[continued from Boyfriend Trouble]
Lana finished the last load of laundry just before one o’clock in the morning. She had every item folded or ready to hang (her mother’s work clothes already on hangers) and decided to call it a night. Her plan was to rise early enough to sort all the wash and place her clothing back into her drawers and closet before going to sit for the Kmetko girls.
Her surprise was finding her mother, who usually slept in on Saturday morning, already up and about at seven a.m. when she padded down to the laundry room. Her second surprise was to find her father’s old military duffel bag in the laundry room. It was empty.
“Hi Mom, what gets you up this early?” Lana cheerfully greeted her parent and reached for the carafe of coffee in the brewer.
“There were three things that needed emptying, dear one, my bladder, my head and this laundry room.” Her mother did not sound upset. Instead, she continued to fill her late husband’s duffel bag with her youngest child’s freshly laundered clothing.
“Mom, I got up early to finish this and put things away, thank you for helping, however...”
She was cut off by her mother. “However, I gave you the instructions to have the laundry room emptied last night. However, I rose this morning to find you had once again modified instructions to suit your own purposes and you went to bed leaving the job almost but not quite finished. Therefore, I have packed all of your clothing in daddy’s duffel bag and I will return them to you when I see more of an effort on your part to improve.” Carla Finn shouldered the bag with her youngest daughter’s clothing in it and went to the locking closet that hid the hot water heater and HVAC unit. After locking the duffel in the closet, she turned to her stunned daughter and calmly told her, “Effort and improvement will earn you clothing. It would seem you want to go to Gramma’s party as you are now, so that wish is granted. Prom is coming up as are all of the graduation parties and the end of the year class trip. It is up to you how you attend.”
Kayla stomped down the stairs about then. Clad only in panties, she was stretching out the cramps of her period and sleep, “I smell coffee. Did some earth goddess in this house make a pot of coffee already? Oh, thank you benevolent deity.”
The clang of cup on rim of carafe followed and a sigh that indicated the ingestion of caffeine had successfully begun. “What’s going on between you two?” The older sister asked of her mother and younger sibling.
“Lana has extended her punishment period for failing to complete the assigned task in the time she was told to finish.” Carla told Kayla.
“Uh, Mom, maybe due to the time we spent sorting out the legal stuff with the JPO you could…”
Her mother cut her off. “Extend the time, and give her some slack? No, Kayla, just as your CU rules clearly state for your class assignments the time limit and due date are final. Penalties must be imposed for failing to abide by the due date.” Carla was not angry, there was no need. She had determined that she would apply the new rules completely but fairly, so it came as no surprise to Kayla when she added, “You know the conversation we had when Lana first went under discipline. I told you and you agreed that until you finish sophomore year at CU while living home both JPO and CU rules apply to you as well. I understand you wishing to defend your sister, but arguing with me, if you do it again, will have consequences.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Kayla replied. “I have that summer job interview on Monday; I just wanted to remind you both that I’ll have the Pontiac over at the country club from early in the morning to later in the afternoon. I can drop Lana off at school on the way if that will help you, Mom.”
“Let’s call that a plan for now and we’ll talk about it after Gram’s party tomorrow. If that falls through we have a summer clerk job open at the real estate office. It might not pay as well as the club job, but it is still open.” Carla Finn subtly pushed for this. Kayla wanted to work outdoors and the country club job was grounds keeping for the golf course. Carla feared the college age boys, both workers and sons of club members, would hit on her and coerce her into acts she might otherwise not entertain. Kayla, who had lost her virginity shortly after pledging EXPOSD, was hoping for just that type encounter, a nice summer romance with no fall strings attached. If she took the job in her mother’s office, well let us just say the prospect of a happy summer diminished greatly. She saw the light at the end of that tunnel very well.
Lana worked the next three hours, towels placed in all the linen closets and neatly stacked, her mother’s clothing hung in the correct closets and folded in the correct drawers, Kayla had a few things from college on her bed. Kayla liked to put her own things away. Lana stripped the bed linens in all three bedrooms remade the beds with fresh sheets and pillowcases and started the laundry for soiled linen.
“Is it okay if I go sun by the pool while the wash cycle runs through?” Lana asked her mother.
“Okay, but pay attention to the timing,” her mother responded, then added, “Todd is on his way over. He says he has something important to show you.”
The hinges on the gate leading to the fenced in pool squeaked then slammed shut.
Looking up from her lounger pillow, she was on her tummy sunning her back, Lana grinned at her boyfriend. “Hey, move over you are blocking my sun,” she teased. The look on his face was not an amused one.
“What the heck is this,” Todd was controlling his anger, barely, “It is all over YouTube, something like fifty thousand hits so far.”
“HUH?” Lana rubbed her eyes and added, “WHAT?”
The blackberry screen came to life and Lana watched the security tape from the supermarket. Titled, ‘Naked Girl Gives Clerk A Tip,’ it clearly showed Lana leaning over the conveyor belt and kissing Bruce.
“Uh, oh yeah, Kayla and I went shopping last night and…” she could not finish.
Todd bellowed, “You planted one on that guy and you are naked. You haven’t even kissed me since you’ve been stripped in discipline and you kiss that geek?” Todd paced about the lounge chairs and then said, “I think, no I know, we are SO OVER!”
He stormed out. Lana got up from the chair, tears in her eyes and wandered into the house. The buzzer to the washing machine sounded. She dumped the bed linens into the drier and hoped the tears she blotted on the sheet would not stain as they dried.
Her mother stopped to say she was leaving to show a house and saw the younger of her daughters sobbing. “Honey, what is wrong?”
“Somebody put the security tape from last night on YouTube, Todd saw it and was so mad about it he broke up with me.” Lana blubbered.
Platitudes and conciliatory words would not soothe her daughter. Carla hated to leave with Lana in that frame of mind but her clients were waiting. “Kayla, come down here and help your sister, please.” The mom summoned the older girl from her room.
It took three pints of Ben and Jerry’s and two hours but by the time the sisters put the dried linens away and cleaned the house Lana was smiling. “So, this breakup was coming, huh, how did I not see it?”
“Sis, you will be a senior in high school. Todd is going away to college. My guess is his plan was to pick a fight sometime in July so he’d be free to leave for CU without a girl back home. So it just happened earlier over something that you could not control. Really, if he would not stand with you during this he wasn’t worth the tears you cried,” Kayla comforted.
“Yeah, I think what pisses me off is now I have no one to escort me to prom or the class trip, Todd was there like an umbrella, you could count on him when you needed him. Maybe I was using him a bit more than I was in love or cared for him.” Lana shrugged and opened the last container of Cherry Garcia.
“The Kmetko kids might have enjoyed some ice cream tonight,” Kayla giggled and dug her spoon into the rich confection right after her sister.
“You kidding me, please say you are? Feed those two sugar and they bounce off the walls for hours,” Lana shook her head.
Two hours later, Lana watched as Gloria Kmetko dressed for the business dinner. In her early forties and in good shape from tennis and a gym membership, only the stretch marks on her stomach and the well-nursed breasts' slight sag betrayed her age. As Lana helped her wriggle into the sheath she issued her last minute instructions, phone numbers and the usual parent to sitter information. Lana thought, ”Mrs. Kmetko doesn’t realize she is in compliance with the CU dress code, or does she?”
“Where is the dinner?” Lana asked.
“Bud is trying to win the grounds keeping contract for Central University’s new campus in Arneytown, we are meeting the regents in West Hamlin.” Gloria responded.
“That explains a lot,” Lana said.
“What do you mean?”
“Uh, why you have to leave so early dressed in your dinner clothes. It is a long drive to West Hamlin.” Lana covered. “Oh, you will be home late. Even though I live just across the street I could be grabbed for curfew violation if I go home tonight. Would it be okay if I slept over?”
“Of course Lana, since Bud and I don’t expect to be home before two or two thirty, you feel free to stay with the girls over night.” Gloria added a necklace and earrings to her outfit and yelled, “Bud, I’m ready go get the car started and the air conditioner on.” Then to Lana, “Or I’ll melt, or worse yet sweat the dress through before we get there.”
The plan was pizza and a movie then showers and bed. At thirteen and eleven, the girls were old enough to take responsibility but not old enough to stay on their own so Lana approached the evening as a party of equals. Ellie, the eleven year old, sported a big D on her still rounded tummy. She hadn’t quite gone from little girl body yet. Emma, her older sister showed the promise of that transition for Ellie. Emma was a solid A cup with a nipped waist and hips that promised curves once a bit of flesh attached to the bone of her last growth spurt. Ellie was about an inch taller than Kayla was. Emma was already as tall as Lana’s five foot nine and had several more inches yet to grow. She also sported a D on her stomach.
Two Harry Potter films back to back drove bedtime from the agreed upon ten p.m. to nearly midnight. Lana told them she bent the rules so they could see the movie, but now they needed to get to bed and to sleep. Off they went, whispering between them. Lana stayed behind and cleaned up the family room.
The girls were still giggling when she went to their room. Their computer was in sleep mode, but the girls were not. “What is going on here?” Lana asked in what she thought to be a stern voice.
“You are a regular YouTube star,” Ellie giggled.
“Oh, no, please tell me it is not the security footage from the market again?” Lana begged.
“Nope,” Emma pressed a button and there in full detail was a video of Lana being stripped in front of her house. Kayla was in some of the frames so she did not shoot it. Unless a neighbor had camera ready and snapped away from inside a window, these pics had to come from Todd’s camera phone.” Lana was enraged and mortified equally.
[to be concluded in Summer Trouble]