“Ella, it’s been so long!” Josh stepped in with a bouquet of flowers; he kissed my cheek and gave me the gift. I smiled and thanked him before answering the door to more friends. Charlotte and Chloe came in, they were happy and smiling.
“I haven’t spoken to you in so long!”
“How was America? Gosh, you look brown!”
“It was amazing and I spent the last few weeks in California, so I’m pretty much topped up with sun,” I smiled back. My dad had invited most of my old friends, family members and his new girlfriend. They were last to arrive and as I opened the door I was greeted with hugs and kisses.
“You’re the famous Cinderella then!” Beatrice cried, two girls my age stood at her sides and glared at me. I squirmed out of her embrace and took a step back, I bumped into Dad who kissed Beatrice and muttered a hello to the girls – trying to be cool, as usual.
“This is my beautiful daughter Ella,” Dad put his arm around me,
“I’m so pleased to finally meet you,” Beatrice smiled again; “these are my two glorious children, Blaire and Onyx.” I met their glares again and gulped. Onyx was true to her name because she wore black lipstick and a boyish cut of straight black hair. Her nails were black and even her dress and army boots were black. Her thick eyeliner and dark eyes reminded me of the Goths from pictures taken in the year 2000. Nowadays she’d be stared at for merely walking down a street. Blaire was also mutually garish and would stand out in a crowd. She had the same black hair but it was longer and wavy, it finished at her shoulders. She wore vintage clothes from the 1960s, bright colours and flowers. She was the only hippy I’d seen in real life and I could just imagine her with a VW campervan with a peace and love sign on the back. They were easy to tell apart but they were identical twins, perhaps that was why they had tried so hard to find an individual style? There was one thing for sure; they both had the evil-eyed glare which made me want to hide behind my dad.
“Hi,” I mumbled, neither replied but Blaire raised her eyebrow and Onyx’s lips pursed together as though she was trying not to laugh in my face. Dad put his hand on my shoulder and I left the awkward group and walked straight into Josh.
“So, you’re back home for good?” he asked with a drink in his hand which I nearly sloshed everywhere,
“Looks like it,” I smiled and looked up at my ex-boyfriend who I hadn’t spoken to or thought about for a good year. Josh was handsome, had dark hair which curled around his face and his chiselled jaw suited his large eyes. He hadn’t changed much in the past year, although perhaps gained another inch and had more stubble.
“Did you meet anyone in America?”
“I met many people, no boyfriends though, if that’s what you’re hinting at…”
“I wasn’t hinting anything,” he smiled that same cheeky smile he had years ago. “Who are they?” he inclined his head over to the twins, they were standing at the drinks’ table and were in deep conversation.
“My step sisters to be,” I muttered sourly,
“They’re…interesting,” he smirked and I swatted his arm,
“They’re scary is what they are,”
“Well lucky you, you get them as your sisters,” he winked and began to walk away. I wanted to follow him but restrained myself, I wasn’t going to get caught up in another relationship with him – I needed to move on, and to do that fully I couldn’t date old boyfriends. After catching up with everyone, the party began to slow as people left, by 11pm it was just me, Dad, Bea and the twins. Dad and Beatrice went to clean up and I was left with the twins, they sat next to each other and didn’t say anything. I tried to make conversation.
“So how old are you?”
“Same age as you so don’t go thinking you can boss us around,” Blaire informed me, I could see neither wanted to divulge into conversation and I was perfectly happy to oblige.
“I’m pretty jet lagged, I think I’m going to hit the sack,” I excused myself and left the twins alone. I got to my room and sank down in my chair, in actual fact I wasn’t tired, in Pacific Time it was only 3pm and I was jetlagged so didn’t need to sleep. I walked around my room picking up objects I had forgotten about and sifting through my bare wardrobe. I picked up the box my mother had left and flicked through the envelopes to see if I could open any letter, I picked one out and smiled coyly.
Dad’s new woman.
I knew the time would come when your dad got a girlfriend, I don’t blame him one bit because I wouldn’t want him to be lonely in his old age. For you this may be harder or as easy as breathing, you might love her or hate her but I beg of you to treat her with respect because I want her to see what a fantastic daughter you are. Don’t hate him for moving on and don’t hate her for pretending to be your mum, you need a Mother and I’m pleased your dad has found one for you. He usually makes the right decision.
I love you
Mum seemed to have missed the point a little and I realised that she had neglected a problem, the new sisters. They were worse than Bea and I just hoped the wedding would fall through, as much as it would hurt Dad, he didn’t seem to know what he was marrying into. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree and all that. Once Bea and the girls had left Dad came up,
“You didn’t think about entertaining the girls?”
“I was tired,”
“Yeah, do most Americans sleep mid-afternoon?”
“They have siestas,”
“They’re not Spanish,” Dad smiled grimly, “you hated them didn’t you?”
“They a little different, but they’ll be nicer as you get to know them,”
“I can’t see that happening, does she always have such black lips?”
“I’m pretty sure they’re dyed that colour,” Dad smiled and sighed,
“When’s the big day?”
“Seriously?!” I asked but I hadn’t the energy to argue,
“I wish I’d told you sooner, this must all have come as a huge surprise for you. I’m sorry for that,” he sat down on my bed and I reciprocated his action on my desk chair. “I’d like you to be a bridesmaid,”
“Are the twins bridesmaids too?”
“Yeah,” Dad sighed slowly, “but Bea said she’d really like you to be one also,”
“Why didn’t she ask me herself?” Dad didn’t reply as he slowly stood up, he stretched and then consequently yawned,
“I’m off to bed Elles, I’m tired.” he left the room without looking back.