Daciana perched on the bed. The mattress had through the years become worn and lumpy. It offered a strange degree of comfort as though used to moulding itself to a child’s form. She flicked through her homework book wishing to appear studious. The information remained on the page as her troubled thoughts refused to budge. Patrick had chicken sizzling on the barbecue, the sweet stick sauce should entice her. She saw how other children were around delicious foods, salivating and hungry. Leticia taught Luliana how to chop vegetables. Daciana smirked, knowing Luliana would eat half before dinner. Patrick hollered, calling her down, but she sat, unable to find the will to move. The stairs creaked. Daciana searched the bed for her pencil.
He perched beside her, surprised at the sudden desire to complete her homework. The girls seemed excited, eager to get into the woods, so why the change? Patrick wondered if not seeing a bear or encountering wolves disappointed her? Daciana shrugged, shuffling away from him. The boring option awaited her downstairs, bland food was the doctor’s orders. It made a difference but Daciana’s stomach lurched at the idea of food. She did not want to face another meal or those nutrition shakes.
Patrick moved closer wrapping an arm around her. Daciana’s shoulders twitched until freed. The reluctance to open up to him hurt. She had been closing herself off since they met Charlotte. Their mother insisted on wanting to be a part of their lives. Luliana made herself clear, Patrick and now Leticia were her parents. The younger sister believed she spoke for them both, and Daciana had yet to speak up about her feelings. The idea Daciana wanted to know Charlotte and Caleb gnawed at him. He wondered if she feared upsetting him, that he might reject her if she got too close.
Silence. Patrick sighed, asking her to at least join them for dinner. Daciana turned the page, pretending to focus on the equations. The tears stung her eyes. Whether she wanted to admit it or not, Patrick was right. Except it was her parents she feared would reject her. The pencil flexed in her fingers as she held back tears. It snapped, and the crack jolted her; Daciana threw her head into the pillow burying into its musty smell. Why would no one explain why her parents chose to leave her and play happy families with a new baby. What was wrong with her? She hated Cornelius. She hated her parents. She resented her sister being happy as they were. The ability to eat food without intense pain. Daciana’s fists clench the pillow, suppressing her screams. She hated her life.