“Are you sure you want to do this? I mean, you can still cut and run. I’ll make up some excuse for why you had to stay at school, and we can get you a nice hotel room far, far away from the insanity that is bubbling right inside that door.”
Samuel smiled, and slipped an arm around my waist. “No, no. I’ll meet the family. Besides, I like you, and you’re a little bit insane. How much worse can the rest of the family be, hmm?”
“Oh. You’d be surprised, Samuel, you’d be very, very surprised.” I took another deep breath, and then I rang the doorbell.
From inside, we immediately heard. “Get the door, David, get the door! It’s your sister! Come on now, don’t keep her waiting!”
The door swung open, to reveal a rather annoyed looking twenty year old. “You’d think I’m the fucking butler,” he muttered as he stepped aside to let us pass.
“That bundle of joy is David. David, Samuel, Samuel, David. Where’s Colin?”
“Fuck if I know.” David muttered, swinging the door shut behind us and stumbling off down the hallway, most likely in the direction he’d come from before.
Samuel turned to look at me with an eyebrow raised. I smiled, “Yep. Charming, ain’t they?”
“That was only one of them.”
“They’re fucking identical.” I didn’t really mean to swear, but the Twinies tended to bring that side out in me.
We headed into the Kitchen, where I found my mother up to her elbows in flour. Apparently, today was pie day in the great thanksgiving preparation, or else my mother had decided to decorate the kitchen with a dozen different pies just for the fun of it. “Hello, Mom.” I smiled as I came into the kitchen, and leaned to kiss her on the cheek without getting any of the flour or pie fillings on myself in he process.
“Ah, Lottie, Sweetheart! Welcome home.”
“Mom, this is Samuel.”
“Oh, hello, Samuel. I have heard so many good things about you. I’d shake your hand but–” She made a vague sort of gesture to all the pie ingredients around her and her own flour-y hands.
“That’s alright, we’ll take a rain check on the formal greeting. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Samuel smiled in his ever polite, ever cordial way.
“Oh, that is a precious accent, isn’t that?” my mother gushed.
“And she doesn’t mean that at all in the condescending way she appears to be implying.” I rolled my eyes at Samuel, but he just smiled even wider at me.
“No, of course not. It’s just a nice accent, I think. Charlotte, why don’t you show Samuel where you’ll be sleeping so that he can put down those bags.”
I gave a little start. I forgot that Samuel had been holding all our luggage, he’d just been so nonchalant about the whole thing. “Right! Of course. Follow me, Samuel, We’ll be staying in my old room.”
I lead the way back through the back of the house. As we walked we passed Colin–I literally only know it was Colin because he was wearing a different shirt than the boy who answered the door. I know it’s a horrible thing, I am their big sister and I leaved in the same house as them for fifteen years–but I still cannot tell Colin and David apart on sight. They are identical to the last hair, literally even styling their hair the same way, to make nothing easy for anyone. I’m always immediately impressed when Mom can recognize them first try every time, but I guess it’s just a mother thing that I’ll only ever understand if I have identical twins of my own someday.
There was a semi polite grunt of acknowledgement from Colin as we passed, which I thought was rather high of him considering that my bringing Samuel home with me meant that Colin and his girlfriend had to sleep in the room with David. I had half expected him to flip us the bird as he walked by.
“That was Colin.” I said almost unnecessarily as we turned into my bedroom. “Throw the bags down wherever you want.” Samuel crossed the room and set the suitcases down gently on my queen bed.
“Not a bad little room.” He grinned, turning slowly to take in all my posters and papers taped up all over the walls.
My mother was determined to keep all of our rooms exactly the same way as when we left them. She wanted us all to have a place to come home to that was our own place. She wanted us to feel like no matter what, we could be little kids again, even if it was just for a moment as we walked into our rooms.
I have to admit, it kind of worked. I could ignore everything when I looked at my walls. True, some of the posters and what not were slightly embarrassing now (why hadn’t I ever gotten around to taking down that *NSYNC one?) but they were me, and they all brought back fond memories of when I bought those posters and when I carefully and painstakingly hung them to make sure that they were level and even.
“Wow. You really weren’t kidding.” He laughed as he headed over to a corner of the room that I had jokingly called my “Doctor Shrine.” It had posters and merchandise of all eleven doctors from Doctor Who. “Matt Smith wasn’t even a doctor when you went off to school, was he?”
“No. I came back and added him during my school breaks. I’ll add all the doctors, as long as mom lets me keep my room however I want, that corner will be dedicated to Doctor Who.” I said with a little bit of pride. It was childish, I know, but I did love my Doctor Corner. After all, I was one of the few children of my generation who could say she was a doctor who fan before the 2005 reboot with Christopher Eccelston as the ninth doctor. And that was something to be proud of, or at the very least to hang on to.
“Very nice.” Samuel crossed over to me, slipped his fingers into mine, and whispered “Run” into my ear. I couldn’t help but giggle.
Suddenly, one of the Twinies screamed “Charlotte! Dinner!” I rolled my eyes, but still headed out to the dining room, hand in hand with Samuel.
As we got closer to the room we could hear my mom scolding, “Honestly, Colin, I could have done that myself. I asked you to go get her.”
“She’s here, isn’t she?” Colin protested, his armed draped casually around his girlfriend, Margaret.
“Hello, Margaret.” I said politely. She smiled and nodded at me, as if to say ‘Sorry. I hate it when Colin gets like this.’ She has sworn to me before that when they aren’t in their childhood home, Colin and David are civil, even nice and kind hearted people. I don’t disbelieve her, per se, but it is certainly hard for me to believe.
Samuel and I sat in the two empty chairs remaining. I started to serve myself, and I watched Samuel fold his hands carefully under the table. He said a quick grace in his head, and I said something insulting to David to make sure that his full attention was on me. The last thing I needed was for my brother to get into an argument with my boyfriend over religion. Especially since I knew that David wouldn’t hesitate to dip into as many Irish-Catholic stereotypes as he could think of–the more offensive the better. This would not have been the first time that he would have tried to insult a man right out of our house.
David insulted me back, and Colin added a bit of smart, and her mother said very quickly, “Children.” And all three of us shut our mouths quickly. We were all full grown adults, but we knew to shut our mouths tight when our mother said children in that tone. Even Margaret and Samuel straightened up a little bit in their chair.
“Can’t we have a proper dinner?” my mother asked, “Quiet, polite, and kept together. Almost like–”
She stopped. No one said a word. Until Colin. “We wouldn’t be quiet and polite or kept together. Charlotte here wouldn’t even enter the building.”
“I am not discussing this again with you, you sniveling little bastard. I have my right and I keep it that way.”
“Please!” My mother exclaimed. I shut my mouth. There was a moment of silence, and then as if nothing had ever happened, my mother turned to Samuel and said, “So–Where exactly are you from, Dear?”