I wish I could say I was surprised when my sister showed up at my door. My father had told me that he’d be kicking her out as soon as she got back from her vacation – but I hadn’t really thought he would actually do it. Actually, I was pretty positive he would try and Arizona would just set up camp in front of the house anyways. But I heard a quiet knock at my door, and sure enough, there she was.
I let her in and hugged her tightly. Spoiled as she was, she’s s till my baby sister. Even if she’s actually an adult now. I watched her look around, checking out my apartment. I knew it would be too small for her taste. The only place she’d ever lived was our parents’ home. If she traveled, she stayed in 5 star hotels and resorts. My shoe box of an apartment was probably the smallest place she’d stepped foot in since she was little.
“This is nice, Avery.”
I burst out laughing, guiding her to the small table in the kitchen.
“I know it’s not what you’re used to. But it’s home for me. And it’s a nice city. New development everywhere. There’s a big house over by the water I’m hoping to buy one day.” I paused. She wasn’t listening to me. “So what happened, sis?” There were the waterworks.
“Oh Avy, it was awful! I got home from my vacation and Daddy just kicked me out! Said he renovated my room and I wasn’t allowed to live there anymore. Just kicked me out! His own flesh and blood!” She paused, wiping her face. “I don’t even know what I’m going to do! Where I’m going to stay!”
“You’re welcome to stay here for a few days… Until you get on your feet. Until you get a job and stuff. But I don’t have much, Ari, you can’t stay forever.”
“I can’t even think about getting a job right now, Avy, I’m so stressed out and just exhausted! Do you think I could take a nap for a minute?”
I frowned at her. I knew that she would need some time to get adjusted, but to blatantly say she wouldn’t be getting a job right away…. I had half a mind to yell. But I took a deep breath and nodded, walking with her to the bedroom and sitting on the side of the bed with her.
“You can stay here tonight… since it’s your first night. But tomorrow you’re going to have to take the couch. I start work early in the morning, so I have to get decent sleep. And tomorrow you need to get a job.”
She nodded and shrugged me off, crawling under the blankets and shooing me away.
“Turn the lights off when you leave… please.”
“No problem, sis.”
I can’t believe this is happening.
I can’t believe I’m in my brother’s house in this weird ass town with these people I don’t even know. I can’t believe he expects me to just get a job – as if it’s that easy. I don’t know anyone here. I have no idea how you even get a job without knowing someone. Daddy got his job ‘cuz of one of his old teachers. And then he ended up taking over the company. I can’t do that!
I stayed in bed for a few hours. Until I was sure that Avery had gotten bored of waiting for me to get up and gone to get coffee or something. And then I snuck out. Took a cab back to Windenburg, back to the city where I grew up. I knew of a few bars there that I’d never gotten to visit as a kid (obviously).
I settled into a seat at the bar easily, ordering a glass of their most expensive red.
It was a taste I’d picked up on our road trip. Most of the bars we tried didn’t carry it. It was mostly beer. Especially at some of the parties we’d end up at. But a good glass of wine… So much better.
I talked with a lady named Yvette for a while. She told me she enjoyed talking to people from this planet to try to better understand it. But honestly, once I had a few drinks in me, I could hardly pay attention to her echo-y voice. Especially once I noticed Marcus come in.
“Marcus! Holy shit dude I haven’t seen you since high school.” I paused, eyeing him up and down. “You look good.”
He melted like butter in my hands. It was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It was good to feel like I was good at something again. Like someone actually enjoyed my company.
When we stumbled back out of the closet, Marcus smiled and waved at me. “Thanks Brittany, see you again some time.” I stared after him for a long while after he’d walked away. I wasn’t drunk enough to be able to forget him calling me the wrong name. So I did what any sane person would do, and had another drink.
“Ma’am, just so you know… It’s just about morning. We’ll be switching staff in a moment. I need to escort you to a cab before I leave. I glared at her for a moment before shrugging and walking out to the road where she’d already had a cab waiting for me. I almost told them my parents’ address before realizing that it wasn’t where I lived anymore. By the time I got home, I was sad enough that it couldn’t compete with the alcohol.
Of course, Avery had to meet me at the door. I could tell he was pissed…. but I wasn’t expecting what came out of his mouth.
“Arizona! Where the hell were you?”
“I went out.”
“For the entire night! Goddamnit, sis, this is not how it works!”
“Buzz off, Avy! I’m having a hard time and you are not helping! If having a good night with some good wine helps me through it, I’m allowed to do that! You’re supposed to be supportive!”
“No Arizona. This is my house, that I paid for, with my money. You’re welcome to stay here, but you need to earn your keep! Otherwise you’re going to have to leave.”
“Whatever, Avery. You’re not my boss. Why don’t you go to work… since you’re such an important person. I’m gonna take a nap.”