If this wasn’t such a serious situation, I would clap and scream: “Great job! Good! Now, slap her!”
“Sit down,” Nina commanded.
My hands are itching.
“Look,” dad said. “We’re only here to take Melody home.”
“Yeah, and to keep her far away from us,” I grumbled.
“Trish didn’t mean that.”
I exhale sharply, “Yes. I must have misunderstood it when she said: I don’t want you to be around them." I pulled out a chair beside Nina.
Trisha inhaled a deep breath, “I just want my daughter.”
“And I want my little sister to be safe,” Nina replied. “Flying here from another state to see my younger sister crying is not what I consider safe.”
“Look here,” Trisha took a step closer, “She’s my daughter, and you two have no business in our family affairs.” That’s her way of indirectly saying how she doesn’t consider us as family.
Well, good for her because our thoughts aren’t that different.
“And if I want to probe?” Nina replied. “What are you going to do about it?” The chair scraps against the floor, “Are you going to call the cops? Go ahead. Call them.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“I’m saying it’s not my first time in court.” Believe it or not, Nina has been in court several times throughout the years.
It’s sad to say, but a handful of women came and sued Matt for childcare during the past two years of marriage. Apparently, they have his children, and he should pay them.
I went to one of the court cases.
It was funny to watch.
Matt better prays he doesn’t have another child because Nina didn’t sign a prenup.
Of course, if an average person were to throw that type of threat out, it wouldn’t matter. But, to be threatened by a billionaire’s wife is a whole different story.
“Nina,” dad said softly.
“What? I’m just saying, one of the responsibilities of an older sister is to protect her younger sister. And to watch someone drag her out of the house crying and screaming wouldn’t exactly make me a good sister.”
Nina wasn’t like this before.
She used to be less intimidating, a pushover, some may say.
But, the upper class changed her.
She fights back - tooth and nail.
“You want her back?” Nina question. “Convince her to go back willingly. Threaten her to go back? Don’t expect ever to see her again.”
Trish’s eyes enlarged, and her face was so red, it looked like it would explode any second. “You-”
Dad placed a hand in front of Trisha, “We’ll come back another day.”
Nina smiled, “Good idea.”
“Our daughter!” Trisha said.
“She’ll be fine here. Let’s go.”
“I said: Let’s go!" Dad’s voice didn’t sound pleasant. I’m pretty sure he has a thing or two to say to Trisha once they get home.
Nina and I stood up and walked behind them. We want to make sure they get out of my house safely. When we passed the guest room, I could hear Melody and the boys inside. It’s a good thing they’re not out here.
Who knows what the crazy lady would do?
“Piper,” dad called for me after he closed the passenger door. “I’m sorry for everything you heard.”
“And I’m sorry that I’m sick of hearing your apologies.”
“Piper,” his voice softened.
“No. Stop it. You’ve already apologized for what you’ve done. She didn’t. She called us gold diggers dad. She disrespects us even after we’re willing to let things go. And worse of all, she tried to keep our sibling away from us. Melody is our little sister.”
Dad’s hands clenched firmly, “She’s... it’s just she’s easily influenced by the media.”
“So, you’re telling me you want a woman who can’t even think independently to raise your daughter?” Each word that comes out of my lips hurt him. I know it. But it doesn’t mean I’ll back down.
“Dad,” Nina said. “We’re not trying to take Melody away from you. We want the best for her, and you know that. If one day, Melody doesn’t want to associate with us anymore, then that’s it. But, we want her to make the decision, not-” Nina’s eyes went towards the inside of the car, “her.”
Dad nods, “I’ll talk to her.”
I wanted to say something, but when I opened my mouth, Nina pinched me from behind. She’s indirectly telling me to let it go. I had no choice but to keep my mouth shut and watch them drive off.
Once they turned at a corner, Nina blew out a deep breath. “Quite the family gathering.”
I smile lazily, “According to Trisha. It isn’t a family gathering.”
Nina chuckled, “Where’s Crystal and Dustin?”
“Jackson took them to the ice cream store.”
“Jack? Why is he here?”
“I don’t even want to know,” she responded.
“Why are you all here?”
The sun seems a bit brighter today than usual, and there wasn’t any wind. It’s nice. “I visited Alice and Neilson, so I thought why not drop by and visit the family too. I miss everyone.”
After Nina got married, she packed her bags and moved back to New York with her three sons to be with her husband.
I nodded while we walked back into the house. “How long are you staying?”
“Just for the week.”
I grinned, “If you’re staying at my house. You got to pay rent.”
Nina rolled her eyes, “Go hassle the husband.”
“Oh, please. We all know you’re the one who wears the pants in the relationship.”
Nina grabbed her pants and pulled them up. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing at her antics. I open the front door, “So, decide a name for the infant yet?” I look at her large stomach.
“We were thinking of Molly or Lola.”
“And if the baby is a boy?”
“Boy? What Boy? I have three boys. This, in here-” she pokes at her stomach, “is a girl.”
“Why don’t you just check the gender? Make life easier.”
Nina pouted. She didn’t respond because she couldn’t. She chooses not to check the gender because there’s a part of her that knows she’ll be disappointed. Well, disappointment will come either way.
No prevention, only delay.
The guest room door opened and Matt came into view. “I have an emergency meeting to attend in the city,” Matt said.
Nina nods, “Okay.”
“I’ll be back tonight.”
“Safe driving. Okay?”
“Alright.” He bends down to kiss her before he leaves the house.
When Nina noticed my looks, she said: “What?”
“That’s it?” I question.
“You’re going to let him leave like that? What if he’s using the emergency meeting as an excuse to meet another woman.”
Nina gave me a side-eye glance, “He can meet a woman, a man, or even an alien for all I care.”
I applauded her then pulled up my pants. Nina burst out laughing at my response before we went inside the guest room.
“Thank you! Thank you!” Melody charged at her and embraced her by the side of the waist.
“You like it?”
She nods, “Love it!” She spins around before showing off the box full of art supplies.
After we talked a bit more while the kids played in the living room, Jackson came home with the duo. Crystal screamed when she saw everyone, and Dustin imitated her. Soon, the living room was filled with chatbox monsters.
Nina peeks at Jackson, who cleaned up the paint from Dustin’s face beside the kitchen sink. She looks at me and then back at him.
“What?” I whispered.
She bit the piece of apple and moved in closer. “I’ve heard Jackson has a lot of business in California?”
Dustin burst out laughing then slapped Jackson with the baby wipes.
Involuntarily, I smiled.
When Nina smiled, I cleared my throat. “He’s only here to support me. Like you.”
Nina nods then backs away slowly.
“Hey there, little buddy,” Jackson said. “Be nice.” He grabbed a new wipe and cleaned the paint from Dustin’s hands.
“Jackson!” Crystal shouted. She had her green hands in the air. “Wipe! I need a wipe!”
“Unicorn,” I said. “Why don’t you finish painting before cleaning your hands instead of using all those wipes.”
“I need to use new paints, and you told me I couldn’t mix the colors!” She turned towards Jackson and pouted. He exhaled softly, then smiled before he lifted her towards the kitchen sink.
“Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday to me.”
Crystal sang the Happy Birthday song while she washed her hands.
When she finished, she dried her hands then rushed back to the living room.
I glance at Nina, “I blame you the most for bringing paint.”
She shrugged, “At least they’re leaving us alone.”
“Paint on the paper!” I shouted. “Paint on the pap- Theodore!"
Theo turned towards me and moved away from the wall. He smiled before he fell on his bum. Then, he pats his paint-covered hands all over the giant papers.
Throughout the night, Nina and I caught up with what happened in our everyday lives. After the children painted, they would play games and finally watch a movie upstairs until they fell asleep. Matt came back and caught up in the backyard while Nina and I stayed in the living room.
I lean my chair back and bite the piece of mango off the fork. “What do you think they are talking about?”
Jackson and Matt sat on the balcony with the artificial lights shining on them. I’m going to admit it. They look good.
“I don’t know? Business?”
“Damn. You sleep beside him every night?”
“Well, that’s what married couples do.”
I grinned, “According to your large stomach. You do more than just sleep.”
Nina laughed mockingly.
“So, how big is he?”
I laughed, “What?”
“It’s been almost eight years, and you’re still asking that question?”
“I’ll stop asking once I know the answer.”
She glared at me playful, “Will you really?”
“Wait. Wait. Are you saying you’re going to tell me?”
“Look at your fork.”
The fork in my hand drops. I look at it and gasp, “That’s nasty! Why would you tell me? Now, I have to get rid of all the forks in my house!”
“You’re the one who’s been bugging me for almost eight years!”
I grabbed the fork and grinned, “He has a good utensil.”
Nina smirked, “Better when it’s moving.” She grabbed a fork and stabbed it in the air.
The fork dropped again. “Nina!”
Nina burst out laughing, and I couldn’t help but follow along. I miss it - this feeling. I know there are tears on the corner of my eyes, and if my lips weren’t spread into a large smile, people would think I’m crying. The chair leaned so far back; I nearly dropped to the ground - thank goodness for my quick reflexes.
The door slides open, and I can feel the fresh breeze. I brought the chair back to all four legs and attempted to compose myself.
“What are we laughing about?” Matt asked.
Nina and I looked at each other. We couldn’t help but smile ridiculously at the question. Together we replied to the question with a single word: “Forks.”