Hey, no time to chat - I'm sneaking this in before I rejoin the family scene below. I really like this chapter, I hope you do, too. Please review with comments, complaints, etc. Seriously, you guys know the drill. I gots to go. Tootles.
Disclaimer - No time to say hello, goodbye - I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!
That awkward moment when you're home alone one random afternoon, procrastinating about homework while streaming episodes of Sherlock and texting Sasha (and, yeah, Shawn...), and you answer the phone after ensuring the number does not belong to either a telemarketer or a kidnapper only to find yourself making stunted conversation with your estranged Israeli grandfather while undergoing extreme brain freeze.
Basically, it went like this:
There I was, lost in the world of bromance and mint chocolate chip (straight from the carton, baby, that's how I roll!) when the phone rings.
I said something like "Hello" or "DiNozzo residence" or possibly a garbled "H'lo" because of my mouthful of ice cream.
"Has my daughter taught you no conversational etiquette?"
And, I mean, COME ON. That's something straight out of a horror movie about, like, an unsuspecting teenage girl who becomes caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse whilst home alone one dark and stormy night.
Seriously. What kind of GRANDFATHER starts a conversation like a freaking AXE MURDERER?
So, okay. I MEEPed into the phone.
You know, a MEEP.
Like a whimper. Noise. Thing. . . Look, I'm not proud of it, okay?
Anyway, I MEEPed, and then I said, "Um. Sorry, I think you've got a wrong number . . . "
"Obviously you have inherited your FATHER'S lying skills . . . Or lack thereof," continued the accented mystery voice.
Well, excu-use me, but I was not going to let some random, obnoxious potential-serial killer go and bash mah Daddy like that! So I mustered my meanest voice, which is usually reserved solely for awkward encounters with the two juniors who make out in front of my locker every morning, and retorted:
"Yeah, and you know what else? My dad also taught me how to kick people's asses, so . . . "
I admit, I kind of trailed off lamely at the end there, but overall I thought it was pretty impressive, so I took a huge spoonful of ice cream to celebrate . . . and possibly miscalculated the precise ice cream-to-square centimeter of mouth ratio.
Basically, by the time the jerk with the accent had chuckled and said, "I see you have your mother's fierce streak," my brain had gone into meltdown mode.
Trying not to scream or, like, barf icicles, I snarled, "Okay, who the hell is this and what is freaking UP with your fixation on my genealogy? I mean, DUDE."
Only I didn't actually say FREAKING, if you know what I mean . . . I mean, I was going for intimidation. You don't censor your words whilst frightening away potential creepers.
He didn't chuckle this time, simply said, "This is your grandfather."
Well, C to the RAP.
"Um." I swallowed. "Hi, uh . . . Grandpa? Um. How- how are you? And stuff."
"I am quite well, thank you," said Grandpa Eli smoothly in the achingly familiar accent that I had always associated with gentle, long-fingered brown hands and the smell of laundry detergent and pomegranate shampoo. "And you?"
Um. Having a panic attack. Missing my Sherlock- and Shawn-time (oh, and Sasha...). My brain's rapidly turning to a glacier as I mindlessly shovel more ice cream into my agape mouth. Polar bears and penguins are taking up a happy residence.
"Good," I settled for finally, opting to avoid adding any or all of the above, as well as the fact that I missed Mom so much that my chest ached when I tried to inhale deeply.
"That is good to hear."
I absentmindedly noted that the condensation from the ice cream carton cradled between my legs was making me look as though I'd peed myself. Attractive, I know.
"Um," I continued, getting to my feet and cradling the phone between my ear and my shoulder as I wrestled the top back onto the gallon carton and headed for the kitchen, "my dad is actually at work right now but I could, like, take a message for you, if you want."
"Certainly," he agreed. "I was just calling to inform your father that nothing new has occurred. Unfortunately that is all I am permitted to tell you . . . "
"So she's, like, okay?" I reaffirmed anxiously, returning the ice cream to the freezer and rooting around in the cabinets for something else unhealthy to gorge myself on.
"But nothing new happened with the case?" I continued, starting to get a sinking feeling in my gut.
"I am afraid I can't disclose that-"
"When's she coming home?"
The question tore out of me before I could debate its practicality, and my voice sounded all weird and childlike and worried, which was gross and embarrassing, when I said it.
Grandpa Eli sighed, the noise crackling over the phone line. "Sometimes, tateleh," he said quietly, "people are forced to make sacrifices for those they love. Your mother is working in the hopes that one day you will not have to leave your family and risk your life as she does. And I understand-"
"Is that what YOU told HER?" I challenged, irritable. "When you left? Is that why you never come to visit us now? Because you're too busy being Superman or whatever?"
Don't look at me like that, Percy. So what if he's my grandpa? I've heard Daddy talk about him, and I know a jerk when I hear one. He SO had it coming to him.
Plus, I don't know, okay? I miss my mom. I miss her, and this guy was the one who took her away from me. And I had a brain freeze! Temporary insanity plea and all that, right?
"I regret," answered Grandpa Eli slowly, "many things in my life. But I will have you know that it is not I who insists on distancing a father from his only living daughter, his only granddaughter. It was a pleasure speaking with you, tateleh. I hope it will not be our last exchange. "
And then the dude hung up before I could say something snotty in return.
I ended up perching on the counter, eating these really stale, yet weirdly good chocolate-covered-craisinette thingies that were probably way expired, and possibly crying.
But just a little.
Only living daughter.
That's what he freaking said.
Only LIVING daughter.
Which, like, implies that there were, in fact, more than one to begin with.
Okay. Just had an epiphany. Right here, on the couch, eating expired chocolate craisins. Forget Sherlock, I'VE got some investigating to do . . .
On second thought, these craisins are totally not doing it for me.
I'm actually really nauseous.
Anyway, I found a news article. It's really short, since this all happened in Israel, like, forever ago, but this is the gist of it:
Killed in a roadside bombing years and years ago, when Mom was only like twenty.
And no one even freaking thought to TELL me this?
I mean, yeah, my parents treat me like babies, but . . .
But not to tell me that my own mother had a sister? Who was murdered?
Seriously, what the hell is this? Don't they trust me AT ALL?
I don't eve-
Yeah, I just threw up all over the coffee table. I guess those craisins really were expired.
Anyway, Dad's coming home early to take care of me. Until then I am very firmly going to lose myself in a Sherlock episode.
It's really late, but I can't sleep, because this room is like a million degrees and my skin is burning with goosebumps, so here I am.
Goody for you.
Anyway, I didn't tell Dad about Grandpa Eli's call. Partly because I didn't have the time to, what with all the retching that's been going down (or rather, all the STUFF that's been coming UP), but partly 'cause I know how much he hates the guy and I really don't want to make his day worse than it already is.
Did I mention I managed to puke almost entirely on his Fight Club DVD, which was lying on the coffee table, along with my Biology textbook?
Yeah, he's happy. So's my Bio teacher.
But anyway, now I think he's worried that he has yet to hear from Eli about Mom, because he's still awake. I can hear the TV from upstairs.
My muscles are really achy, considering I haven't done anything particularly exerting recently. It even hurts to write, but I can't sleep.
I wish Ima was here. Her hands were always really soft and smooth, and when I was little and I got sick she would sit up all night and sing to me and smooth my forehead with her cool hands.
I mean, if there's one I've never doubted, it's that my parents love me.
But I don't get how they could lie to me for all these years. I mean, a lie of omission. But still. I mean, what next?
Next I'm gonna find out they've been lying to me about, like, Santa being real or someth-
I just threw up again. Luckily I made it to the bathroom this time, though.
Dad held my hair back for me. His hands are bigger and warm, but they're not really so bad, and he's setting up a bed for me downstairs on the couch so I can watch movies and rest in between trips to the toilet.
Okay, he's pretty awesome.
I'll start holding grudges in the morning.
So apparently it wasn't the craisinettes after all.
Yeah, I've got influenza of the yucky, stomach variety. My friendly neighborhood pediatrician has spoken.
Life sucks. I have thrown up every bit of mint chocolate chip ice cream I devoured last night, as well as what feels like several of my larger intestines.
I haven't told Dad about Grandpa. I mean, he lied to me about (Aunt?) Tali. It's only fair.
Or whatever. I'm taking a nap.
Grandpa Eli called again.
Dad talked to him. Mom's still fine, Eli's still refusing to elaborate, and there was no mention of my conversation with him.
Dad took the day off. We watched some movies and he made me toast and soup for lunch. (Both of which I have since vomited up, but it's the thought that counts, right?)
I think he feels guilty for not, like, taking better care of me or something, but that's really stupid. I got my flu shot and everything, and if I allowed some runny-nosed sicko to breathe his germs on me by mistake, then so be it.
I told him so, but he kinda just made some noncommittal jokes about trivial things and changed the subject.
Don't pretend to sympathize - I'm fairly certain you're male as well.
You are, right?
Ooh, Shawn just texted me! G2G!
Oh, wait, just kidding . . . It's only a forward. :(
Well, I'm gonna go sleep some more, and hopefully not puke.
Wellz? Let me know, okay? Thanks to all my reviewers. Luffe chu. :)