Jessica Thompson as That Girl

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XXXVI. Boys will be Boys

Jessica’s POV:

“Yes!”

“And how will our parents know of this marvelous plan? Who is willing to break the news?”

I inhale a sharp breath, “I will call them right after this.” I took out my phone.

Brody chuckles, “Fine. Do it. I don’t care who kicks her out as long as I don’t have to do it.”

I can’t believe he is giving my plan a chance. I was just winging it. I swallowed fiercely and stared at the pie. If it lands on me, Victoria may kill me. If it falls on mom, she may kill me. If it lands on dad, he may keep me away from any marriageable partners for the rest of my life.

Now that I think about it, I hope it lands on dad.

Being single for the rest of my life sounds better than being murdered.

“Here. Allow me.” Brody flicks the board, and my eyes widen. It felt like my whole life was depending on a poorly drawn pie chart.

Steadily, the paper pin came to a stop.

Mom.

I don’t live long enough to sin too bad that I would be kicked into hell.

“I’ll break the bad news to her,” I said.

Brody stared at me, “Why are you standing there?” he asked. “Call her.” I was expecting him to leave the room.

I was thinking when he leaves, I can escape into the second floor and climb my way out of the house. I mean, I could always sneak out the front door, but I don’t think well under pressure. I swallow, “O-Of course.” I grabbed the phone and dialed my mom’s number. I can’t pretend to call someone else because the dolphin is hovering over my shoulder.

The phone clicks, “Why are you calling me?” mom asks. The surprised tone isn’t unexpected. Only a crazy or extremely lazy person would call their family members when they’re on the other side of the house.

“M-Mom? Are you alone?”

After a few seconds, mom said: “I am now. Where are you two?”

“M-Mom. You know how Brody and Victoria broke up, right?”

“Yes. And thank you for breaking the news to me. I was not surprised at all during dinner.” I can sense sarcasm masking the anger.

“You’re welcome.” I am going to get grounded later. “So, Brody and I-” I continued talking before she could yell at me. “we decided-” Brody caught my eyes,” I decided that we should do a pie chart and whoever the paper pin lands on breaks the news.”

“Break what news?”

“Break the news that Victoria should leave.”

“Who got chosen?” I’m surprised that she hadn’t ended the ridiculous phone call.

“You.”

The door burst open, “No.”

I grabbed the pie chart and held it up, “But, you got pic-”

She smacks the paper from my hand, “I am not telling that girl to leave. I have a book club with her mother! Our friends are mutual!” She glared at Brody. “I told you not to date any of my friends’ daughters. You’re like your father.” She poked Brody’s head. “You never listen!”

I raised my hand as if I’m in school.

“What?” Mom question.

“Is dad still out there?”

Mom’s eyes bounce from left to right, “Y-Yes.”

“You’re telling me dad is still out there with Victoria?” Brody asks.

“Yes.”

There three of us exchanged glances, and simultaneously we all cleared our throats. Our eyes waiver everywhere except each other. I settled on the guest’s bed. Brody leaned against the glass window. Steadily, mom sat on the desk in the corner. It’s horrible, but we’re all waiting until dinner is over.

I checked my nails, “Do you think dad will be okay?”

Mom cleared her throat again, “He’s a strong man. He’ll survive.”

I think I’m going to return the makeup and high heels. I’ll wear my cute bunny pajamas and tell dad I’ll be with him forever. I’ll make a lot of money and take care of him. He will be the only male, other than Brody, in my life. That is if he survives tonight.

I closed my eyes, “I’m a horrible daughter.”

“I don’t think I’m his favorite son anymore.” You’re his only son.

Mom rests her head against her fingers’ tip, “I should get ready for a divorce.”

I stood up, “I’m going to do it. I’m going to rescue dad.” I can’t stand the guilt.

“Good luck,” Brody and mom said. Before I could even blink, they kicked me out of the room.

I gasp, “You’re not my favorite brother anymore.”

“I’m your only brother,” Brody replies.

“Get ready to be kicked out of the family tree, mom!”

“That’s not how it works,” mom replies.

I grunted and stomped my foot. Exhaling a sharp breath, I made my way into the dining room. Dad was as still as a rock in front of the table. He couldn’t even eat the food because he dropped his fork earlier. When his eyes met mine, it brightens more than a lightbulb. He smiles, “Jess!” He screams my name, not allowing me to leave.

Victoria looks at me.

“Come here, my favorite daughter!” I’m your only daughter.

I swallow and head towards my seat. “Sorry. I had to go to the restroom.”

“It’s not-” Dad held his hand against his stomach and grunted lightly. “I think I have to go to the bathroom. You two girls talk about whatever it is that girls talk about while I’m gone.” He stood up from his chair.

I cannot believe it. I came here to rescue the old man, and he’s leaving me to burn in the fire. “Dad. Mom and Brody are using both of the restrooms.”

Dad smiled, “Then, I guess I’ll be gone longer than expected.” His eyes say all. He’s telling me that I made a grave mistake coming back to rescue him. I’m going to remember this day for the rest of my life. The day where my own blood, my own father, betrayed me. Dad made his speedy escape.

Once dad was gone, Victoria grins, “I wonder-”

I farted.

It was a loud one too.

My face burned up.

Victoria’s eyes twitch.

I bit my lower lip and held onto my stomach. I don’t know what I ate, but it may rescue me. “I think I need to use the restroom again.” I bit my lower lip.

“Wait. Is your whole family si-”

I nodded, “It may be possible that whatever I had is still around.” I didn’t fart when I was sick, but I would use any excuse to escape this situation.

I farted again. The first one was an accident. This one? Not so much. This is so embarrassing. I want to die right now. Never in my life will I ever expect to use farts to chase my brother’s ex-girlfriend out.

Victoria’s face grimaces, “It’s okay.” I can tell it’s not okay. “It’s just, can I talk to-”

“Victoria,” I forced the words out. “It’s not that Brody doesn’t want to talk to you. You know how soft-hearted that dolphin can be.” Victoria nods in understanding. If I’m going down, I’m dragging someone down with me. “But, I’m going to warn you, Brody is still in the bathroom, and it does not sound pretty in there. Do you really want to talk to him?”

Victoria’s face became uglier.

I closed my eyes, “I-” I gagged.

Victoria stood up from her chair and hurried towards the wall. “Maybe, I’ll come back another day.”

I nodded, “Brody will always be at school.”

She gave me an unsightly smile and grabbed her purse. “I’ll see you.”

I followed her and made sure she walked out of the front door. When she didn’t put her shoes on fast enough, I gagged again. She rushed out and slammed the door shut. I peeked out the window to see Victoria’s car speed far away from us. Exhaling a sharp breath, I made my way towards the guest room.

The door slammed open, and I glared at everyone inside, “Old man.” Dad’s eyeballs roll towards the glass door. “How can you do this to me?”

Dad stood up and slammed the wrinkly pie chart in front of my face. “How can I do this to you? How can you do this to me? 50%? 50%!” His voice echoes inside the house.

“Mom got picked, and she abandoned you!” I poured the blame on someone else.

Dad’s body twisted towards mom. "Wife. How could you?”

Out of the blue, mom bursts out laughing, “Back then, I told you it wasn’t a good idea to give him permission to date Mrs.Burke’s daughter, but you insisted anyway! What did you say again? Boys will be boys, and boys need some experience tucked underneath their belts. Look what happened now! The experience is so tucked inside his belt that it went into his pants, and now his southern brain does all the thinking!” Mom scoffs, “Next time, think twice before brushing off my advice! I’m leaving and going to my side of the house!”

I don’t know what happened, but there’s one thing I know for sure.

That day, mom became my role model.

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