The bed squeaked as I plopped on my stomach and sighed into the phone. “Up to his usual assholery.”
I hadn’t told my best friend Victoria about Elec’s show and tell in the bathroom Friday night. It embarrassed me to no end, and I decided to keep it to myself. A Google search of pierced penises ended up keeping me up the rest of that first night. Let me tell you, anyone who innocently searches “Prince Albert” is in for a big surprise.
It was now Sunday, and tomorrow Elec would be starting at my high school where we would both be seniors. Soon enough, everyone would get to meet my jerky stepbrother.
Victoria sounded shocked. “He’s still not speaking to you?”
“No. He came downstairs to pour some cereal this morning and brought it back to his room.”
“Why do you think he has such a stick up his ass?”
You should see his other stick.
“Something’s going on between him and Randy. I’m trying not to take it personally, but it’s hard.”
It’s hard alright. God, I can’t get it out of my head!
Pierced mushroom head.
“You think I would like him?” Victoria asked.
“What do you mean? I told you…he’s the devil,” I snapped.
“I know…but do you think I would like him?”
Honestly, I knew he was exactly Victoria’s type. She loved dark and brooding guys even when they weren’t as good-looking as Elec. This was another reason I had to keep the details of the bathroom encounter to myself. All she needed to hear was that his cock was pierced, and I’d never get her out of my house. But she’d find out what he looked like soon enough, so I figured I’d be honest.
“He’s really hot, okay? Really…fucking…hot. In fact, his looks are just about the only thing he has going for him.”
“Okay, I’m coming over.”
“No, you’re not.” I laughed, but deep down, the idea of Victoria throwing herself at Elec made me really uncomfortable even if I didn’t think he’d return the attention.
“What are your plans for tonight, then?”
“Well, before I actually met him and realized he was an asshat, I was supposed to be making Sunday dinner for all of us. You know…my one specialty.”
I laughed because it was the only thing I knew how to make well. “How did you guess?”
“Maybe you can serve up a can of whoopass on the side for stepbrother dearest.”
“I’m not engaging him. I’m gonna kill him with kindness. I don’t care how much of a…dick…(oh goodness) he wants to be to me. The worst thing I can do is let him think he’s affecting me.”
Mom helped me set the table while we waited for the Tetrazzini to bake. My stomach was growling, but it was more nerves rather than the smell of cream sauce and garlic emanating from the oven. I really wasn’t looking forward to sitting across the table from Elec, that is, if he even agreed to join us.
“Greta, why don’t you go upstairs and see if you can get him to come down.”
My mother screwed open a bottle of wine. She was the only one who would be drinking, and she likely needed it. She poured a little, took a sip then said, “Look, I can understand why he doesn’t like me. He sees me as the enemy and probably blames me in some way for his parents not being together, but there is no reason for him to be treating you poorly. Just keep trying to get through to him, see if you can get him to open up a little.”
I shrugged. She had no idea how all out in the open things were in the bathroom the other night: balls to the wall open.
As I walked up the stairs, the theme song to Jaws rang out in my head. The thought of knocking on his door terrified me, and I didn’t know what I would be faced with if he even opened the door.
To my surprise, he opened right away. A clove cigarette was hanging out of his mouth. The sweet smell of the smoke traveled quickly up my nostrils. He took a long drag then slowly and intentionally blew the smoke right in my face. His voice was low. “What?”
I tried to seem unaffected until an uncontrollable hacking cough broke out.
Very cool, Greta.
“Dinner is almost ready.”
He was wearing a tight, white ribbed tank top, and my eyes drifted down to a tattoo that said “Lucky” on one of his muscular biceps, which was now leaning against the door. His hair was wet, and his jeans hung low, showcasing the top of the white boxer briefs underneath. His steely gray eyes stared into mine. He was breathtaking…for a bastard.
I had zoned out when he said, “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Like you’re trying to remember what I looked like the other night…like you’d rather have me for dinner.” He snickered. “And why are you winking at me?”
Shit. My eye twitched whenever I was nervous and made it look like I was winking.
“It’s just a twitch. Get over yourself.”
His expression turned angry. “Really? Should I? My looks are all I have going for me, right? So, I should capitalize on that.”
What was he talking about? I stood there speechless.
He continued, “What’s the matter…too hot in here for you? Then, he said in a mocking tone, “So…fucking…hot.” He flashed a wicked smile.
Those were the exact words I had used to describe him on the phone to Victoria earlier.
He had been eavesdropping on my conversation!
My eye twitched.
He continued, “You’re winking at me again. Am I making you nervous? Look at your face! Red’s a good color on you.”
I immediately left to go back downstairs.
He yelled after me. “We’ll match, seeing as though I’m the DEVIL!”
Elec picked at his meal without saying a word as I fixated on his lip ring. Randy was glancing over at him with a look of disdain. My mother refilled her wine glass more than once. Yup, our very own version of the Brady Bunch.
I pretended to be enjoying the Tetrazzini while ruminating over the fact that he’d overheard me talking about him that way and therefore, now knew I was attracted to him.
Mom was the first to speak. “Elec, what do you think of Boston so far?”
“Seeing as though I’ve ventured nowhere but this house, it sucks ass.”
Randy slammed his fork down. “Can you show some respect to your stepmother for five seconds?”
“That depends. Can she stop boozing it up for the same amount of time? I knew you married a cheater, Daddy, but a lush, too?”
“You worthless piece of shit,” Randy spewed.
Once again, Randy had floored me with his choice of words toward his son. Elec was surely being an asshole, but it still shocked me to hear that kind of language coming out of my stepfather’s mouth.
Elec’s chair skidded back as he threw his napkin on the table and got up. “I’m done.” He looked over at me. “The Titty Zinni or whatever the fuck it’s called was wonderful, sis.” The word “sis” had rolled off his tongue with sarcasm.
After he left the table, the silence was deafening. My mother put her hand on Randy’s, and I was left pondering what could have happened between Elec and his father to cause such a rift.
I impulsively got up and walked upstairs. My heart was pounding as I knocked on Elec’s door. He didn’t answer, so I slowly turned the knob and found him sitting at the edge of his bed smoking a clove cigarette. He had headphones on and hadn’t seen me enter. I stood just past the doorway and observed him. He was bouncing his legs nervously, looking frustrated and defeated. Eventually, he put the cigarette out only to immediately reach into his drawer and grab another one.
“Elec,” I shouted.
He jumped and removed his headphones. “The fuck? You scared the shit out of me.”
He lit the cigarette and gestured toward the door. “Leave.”
He rolled his eyes and shook his head slowly, returning the headphones to his ears and taking a long drag.
I sat down next to him. “Those are gonna kill you.”
Smoke billowed from his mouth as he said, “Perfect.”
“You don’t mean that.”
“Please leave me alone.”
I left the room and went back downstairs. Seeing him looking so down when he didn’t know I was watching him made me more determined than ever to break through to him somehow. I needed to know if this was just a façade or if he were truly a genuine asshole. The meaner he was to me, the more I wanted to make him like me. It was a challenge.
I returned to the kitchen and asked Randy for Elec’s cell phone number before programming it into my phone. I then typed out a text.
You don’t want to talk, so I’ll text.
Elec: How did you get my number?
Greta: Your father.
Elec: Fuck him.
I decided to change the subject off of Randy.
Greta: Did you enjoy the meal?
Elec: Scramble the letters of meal. You get LAME. Your meal=lame.