The alarm on my phone beeped and I glanced down at the time. Seven fifteen, which meant it was time for me to take my evening medication. Even though I’d been ingesting pills for the past two months, I didn’t like the routine Doctor Everett had set me on; I was taking pills at least once an hour!
I tugged Nova’s hell heels back on and stumbled down the stairs into the kitchen, reaching above the sink easily to grab a cup and fill it with water from the refrigerator door. My pills were in on the shelf above the sink, lined up neatly in a day of the week box. I sighed and opened the box that said ‘Friday’, revealing twenty seven pills in a rainbow of colors jam packed inside.
I could almost see myself becoming a pill popping addict whenever I looked at them, but I forced myself to tip the box out onto the counter and began swallowing them two at a time with the help of the water. Just as I gagged down the last pill- I’d always save the Xoghio for last, because of its enormous side and the chalky residue it left in my mouth- the front door chimed as my mother and Sam walked in.
“I like the blue,” I heard my mother say crossly to Sam as they walked through the formal dining room. The telltale drop of her purse on the wooden table revealed to me that it was unlikely they would be heading out again tonight. “And I think that with the addition of the new wallpaper I was looking at today, the living room would look absolutely…” She stopped in her tracks, right in the middle of the doorway to the kitchen, as she looked at me and my hunched position over the kitchen counter in a fancy evening dress. I glanced up without moving my head.
“Hello, Mom. Did you have a busy day today?” It wasn’t considered interrupting I knew that she wasn’t going to finish her sentence. My mother wouldn’t bother giving me anything that resembled a compliment, even if it was just the last word of her sentence.
“Yes, I did, Wilhelmina. I see you’re going to go out and have some…fun.” Her mouth settled in a thick line of disapproval and I resisted the urge to wince and shy away from her glare. I didn’t know why she had such a controlling power in my life- it wasn’t like she’d ever hit me or anything- but I knew that I didn’t like to let it show whenever she made me feel petty and small.
“Yeah. I’m going out with Nova and Simon.” I remembered my lie to Molly earlier and added, “…and some other friends. We’re going to hit a nice restaurant on Nova’s card so I might get back a little late.”
“I thought Nova didn’t have a credit card anymore,” my mother said, raising a neatly sculptured eyebrow. This time, I actually did wince. I’d forgotten that I’d used that as an excuse just a few months ago, when I’d conveniently forgotten to get her a birthday present due to the coma that I was in at the time. “Tell the truth, Wilhelmina. I don’t want you to lie.” Perfect timing as usual for Cassandra Vincent, as Molly had just drifted into the room. Now the whole family would hear my confession.
I really didn’t want them to know. I didn’t mind Sam as much. It wasn’t like he was all that bad; he was a decent stepfather, I guess, but he never took much of an interest in my life or in me. For the most part, he just went along with whatever my mother said.
Molly would be pissed because I lied, of course, so there was a high chance that she’d try and ruin my entire life over this one little falsity. Of course, if I brought up how Noah was here earlier without permission, she’d somehow manage to get off scot-free and I’d end up in double jeopardy.
And then there was my mother. She wouldn’t say anything at first, just glare at me in that disapproving way of hers. She might cross her arms or tap her foot. Then she’d rub her scarlet lips together tightly and declare that I could stay out for all she cared, that I was barely better than a two dollar whore. Because there’s nothing a two dollar whore loves more than going out on a date once every once in a while, wearing clothes that neither she nor I would ever be able to afford in our lifetimes.
“Wilhelmina Gabrielle Percival, just spit it out!” I didn’t realize we had already started on the disapproval.
“Learn to speak, dummy,” said Molly, rolling her eyes and sitting down at the table with her phone. I was surprised that Sam hadn’t taken it away from her for this ‘family discussion’. Her insult went unnoticed by everyone, although I knew the insult would have been much less fifteen-year old friendly had it been just the two of us.
“I’m going out…” A car horn beeped outside and my phone buzzed simultaneously. Delighted with my luck, I glanced down to see Ezra’s message that he had arrived and began walking past my mother. I picked up the expensive clutch that Nova had lent me to go with my outfit and shoved the phone inside as I continued walking to the door. As I punched my code in, I added, “Right now, actually. Don’t wait up. Like I said, might be a little late.”