"Hey!" Uncle Larry repeats, flicking the stub off his toe with a little kick. "I thought you quit!" His chin wobbles as he speaks, in little waves of gray stubble.
"Still workin' on it. Sorry about that." I raise myself from the cool concrete step, the third one down from the porch, and stretch out my arms.
Larry stands in front of me, his belly hanging over a muddy set of khakis, his suspenders struggling to hold them up. Arms crossed in a strict manner, he says, "You really should quit. Your grandfather died from smoking, you know-"
"Yes. I'm working on it." This, again?!
I'm going to get so much crap about this from my family after tonight. Uncle Larry is not the best secret-keeper out there, and since this is a gathering of people who love me, and my health is so important at my young age, and...
Blah, blah, blah.
I could be getting myself worked up right now, hollering, red-faced, slamming doors... But I've heard this all before, from my parents, my sisters, my ex..
Larry's just saying what family is supposed to say. Going through the motions, repeating the speech.
I don't even care anymore.
"I should be heading home." I slide past him and down the steps, completely forgetting about the rest of my family inside.
Most of them have left anyway. The only people left are grandma, my mother, Danielle, and her husband Ben. Those party animals won't even notice I left!
I see Uncle Larry standing in front of the door, his pudgy arms still crossed, his flat cap tilted slightly to one side. Where the hell did he go golfing, anyway?
Whatever. I need to get out of here.