“I am registering Monday morning,” Becca said as she barely made it through the door and her dad began his questioning. It was as if he had prepared a speech and was waiting for her arrival to deliver it.
(Start at the beginning? Go to: 1. a beginning)
“Oh,” he replied. He hadn’t expected her to agree with him. She usually stated her case as to why she shouldn’t continue. But she realized that he didn’t care that she didn’t know what she wanted to do for the rest of her life at that very moment.
She handed him a bottle of his favorite red wine and if there was anything more for him to say, it was silenced as she gave him a quick hug. She headed to the kitchen where her mom was furiously putting together a dinner that an army could eat. Her mom always took pride in her cooking and hosting skills.
“Would you like to set the table?” she asked Becca after a quick peck on her cheek.
“Of course,” Becca answered and she went to the cabinet where her mother kept the china for special dinners. Ones that the once only used for holidays that now are used on every dinner occasion. She always felt a little nervous handling these prized possessions of her mother’s as she carefully placed them on the table.
Jenny and Bo came in the door shortly after. Jenny made her flamboyant rounds and for the first time in her life, Becca felt like she could see a fakeness in her movements. Jenny’s voice a bit higher sounded like lies were the only things that blew between her teeth.
Normally, Becca would join in the rambunctious exchange and the excitement of the whole house would build. This time, she grabbed her glass of wine and walked to the back deck. She snapped and sent a picture to Andrew, “Wish you were here.”
“Ha!” He sent back. “To be with you, yes. Them, no.”
She leaned against the railing and took a drink from her glass thinking about where she was headed next. She thought she had a good plan of action and began reviewing it in her mind when Jenny came out the sliding door.
“What are you doing out here all by yourself?”
Becca turned and saw Bo and her dad inside choosing records for the record player, something her dad could not have been more excited to have a comeback. Bo was an avid collector and relished in sharing his newest finds.
“I don’t know,” Becca said. “I just wanted some quiet, I guess.”
Jenny shot her a look. “Whatever,” she said. “Get in here and help mom before she makes me do everything.”
Becca slowly followed Jenny back inside and into the kitchen. The music permeated throughout the house and she could hear Bo and her dad laughing in the next room as she began chopping a carrot up to add to the salad.
She barely listened as her mother and Jenny discussed the newest case at work. While her mother wasn’t an attorney herself, she had heard enough throughout the years to pass the bar that very instant if she was required to take it.
Becca reached for the red onion next. Her mind swarmed with so many things and paranoia began to build as she thought about the words that should or shouldn’t come out of her mouth. She longed for the days of stupidity to return when she could just let words fall out without regard. Now, she had to be cautious, which is exactly what she was when her mother asked, “Are you seeing anyone?”
“Huh?” Becca asked looking over her shoulder to her mother at the stove, apron on, stirring a pot of gravy.
“Anyone knew we should know about?”
Becca saw the smile on her face and wondered if she lived for these moments. Not in a pushy way, but in a – Becca is the only one doing something exciting with her life – kind of way.
Jenny shot her a distasteful look and took a sip from her wine glass.
“Oh,” Becca blew off the whole conversation. “No,” she answered.
“Well, that’s too bad. I was hoping to hear about some cute boy who was sweeping you off your feet.” She passed by with the gravy bowl to set on the table.
“You are going to have to tell her eventually,” Jenny said as she passed with the salad bowl.
“There’s nothing going on,” Becca said. “Nothing that needs to be talked about anyway.”
“Afraid of what dad would say?” Jenny whispered.
“Jesus, Jenny,” Becca felt the tightening in her chest. “You seriously need to stop.”
Becca went back in to the kitchen and downed her glass of wine to the bottom, refilled it and downed another. She would have to be drunk if she was going to deal with her sister for the whole night.
This isn’t what you want. “What?” Becca asked.
“I didn’t say anything,” Jenny said as she walked into the room.
Becca looked over at her and didn’t say a word. She headed toward the bathroom where the same words filled her ears. Everything will be okay.
“Aunt Jo?” she whispered. She stood in the bathroom and listened intently. “I want to hear you,” she said. “Talk to me.”
“What are you doing in there?”
Becca jumped with the knock at the door. “Peeing,” she answered.
“You’ve been in there forever,” Jenny said.
Becca opened the door and walked past her. “Okay,” she muttered. She was so fed up with Jenny and her pettiness that she stopped listening and went straight to the table.
“There she is,” her mother said and passed her a bowl full of mashed potatoes.
“Thanks, mom.” She took the bowl and saw the warm smile on her mother’s face. Then there was a loud crash. Startled, everyone at the table jumped.
“What was that?” Cece, Becca’s mother asked.
“I’ll go see,” John said as he pushed his chair backward. He followed where he heard the noise and the curiosity of the group forced them all to track behind.
Led to the bathroom, they saw Jenny on the floor, blood running down the side of her face.