“Chess! Noelle! Come down here for a second!”
I opened the door to my bedroom the same time as Noelle. She had a phone pressed against her ear, her blonde hair tied up in a messy bun. “Hold on,” she said to whoever was on the other line. Noelle glanced at me and jerked her head towards the stairs. “Should we pretend we didn’t hear her?”
“Sure,” I replied, going back into my room. I heard Noelle close her door, her voice rising through the wall. I went back to the book I was reading, biting my old bookmark I got in fifth grade.
Noelle and I never fought. I had no idea how that was possible, since we were complete opposites. She was a tall blonde with slight curves and killer eyeliner. Her boyfriends were all in bands at dive bars. I was almost as tall as her chin, bony thin with dark hair. Unlike Noelle, I was unskilled in anything guy-related. My last boyfriend could have literally left the country and I don’t think I would have noticed. But even with these differences, we couldn’t argue with each other. We just agreed to ignore Mom and not tell her things she didn’t need to know.
Mom walked up the steps and knocked on Noelle’s door before just barging in my room. “I called you both, why didn’t you go downstairs?” She scolded when Noelle finally sauntered into the room. My sister fell onto my bed, making me bounce once. “I’m your mother, you need to listen to me. When I call, you better answer, understand?”
“Pourquoi?” Noelle replied.
I bit my lip to keep from laughing. Mom glared at Noelle before addressing us on the issue at hand. “I’ve been called into work. Your grandma’s coming over to watch you guys while I’m gone. Chess, you’re allowed to have Rupi over if you want. Noelle...just don’t be reckless, okay?”
“Wait, I’m not allowed to have a friend over?” Noelle protested.
Mom looked at her skeptically. “Honestly, I’ve seen your ‘friends’ try to sneak through your window at night before. So yes, no friends for you.”
“Chess and Rupi got arrested!” Noelle cried out, flinging a hand towards me as if I was a exhibit A of why her life was in shambles.
“Detained,” I corrected casually, flipping a page of my book.
Noelle shot a glare at me before turning back to Mom. “I'm nineteen, Mom. And Chess is sixteen. We don’t need a babysitter. We’re home alone while you’re at work all the freaking time.”
Mom crossed her arms. I smashed my face into the pages of the book as if it interested me so much I had to somehow become it. Noelle was really firing our mom up. “As long as you live under my roof, you do as I say. I don’t know what you two do when you are at your father’s, but you certainly don’t treat him this way.”
“He treats us like adults, that’s why!” Noelle retorted, sliding off my bed and stomping out of my bedroom. I peeked above the book to watch her leave. After that, Mom and I stared at each other in astonished silence. Usually I was the one slamming my door shut after arguments. Noelle more or less said yes and rebelled only when she knew nobody was looking.
After a really long period of keeping my mouth shut, I lowered the book so I could speak. “So should I call Rupi now or…?”
I waited outside for Rupi, since Noelle and Mom still hand some tension and Grandma wasn’t here yet to chase Mom off and ease everyone up. It was kind of cold, and I was wearing a thick jacket over my cotton pajamas as I watched for Matt’s car lights. He was Rupi’s designated chauffeur since her parents were God knows where doing God knows what. All Rupi and I have deduced from her parents were that whatever they were rich and somehow kept getting richer.
About to go in, I suddenly heard Matt’s car. I wasn’t sure what kind he had, but it was black, shiny, and pretty. His parents, like most young adults doing almost zero work in the city, were filthy rich and bought it for him as a going away present. So far, Rupi had been the only girl in his car, since Matt couldn’t convince chicks at bars to go out with him. The first thing they asked, he told me, was whether or not you had a good job. And apparently working at the art gallery did not qualify to be good nor a job.
Matt, however, was drop dead handsome. He had hollow cheeks and messy brown hair, which made me beyond angry because that was exactly the type of guy I liked yet was never able to obtain due to my apparent hideousness.
Also, he was eighteen. Even though I was almost seventeen, my mom would probably die if she found out his age.
Rupi got out of the car, carrying a night bag at her hands. “I called my mom, she told me I could stay the night,” Rupi told me, walking around the car. She patted the hood affectionately. “And Matt doesn’t mind dragging me around town.”
Matt rolled his window down. He had sunglasses on, even though it was already dark out. I didn’t give a shit what people said about douche bags wearing glasses at night, it was hot. “Hey Chess,” he greeted me, flashing a smile.
I forgot how to speak for a second. Fuck, he’s so hot. In a really drug addict way. “What’s up, Matt?”
Rupi snorted under her breath as she passed me. She grabbed my wrist and dragged me towards the steps of my house. “See you tomorrow!” She hollered at Matt. He waved at us -- well, in my mind, he waved at me -- and pulled out of his spot. Rupi watched him drive off for a second before she turned to me, forcing me to stay outside. “Dude. You totally think he’s cute.”
I made a face, pretending to be disgusted. “Not really my type. Maybe we should introduce him to Noelle.” That’s a lie. My sister would tear him to bits. And probably laugh about it afterwards. He should stick with girls who think art gallery jobs are really interesting. Like me, for example.
“You were pretty much undressing him with your eyes.” Rupi giggled as I sighed, opening the door to my house. She made her voice deep and totally unlike Matt’s. “Hey Chess.”
Ignoring her, I scooted against the wall of the narrow hallway to let her in. In front of us were the stairs towards the second story. To the left, the kitchen, and the right, the living room. Both had arches to the back rooms, one was a guest room and a bathroom, the other a dining room. Rupi followed me into the kitchen, where Mom was preparing dinner. Noelle was still sulking upstairs. “Hi, Ms. McAvery,” Rupi greeted politely.
“Hi, Rupi. Are you staying the night?” Mom asked casually. She was drizzling cream of soup over chicken in the pan.
“Yeah, I already called my parents. They’re on business, anyway,” Rupi told her. Mom paused before nodding. All that she heard about Rupi’s parents was what I told her -- which was, I admit, not very truthful. I couldn’t recall what I said specifically, but before Mom asked any questioned, I yanked Rupi upstairs.
We stopped at Noelle’s room first. I burst through her door and waved my hands back at Rupi, who was standing in the doorway. Noelle was leaning back on her chair, balancing on two legs. She changed from earlier: now, she was wearing some cheap band shirt and boy shorts, her bare feet crossed on the wooden desk jammed up against her wall. “I’ve got a friend and you don’t!” I cheered once.
Noelle grabbed a stuffed animal beside her laptop and hurled it at me. I ducked, and it squeaked in pain as the little mouse hit the wall. She reached for another, so I leaped back out of the room and closed the door as fast as I can. “Sorry,” I gasped to Rupi, “I just really wanted to rub it in her face.”
Rupi raised an eyebrow. “Can I put my bags in your room --?”
She was suddenly cut off by a horn blaring outside. We both walked to the top of the stairs, staring at the front door. Mom appeared from the arch leading the the kitchen, her brow wrinkling. Noelle even peeked out of her door curiously. She sighed as soon as she heard the next blast of car horn. “Well, crap,” Noelle cussed.
“What is it?” Rupi asked, turning to her.
YOU ARE READING
Here's what's wrong with my life: my dad's a washed up rock star who is determined to ruin my reputation, my mother is washing down her regret of birthing my sister and I with booze, and I think my therapist has the hots for me. Also, my Latin tea...