Home > Fake It 'Til You Break It(4)

Fake It 'Til You Break It(4)
Author: Meagan Brandy

The four of us laugh, and then Carley elbows me in the ribs.

I look up and through the screen door to find my mom primping in the mirror.

It’s crazy how much I look like her, only the less perfected version, as I’m sure she’d call me.

Long, dirty blonde but not quite brown hair, almond-shaped eyes the same shade of green, a deep, ripe lime-like color. She’s always said she blessed me with the heart shape of my lips, though I’m pretty sure hers were created along the way with the help of a needle or two. We’re both pushing five-nine, but she stays in four-inch heels to give herself more height.

The difference between us though is she walks around like a California Barbie where I’m more Barbie’s best friend.

“You talk to her about my birthday yet?” Krista whispers.

“No.” I sigh, wiping the sauce off my fingers before pushing to stand, my towel falling from my middle as I do. “Might as well do it now.”

The girls follow behind.

The second we step through the door, my mom openly scrutinizes us in our bathing suits, likely picking us apart in her mind.

“Girls.”

“Hey, Ms. Davenport.”

“Mom, can I go to Krista’s party next weekend?” I ask her.

My mom turns to me. “You want to talk about this now?”

“Since you’re here, yeah.”

Her features sharpen, but she plays it off, smiling at herself in the mirror before meeting my gaze in the reflection. “So, this is the party that is two nights in a hotel along the beach with its own private bar and DJ? A hotel that has been blocked off for nothing but high school seniors for a spoiled little girl’s eighteenth birthday?” She looks over at Krista. “No offense, sweetheart.”

“Hey, it’s true.” Krista laughs.

I hold in my eye roll. “The hotel that’s safe and owned by Krista’s dad, yes. That’s the one.”

“Honey, there will be no parents there, and I’ll be out of town, so I can’t come to your rescue if something happens.” She makes sure to shake her head in faux concern.

‘Course you won’t be home, who’s shocked?

Not me.

This entire conversation is a pointless one anyway, and all formality.

I ask for something, she plays out the whole scene, makes it seem dangerous, makes herself sound concerned in case my dad asks me about it later, but it’s nothing more than a mother-daughter role we play.

A role we both know and understand and don’t acknowledge.

“Actually, Ms. D, my parents will be around, they’re staying at our property around the corner, but they’re coming to dinner one night and they’ll be checking in at the hotel here and there. It’ll be super chill. Dinner, some dancing, rides on the boardwalk.”

I look from Krista to my mom.

“I swear I’ll be safe,” I add on. “You already know how Krista’s dad is, there will be staff security surrounding the hotel, and she just said he’ll be around if needed.”

My mom nods, in too much of a hurry to get out of here to go full-on pretend I have reservations mode. “I suppose that would be okay, so long as you answer when I call and keep in contact all weekend.”

She won’t call. “I will.”

“And please, Demi, safety in the bedroom as well.”

Macy sits forward. “So... if you don’t care if she has wild sex all weekend, what’s the point of contemplating her going at all?”

I fight a smile.

My mom, of course, misses the contempt in Macy’s question – or chooses to ignore it, she’s good at that – and laughs, grabbing her purse off the countertop. “A reminder of safe sex is always worth mentioning. Nobody wants to get pregnant and ruin their lives in high school.”

Ouch?

“I have to go.” My mom smiles at me. “I’m meeting the Welch sisters for dinner, don’t wait up.”

I turn to my friends who give a rueful smile.

My mom isn’t necessarily a bad mom, but she’s basically over mothering. Her and my dad had me their junior year of high school, but still wanted the large, fancy future, so she worked her ass off at low paying jobs while raising a baby, supported us while he went to college – a fact she never failed to throw in his face.

Six years later and four months after he started his law firm, he left her for his business partner.

My mom was bitter at first, even though she drove him away by never being happy with what he gave her, but she quickly decided she enjoyed blowing his alimony and child support checks better than she liked being his wife anyway.

Now that I’m old enough to basically care for myself, can drive, and no longer need her help with schoolwork, she’s living the years she lost – her words.

I know she loves me, and I love her, my dad too, really, but they’re both absent parents more than anything. My dad at least makes an effort where my mom is annoyed when she has to do motherly things, but I mean, I can’t complain.

It’s what most teenagers would kill for, freedom to do as we wish.

“Oh, and Demi.” My mom pulls the door open, her focus falling to my thighs as she says, “I’d say that’s enough carbs for you today.”

Wow.

I’m a fucking dancer, have been in hip-hop classes since I was five, what the hell does she expect? She should have put me in ballet if she wanted me to be a tighter stick, we work an entirely different set of muscles.

She goes to walk out but freezes mid-step, staring straight ahead.

What is she doing?

After a few seconds, a strong, heavy voice floats around the frame and into the house. “Ms. Davenport...”

Nico.

Nico!

My eyes widen, and I whip around to my friends, all who gape at me, Macy holding her hand over Krista’s mouth to block her laugh.

Macy whispers with a grin, “Aw shit, he’s playing the hot help me with my homework card I told you about.”

“Shut up!” I hiss back. “You know how she is!”

“She’s about to plan your wedding!” Macy wiggles her eyebrows.

“Or your departure to boarding school,” Krista adds.

Macy laughs. “Let’s bet!”

I shove her, making her fall over the edge of the couch.

“Go over there!” Carley whispers back hastily.

“No!” I gape at her, my eyes pointedly falling to my bikini.

“Here.” Macy tosses me her towel. “Go.”

I yank it from her hand with a frown, glancing toward the entryway again.

My mom, queen of the fakes and superficial as all hell, pulls out her old pageant smile.

I groan, quickly wrap the towel under my armpits and move closer.

I’m half a foot from the door when the towel is yanked away and I’m shoved forward.

I stumble toward my mom but catch my footing quickly.

My mom’s hand flies to her chest a moment before she composes herself, eyes wide and bright and settled on Nico, saying nothing at all.

I frown at her.

You’re really going to stand there silent and stare at him?

I move my scowl to Nico who doesn’t acknowledge my mother’s ridiculousness, but the corner of his eyes are stiff as hell.

“Hey.” He nods.

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