XXXV. The Percentages
She freaking played me.
Victoria Burke, I don’t know if I should applaud her for her acting skill or pull her hair for using me.
Brody glared at me so intensely that I wouldn’t be surprised if he leaped across the table and strangled me.
Mom settled down the last plate of food. “I’m sorry, Victoria. I hope I didn’t cook too little.”
Victoria smiles, “This smell absolutely divine Mrs.Thompson. Thank you.”
Mom, dad, and Victoria start eating while Brody and I continue our stare down. I’m grateful I can’t read thoughts because whatever Brody thinks may be the most unpleasant thing in the world.
“How come I haven’t seen your mom at the book clubs meeting?” One way mom minimizes stress is by going to a book club with the other moms once a week. In reality, they’re only there to smack talk about their ungrateful family and drink alcohol. No one is against it as long as it makes mom less angry around the house.
Dad’s way of minimizing stress is going golfing in the summer and hunting in the winter. Once in a while, he would go ice fishing.
I wonder what I’m going to pick up in the future once adult life drives me towards insanity.
Perhaps, classic gardening?
Victoria fork halted mid-air, “Mom went on vacation.” She’s lying.
Then again, what do I know? The girl conned me into a meal with my family to hook up with my brother again.
“What’s wrong with you two?” Dad question. “Why are you staring at each other like that?”
“Nothing,” Brody and I replied at the same time.
Victoria exhaled, “I’m sorry. It must be unpleasant for me to be here.”
“Nonsense. You’re Brody’s girlfriend.”
Brody exhales. It must be time for the truth. “Mom-”
“Mrs.Thompson,” Victoria intervened. “Brody and I broke up.” I want to applaud her, she’s good. Labeled herself as the victim instead of the annoying ex-girlfriend that’s stalking her ex-boyfriend.
Someone dropped a utensil. “I’m sorry,” dad said. He went down the table to pick up the fork.
“I’ll go get you a new one,” mom said.
“No,” dad quickly said. “I’ll get it myself. You had a long day.” I wonder if I should drop a utensil and use it as an excuse to escape the danger zone.
“Nonsense,” mom replied. “I’m already up, so I might as well go get it.”
“Mother,” I said. “Father.” I look at both of them. “Allow this daughter to get the new utensils. You two are the respectful elders. Please, do not overbear yourselves.” Who knew that one day, mom’s chants about historical literature would come in handy.
Both mom and dad are fighting over the new utensil to get out of the awkward topic of break-ups—everyone in the room has experienced at least one of Brody’s crazy ex-girlfriend before.
For me, it was when I was in middle school. The girl clung to him while Brody and I were at the shopping outlets. I was so terrified of her that I walked three miles home instead of waiting for Brody.
Plus, if I leave, I can smoothly escape into my bedroom. Who cares if I get an earful from my parents later? I’m going to get it anyway for indirectly helping Victoria get into the house.
“Baby sister,” Brody said. My heart made its quick escape while my brain shouted: Run fool run! “Allow this older brother to aid you. Right elders?” Brody forced out a smile that’s so terrifying; it made all of us wet our pants. That was a figure of speech.
“Yes. You, two siblings, should bond together over the utensil,” mom mutters. Mom deduced it was better to stay with the potentially crazy ex-girlfriend than the loco in the coco son that she sees seven days a week.
“No,” I said slowly. I cannot believe my mom is kicking me while I’m down. I’m her daughter; she should be protecting me from all predators. I look at my dad. Dad gave off an awkward smile and looked away. I’m going to remember this. “It’s one utensil. No need for-”
Brody knocked over the spoon, “It’s two. Now, let’s go to the kitchen, dear sister.” The more endearment he used, the more terrifying the situation seemed. I don’t want to enter a room alone with him, mainly a place with knives.
With disappointment in both my parents, I got up from the wooden chair. I left the dining room and walked towards the kitchen. Instantly, I grabbed the needed utensils, “Mission completion,” I said quickly. I need to make my escape.
Brody blocked the door with my massive body. “Mind having a talk with me in another room?”
It’s tempting to go into a room without knives, but I don’t want to be alone with him. “But, I got the utensils.” I lifted them in the air. “Our sweet father needs it for meal consumption.”
“He’ll live.” Brody walks into another room, far from the dining room. I brought the utensils for extra protection. I heard people can stab each other with a fork. If Brody attacks me, I can say its self-defense.
Brody rests his head on his hand and exhales loudly. “What do you think you’re-”
“She tricked me,” I said with lightning speed.
“I can see that,” Brody replied.
I scowl slowly, “What do you want?” Except put my head on a plate.
“I want you to get rid of her.”
“How? Yell at her to leave? Drag her out by the hair?”
“Why do I have to do it?”
“Because you’re the one who invited her in here!”
“I didn’t! Mom did!”
“Mom didn’t know!”
“Why didn’t you tell her?”
“I didn’t have the chance. What am I supposed to do?” He argues. “In the middle of her favorite tv show. Say: Hey, mom. Victoria and I broke up."
“Yes!” Well, not in the middle of her favorite tv show. “So-” I cleared my throat. “You admit it’s your fault.”
He glared at me. I feel like I’ve seen that glare so frequently that I’m immune to it. “You gotta be kidding me.”
I lowered my head, “Okay. Maybe it’s a bit of my fault.”
“Alright. A good 70% my fault, 20% mom’s fault, and 10% your fault.” Brody did break up with Victoria because of me, and I was the one who was stupid enough to fall for her trick, so I need to take some of the blame.
“Why am I, 10% at fault?”
“She was your girlfriend!”
Brody places two hands in the air, “Fine. I’m 10% at fault.”
“Alright. Since you admit, it’s partially your fault. I suggest we make a pie diagram and put a spinner in the middle.” I grabbed the paper and marker from the corner of the room. “We should spin the paper clip, and whoever it lands on is the person who should kick Victoria out.”
Brody crosses his arms, “Seriously?”
“Yes. And I suggest we put dad in the diagram too. You know. Since he’s the man of the household.”
“Oh?” I know he’s humored by my idea.
“Yeah, and as the household man, he should hold at least 50% of all our irresponsible actions.”
Brody chuckles, half humored and a half in disbelief. “70%. 50%. 20%. 10%. The math doesn’t seem to add up.”
“Right.” I attempted to draw a circle that turned into an oval. “Well, since we’re minors. Our percentage should be cut. You know, I should hold 35% responsible, and you’re 5% responsible.”
“We’re still 10% over.”
“That’s right! Which means, your name should not be on the list.”
“And the last 5%?”
“Well, since I’m known as the lower IQ sibling, I should get that 5% discount.” I showed him my pie chart. Dad has 50%, mom has 20%, and I have 30%.
“You’re telling me. We should spin that, and whoever it hits on should kick Victoria out?”