So here I was. Thanks, universe. I was jumping into one of the worst mistakes of my life and with no functional escape, One week with the Rothschilds. The most powerful, shallow, insensitive, snob family on earth, and my sister was dating one of them.
No way I was spending Christmas with her new boyfriend’s family. My web of lies was a mix of real events with fictitious excuses, made to save myself from my sister’s insistence. No excuse was good enough for her and not even saying that my fake job got me very busy was cutting her nagging.
I should have known better when the phone rang that she wasn’t giving up so easily.
What an insistent human being.
I pulled the phone up and heard her soft pleading voice saying “hello”.
“Hi, Sarah,” I answered without a trace of surprise. Trying to hide my true feelings.
I could tell she sounded different today with that stuffy nose, almost as she had been crying for a while.
Should I worry? Was her cheerful soul dying? No, that was only my soul.
“Please tell me you asked permission on your job? I promise the money is not a problem. I´ll take care of you like a baby,” She said insistently.
Like she could hold a baby for 30 seconds, right?
She was being kind, but I knew where her money came from, and I would not let my sister’s boyfriend pay for my stuff. I could hear the bells from hell calling me in shame if I were to accept her invitation.
Besides, who did she think she was, Mother Teresa? Was I the new holiday charity target for the Rothschild this year?
“It’s not just money, Sarah. I’m serious about work. I can’t afford to lose another one”, I answered irritated.
All of it was true. Lately, my life had been a roller coaster in all aspects: work, love, money, even my boyfriend cheated on me.
But, why did she care so much about me?
She was a handful, fully dramatic; and apparently, no one could see that except me; I was the only one immune to her charms, Wicked witch.
She was perfect, beautiful, curvy, classy, blonde, and exotic while I was, well me; Plain brown hair, ordinary dark eyes, and so skinny I could use a Cheerio as a belt or like my mom used to say: “If you swallow a meatball people could think you are pregnant”.
Back then, the mean kids from school used to call me Skeletollie or Skinniollie, and for me, it sounded more like an Italian plate than an insult.
A lot changed since I became a woman. My figure was more athletic and lean than Sarah’s full curvy Marilyn Monroe body. I was skinny though, but I liked to think I had my own thing going on.
After years of comparing myself to perfect Sarah, I thought I envied her, but that was not true; I loved and admired her in so many ways. There was just something about her that bothered me so much, and I could not turn a blind eye.
Maybe it was the way of how she reminded me of my failures, and that got mixed with the fact that she got her life figured out in grace of her loobs (looks + boobs= loobs).
So yeah, I openly judged her, and I had to admit that was wrong. She was my little sister, the only thing stable in my life, the one who always got my back. But yeah, isn’t there a rule that allows big sisters to reign over their siblings?
“Is this about your cheating, bastard, egomaniac, ex-fiancé?” she asked and I felt the air being sucked out of my lungs. Even though I didn’t show it, It still hurt me.
Ouch! Sarah 1 – Olivia 0.
“How candid, you know he has a name,” I replied calmly.
“Lord… Voldemort,” she whispered and I couldn’t help but smile. We were opposites in every single way.
“You´ll never let this go, right?“, I asked.
“Not until you forget that asshole,” she said this time being serious.
“We’ll talk about this in person, you know, together! This Christmas in the Hamptons”, she added in a beat.
“Hmm...about that, sis. I’m sorry, I forgot to ask for vacation this December,” I said while looking at the mirror of my crappy apartment.
I´m such a terrible liar.
I had been jobless for quite a while, and I was not planning on working at Starbucks while looking for the right job, so had kept this lie rolling around about my awesome new job as a Junior Editor.
Taking about things that come to bite you in the ass, if only it were true.
Lately, things had not been in my favor, and finding an editor job in New York is as hard as saving an animal in extinction with all the competition around.
“Did you forget Olivia? Do you think I’m an idiot!?” she fumed.
Well yeah, just a little.
Hearing her yell, I took a deep breath and went into my mind palace and walked into the garden of quietness, pushing away any guilt and yelling, especially the yelling.
She was calling me by my full name now, which meant she was very upset.
Thank god for emotional intelligence.
I could keep this all day; no way she was going to break me. Then, I heard some sniffing and sobbing through the phone and that just reminded me we were trapped in this vicious circle: She as the victim and I, as the villain.
“Don’t you know how much I need you? Why are you always pulling me away?” She continued sobbing as her life depended on it.
Am I the worst sister in the world? Surely, there are other sisters with bigger traumas than the one I’ve created in Sarah.
“I´m not pulling you away, it’s just that right now is not a good time for me,” I said. A long awkward silence spread between us.
“Sarah?” my voice worried as she didn’t respond.
Immediately I heard a masculine voice on the other side of the line talking to her.
“Baby, are you all right?” That must be Alexander Rothschild, her new boyfriend.
“She is not coming!”, she answered in rage.
Oh, she is back. That is the spoiled Sarah I know.
What she wanted she always got it, and at the moment things did not go her way, well… She did this dramatic act and a magic wand appeared granting all her wishes. But not from me, in this game, I was a fucking Achilles tendinitis.
She hung up the phone and I was left with a smile on my face. My dreams of spending a peaceful holiday alone looking for a job that involved money were just one block away and I was on a winning streak.
Heaven is near.
I could almost hear the sound of checks being made under my name. No one could disturb my peace.
Then this email from Santa’s naughty list popped out.
. TRUST BANK.
Financial Services Department /200 West St, New York, NY 10282
Ms. Olivia Summer
310 E 25th St Unit N5, Brooklyn, NY 11226 Flatbush- Ditmas Park
Dear Ms. Summer
Further to my letter of November 28th, we have not received this half-year’s monthly installments and there is a remaining balance of $78,980.26 of your private loan to pay us back. Should payment of these past installments not arrive within the next seven days, your account will be frozen and further actions will be taken.
Ben Attewell Customer Accounts Manager
Oh no no no… Don’t panic.
I read the letter again word by word; Ben Attewell was not my friend. Breathe, swallow and breathe, then read again, I repeatedly told myself.
Olivia Summer, Ms. Smarty Pants is in very deep shit.
This is happening, this is real, I’m broke and have nothing to offer more than a huge debt for a non-profit career and a crashing blood-sucking failure of a business.
Omg, Its like I had the debt of a parent of triplets. I used to image this scenario in my head sometimes. Baby number one popping the cherry like a champ as my student loan, baby number two as my sexy private loan failure of a business, and lastly, but a not less important, baby number three and the icing on the cake as all my fucking New York expenses.
Let me tell you, living here ain’t cheap, this is a pricy city!
Sometimes I asked myself how did I ended up like this? Sarah always said my biggest virtue and defect was how overconfident I was, but was that true? I always encouraged myself in adventures but this was like I broke a mirror and got 7 years of bad luck.
“Yes, Ollie, go to Harvard. Go and study literature, you’ll be the next Hemingway! ,” I muttered mimicking myself, my inner bully taking over.
Taking about bad decisions, that was the fucking huge student loan I was still paying. I pulled my hand and covered my head with all the preoccupations building up.
I started laughing like a maniac at this point.
How the fuck did I thought that getting in business with my fiance would solve all that? He stole our business idea, sold it to a higher player, and ran off like a criminal.
“Fucking Roger” I muttered to myself. Did I mention he also cheated on me with the cute secretary?
In my pettiness spiral, I even adopted a stray cat, and he abandoned me as well. I hugged my knees close to my chest in a fetal position while my head rested on a pillow. I had no more energy left in me.
Lord, take me. I’m ready to leave this thing called life... Ugh, I’m starting to sound as dramatic as my sister.
I closed my eyes, torturing myself again with the truth: I’m broke and single. My rent will be due soon, my bank account will also soon run out of money and in my fridge, there is only a couple of yogurts, some bread, and a sad piece of frozen chicken.
My stomach started making sounds, making it hard for me to concentrate.
“Come on Ollie, think,” I encourage myself as I watched the wall.
I had seen Survivor, the tv show. I could teach myself on how to live by eating tree bark and water rain. Simple stuff, right?
Or wait! Never judge the coupon freaks, that could work too! Oh my god… am I going nuts!? Clearly, I already am.
If you want different results try something different.
I picked up the phone and dialed the numbers by memory, and in seconds someone answered in silence.
What am I doing?
”I’m coming,” I said without any emotion like a robot, a frightening robot.
What have I done!?
“Good” Sarah replied.
That’s it? Is she not going to say anything more?
“So…,” I started to mumble as I felt the awkward silence.
“I will send a driver to pick you up tomorrow at 2 pm,” she said interrupting my mumbling and surprised me by hanging up.
I sighed still in a fetal position on the couch, the idea of the mental drain I would experience being around some snob family made me sick, but It couldn’t be worse than my crappy apartment or having an encounter with Ben Attewell, my personal finance nightmare.
Rothschild family, here I come…