It Could Get Worse

Yell Till You\'re Red In The Face


”Well, lets get this started so it can end, huh? ” He gets out of the car slamming the door a little more than needed. I don get out. I keep sitting and staring at that new car in the driveway. Its as if its never been touched by a human. Its so perfect it looks fake. Charlie taps the hood of his car, breaking me out of my trance. He motions for me to get out. My hands slips when I grab the door handle. As soon as my foot touches the driveway, my heart sinks. My feet tell me to run for my own sake. Out of all the mistakes and all the stupid things, Ive done. This is going to take the cake. ”Why are you taking so long? ”

”Just composing myself. ” I try to smile, but can tell if my face moved when I told it to. I see a face peeking out between the curtains on the second floor. A little white woman stares down with a sour expression. Shit, she knows.

When we walk in the door, I can smell dinner and flowers. The smell is so amazing I feel like Ive never smelt before. Charlie shuts the door behind us as his mother comes down the stairs. I suddenly feel like Im not over dressed for dinner. Shes wearing a long black dress with a trail. The sides have a nude cloth over them, and her hair is down and flowy. Shes very skinny and tall. She walks over to us and stands in front of me. Her face is flat and cold, but her eyes try to say she doesn care about any of this. ”You
e my sons… ” she ponders as if forgetting the word, ”girlfriend, I presume. ” It feels like a question, but I feel stupid for answering.

”Mona. ” I smile. Her hands are folded behind her back, so I don offer a handshake.

”Eve. ” She turns and beacons us to follow her with a finger. She sits in the middle of a smaller couch. Her presence takes up the couch, while her body only takes up the spot between the cushions. Charlie and I sit on the slightly larger couch across from her. When I sit down my butt starts to hurt already. This is the hardest couch Ive ever sat on, and I grew up with an uncle that used a pile of blankets on top of a plastic bin as his couch.

”So, Mona, thats an interesting name. ”

”Thank you. ”

”What made your mother decide on something so unconventional? ” My brain freezes at its first test.

”My grandmothers name was, uh, Marian. She was given the nickname Mona when she was younger, and my mother decided to name me after that. ” That sounded like bullshit. Did that sound like bullshit? Oh **, why would they nickname her Mona? That makes no sense.

”Interesting. ” She turns her head and starts addressing Charlie about his grades. The real story of my name is a lot more embarrassing. When I was a kid, I asked my mom, while she was drunk, why she named me Mona. She said, ”Because thats the only good thing to come out of you. ” As a child I didn understand what she meant, but once I got older I figured it out.

”Mother, my grades are fine. Stop freaking out about it. ”

”Im not freaking out about anything. Your grades are fine, but we want great. Or at least good. You have Bs and a C. Think you can figure out how to fix that so I don have to keep worrying about it? ” He sighs and mumbles something resembling a fine. She shakes her head slightly. She opens her mouth, but her husband walks into the room. He walks over and sits in an armchair to the right of her. Hes a similar height to her. His hair is short all around, but longer in the front. Its styled into a sort of flat quiff. He wears a grey suit without the jacket on.

”Hello Charlie. Whos your friend? ”

”This is Mona, my girlfriend. Mom insisted I bring her, did she not tell you? ” Insisted…

”Im sure she mentioned it. Hello. ” He nods to me.

”Hi..hello. ” I quickly correct. My face burns when Charlie looks over at me a little. Charlies parents start to talk to each other about their trip.

”You good? ” Charlie whispers while only acknowledging me with a slight turn of the head.

”A little nervous, but fine. ”

”No kidding. ” Somebody walks in and announces dinner is ready. They all stand. His father takes Eves hand and walks her to the dining room. The dining room has a wooden table for six with matching chairs. Theres a long chandelier hanging from the ceiling, and the floors are a dark stone. Charlie pulls out my chair for me. He sits next to me, and his parents sit together on the other side. They bring in a bowl of soup and drinks for everyone.

”Im assuming you
e in the same grade as Charlie? ”

”Yes, Im a senior as well. ”

”What college do you plan to go to? ”

”Im… ” Should I lie or say Im undecided? ”Im thinking of going to NSU. ”

”Thats not a bad school. ” Charlies father chips in. They both take their napkins and lay them in their lap; we do the same after. Classical music plays in the background, but not loudly enough to cover up the awkward silence.

”We saw Ashley on our trip. ” Pipes up his mother after minutes of silence.

”Good for you. ” Charlie responds coldly.

”Don be rude just because I brought up your ex-girlfriend. ” He has an ex-girlfriend?

”Why are we talking about this? ”

”Ashley is part of a good family. ”

”Yeah, Monas dad does business overseas too. There are a lot of good people in life mom. I think you need to stop crushing over Ashley. ” Eve taps her husbands hand.

”Don be rude to your mother Charlie. ” He says after wiping his mouth. I try to disappear and eat my soup as quietly as possible.

”Mona. What do your parents do? ”

”My dad is doing business overseas, and I have a stay home mother. ”

”So she takes care of you when your father is away on…business. ” I nod. ”Why do you constantly eat here and not at your home then? ” Eve leans forward a little bit and his father lets out a little cough. ”I keep track of how much money Charlie spends on food. I don mind if he has friends over and they get food, but according to my records you were over here almost every day. At least on the weekends you were here consistently. I know Charlie isn eating that much food, I mean look at him. ” My throat feels so dry, but I don dare touch my drink. Their servers come in with our main meal. They slide the plate in front of me, and I feel the need to give it back. I avoid looking at it, but then theres Eves eyes staring me down. I glance over at Charlie, but hes texting on his phone. ”Mona, I don mind if you eat here often. I don . I just want to know about you. Im just a protective mother, and I want to know what my son is getting into. You understand. ”She leans back into her chair. ”It doesn look like you eat much either, so I can help but wonder. ” She takes a bite of her steak.

”I invite her over. ”

”Sorry? ”

”I invite her over, mother. I get lonely, and I ask her to come over a lot to keep me company. Shes fun to be around and is there for me. So shes over a lot, because I ask her to come over. Shes not trying to mooch off of you, so you can stop trying to intimidate her into spilling some big secret. Her grandmother is one of the founders of our school. She has money, so you can calm the ** down. ”

”I don appreciate the language, but its fine. Why didn you tell me your grandmother helped start the school? It isn , uh, Marian is it? ” She smiles as if she knows its all bullshit.

”No, thats on my mothers side. ” I smile feeling uncomfortable. While fighting the urge to tell her to take her food and shove it up her ass.

”Do you visit your grandmother often? She must have some amazing property. ”

”I don . My father is busy a lot as is she. Ive only met her a few times. ” She gives me a little nod and continues eating. I take a bite of potatoes and instantly feel nauseous. Before we
e all half way done with our main meal the servers come out, and take the food away. They give us a salad and a small desert.

”I enjoy having my salad after my meal instead of before or during. ” His father pops in. ”Oh, I don believe I introduced myself did I? I always forget people don just know my name. ” He laughs a little which receives him a small smile from Eve and a scoff from Charlie. ”Im Edward, but call me Ed. ”

”Mona, obviously. ” He smiles and raises his eyebrows quickly.

”Charlie, will the two of you be joining us after dinner? ”

”Probably not. ”

”Oh, and why not? ”

”Cause I don wanna I guess. ”

”Because I don want to. ” She corrects. ”Charlie, we don come home very often. We also won get to meet your girlfriend very often either. Stay and spend some time with us. ”

”You guys sit and do the same thing every time you come home. No, Ill take Mona home, so we can do homework or something. ” The servers come and take the last of our meal from us. As soon as theyve walked away with the plates Charlie gets up. He leaves his chair pushed out and starts pulling my chair out before Ive even prepared to stand. His parents slowly stand and follow as Charlie pulls me to the front door.

”It was nice meeting you Mona. Maybe well meet again. ” Eve keeps her lips pressed tightly when she smiles. Her head always looks a little too heavy for her neck. Charlie yanks me out the door with him. The sun is almost completely gone as we get into his car.

He pulls out and runs over the curb, and starts driving like an asshole. ”Slow down. ” He looks at me, as if I just called him some offensive slur. ”Whats up your ass? Calm down. ”

”Whyd you let her talk to you like that? You didn say shit. I had to **ing stand up for you, otherwise she wouldve kept walking all over you. ”

”Im sorry I made you, my boyfriend, stand up for me. I was trying to be respectful and not say anything that would make them hate me. What was I supposed to say, though? I have been staying at your place, and eating there all the time. ”

”You couldve told her I invited you over. Its not like its a secret that I invite you over. ”

”Well it is to everybody else. Im not going to say anything about you in case you don want her to know it. ”

e ridiculous. ” We sit in the quiet for a little bit, until he starts to slow down and go the speed limit.

”I noticed you said she insisted you invite me to dinner. Did you want me to meet your parents or was it just that you can tell her no? ” He doesn answer me for a while; he just stares ahead strangling the wheel.

”I didn want you to meet her cause shes a bitch. Its not about you. ” He pulls up to the sidewalk in front of Lils house. ”Theres a party in a couple of weeks. Did you want to go with me? ”

”Is there a dress code? ” He smiles. ”Yeah, Ill go with you. ” He kisses me goodbye and drives off. I stand on the sidewalk and watch him leave. I stand on the sidewalk for another minute after his car is out of sight.

The dress rubs on the side of my stomach as I walk home. Once I get into my neighborhood, I feel more insecure. The dress lets in a lot of air and so does all the parts that my body doesn fill out. I get catcalled a few times, and a couple of guys try to stop me thinking that I might be trying to sell something. I walk a little faster and say nothing back. By the time I reach the apartment, I just want to sleep. My mother says something to me when I come in. It involves the words useless and whore, but I don stay and listen. I go straight to my room to sleep.

My mind keeps going back to how Eve looked at me. I was pretending I was something else, and using all the fancy names in my list. She still saw past it, though. She still looked at me like Im less than. How many people are seeing through me?

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