Chapter 31. Mad Maggie
While I was awaiting Brandon for a lunch date and finishing a file in the office, I heard the house phone ring. It rang four times. Since I thought Anna was still around, I didn’t answer it at first, then realizing otherwise, I figured that the voicemail would get it. I had just started entering the figures into the grant application when the house phone rang again. Four more rings, then the machine. This went on for four more times before I picked up the house phone on the second ring.
“Megan, is that you?”
“Hello, Maggie, how are you?”
“Well other than absolutely embarrassed by you, I’m fine.”
“Embarrassed? Why? What did I do?”
“Your face is still plastered all over the Inquirer. You know Emma, my roommate, has every copy. All I ever hear about is my sister and her deviant sex life. That Alex Corwynn isn’t so lily white you know—”
She went on and on while I ignored most of what she said and I just continued to enter my figures into the computer.
“So what are you going to do about this?” asked Maggie, which I readily ignored since I was fixing a typo in the application.
“I said, what are you going to do about this?” screeched Maggie into the phone.
“What do you want me to do about what, Maggie?”
“I want a private room. I’m tired of being taunted by Emma about you every time she wants to watch her soap opera when my Ellen is on.”
“How much more is a private room?” I asked as Anna came into the office, wearing her winter coat and carrying the mail.
“$7500?” I repeated loudly into the telephone. “I don’t have $7500, Maggie.”
“Well, then get your rich boss to pay for it.”
“Maggie, you don’t understand, I can’t just go up to him and say, Alex, I need $7500 so my sister will leave me the fuck alone.”
“You want left alone? Fine, fuck you, Megan!” With that, Maggie hung up on me. My hand went to my face out of sheer embarrassment.
“What on earth does she want from you now?” asked Anna, hearing and seeing it all.
“She wants me to pay for a private room because of the stories in the Inquirer.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Probably pay for it. It’s what I always do when she rants at me.”
“Megan, why do you let her treat you this way?” asked Anna, taking off her coat.
“I don’t know. I just do,” I replied, doing my best to avoid this discussion as much as possible, so I kept typing the figures for the grant app.
“Meggy, let me tell you something that I learned a long time ago. You can’t change the past, sweetie. Sure, you wish your parents had been better to Maggie, but you did your best back then. It sounds to me as if Maggie doesn’t appreciate what you’ve done for her all these years. Instead of being grateful for it, she makes you guilty until you do what she wants you to do. How much do you pay out a year for her to stay in that home?”
“$10,000 a year.”
“Before you worked for Mr. Corwynn, how much did you make?” asked Anna, removing her wool coat and putting it over her arm.
“And ten of it went to your sisters’ care?”
“How did you live in D.C. with that little income?”
“I’ll tell you but you got to promise me that you won’t tell Alex. If he knew, I’d be in it deep.”
“Fine, I promise, now answer the question.”
“I lived in a furnished studio apartment.”
“So when you moved in here, all that you brought with you was all that you had?”
“Here, Mr. Corwynn was certain you were storing your belongings somewhere.”
“I know. I’ve let him think that too.”
“Meggy, don’t pay for anything else for her.”
“I’ll think about it, Anna.”
“You’re going to pay it, aren’t you?”
“Why don’t you discuss it with Mr. Corwynn or Brandon first?”
“Don’t set me up, Anna. I know what Alex would say and Brandon will—”
“Brandon will what?” asked Brandon, coming through the office door. Neither of us had heard him enter the entrance from the kitchen, and I totally forgot about our lunch date after dealing with Maggie.
“Brandon will tell her that to pay an additional $7500 a year for her sister to have a private room is absolutely ridiculous,” replied Anna. She seemed thrilled with his timing, knowing that I wouldn’t have said a word to him in the first place or Alex either for that matter. Anna was right about that, I would have just cut the check and suffered the loss as usual, just to shut Maggie up.
“Absolutely ridiculous is right. Have you talked to Alex about this yet? No, of course not or you wouldn’t be thinking about it at all. Now, are we doing lunch or what?”