A deeper look into the Stumph family.
I've been watching infomercials on mute since I got home this morning, and listening to Jewel over it. Not "sell out" Jewel; Jewel when her music actually meant something.
I pulled my blanket to my chin and glanced at my alarm clock.
As her voice sounded threw the room it antagonized me. These songs sound less compassionate knowing that she eventually wrote a pop song and made a video for it in which she danced around like a whore. Why would she sell out?
I heard the gentle knock on the door, and I flipped over to my back to look down at the T.V.
"When did you become interested in buying collapsible Tupperware?" Patricks voice asked after he grabbed the remote to turn down the music.
"I dunno," Was my only reply. On a regular day I would have replied with something witty and charming, but I just didn't have it in me.
I noticed the sun trying to peak through the windows, but ultimately losing the battle to the heavy blankets I had covering them. The only light in the room came from the T.V. and the little bit of sun that prodded through a window in my adjacent bathroom. I silently cursed the sun for contradicting the ambiance I was trying to provide my depression with.
"Daddy tried calling. So did Mom," He said, looking over to me. I kept my eyes glued to the screen. I didn't see it, but I could feel his gaze on me.
My phone was sitting on my dresser. I have the battery pulled out of it. I guess that is my way of disconnecting myself from the world.
"Yea. I need to fix it," I was referring to the phone literally, although I'm sure it could be interpreted to fit different situations.
He laid down next to me, flat on his back. I rolled my head over to view his profile. His eyes were closed tight, like he was trying to bite something back. He could have just been tired, but that wouldn't be nearly as melodramatic.
"What is it, Patrick?"
He let his eyes lazily make contact with mine and ultimately decided to avoid my question.
"Change your shirt, change your attitude," He said with a weak smile, referring to a philosophy Daddy had adopted for us in our youth. He pulled himself up to walk over to my dresser. I took a deep breath. Or maybe it was a sigh.
Whatever it was is completely irrelevant.
He grabbed my phone and placed the battery back into it, powering it on. I shuddered a little when I heard the familiar "Hello Moto" from the speaker of it. He opened my dresser and rummaged through it, throwing a pair of jeans and a random t-shirt on my bed.
He walked across the room and handed me my phone. "I think you should get dressed, and I think you should check your messages. It might make you feel better," And with that he kissed my forehead and walked to the door.
"Mom is downstairs," He said, and closed the door behind him. I love how he saved the most important of information for the end of the conversation. If you can even consider our previous dialog a conversation.
After a couple of minutes I pushed myself into my bathroom, turning on the water and climbing under the stream. I don't know how long I stood under the shower head. I don't remember shampooing my hair. In the grand scheme of things, missing one shampoo doesn't really matter.
When I got out of the shower I eyed my phone as I ran a brush through my hair. It was beeping loudly, either signaling new messages or a dead battery. I was hoping for the later.
I pulled my hair up into a sloppy ponytail and angrily grabbed my phone. I eyed it as if it were a venomous snake, and I became weary of every move it could possibly make. I eventually convinced myself I was being ridiculous, and I dialed my access code to get to my voicemail. 0000#. Very simple.
"First unheard message," My stomach tied up in a knot. "Um, Hey Belle. It's, ugh. It's Kay. Call me," If she needed to get ahold of me she knows where I live. Although after dancing all over Wentz I'm sure she'd rather have his address. I should call her back and let her know it's on their first album. Maybe sending her on a scavenger hunt might prevent her from exploring her other whorish skills.
"Message deleted. Next unheard message." I cradled my phone between my ear and shoulder, pulling my jeans up over my hips.
"Hey baby, it's Daddy. Um..." His voice altered for a second and he sighed, reminding me of Patrick. "I miss you. Please call,"
I shut my phone and threw it on my bed. I grabbed the David Bowie t-shirt Patrick threw on my bed and slipped it over my head.
I grabbed my cell phone and tried to work up the courage to dial that familiar ten-digit number. Why did the simplest of tasks seem so intricate? I knew why I was avoiding him. I didn't want him to go threw this with me. Daddy is supposed to be the one person in the world who can look at me and still see a spirited angelic four-year-old with pigtails. I'm not going to let this tarnish /that/.
I let my feet wander downstairs. There was a woman down there who I loosely reffered to as "Mom". I don't care what she sees me as.
I saw Patrick look up at me from the bar stool, he looked surprised by my entrance. I'm sure he half expected me not to come down.
I wouldn't avoid the pity and sympathy for anything in world. It's kind of sick and twisted how my mind distorted this situation into another way to make everyone's lives revolve around me. You know those stupid fucking subconscious characteristics you hate about yourself? The ones that are encoded into your DNA and seem impossible to get rid of? Well, mine is being the center of attention. Granted, i've always had that... but I've just recently embraced this flaw, and it may be too soon to part with it.
Mom was at the stove talking to herself, mumbling something about waffle batter. I took a seat next to Patrick and she turned around to look at me. I felt like I was being examined. But it could be worse; she could be completely uncaring. And then where would that leave me?
Patrick sensed my anxiety and thrust his glass of juice in my direction. "It's pulp-free," He explained. I nodded and took a sip of it, trying to keep my focus on the orange substance.
"Would you like a waffle, baby?" Mom asked with her tone very low.
"Yea," but I wasn't really hungry. She handed Patrick his plate and sat mine on the counter in front of her.
"I can do that," I told her as she spread margarine on my waffle. She nodded her head and passed me the plate and butter.
The house was quiet minus the noise coming from the faucet as Mom washed off a spatula and that annoying noise Patrick's plate made as his knife scraped against it.
"Daddy thinks you should come and stay with him," She said, turning around the wipe off the counter.
"I'll call him later," I told her, swiping more butter over my waffle. She lowered her shoulders. She must have known I was lying.
"Belle is going to come with me," Patrick said swiftly, causing my Mom to slowly turn around and eye him. I looked over at him questioningly and he shrugged his shoulders.
"To Los Angeles?" She asked, tossing the washcloth into the sink.
"Yea. Um, Pete just bought a house there. So it's not like we'll be living in a hotel room or anything,"
"I think it's best if she stays with Daddy-"
"Why can't I stay with you?" I interrupted. I wasn't serious with that request, because I already knew the answer.
She fidgeted with her wedding band around her finger. "You don't get along with Derek, remember?"
"I remember quite well. He called me a 'demanding callow shrew'. I do have to give him credit with his insults. He's rather articulate for being a homewrecker," I said, referring to her husband.
I saw her openly flinch and I half expected her to bitch slap me. But instead she gripped the counter for support as if I had whipped her. She must feel like me being bitter and hostile towards her atones for her past indiscretions. I disagree (of course) but that doesn't mean I won't take this free opportunity to throw around harsh words.
"You don't have to be malicious with me, Anabelle Leigh. I'm not trying to harass you or make you do anything you don't want to do. I'm trying to give you advice and guide you," She said, her voice becoming louder with every word.
"I know. But you still butter my waffles, Mom. I'm just as old as Patrick. I can take care of myself,"
"You like to think you can. But tell me, who picked out your clothes this morning? Who does your shopping for you? Who does your-"
"I get it," I interrupted her, grabbing my plate and putting it into the sink. "You raised me to be the typical baby of the family, and now you're kicking yourself for it," I spat at her. Patrick looked from Mom to me, and back to Mom.
"Maybe Derek was right," She said, glaring at me offensively. I took a step closer to her.
"You've always agreed with him, Mother. It would contradict your character if you were to take my side for once," My glare was burning holes into her now.
She gazed at Patrick for a second before grabbing her purse and walking towards the door. I only moved when I heard the door shut.
Patrick finally looked up and shook his head at me.
"Let's leave early," I said, walking past him and up to my room.
Authors Note: I'm regreting chapters 2-5. Not a good feeling.