Hello all! Here is our submission to Kristen Yard's Bickering Blogfest! Some background information: Emma, Faye's mother, is deathly afraid of everything for her daughter but a big one is losing Faye. Faye and Emma's relationship is tested after Faye makes a big announcement about her possible future. Hope you all enjoy! <3 Kris! (picture is from http://temporaryinsanitybykym.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/bickering.jpg )
Emma was racking up customers, and Faye wordlessly stepped around the counter to help. Her mother smiled gratefully, working the register as Faye bagged the various books, occasional c.d.’s, and t-shirts. They smiled as they worked, exchanging pleasantries as customers thanked them. When the last shopper had left the store, her mother sighed dramatically and collapsed on the counter, mumbling something into her crossed arms.
“I’m sorry, what was that?” Faye smiled at her mother’s antics.
Emma looked up at her with tired eyes that still held a glint of humor. Faye looked down into the face that so perfectly resembled her own, right down to the sharp cheekbones and button nose. The only real difference between them was that Emma’s eyes were honey brown. “I said, can we please close early?” She laughed a little at her own joke, but Faye could tell she was still partly serious.
“You know, it is your store… You don’t have to stay open.” Emma’s eyes glinted mischievously, a sure sign she was contemplating it, especially now that she had gotten approval from her daughter. Emma had always seemed to rely on Faye to be the decision maker, to be the one who kept their family going. Emma needed her, and that was going to make this even harder. She took a deep breath. Best to do it now, while she’s in a good mood, she thought. She inhaled again, sharply, and held it for a moment. Emma noticed and raised an eyebrow, but did not speak. Faye let out the air in a nervous laugh. “I have good news,” she said shakily, knowing full well that her mother would disagree. “I got into all the schools I applied to. And you already know that a couple of months ago I qualified for that honor student’s scholarship… so now all I really have to worry about is which school to choose.” She looked up from the counter, where she had been stacking books to avoid her mother’s gaze. She met Emma’s eyes, and immediately wished that she hadn’t. She saw everything there that she had expected: annoyance mixed with jealous anger, with worry circling the edges. But what she hadn’t anticipated was the raw fear that was stark and vibrant in her mother’s every feature. Pure, uncompromising fear.
What Faye was unprepared for was her own reaction to it. She had always taken care of Emma, and hadn’t ever minded before. On a normal day she would have soothed Emma, preternaturally accustomed to the way they contradicted their normal roles as mother and daughter, but today she was just livid - how could her mother be so selfish? How could she make something Faye had always wanted feel like something she should have guilt over? As the anger was building up inside Faye, Emma was regaining control over her emotions, hiding behind a carefully composed blank mask.
“I thought that you had only applied to the local community college.” Emma’s voice was quiet and even, but Faye sensed the thread of frustration straining to break free. She couldn’t tell whether it was meant to be a question or a statement of fact. Either way, Faye was sure that she didn’t want to address it.
“Mom, can’t you just congratulate me? It’s kind of a big deal to me.” She was sure to keep her growing temper in check. Inside, she tried to calm herself, but it wasn’t working. That question just kept repeating itself, bouncing around inside her skull and clanging like a bell set off at the wrong time. How could her mother be so selfish?
Emma’s eyes remained cold, and the bells in Faye’s head got louder. After a long moment, Emma dropped her gaze and turned away from her daughter, calling back a weak congratulations over her shoulder as she walked through the store, cleaning it up as she went.
Faye’s vision turned red and her thoughts were just muddled sounds of rage and expletives. For a moment, she didn’t actually breathe - just stood there trying to calm down. She tried to find the words for her mother, but nothing coherent would come out, and Emma was clear across the store by then, without even a backward glance at her daughter. Finally Faye just backed up, grabbing her bag and slinging it over her shoulder as she rushed away. The familiar smell of books clung to her, but it didn’t comfort her like it normally would have. Instead, she just kept repeating the scene in her head - right up until the moment where their relationship had shattered completely. Faye’s world was in tatters…and she was fuming over it.
But what she couldn’t know was that after she left, Emma curled herself up in a ball beneath the counter, crying hysterically.