ANS—Episode Thirteen

Spill it All

Harmony listened over Aaliyah’s mellifluous voice concentrating on Lela’s clamorous knocking on the bathroom door, “How long has she been in the tub?” She pulled another Styrofoam container out of the paper bag and added it to the collection on the granite countertop.

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It was the deal of a lifetime and Alyssa would remind everyone that she discovered it. A four bed, two bath townhouse with Brazilian wood floors, crown molding, and a garage. A garage that Safiya’s dark blue Passat sat. It was her week.

Safiya scooted back on the countertop, “About an hour.” She counted the time on the digital clock above the TV in the living room. “Yeah, close to an hour.” She balanced the orange plate on her lap.

“Is that kind of…long.” Harmony crumbled the paper bag then tossed it in the trash.

Safiya stopped twirling the Lo Mein noodles around her fork hearing Lela’s voice ask Are you still alive, in the background. “Alyssa’s soaking. Let her soak.” She stuffed the wad of noodles in her mouth.

Lela shuffled back to the kitchen, “She’s alive.” She retied the strings to her green and purple floral shorts. “I think I heard her breath.” She squinted at Safiya.

Safiya stopped chewing. “What?” she mumbled through her full mouth.

“Should you be eating that?” Lela looked at Safiya sideways than turned her eyes to Harmony.

“What?” Harmony shrugged scooping fried rice onto the yellow plate. “Its just a little Lo Mein.” She stopped scooping, her hand slowing travelled up to her mouth. “Oops. I got seafood. Spit it out! Spit it out!”

Safiya dropped the half chewed glob of noodles on to the plate as Harmony quickly removed the plate from her hands.

“So, you’re keeping it,” Lela reached for two eggrolls.

Safiya took the eggroll Lela handed her, “Yes.” She answered slowly.

“Con…grat…u…lations?” Harmony quizzically spoke throwing Safiya’s masticated dinner in the trash.

“Congratulations for what?” Alyssa entered the kitchen as lilac hung behind her like Pigpen’s dirt cloud.

“Oh! You don’t know.” Lela gasped grabbing a plate out the cabinet. “Fiya here is knocked up.”

“What!” Alyssa harked dabbing the damp spot her wet ponytail left on her dark gray sweatshirt. “When did this happen?”

“What?” Safiya’s eyebrows bunched up chewing on the last bit of her eggroll. “When I found out or when I told them.” She pointed to Lela and Harmony standing by their little island.

“It doesn’t matter.” Alyssa swept her moist feet across the cold hard floor. “Who’s the father?” She took the plate Lela and Harmony assembled line to her.

Safiya kicked her dangling feet wildly, “How do you know it’s not Garner’s.”

“Because…you’ve only been with him for a month.” Alyssa dumped a heap of orange chicken onto her plate. “And you’re too absent-minded to notice you missed your period in a month.” She shoved a spoonful of rice in her mouth.

Harmony nodded sipping on a glass of iced lemonade.

“She’s right.” Lela said. “You’re always using my tampons because your Aunt Flo surprised you.”

Safiya rolled her eyes at Alyssa when she wasn’t looking, holding her tongue because she didn’t know how fragile her friend was.

Safiya stopped kicking her legs as they eagerly glued their eyes to her tightly sealed mouth. She pulled her lips apart slowly like a Band-Aid on a fresh gash. “I didn’t know this at the time.”

“What? Is he married?” Lela laughed.

Safiya bit on her bottom lip looking down at her pink cotton dress.

“He’s married!” Harmony eyebrow flew up along with her voice’s octave.

Alyssa fork clung on her plate, “How could you? Does girl code mean anything to you?”

“I said I didn’t know.” Safiya yelled hopping off the counter top. “The second I found out I broke it off.” She withheld that tidbit about them having sex early today but they didn’t need to now that. She took a deep breath, “Its—” She took another breath, this names was going to knock their bras off. “It’s Carter Russell.”

“Stop lying!” Lela shouted slapping her hands on the frigid countertop. “Sex in a blazer Russell!”

“My Russell!” Harmony articulated with her hand on her heart.

Safiya frowned, a possessive chord in her heart plucked by Harmony’s words. She shook it off

Harmony continued, “Professor Russell!”

“His wife’s my therapist.” Alyssa fumed. “Bitch.”

“Look!” Safiya pointed her finger at Alyssa like it was a finely sharpen butcher’s knife. “I’m trying to be nice…to you but your making it pretty damn hard.”

Alyssa folded her arms; narrowing her eyes, “Don’t try. Let it rip.”

“This isn’t the time.” Harmony held out her arms like a referee at World Series game. “How was therapy?”

“I’m not talking about that.” Alyssa pushed her plate away, her plate barely touched. “I’m moving on.”

“Moving on.” Safiya mouthed to Lela.

“Moving on? What does that mean?” Lela asked. “Detective Jensen already found him?”

“No.” Alyssa plucked a still warm highball glass out the dishwasher. “I’m just not talking about it. End of discussion.” She glared at them with the gleam of a drill sergeant flickering in her eye.

The girls looked at each other as Alyssa filled her cup with the faint yellow liquid. Safiya feigned a look of bewilderment. Lela gestured for Harmony to inquire more. Harmony nodded away her plea.

“Okay. Change of subject.” Harmony twirled one of her curls around her finger as Lela signed her disapproval so they all could hear. “I have a sister. Ariel O’Connor.”

“Say what now?” Samuel’s voice boomed through the kitchen causing them all to leap out their skin.

“How’d you get in here?” Alyssa shouted holding her stomach.

“Key.” Samuel dangled it in Safiya’s face.

“Next time call before you come over.” Alyssa shot darts from her eyes then ran up the stairs.

A wide-eyed, open-mouthed Samuel furrowed at the girls.

“She’s adjusting.” Harmony snatched their spare key out of his hand.

“I’ll go check on her.” Lela affirmed. Safiya trailed behind her.

“So, what’s this about Ariel O’ Connor.” Samuel stole a chuck of orange chicken from Alyssa’s plate and tossed it in his mouth.

“I met Laurent today.” Harmony swung open the French door of the fridge. “Apparently, she’s my sister.” She kicked the door closed. “I haven’t met her….”

“This is a problem.” Samuel stroked his forehead.

“Nothing’s going to change.” Harmony smiled lightly sitting the pitcher on the countertop, “You’re still my brother.” She punched him in the shoulder.

Samuel fell over gripping the countertop. He took labored breaths.

Harmony rubbed his back, “What’s wrong?” She didn’t see the 5’11 boulder-bodied, quick-talking college sophomore brooding. No, before her eyes was the little boy that trailed behind her with the Radio Flyer begging to be pushed; the soft-spoken boy that climbed in her bed during rainstorms because the thunder frightened him to the core.

Samuel kept his head down counting the flicks of black crystals in the tan granite countertop. The is worst than when he pulled all her doll heads off and fed them to Rascal, the dog next door or when he dyed her hair orange while she slept because she snapped his Grand Theft Auto game in half. “Ariel and I…. hooked up.”

 

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