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Chapter 99 Ninety-eight

  • Dinner is a painful affair until Pa arrives. The atmosphere changes, I hold my breath when he pulls out a seat and share a worried glance with Brandon whose discomfort is palpable. Only Ma seems to find the situation funny. Why won’t she when she’s sitting between me and my husband, asking questions about a trip she knows he never went on. My foot drum into the floor, I stir the food in my plate without tasting it.
  • Behind Ma’s polite smiles directed at Brandon, false interest in every answer he gives to her question is simmering anger. And I am partly to blame for it. If I did not break down, he would have still been in her good books. Casting him another furtive glance, my nails dig into my hips when his eyes remain glued to his plate like he has resigned to his fate.
  • Defeat doesn’t become him, it breaks my heart to see him this way and I clear my throat to interrupt Ma’s next question. Her head snaps to me, I maintain eye contact and she scoffs. Enough. After dicing his chicken, Brandon swaps our plates with a wink that has my heart stilling. I offer him a smile he reciprocates and my heart resumes its duty.
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