The bowl lay overturned on the floor, a rough crack running down one side. Paige could see the damage illuminated with the light from her iPhone, set dimmer than she normally preferred.
“Double-damn!” She swore under her breath. Paige picked up the bowl, avoiding the jagged edge that threatened to cut her finger and make her bleed like a stuck pig.
With more care than before, Paige placed each item in the bowl as if they were part of a sacred ritual – which, when she thought about it, they kind of were.
Paige stood and breathed a sigh of relief. This had been a minor setback, but she could still finish close to schedule.
The light clicked on, flooding the room with light. In the mirror’s reflection, Paige saw her older sister Shelby. Her thick blonde hair was piled in a messy style, and she wore an oversized Dartmouth hoodie over American Apparel leggings. A shit-eating grin completed the ensemble.
“What’re you doing, sis?” Shelby goaded. Paige stared back at her. Maybe if she didn’t move, her sister wouldn’t see her. It worked in Jurassic Park. Kind of.
“Honestly, you are such a child sometimes,” Shelby walked over and looked into the bowl.
“Technically I’m a child all the time,” Paige managed.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Shelby rifled through the bowl. “Are you sneaking out?”
“Yes?” Paige squeaked. Shelby pulled her into her room, a monstrosity of unfolded laundry and books. Her new laptop, a gift to celebrate her early admission to college, glowed faintly on her Ikea desk.
“Are you going to drink?” Shelby asked.
Paige shook her head, her lip involuntarily curling at the thought of the one sip of lukewarm Miller Light she had after Homecoming. Gross.
“Drugs?” Shelby’s face grew concerned, then softened when Paige emphatically shook her head.
“You’re not going to have sex, are you?” Shelby’s voice hinted at resigned melancholy, desperation, and admiration. Paige shook her head at that one, too, but made the mistake of looking away and blushing.
“You’re meeting a boy!” Shelby said, her voice echoing the sing-song taunting of their younger petty sibling rivalries.
“Don’t you dare tell Mom and Dad!” Paige begged. “It’s nothing. Cameron Jones is doing a movie night and he invited me and a few other people. His parents are out-of-town, but his aunt will be there, so it’s not even like we’ll be able to get into any trouble even if we wanted to!”
“But Mom and Dad said no – no parents, not happening,” Shelby said, summarizing one of Saul and Peggy Beckett’s many rules for their two teenage daughters. “I get it, sis. Look, if you’re being safe – and it sounds like you are – then I’ll help you.”
“But you’re a dork!” Paige regretted the words as soon as they escaped. She wanted to tuck them away, avoid the embarrassment of telling her sister what she thought. Paige flushed crimson, but Shelby giggled. She began to take make-up out of the bowl, placing Paige’s selections on her stark white desk: highlighting pearls, an eye makeup palette, and a staggering three lip glosses. Oh, the indecisive excesses of youth, Shelby thought.
“I’m a dork, which means I’m smart, which means I figured out how to avoid getting caught sneaking out way before you did,” Shelby countered. “It also means I have the patience to research and work my cute butt off where you might otherwise give up. I’ve learned some tricks that won’t impress Dartmouth but might impress you. Hand me that eyeliner.”
“What’re you gonna do with it?” Paige took it out of the bowl, nervous.
“Sis, I’m gonna give you winged liner like you wouldn’t believe.”
This piece was written for the speakeasy #138 challenge. Word count is 616, under the 750-word max. As always, feedback is appreciated!