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“Hey Haley, so your going to baby-sit your sisters and brother right?” My mom said as she was putting on an earring. My parents were all dressed up for some event. What was it again? Oh, right, I’m too busy to care. I have a life, they should know that. I shouldn’t have to stay home on a Friday night to baby-sit my three younger siblings.
“You’d be helpings us out so much Hales.” My father stated.
“Why do even need me here? Ashley’s perfectly capable of handling Lily and James! I don’t need to be here!”
“Haley in these weather conditions I don’t think anyone should be driving tonight, not even us! The roads are icy and can be easily slipped on. Plus, we don’t think that anyone should be out when the both of us are out.” Mother said.
“Oh, come on!”
“Hales, after what you did I think you should be able to cut us some slack. We‘ve never done this to you.” My dad informed me as he put his long black coat on.
“ Oh my goodness! You make it sound like it’s a big deal! I didn’t even do anything that bad! I forgot to leave the car running once, blew the head gasket, and now I’m grounded for eternity! No, seriously speaking though, this is totally not fair and you know it! You can’t just extend my detainment for one day because of your own selfish reasons. I had plans tonight and I had to cancel them thanks to you two. ” Really, I had big plans, too. They were being unreasonable.
“Selfish reasons? This was a last minute event and it just got sprung on us. It wasn’t our choice. If this wasn’t for your fathers job we wouldn’t be going. Now, I’m sorry, but Haley it’s one day. One more day. Please don’t be difficult. Your almost a grown woman. You should be able to handle disappointment in a proper manner.”
“ I would hardly describe what you guys are doing to me as a disappointment. And yes, you have actually said something amendable. I am almost a grown woman. I have my rights! And right after graduation, I’m out of here! I’m moving out as soon as possible.”
“Haley!” My mom always gets devastated when I talk about this.
“Hales, don’t be rash just because of the heat of the moment.”
“I’m not! I’ve wanted to get move out for a while now.” It was like a blanket of realization landed on the whole room, on all of us.
“Look, Hales, we’re going to be late and cannot be belated any longer. I hope you think deeply about this conversation. And please don‘t forget what I‘m about to tell you that you already know. We love you.” Then they walked out the door, leaving me standing there feeling like an eight year old with my arms crossed over my chest, my eyebrows pointing down, and my lips tightened.
Allow me to clarify. My father, Josh, always reminds me to leave the car running, especially in the winter. He tells me to leave it running before I use it so that it can get warmed up. If it doesn’t get warmed up in this cold season the engine can get damaged. Well, guess what? That’s exactly what happened to me! I didn’t leave it running on my way to a party and I blew the head gasket on the engine. Now, normally my dad is an easy guy, but he said that since he’s reminded me so many times and that I obviously don’t care, that I should get punished. Anyway, my punishment was being grounded for a week starting the day that it happened like I’m some kind of child! A week is seven days so technically I was supposed to be let loose yesterday. However, my dads’ boss called him today to ask him to attend a very special event, that apparently his invitation got lost in the mail, and apologized for that happening. Like my mom said, it was a last minute thing. So guess what my so-called parents did? They grounded me for an extra day so that I would be able to be here to watch my siblings. They tried to make it look different though. They said that a week was Friday to Friday. I’m not a little kid. Seven days is seven days. The fact that they even grounded me though is preposterous. I’m eighteen for goodness sake! My dad apologized and said he would never do it again, but that I needed to be more grateful and actually listen to him. It’s not like I actually even have to baby-sit Ashley, Lily, and James. They can all pretty much take care of themselves. Especially Ashley, she’s in tenth grade already. I’m a senior. The only ones to worry about really are Lily, in eighth grade, and James, in first grade. Ashley is perfectly capable of handling the two by herself. She wanted to go out tonight as well, but got stuck here like me. She didn’t fight though, she took it, as my mom would say, gracefully. Apparently they don’t want anyone driving tonight because of the icy roads though. Not me or Ashley. That’s a lousy reason to keep us both home! I really want to go out! Great, now I’m whining. No, I’ll get over it.
I run upstairs where all the ladies rooms are (except my moms‘). I stand outside Ashley’s open door. “Hey, Ashley! Want to watch a movie?”
“Maybe later, Hale. I’m chatting with Kyle.”
“All right. You better be safe chatting!”
“Really, Hale? I’m sixteen! Of course I’m being safe!”
Ugh, Kyle. Her boyfriend. I don’t even think she should have one at her age. I don’t even have one. I choose not to. My parents are very happy of my decision in that area. I move over to Lily’s closed door “How about you, Lil? Want to watch a movie?” There’s no answer. “Lily! Movie?” I knock twice. “Lil! Helloooo.” Still, no answer. She can be so difficult sometimes. “Lily! Just answer the door!” No answer yet again. I try the knob, but it’s locked. “Why’d you lock the door?” No answer. “Fine whatever, I don’t want to watch a movie with a mute anyway!”
“Hale, what’s going on?” Ashley came out of her room and is now standing next to me.
“Nothing, whatever. Lily’s being a pain.” I start to walk away when Ashley decides to give it a try.
“Lily?” She knocks quietly twice. “Lily!”
“Ash, give it a rest.”
“Lily, can you just please answer the door so we know you’re okay?”
Now, I start to get a little bit worried. There’s a knot in my stomach. “Lily, seriously!” There’s a big bang. Me and Ashley look at each other. We’re both thinking the same thing. Our adrenalines kick up. I’m so worried now. Ashley runs to get a pen. “Hurry!” She hands me the pen. I take it apart quickly until I get to the middle ink part. I stick it into the knob hole and push. Then I push open the door. Lily’s on the floor struggling to breathe. “Lily!” I pick her up and lay her on my lap.
“What the heck!?” Ashley yells. Then we see her potassium pills on the floor like she was about to get them. My heart beats unbelievably fast. Ashley grabs the bottle and opens it. She pours two pills onto her hand and then very carefully puts them into Lily’s mouth. “Go get water!” I yell. Ashley runs to get water. “Come on Lily, hang in there! Just try swallowing them ok?” She looks very pale and weak. Ashley comes back with some water. I sit Lily up more and help her drink the water. She starts coughing. The color starts returning to her face. “That’s it Lily. Drink the water. Did you swallow the pills?” She nods slowly. I breath a breath of relief. “Oh, Lily. You scared me so bad. Feel my heart.” I take her hand and put it on my chest.
“Whoa.” She says.
“Yeah, I almost had a heart attack.”
“Me too.” Ashley says.
“We’re so glad your okay now.” I say. Then me and Ashley are huddled around Lily and giving her a big hug.
“Thanks you guys.” Lily said. I feel so bad for thinking she was faking it. I thank Ashley for making me believe otherwise.
After Ashley comforts Lily some more we watch a movie. I get up to check on James half way in it. I walk back downstairs still shaking from Lily’s attack. I check my phone and have a million missed texts. I decide to check it later.
“Haley, Haley! Come watch!” James is so excited watching Rugrats.
“Um, ok. I’ll watch for a little while with you, bud.” It’s not like I have anything else or anywhere else to be.
“Yay!” James exclaims. I love James. I really do. I guess I haven’t really been around him for a while. It’s like I barely know him. I’m always either studying, hanging out with friends, or working. I feel so bad, his excited face makes me want to cry. I take a moment to memorize everything about him. “James come here.” I pat the space next to me on the couch. He stops running around and laughing to come sit next to me.
“Ok, Haley.” He still has this enormous smile on his face. I hug him tightly and smell his clothes. He smells like fresh laundry and a hint of apple juice. Then there’s his hair. It smells like a type of baby shampoo. I want to hug him forever. I can feel myself drifting asleep. James’ smell is so warming and assuring that it makes me think of peaceful things.
All of a sudden my phone rings, waking me up. “Um, hello.” I sound groggy. There’s a deep voice on the other side. “Haley Reed Morgan?”
“Yes, this is she.”
“You’re parents have been in an accident.”
I shoot straight up in alarm. “What!?”