Jessica Thompson as That Girl

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XX. Equality

Jessica’s POV:

I squeal in delight. I cannot believe he got me the heels I wanted. This is wholly unlike him. Once I opened the lids, the squealing came to a halt. “Shoes?” I stared at the content inside the box.

“Well, I’m still against it, but I felt bad, so I got you new shoes.”

I tucked my lips over my teeth and covered the shoes with the lid.

“Dad.”

“Yes, my little sunshine?”

“I needed heels.”

“Why? Why get heels when you have a perfect pair of good sneakers?” He grabbed the box and opened the lids. “Look at these! They’re spotless! Made to protect your whole foot, and it’s twice the price of those darn heels.”

I exhale harshly through my nostrils, “Return these and get me the heels that save you money.”

“No.”

I stood up and folded my arms, “Why not?”

“Jessica Thompson! You don’t need those heels!”

“Yes, I do!”

“It’s autumn! Why do you even need heels that hurt your feet and not fully cover them? How ridiculous!”

Why does he talk as if we’re living in the old era? “I need them for dances!”

He stood up, “You don’t go to dances!”

“Maybe I will this time!”

Dad scoffed, “Please.” Why do my parents keep giving me these reactions?

“Oh? No need to beg, dear father. I will go to this upcoming dance!” I head towards the door. “And I’ll go with a date!”

“You don’t dare!”

“I will!” I slammed the door shut. “How could-” I growled slowly and opened the door. “Leave. This is my bedroom.”

Dad held the bag and laughed, “Your bedroom? Who is the one who paid for this whole house.”

I puffed my cheeks, “You’re right.” I turn my head away. “Mom! Dad wouldn’t leave your part of the house!”

“Oh, gosh!” Mom screams from downstairs. “I could hear your bickering from the front door. Sweetheart, leave Jess’s bedroom.”

“She’s saying she is going to go to the school dance, and even worse, go with a date!”

I can hear footsteps from the stairway, “Really?” Mom squeals. She held my hands. “Are you really?”

“What?” Dad shouts. “No. No. No! There will be no dating. Not under my watch.”

I gave dad a side glance and smirked, “Then, you must not have been watching carefully enough.”

“You-”

“I dated boys!”

“You!”

“And even kissed boys! Ha!”

“Now. Now. Children.” Mom got in between us. “What happened?”

“She’s unappreciative. That’s what happened,” dad responds.

“Why are you treating me differently from Brody?” I ask.

“W-What?”

I sniffed, “When we were at the mall, you got him the stuff he wanted. But, you won’t even let me buy makeup and a pair of heels.”

“W-Well, that’s different.”

“How is it different?”

“He wanted clothes and durable shoes.”

“Fine.” I ground my molars. “Then, since Brody can get condoms. I want condoms!”

“What?”

“I only agree with you. Since he got durable shoes, you got me durable shoes. So, since you gave him a box of condoms, I should be able to get one too.” Yes. Logic.

“You can’t!”

“Why not?”

“You’re too young!”

“You gave him a condom when he was fifteen.”

Mom gave dad a disappointed side glance.

“And-” I took a step closer. “Since you turned a blind eye when Brody sneaks girls into his bedroom. You should be okay if I sneak in boys, right?”

“You-” His face turned red. “Brody!” He shouted. “Brody! Where is that boy so I can ground him!” I cannot wait to see Brody’s face when he gets home.

“Brody is at a swim meet,” mom said.

Dad puffed his cheeks in the same manner I did. “No condoms!”

I copied his actions.

“I’ll get you those heels!”

“And I want makeup.” I need to negotiate while the iron is hot.

“I want a daughter, not a clown.”

“I’ll minimize the makeup.”

“I’ll give you twenty dollars.”

I gasp, “And you think that’s enough for makeup?”

“A box of condoms cost only twenty-dollar,” he said mockingly.

“Maybe you can get me that box instead,” I returned the mockery.

“Fifty.”

“Fine.” I walk towards him and throw out my arms. He places the box of shoes in my hands. “Thank you for the shoes.”

Mom exhaled softly and left the bedroom.

“Sorry, I raised my voice,” I said.

Dad slumps on the bedroom, “No, condoms.”

“You should be happy I’m thinking of protection,” I mumbled.

“No, condoms,” he repeated.

I groan, “Dad.”

He exhales heavily.

I pouted, “All because I want heels and makeup doesn’t mean I’m going to have children.”

“What’s so great about having children? Nothing.” He grasps my arms, “So, don’t have them. They’ll only crush your hope and dreams.” I wonder if he remembers I’m his daughter, his child. “And-” he’s about to start his tangent. “Sex hurts like hell. That’s why your mom and I stopped doing it.”

I nearly vomited.

“I’m serious,” he said. “You remember how you burnt your finger when you were younger?”

I nodded.

“It hurts ten times worse than that.”

I wonder if he knows I’m not the little girl who gets scared of everything anymore. I opened my mouth, but the worrying sight on his face forced me to close it. I can’t crush his hope about me growing up. Not now, at least.

“Oh, no. That sounds dangerous. I don’t ever want to get near a boy,” I said in a bland tone.

He held me and patted my head, “That’s it. That’s my little sunshine.” He kisses the top of my head. “Every boy will hurt you. You should never do anything until you’re married.”

“And when can I get married?”

“After you established a fine career where you don’t need a man. So, you should pour all your heart and soul into making money. Money won’t betray you.”

Yes. He was the one who taught me to be greedy.

All in all, he is telling me I don’t need to get married.

After our pleasant conversation, I went to sleep.

Wake up.

Breakfast.

School.

My eyes met Jax in the hallway. Immediately, he turned his head. His ears turned red. Cute.

“What are you looking at?” I turned around and saw Brody with Todd.

“An unattractive species. What about you?”

Brody ground his molars, “Don’t you have anything to say to me?”

I wrapped my fingers around my chin. “Get off of my new shoes?” We all looked down to see Brody stepping on the tip of my shoe. He has enormous feet.

He removes his shoe, “I meant something else!”

I continued to stroke my chin, “Oh, yes!” I smack a fist against the open palm. “Mom told me to tell you to handwash your swimming underwear from now on instead of throwing it in the washer. She said the stuff is expensive and you shouldn’t-”

Brody covers my mouth, “Not that!” I know what he wants to talk about, but I want to tease him a bit. “I meant, how can you get me grounded? I’m grounded, and you get new shoes!”

I remove his hand, “Get your fact straight. I also got money and brand new heels.”

“You-”

“You- what?” I scoffed, “You should feel blessed that I didn’t snitch on you about the alco-”

He covers my mouth, “Don’t you dare.”

I remove his hand, “And the cigaret-”

“That was one time!” He growls lowly, almost as if he is attempting to scare me. “Fine! I’ll let you go this time.”

Please. As if he had any power over me.

“Jess!” Krista held me. “Good morning.”

I smile, “Good mor-” I nearly choked on my saliva when I saw the hickey on her neck. “Good morning.”

Krista pushes her hair back and smiles at the boys in front of us. I tried my best to divert my eyes from the mark. I cannot believe she could casually wear that around as if it’s nothing. “Good morning!”

“Morning,” Todd said.

I caught Brody staring at Krista’s neck. No. “Well, let’s go!” I tugged Krista away from them. I’m not saying Francis Weber, sexy potential male model, but it’s better than seeing Krista together with my brother.

Krista squeals, “Did you see that?”

“See what?”

“Your brother! How he was staring at my neck. He’s definitely jealous.”

I divert my eyes, “Y-Yeah.”

“Wait till the autumn festival.”

“Yay. I can’t wait.” The enthusiasm in my voice was nonexistent.

“Something wrong? Did someone say something to you again? Who?” She looks around the hallway. “Who is it? I’ll give that person a good time.” She means she’ll go and beat them up for me.

“No. Nothing like that.”

“Then, what’s wrong?”

“It’s just...don’t you think this is childish?”

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