Your eyes snap open to the awful ringing of your alarm clock. You smack the snooze and try to settle back into the covers, but before you can even start you hear a hard rapping on your bedroom door.
“Hey, Jack! Mom says it’s time to get up now!” yells your younger sister Carly, slamming the door with her fist just to ensure you can’t fall back asleep.
“Leave me alone!” you yell back, half asleep, covering your face with your pillow to try and drown out the noise as she continues to pound the door. You hide your face under the pillow, leaving a small space for oxygen, and finally manage to drown out the sound until you here your bedroom door open a moment later. A second later, you here a small thud followed by a massive blow to your back as your sister takes a seat on you through the sheets. She’s not heavy but her butt hitting you from the air square on the spine still doesn’t feel good. She shakes her butt around a few times, just to spite you.
“I TOLD you it’s time to get up! I don’t want to be late again because of you,” she says mockingly.
“Carly, get off of me…” you groan, getting seriously annoyed.
“Do you PROMISE to get out of bed if I do?” she says, bouncing herself up and down a little bit on your back, which definitely isn’t too comfortable.
“Carly, I’m tired of having to put up with your crap. Just get off me already,” you say, burying your face deeper in the pillow.
“Not until you say you’re getting up!” she groans back at you. You can hear her kicking her feet on the side of the bed absentmindedly as she waits.
“I said, get off of me!” you say a little louder, arching your back up and sending her flopping off of you and to the floor. Normally, this would have been a little more difficult to do from your position, seeing as, despite Carly’s thin frame, she’s around 5’ 9”, but having been lifting weights for some time now at the school gym, it’s not too difficult to toss her off you.
“Oh, so NOW you’re awake! You could have broken my neck or something,” she says, feigning complaint as she stands up.
“Look, I’m too tired for this right now. I’ll be down in a bit.”
“You’re too tired, huh? I think I know what will wake you up.”
“You do? Wha-” you start to say, opening your eyes and popping out of the pillow cover. As you do, Carly leans her face over yours, mere inches from your nose, and exhales deeply, forcing a warm cloud of morning breath into your breathing space. The rancid stench of bacteria growing in her throat and on her tongue all night attacks your nostrils, cutting off your fresh air supply.
“Oh my God! What the heck!” you say in disgust, coughing, trying in vain to rid the rotten smell now infecting your nose. Carly laughs heartily at you, clutching her chest and pointing her finger at you.
“Told you it would wake you up! Do you want another one?” she says jokingly, leaning back over and breathing again. You’re ready this time, and hold your breath as she unleashes another; as she finishes, you push her off of you to the ground and get out of bed.
“You can’t push me! I’m a girl,” says Carly in her voice of annoyance and feigned disgust, wrinkling her nose up.
“Leave me alone or I’ll push you again, then,” you retort, now done with your sister’s antics.
“I’ll tell mom!” she says accusingly, stepping out of the room.
“Just like always,” you mutter. In a huff, she storms off and down the stairs to the kitchen.
Ten minutes later, you’re showered and stepping groggily into the kitchen, where you mom is turning eggs in a pan and your sister is seated at the table, hungrily slurping up some Cheerios.
“Well, look who’s finally up,” says your mom without turning around.
“I TOLD him to get up, mom,” says Carly sweetly. “But he just felt like being mean…”
“Uh-huh. Let’s just leave each other alone right now, it’s too early,” says your mom, again without turning around, hoping to stop the potential argument brewing between the two of you. You take a seat at the table.
“You going to eat breakfast?” asks your mom.
“No, thanks,” you say, not hungry.
“Why not, huh?” says your sister loudly. You look over at her, irritated, but don’t even answer.
“Mom, tell him to answer me! He’s being a jerk,” says Carly, flopping backward in her chair and taking a loud gulp of cereal. Your mom clears her throat, the common gesture used (usually without effect) to tell Carly to use her table manners.
“Well, sometimes Jack’s not the only one being rude around the table,” says your mom, flipping the eggs. Your sister grumbles, defeated for now. Just as she does, her cell phone, sitting on the kitchen counter, begins buzzing as a text comes in.
“Who could be texting you at this hour of the morning?” says your mom, reaching for the phone and snapping it open.
“No! Mom, stop! It’s my phone, you can’t read it!” protests your sister loudly, leaping out of her seat in desperation to get the phone back.
“I beg to differ…” says your mom, starting to.
“Mom…” moans Carly in distress.
“What?” says your mom, taken aback and looking over at Carly. “It says “Hey hottie how r u this mornin?” Carly, who is this “Blake” person?” says your mom, beginning to get angry and annoyed.
“Cool it, mom,” says Carly, snapping the phone from your mom’s hand and sliding it quickly into her pocket.
“Well? Who have you been talking to? Is he your…” says your mom, not quite willing to say “boyfriend.”
“NO, Mom, he’s not my boyfriend. He’s… just a guy.”
“A “guy” is calling you hottie?”
“Relax, mom. A lot of people do that.”
“A LOT of people? Who?”
“I’m not sure… just most of the guys I hang out with…” says Carly, giggling a little as she says it.
“Well, I’ll tell you one thing… they’re NOT the guys you’re hanging out with anymore!” says your mom, leaning against the counter.
“WHAT? But they’re just my friends, mom.”
“No buts. I don’t want you hanging out with them anymore and that’s that,” says your mom, turning away from her to continue the eggs, her way of saying the conversation is over.
Your sister releases a huff from puffed cheeks, having fought with your mom enough to know when to surrender and fight another day. She mopes back over to the table and slumps down on a table. You can’t help yourself after that scene and sit back up.
“Who the heck would call you “hottie,” anyway?” you say with disdain. Carly shoots you the evil eye.
“EVERYONE. You know, every other boy I know treats me really nice except for you…” she says, dipping the spoon back into the cereal again. “They all say nice things to me, and what do you do? You push me,” she finishes.
You chuckle and shake your head in amusement.
You’ve never really tried to think about it before. You can tell that Carly might appear pretty good looking to members of the opposite sex. You’re aware that she has several guys after her in her grade, and a couple of your friends have, in the past, tried to get her number from you, but you always refused because it’s such a ridiculous idea to want to text her.
Carly is pretty tall for her age at 5 foot 9, being only 14 and in the 8th grade. Because of her height, she quickly got recruited to her middle school’s basketball team and you’ve heard she’s pretty good at it, although you’ve never bothered to see a game. With all the basketball she plays, she’s of pretty athletic build (which she often points out in annoying shows of pride), but she’s still very thin.
You look over her in annoyance. She has smooth, dirty blond hair that she tends to bounce around when she pouts at almost everyone she meets with her large lips. She usually wears skinny jeans, silver flats, and some brand name shirt. Today, it’s dark pink with hearts and some other indistinguishable symbols.
A few moments of silence pass and, with the eggs finished, your mom exits the kitchen and heads back upstairs. You lay your arms on the table and rest your head on them, still not fully awake even after the cold shower and your sister’s poisonous breath getting in your eyes.
“Are you still tired? Need me to wake you up again?” she says, letting out a warning breath.
“No thanks…” you mumble.
“You should eat some breakfast. It’s the healthy thing to do. If you don’t eat your breakfast, you can’t grow up and get big muscles. Isn’t that what you want to do?” she says mockingly again.
“Geez, Jack. I’m just trying to help you here. Why don’t you try being nicer to me, huh?” she says, shoveling a large spoonful of Cheerios into her mouth.
“Leave me alone, please.”
“Here, I’ll start us off. Want some breakfast?” she says, her words muffled through the milk and soggy Cheerios. Then, opening her lips dramatically, she tilts her head back and starts to gargle the Cheerios in the back of her throat.
“Stop it, that’s nasty,” you note, shaking your head in disapproval.
Without a word, then, she whips her chin back down to a position level with your face and spits a mouthful of mush right out at you. A spray of milk hits you in the eyes. Several Cheerios hit you in the face and stick, clogged fully with warmed milk and Carly’s phlegm-coated saliva, fresh from the bacteria-lined depths of her throat.
“Carly! What the hell!” you say, but not too loudly so your mom won’t hear as you begin wiping Cheerios and spit-laced milk off your face.
“Jack, you said a bad word… I’m telling Mom!” says Carly devilishly, knowing how much your mom hates inappropriate language. This thought only just occurs to you. The last time you said “damn” to your sister, she told on you and got your computer privileges revoked for a month. Your mom tends to overreact at these things, and your sister takes full advantage of it at all possible times.
“Okay! I’m sorry! Just stop it,” you say, taking a napkin and toweling off the remaining spit-and-milk residue coating your face.
“Are you really sorry?” she says in a voice of faked serenity.
“Yeah…” you say, annoyed.
“You don’t sound sorry.”
“Well, I am, okay? Just leave me alone now and let’s get ready for school.”
“I think you should say it again.”
“I think you should apologize to me again.”
“Because I didn’t like your first one!” she says, starting to get annoyed. “MOM!” she yells upstairs after a moment, gauging your reaction with a huge grin.
“Okay! Okay! Fine, I’m sorry,” you say, using your best “acting” voice.
“That’s a little better…”
“Okay. Fine. Fine. Look, Carly, I’m really… sorry…” you say, dragging out the words slowly and trying to make them sound meaningful. It’s humiliating to have to do this, and it’s killing you a little to have to suck up to your three-years-younger sister like this just to retain your computer rights.
“Thank you. I accept your apology,” she says in the most sugary and haughty voice she can, smiling ear to ear and tossing her hair back in a show of victory.
She has you and your mom wrapped firmly around her little finger. Come to think of it, she has you wrapped around all of her fingers so tightly there’s seemingly no hope of escape.