That evening, as Mary-Sue had wished, all the family sat down for dinner.
“Can we eat yet?” Angela asked.
“Not just yet, I want to talk first.”
“Oh, God!” Lilith said, getting ready to leave the table again.
“No! It’s nothing bad, I just want to ask who you’ll be taking to the Halloween Ball tomorrow. I suppose if you must, you can eat whilst we talk – but for Heaven’s sake, don’t talk with your mouth’s full.” The family began and no-one said a word until Mary-Sue had to prompt them. Since she had begun hosting these things, none of the girls could ever have shown up without a date. For a while now, both had been in relationships, so Mary-Sue knew who they were taking – she just liked to keep up the conversation in the house.
“Lilith, I trust that lovely boy Dirk will be escorting you tomorrow?”
“Erm, yeah probably. But…” Lilith paused.
“But what?” Mary-Sue said with worry.
“I just don’t think I’ll be going tomorrow is all.” Lilith confessed.
“Not going?! Well, why-ever not?”
“Yeah, come on, Sis! Halloween is the one time of year you can go out of the house without people looking at you funny.” Angela sarcastically remarked.
“Very funny, Grungela” Lilith shot back.
“Angela, Lilith, please keep the family bickering down to a minimum tonight. Now, Lilith, I think you should come. I’d feel ashamed turning up without you.”
“That’s funny, it’s usually the other way around for me.” Angela said again.
“Shut up, bee-yotch!” Lilith yelled.
“Well, she totally is. Anyway, why don’t you ask her who she’s taking – as if we didn’t already know.” Lilith said to her mum.
“Yes, well, I do know who she’s taking.” Mary-Sue knew her daughter had been dating a boy called Dustin. He wasn’t exactly a saint, but he had a nice personality. However, Daniel did not like him one bit.
“Oh? No you don’t.” Angela added.
“What?!” All three of the family replied.
“Did you two break-up?” Daniel perked up.
“You’re not taking Dustin?” Mary-Sue asked.
“Well, I can’t. He has to work, and he told me afterwards he’ll be too tired to come.”
“I don’t think you can call what he does work.” Daniel said.
“He gets paid, Daddy!”
“So neither of you are bringing dates? Oh dear.” Mary-Sue frowned, beginning to panic.
“Mum, we aren’t the ones you should be worrying about. I really don’t think half as many people will turn up this time. I mean, a lot’s changed since last year.” Lilith said.
“It certainly has.” Mary-Sue said, casting a glance towards Daniel.
As bed-time approached, Mary-Sue slowly walked out of the bathroom, causing Daniel to look up from the book he was reading.
“Did I hear you throwing up in there?” He asked.
“I’m afraid you did.” She replied, as she began to get ready for bed.
“…It wasn’t on purpose was it?” Daniel queried.
“Daniel! You know that was a one-time thing. What on Earth made you bring that up?” Mary-Sue felt ashamed, referring back to a time when she felt pressured to lose weight, having gone back to work straight after giving birth to the twins. Daniel had confronted her back then about her eating disorder, and Mary-Sue found that depending on him during her recovery was where their problems had begun – though she had never admitted that out loud.
“Oh nothing, I was just thinking about the past. You shouldn’t let this party planning get to you.”
“But I do. If this gathering doesn’t make a good impression on the new neighbours, then what chance do we have of pulling in more new residents? I have to justify these new property plans, I was the one lobbying for them to be approved – it’s supposed to bring in a lot of new income, but I can’t promise that, not without any people to fill the houses with. Oh, that reminds me, are your sister and her family still coming?” Mary-Sue was referring to Daniel’s sister, Jennifer, her husband, John, and their daughter, Lucy.
“Yes they are, what about your parents.”
“Tsk, father’s being troubled by his back again and mother won’t hear of leaving his side.” Mary-Sue said, settling into bed.
“Well, you managed to persuade Lil’ to come, so just relax. And, most importantly, enjoy yourself.”
“I will, I will. Are you going to be staying up for much longer?”
“I’m just finishing this chapter, then I’m all yours.” Daniel said, letting the common phrase slip out.
“Really! And what do you think I have planned for you?” Mary-Sue laughed.
“Nothing dear, absolutely nothing.” Daniel said under his breath.