Oh… god. How the hell could this have happened?
He'd only been away five months. Religiously drinking. Religiously spending his student loan. Religiously avoiding religion- because hallelujah, there was no more church! When his parents hadn't dragged him, his sister Daisy had, threatening him and blackmailing him with the pile of magazines that he knew that she knew he kept under his bed…
…And now she was standing there in the front door, that good, pious little sister… in black skirt, black hoodie, and a pentagram around her neck. Even the braids were gone, those irritatingly, obnoxiously long braids which she'd insisted growing out to her waist. A snip and a snap and it was cropped in jagged edges around her chin, fringe swept into her eyes. And yes… it was dyed black.
Lawrence almost felt emotional for those braids now…
"You moron. What are you waiting for, Christmas?"
He shoved past her through the doorway, slugging his rucksack into the middle of the corridor, his usual place.
"What the fuck have you done to yourself? You look like a freak," he said.
"You're the fucking freak Lawrence," she retaliated, stabbing a finger towards his low, ass-hanging jeans. Lawrence was so shocked his iPod earphones fell out of his ears. Daisy swore now?
"Bastard!" she added, for effect, and fled upstairs to her bedroom, slamming it theatrically behind her. Lawrence stared, then slumped up after her. He heard the boom box booming from her room; My Chemical Romance.
It was worse than he thought…
"Where are Mum and Dad?" he yelled over the din.
Daisy's reply was to crank up the stereo. It blasted out at him;
A world that sends you reeling from decimated dreams / Your misery and hate will kill us all
"I said, where are Mum and Dad!" he bellowed.
The door banged open. Daisy's incensed face flew at him, trying to intimidate, reddened like an angry tomato. Man, she'd gotten tall. But did she really have to wear such boob-showing low tops? Wait- Daisy had boobs?
"Stop staring, you pervert!" She attempted a slap, but hadn't got in enough practise yet. Her hand bounced harmlessly off Lawrence's head. She pulled her jacket protectively across her chest.
"I'm your brother!" he protested, hands in the air.
"That's worse!" she said, going in for a second slap. This one cuffed him across the nose. He pushed her hand away roughly.
"I just don't think you should wear those sorts of tops," he defended. "You shouldn't put yourself on display. You'll get all sorts of weirdo's after you!"
"Yeah, like you!"
Third time lucky. Right across the face. She beamed with pleasure.
"If you don't fucking stop that I'll hit you back," he said.
"You can't hit me. I'm a girl."
"You're not a girl, you're a demon."
She slammed the door in his face. He pushed, met no resistance, and fell flat onto the floor. Daisy roared with laughter, hanging upside down from her bed like a bat in a belfry. It was black. What had happened to her annoying Winnie the Pooh duvet? Her stuffed rabbit collection? That picture of the Virgin Mary? Instead, looking down on them in his great omniscience was Marilyn Manson.
"What happened to ol' Mary?" Lawrence asked.
"I've found my inner spirituality," Daisy said, dropping the attitude in her eagerness spill the spiritual beans. She dropped her voice to an excited whisper. "Christianity is a medium of oppression. I'm a Wiccan now. I see the beauty in everything."
Personally Lawrence thought that the words Daisy and Beauty were antonyms, but he kept his trap shut.
"Mum and Dad are at church," she said suddenly. "I tried to convince them it was all a lie, but they threatened to take away my shrine to Gerard Way." Lawrence wasn't even going to think about what that was… he tried to distract himself by glancing back up at Marilyn Manson.
"I thought you said he was stupid?" he said accusingly.
"Yeah, I know," Daisy sighed, the sigh of a sinner renounced of her ways, "but Leanne really got me into it. She's got all his CD's you know."
"And I bet it was Leanne who got you into all this crap, too? Since when are twelve year old girls emo?"
Daisy hissed. She flipped off the bed and pivoted towards him, looking ready to slap him again. Jesus, what was up with the slapping?
"I'm thirteen," she said, through gritted teeth.
Thirteen. The realisation hit him in the face, far harder than Daisy ever could.
She was a teenager.
Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.
"You might not have realised, but it was my birthday last month-" now she was getting tearful, water pooling at her eyelids, lapping dangerously at the dark mascara, "in fact- you obviously didn't realise, seeing as I didn't get a present or as much as a 'Happy Birthday'."
His sister, the teenager. He'd missed her birthday; the day she graduated from junior demon to slathering monster. Oh god. Oh god.
He reached out, tentatively, and patted her on the head. "Uh, soz," he said. She erupted into wails. He stepped back. "I'm gonna go out."
She pulled her head out of her hands. Her eyes were puffy, red and angry. "Where?" she spat.
She followed him out into the landing. "But you don't even believe in God!" she screeched.
"Yeah, I know. But I'm going to plead for sanctuary."
He was going to need it, to survive this happy family reunion.