“YOU LIKE GABE!!!” Shouted Beast as soon as she caught sight of him lounging on the floor of their apartment with a book in his hand. He glared at her as he sat up and dog-eared a corner of the book.
“Why don’t you announce it to the world?” he snapped at her getting up and turning away from her towards the kitchen where he disappeared behind the cabinets.
Beast looked at Beth in surprise. ‘What’s up with him?’ she gestured, tilting her head towards him and scrunching eyebrows down.
‘He’s mad,’ Beth signaled back with an upward lift of her eyebrows and a tight half smile that lacked any humor.
‘Obviously,’ replied Beast with a roll of her eyes.
“Sorry, Theo,” Beast said aloud. She dropped the black bag that had been slung over her shoulder since she burst loudly through the door. She felt a twinge of regret somewhere around her lungs where she quickly squashed it. What’s done is done, try to make the best of it. “I’m just excited that you like someone,” she said in a much more subdued tone.
Theo appeared around the corner of the kitchen with a glass of what looked like the cheap whisky they kept in the fridge. The brown liquid didn’t slosh but smoothly slid around the glass when Theo brought the glass to his lips to take a large gulp. He exhaled harshly through his mouth after swallowing down half the amber liquid. “I’m not. I don’t know the man, I just find him stupidly cute and it’s distracting.” He huffed and stalked back to the edge of the coffee table where he had placed his book, Return.
“I’m sorry?” asked Beast. “I mean, it’s not ideal, but it’s been almost two years since Jack,” she kept her tone more subdued than her usual blunt manner. I can’t just slam him with the truth like usual, I gotta talk nicer. “I’m just glad that you’re showing some interest in romance again. Even if it’s just a passing interest in someone, at least you aren’t moping in the past anymore.” Beth is so much better at the subtle tactful stuff.
“I don’t want to ‘show interest’ in anyone now. I don’t want to like someone again, especially when it’s obvious that I’m not gonna get anywhere,” growled Theo still standing, his book clutched in his hand.
“You can’t just run from liking anyone,” replied Beast, trying to keep her tone reasonable and not snapping. “We both love you like a brother, but you can’t spend the best part of your life being a hermit with the two of us.” How do I express this? Shit, I’ve never been good at this. Beth! Help!!!
Theo just stared at her, his eyes narrowed and mouth pursed. He sighed then looked down at his book, starting to bend in his white-knuckle grip. “I know you mean well, but drop it, please, Beast.” He took another swig of the alcohol draining it. “I’m going to bed, I have an essay due tomorrow.” He turned away from Beast, still standing by the door with her leather jacket and shoes on, and Beth, perched on her book-stool painting a mermaid. He placed the glass on the edge of kitchen counter and shut his bedroom door solidly behind him.
Beth looked up from her painting where she had been trying to crouch out of the conflict. Beast deflated, no longer running on the excitement about Theo’s potential love interest. “I didn’t mean to get him that upset,” she said, tugging off her jacket and hanging it on the hook by the door. She dropped herself heavily onto the floor next to Beth and began unlacing the steel-toed combat boots.
“You lack tact,” said Beth, looking over at her pouting sister. “I told you not to make a big deal about it.”Beast looked over at her sister, “Yah, but I just get so excited. He can be so dense sometimes.” Time to change the subject. She placed both her boots under the table and dragged her black bag towards her and began rifling through it. She pulled out a small notebook with a dragon on the front. “I may have found another client for you.” She flipped open her notebook and began flipping pages until she reached the one she wanted. “This guy, Toni, saw your mermaid in a bottle, you know, the one we have behind the bar? He asked where he could get something like that. Here’s his contact info if you want to commission another one.”