How Lacie would have made the wedding in time.
“You fucking sociopath.”
Ryan was looking incredulously at Lacie, who just performed her maid of honor speech, even squeezing out a completely fake tear at the end. Her device blinged.
“Ryan, my car is here. Was it too much?”
Lacie stalked to the kitchen.
“What, the tear, the photo, Mr. Rags?” Ryan replied.
“I do keep him on my desk!” Lacie exclaimed, louder than necessary.
“There’s sugary and then there’s fucking diabetes!” Ryan yelled, looking over at Lacy.
“I just wanna make her happy on her wedding day.”
“Oh… The captive audience of 4-point-holies five-starring your ass off, that’s just a bonus…”
“Naomi and I were best friends.”
Lacie knew this wasn’t really true. Naomi had been pretty mean and condescending toward her for years. Not to mention the ‘unmentionable’. Ryan started laughing.
Lacie braced herself.
“I wish her well and wanna express it the best I can.” she said with as much dignity as she could muster. “And yeah, if I nail a speech and get five-starred by hundreds of primes, so what? It’s a win-win.”
Ryan squinted at her.
“What are you hoping for?” he asked sarcastically, getting up from the couch. “Like, 4.3, 4.4?”
He said it like it was something to be ashamed of. This rubbed Lacie the wrong way. She strode toward him.
“Unh-unh. YOU get points from your gaming buddies. It’s the same thing. Don’t shit on me for aiming higher!”
“Pelican Cove higher?” Ryan sneered.
“What’s wrong with Pelican Cove?! They’re great apartments!”
Lacie’s temper was at a boiling point.
“They are fake-smile jail cells!”
Suddenly Lacie’s device made the down-vote sound. She looked at it.
“Great. Car cancelled. And he marked me down, so now I have to book another AND I took a ding. GREAT job.”
This was all Ryan’s fault. If he had just said: ‘Great speech, good luck’, she would have been in the car and on her way. Why did he have to be such an underachieving, cynical asshole all the time?
“I am sorry, but I miss the normal you. Before this obsession, when we had conversations, remember?” Ryan was leaning over the counter now, trying to make his point. Lacie didn’t really hear it anymore. Her charger wasn’t in her pink purse.
“I need my charger…”
Ryan continued to rant.
“This whole ranking thing, just… comparing yourself to people who-”
“Have you seen my charger?” Lacie interrupted him shrilly.
“…only pretend to be happy.”
Suddenly, Lacy saw her charger, casually strewn about.
“I said,” she said through gritted teeth, “DON’T BORROW THIS!”
“High fours like Naomi, I bet they’re suicidal on the inside.” Ryan mused.
“My car is here. Again!” Lacie grabbed her purse and suitcase.
As if he suddenly realized something, Ryan asked softly: “Your Pelican Cove deposit, is it refundable? Like, what if this doesn’t work?”
“Can’t you just stay out of my shit??”
“You’re my sister!” Ryan retorted.
“YES! And if you cared about that, maybe you would’ve noticed living with you hasn’t been one big rainbow sandwich for me.” She looked at him angrily. “Do you know why I never brought any guys back here? Because I didn’t want them to know I was sharing a skanky-ass cave with mister THREE. POINT. FUCK.”
Lacy turned on her heel, grabbed her suitcase and walked out the front door, while Ryan yelled: “Good luck with your performance!”
Before she could even get to the curb, she remembered her most important prop: Mr. Rags. He was still lying on the counter top. She walked back inside, where Ryan was standing in the dark, and grabbed the result of a truly great afternoon crafting at age 10. She was about to leave without saying a word, but something stopped her. This wasn’t the way to leave her younger brother. She had always been there for him. Four years was a pretty big age difference and even now, at age 31, he was still depending on her. Somehow he had always refused to grow up and get with the program. And after all the crap he pulled, what with him losing his job ánd apartment within a month, mom and dad still seemed to like him more. Even though she was the one paying for the apartment, making food, cleaning and basically taking care of Ryan like a nagging mother, while he was in his underwear gaming on the couch all day. Sometimes it was infuriating. But then… How could he know any better, Lacy thought, when everyone had always bailed him out. Everyone had always been there to catch him when he made another weird jump in life. This wasn’t even his fault. He genuinely cared for her and even though his way of expressing himself was sometimes cynical and annoying, she knew he meant well.
“Ryan, look…” Lacy sighed. “Please give me a sec to pay the driver. I’ll be right back.”
Ryan just stood there. Lacie hurried to the driver, barely able to dodge a woman holding a cup of coffee. The woman didn’t notice anything. Lacie looked at the driver, a tired looking older man, who seemed to be in need of about ten days of sleep and a lot of healthy food.
“Good evening, sir, I’m so sorry, but I need to cancel the ride. I will pay you in full right now.”
Lacie tapped on her device, paying the man for the service he would not need to carry out and added a generous tip. He looked at his device and a small smile appeared on his face. “I wish you a wonderful evening, sir, and sorry again.” Lacie five-starred the driver who, to her delight, used his device to send her five stars in return. “Evening, ma’am.” he said, nodding, and he drove away.
Lacie knew she was in a hurry, that this would be cutting it close, but somehow she knew she had to patch things up with Ryan before going off to Honeysuckle, Port Mary.
She walked inside and closed the door behind her. Ryan didn’t seem to have moved. The lights turned back on and Lacy laid down her purse and Mr. Rags on the counter top.
“Ryan, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to fly off the handle like that. I’m sorry for what I said.”
Ryan looked at her.
“You’re stressed.” he said calmly. “It’s okay.”
“I am.” Lacie admitted. “And scared. There’s a lot at stake.”
understand. Ya know, Lacie, I’m just worried.” He sighed. “I don’t know… maybe
you can come live with me and Nate for a while. I think he’ll be okay with
that. There is a third bedroom. It’s kind of small, but at least you won’t be
Apparently he was still not getting it.
“Ryan… I really, really like the Pelican Cove apartment and I really think I have a shot at it.”
Ryan looked skeptical, but he said nothing. Lacie relented.
“I’d like it if you ask Nate if he’s okay with me taking the third bedroom for a while if it somehow doesn’t work out, though.”
Ryan smiled a little wickedly.
“I’m pretty sure he’ll have no problem with that whatsoever… You should go on a date with him anyway. And you don’t have to worry about being ashamed of sharing a skanky-ass cave with your three-point-fuck little brother, because three-point-fuck Nate doesn’t care and he lives there too.”
“At least he’s a 3.9…” Lacie grumbled, but she smiled, in spite of herself. “Look, I really gotta go, are we okay?” Lacie looked at Ryan. He nodded.
“We’re fine. You go perform.”
Lacie was already ordering a new car.
“I’m gonna perform my ass off. But for real, though… Was the tear too much?”
Ryan started laughing.
“Just a smidge.”
In no time Lacie’s device blinged, indicating the car was in front.
“See ya, little bro.”
Lacie five-starred Ryan, more out of habit, than really intending to do it.
He took his device and sent her five stars in return. She looked at it, happily. She was still well in the clear, at a 4.2 and 81. Quickly, she walked to the car, greeted the driver, who looked a lot less tired than the last one, and settled in the back. It would be an adventure, she was embarking on right now. But she knew, if things didn’t work out like she hoped, she’d have a place to go. Everything would be okay.