“I can’t believe you conned the old man into bringing us.” Miranda said straightening her dress.
“If he can blackmail us all the time why can’t I flip the script on him?”
Miranda shot me a look. “I hate when you try to use hip language. You are not hip.”
Alice looked between us. She wore a pretty pink dress with shiny white shoes. Her curly hair was bouncing in a halo around her head. Ever since she put the dress on she’d had a permanent smile on her face. She was going to dazzle everyone with her cuteness. I looked back to Miranda. She wore a slinky black dress with faint designs that you could only see in a certain light. Her hair was swept up in an artful up do.
“You can’t tell me you two don’t love that you are dressed up right now and getting to see some big-time rock stars.” I said.
Miranda glared at me, but Alice chose that moment to put her two-sense in. “I’m so excited. Will grandpa be playing?”
“I think so.”
The limo slowed outside of a tall upscale apartment building. I watched the limo driver jump out of the car and run around to the door. I looked at Miranda whose leg was bouncing nervously. As much of a tough front she put up our father could still make her nervous. I hated that he did that to her.
“It’ll be cool.” I whispered.
She glared then pointed to me. “You’re not hip.” With a smirk she nodded to me.
The comment had the desired effect and took her mind off of the man who entered the limo. Our father was the Johnny Ray at that moment. He ducked his head to keep from hitting the spikes of his trademark mohawk on the roof. He was dressed in a t-shirt, leather pants, leather spiked cuffs and boots. Over the t-shirt he wore a leather jacket.
“Hello, kids.” He said reaching over to the limo’s mini bar.
“Not in front of Alice.” Miranda snapped.
Our father snapped his eyes to her. It looked like sadness crossed his features. He didn’t seem to recognize her. He put his hands up and slid back in the seat. The limo lurched forward. Silence weighed heavily in the air. Alice coughed, and my father finally noticed the little pink cuteness that was seated between me and my sister.
I watched as Miranda tensed. Alice smiled at him. For the first time in my life, I saw my father’s face soften as he took in Alice. He smiled back at her. I knew that little girl would be the one to charm him.
“Your hair is pointy.” She said.
My dad smiled and rubbed one of the spikes. “Yep.”
“Can I feel?” Alice leaned forward stretching her hand out.
“Alice!” Miranda pushed her back into her seat. “It’s not nice to ask that.”
I looked at my sister. She was shaking. “She can feel one if she wants.” Our father said but then revised it. “That is if you will allow her to do so.”
My sister and father stared at one another. A silent conversation with no one but them was going on in front of Alice and I. Miranda gave a weak nod.
Alice took her small hand and touched one of the spikes. “Ew. That’s weird.” She wrinkled her nose.
Her grandfather let out a light laugh. It was a laugh that the Johnny Ray would have never been caught dead doing.
In another unprecedented move, Alice unbuckled her seatbelt and moved to sit next to my father.
“Alice don-“ Miranda started.
“I’m going to sit next to grandpa, Mommy.” Alice smiled up at my father after buckling her seatbelt. “Don’t you need to buckle your seatbelt too?”
My father quickly buckled his seatbelt then turned to Alice. “All better?”
Alice nodded and took my father’s hand in hers. “Your hand feels funny.” She took his hand in her lap and felt the callouses on his hands from the years of playing guitar.
“I know. It is because I play a guitar. They make it easier to play.”
She nodded as if she understood everything he just said then she lit up. “Do you play music like Terry the T-Rex?”
He furrowed his brow. “I don’t know who that is.”
“He’s a singing and dancing cowboy dinosaur. He plays the guitar too. Mama says he plays better than you.” Alice said offhandedly.
A snort escaped me when I saw how red Miranda was becoming.
“Oh, does she now.” He looked at Miranda.
“Yeah but I don’t think he’s playing tonight so I guess you are going to have to do.” Alice sighed.
This time it wasn’t a snort that came out. I bent over laughing so hard tears were sliding down my face. Alice watched me laughing at the joke she didn’t understand.
Alice turned to my father and asked, “Can I tell you a secret?”
“Sure.” He leaned in conspiring with her.
She giggled then said, “I heard Uncle Chord tell Mommy that he was only really coming to see his favorite band.”
My father looked at me with an ‘I knew it’ look. “Did Uncle Chord say who his favorite band is?”
“Yep. He has a picture of them on his wall.”
“Does he now?” My father smirked at me.
“Yep, he loves Blue Vengeance.”
My blood froze. In that moment, you could only hear the clinking of the liquor glasses clanking against one another. Fury cast dark shadows over his face. A muscle ticked in his jaw.
“Blue Vengeance.” He growled at me. “You fucking traitor.”
“Oooo…you said a bad word. Mommy is going to have to wash your mouth out. Don’t worry, I will hold her hand when she does it.” She tapped his hand.
Right when my father would have screamed at me for loving the one band that was never to be uttered in his presence the limo door opened to flashing cameras. We’d arrived at the ceremony. My father glared at me, put on a pair of sunglasses then exited the limo.
He leaned close so only I could hear. “We will talk about your decision to betray the family.”
I pursed my lips. Good thing he didn’t know that under my tux I wore a Blue Vengeance t-shirt. Watching him walk through the throng of photographers, I exited the limo with Miranda and Alice right behind me.
Miranda was laughing. “That was great. I love when she weaponizes her cuteness.”
That sent Miranda off into another laughing fit. “Oh my god! This really has turned out to be a great night.”
“I’m so glad I can entertain you.” I grumbled.
She smacked my shoulder then took Alice’s hand as we began walking to the entrance for family. “You really are good for that, Chord.”
Sisters really were the work of the devil.