A/N: Hi everybody, sorry it’s been a while. I’m not sure how regularly I can post chapters now, ‘cos I’m back at school and it’s kind of busy.
I called my aunt the next morning. It was the fucking worst, telling her that I needed to stay with her. Again. Nora couldn’t scramble to find a new roomie last year, and Clarissa said that she ‘didn’t want a repeat of that, Sarai’. Yet here I was, being a disappointment of a niece again.
Clarissa let out a long sigh. “Why are you ditching this girl?” She spoke in a bored tone. Nothing new; she always seemed detached, whenever I talked to her. Which isn’t often; ‘only when you need a favour, huh, Sarai?’. I prided myself on being self-sufficient, and wasn’t that what she wanted anyway? Couldn’t she be fucking consistent for once?
I had to scramble for an excuse. “We’re not getting on. And she keeps eating all my food.”
“Ugh.” I could visualise her rolling her eyes. “And you didn’t – well, fine! Stay at mine for all I care. I could use some company.” And she hung up.
Work hadn’t scheduled me until about 1pm so I had plenty of time to pack my shit and go. My mother’s bracelet, my clothes, a recipe book, cookware…Becca could have my food. She’d always liked my recipes. It’s not like she’d get anymore of them…
She was finishing breakfast when I started to pack up my shelves in the kitchen cupboards. “You don’t have to go.” she told me, sounding dull.
“It’s fine.” I told her. “I’m covering my costs until you can find someone new. And you get my food.”
“Thanks…” she sighed. “But you know that’s not what I meant.”
These were the worst conversations, and that pit in my stomach opened back up again, but that just told me I had to hurry up and get out of there. I threw several plastic cups into the cardboard box at my feet and stared at the cupboards for a few seconds, purposefully breathing out.
I tried to ignore Becca’s eyes on me as I scrambled back into my room to drag out my suitcases.
“It was fun having you around.” she said, as I booked a cab.
“I’m sorry.” I covered my face with my hand.
The cab ride to the financial district, where my aunt lived atop a huge shiny skyscraper, was gone in a flash. For a wild moment, I longed to be back with Becca, she wasn’t as…challenging as Aunt Clarissa. But I ruined that, and living with her wasn’t an option anymore.
It was like I was fifteen again, coming home after failing a test or getting sent to the guidance counsellor, and having to face her.
Clarissa was waiting in the hallway.
“Straighten up.” she snapped. “Your posture’s horrible. And I think you’ve acquired far too many things, I’m not having all of whatever’s in those suitcases lying around the place. Oh, and happy twenty-first, dear.”
“Sarai, if you’re going to live here.” said Clarissa, in her typical disdainful way. “You might want to think about…picking yourself up a little. Helping.”
“You have a cleaner.” I told her. Having Teresa around was a nice change…but I’d still rather live somewhere else and scrub the sink every night. “And she cleaned literally everything. What do you want me to do?”
“It’s…you and your attitude!” she cried. “Most people your age would kill to live in an apartment like this-”
“I don’t want to live here!” I argued. “I’m looking for a roommate, but my lease wasn’t – and I need to help Becca out-”
“You didn’t even finish your rent agreement?” she said, low and deadly.
I stared at the floor. ‘You stupid fucking disappointment, she’s right’ and a general feeling of shame washed over me. In that moment I felt an inch tall.
“Just until she gets another-” I tried to defend myself. Shut up, shut up, I told myself. I couldn’t lose it in front of Clarissa. Then I’d just get…more judged.
“Typical. Do the words ‘smart financial decision’ mean anything to you? First of all, you drop out and set yourself on-” She pursed her lips. “I hate to say this, but-” She fucking didn’t. Every part of Clarissa tingled in excitement when she got ready to bitch. “-you’re going nowhere with this – whatever you’re doing right now.”
“What do you know?” I fired back. “I have savings, y’know. I could have just got another, shittier place-”
“So then why are you living here?” Clarissa said, a smug smirk on her face.
I started to answer, but halted. Why the fuck was I here? Why did I return here even though we weren’t close, even though every fucking time we saw each other I fought with her.
I looked up. Clarissa’s stare was cool and neutral, like she didn’t give a shit, and yeah, she probably didn’t. I’m used to that
…So why were tears sliding down my face, and why was I dramatically running to my old room like a character in a shitty drama?
It’s irritating as hell. Every rational part of me knows there’s no point getting upset about Clarissa’s BS, and even less point in expressing it. Yet still I get rattled every time this happens. Stupid, stupid, fucking stupid.