I stared at myself in the mirror, frowning. I was confused. Whose fault was it? My father was right in saying I didn't have to take that bribe. But I thought Brandon.... I sighed heavily and went back into the kitchen after washing my hands. It was a little after 2 and I needed to find a recipe for dinner and make sure we have all the ingredients.
I was flipping through the cookbook when the back door opened. I looked up and resisted the urge to laugh.
"That's right, Nathan," my father was saying. "Deep breaths."
"Gonna puke again," he said, his face green.
My father shook his head. "Nearest bathroom is down the hall," he said and Nathaniel ran to the bathroom, his arms around his stomach. "Well, he made it longer than I thought he would."
I passed him a water bottle and he wiped sweat off his face.
"You did warn him," I said, wincing when I heard him throwing up. "Did you get to eat your lunches?"
"Nah but they'll hold until tomorrow," my father answered and saw I was going through the cookbook. "What are you going to make?"
"I don't know yet," I said. "What do you want?"
"Why don't we ask Nathan?"
I scoffed. "Because he's currently getting rid of everything that could possibly be in his intestines."
"Right," he laughed.
"Oh, my God," Nathaniel groaned, stumbling down the hall. He sat at the kitchen table and I passed my dad a water bottle to give him. "Jesus Christ."
"Drink all of that," my father said. "You won't want to, but you need it."
"Just like you needed that breakfast," I said and Nathaniel glared at me. "I'm just sayin'."
"Shut up," he snapped but it came out weak as he drank the water in sips.
"How many horses did you manage?" I asked my dad.
"Ten," he said.
"Do you need me to finish?" I offered even though I probably wouldn't be able to.
He shook his head. "Nope. We'll keep at it tomorrow."
Nathaniel moaned. "We're doing it again?"
"It's been a while since they've had a proper grooming," my dad said. "We wash 'em down after each training session, of course, but it's not the same. I've only got a few other employees."
I glared at him. "Which you should be using."
My father sighed wearily. "Just pick something out for dinner tonight," he said. "I'm going to go shower."
"All right," I sighed and watched him go sadly. "He's going to work himself into an early grave," I muttered to myself, looking through the cookbook again. "You still alive over there?" I added, not bothering to look up.
"Fuck. I should've listened to you two," he said.
"I'd give you shit but that happened to me, too, the first time I worked out there," I said. "Ah! Hamburgers. You can't go wrong with hamburgers."
"Yes you can," Nathaniel snapped and I glared at him. "They're fattening!"
I shook my head. "Did you learn nothing?" I snapped back. "You need carbs if you're going to be out there, Nathaniel! You need 'fattening' foods! Besides, you'll sweat it all away."
"This was a mistake," he grumbled. "I'll just be homeless."
I scoffed. "Be my guest."
"Do you really hate me that much?" he demanded.
I opened the fridge and sighed. "We don't have all the ingredients. Maybe I can go grocery shopping without being harassed...."
"Are you listening to me?"
I rolled my eyes at him. "Just drink your water, Banker," I said. "I'm busy planning dinner for your ungrateful ass."
He made a face. "I'm not ungrateful."
"Really?" I spat, turning to him. "You don't call complaining about everything I cook for you being ungrateful?"
"I didn't mean it like that," he said. "I'm just not used to this!"
"Well get used to it! This is going to be your life until you can get off your sorry ass and contribute to society for once in your life!"
I stormed up the stairs, ignoring the look on his face. I slammed by bedroom door shut and threw myself onto my bed, screaming into my pillow.
"I don't know if it's a good idea," my dad said when I told him about the need for me to go grocery shopping.
"Come on," I whined. "I'm a big girl!"
"A big girl doesn't have to ask her father for permission to go shopping," Nathaniel said as he passed by us.
"I am so close to pushing him down the stairs," I said through clenched teeth. "What's that look for?"
He passed me his debit card and the keys to the car. I made to leave but he grabbed my arm.
"Nathan's going with you."
"He most certainly is not!"
"I most certainly am not!" we yelled in unison.
I glared at him and he glared back.
"Grocery shopping is a woman's job," he muttered, sitting on the couch.
I widened my eyes and ran for him but my dad caught me around the waist.
"I'll beat his ass," I snarled.
"Relax," my dad said wearily. "Nathan, get off that couch. You're going to go grocery shopping."
"You're not my dad," he grumbled but stood up regardless.
"And you calm down," my dad told me.
I huffed. "Whatever. Anything else you want from the store?"
"Some beer would be nice," he said and I nodded, heading for the door. "Oh, and don't forget your tampons!"
I screeched to a halt and turned slowly, glaring daggers at my father. He grinned and went to the living room, turning on a football game.
Nathaniel snorted. "Aww, does little Willow need her blood plugs?"
I shuddered. "Blood plugs? What are you, twelve? That's disgusting. Get in the car."
"Speaking of which, you left your purse in mine," he said.
"So that's where it disappeared to. Where is it?"
"I dunno," he shrugged.
"Dude! That has all of my important stuff in it!"
"Relax," he snapped. "I was joking. It's in the guest room. I brought it with me when I got kicked out."
When we got to the store, I stretched. I had enjoyed grocery shopping but I was worried about being recognized. Suddenly, Nathaniel shoved a beanie on my head.
"Hey, that's mine," I whined.
"Which is why you're the one wearing it," he said, rolling his eyes. "Let's just get this over with. Do you want me to get the meat?"
"Oh no, Mr. Blood Plugs," I said with a smirk. I pushed him down the feminine hygiene aisle. "I'll be back."
His eyes were wide. "No! Don't- Hey! Come back!"