"You can't tell a soul, okay?" Nana tucked a messy curl behind one ear and grinned impishly. "It's our little secret."
Inside, I banged my head against the wall. Those words undo me, and not for the reason that you might think. "Don't tell anyone." "It's a secret." "I'm not supposed to tell anyone this, but..." Could we just eliminate those simple phrases from the human vocabulary? It sure would solve a few of my problems.
She cocked her head at me, waiting for an answer. I nervously glance at our surroundings. Couldn't she have found a better place to tell me this besides the girl's lavatory? We weren't exactly hidden, standing by the long line of sinks, and moreover, the erratic overhead lights were giving me a headache. "F-fine," I gulped out. Already, the back of my neck tingled like a bunch of fire ants were throwing a party up there. My palms also burned as I rubbed them up and down the thighs of my jeans, wiping away my anxious sweat.
Her straight teeth glistened as she open-mouth laughed in her silent way. "Oh, come on, Felyn. You don't have to look so freaked out. My family is just adding another mouth to feed is all."
I shoot her a sharp glare. Nana had no mute button in situations like this. "Having more than the allotted amount of offspring was declared illegal before we were born, Nana," I stated, crossing my arms. If I'd had glasses, I'd have pushed them up on the bridge of my nose like a know-it-all. "It's also punishable by relocation and disassociation."
I'll let you figure out what those 10-dollar words mean. I sure as heck don't know.
"You're just quoting the Manual," she said with a chuckle. "No one follows that any more."
She ignored me, like usual. After fiddling with her way-too-fancy-for-school skirt, she pulled herself onto the counter. "Come on, Felyn. The Jonhas' have two kids, and no one has kidnapped them or wiped their memories yet."
"That's because Mr. Jonhas is a civil servant." Sweat dripped down my neck, stinging all the way.
"I hadn't thought about that..." She pouted. "But that's just more proof of how twisted our stupid government is. Civil servants are such wastes of space--"
I smacked a hand over her prone-to-leak mouth. Seriously, this girl had no filter! Who knew who was standing outside the door, or if some creep (or government official) had bugged the lavatory? Nana didn't need her and her family's political views being broadcasted straight to the Oblige House.
Yes, my friends and her family were secretly members of the largest underground rebellion known to mankind, the Maccabeans. Yes, I'd known this since we were in middle school and I found crumpled propaganda posters hidden under Nana's bed. And yes, I broke into a cold and itchy sweat every time I thought about it.
She knocked my hand aside and glared at me. "What was that for?"
I sighed. Sometimes, Nana could be so stupid that it turned my stomach.
"Just be careful, okay?"
She gave me a look that this time said she thought I'd completely lost it. "Ooookay..." Then, without warning, her eyes widened and she yelped. "Oh my gosh! Felyn! Your neck!"
Blast it all. I adjusted my scarf and batted her prying fingers away. "It's nothing."
"Nothing? It looks like you've been attacked by a tribe of digger bees."
Hurts like it, too. "I'm fine, Nana," I protested, but she'd already grabbed me by the elbow and was dragging me like a sack of potatoes behind her. "Come on, you silly goose," she said over her shoulder. "You need to see a nurse."
Over the years that I've known and been close with Nana, I've learned three things about her.
First, that she's as stubborn as heck. Secondly, that she's stronger than your average five-foot tall girl.
And last but not least, that she has way too many secrets.
to be continued...