“Did you pack your sunblock with you?” I asked as I parked the car in front of the terminal. He probably did, but I had to double check. When we took our vacation to Costa Rica last year, he caught the most awful sunburn I had ever seen. I promised myself that I would never let it happen again.
“Don’t worry about us,” my dad said, heading out of the car to carry their luggage out of the trunk. “We’re going to be just fine.”
I knew that they were, but it never hurt to double check. My dad and my new stepmom Susan were on their way to their honeymoon in Cabo. They would enjoy three weeks of lounging in the shade while I would be stuck babysitting my twin sister.
When my father first broke the news of his engagement, I couldn’t help but be shocked. It was only four years after my mom had died, and he and Susan had only been dating for nine months. I still woke up forgetting that my mom was gone, so for him to move on so quickly was unfathomable to me. But instead of voicing my concerns, I plastered a smile on my face, and spent the whole day preparing for their engagement party. It wasn’t until after everyone left that I cried into my best friend Darcy’s lap.
Lily was less discreet than I was in showing her disapproval. She decided to hang out with her friends at the movies instead of attending the party. I didn’t mind much, she wouldn’t have helped anyway. But I couldn’t help but feel bad for Dad. I could spot the disappointment in his eyes when he unsuccessfully scanned the room for her.
But that was Lily, and I didn’t expect anything less.
I hopped out of the car, hurrying to help them with their bags.
“Are you girls going to be ok?” Susan asked, as she hoisted the last bag out of the car. “If you ever need anything you can always call us.” A pang sounded in my chest at the use of that word. Us.
I knew that it was immature to feel that way, but part of me always felt disdain for when she would act like she was my mom. While Susan was nice, but no one could replace my mom, and seeing her here, with my dad, felt like she was trying her hardest to just that. But I hadn’t seen my dad this happy in years, so I nodded my head and said, “We’ll be okay.”
My dad approached me from behind, wrapping me in his signature bear hug. “You take care of your sister while we’re gone okay?” I murmured in agreement.
A loud noise sounded from the car as Lily reached over and honked the horn, interrupting the moment. “Hurry up or I’m going to be late!”
I rolled my eyes. Typical Lily.
I exchanged my final goodbyes and I gave each of them tight hugs before watching them enter the airport. My dad truly did deserve a break after the last couple of years, and I was happy that he could take the trip with someone who genuinely made him happy.
I entered back into the car to hear the music playing way too loudly. Instinctually, I reached for the knob on the dashboard, lowering the volume. Lily always had the bad habit of blasting her music. Her taste constantly changed, and she was currently in the middle of an indie-rock phase.
“You couldn’t even bother to say goodbye?” I said, driving out of the terminal. The airport was an hour and a half away from our house, even longer if we caught traffic. I did not want to be stuck in the car with her any more than I needed to. She rested her feet on the dashboard, despite the many times that I told her not to. “Relax Ivy, they’re not going off to war.” She always seemed to have a quick remark.
“They’re going to be gone for three weeks, a goodbye hug wouldn’t have killed you.”
“I already said goodbye to Dad before we left.” She put extra emphasis on the word dad.
I snuck a peek at her, trying to gauge her expression. Lily wasn’t Susan’s biggest fan, and she wasn’t too keen on hiding it. Whenever she spoke about her, her eyebrows would scrunch together ever-so-slightly. If you weren’t looking for it, you would miss it. It didn’t seem like dad had picked up on it yet. I wanted to talk to her about it, but I decided against it. Those conversations never ended well between us.
“We need to establish some ground rules while they’re gone.” I said, swatting her legs onto the floor. “You can’t just do whatever you want.”
I looked over at her to see her staring intensely at her phone. “You worry too much.”
I wanted to say that she didn’t worry enough, but I decided against it. She quickly glanced at me. “Whatever I do, I promise Dad won’t find out.”
This was always how Lily operated. She had a certain fascination with bending the rules just past the boundaries of where they could go. My mom used to call the two of us the Mischief Twins because we were always getting ourselves into some sort of trouble. I seemed to grow out of it, but not Lily. The fun for her was always in the danger of getting caught.
“I’m serious Lily, the rules are exactly the same as if Dad were here.” I ensured him that I would keep an eye on her, and I had no intention of breaking that promise. She waved me off. “I’ll see what I can do.”
I knew better than to push her any further. It was a miracle if Lily even made a compromise at all.
“At least change this god-awful music.” I reached my hand towards the controls, but she swatted it away, dealing with the dashboard herself.
She searched through the radio channels, which for Lily was always a laborious task. She would never be able to settle on one, claiming that the best one could be right around the corner. Today, however, she found a station much quicker than usual. A smile sprung on my lips as I recognized the song playing.