Apr. 21st, 2014

bookishgeek: (pusheen - blogging)

Whitney Jennings had never meant for this to happen. But if you were to have asked her that morning, she would have probably told you - unabashedly - that this was something she'd wanted. Of course, things we think that we want often turn out to be not so great after all.

"I really need to go to that party, mom," she was protesting, pacing the kitchen floor and running her toes over the cracked linoleum. "everyone is going to be there and I just have to. I have to, it's social suicide if I don't!"

Marissa Jennings was a no-nonsense woman, stocky and anything but subtle. She stood at the stove, stirring a pot of spaghetti sauce with one hand so that the other could rest on her hip. "Whitney, you don't have to go. Your sister's not going!" Whitney felt her eyes roll and let them, feeling a small tug of pain as they attempted to crawl into her head. Marissa adjusted her grip on her spoon and looked at her daughter expectantly, lips pursing.

"Christina never goes to anything, mom, she just wants to sit in her stupid room and read her stupid Moby Dicks or whatever." Marissa let a small half-smile crease her face before it fell again.

"Well, you'll have to join her, Whitney. The answer is no. I don't have time to drive you, and I don't want you driving yourself, either. There will be other parties." Whitney peered up at her mother through a curtain of dramatically tossed hair, and this was how she would always remember Marissa: her Rubenesque figure rolling like a graceful wave across the kitchen, tossing a pot of spaghetti noodles into a colander, steam coating her figure in grey.

Enraged, Whitney grabbed her coat off the back of a kitchen chair. "I'm going out for a walk." she pronounced, shoving her feet into a pair of flip-flops - probably Christina's but who cared? - and tucking the key to the front door into the pocket of her jean shorts. Marissa shrugged.

"Be back in fifteen minutes, Whit. Dinner's almost ready." Whitney muttered something that was simultaneously agreeable and bitter and marched outside, slamming the front door behind her.

Dusk was falling, and as she skulked down the driveway and into the cul-de-sac beside the house, Whitney raked her fingers through her hair. It was unbelievable. Hannah was going to be there, and Jeffrey, too. And just because her stupid twin sister wasn't going, she couldn't go? It just wasn't fair, and seventeen was the worst age possible - so close to being able to work and buy her own car, so close to sweet freedom. She stomped down the broken concrete, aimlessly meandering from side to side, avoiding parked cars and yipping dogs. Stumbling over a fissure in the sidewalk, Whitney nearly fell but kept her balance, though her toes were scraped up. She figured now was as good a time as any to head home, and turned toward the driveway as the streetlights began to flicker on overhead.

Whitney threw open the front door and deposited her door key in a bowl by the front steps, hopping on one foot so she could kick off a flip-flop.

"Mom?" she called into the stillness. She wrinkled her nose momentarily: the house should have smelled like pasta sauce, what happened? She tugged at the base of her ponytail, tightening it up as she wandered into the kitchen. "Mom?" she called out again, only to be met with stony, cold silence. The kitchen was bare and still, no food to be seen, nor any trace of her mother. Panic gripped Whitney's heart like a vice.

"Christina!" she screamed, turning and pinwheeling, feet pounding up the stairs faster than her mind could keep up as she burst into her sister's room. "Christina!" her sister looked up from her position on the bed, splayed on her back, a large book balanced against her thighs. Puzzled, Christina pushed her glasses up on her nose and turned down the volume on the stereo on her bedside table.

"What, Whitney?" she said, exasperation apparent as she floundered around on her bed for something to use as a bookmark.

"Where is mom?" Whitney all but screamed, her face ashen. Christina furrowed her brow as she placed a scrap of paper towel in her book and shut it, setting it aside slowly.

"In the hospital? Where she's been all week? Aunt Lynda will be here soon to take us to dinner, are you hungry? You don't look so good."

Whitney felt her heart skip a beat, and her pulse quicken.

"She's where?" maybe she'd just misheard her sister. There was no way ... she'd just been arguing with her minutes before.

"Do you have Swiss cheese for brains?" Christina muttered, shaking her head. "She fell in the gym last week, remember? Her back is really hurt, she can't walk, they're doing surgery tomorrow. We're gonna go see her afterward and then she's gonna come home. Do you forget things this easily all the time? Do we need to call a doctor?" Christina stood up and crossed the space between herself and her sister in two steps, putting her hand on Whitney's shoulder. "I know this is rough but we've got to stick together, sis."

Whitney shook her head feebly. "I was just talking to her ..." her voice trailed off and she looked outside at the streetlights' faint glow. She was home, somewhere, she just had to be. This couldn't be all in her head, she wasn't creative enough for this, her teachers told her all the time that she had too much wasted potential.

"On the phone? Why didn't you tell me!" Christina protested. "I wanted to tell her about my Chemistry test. Oh well." She brushed past Whitney into the hallway and thundered down the stairs in the practiced way only a house's inhabitants can. "Let's get ready for dinner, come on."

Whitney slowly meandered down the staircase, her fingers tracing the wooden railing. What had she done? For the first time in as many years as she could recall, all Whitney wanted was her mother.

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