A drop of rain dripped onto her keyboard.
Max looked up to the ceiling and sighed. It had been raining nonstop for at least an hour; the type of rain that comes down in small droplets that felt like tiny little swords if you were brave enough to step outside.
If Max were outside at that moment, she'd probably feel more satisfied than she would if it were only drizzling. Sometimes, Max liked to hear the sound of rain hitting an umbrella. It made her feel complete, like the umbrella was serving its purpose in the most satisfying way.
Upon closer inspection of her ceiling, Max noticed a small crack in the plaster. After expressing her discontent through some passive-aggressive sighs, she quickly rummaged through her desk drawers for some duct tape. While she knew that it wasn't the most effective way of solving the problem, she also knew that it would last about half an hour before the stickiness wore off. Teetering on her rolling desk chair, she stuck a large piece of tape to the crack until it was completely covered.
"Max!" came an impatient voice from the hallway, accompanied by an overabundance of knocks at her bedroom door.
"Don't shout!" said Max, hopping off of her rolling chair and pushing it out of her way so she could step out of the room.
"You just shouted." said her younger sister as Max opened the door and poked her head through. Carrie had a smug smile on her face. Max hated when she made that face. It made her look like a villain from a cartoon. Max almost expected a maniacal laugh to erupt from her mouth at any given moment.
"Yeah, but I'm allowed. I'm a grownup." Max replied, trying to push the lingering thoughts of Mr. Burns out of her mind.
"You're only sixteen!" Carrie quipped.
"Now, Carrie," said Max in her most disapproving tone, "what did I just say about shouting?
Carrie didn't reply to that, just narrowed one eye in indignation.
"What did you call me out here for?" said Max. Her head was still sticking out of the doorway.
"For what did you call me out here." said Carrie under her breath. Max could tell that she was refraining herself from making some off-handed remark about the fact that Max wasn’t even out of the hallway, but was merely poking her head through the door. Because of this, Max allowed her body to completely exit her bedroom and lean her body against the door before exclaiming,
“Carrie, stop being a smart-ass!“
"Sorry. Can I borrow your rain boots? I already looked in the closet downstairs and in the basement, but I can’t seem to find them anywhere..."
At that moment, Max first realized what her younger sister was wearing. She held her head in her hands and said,
"Carrie, what the hell are you wearing?"
Max wasn't speaking very loudly, but made the fact that she was annoyed very clear by the way she spoke. She said it very slowly and carefully, as she was trying to keep herself from screaming. She took a step forward to examine her sister’s attire closer.
"It's one of the ponchos that mom and dad wore when they went to Niagra Falls!" Carrie turned around and lifted the hood with her left hand to display the large typography that read, Welcome to Niagra! all across her back. Her voice was full of enthusiasm, as if she were excited to be wearing a large, dusty piece of plastic over her shoulders. For a moment, Max was worried that she was.
Max was prepared to retort in her usual passive-aggressive manner, but was brusquely interrupted by the sharp crack of thunder that seemed to have struck too close to the house than Max would’ve liked, sending her back into the wall in shock. Carrie seemed unperplexed by this and started on a ridiculous tirade that Max only caught the last few sentences of. Or, at least, she thought they were sentences. All of the words came tumbling out of Carrie’s mouth in a jumbled mess.
“-and I promised Mrs. Jacobs that I would make sure that he would get the right amount of water and if he gets too much he could flood and-”
“Wait wait wait, don’t tell me you’re planning on going out in this monster of a storm wearing that monster of a poncho for that goddamned tree!” Max pushed herself forward off the wall with her elbows and waved a nagging finger in her younger sister’s face.
Carrie scoffed in discontent and smacked her sister’s hand away from her face, “That’s an exaggeration if I've ever heard one! It’s drizzling!”
At that exact moment, another clap of thunder roared outside, and Kelly raised her hand to the window in emphasis.
“You see? These kinds of storms kill, you know! Did you not pay any attention to the 2013 blockbuster hit, Struck By Lightning?”
Carrie seemed impatient. She spoke her next sentence with an air of annoyance. “No, Max, I have not seen that movie.”
“What? Yes you have! Remember when dad was going through his Glee phase and saw they were selling it at Redbox and he made us watch it with him? It’s with that guy from Glee!”
“The gay one!”
“MAX WE’RE OFF TOPIC! Listen, I really need to save that tree. That tree is my life. That tree is all I have to work for! What kind of botanist would I be-”
“You’re… not a botanist!”
“What kind of botanist would I be,” Carrie repeated. “if I didn’t fight the hardest that I could to save him! I’m not a robot! I have feelings!”
Max took a long breath before she spoke again - no, this time she was shouting. “Carrie, you are emotionally concerned about a dumb, flimsy tree that you were assigned to take care of for a school project? That is just ridiculous, and frankly, not worth putting your life in danger for! What kind of big sister would I be if I just let you walk straight into such a dangerous storm?”
Carrie glowered harder than Max had ever seen on a human being glower before. This was way worse than a cartoon villain. “So… you’re saying… that I can’t use your rain boots?”
Max was way past shouting at this point. Max hollered at Carrie in full force,
“No, Carrie! You cannot use my rain boots!”
Another short period of silence followed. If Max thought that Carrie was frowning before, then she was crazy. At that moment, Carrie was practically a pre-pubescent, asian Kanye West.
Carrie set her jaw. Max narrowed her eyes.
Carrie broke the silence again, this time, only with one word.
Carrie all but vaulted herself down the stairs leading to the front door, leaving Max standing alone in the upstairs hallway shouting her name. Carrie then planted herself on the front carpet, completely prepared to run for the door at any moment, with Max still advancing down the stairs. Carrie then proceeded to toe off her socks and raise the hood of her poncho, all while making full eye contact. Oh no.
“Carrie, I swear to god if you open that door…”
Carrie turned the knob and swung the door open.
“Huh. Would you look at that. It stopped raining.”