He knew she was stressed, because she was dressed like her brother. Usually, her favorite part of the day was getting up an hour before everyone else, brushing, straightening and pinning her hair, putting on a carefully picked outfit, matching the proper shoes, enjoying the habit of making herself look her absolute best, before meeting the rest of the family at the breakfast table—to eat her toast and eggs always looking like she’s come from a team of hair and make-up workers.
So, when she fell into the chair next to her mother, hair still curling in a rough ponytail, a simple t-shirt and dark blue jeans, of course she still looks beautiful, he can’t remember a time his daughter didn’t look beautiful, but she didn’t look like herself.
He watched as his son stumbled into the kitchen bleary eyed, saw his sister’s blue t-shirt, looked at his own blue t-shirt, and then stumbled back out of the room to change. His wife, making her omelet, looked up and made an ‘ask her’ gesture with the spatula. He reached out to pour some orange juice in his glass. “Hey, Quinn. How’s it going?”
“Fine,” She answered, poking at a fried egg with her fork, but not actually eating any of it.
He looked up at his wife, who made a ‘go on’ gesture. “School’s good then?”
Quinn set down her fork, folded her hands in front of her and fixed him with the coldest stare he’d ever been on the receiving end of. “Yeah. Dad. Everything is fine. Can I eat my breakfast in peace, please?”
“Sure,” he answered, not sure what else to say, taking a sip of his juice. His wife gave him a look, but she just shrugged wide eyed, what else was he supposed to do?
They ate in silence until his son came back into the room, now donning a black t-shirt, and Quinn stood up, shoving a piece of toast into her twin’s hand. “We’ve got to go. There is a study session before homeroom.”
When he heard the front door shut, he let his head fall to the table with a thunk, and felt his wife absent mindedly pat her on the top of the head. “Don’t worry, sweetie,” she offered, “Teenage girls are hard.”