Our mother was standing at the stove, stirring something creamy and fragrant. She had brought home our other sister, who was storming around the kitchen table, slamming down textbooks and yelling. Mother continued to attend her cooking, unperturbed.
“Hey mom,” I yelled over Iris, who glared at me, furious that I had interrupted her tantrum. “What’s for dinner?”
“Oyster stew, dear.” She turned to our sister. “Now, Iris. You’re overreacting. I’m sure you can go a day without mascara.” She opened her mouth, but before she could say anything, Lyre entered from the living room, and our mother immediately began questioning her.
“So what was it you needed for tomorrow? For homecoming, you said.” Lyre looked puzzled for a split second.
“Oh. Right. Tomorrow is Superhero Day, and I was looking for my black cape, but I found it.”
“Oh, that sounds fun. What was today, then? I thought it was something every day this week,” she continued pleasantly as Iris fumed in the corner.
“Today was Nerd Day, but none of us wanted to be nerds,” I interjected.
“Right,” Hobbes added. “and Wednesday is Harry Potter Day, Thursday is Disney Day, and Friday is homecoming t-shirt day.” Lyre smiled and left the room, humming.
“Excuse me,” Iris began, “but you interrupted my conversation with mother.” Our mother sighed. I glanced over at Hobbes, who rolled his eyes and gestured towards the back door. As we slammed it shut, we could hear frantic screams.
“ I CAN’T go without makeup! I CAN’T! You don’t underst-” Outside it was much quieter.
“It’s a good thing she goes to school across the bay. It would be Hell to ride to school with that mess,” Hobbes remarked. I laughed nervously.
“Be careful; It might get angry.”
“Yeah. We don’t want to make it unhappy,” he snickered. “What are you tomorrow? I’m thinking Superman.”
“I’ll be the Flash.” We walked around the house and entered through the front door where we met our father, who had just gotten home. “Hey dad.”
“Hobbes. Locke. Where’s your mother? I need –” He began to sniff the air greedily. “The kitchen,” he answered, and strode away before we could speak. Iris’ voice no longer echoed through the hallways, but we heard loud rap music from upstairs.
“It’s a good thing she doesn’t share a room with Lyre,” I said. My brother nodded in vigorous agreement. “God, those two would have murdered each other long ago over just music taste.” I began climbing the front stairs. The landing branched away into seven rooms; our five bedrooms, a guest room, and the spacious ‘playroom,’ which doubled as a weight room. A different kind of music emanated from the crack underneath the door as we walked past. Lyre must have been on the treadmill. I checked my watch. It was 7:30, her usual running time. She worked like a clock, and would reemerge around 8:00, just in time to shower before dinner.
Bertrand and Holden were talking. Hobbes paused to listen at their door. “It’s funny, you know? They get along so well…”
“…But they’re so different,” I finished. “I know. Bertrand is more like Luther and Dashiell, but Holden…” I trailed off.
“Is like Lyre. But chiller, you know? Like Lyre on Valium,” he continued. I nodded, chewing my lip.
“I guess Holden just gets along with everybody.” My brother made a noise of agreement as he fiddled with our doorknob. It finally relented with a loud report, and we retreated to our beds with the rest of our homework as we waited for supper.