Chapter One: Flashbacks and Inferiority Complexes
To-Do List For This Year
I will put more effort into anything that requires so.
Will stop telling Mom that being a feminist is actually just conforming to the ideals that men think up of independent women.
Don't listen to Elira. She gives bad advice. Why did I even listen to her in the first place?
Make sure Madison remembers our deal. Hell's bells... This is all her fault.
Tell Abbey that loud noises are distracting. Make sure she understands.. Blast. She's crying again.
Ok, I guess it's not Abbey's fault but she will not shut up!. Why is Madison not here? Why am I stuck doing this? Oh yeah...
I look up, dead tired. Who wouldn't be? I just spent, like 17 hours awake, trying to get Abbey to calm down and it wasn't even my turn. Mom has that look on her face.
"I was just thinking.. "
I make the 'yeah, what's your point?' gesture and she hurries up.
"Madison has her final year of high school coming up.."
Oh yes. Saint Madison, my younger sister. She was perfect all through her life until she reached year 10, discovered boys and alcohol, combined the two and got knocked up while in a drunken state. That's my theory anyway. Mom, she still believes the condom broke.
"You've already graduated."
I make the gesture again, not seeing her point.
"Well.. Madison will need a lot of time if she wants to pass. "
"And since, you're not doing anything.. Maybe you could look after Abbey until Madison graduates?"
Ah yes. I feel my stomach sink and try desperately to think of nice ways to say no. Abbey Montgomery, my niece. Madison's daughter, if you haven't figured it out.
"And what about me?" I ask, a little more coldly than I should.
Mom looks flustered. I wait for it.. it'll get worse.
"Stella," she starts awkwardly. "Madison needs this chance. She's made a mistake.. "
I'm not waiting for her to finish. "And so I should give up my year so that Saint Madison can reconstruct hers??"
Mom hates it when I call Madison that.
"What life?" She says angrily.
Oh yes. This again.
"You had your chance, Stella. You did nothing with it. Now Madison, has made one tiny mistake and I'm asking you to be a sister to her. She needs this."
Madison is standing outside my room. I can see her shadow and I know she is listening. She's waiting for me to say something.
Mom has another look on her face. She can't bear that her precious Madison won't be able to graduate. It was bad enough with me, but then again, I was never expected to graduate. But Mom knows that Madison's already missed out so much, what with her on "exchange" and all.
"What?!" Madison shrieks from outside the room and she pops into view. She lost her after weight really quickly. It's probably not safe, but I really don't care..
Mom jumps up to console her baby, shooting me a Is This What You Wanted? glare.
"Stellllllllla!" Madison wails. "Please? I never ask you anything!"
She's probably right. She doesn't ask me anything. Heck, she doesn't even talk to me. This is fine with me.
"It's not my fault you stuffed up your life," I say, putting emphasis on two certain words. Mom glares at me harder when Madison bursts into sobs.
"Stella!" Mom shouts.
"Madison. Remember the time in year 10 when I asked you if you knew where my bracelet was?" I ask. She nods.
"And you said no?"
She nods again. She knows where this is going.
"And then two days later, I find it and it's broken?"
"And remember when my car broke down so I lost my job interview because you wouldn't give me a lift?"
"Do you remember the reason?"
"Wasn't it because you, and I quote, didn't want my white trash ass anywhere near my car?"
A more reluctant nod. Mom looks bewildered.
"And remember, that Christmas, a few years back? When I had to chaperone you to that Christmas party at the Blakes?"
A more reluctant nod.
"And you told everyone that I was your lesbian cousin from Tokyo and got some guys to lock me into a cupboard even though you know I'm claustrophobic?
I wait. Nod.
I could go on forever but Mom is glaring at me. I wind up.
"So, taking into consieration, everything you have done to me, do you honestly expect me to help you?"
I wait again. Finally, she shakes her head.
So how did I end up looking after Abbey?
It took a while but my friend Cate convinced me I should… that, and I knew that Madison would owe me forever.
Plus Mom and Dad promised to replace my car with something… newer.
So, in the end, Saint Madison gets her way, although she still holds that she is completely devoted to senior year. Plus, she promised to pay me back for repairing my bracelet and when this is all over, she's going to pay my petrol fees for a year.
Is that a good deal or what?
All I have to do is look after Abbey for a year. Or at least until Madison graduates or cracks from the pressure. Whatever comes first. And I'm supposed to tell everyone that Abbey is my daughter.. I seriously don't think that anyone will believe me. But hey, Mom made up the rule. Madison agreed. There's no point arguing.
I almost think that they actually believe that I'm the one who stuffed up. It could practically be me who got knocked up. It follows, I guess, after I didn't finish school. But no.. My younger sister lost her virgninity before I did.
Talk about an inferiority complex.