The house was deadly quiet. At least it seemed like
no one was home to harass Ellen in her current state
of comatose grief. She struggled up the steps to her
room, totally exhausted even though it was only one
in the afternoon. Ellen thought about calling Melisha;
maybe Melisha could confirm that Jack was lying. Maybe
Melisha could set this whole thing straight. Maybe,
Just as the tears start falling again, Ellen heard a blood-freezing
ñELLEN GET DOWN HERE NOW!î
æShit, Ellen thought. By the sound of her dadÍs psycho
voice, youÍd think that Ellen had demolished his new hand-held DVD player.
Ellen was scared"this was beyond bizarro. She couldnÍt ever remember hearing
her dad sound so mad.
ñI SAID NOOOOWWWW!î
Ellen turned around and went back down the steps, propelled by
the fear of Ed. She walked into the kitchen, where Heather was waiting. EllenÍs
father was pacing at a painfully slow pace"Ellen imagined blood-colored smoke
seeping out of his ears and nose. Meanwhile, Heather was slumped over the
kitchen table, crying.
ñWho died?î Ellen used sarcasm, which was clearly a bad choice.
She looked at her mother. Heather was holding EllenÍs diary. Shit, shit,
ñEllen, go get your red backpack,î her dad demanded.
Ellen hesitated. ñNo.î
ñGODDAMMIT, I said get it, and bring it down here now.î
Ellen trudged back up the stairs, her heart beating, beating,
beating. She grabbed the backpack and thought about stashing its contents.
But her dad surprised her"he was right behind her standing in her doorway.
She hoped Heather would help her out with this one. But she was still down
in the kitchen.
ñGive it to me!î He took it and went down to the kitchen table.
Ellen walked into the room just as he was unzipping her now-infamous bag.
He lifted out the purple teddy and K-Y Jelly. He threw the items on the table,
said, ñYOUÍRE GROUNDED!î Then he left the room. Ellen heard her dad speed
away from the house in his Del Sol. She was immediately relieved that her
dad was gone. She thought her mom would be more reasonable.
But as Heather cried more, any sort of sympathy from her seemed
further and further away. Through her tears, Heather looked Ellen straight
in the eyes"with a beady, ballistic expression. ñEllen, you were not brought
up this way. I didnÍt raise a small-town slut.î
ñWhat did you say to me?î Ellen was outraged that her mom didnÍt
want to talk this out"and that her mom didnÍt even attempt to understand.
ñI know you heard me.î
It took Ellen a second to figure out what was going on. She kept
thinking about all the times Heather had told her to write in her journal.
She just wanted to read it, Ellen thought. Now Ellen wished she take
those words and stuff them down her motherÍs throat.
ñI am so pissed that youÍd read my diary. Pissed!
YouÍre the one who told me to write in it. What is this? A Fascist family?î
Ellen was roaring angry"and she was losing it.
ñDonÍt you even think about turning this around. I donÍt want
to hear it. And if you use that tone with me"î Heather looked like she might
combust. ñYou are a little"î
ñOh, come on, Mom. Come on!î Ellen said, finally backing"and
breaking"down. ñI swear, this is not what you think.î With that, Ellen started
balling. This situation was way more serious than she could handle"especially
after being so brutally dumped.
Heather wasnÍt listening or even paying attention to the hurt
her daughter was feeling. She just said, ñWe have more to worry about than
your sex plans. WhatÍs all this crap about your sister, Ellen? You
obviously have low self-esteem, but why do you want to...how did you put it?
I think you wrote, ïIÍd like to pull EveÍs fake fingernails out one by one.
Slow and painful is the only way to torment Eve.Íî Heather cried. ñAnd what
about the mean things you wrote about me? What about your dad? Do you hate
us that much too? Do you know how it makes me feel to hear you make fun of
my yoga tapes or your dadÍs car?î
ñMom, Mom, I"î
ñYou know what? I canÍt even look at you right now. Go to your
room"if youÍre smart, you wonÍt come out.î