How To Be Straight

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Company

Abbey: Okay… what am I supposed to do with that information?

Me: Not block me.

Abbey: Tell me who you are.

Me: No one.

Abbey: TELL ME

Me: Make up a name for me.

Abbey: What do you WANT from me?

Me: I want you to help me

Abbey: Help you…

Me: Get Jamie to like me.

Abbey: What’s in it for me?

I sent two emojis rolling their eyes. What do you think?

She didn’t answer. Probably not the best way to handle that, in retrospect.

There was a knock on my door, which I dutifully ignored. “Miss Miller?” It was a maid.

“Yes?” I didn’t get up. I normally tried to be as nice as I could to them, but today I just couldn’t bring myself to.

“Your mother requests your presence.”

“Please tell her I’m busy.”

“She says she needs you now. She said to accept no excuses.”

I stood up and opened the door. “What’s your name?”

“Miss?”

“You have a name, don’t you? Your mother gave you a name?”

She nodded, confused. “Y-yes. Yes, I have a name. It’s Kyla.”

“Come in.” I gestured into my room and she stood awkwardly in the corner. I took out a piece of paper and wrote on it,

Mother- Leave me alone. I have a lot of school work. Do not send anyone back into this wing of the house. Just LEAVE ME ALONE. Okay? Okay. Cool.

-Shay

I folded the note into tight, neat fourths and handed it back to Kyla. “Please take this to my mother, and I strongly advise you then get out of the room as soon as possible.”

She shook her head. “I am sorry, but I am afraid that will not do. I serve Mrs and Mr Miller, not you, not technically. I am under strict orders to-”

“Okay!” I threw my hand into the air, which was probably unfair. “Okay, okay. I’m coming!”

She nodded and led me down the hall to the receiving room, which was essentially the throne room of our mansion. I walked down the halls, feeling out of place and strange with my white socks, the kind with the weird, thick heels, padding silently down the glossy hallway, just a little out of step with the maid’s brown house shoes. I walked slowly into the hall, like a man on death row, and into the receiving room, where my mother sat. She stood when she saw me, ignoring the Kyla, who I tried to both thank and apologize to in one look. She nodded and walked away. I turned to my mother, and felt my hands tremble just the tiniest bit. I stuffed them into the pockets of my jeans. “Yes?”

“How are you?”

“Fine, thank you. What do you need?” I was masking total fear with impatience and annoyance.

“It’s dinner time.”

I glanced at my watch. “It’s only five.”

“So?”

“So, it’s only five. Why are we having dinner so early?”

“Come.”

I hesitate. “Mom, I’m really-”

She interrupted me with a sound that could only be described as a “dapadapada. Nonononono. Nope! You are not busy, you were texting on your phone. I looked through the security cameras.”

“You what?!”

“You lied to me.”

“I’m going.”

“Shay! No! Get back here. We are having dinner.”

I paused and turned, trying not to look like I was afraid. I spoke very slowly, putting a big space in between each word. “It’s. Only. Five.”

She spoke equally slowly. “I. Know. That.” Then, in a more normal tone, (Though normal was relative with my mother) “Come.”

Not knowing what else to do, I came. I followed her into the dining room, where six places were set. “We’re having company,” I said. It was not a question.

“Yes. They’ll be here in ten minutes. Please go get ready.”

“You couldn’t have just told me that?”

“I thought this way was better.”

I shrugged and walked upstairs, and then realized that I had never asked who it was that was coming. I didn’t really care though, it was probably some old people who I had seen once before but was expected to remember everything about.

I put on a dress, a pretty, black thing, and took my hair down. It fell to my waist, and took ten minutes to brush out and arrange over my shoulders. I hurried downstairs just in time, hearing the doorbell chime as I took the stairs two at a time, rushing to stand beside my parents in the living room, awaiting the mystery company. “You look nice.” My father sounded surprised.

I shrugged. “It’s nothing.”

“And here I thought that dresses were out of style among you teens.”

“Well it’s just for-”

But I was cut off when our company entered the room.

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