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“Has your aunt gotten help yet?” Shell asked as he carelessly flipped through the pages of one of Auntie’s many romances which had taken over the floor ever since I first moved into the basement. Just being in such a place was like living in a library for desperate, single women; full of enough Nora Roberts and Loretta Chase books to please even the most lonely of all love-sick chicks. Even I had to admit it: Auntie really did need help. Serious, Dr. Phil type help. But Jill, my stuck-up cousin known to most as “that really smart kid with the sharp tongue” who just happened to be folding laundry in the same very room we were in, didn’t share the same feelings as a boy named after the gas station he was birthed at (and I’m totally not lying about the whole best-friend-named-after-a-Shell-gas-station thing).
Crossed, Jill bugged her eyes at Shell. “Have you ever gotten help with your acne?” she said, making air quotes with her bony fingers when she said, ‘gotten.’ No one knew what to say after that, which proved that Jill had to have the meanest mouth in all the east coast, possible the world, and just maybe the whole, ever-expanding universe.
What is your problem? Floats around in the deep crevices of Shell’s brain, transforming into the simple, animal instinct of hate. I could just sense the hate.
Sill, nobody speaks on account of Jill’s bad attitude; probably because the only really talkative one—Shell—was speechless. Nobody ever talked—let alone insult—Shell Davison’s pimples, and I mean nobody. Not even me, his best (or at least second best) friend.
Tension still bubbled up, despite the quietness of the closed up space, filling the room with Shell’s gritty testosterone and Jill’s supreme arrogance.
“Keep the peace, please.” I said, half begging, trying to avoid another world war between the two–which was likely due to the fact that Jill enjoyed pushing Shell over the edge, making him go into one of his many crying and cursing outbursts.
Before anything else could happen though, Jill hopped off the futon and left the room, taking her anger and ego with her, her two puffy pigtails–which she was famously known for having, just like the devil is famous for his horns–bobbing up the stairs in frustration.
“I’m going to the grocer.” She said in a monotone voice. The door then slammed. Hard.
“I’m going to the grocer.” Shell said after Jill had left, mocking her faintly Australian accent, clearly trying to cover up the fact that Jill had brought him to the verge of tears. Again.
I chanted out fake Buddhist peace prayers to ignore his oncoming drama.
“Come on, quit siding with her.” Shell said, clearly hurt by Jill. “I mean, since when did you ever care about her?”
“I never sided with her, Shell.”
“Then why don’t you tell her off for once!”
I then paused, giving him my renowned and much used stay-calm-like-me-you’re-only-making-things-worse face as I said, “I bet it’s she’s just pms-ing.”
Shell then laughed out, snorting like the total nerd he is, and reached for the t.v. remote.