2.15. Strangers in the House

The tension in the house could almost be cut through with a butter knife.

s2

Besides mom and dad, nobody was really talking. The girls didn’t get along, unfortunately. They didn’t even want to dress the same. I tried everything I could. I was almost tearing my hairs out, but nothing I did could resolve the issue.

s3

I could see Rose being on the receiving end of her sister’s torments. Sometimes she went out of her way to avoid her. It was almost she was terrified of her sister. Poor girl. ūüė¶

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Delia and I weren’t really talking. It was almost as if we can’t, without one of us getting fed up and left. The sibling rivalry issue was heading nowhere, certainly not to a resolution. We had many fights over it, and I knew our relationship was straining. Sometimes we ended up hurling accusations at each other. I couldn’t stand the icy cold glare Delia was so fond of giving. It made be feel small. And the truth is, I really didn’t know what to do. The only best way it seemed was to keep the girls apart. It was like the elephant in the room, the inconvenient truth that none of us wanted to handle. So it was left there, permeating the ¬†awkwardness in the house.

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The only other thing I could do is to paint. Ironically, the more upset I am, the better my paintings were. I would like to think it was because I really channelled all my feelings into the painting. Patrons like emotive ones, those that made them feel something so much that they were practically sucked into the painting. And that reeled the cash.

I had been getting commissions from moneyed patrons quite steadily. Perhaps being the nephew of Rebecca Moonglow helped. Dan Elphinstone, son of the media magnate, called the other day. Twenty thousand simoleons! It was never in my wildest dreamt my hobby would pay off, big time. At least I was succeeding in one aspect.

s5

Another consolation I had was that¬†Roisin was brilliant. It seemed she was academically gifted, something I didn’t thought would ever run in the family.¬†(In contrary, Leila and I were merely mediocre students. Though I would like to think our forte were in different areas.) She came home with honours the other day. I couldn’t be more proud and insisted the certificate would be displayed on the fridge.¬†Hopefully that made her happy, over the shadow of a dominating sister.

As for Riona, not so much… It was a blessing if she managed to scrape by, if at all. I tried not to have to high an expectation grade wise. Perhaps she wasn’t carved out to study.

***

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Her voice blasted, reverberating round the kitchen.

s6

I wanted to shut out the screams. I supposed it was Riona misbehaving again, and Delia reprimanding her. Sometimes I wished she was less harsh on Riona. Perhaps it triggered her rebelliousness, or even caused her to vent it on Rose. Poor Rose.

“RIONA MOONGLOW, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! YOU HAVE GONE OVERBOARD!” Her voice was even louder than a nuclear explosion. It was far too unusual for calm, composed (and icy) Delia to.

I hated to be caught in¬†center of the storm, but it seemed this time I couldn’t dodge. I could hear her shouting all the way from the kitchen. “What happened, Dee? What happened to Riona…” My voice trailed off midway. I was stunned by what I saw. Delia was almost raising an arm!

s8

“DELIA, STOP IT!!” I raced to her and seized her arm. “What do YOU think you are doing?!” I was livid. Hitting a child was against my principles. I believed physical punishment was inhumane. Never would I hit my child, and I could not believe Delia would thought of do that.

s7

s9

But this time, she didn’t back down.”Just take a #$@!ing look at Roisin and you will know!” Delia thundered. “Riona beat her sister up!”

Her words hit me like a ton of bricks. It was when realisation struck me. I never expect the rivalry would escalate so much that it ended up in physical altercation. “Riona, I will deal with you later!” I spat at her. “You are grounded until further notice!”

We glared at each other. A stony silence permeated the room.

s10

“Well, if you hadn’t spend all your waking hours in the studio…!” She hissed toxically. I hated the fact she turned it into a blame game. I was beside myself with rage. How dared she insult my art, my hobby and my livelihood?

I shot back at her. I didn’t think I was thinking straight. My mind was whirling at an impossible speed. “Well, or perhaps it was the fame thing getting into your head. You were too absorbed being a celebrity mixologist than spending time with your children…”

“How DARE YOU blame me? You chauvinist pig!”

And it escalated into a shouting match from there. I saw mom and dad standing at the hallway, shaking their heads in dismay. Plumbob!¬†Now it wasn’t just the girls that weren’t on speaking terms.

It was as if we were all strangers in the house.

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