XII. This is Melody
Everyone around scattered into their positions.
I couldn’t move.
“Piper,” he said.
My eyes flicker towards the young woman and daughter beside her.
She smiled, “Piper!” Without another word, she rushed towards me and embraced me.
I pat her head, “How are you, Melody?”
Melody gave me a large smile, “I’m good! You’re so beautiful, big sister!”
I smile, “Thank you.”
Melody Lun is my younger half-sister. A few years ago, my parents got divorced because of dad’s affair. He impregnated another woman and left mom.
After a lengthy discussion, we decided not to blame Melody for what happened. We accepted her into the family.
“I miss you so much!” She hugged me harder. I’m pretty sure she acted the same way with all our other siblings.
Even though Melody is young, she knew there was something wrong.
All of her siblings are much older, and she is the youngest.
All of her siblings have the same mother, except for her.
All of her siblings grew up in the same house, except for her.
“Melody,” the woman said. “Come to mom. Piper has to get ready.”
Melody looks at her then back to me. “Am I a bother?”
“Of course not.” I look at the woman, “I don’t mind talking with my sister a bit longer.” My eyes flicker towards dad, “Unless you two-”
“Of course not!” Dad responded. “You two are sisters! Sisters should spend quality time together.” With the woman, dad left the room.
Melody helps me sit down on the couch in the hallway. “Piper, are you tired? Do you want me to get you something?”
I pat her head, “No. You don’t have to get me anything. Just sitting here and keeping me company for a little while would be good.”
Melody grinned, “Alright! Um- so my teacher said I’m really good! I got the biggest amount of stars this month. She gave me an award, and I really want to bring it with me to show everyone-”
I listen to Melody’s chatter about her achievements. Then, she went on to talk about how beautiful and handsome everyone looked. Next, she spoke about how happy she is to be here. Afterward, she would ask me a bunch of questions about how I am.
This is Melody.
She always talked about what she did well and then praised everyone else to make sure she doesn’t sound too self-absorbed. Next, she will make sure we all know how appreciative she is to be here. Finally, she would ask us questions and find our interests.
“Melody-” I said.
Immediately, she stops talking, “Yes?”
I tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Her silver earrings dangled in the air. “Did something happen?”
Immediately, Melody shook her head, “Nothing. I’m very happy!”
I wouldn’t say I’m too fond of this part of Melody.
“I’m your big sister. You can tell me anything.”
Melody’s hands clutch together, “Um- I...I...I heard there was a family meeting. Um...Um...Is it okay if I go?”
I pinched her cheek, “Of course!” I can’t understand why she would think she can’t attend. Then again, I’m not surprised she would ask that. Since the day Melody could talk, she would always ask permission for everything. She acts as if we would throw her out if she misbehaves.
“It’s just-” Melody bit her lower lip, “Josh said that everyone would be wearing matching shirts.”
Oh yeah. I remember how Nina suggested that each family would wear their own shirts or something like that. She thought it would be cute.
Melody played with her fingers, “Um...Dad and mom cannot go because they have work.”
That’s a lie.
They can go.
But they know it won’t be a warm welcome.
“And...I don’t have a shirt.”
I smile, “Of course you do.”
Her eyes perked up, “I do?”
“Yeah! Who team do you think you’re on?”
Melody gasps, “Am I on your team?”
I grinned and leaned closer, “Don’t tell anyone, but I need your help. You need to be on my side, got it?”
Melody grinned, “Yes!”
I placed a finger on my lips, “Keep it a secret! Or else someone may hear and complain!”
“Yeah! Everyone wants you on their team!”
I shush her again.
She copied my actions.
Melody hugged me, “I love you.”
I embraced her, “I love you too.” I kissed her temple.
“Melody.” That woman. “Let’s go. We need to fix your hair a bit. You can talk to everyone after the ceremony.”
Melody nods, “I’ll see you later?”
I nod, “Of course.”
Melody hops out off the couch and leaves the room. For a while, the woman looked at me before she said: “Thank you,” and left.
“Piper?” Just when I thought my headache might be over.
Dad took a few steps into the room. He cleared his throat and adjusted his tie, “Thank you.”
I smile, “I heard that from her already.”
His eyes flicker around, “I...I mean-” he exhaled heavily before he turned towards the door.
I sat up straight, “Mom?”
Mom walked towards dad and smiled softly. “I think it’s about time we all talk together.”
At that moment, the realization occurred. They must have talked to everyone or close to everyone by now. That’s why no one had stirred up any trouble at Nina’s wedding.
Mom settled beside me.
Dad beside her.
Then, the talk began.
The reach towards closure.
“It’s my fault,” mom said. “That everyone is like this. I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did six years ago.”
I don’t understand why she would blame herself. She had every right to react that way. How else would someone feel after they found out their husband had an affair?
“That way, you kids wouldn’t have become so bitter.”
She shook her head, “Piper. Your dad had faults. Yes. He should’ve gone to me instead of going behind my back.”
Dad looked away.
“But, I forgive him. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life resenting him. And I do not want you all to resent him for the rest of your life.”
I inhaled a sharp breath.
Mom placed a hand on my cheek, “I think you and your dad have a long talk ahead of you.”
When mom stood up to walk out, dad said: “Thank you.”
She turned and smiled at him before she left the room.
“I hate you,” I said. He didn’t speak any further. “I hate you so much for lying and cheating. I hate you so much for using me when you lied and cheated.”
What hurt the most from what happened would be when I found out dad used me to excuse his behavior. Whenever he went out with the other woman, he would tell mom that he visited me in Santa Cruz.
In reality, he never went to see me.
Even when I told him I had a difficult time in Santa Cruz. I told him about my mental health. But, instead of consoling me, he would lie and comfort another woman.
What type of father would put another woman ahead of their own children?
Each of my siblings had a taste of betrayal in their own way. Tyler, Amanda, and Nina were the closest to mom. So, when mom got stabbed, it hurt them too.
On the other hand, I was closest to dad. And to find out the man you look up to all your life can do such a thing doesn’t taste good.
Then, it happened.
The dam burst.
I cried wildly.
Dad would pat my back and console me once in a while.
I need to re-do my makeup.
Once our crying marathon was over, I wiped off the tears and stood up. “Apologize to me.”
“I... I’m sorry.”
“Did you apologize to mom?”
“And everyone else?”
“Am I the last one?”
“Because...Because it had always been hard to talk to you.”
I take a few blinks. “Why?”
“It’s never easy to tell your favorite that you screwed up.”
I inhaled a sharp breath and blinked away the tears, “We’re having a family meeting soon. Matching t-shirt for each family. That lady better not make any scene.” I turned towards the door.
My legs halted, and when I turned back, I saw a soft smile on dad’s face. His smile disappeared when he saw my glare.
“I told Melody she would be on my team, so you two have to fend for yourself.”
Dad chuckled, “Alright.”
With each step, my heart felt lighter. I wiped off the leftover tears, and unknowingly there was a smile on my face.