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May - Heather

May - Heather

A Chapter by Abigail T

Heather Miller, Alli's sister, is tired of living in her sister's shadow.






















I’m tired of always having to stand outside her door, waiting to be allowed to enter.  Of course, she doesn’t hear me knock the first time, so I try again. Rap Rap Rap. I wait for a second, chewing on my thumbnail, which is practically nonexistent at this point. I started biting my nails after watching Naomi do it for years.  Whenever she gets annoyed, she can’t help but chew and chew on her thumbnail. She says it’s to stop her from saying something she’d regret.  I used to chastise her for it, saying that a pile of thumbnail shavings was forming in her stomach.  Then one day, I caught myself doing it on the sidelines of a game, when a referee made a horrible call, and realized that it was weirdly soothing. Now I try not to think about piles of nail shavings in my stomach.

            “Alli?” I call, after waiting for a while.

            No response, so I knock again, for the third time.  Jesus. I could just barge in. It’s not like it’s locked.  I could just open up that stupid door, but I’m trying to respect her privacy.  Or something.

            “Wait, is someone knocking?” I hear from the other side of the door.

Ugh. “YES.”

            A pause, then, “Oh, sorry. Come in.”

            I shove the door open, and immediately see Alli at her desk, writing something, with headphones on.  Her back is to me, and it looks like she’s hunched over a single piece of paper, scribbling. 

“Hey,” I try, then when she doesn’t answer, I walk up to her and make a creepy face in her peripheral.

            She takes out her headphones and turns her head to see me with my cross-eyed face and practically jumps out of her chair.  

“You are so easy to scare, you know that?” I laugh as I glance down at the piece of paper she was writing on. There wasn’t anything legible.

She follows my gaze and turns the paper over. “Yeah, thanks for that, brat.”

            “Hey now,” I counter playfully, “We both know perfectly well who the brat is.”

            She shoots me a death-glare and I put my hands up, “Sorry, sorry.”

            Before I say anything else, I realize that her room looks different.  I mean all the furniture is in the same place with her bed on the right wall, her desk next to it, and her dresser on the opposite wall.  But clothes and trash and odds and ends were strewn about all over the floor.  The only clear path is the one I took from her door to her desk. I see the shirt she wore last night draped on top of her dresser instead of in it, and the brush she used to keep in the bathroom is on the floor by her full-length mirror across the room. I can see empty bags of chips and candy littered on top of clothes that look like they were put there to be the new floor.

            “Wow, Alli,” I say, “Your room is an impressive mess.”

            She doesn’t miss a beat. “Is there any reason you’re in here, other than to critique my feng shui?”

            Clever girl. “Yeah, I was wondering if you could give me a quick make-over?”

I know it sounds really girlie, but I’ve noticed the other girls on the team have been wearing a lot more make-up lately, and I feel left out.  I don’t want to be the only incoming freshman who doesn’t at least wear mascara.  Plus, I’ve always looked really good with make-up when Alli would do it for me. I, like many others, enjoy looking good.

            “Wouldn’t Mom absolutely freak out if you started wearing make-up?” Alli asks with a scoff.

            “Hey, good point,” I nod sarcastically, “Never thought of that.”

            “Fine, wise guy,” she turns to face me finally, her attention fully on me, “Then what’s the plan?”

            “The plan is you’re just gonna give me a simple makeover, okay?”

            She nods, bored.

            “Then I’ll wash it off before she sees it. But then in a few days, you and I are going to go out and secretly buy me make-up I can hide in my room,” By the end of my plan, I can tell I’ve got her attention.

            “When did you turn into a mischievous little devil?” Alli smirks at me.

            “Around the same time you became a psycho,” I answer.

            Instead of getting pissed, Alli laughs and lightly punches me in the arm. “Okay, let’s do this.”

            My sister picks up the mirror from her vanity at the joining wall, and places it on her desk in front of me.  I definitely look like I’ve just worked out for a few hours, because my face is still red and a little sweaty.  My hair is clinging to my neck and forehead, and any traces of what little make-up I put on has sweated out.  She’s got a lot to work with this time, but she can deal with it.

            I feel a buzz, and I realize I just got texted.


From Zombie Sister:

Hey whats 4 din?


“Oh, hey, I got your text late,” I say, and show her the screen, which I

immediately realized was a bad idea.

            “Zombie Sister?” she asks, a perfectly waxed eyebrow cocked.

            “Uh…” I try to make something up, “It’s just a cute nickname.”

            “Yeah, real cute,” she just smirks slightly and drops it.  I think she probably took offence, but left it alone. Thank God.

            She peers at me in the mirror from over my shoulder, and I admire our similarities for a second.  We have the exact same slightly up-turned nose that we inherited from our mother, and we both have pretty high cheekbones, except mine are littered with freckles.  Our eye color is the same, but the shape is totally different, and her face is longer and thinner than mine.  Our hair is also totally different, with hers being blonde and full of waves, and mine being brown and only a little curly. Also, hers is down to the middle of her back, while mine is only a little past my shoulders. My lips are fuller than hers, and she never fails to mention it when she applies lipstick for me when the family goes out to eat.  I can never tell if she’s actually complimenting me or being passive-aggressive. Maybe both.

            “Okay, how should we start?” Alli says to herself and dips away from the mirror, ending my game of how-similar-are-we.

            She pulls out four different pieces of make-up, two of them being tubes, one of them a compact, and one has a twist-off lid.  She looks down at them in her hands, then at my face, her lips pursing in thought. 

            “Can you remember if we used a liquid or powder on you last time?” she asks as she lays out the options on the desk in front of me.

            I think back to the last time she used my face as a canvas.  It was right before I started eighth grade, and she thought it would be a good idea to “give me a new look.”

She had dressed me in her clothes and worked forever on my make-up, trying one look, then wiping it off with a make-up remover and starting over.  Then I had no interest in being covered in make-up, but she loved giving me makeovers for fun, using the same make-up she used for herself.  I thought back to all the different foundations and blushes and eye shadows she showered me with, and tried to remember what she put on first.

            “Liquid, I think,” I say, remembering her putting some on her finger tips and rubbing them together before placing them on my face.

            “Really?” she crosses her arms and looks down at the four options, then at my face again. “I think powder would be better for you when you play soccer.” When I gave her a confused look, she added, “It’s harder to sweat off than liquid.”

            She takes away the tubes, and I look at the now open compact and the little purple container with the un-twisted lid.  From the looks of it, they’re two slightly different colors.  I can be sassy all I want with my sister, for many reasons, but I basically keep my mouth shut when it comes to make-up. She’s way better at it than anyone I know.

            “Okay, so you’re a little tanner than me,” Alli says, once she puts the tubes back into her floral make-up bag on the bed.  “You just get to play all day in the sun, you lucky dog,” she says with a smile, appraising my skin.

            “Yeah, it’s nice after being stuck playing inside ‘cause it was too cold,” I nod.

            “I’m sure that was torture.” I’m not sure if she’s being sarcastic or not. I decide she’s being genuine and smile, but Alli frowns.

            “What’s wrong?”

            She leans back and her eyes draw zigzags all over my face.

            “Why aren’t you getting pimples yet?” She asks, now leaning in so close, her two eyes become one in my vision.

            “I get them sometimes…” But the truth is, I haven’t really run into that yet, and I’m hoping that I won’t have to.  Alli got some acne when she was twelve, but it cleared up by fourteen.  We realize how lucky our genes are.  Mom had acne until she was about seventeen, but Dad barely had any, so we don’t have to worry too much about it.  However, our not-so-lucky genes have given us pollon allergies, hay fever, the potential for ulcers, and horrible red, puffy faces when we cry.  We are not pretty criers.

            Alli pulls back away from me and sighs, “You’re probably not going to get any, are you?”

            I smile and shrug.

            “Well, you should still use foundation,” she says as she starts dabbing the powder from the compact over my nose, forehead, and chin, “It will make your skin glow a little more.”

            “Crap,” she mutters under her breath, “I ran out of bronzer last week, didn’t I?”

            I shrug.

            Alli chuckles. “I obviously wasn’t asking you.”

            I shrug again, because I don’t have anything to say. I take the moment to ponder how much has changed between us over the last few months.  I don’t know exactly what triggered it, but I’ve been feeling more and more like the older sister.  I used to be much quieter and more reserved, while Alli was always loud and gregarious.  Because of this, she used to be able to boss me around, and I would let her.  She always seemed so much wiser and smarter when I was younger.  But lately, she’s been more and more introverted, keeping to herself, while I have become more confident and outgoing.  I blame that partially on my friend Naomi.  Naomi is basically this force of nature that nobody messes with and everybody loves.  She’s been trying to bring me out of my shell since we met three years ago in fifth grade.  I think I’m now finally moving out of my own bubble, just as Alli is receding into hers.

            “I guess you don’t really need bronzer for everyday,” Alli continues, as she rummages through her bag, “Because you’re already pretty tan. You’d just look sparkly.”

            “What’s wrong with looking sparkly?” I swivel around in her desk chair to look at her.

            She glances back and scolds me, “Turn back around into the light, silly.”

            I do as she says with a smirk.  Okay, she still bosses me around a little bit, but it’s not like I can be sassy Heather all the time.

            “You’d want to look sparkly at a party, maybe, but not at school,” she clarifies.

            “Do you wear bronzer to school?”

            “Yeah, usually,” she answers, coming back to the desk with two handfuls of different blushes, “But that’s because I’m super pale. I need that boost.”

            “You’re not that pale,” I say as I look over all the choices laid out in front of me.

            “Are you kidding? I’m a ghost,” she giggles, then adds quietly, “Practically invisible.”

            “Alli, the last thing you are is invisible,” I scoff, but she just gives me a small smile.  What a freaking drama queen.

            “Okay, so we can probably rule the bright pinks out, since that would look really out of place on you.” She removes three blush compacts.

            “How about this one?” I point to a dark pink that looks like it was mixed with a little bit of brown.

            Her eyes dart from the color, to my face, to the color, to my face.  She then picks it up and holds it to my right cheek, the one closest to the desk light.

            “Huh,” she nods, “Not bad!”

            She grabs a big make-up brush from the desk and swirls it around the blush, making sure it was coated in color.  Then she quickly applies it to each cheek with small, quick strokes, blending it into my hairline.  That’s a trick she taught me last year.  Wearing blush is important, she had said, but always remember to brush up into your hairline. Otherwise you look like a clown.

            I giggle when the brush tickles my nose.

            “No giggling,” Alli commands in a deep faux-intimidating voice, “Makeovers are no laughing matter!” Which, of course, just makes me giggle more.  Soon, we’re both laughing at nothing in particular.  We laugh, gasping for breath, then laughing again for several minutes, before finally pulling ourselves together.

            “I miss these times,” I say, grinning.

            She looks at me quizzically, “What do you mean?”

            I take a second to calm my breathing. “I mean back before you got all… different.”

            But Alli’s smile fades a bit, and she just shrugs and asks, “What are you talking about?”

            I haven’t yet talked to Alli about her recent mood change, and maybe right now isn’t the best time. But I’ve already started, so I might as well finish.

            “You know exactly what I’m talking about,” I press, “You’ve been so out of it lately! So distant and moody and mean and…” But I stop speaking as I catch the look on her face.  It’s a mixture between rage and utter sadness.  Her mouth is twisted into a half-snarl, while her chin quivers slightly.  Her eyes are somewhat squinted, as if she can’t quite see me.

            “How dare you,” is all she says, her chest heaving and her eyes set on mine.

            For the first time maybe ever, I’m scared of my sister. I’ve never seen her look like this, and I don’t know what it means.  I mean, I know I said the wrong thing, but I didn’t know she’d get this upset.

            Suddenly, the look on her face disappears, and is replaced by an even scarier smirk.

            “You know what I think the problem is?” She asks as she relaxes and leans into the desk. “I think my problem is that all I hear about is how awesome my sister is at soccer, or how awesome my sister is at math, or how awesome my silly baby sister is at getting everything she wants.” She takes a moment to examine her nails, “Heather, you know what you’re problem is? You’re a stupid, selfish problem child in the making.  And you know what? Your attitude exhausts me, and it exhausts Mom and Dad, and it’s just so f*****g old, okay? Maybe that’s why I’ve been so moody lately. Because you’re a nasty, self-entitled b***h.”

            She seems to be out of steam, and all I can do is blink at her.  Any sense of confidence I had going into this situation is gone, and all I have left is the pettiness we apparently both share.

            “You think I’m the problem child?” I finally snap at her, “You do realize that the only reason Mom and Dad have been fighting so much is because of you? You’re the b***h, Alli.  You’re the dumb bimbo who went out on St. Patrick’s Day and got disgustingly wasted.  You’re the one who comes home every day from school and yells at everyone.  And you’re the one making everyone miserable. Not. Me.”

            I start to stalk out of the room, but Alli grabs me by the arm. “Just remember,” she hisses, “Eventually everything is going to fall apart, and you’ll be in the middle of it. Just like me.”  She let’s go of me, and I bolt out of that dark, dirty, horrible cave of a room.  I don’t even know what she meant by that last part, but I don’t care.

            At first, I want to take sanctuary in my room, but I instead make a beeline for the stairs.  Mom isn’t home, but I know Dad is.  I’d rather talk to him anyway.  As soon as I get downstairs, I spot him on the couch with his laptop with the TV on. I don’t recognize the show, but he probably doesn’t either, since he seems to be immersed in his laptop.  He’s probably going through the millions of emails he gets every day.

            I march up to the couch and plop down next to him.

            “Dad, Alli is totally out of control,” I huff, crossing my legs up onto the couch and facing him.

            As soon as I sit down next to him, he tears his eyes away from the screen and turns his head to look at me, his face scrunched into a frown, “What happened this time?”

            I get straight to the point, mad enough not to sugarcoat it, “She called me a b***h!”

            At first, Dad looks too stunned to answer, but he quickly regains composure.

            “That’s completely out of line,” He says, beginning to stand up, “I’ll go talk to her.”

            “No, wait!” I protest, “Just leave it alone for right now. Can we go kick the ball around?”

            Whenever I get mad, I like to practice my soccer drills when I don’t have actual practice to go to.  Dad never officially played soccer when he was younger, but he played informally enough to be my partner.

            “Are you sure?” he asks, concerned.

            I nod, “Yeah, she’s a crazy person. Whatever. I just need to get it out of my system.”

            He understands that there’s no point in resisting, because when I’m in this mood, all I need to do is kick and focus on something else.

            “Remember, she’s your sister,” he says gently, “And I also really have to get these emails written.”

            I knew that’s what he was doing.

            “Okay, whatever,” I mumble, unsatisfied with his vague comforts.  I’ll do drills by myself, then. Maybe Alli will look outside her window and see me being productive and an actual human being.  And maybe she’ll decide it’s time for her to do the same. Colleges aren’t going to accept “exceptional napping capabilities” and “substantial swift mood change practice” as extracurricular activities, darling sister.

© 2012 Abigail T

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Added on July 2, 2012
Last Updated on July 2, 2012
Tags: sisters, rivalry, fighting, aggressive, teenager, high school, young adult, adolescent


Abigail T
Abigail T

Amherst, MA

My name is Abigail, and I'm a recent college graduate now in the world to write fiction for young adults. I'm using this site to archive my work. more..

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