My shirt suctions to my skin as icy raindrops beat upon me. I watch my sister, Aida, as she sets on his front porch toying with her makeup. My pulse plays on my eardrums and I duck behind the hedge as his car’s headlights cut the curtain of water and pull into the driveway. Shielding my eyes, I wipe my tears as Carson runs to her.
I reach back and feel the .22 caliber pistol where it sits in my waistband.
Lightning splits the sky and Aida screams as thunder vibrates the air.
When they go inside I slip from my hiding place and peek into the front window. How could Carson do this to me? We’ve been together for three years!
Aida sits on his couch, curling her feet beneath her and smiling. When he turns his back, she pulls her shirt so her shoulder is bared.
My nails dig into the paint on his windowsill. I slip around to the back door. As I reach for the knob my stomach flips and a low growling catches my ears through the rain. I find Pepper, Carson’s pit-bull mix, standing behind me with her ears flattened.
“Easy girl, it’s just me.” I extend my hand and lower to one knee.
Pepper steps forward and sniffs, giving a wag of approval.
The stench of wet dog and the stiffness of her fur against my fingers calms me. “It’ll all be okay, girl.” For a moment I consider leaving the gun outside.
When another bolt splits the sky I see my reflection in the kitchen window. My stomach is hanging over my jeans, my thighs are as big as elephant feet, and my cheeks look like I’m storing nuts for the winter. I pick up a rock and begin to hurl it, but stop when I remember why I’m here. “You always knew he’d cheat on you.” My tears mix with the rain. “Aida can’t get away with this.”
I take off my sneakers and slip into the dark kitchen. The warmth in the air fights the chill in my skin.
They’re sitting on the couch together, their backs turned to me. My hand slips to the .22.
“I won’t tell Samantha, if you won’t.” Aida laughs, flipping her hair.
Carson coughs. “Where would the fun be in that?”
Aida scoots closer to him, leaning across his lap for something on the armrest.
“This music is really distracting,” she says as the air goes quiet.
“You don’t like it? It took me two hours to choose.”
Aida lays her hand on his shoulder.
I run my fingers through my hair and square my shoulders. “I think you chose nicely, Carson.”
They jump and I grin. Their looks of surprise warm my heart.
“Baby!” He stands, inching away from Aida. “What are you doing here?”
“Yikes sis! You look like a dirty, wet sponge.” She purses her lips, sucking in her cheeks. “That’s no way to go out in public.”
I take a deep breath and begin to shake, her comment bringing back years of cruelty.
“Baby,” Carson frowns, grabbing a blanket from the back of the couch, “you’re shaking.” He wraps it around my shoulders. “How long,” he clears his throat, “were you standing there?”
I let the blanket drop to the floor. “Why are you two here alone?”
“Baby, you shouldn’t be asking me questions this close to—”
Aida smirks. “Carson wanted me to come over.”
It’s as if the world stops and I’m watching myself through someone else’s eyes. I leap for Aida and take a fistful of her hair.
She whimpers for Carson and claws at my face. Blood fills the field of vision of my right eye.
“Samantha!” Carson wraps his arms around my waist and yanks me away.
I open my fist and Aida’s hair drifts to the floor. “How could you, Carson?” I wrestle free of his arms. “Why with her?”
Aida rubs her head. “Are you psychotic?”
“Baby,” he raises his hands, “this isn’t what you think.”
Aida laughs and I reach for her, but Carson grabs my wrists.
“We’re planning you’re birthday party, Baby!”
My mouth drops open, heat rising in my cheeks.
“You actually asked me here to plan her birthday party?”
Carson’s grip tightens as Aida nears. “That’s not funny, Aida.”
I recognize the rage in her eyes. “Why are you here, sis?”
She smiles at Carson, wrapping her arms around me. “I’m planning a surprise of my own.” She giggles and hugs me tight, whispering, “It’s only a matter of time before you lose him.” She kisses my cheek and grins. “Way to spoil his surprise, sis.”
“See, Baby? I love you, okay? I’d never cheat on you.” He laughs. “Especially not with her. Are you okay, Aida?”
I wrench my wrists away from him as she rubs her head.
“That’s nothing compared to what she did when we were kids.” She pouts, looking up at him from beneath her lashes.
“What I did?” I can practically feel the smoke pouring from my ears. “All I ever did was try to protect you!”
Aida rolls her eyes. “Does your jealousy protect me in some way?”
“Ladies!” Carson steps between us. “How about we all cool down?”
I shove him out of the way. “So I was jealous? So what! Who was there for you when Mom left? You always told me I was worthless because we couldn’t share clothes! Who does that?”
“Samantha! Is that a—” His voice breaks.
I spin around, remembering the .22 at my waist. “I only wanted—” I reach back to find the gun gone.
Carson raises his hands, his eyes widening.
“You were there.” Aida says, readying the gun to fire and stepping back. “There stealing Dad’s attention and pretending to be some saintly rock. Because of you Dad never thought I was good enough. And now he chooses you over me too?”
The gunshot drowned out the thunder.
Thanks so much for reading y’all! Is there anything you’d like to ask Samantha? If so, leave your question in a comment and you might just get it asked and answered. This story was inspired by When Readers Write’s Blah Buster topic of Insecurity. To read more Blah Busters click here.