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08 February 2016 @ 11:49 pm
mother-daughter drama  
I should be asleep right now. wtf.

“Kaitlynn Marie Winston, in god’s name—what have you done to your face?”

Kaitlynn dropped her backpack on the floor by the front door and gazed despairingly up at the dry-erase calendar that hung above it. Their parents weren’t supposed to be home until tomorrow.

In an instant her mother was in front of her, grabbing her by her chin and forcing her face from side to side as she inspected the purple bruise covering the length of her right cheekbone. A group of kids were starting up again with their suicide jokes at Adam’s expense, so she had taken it upon herself to remind them why they had stopped the first time. One of the kids had gotten in a lucky swing, but Sky had stepped in. “Nothing,” Kaitlynn replied, pulling her face away.

“Are you picking fights again?” ‘Again’ came out of her mother’s mouth as more of an exasperated sigh.

Kaitlynn frowned. “Why do you always assume that I start them?” Her mother merely arched a brow in response. Kaitlynn shook her head. "Never mind. Don't worry about.”

"Oh, these look terrible. You should have said something, we could have gotten you new ones." Maria frowned and shook her head softly at Kaitlynn's pointe shoes. They looked sad and worn. When Maria tried to grab for them, Kaitlynn hugged them to her chest.

"Are you kidding? They're wonderful. I think I've finally broken them in!" It'd been a painful couple of months, but she didn't feel like dying whenever she put them on. Maria didn't look convinced. "Come on, mom. They're fine."

Maria made a face. "They look ratty. They need to go." The look on her mother's gave told her that that was final. Kaitlynn groaned at the thought of having to break in a new pair and decided then that she would just keep using the old ones until they completely fell apart. It's not like her mother would notice anyway.

When Maria walked into the dining room, Sky, Adam, and Kaitlynn were spread out at various spots around the table. Kaitlynn was attempting to study between random bursts of victory from Adam who was hunched over some portable gaming device Maria couldn’t remember the name of. Sky--did he ever go home?--was hovering over Adam’s shoulder, a slice of pizza hanging precariously in his grasp. “Pizza for a third time this week?” Maria questioned disapprovingly. Sky replied by peeling a pepperoni off the top of his slice and popping it in his mouth with a delighted noise. Her gaze shifted to Kaitlynn just as the girl reached over for her own slice. “Do you really think that’s the best idea, sweetheart?” Kaitlynn paused, glancing up at her and then at the boys in confusion.

“Uh, yeah?” Kaitlynn replied slowly. “Why not?”

Maria shrugged and busied herself with whatever she had come into the room for. Coffee from the looks of it. “I would just hate for you to outgrow your leotards again,” she commented. Kaitlynn furrowed her eyebrows. It's not like they were expensive. What did it matter? Sky took another bite of his pizza awkwardly as Adam glanced quickly between Kaitlynn and his mother before glancing back down at his game, opting to not get involved.

Kaitlynn scowled, suddenly understanding. “We replaced them last year, because I grew three inches. I think I will be fine.”

“For now.”

“You know what—“Adam cleared his throat, effectively cutting Kaitlynn off from whatever she was about to say, and Maria shot her a look over her shoulder as if daring her to continue. Kaitlynn ran her tongue along her bottom teeth in irritation and stood up, tossing the pizza back into the box with a huff. “Fine. Whatever.” She shoved her chair back in and stormed out of the room, Sky at her heels.

Adam let out a sigh, closed up the pizza box, and started gathering the abandoned plates. "Give her a break, would you?”

         Kaitlynn tried not to roll her eyes when her mother walked into her room. Instead, she kept her eyes fixed on the book in front of her, electing not to acknowledge her presence.
         “Your ballet instructor called me this morning. She asked how you were doing--if you were alright.” There was a tension in her voice that brought Kaitlynn back to the last time she had skipped classes. She was seven, her parents were out of the country, and she had expressed to her uncle how much dancing made her miserable--she didn’t want to do it anymore. When he told her mother that he had pulled her out of classes, they fought for hours about it. Kaitlynn was back in class by the end of the week, and Dmitri wasn’t allowed in the house for at least a year after that.
         “That was sweet of her. You can tell her that I am fine.” My best friend was murdered three months ago, but you carry on, you see. That’s what you do in this family. You pretend like nothing is bothering you. You certainly don’t concern yourself with your children.
         “She tells me you haven’t been back since the holidays.”
         “Oh, did you not get my email?” Kaitlynn questioned innocently, glancing at her mother over the top of her book. Maria did not look amused. Kaitlynn let out a soft sigh and set the book down on the bed beside her and sat up, legs crossed in front of her. She shrugged casually. “I quit.”
      Maria crossed her arms over her chest. “No. You didn’t.”
         Kaitlynn looked up at her ceiling as if thinking. “Hm, no. I’m pretty sure I did.”
Anger flashed in her eyes, and Kaitlynn could see where her temper had come from. Her eyes and her temper. The only things she ever inherited from her mother. “I will tell Mrs. Bellrose that you will be back to class after school on Monday.” She watched as Kaitlynn stood up and walked over toward her desk to check her calendar.
         “No can do. I have track practice on Monday.”
         “That was not a suggestion, Kaitlynn.”
         Kaitlynn turned to face Maria and shook her head. She was not going to cave this time. They had had this conversation numerous times and she always cracked. It had always been easier to just give in. “I’m not going back.”
         “Yes, you are.”
         Not this time. “No, I’m not.”
         Maria let out a huff and threw up her arms. “Why must you always be so difficult?”
         Kaitlynn stared at her in disbelief. “Why am I suddenly so difficult every time I have a different opinion than you? Why do you just assume I’m being oppositional for the hell of it?” Which, admittedly, in the last couple of years, she had started to be. If her mother was going to accuse her of being a brat, well then, by god, she was going to give her a good reason.
         “You love ballet!” Maria protested.
         “Loved,” Kaitlynn corrected. She threw open her desk drawer, pulled out her pointe shoes, and slammed the drawer shut again. There was a time where she’d enjoyed it—looked forward to it. “Past tense. I loved ballet. But like with everything else, you ruined it.” She just couldn't remember when that was anymore.
         “Don’t you think you’re being a bit dramatic?” Maria retorted, her hands on her hips.
             Kaitlynn scoffed. “I’m being dramatic? I’m being dramatic?” She lowered her voice mockingly and crossed her arms over her chest. The look on her face was snotty at best. “Kaitlynn, stand up straight. Kaitlynn, I’d hate for all those classes to go to waste. Kaitlynn, your leotards don’t fit right anymore. Kaitlynn, don’t eat that pizza. I sure do hope you don’t gain any weight. Kaitlynn, your bun is too messy. Kaitlynn, I hope you’re keeping up your cardio. Your silhouette doesn’t look right.” She shook the shoes at her mother in irritation. “What does that even mean?! Kaitlynn, why don’t you try a little harder. You could be so great if you tried harder. No dance company will ever hire you with posture like that. I sure hope that broken nose doesn’t ruin that beautiful face of yours. I’m being dramatic!” She braced one of the shoes in both hands and bent it until the sole gave a satisfying crack before chucking them down at her mother’s feet. “You pick and you pick and you pick until there’s nothing left to pick at and then you manage to find something else to pick at! But you’re right, I’m always so dramatic!
              If you think without ballet you won’t have some unrealistic standard to compare me to—don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll find something.”
              They stared at each other in silence for a few minutes, Kaitlynn huffing angrily and her mother completely stone-faced. With her lips pinched tightly together in a thin line, Maria knelt down and picked up the shoes. The sole of the right one was snapped completely in half. They were ruined.
                Kaitlynn sucked in a deep breath and lowered her shoulders. “I’m done.”

Eighteen (masquerade)
“Stand up straight, Kaitlynn.” Kaitlynn felt the jab of a heel of someone’s palm in the space between her shoulder blades. The gesture startled her upright, but she considered slouching more dramatically purely out of spite. Choice words heavy on her tongue, she turned to find her mother beside her. “I’d hate for all of those dance classes to have gone to waste with your terrible posture,” her mother continued. Kaitlynn struggled to swallow her irritation.

Her mother stood beside her, staring out into the crowd that was forming, looking significantly more put together than Kaitlynn could ever imagine being. It took a lot of time and effort to look like Maria Winston, and Kaitlynn found that to be stunningly boring and a complete waste of her time. She wondered if it was even possible. She looked nothing like her mother except for their eyes anyway. Maria’s blonde hair was smooth and straight and usually pinned back, not a single hair out of place. Kaitlynn’s honey brown hair fell in waves that she could only be bothered to tame into a braid half the time. Maria had given up several years ago trying to convince Kaitlynn to do something about her bangs—it was a losing battle. Maria’s makeup was elegant and perfect, while Kaitlynn’s was virtually unnoticeable, bare minimum of foundation and mascara. She had tried to go without it entirely, but Seanna was not having it. Kaitlynn’s dress was a soft shade of lavender with a fitted top and enough tulle under the skirt to make it stick out a bit. Seanna had appreciated the ballet vibe it had and insisted Kaitlynn looked beautiful in it.

“That color isn’t good for your skin tone,” her mother had commented. The dress her mother had chosen looked too similar to the one Maria was currently wearing for Kaitlynn to even fathom. Maria’s dress was tea length and burgundy, with a vibrant, red ribbon around the waist. Of course, her mother looked wonderful. She knew she looked fine, but it was hard to think so standing next to her mother.

“Did you brush your hair today?” Her mother questioned with a hint of discontent in her voice.

Oh, there it was. That compulsion to break something that knotted in Kaitlynn’s stomach whenever her mother found something to critique. She had so missed this when her mother was away. And she only had 72 hours until she could properly miss it again.

“My hair looks fine,” Kaitlynn replied swatting at her mother’s hand as it came dangerously close to her bangs.

Maria pulled back her hand unperturbed. “Do try not to embarrass your father and me tonight.” Kaitlynn probably would have been more offended if her and Sky hadn’t spiked the punch the last time they’d had a party like this. She didn’t know what her mother was so upset about—her guests had had such a grand old time.

Perhaps the punishment would have been more effective had her parents stuck around for more than 24 hours into it.

Kaitlynn forced on an expression of stunned innocence. “Of course, mother. I would not dream of it.”

“Would it kill you to try a little harder to look nice? This dinner is very important to us.”
“I mean, probably,” Kaitlynn muttered sourly.