That was our last sister-sister bonding moment for a while. Marta got fully immersed into her planning of the fall formal dance that was to take place at the beginning of November. In the weeks before the dance, I got roped into a huge campus wide dilemma of someone who was breaking through the school’s “safety blocks” and downloading porn onto every available computer, and having it pop up and really inappropriate moments. We didn’t get to really talk again properly until the night before the dance, when Marta blew off her friends to stand in the middle of our shared room, her hands firmly on her hips, muttering to herself.
“This is all she has? Really? I mean, the girl and I shared a womb for nine months, and her fashion sense is this? I mean, honestly.”
She was looking for a reaction, so I determinedly didn’t give her one, just laid on my bed, ankles crossed, quietly reading, until she finally said, “All right. We’ll try this,” and she held out a dress that I wasn’t even aware that I owned. It was black and skimpy, and way more Marta than Avery in almost every sense.
“I don’t know,” I protested weakly, looking over the top of my book. This was a well-practiced routine. Marta was always right, and I always looked amazing in a way that was strictly me and not Marta.
But I couldn’t just let her do it with ease—where was the sibling camaraderie in that?
“You don’t know, but I do. Up, up, let’s go.” Marta put the dress down on the foot of my bed, carefully taking the book out of my hands and placing it on the bedside table. “You know, sometime, you should plan your outfit prior to the night before.”
“And deny you this opportunity?” I teased, finally picking up the dress and not even bothering to dip into the bathroom before stripping out of my pajamas and putting on the dress. It looked good, but Marta still wrinkled her nose and shook her head, picking another unknown dress out of the closet and handing it to me.
This went on for about five or six dresses until we finally settled on one that Marta liked, and I thought didn’t reveal too much cleavage or midriff.
“Who are you going with?” I asked Marta as she put different shades of blush along my arm to test them against the color of the dress. I knew the answer, it was always the answer, but it was some sort of respect thing that I let her tell me every time.
“Oh, just me. Wanted to keep my dancing options open. If someone really impresses me, maybe I’ll take them to Natalie’s after party. You are coming to Natalie’s after party right?” Marta asked, even though she knew that answer too.
“Maybe. We’ll see.” I wasn’t. I never was. There had been three school dances a year since we were thirteen, and I never went to Natalie’s or Ian’s or whoever was responsible for the best post dance bash. I used to enjoy the solid hours of solace, knowing for a fact that Marta wouldn’t be sneaking in until the wee hours of the morning. These days, it was a nice chance to sneak Bradley in instead. Although, in the morning, Marta would make sure to give a casual mention of how she and Bradley both missed me at the party, and one of these days she’d have to teach me to be a night owl so I could go to those kinds of things.
“It’ll be fun.” Marta singsonged.
“Going to bed at a reasonable hour will also be fun.” I countered.
Marta waggled her eyes at me in a suggestive way, and I tried not to laugh. “Fine. Suit yourself. I’m done with you for the night, but what time is Bradley coming to get you tomorrow?”
“Then, I expect your butt to be in that chair by 4:30, no ifs and or buts young lady.” Marta gave an exact replica of our father’s voice.
“Now, I know I don’t sound that gruff.” Dad came in the room without knocking. He’d been listening, just the way we figured he would be. “You girls excited for tomorrow?”
“Yes, sir.” We chorused.
“Marta, this party—“
“Supervised by parents who will actually be in attendance. No drugs, no drinking, just having fun.” Marta recited.
“I can give you her mother’s number so you can call in and check.” Natalie’s parent’s number was actually an older sister, home from college for the weekend to “babysit” while Natalie’s parents had a short second honeymoon in Cancun. Marta had already arranged all this previously. We were very good at what we did.
“No, I’m sure I don’t want to go. I think I’ll come back to bed, and let Marta do the partying for both of us.”
Dad leaned in and kissed us both on the top of the head. “If you’re sure. Good night girls. I’ll see you in the morning for breakfast.”
“Good night, Dad.” Dad left the room, and Marta cut me a look. I covered my mouth with my hand to prevent myself from laughing out. Either Dad was more lenient than he let us think, or we were one of the best tag teams in the history of siblings.