Margaret (on the phone):

No, Mom...Yes...I don't care if the instructor is cute...I'm not going to take the bus all the way across town just to do yoga with you…(sighs) I'm sorry, Mom. I just...No, I'm fine, really. Just tired, that's all. I worked the graveyard shift at work last night and just got back...Yes, I know that I have to take you to the appointment tomorrow...No, don't cancel it! The next opening the clinic has isn't for another four months...Mom, you don't need to look out for me so much. I'm not a baby anymore...Yes, I know I'll always be your little Mar-Mar no matter what age...Look, I have to go...I'll pick you up at noon tomorrow, okay?...See you then. Love you.

Margaret hangs up the phone. Doorbell rings.

Margaret:

What is it now?

Margaret answers the door. Eli enters and plops down on the couch.

Margaret:

What do you want, Eli?

Eli:

Why do you think I want something? Can't I have just come to visit my favorite older sister?

Margaret:

No.

Eli:

Come on, sis. Lighten up for a bit. It's fun.

Margaret:

Trust me, I know what you find fun. I don't want any part in it.

Eli:

Alright, alright. No need to get all snappy. I just don't get why you choose to spend all day in here with these dusty old books instead of going outside and actually doing something with your life.

Margaret:

Put them down, Eli. I don't need you to damage them in some previously inconceivable way.

Eli:

'Previously inconceivable'? What in the world does that mean?

Margaret:

Never mind that. Just put them down.

Eli:

Fine. I did it. Happy now?

Margaret:

Not until you walk out the door. What did you want, anyway?

Eli:

Thanks for reminding me, sis. I almost forgot. I need some money.

Margaret:

Again? What's it for this time? Gambling debts?

Eli:

No. I'm getting married.

Margaret:

You? You are getting married?

Eli:

Yeah. Nice couch by the way.

Margaret:

Don't try to distract me with compliments! You must be lying. It must be an excuse. I mean, who'd want to marry you? You, of all people! The self-proclaimed jerk!

Eli:

Plenty of people do. I once had people lining up around the block just to meet me.

Margaret:

You told them you were a casting director.

Eli:

Well, it worked, didn't it?...Don't give me that look, Margaret. I told you I was sorry for the angry phone calls.

Margaret:

Angry doesn't even begin to cover it. You told them I was your secretary and the only way to reach you. People don't take very kindly to being blown off.

Eli:

Yeah...but that's all in the past now. I haven't done that kind of thing in months.

Margaret:

Really?

Eli:

Fine, weeks. Now, will you give me the money or not?

Margaret:

I need proof.

Eli:

Proof of what? That I'm actually getting married?

Margaret:

Yes.

Eli:

Why? Don't you trust me?

Margaret:

Have you given me any reason to?

Eli:

Fair point. Tell you what, my fiancée's waiting for me in the car. I'll have her come over here. Maybe she can convince you.

Eli exits.

Margaret:

I can't believe it. Eli getting married? He's never even had anything other than a couple one-night stands before. I just don't believe it.

Eli and Carys enter.

Eli:

Carys, this is my sister, Margaret. Sis, this is Carys, my fiancée.

Carys:

It's nice to meet you at last. I've heard so much about you.

Margaret:

Oh, you have, have you? Why don't you sit down so we can get started.

Carys:

Started?

Eli:

She doesn't think that you really love me.

Carys:

But that's nonsense, of course I love you. I'm going to marry you, for goodness sake.

Eli:

Sorry, I phrased that weirdly. She doesn't think that we're actually getting married.

Carys:

What! Why?

Margaret:

My brother doesn't have the best track record with telling the truth.

Eli:

Can't you see that I'm telling the truth now?

Margaret:

Getting someone else to participate in your harebrained schemes doesn't make it any more believable, Eli.

Eli:

It's not a scheme, sis. I love Carys and want to spend the rest of my life with her.

Carys:

And I love him back.

Margaret:

Riiiight. Tell me, how did you two meet?

Carys:

At my job. I work at a coffee shop down the street from his apartment. He came in every morning for a vanilla latte. I could tell that he liked me but was too scared to admit it. It took an entire month for him to build up enough courage to ask me on our first date. It was adorable, really.

Eli:

Was it really that obvious?

Carys:

Your face went red as a tomato whenever we made eye contact.

Eli:

And remember that time at the park?

Carys (laughing):

How could I forget? I reached out to hold your hand while we were walking. You started stammering and jerked away from me so hard that you lost your balance and fell into the pond. I couldn't stop laughing.

Eli:

When you gave me your hand to help me up, I pulled you into the pond with me. Then I kissed you for the first time.

Carys:

That's when I knew for sure that I loved him.

Eli:

We've told you our story now, sis. Are you satisfied?

Margaret:

No, Eli. I'm not satisfied. You come in here, having seduced some poor, unwitting, doe-eyed girl to play the part of your loving fiancée, and have the nerve to ask me for money.

Eli:

Must you act like this, Margaret? You didn't used to be like this.

Margaret:

Was that before or after Mom got sick?

Carys:

Wait, you're mom's sick?

Eli:

Yes, yes, it doesn't matter, Carys.

Margaret:

It doesn't matter? Mom gets a brain tumor and it doesn't matter?

Carys:

Why didn't you tell me about this, Eli?

Margaret:

I suppose he didn't tell you about his ditching us either.

Eli:

I didn't ditch you!

Margaret:

Oh? What would you rather I call your little disappearing act?

Carys:

Stop! Just...stop screaming at each other and calm down.

Eli:

Calm down? Calm down? My bitch of a sister is accusing me of not caring about my family and you don't want me to fight it?

Carys:

I'm sure that we can work this out without having to resort to petty name calling.

Eli:

It isn't petty! It's true!

Carys:

Stop talking, Eli or I'll make you stop.

Eli is silent.

Carys:

Thank you. Now tell me everything.

Margaret:

Mom first got sick right after Eli graduated high school. I went with Mom to her first round of treatment and when we came home, Eli was gone. The only thing of his he left behind was a note saying that he was too young to be held back by an ailing mother and a bossy older sister.

Eli:

I had my whole life ahead of me, Margaret. What did you expect me to do? Toss everything aside to focus on Mom?

Margaret:

No, of course not. But I did expect you to at least keep in touch. We didn't hear from you again for six months! Six months, Eli! And when we did, all you did was ask for money.

Eli:

Well, it's not like you and Mom needed it!

Margaret:

Seriously? Do you have any idea what the doctor's appointments cost, let alone treatment? I had to drop out of school and get two jobs just to make ends meet. Trust me, Eli, we needed the money.

Eli:

Oh, stop acting so righteous. You're not the only people in the world short on funds. Maybe if you managed money a little better you would be able to save up for something nice like, oh, I don't know, a coffin for Mom.

Carys:

That's enough, Eli!

Eli:

You're right, dear, I've had quite enough of my sister's tantrums. Let's go. We can get married without her blessing.

Carys:

You misunderstand me, Eli. Here, let's see if I can say it plainly enough for an imbecile like you to understand. I've had enough with you not with her.

Eli:

Oh, come on. Margaret's making a mountain out of a molehill and you're taking her side?

Carys:

Yes, I am. You abandoned your family, who says that you won't do that to me.

Eli:

I would never do that, Carys. I love you!

Carys:

I bet that's what you told your mom when she left that morning.

Eli is silent.

Carys:

Goodbye, Eli. May you be happy in the life you have chosen.