“Michael was going to cover for me!” She managed to blurt in between Juliet’s words.
Michael looked to both his parents who sat across from him, staring him down as though their eyes were daggers.
“Is that true, Michael?” Corban asked as the air grew increasingly tense. Michael then turned towards Stella, the sister who literally threw him under a bus he shouldn’t have had anything to do with. “Michael – is that true?” Continued his father.
“Excuse me?!” Corban snapped.
“Yes, sir.” Michael replied sullenly.
At that moment, Corban pointed towards the mess Juliet created and ordered Michael to clean it. Michael would have objected, although he didn’t want to upset his parents even more so than they already were. So he slowly pushed his chair away from the table as he made his way to the blast zone, steadily picking up the shards of dishware before wiping the food off the floor and countertop.
Thankfully it didn’t take long, but then again it wasn’t the first mess Michael was tasked with cleaning. Not to mention the fact he hurried through the process since he couldn’t stomach the onlookers from the table nearby, gazing at him as if he were a lowly servant boy as opposed to a member of the household.
“Sit down.” Corban remarked as Michael approached the table upon finishing. “Now explain why you felt the need to keep your sister’s actions in the dark?” He went on to say.
“I don’t know.” Michael responded as he shrugged his shoulders.
“You don’t know?” Corban pressed. “Because it sounds to me like you don’t want to receive punishment for lying.”
“But dad?!” Michael objected, although it was a useless gest.
“You’re excused, now go to your room.” Corban demanded.
Michael started to leave, although Juliet had more words to say before the dinner party finished.
“Just a second, Michael.” She said to prevent him from leaving. “Now I want both of you to know how awful you’ve been this evening. Between the lying, disrespect, and unruliness – I just don’t know what to say. I honestly thought I did a better job with raising my children, but alas they’re nothing but disgraces to this family name. You should all feel ashamed for being so monstrous.”
Juliet then released the most obnoxious scoff prior to waving her children away for the night to show her displeasure in case she hadn’t done so effectively. She then sat with Corban for a short spell after the children left.
“Do you think they learned their lesson?” Asked Corban.
“Them? We can only hope since they’re not the sharpest crayons in the box.” Juliet said before chuckling. “Sometimes I honestly think they switched babies at the hospital” she went on to say, although one could never tell if she was joking or not.
“Well do you feel as though we made our point, or do you think we should dot our I’s and cross our T’s?” Corban responded.
“In all honesty? I feel like we should tuck them into bed before they close their precious little eyes for the night.” Juliet said mockingly as Corban nodded his head in agreement.
“I’ll take care of the boy if you handle the girl.” Corban said.
Juliet agreed as they cleaned the rest of the table before leaving the kitchen altogether, and it wasn’t long until Mr. and Mrs. Lux reached their targets to wish them a good night’s rest.
Both Michael and Stella managed to find temporary comfort in the confines of their rooms, although what little peace remained was about to be fractured even more so than it already was. Stella sprawled out across her bed as tears flowed from her eyes. Her body was extremely tense while her muscles clenched to the bone, which in turn made it difficult for her to breathe well enough to expand her chest.
Juliet’s words accomplished their objective of rendering their target immobile, for Stella felt nothing besides pain and regret. Images flooded her mind showcasing how diligently her parents would work to see that she never saw Brad again, and this in turn caused her to wonder if he was worth all she suffered. Scratch that because it wasn’t long before Stella invoked the rebel within to combat the forces that stood against her. Nothing would prevent her from seeing her love!
For a moment she felt a great surge of energy ripple through her body as though her sense of self returned. But this would not last, for the hammer had yet to fully drop. Stella then heard a series of small taps on her door before Juliet walked in, ridding the room of what little comfort remained.
“How’s my baby?” Juliet said as she sat beside the daughter she claimed to love. Stella just turned to face the wall before Juliet repeated herself with more conviction, this time grabbing Stella’s shoulder to force her focus.
“Mom, you’re hurting me!” Stella groaned.
“Then answer me and I wouldn’t have to.” Juliet snapped.
“What do you want?”
“I want to finish our conversation from earlier since we ended on a sour note.”
“What if I don’t want to?” Stella said as she raised her chin to the authority figure in question.
Juliet’s eyes narrowed as Stella lowered her head in response, having felt the dread of her mother’s Evil Eye. “Are you ready to talk? Because I am, regardless of whether or not you feel up to the task.” Juliet harkened.
“Okay then, what’s up?” Stella responded somewhat playfully.
“I want you to tell me who this boy is and what you two were doing together.”
Juliet then grabbed one of Stella’s wrists forcefully before angrily repeating the command.
“Tell me who and what happened!”
Although, Stella managed to dig her heels in whatever patch of dirt she stumbled upon in her mind as she refused to share the details her mother sought. Juliet realized she groomed her daughter well enough to deflect most of her tools, so this meant she had to use the last resort to see Stella’s capitulation.
“Well I guess someone will just have to miss dance lessons this year since she can’t seem to be honest with her caring mother. You know I just want to make sure my girl succeeds in life, but I have to draw the line somewhere.” Juliet sighed when she moved to leave the room, knowing Stella would respond to the consideration she’d miss out on one of her favorite pass times later that year.
“But mom!” Stella clamored.
“No buts Miss Stella Lux, just a disappointed mother.” Juliet said as she let a single tear loose. Stella then moved to block her mother from leaving. “Get out of my way, now.” Juliet snared.
“But momma I wanna go to dance. You know I love practicing at the studio!” She pleaded even though Juliet scoffed and averted her own gaze as if her groveling daughter hadn’t existed in the first place. With arms folded and a complete lack of interest, Stella could tell her mother had dug in without a care as to how much she pleaded. After moments of getting nowhere, Stella finally decided to confess her sins to her caring mother.
Juliet listened to Stella without responding throughout the dialogue in order to confuse her daughter into divulging more details. After all, it’s easier to gather information from guilty parties that way. She then turned every word against Stella as her daughter became overwhelmed with shame and guilt alike. The details aren’t necessary, however the fact a mother would make their loved one feel so ashamed is something that should make eyebrows raise if they haven’t already.
But in any case, Juliet ended her lecture with her embracing a verbally bruised child.
“Thank you for telling your mother sweetie, I love you.” She said with a smile beaming across her face – completely satisfied that her daughter was left curled in the fetal position. Juliet then leaned in to whisper “Don’t ever lie to me again, and be sure to see that Brad doesn’t lay another finger on your precious head.” She then kissed Stella gently on her temple.
Stella responded by laying still as she tried to recall how to breathe, although Juliet left shortly after celebrating her victory with feelings of inner elation. At first Stella found it difficult to stop her mind from racing as critical thoughts ran through her head, but eventually she pushed everything in the first dark crevices she could find – ready to be forgotten as soon as they were buried. She then felt numb enough to turn her attention towards shutting down for the evening.
Meanwhile, Michael was bracing himself for another night of terror when Corban flung the door open. Wham! Slammed the door against the wall.
To be continued…
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