It was eight o’ clock in the evening, half-an-hour since Holly had been chopping vegetables in the kitchen. She wanted to talk to someone, and asked Matt if he needed any help, and he let her in.
‘So, where did you learn how to cook?’ she asked, handing him the chopped parsley.
‘Long story’, he said, adjusting his glasses, ‘We both studied inFrancefor more than seven years. We never came toU.S.for our holidays—we went to our grandparents’ vineyards. Our Gram, she believed that anyone who created trouble should be forced to spend time in the kitchen, learning to cook. That way we wouldn’t dare to misbehave. However . . . you know Randy; I always got punished in his place. I started liking it after sometime, and then Gram and I would get together and try everything in the cookbooks.’
She smiled a bit at that. ‘Where did you learn to cook?’ he asked.
‘Long story here too, she said, brushing her hair back, ‘My mother started drinking when I was about eleven, and my sister was eighteen. Dad was rarely ever home, being in his workplace for about fifteen hours every day, frequently staying up all night working-’
‘Oh I know how that feels’ Matt intervened, ‘Talk about no time. Mom’s exactly like that.’
‘Anyway’, she continued, ‘Suze knew how to cook enough for us to survive. Mom would drink till she passed out, get up later and drink again. She had severe clinical depression. I don’t know exactly what made her do that, but I guess it’s because of her mother’s death. Suze got married a couple of years ago, so I kind of learnt how to cook on my own,’
‘Why haven’t you put your mother in rehab?’ he asked, sounding horrified.
‘She wouldn’t go’ Holly looked away, ‘And Dad couldn’t care any less. On the rare days that he came home early, they would have fights. She accused him of not spending enough time with the family, and he said that she had destroyed the family. So this time, on their anniversary, I suggested to my Dad that they go on a year-longEuropetour.’
‘Why year-long?’ Matt queried.
‘Yeah, well, it also included checking Mom into a rehab inSwedenfor six months, and Dad had some work there too.’
He didn’t say anything, turning his attention to the stew he was trying to make.
‘And Matt’ she said after sometime, ‘I would really like it if you didn’t tell anyone about my family, okay? Especially Randy.’
‘You know, I’m really glad that, well…um…’ he fumbled, ‘uh…shouted at Randy in school today. He really needed something to shut him up.’ She laughed a bit at that. ‘You know, I seriously thought that you would fall for Randy. Everyone does.’
‘You realize, don’t you, that life is not a fairytale, and we are not Romeo and Juliet out here. Every girl, pretty or otherwise, doesn’thaveto like the supposedly coolest, hottest guy in school-’
‘You’re not ugly. You’re … normal.’ Matt cut in, stirring his stew again. She giggled at that.
‘That’s where you go wrong’, she laughed, ‘God, you have no idea how twisted I am. I can’t control my temper when I get angry. I go shooting people.’
‘Whoa, don’t go hacking Randy and me to pieces’, he laughed, ‘You can do what you want with Jeannie, though. She’s a huge pain in the ass.’
‘Anyway, continuing’ she said in a more serious note, ‘the person a girl has a crush, if she does have, isn’t always going to come up to her and say—‘You know, I’ve always loved you. Will you come to the prom with me?’
Matt laughed loudly at her voice mimicry.
‘D’you really believe it?’ he looked at her in wonder.
‘Yeah’ she shrugged, ‘Not everyone has tolovesomeone. Not everyone can get all their wishes fulfilled.’
‘Gosh, that doesn’t sound like it’s coming from a seventeen year old.’
‘I’ve broken locks for Christmas gifts. I guess I just never sound my age’ she grinned suddenly…