but he doesn’t work there. Mom doesn’t ask him, either, just like she’s never asked Juno or August. It’s her place and her responsibility and she’s been pretty great about not going all Martyr Mom about wanting to pass her legacy along to her kids.
Then again, Atticus doesn’t know what else to do, so he might just end up working in the bakery in the future.
His family hasn’t got a lot of money invested elsewhere, but they have got the bakery and it’s a fairly lucrative business so Atticus could definitely do worse for himself than taking over it. Mom has made it clear that she’s bought their new house for the kids, too, as an investment of sorts.
Mostly for him, actually. She’s paid for Juno’s college and helped August with the loans for his Geek and Sundry shop and because of this, their new place will go to Atticus in the future.
That knowledge does make him want to make more of an effort with the bakery, too. Especially since the staff mom’s hired seems to be more or less brain-dead, taking forever to manage the most simple tasks.
He will help out more in the future, he promises himself.
Juno comes over a lot lately, despite claiming she’s got her hands full with the upcoming finals and her graduation thesis that needs to be proofread and whatnot. Atticus doesn’t really pay a lot of attention to her uni rants but he gathers it’s important stuff. He also gathers his sister hangs out with him to calm her nerves or something. Escape for a while.
She’s always been the accomplished sort, his sister. Full of plans and backup plans for when the plans fail and she already knows what she wants five years from now.
“You need a plan,” she tells him.
“I have a plan.” Atticus nods towards the car they’re both working on. “Drive this thing before the end of the year.”
Juno shakes her head, laughing slightly. “What a glorious future you have ahead.”
“I know, right.”
Juno wants to be a teacher, he knows. She’s already applied to Teachers College in Barchester City and mom is dead proud, claiming it’s a honorable job that’s always going to be one of the most important parts of society.
She’ll be living with August once she’s left uni and Atticus already looks forward to the parties they’ll have. His pretty sure mom isn’t thrilled about that bit, though, but she is happy her kids share a house to save money.
As for his brother, Atticus doesn’t know half of what goes on in his life. Before his girlfriend Jean left for college, Atticus could have sworn those two would get married and have five kids right away, but now he’s not so sure about that. It seems they’ve more or less broken up by now and Atticus is pretty sure August is seeing someone else. Katri? Kari? Some game developer woman, at least.
“No comments,” August keeps saying whenever Atticus asks, so he doesn’t really know.
They’ve got more important things to discuss anyway, whenever they hang out.