Does she deserve it?
By: Jennie Fenix
Writing Prompt: Yes
Date: 11th Dec 2021
Mmm… I was frollicking through a field that was filled with cotton candy bushes, and stems of lollipops protruded from behind them. Beside me was a giant rabbit that was skipping beside me, its arm hooked with mine, which made me giddy. To my right was a pink bear, we’ll call her Sahar-bear! Life was perfect. And then: EARTHQUAKE!
The voice stirred me from the most wonderful dream, and I felt a scream push up from my lungs as I ripped my sleeping mask from my head and began flailing my arms! Who was in my room? Who would dare disturb my beauty sleep?! I continued to scream, hoping that I may wake the neighbors or security. “AHHHHHH!!!!! I DON’T HAVE MONEY! WHO ARE YOU?!” I continued blinking my eyes trying to bring this stranger into focus, but my heart was already pounding… racing… I felt like I was going to die from a heart attack, and the dude finally came into focus: RICKY! “RICKY?! What time is it?!!” I asked him and I could just hear the grogginess in my own voice as I regained control over my arms and slid back on my bed; I leaned against my pillows and back against the headboard. I sniffled a few times and still felt myself heaving.
“Uhh… Seven…ish.” Ricky said, and I began grumbling. It was too early. Too early! It should be illegal or something to be awake this early. I turned my attention back to Ricky and watched him put his phone away in his pocket, and felt my breathing slowly steady but I felt something building… Typical morning stuff. “I know it’s early but I reallyyyy needed to talk.” He sounded desperate, but we never got our proper greeting out of the way.
“Oh…” I said, when I could hear the urgency in his voice. “Oh! Hi, Ricky!” I launched myself forward again and wrapped my arms around him to hold him into a tight hug. I felt awful for slapping him as many times as I did, “It’s early… like… early. I’m sorry! Are you okay? I didn’t mean to hit you!” I thought about that a moment while tilting my head back and forth and contemplating on that, “I mean… like I did… but had I known it was you, I wouldn’t have done that!”
“I’m totally fine and it’s completely my bad. I didn’t really sleep for nothin last night and been up for so long now and I’m just… ugh.” I could hear how upset he was just from that one sigh he let out. I felt his arms pull away from me, and leaned back; there was still something I had to do, but he was already talking. “It’s Sahara. She don’t believe in me for nothin, Jennie. Neither one of us. Said we’d rather play Legos than hurt someone.” Wait, what’s wrong with legos? I couldn’t help but grumble under my breath over that one. It was easy to see how hurt he was; he didn’t exactly mask his hurt well… But I guess when you’ve had as much practice as me… “And like..there ain’t even anythin wrong with that. Who says we can’t be successful without wantin to really hurt someone? What’s wrong with havin fun? Everythin doesn’t hafta be all doom and gloom, y’know?”
“Oohhh, no, gloom and doom is kinda overdone I think. But two things…” I finally had a chance to speak, and I still had that one thing on my mind, but I decided to go for the other. I patted his arm, and felt myself squirming a little. “Like… are you sure you heard her right? Like no mistake? And two… I really have to pee.” I felt my legs getting more and more squirmy. I bit down on my lip and couldn’t help but give him a look that was almost asking him for permission to use the bathroom, but it’s starting to become an emergency! “It’s just like, ya know, ya just wake up and bam! Full bladder!” I said, and was still jumpy.
But I heard him laugh, and saw him smile before nodding his head to me. He moved just a little so that I wasn’t trapped under the blanket anymore, “Always time to go pee. Go, it’s okay, really. I’ll wait here.” I heard him laugh again, and felt his whole demeanor change. What was funny to him was a health concern for me! It’s not good to hold it for too long!
“Good! Thank you! Hold that thought!” I finally said and slipped out from under my blanket and tried to squeeze my legs together to try and hold it. SUCCESS! I didn’t think I was gone too long, but when I came back, Ricky was laying on the bed and looked like he was lost in his own world. “Okay!” I shouted to get his attention and burst into a sprint to jump onto the foot of the bed, and then sat criss-cross, “So what’d Sahara say? Are you sure you heard her right?”
He sat up and sighed at me, again. “She bet against me against Dave. She doesn’t think I can succeed ‘cause I’m too nice. Look, even that match she has against Joe’s team. I got every reason to wanna kick Joe’s ass but did she ask me?” I watched him shake his head and saw him frown. I pouted at my lip because I knew where he was going with this, and I did empathize. “I’ve always had her back, no matter how much trash people talked ’bout her. She picked Michelle and Ash as her partners and they talk just as much shit about her than anyone does.”
I let out my own sigh. “She says I’m too nice too and says I need to start being meaner. She does remind me a bit of my sister, actually… Everyone, always saying we’re too nice.” I began grumbling again. But I still had a hard time believing what he had told me, and needed to inquire more, “I can’t believe she would bet against you though! Did she… tell you? Like how do you figure she bet against you?”
“See, Tara’s no better. We don’t hafta be like everyone else. That doesn’t mean we don’t put just as much of ourselves into this as they do. It’s not fair, Jennie. What’s wrong with bein’ a good person?”
I could hear the shaking in his breathing, and could just see how visibly upset he was. It made me just want to reach out and give him another hug! But he did keep himself together.
“She did. Like literally told me. Why would she do that?”
I couldn’t help it and put my hand on his shoulder. It was a strange gesture, I thought, but it usually brought me comfort and I hoped that I could do the same for him. “I’m sure she had her reason… Did you, like, ask her? But no, we shouldn’t have to change who we are. Makes no sense!” I felt like I was trying to make excuses for her. I loved Sahar-bear; she had been good to me for a while, and I did consider her one of my best friends… maybe even my best friend, so I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt.
“Not really. There’s no reason for that. And it ain’t even the first time she’s done and said somethin’ like that.” I could see his eyes falter away, and he shook his head at me again. “‘I’ve tried hard not to but it’s like..damn, what if she’s right? I shouldn’t be thinkin’ like that and she damn sure shouldn’t be the reason I’m thinkin like that.” I let out a gentle sigh, not trying to get him to focus on me… I knew what he was going through, and what he was thinking. But the question lingered on my mind, and I couldn’t help but blurt it out.
“What do you do if she is right?” I shrugged, “‘Like, they are more experienced… than us… right?” I felt the need to over-explain. “But no, no, we can’t think like that.”
“You have a point though. What if Sahara is right? What if Tara is right? What if we don’t change who we are? Does that mean we’ll never amount to anythin’ here?” I could see that look on his face… It mirrored one that I felt a while ago: defeat. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like seeing it on him. “Look at us. We can’t win a match to save our lives. I lost to a guy who dresses up like a dinosaur and you just won the only title you can get by losin’. Maybe they are right?”
I let out a nervous hum, more something I did to try to get more into my thoughts and try to bring clarity to the situation. “But how do you feel?” That was the true question: how does he feel? I clapped my hands against my thighs before clapping them together, then hunched myself forward and put my elbows against my knees while leaning toward Ricky. “Like, do you think you could be like them?”
“I don’t wanna be like them. I see how they act and how they treat each other and it legit hurts my heart, y’know?” His answer came rather quickly, and I couldn’t help but feel a giddiness when he sounded so certain. No hesitation! Nothing! I watched him reach his hands behind his head and stretched, but he couldn’t stop sighing. “I am who I am. This is who I wanna be.”
I still smiled for him, happy that he knew who he wanted to be. “Then we are who we are!” I shouted while throwing my arms into the air in a celebratory fashion, but it didn’t last long because as much ranting as he’s done, I haven’t had a chance to do my own. “But I can’t believe what Tara did! Do you know what she did?” I asked him, feeling my blood boiling.
“No, I don’t. What happened? What’d she do?” He asked, and placed his hand on my knee. I felt him squeeze gently, and I raised my hands to my head to mimic that my mind was about to explode.
“I told her that I wanted her to stay OUT OF MY BUSINESS and let me handle myself…like she’s not my big sister here, she doesn’t need to hold my hand, y’know?” I drew in a deep breath, wanting to keep my own composure now. “She REQUESTED to fight Joe! And I know she did it because he beat me! That’s not staying out of my business, and then she hasn’t returned my calls, texts, or ANYTHING!”
I watched his eyes widen. He looked just as shocked as I was when I heard the news. “Jennie, that’s not fair to you. You’re one of the best people I’ve ever seen wrestle. There’s absolutely no reason she shoulda done that. You know damn well you can beat Joe. Everyone has off nights and that’s exactly what that was. She has no right to just butt in and try to run things.” He changed his posture to match mine. We both mirrored each other while trying to bring clarity to one another. “We can’t let people like Sahara and Tara try to tell us who we need to be. We don’t need them to run our lives how they see fit. We gotta stand up to them. Their names even sound the same!”
“You’re right!” I shouted out, and felt my eyes widen as I got my own idea, “I’m gonna have to go to Hartford!”
Ricky didn’t try to fight me on this, but instead nodded his head. It was doing what he said we needed to do: fight them on this. “Yes! Yes you do! Stand up to her. Show her you’re not some little kid she hasta fight for.” He’s right. I’m not a kid. Not anymore. Not the little teenage girl that she took in; I’m the woman she helped raise me to become, and she should know that I’m strong! He still smiled, and looked like he had his own epiphany, “And I gotta do the same with Sahara. Who I am is good enough, no matter what anyone thinks.”
“YES! That is exactly what we need to do!” I reached both of my hands up for a high five, and he didn’t disappoint! I shook my hands a little from how hard he had slapped his hands against mine, but that’s okay! That’s how a high five should be. He held and squeezed my hands after.
“‘We’ll show them that there’s nothin’ wrong with who we are or how we do things.”
I finally stood up from the bed and fixed my shirt. “We’re perfect the way we are. So are you gonna go talk to Sahara now? Ooor later on?” He looked like he was still going to hesitate, so I just wanted to make sure that he wasn’t going to back out the moment I left. He stood up beside me.
“We are, in every way possible. I think I’ll talk to her later. I gotta film somethin’ for Dickie first.”
Dickie’s a nice guy. I don’t see why people keep telling me to look out for him. He was nice at the party.
“Oh, okay. I’m gonna head to Tara’s now… You’re welcome to stay here for a while if you need!” I knew he may need another moment. At least wait a little bit longer for everybody to be awake.
“I appreciate that but there’s alottabit I gotta get off my chest. Better sooner than later.” He laughed and nodded to me. “But thank you, I really appreciate that. If things don’t go well with Tara just lemme know and I’ll be right there!”
I couldn’t stop myself from giving him another big hug, squeezing tightly, “You da best!” I said and felt him squeezing equally tight.
“Nah, we’re the best.”
… Later That Day …
“TARA!” Jennie’s voice rang throughout the house as she entered the Hartford home owned by her sister. A mass wave of dogs began parading their way through the house toward the intruder, that they would come to recognize as the frequent guest and “fur-aunt”
“Oh, hello babies!” Jennie stopped to try and greet as many of the dogs as she could although her voice had gotten much quieter. “Ralphy, Pudge… Nimi… Arthas… Hello! All of you! Move, though. Move!” Jennie tried to make her way past all of them and finally did manage to get to the staircase when another dog had stopped right in front of her. “Yes, Queen ‘Thena, you’re very lovely! But– stop stopping in front of me! Just–EURGH! You’re so cute!” Jennie said while stopping to pet Athena a bit longer.
“Okay, okay! Let me go!” Jennie straightened up and moved further through the house until she was standing right outside of Tara’s bedroom door; right as she was about to burst through, Tara opened the door and came out and Jennie was already jabbing her finger at her, “I have a bone to pick with you!” Wait… Is she just waking up? There’s something peculiar in the works here! “Are you just waking up? You’re usually up before the sun…” Jennie gazed a moment longer but shook her head to regain her focus, “Not important!”
Stay focused, girl! Focused! She told you that she was going to let you handle your own business, but now she’s getting into it… She’s challenging JOE MONTUORI and you already know why she did it… Because he was the latest guy to beat you! You know it! Now confront her about it!
Just before Jennie could say anything more, Tara raised a finger up to Jennie as if to silence her. “Can we discuss this over coffee?”
Coffee. Hmm. Coffee does sound good! I’ve already been up for over six hours without a cup of coffee, and like… I’m still not used to being up this early… How does Ricky do it? How does Tara do it? How does anyone do it? This should be illegal! “Your terms are acceptable.”
Tara led the way for them to head downstairs, and toward the kitchen, leading into all the events that transpired. Jennie fought to hold herself back from crying; it felt like nothing she did was ever good enough, and people always expected more out of her… But she managed to fake a smile for the sake of her baby nephew, and brightened her mood with a dose of positivity.
“Let’s… go ahead… eat… get dressed… and we’ll make a family trip out of it.” Jennie said with a smile and ruffled Edward’s hair before walking past him and heading up the stairs.
“Stay out of my room!” Tara called out from the kitchen.
Jennie began grumbling to herself while looking back and forth from the top of the stairs; she could see that the coast was clear… Her room has never been off limits before, so I think I’m just going to go ahead and take a peek! She’s probably hiding Christmas presents. That has to be it! Christmas presents! Jennie nodded her head, certain that she was hiding something in there… Just a peek. Jennie thought one more time to herself while walking toward the bedroom and finally put a door on the handle.
“I wouldn’t do that,” she heard her other nephew say from behind. “I heard Mom say not to go into her room, so it’s best just to respect her wishes.”
“Come on! Don’t you want to know why she specified for me not to go in there? Like, what’s she hiding in there that she specifically had to tell me NOT to go in there?” Jennie whined, but her nephew stood firm and shook his head causing her to start stomping her feet like a child.
“Listen, she says not to do something, and you know it’s better to just listen to her rather than trying to fight with her on it.” Sabin answered.
Jennie let out a heavy sigh but ultimately let go of the doorknob. “I saw what happened, and I guess you’re finally going to get what you want… Angel, inside of the ring.” She said and was nodding her head while walking away from the room.
“Yep. It’s finally going to be over.” Sabin said with a smile.
… Later That Day …
… Following Tara’s Events …
The sisters had split up, and Edward had gone with his mother whilst Jennie was wandering aimlessly to try to figure out what to get the person that she had gotten for Secret Santa. Jennie was eyeing all of the shops in the area before she finally made her first stop: YANKEE CANDLE! Jennie’s face lit up when she walked into the store.
“I know she would like a candle, so what candle should I get?” Jennie asked herself while tapping her finger against her chin and wandering up and down the aisles. “Too common. Too… What?” Jennie asked while blinking her eyes, and then shifted her glance a bit to the side. “Oh, that is just cute!”
“But I somehow don’t think that’s what she would be looking for!” Jennie said while still looking back and forth.
“Hello, ma’am!” A voice called out as a young employee that looked like he was still in high school came from around the corner, topped with the crack in his voice when he noticed the attractive young woman browsing the candles, “Is there– ahem– is there something I can help you with?” He asked while trying to make his voice sound deeper than it actually was.
“Terrific! A specialist!” Jennie said while taking the employee by the arm and pulling him closer; her eyes remained fixated on the various scents, with her finger still against her chin, “Can you tell me what a bunny cake is supposed to smell like? Or a riding mower? Is that supposed to be like freshly cut grass, because freshly cut grass does smell quite nice, but if you throw in the gasoline, it kind of goes in another direction. Y’know what I’m saying?”
“I mean, I’m sure there’s some people out there who like the smell of gasoline, and while I actually do love working on cars, motorcycles, or anything with an engine, I still am not going to smell gasoline for leisure. Right?!” Jennie continued.
“AND ANGEL’S WINGS! What does an angel wing smell like? How do they know that it’s authentic? Are they just assuming? Because if I smell an angel wing, and it doesn’t smell like that candle, angel wings are going to be ruined for me, right? Right!” Jennie, with a hand on the young man’s shoulder turned with a look of shock on her face, “Can you be sued for false advertisement for that? Where are they hiding the angel?!”
The young man just shrugged and looked absolutely baffled, but that didn’t stop Jennie from her ranting.
“Stars & Stripes! Like, very patriotic, but what does a star smell like? And a stripe? I smell paper when I see a stripe. Or… cherries. I imagine cherries. Because I remember one time, when my nephew was like… five? Six? He had a project to draw the American flag, and he had to use a red marker to draw stripes, and it smelled like cherry.”
The employee was just trying to get a word in, but Jennie still continued.
“Y’know what, I think I see what I need!” Jennie reached forward and grabbed a Greek Pomegranate scented candle as well as the Mediterranean Sea. “You said these are buy two get one free?”
The employee nodded.
“Perfect!” Jennie took one more. Margarita Time. “You’ve been a great help–” Jennie leaned toward the employee’s name tag, “CHADWICK! Weird name. Have a great day!”
Jennie walked away with a skip in her step and was finished with the store. After making her purchase, she went to the next store… And the next… And the next… Before she finally reached the final store, her arms were filled with bags from various stores, one bag containing a ton of yarn and knitting equipment, the candles she purchased, and a Greek gyro. That wasn’t for the Secret Santa, that was just for her. FINALLY in the last store, though, ended up in a small bookstore.
“Looking for anything specific?” a woman asked from behind the front counter as Jennie walked in.
“Umm… Hi! Well. Umm. I’m looking for– do you have, like, a philosophy section?” Jennie asked.
“Of course, dearie. But what is it you’re looking for? I can look it up for you.” The woman asked while standing behind her computer.
Jennie pulled her phone out, and raised her head to get a better view of the screen, “Something called a– Bow– Boo– Boudoir?”
“Philosophy in the Boudoir by Marquis de Sade…” The shopkeeper corrected her.
“Yeah-huh!” Jennie said with an excited nod.
“Let’s see, we have it here… for twelve dollars, but if it’s a collector you’re going for, we actually have the first edition available but it’s marked up to like eighty. It’s a pretty rare find.” The shopkeeper said with a nod.
Jennie grimaced over the notice, “Well, I don’t know… She hasn’t exactly been a good girl this year! Maybe she doesn’t deserve the first edition? But then again, it’s what she really wants, and it says more about me to give a poopy gift. Do you think she deserves a good gift?” Jennie asked while leaning closer to the shopkeeper.
“I don’t know who it is you’re talking about, hon.” The shopkeeper said with a look of confusion on her face.
“Oh!” Jennie tapped her phone, and held it out for the shopkeeper; the shopkeeper leaned back and blinked a few times as she laid eyes on the person that Jennie had for the Secret Santa.
“She is exquisite.” The shopkeeper said, while raising her eyebrows and nodding her head.
“Yeah, so what do you think?” Jennie answered.
“What do you think she should get?”
Jennie grumbled to herself, “Make it the first edition!” Jennie said.
After finishing the purchase, Jennie was scampering down the sidewalk to where she and Tara agreed to meet up with her hands filled with all the bags that she had gotten. Tara blinked several times while staring at Jennie, “You were supposed to get her one thing. One… thing…” Tara reiterated.
“I know, I know! But I couldn’t decide, so I got her candles, this book, and I was going to knit her a few things!” Jennie said with a smile.
“ONE! THING!” Tara said. Edward couldn’t help but giggle as he looked at his aunt carrying everything, and Jennie answered by sticking her tongue out at him; she got the same response from the eight-year-old.
“It’s fine, it’s fine. It’s Christmas!” Jennie shouted. The trio walked down New York City with all their stuff in their hands; Jennie had insisted they store it at her apartment for the time being while Tara was still looking for a more permanent residence in New York City.