Monday, November 11, 2013
Chapter Eleven: Diana and her Mom
Diana dismissed the events of the night. It was the first day of school and she was not looking forward to it, but… she was. In spite of her fear of everyone’s pity over AJ and her horror at the thought of showering with some of those girls for another year, part of her was excited. She felt alive for the first time in months. That was good. Right?
She smelled her mom’s cooking from downstairs, but she paused at the top. This would be the first time that AJ wouldn’t be sitting in the kitchen on the first day of school. Some of her earliest memories were of AJ in his high chair making faces at her in response to the ones she made at him. More recently, as a teenager, he could be a real asshole sometimes, but still she loved him. She thought of her mom and headed downstairs to keep her company.
There were just two plates set at the table. So that’s how it would be from now on? Diana thought. Daddy never eats breakfast in the morning anymore; always working late. Delores is off at college majoring in cheerleading or communications or something. AJ was dead. Murdered. Now, it was just her and her mom.
Diana rounded the corner. Her mom kept very fit by working out at a local fitness club regularly. Her gorgeous, sandy blonde hair was up in a simple bun. She still wore her bathrobe. Diana smiled. But she noticed her mom had a grip on the counter at the sink. Her knuckles were white and her hands shook.
“Mom?” Diana said. It was as if the damn had broken and her mom choked back a sob, opening her arms. Diana rushed forward and hugged her mom. She cried, too. “I miss him so much, mommy.”
Her mom just nodded and held her daughter tight.
After a time, her mom let her go and dealt with her tears. She handed Diana a napkin.
“There’s something else, Di.” Her mom said.
“What?” Diana drank her orange juice but the food didn’t actually seem appealing.
“Cousin Vitto,” her mom choked on the name, tears building in her eyes again. “He’s been murdered. Honey, I hate to be the one to tell you all this. Oh my god, Di, something happened and his dogs ate him. His guards found him. It’s so horrible.” Di shrank away from her mother, as if that could protect her from the truth of her dreams. She recalled the song of the moon and the fear and horror diminished. Regaining control of herself, Diana hugged her mom again. They’d been friends since before Delores was borne. The holidays wouldn’t be the same without him.
Vitto. Mm mm good.
Diana looked toward the dining area table, out of some reflex picked up by her mother. Or maybe the thought of sitting at the holiday dinner.
AJ sat at his usual seat, right beside hers, on the window side of the table. He glared at her with baleful, black pits where his eyes should have been. “Diana, please,” he said, “I can’t hold out forever. Please, Di.”
Diana choked back something in her throat. Had she been about to growl at her brother? At the memory of Vitto? She put her hand over her mouth and backed away. “I gotta go mom,” she said. And fled out the door to the garage.