The two teens sat side by side, their eyes fixated on the TV screen. Lucas moved around uncontrollably, standing up every now and then, yelling death threats and nearly poking Gia in the eye with the Xbox controller. Gia on the other hand sat completely still, looking bored. Videogames, to her, were one of the most boring things in the world.
“Can we please do something else?” she pleaded.
“NO! Not until – Ah, FUCK! DIE, YOU ALIEN PIECE OF SHIT!”
Gia rolled her eyes and put down the controller when he killed her. “Okay, now you won, can we please stop playing?”
“I don’t understand how you don’t like videogames”, Lucas complained, but turned off the Xbox anyway.
“I don’t understand how you like them.”
“They’re entertainment! It’s good for the brain!”
“Yeah, sure it is”, Gia rolled her eyes again. As Lucas yawned and started to surf through the TV channels, Gia picked up a magazine from the table and flicked through the pages in disgust. Since it was Lucas’ room, it was one of his magazines. He had long ago stopped trying to hide the magazine pile from her, and they were once again freely lying around his room.
“You know, you’re disgusting”, she told the boy sitting next to her.
“Oh relax, I don’t even smell that bad yet,” he said, rolling his eyes.
“Not that. Although you could use a shower. It’s these magazines. These women degrade themselves by posing nude just so that they will get acceptance by some strangers they’ve never even met. I mean, look at her”, Gia explained, showing him a brunette lady on the magazine, wearing only a bikini bottom.
“What about her? She’s hot.”
“Do you really think those breasts are real?” Gia scoffed.
Lucas grinned. “You’re just jealous because you don’t look like that.”
Gia didn’t have a comeback at that one. It might be true. Partly. Maybe. Gia threw the magazine away, but not before giving Lucas a very mean glare. She was very aware that her chest wasn’t quite as ‘developed’ as one might hope, and yeah, her figure was awkward and shapeless, but who was he to judge? Lucas wasn’t exactly a Greek god either.
“So why did you call me to come over?” Gia finally asked, deciding to drop the subject.
“Remember, you said it was an emergency and a really urgent matter and that I had to rush over here even though I told you I should be doing my homework?”
“Oh, right”, Lucas said and cleared his throat. “You see, I have to tell you something. And it’s kind of important. You see, the thing is –“
Before he could continue, Gia’s cell phone rang. She fished it out of her pocket and groaned when she saw the caller ID. Who else could it be than her dad?
“Hello?” she said into the phone and there was a pause.
Lucas tried to hear what was going on on the other end, but it was too muffled. Gia ended the phone call by promising to be ‘there’, where ever that is, as soon as possible.
“Lucas, I’m sorry I have to go. We can talk later.”
Gia left in a hurry, leaving Lucas sitting alone. The boy sighed and laid down on the couch. He will never be able to tell her anything at this rate.
Then again... It was kind of her fault. When that thought came to Lucas, he felt a lot better. He had tried to tell her. Well, apparently she didn’t take it seriously, so she was the one to blame if he didn’t get the chance to tell her.
In fact, maybe he should just not tell her at all! Yeah, that’ll show her.
Lucas smiled contently, having some peace of mind at last, and turned on the Xbox again, ready to kick some alien butt.
When Gia got to her house, Gerard was waiting for her at the door. The nervous expression on his face told her more than enough. If he was worried, then for sure nothing good could come of this.
“What do they want?” she whispered when they went in.
“I’m not really sure. They wouldn’t tell me, not before they see you first.”
Gia peeked around the corner into the living room and saw two unknown people. And these two strangers... Gia had imagined what they looked like, but she had been very wrong. One look at the elderly couple, and she already knew a lot about them.
“Oh, hello”, the woman said, standing up and coming to shake hands with the girl. “I’m Nora and this is Arthur, my husband. We are your mother’s parents. Your grandpa and grandma.”
According to what Gerard had told Gia about the two, they weren’t very nice. When Gia’s mom got pregnant, they moved away, leaving their pregnant fifteen-year-old daughter to survive alone. It made Gia hate them, even though she had never even met them. Who does that to their child? If Gia got pregnant at this age, Gerard wouldn’t abandon her. Sure, he might attempt to kill her in her sleep, but he would still stick by her. But now she knew why these two probably thought that their teenager’s pregnancy was such a great embarrassment. Her grandparents were clearly religious. The crosses on their necks, their clothes... it was like written all over them.
And now Gia got an answer to one question that she had been wondering about for years. Why her hair color was blonde, while her father had dark hair and mother had red hair. Nora’s hair was blonde exactly the same shade as Gia’s.
“Hello”, Gia greeted quietly. She could hear Gerard stand behind her, his breathing was heavy due to the nervousness, and no doubt was he scowling like someone had just drank the world’s last drop of coffee.
Arthur remained silent and still, but Nora smiled to her with a warm smile. She didn’t look too evil. In fact, she seemed very nice. “I have to say, you look exactly like I imagined. Did you get the book we sent to you on Christmas?”
“I did, thank you”, Gia said politely. “Um, you can all sit down.”
The three sat down again, and Gia did too, but Gerard remained standing beside Gia’s chair. Like a bodyguard.
“So exactly why are you here?” she then asked before Gerard could attack them with damn 20 questions like Gia was sure he would. He sure had temper.
“Well, we were contacted by a social worker called Emily Ross, and she told us about your... uh, troublesome life”, Nora started.
“My what?” Gia asked in surprise and glanced worriedly at her father. Gerard was already practically boiling, she could tell.
“Gia, I know that it may seem strange, since we haven’t been in your life at all, but we have your best interest in mind, I assure you. We’ve talked about this a lot, and we are willing to give you a safe and stable home.”
Gia frowned. “What makes you think I’m not happy here? My home here is perfectly safe and stable, thank you very much.”
“It’s just that Emily told us-“
Gerard interrupted the woman. “Don’t listen to Emily. Gia is fine right here, she doesn’t need you. If you wanted to be in her life, then maybe you should’ve thought about that fourteen years ago when you had the chance.”
Nora sighed in frustration. Her cheeks were getting red. “Well I see you haven’t changed, Gerard. We apologize for the way we have behaved in the past. And we’re asking for you to put it behind.”
“You left her alone!” Gia argued. “My mother was fifteen!”
“We realize that. And I can’t explain our actions, all we can do is to try and make it up for you now.”
“You should be making it up for her, not me”, Gia scoffed.
“Even so, we would really like to get to know you. Emily told us that you are unhappy here, and that you’re only staying here because you have no other place to go. If that is true, then please, consider our offer. But if that is not the case, then... Can you at least give us a chance in getting to know our only grandchild?”
Even though Gia knew that Gerard won’t approve of it, she still promised to think about it. Her grandparents were nothing like Gerard had described. They didn’t seem evil. That only boosted Gia’s curiosity about why they acted like they had, and why they didn’t come to her sooner than now. She wanted answers. But obviously Gerard didn’t want her to have those answers.
After Arthur and Nora left, all hell broke loose.
“You can’t seriously be considering this!” Gerard shouted.
Gia rolled her eyes and went to the kitchen. “Listen, you might not understand it but I want to get to know them. They’re my grandparents, so it’s like... they’re a part of me. Or they should be, at least.”
“Didn’t you hear what they said? Emily put them up for this!”
“Is that what you’re worried about? That I want to go live with them?”
He didn’t continue. It was clear he didn’t want to. And it didn’t matter, because Gia knew what he meant. It’s not that he worried that Gia might want to leave, because he knew she didn’t, but he did worry that someone else might take her away. Gerard used to have to worry only about Emily, but now there were these two new people who he was convinced were evil.
“I’ll be in my room. I have homework”, Gia announced after a while and stomped up the stairs.
She couldn’t help it; she was a little upset with her dad. But the excitement about meeting her mother’s parents was enough to make the upset feeling disappear, and certainly it was enough to make her forget all about what Lucas was trying to tell her earlier. She should have listened to her friend, as she soon later found out, but right at that moment it didn’t matter.