The color disappeared from my face when my father told me about who we were going to have dinner with later today. "The Brooks family is a lovable sort, Ethan," he said as he poured himself some coffee one sunny morning. He took his daily dose of caffeine -- black, of course. I, myself, sat there silently at the counter with a spoon of bran cereal in my mouth (yes, bran) and half-a-cup of orange juice in one hand, and what made me look worse was my blank expression which no one seemed to notice.
My cousin was sitting next to me, poking at his leftover Chinese food he had a habit of eating for breakfast while listening intently to my father. Riley, did after all, love a good dinner with people my father worked with. This apparently was the only subtle side of his need to party.
"So, uncle, the Brooks family...who are they exactly?" Riley asked slowly.
My father sat at the other side of the counter with his back facing Daniela, who was cleaning the dishes. He looked up at Riley briefly then back down to the morning paper on the table. "Mr. Brooks is a very recent business partner of mine. I thought to insure the continuation of our partnership, as well as its future, I suggested we'd get our families together to get to know each other better." My father said, not being as curt as he usually was.
At the corner of my eye, I saw Riley's cat-like grin appear. Oh boy, I thought to myself dryly, here comes the nastiness.
"So, this "Mr. Brooks"...? Does he have any children?" Riley asked, mocking innocent curiosity. My father stopped reading in the midst of taking a sip of coffee. He set his mug down and looked at Riley sternly, like a school teacher lecturing a bully. "Yes, two daughters," Riley's face instantly brightened, but dimmed quickly, "And before you get any ideas, the oldest is married and the youngest is Ethan's age or younger."
Riley became quiet for a while, but suddenly piped up, "Is the oldest happily married?"
I watched my father sigh and get up from the counter, taking his coffee with him. "Exceptionally happy, from what her father told me." He muttered before leaving the kitchen.
Riley shrugged and whispered to himself, "So the father says..."
"Not everyone is willing to sleep with you, Riley!" I heard my father yell from the hallway. I spat out my juice, half-coughing while trying not to laugh, unlike Daniela.
Though, in the midst of this comical breakfast, the fact that I was going to see Lynette again dawned over me once more. Now, Ethan, I mentally said to myself, what are you going to do to fix this?
After finishing my cereal, I practically dashed to my bedroom. Now, my room was actually a very foreign place to me. I mean, the only time was in here was to sleep (What? Did you think I slept in the study every night?), and to drop off my school bag. Unlike other teenagers, the study was my sanctuary rather than my bedroom.
Once I settled on my bed, which was unspeakably tidy, I flipped out my cell to call Ashley. I had her number on speed dial for cases such as these.
"....Hello?" The voice from the phone echoed, sounding rather drowsy.
"Ashley...Wait are you asleep?" I asked.
I heard her yawn. "No, quite the opposite, really. I'm at theater rehearsal, remember? I told you I would be here before you left my house last week."
Oh yeah...Ashley had signed up for theater to get extra credit. I think this time they were doing the musical, Wicked, and she wanted to help out with the costumes as well as make-up. "Yes, yes I remember. But you have rehearsals on Saturdays?"
"It's a dress rehearsal, Ethan! Like I would miss a dress rehearsal!" she practically screamed through the phone.
"Okay..." I drawled out slowly. "Anyway, Ash, I called for some advice on a new issue." As soon as I said that I heard her mood lighten up a bit. "Really now?" Ashley piped up eagerly. "Is this about your cousin, Riley? Because I know how to castrate a man..."
I sighed slowly. "No, Ashley. It's about Lynette." There was a moment a silence, so I continued to explain what was going on, "My family is having dinner with hers."
I was staring at myself in the mirror. Daniela forced me to wear something nice, so I was sporting a nice black suit. The jacket was left open, and the first buttons of the white I wore underneath were unbuttoned. Daniela also made me wear my "nice shoes" that I swear hadn't seen the light of day since my sixteenth birthday bash.
My blonde hair was ruffled and looked as though it was messed up on purpose. Daniela said I looked good, but I personally thought I looked as though I just woke up.
"Ooh, the Chace Crawford look, eh? It actually suits you, Ethan." I saw Riley standing in the doorway, with his hair jelled back making look much older than he actually was.
I scoffed and made a pose at the mirror. "It scares me to know that you know who that actor is, Ri." I heard him chuckle and he walked over to pat me on the shoulder. "You look good, dude." He muttered from behind me.
By the time we got to the car and started driving, it seemed far too soon when we arrived at the Brooks estate. I admit their house was a real beauty. Nice, big, and white with Classical Greek styled-columns and spacious, green gardens, but I knew that the house was pretty old compared to my family home, although I still found it impressive.
But what happened next, was just something I found ridiculously amusing for the rest of my life. There, skipping in a big black dress that was slightly hiked up was Lynette Brooks trying to make it to the front door. I didn't think that my father and my cousin had seen her yet because they were too caught up in a disagreement to acknowledge their surroundings, but I most certainly did.
And when she tripped....Ah...that image shall forever be imprinted into my mind.
Feeling bad for her, I jogged towards her as she sat there in pure embarrassment. "Need a hand?" I said softly, lending it out for her to take.
Lynette's mouth opened and closed several times like a fish; her face was completely blank. I grinned a little, but put my hand out a little further. She stared at it for a moment, but eventually took it and lifted herself up.
Bending over to dust herself off, I was stifling back a laugh when the front doors opened and a woman came out and particularly gasped, "Lynette!", very, very loudly.
Lynette stood up straight in a split second. She attempted to walk, but I saw her wince in pain and she instantly grabbed hold of me. Her grip was painfully strong around my waist. "Hi, Alexis," Lynette said sweetly, clutching me tighter. "I was just welcoming our guests and since I was so happy to see Ethan, I decided to give him a great. Big. Hug." Then the giant, bone shattering hug came into play, and I swear I think I cracked a rib.
I mentally sighed heavily. And so, I face the fury of Lynette Brooks.