“Zoey Darling, it has been a while” my mother greeted as soon as Chris and I walked in. I said nothing but stared at my sister in shocking, feeling the knife of betrayal sinking in.
“Hello I am Katherine and this is my husband Michael” she smiled and stuck her hand out to introduce herself to Chris.
“Hello, pleasant to meet you, my name is Chris” he smiled and shook both of my parents’ hands.
“You look good Zoey” my father smiled at me. I looked at my father, who was wearing a black suit; his hair gelled down, looking ever so professional. His blue eyes gleamed at me, and he grinned, his white teeth flashing with it.
“It’s the alcohol dad.” I sneered at him, anger flooding my every vein. My mother adjusted the purple top she wore over her black skirt. She flipped her blonde hair over her shoulder with the hand not holding the glass of wine, uncomfortable with my statement.
“I do not drink anymore” he responded coolly, my words barely seemed to have any effect over him. I turned towards my father shaking my head in disbelief.
“Just because you haven’t had a sip in five minutes does not mean that you’re a sober man. Jesus you’re more pathetic than I imagined” I responded. He chuckled and sipped some of the drink in his wine glass.
“I haven’t had a drink since we took in Becca” he smiled, proud of himself. He adjusted his matching purple tie and rubbed his hand over his black suit, smoothing the already crisp suit.
“So that is when you wanted to become real, good parents” I asked and they dropped their heads silent shame overcoming their faces.
“Zoey, we really do want to apologize and do right by you” my mother said reaching out. I said nothing but stared at her, her warm hand grabbing my arm gently. “Your sister has been trying to set this up for a long time” my mother began “and when you asked her to move in with her, she felt this was your invitation or perhaps her opening no chance to do so” she sputtered, her eyes watering. I looked away to Chris, who for once was being my safe haven. He was pouring two glasses of wine, and smiling encouraging me.
“I never asked her to move in with me” I muttered shocked by my sister’s lie. My sister said nothing but sipped her wine.
Chris walked over and handed me a glass of wine. “I'm here for you” Chris whispered and I smiled in response, remembering that I had told him about my disastrous childhood. A ding rang out from behind me and my sister in glee ran over to the oven.
“Dinner is ready” she squealed as she opened the oven door. In just a few moments we were all sitting around the dinner table, our plates covered in a pork roast, vegetables, and mashed potatoes. Everyone was eating silently or sipping their wine. My wine was chugged minutes ago.
“So dad, if you are not drinking wine, what is in your wine glass?” I asked curious, skeptical but willing to give him a chance.
“Apple cider, try it” he smiled handing over the glass. “I just like to have it in the glass because I miss it but not enough to actually drink it again” he explained. I sipped it, and sure enough, it was apple cider, delicious one too.
“So, what is new with you guys?” I asked trying to end the silence, my anger dissipating slowly trying to accept my revamped parents.
“Your father is a CEO of his company and I am a head primary clinical therapist over the rehab I work at” she smiled as she responded to the question. I couldn’t believe it, they were actually doing better.
“Wow, just wow” I said and chugged the rest of the cider as if it was alcohol, wishing it was. My parents actually seemed to be doing better, actually trying to impress me.
“We really are sober, the both of us” she continued and I nodded biting into the pork slice.
“We want to buy you a new car” my father said and I coughed on the carrot I began to eat. “Your car is old and needs to be replaced” he continued and I coughed into the napkin again shaking my head at the thought.
“That’s a bit ridiculous, it is paid off and only three or four years old” I responded in shock. I grabbed the bottle of wine bottle and refilled my glass.
“We just want to treat you” he answered, anger starting to raise his voice. I blinked in shock at his anger over my refusal to get a new car, I had no words; most people would be happy not to have to drop thousands of dollars on a new vehicle.
“No, you just want to buy your daughter’s love” Chris snapped, speaking for once. I turned slowly, my mind whirling at my sudden protector.
“No Chris, it is called trying to do right” he snapped back, his face darkening as he glared at Chris.
“Sir, excuse me, but doing right is not flashing your money or buying material goods out of nowhere after all these years, it is being there. Being a parent is being there in support, not buying material things she does not need. She is perfectly content with the car she already paid off. She loves it and she doesn’t want some car that her piece of sh-”
“That is enough young man. I don’t know how your parents raised you but that is not how you talk to someone who is an elder to you. Besides this is a family matter, you are no family to us” my mother snapped her face turning red in anger.
“Oh please, tell me how you raised Zoey, of that’s right you stopped raising her when Jessica died correct? You told your child that she had killed her only child and you kicked her out. Jesus Christ, the last thing that should come out your mouth is anything about how to raise a child” Chris snapped smacking the table hard. I said nothing and stared at my plate tears slowly escaping my eyes. Out of the corner of my eye, a blurry Becca sat silent while she ate and watched the family affair unfold.
Silence filled the air for what felt like forever. “This is a family affair, and I sure as hell do not need to explain myself to someone who isn’t family.” My mother stared into his eyes, her expression full of hatred, and her eyes completely cold. It was intimidating to see, but Chris didn’t seem disturbed by it.
“We may have not done right by Zoey but we sure as hell did right by Becca” my father added his fist hitting the table, his knuckles completely white.
“May have not done right by Zoey? Are you serious? You were no parents to Zoey. The only thing you did right by Zoey was having her sober” Chris snapped back his fists clenched.
“Again, what the hell does it matter to you, this is a family matter and you are no family to us. You have no place saying what you are saying” my father shouted. Chris only laughed at my father’s anger unshaken by it.
“He's my fiancé, he is going to be family soon enough, so you’re just going to have to get used to him talking about family matters father dearest” I sneered, lying through my teeth. The words flew out of my mouth before I had a chance to stop them.
Everyone quickly turned towards me, their mouths hanging open in shock. My sister’s mouth hung open mid-bite, showing a mouth of barely chewed pork. Please Chris or Becca do not ruin this, just run with it. I looked at my food as Chris turned towards my family, ready to expose me.
“We wanted to keep it a secret. We just fell in love and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her” Chris explained, rolling with the lie. Guess he isn’t going to expose me?
“We heard about how Sam dumped you for that little whore Cassandra and now you’re telling us you’ve moved on to this…. Chris” she demanded angry. “He is just some rebound who wants a little sex when you are most vulnerable he is just taking advantage of you” she sneered, eying Chris.
“Where is the ring Chris?” my father asked angrily not buying the story eying my left hand searching for something that has never or will be there.
“What you don’t want to pay for it, daddy dearest” Chris laughed enjoying my father’s anger.
“No that is the fiancé’s task if he really wants to marry someone” my father said still angry holding onto traditional values.
“If you want to be a part of my life, you will just have to accept this and get over it” I said and my parents remained quiet for a moment but stared at me this time. It was like they were watching a tennis tournament, each turning their head between Chris and me, whenever we swung the racquet of lies.
“When is the date Zoey” my mother asked, I looked to my sister who remained silent and ate her food, her eyes like a deer in headlights.
“We haven’t chosen one yet, but soon” I spoke slowly. The lies just kept building and building but I couldn’t stop them. It was like a train with brakes that no longer worked.
“Well, if this is really happening, I suppose I can take Chris this week to buy you an engagement ring, and I will be more than happy to pay for it if this is a true story” he said as he finished the food on his plate.
“I will hire a wedding planner I suppose this week as well” my mother proposed and Chris just shrugged looking at me.
“In that case, your mother and I should be going so we can get prepared for this busy upcoming week…” my father smiled, the anger disappearing. He stood up and smoothed his suit again.
“I do want to wish you a congratulations” my father smiled and my sister got up, headed towards the door hastily. She slammed the door behind her as she left, without a single word. For a moment we all remained in silence.
“Thank you” I said, beginning to feel dizzy as my lies kept repeating in my head.
“But we must be going, we have a lot of planning to do” my mother squealing gripping both my hands in excitement. “Your sister gave us your number so we can call you later to set up a time to meet” she smiled as she let go of my hands, walking towards the front door. Chris and I followed her, both of us walking like zombies, not looking at each other.
“I am very proud of you and happy for you” my father said, his eyes watering. I nodded and they walked out closing the door behind them.
“What the hell have you done” Chris asked and I just sank against the door. That is a good question. What have I done?