“I wanted to ask you, Etta. Would you go on a date with me?”
“Earth to Etta!!! Earth to Etta!!!”
Etta was lost for a second. She quickly picked up the toast from the ground and tossed it back into the pan, struggling to remember what was the conversation about before she totally zoned out.
“I was asking if you’re coming to Dante’s party tomorrow.”
Etta blushed when she heard his name. She had to try really hard to push her silly daydream out of her head.
“Dante’s throwing a party?”
“Didn’t he tell you? That’s weird. He said a couple of days ago that he would invite you.”
Etta heartbeat accelarated. The thought of Dante thinking about her was strangely exciting. What made him change his mind about the invitation, though…
She shrugged, acting calm and unimpressed.
“Well, he didn’t, so…”
“But I’m inviting you right now! He won’t mind. Come on, we’ll have a good time!”
It was a nice image – she could spend several hours in his house, with him around. She could catch a glimpse of him every now and then. Maybe she could even get a chance to chat with him. A soft smile crossed her face at the thought.
“You know what? I’ll go! I’ve never been on a real party before.”
“Exactly. It’s about time for you to have some fun. You never do anything but study and work.”
“But my work is kinda fun – it’s got croissants and cookies! And school is interesting these days, the new chemistry assignement is…”
“I know! Just…don’t mention chemistry at the party tonight. Some kids there hate science lessons.”
“Did someone say party?”
Chris appeared in the kitchen, wearing his best suit and his favourite cologne.
C: “What kind of party are we talking about? How many people? When? Where? Will there be boys?”
“Welllll, maybe? I mean, it’s possible?”
“In that case, I want both of you to be home at eleven or I’m calling the police! And no cigarettes or alcohol! But that goes without saying, right?”
E: “Of course, Daddy! We’ll behave ourselves. Promise!”
Chris and Melia were stricter about rules ever since Tori had to spend the night at uncle Evander’s place after Carlie left her alone in a night club. And their parents didn’t even know about the boy who followed her around. They would have never allowed them to leave the house again.
T: “Perfect, Etty! You sure know how to deal with parents, don’t you?”
Etta laughed, although she didn’t know what Tori was talking about. She meant every word she said.
But she quickly let it go. She was too busy making up scenarios about the party in her head. She couldn’t stop thinking about it for an entire day. She knew it was all just an utterly absurd, hopeless fantasy that was never going to happen for real, but still – it was a pleasant one. And even if she wanted it to stop, she didn’t know how. The feelings came on their own, so surely they must go away on their own, too.
She was still distracted after school, but luckily, Seth had some problems of his own, so he didn’t care about her absent-mindness.
S: “It’s so unfair, you know? I’m the best player in the chess club right now. Maybe even the best ever. I don’t know why I have to compete to get the title of the club captain.”
E: “Seth, if you’re really that great, you have nothing to worry about.”
S: “I’m not worried. But it seems abundant. Why should we waste precious time with another tournament when everyone’s already aware of my superiority.”
“Hmm, maybe not everyone sees it that way. They deserve to have a chance, too.”
S: “Ugh, why am I even talking to you about it. You know nothing about chess.”
S: “Whatever. I’m gonna grab some snack. You want something?!
Etta was about to ask for a tuna sandwich when the bathroom door slammed. It surprised them quite a bit since nobody was supposed to be home at the time Seth and Etta were the first ones to come home from school that day.
But before they could do anything about it, a figure walked into the dinning room.
Etta immediately recognized her. It was Michelle. And she was naked from neck down, with only a towel covering her hair. She seemed surprised.
“Oh, is this not a good time?”
Etta didn’t understand. And just like Seth, she was paralyzed by shock and embarrassment. Suddenly, another door opened and Amon walked in.
“Hey, babe. What’s up?”
He walked toward the girl and kissed her, completely ignoring the absurdity of the situation. When he was done, he asked her to wait for him in his room.
After Michelle closed the door behind her, Seth finally regained his ability to speak.
“What the hell, Amon? Have you lost your mind? Stop bringing freaking hookers to our house, for plum’s sake!”
“Aww, Little Seth got to see real boobies for the first time. Amazing, isn’t it?”
“Those were definitely not real, you idiot. You crossed the line, Amon. Mom and Dad are gonna be so pissed about this.”
A: “Like I care. I know you’re just jealous because you’re a pathetic virgin who can’t even dream of getting a girl of his own.”
E: “Amon! Don’t be a jerk!”
S: “Oh, Watcher. Shut up, Etta. I don’t need your help, okay? I don’t need a stupid little girl like you to defend me!”
And suddenly, he was gone.
A: “Whoa. What’s his problem?”
E: “Amon! What’s wrong with you. That was inappropriate. And kinda embarrassing, too.”
A: “Oh, it’s okay. Michelle’s a model and she poses nude, too. She doesn’t mind.”
“But I do! And apparently, Seth does, too! What are you even doing with Michelle anyway. I thought she was Dante’s girlfriend.”
A: “Ha! Definitely not. Dante was just having fun. And now I’m having fun. We’re cool.”
“You share girls now? Unbelievable! And do you realize how desperate you look when you rub your conquests into everyone’s face like this?”
Amon hesitated for a second, contemplating her words.
A: “Hey, cut me some slack here, will ya? This was your idea, Etta! You wanted me to have some class and bring the girls home! You thought the bush was not good enough, remember?”
“You women! I’m wrong when I don’t listen to you and even more wrong when I do!”
And just like that, he was gone, too.
Etta just sat there, baffled. She was pretty sure she never suggested their home as a good place for Amon’s affairs, but it didn’t matter anymore. It seemed that the more she tried the the less she understood.
Her brothers were really strange creatures.