“On Dad’s computer, huh?” Avery mumbled an answer. Something about her broken printer. Chas poured half a box of cereal into a tall plastic cup. He bent into the fridge for the milk. As he straightened up, he saw his sister’s back tense rigidly. She swiveled around to face him, her face white and drawn. Chas grinned widely in realization.
“You shouldn’t have,” he called in a singsong voice.
“Shut up. Shut up. Oh, God,” she gasped.
“You’re joking, Chas. This isn’t funny.” He dogged her jabbing finger, slinging a few stray corn flakes to the floor.
“Me? Hey, don’t drop the laptop, little lady. Then you’ll have to talk to him. You know, explain yourself.” He took another bite of cereal, slurping loudly.
“Oh, God. Chas! This really isn’t funny.” She had stopped yelling. She was barely even audible. Smiling broadly, Chas offered her his cup.
“Here, want some breakfast? Have some milk.”
“There’s something wrong with you.” He laughed again. She jumped up, slamming the laptop closed, running into her pink-slippered, haphazardly robed mother in the doorway. Elaine stared after her daughter, bewildered. Still smiling, Chas leaned lazily against the fridge and wished his mother a good morning. She shuffled to the table and sat in a creaking chair, watching her son groggily.
“What’s the matter with your sister?”
“No idea, mom. Hysterics. You know, little girls.”
“Hnm,” she murmured indifferently. Chas handed her the box of cornflakes and sat down.
“Must be her, ah, time.”
“Hnm.” She poured herself a bowl of the cereal.
“Hormones, you know.”
“Mmhnm. Pass the milk, dear.” Chuckling to himself, Chas slid the carton across the stained wooden leaves.
“Thank you, dear.”