Her sister is getting married to her ex, her brother's sexual escapade is making headlines, her mother's going crazy, and her father's not speaking to any of them. But perhaps strangest of all, her coworker and archrival has offered to be her date for the wedding. Bringing home a fake boyfriend is never a good idea, right?
"Have you been watching the news?"
With a sigh, I pulled a beer from the fridge and shoved the door closed with my backside. Spinning around, I made my way towards the living area and fell back into the couch. I refrained from rolling my eyes, only because the woman on the other end of the line wouldn't be able to see the gesture.
"No. I'm avoiding the news," I replied, opening the frosty bottle as I pinched the phone between my ear and shoulder.
"But Sam! You must know all the awful things they're saying."
"Yes." At this, my eyes did roll. Tipping my head back to rest on the sofa cushion, I frowned at ceiling. "Of course I do. Hence the avoiding."
"We need to talk about this. Tyler won't answer his phone, and I'm worried."
"Like I said, I'm avoiding the news, and mom. She just called me to have this very conversation, and I'm not really interested in having it with you either." I should have known better to not pick up my phone, but after a long day of work I was too tired to even avoid screening my calls.
"You don't think… I mean, it can't be true." Her voice was small and airy, just like everything else about her. Nora was my younger sister of two years, and despite her gentle nature and kind ways, even I was having trouble believing her nativity at the moment.
"Nora, have you been watching the news?" I interjected. "They have pictures of them kissing, snuggling in a restaurant, leaving hotel rooms on various occasions..." I trailed off suggestively. A picture was worth a thousand words, and there were more than enough pictures to toss 'just a misunderstanding' out the window.
"But it's Tyler. Our Tyler."
"Yes. Our Tyler. Who drank a bottle of Jack at your graduation and threw up on your shoes," I laughed at the memory. It wasn't a fond one, exactly, but it perfectly summed up the family dynamic. Nora was sweet and innocent, but Tyler was loud, thinking of himself above all. True he was loveable and one of my favorite people in the word, but he had tunnel vision when it came to seeing everything besides himself. Tall and handsome, he was as flamboyant as he was destructive, and was currently living it up now that he was caught in the latest national scandal. Not that I knew for sure, since he wasn't answering any of our calls. "Tyler," I continued, "who had sex with a waiter at Gran's funeral and bragged to us all about it while we ate."
"Yes, but… this congressman he was sleeping with," she paused, and I could picture her face alight with sympathy. "He has a wife and two children."
"Don't worry Nora; they'll be taken care of. He's banking and now that he's making headlines from sleeping with our brother." I inhaled deeply, and smiled briefly at how bizarre everything these last three days had become. "The wife and kids will certainly come off as the good guys in the divorce settlement." Rumor was the congressman might not even get to keep his job, and with the impending divorce he'd lose a good deal of his assets too.
"It's not about money Samantha!" Nora gasped. "He had a wife! And he cheated on her. With a man and now the entire country knows. It's so… awful."
I pictured her pretty pout and grimaced. Nora was sweet and innocent, true, but it didn't mean she was without fault. Currently, I viewed her more as the cheating-congressman than the faithful mother in this scenario, but of course I wouldn't voice that opinion.
At first glance, Nora and I were obviously sisters. Brown hair and blue eyes, we looked like our mother. She was only two or so inches shorter than me, but between her sundresses, ballet flats and doe-eyed expression she looked younger and more innocent than I could ever pass for.
While I lived and breathed my career, Nora painted and volunteered at animal shelters. She was kind and beautiful, always smiling, and used to getting whatever she want. Hell, she did get whatever she wanted. What I worked for seemed to always fall onto Nora's lap, and though I loved her dearly, it was too difficult a trait to not resent from time to time.
I must have stayed silent for a bit too long, because Nora spoke up.
"Sam, you aren't… comparing me to that congressman, are you?"
Yes. "Of course not, Nora. You know the situation is completely different."
"I know." I heard her sigh. "But sometimes… well, I feel like I did betray you." Betrayal was a strange word, and one never before associated with my starry-eyed sister. "I am glad that you seem to be holding up."
I rolled my eyes and took a long swig from my beer. Nora was two states away, living off our parents since most of her work was charity. She spent all of her free time with her fiancé and future supporter. She hadn't seen how I was actually 'holding up', but it wasn't my place to be bitter. I had, after all, given her my blessing.
"I'm fine Nora." A fact I was starting to believe myself. Sure, things sucked, but it wasn't that I was actually still heartbroken or anything. "And I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone."
Another lie, but this one was told with less irritation towards my sister. In three weeks, my sister was getting married. It was bad enough that my mother was calling me crying every few hours, wanting to know where she went wrong with Tyler. Not because he was gay, of course, but because he was sleeping around with a married political official. Something I hadn't known because Tyler was apparently too busy to speak with any of us. Meanwhile my father was sitting in his workshop, pretending none of us existed. To make matters worse, Tyler would be at the wedding. He'd be the star of the event, I'm sure, and I'd have no choice but to stand in a room where all the insanity would unfold.
"I hope you still like your dress."
Because I was the maid of honor.
"It's great Nora. Thank you for letting me pick it out."
Which just so happened to be the best seat in the house to watch as my little sister married my ex-fiancé.