“I don't understand,” he said with a heavy exhale. “I love sending you back to school, but why does it have a penalty? School shopping just sucks.”
“It kind of sucks for us too, means summer is over.” The boy replied from behind the refrigerator door.
“I like wearing the light dresses, but there isn't much point in buying any since the weather will turn soon. Dad, Sears has a good sale,” the girl said while scanning the ad circulars.
“Have you seen the list of school supplies? When I went the school provided this stuff!”
“When you went...” the boy said.
“Don't!” The father put up his finger in warning, “No matter how old I am I can still kick your ass.”
“Oh, I like this blouse, I hope they have it my size,” the girl muttered.
“I'm not made of money, you know.”
“Yeah, but girls need more than boys do. It's a fact, dad.” The girl replied. “Boys can get away with wearing jeans for a few days and have one pair of sneakers. My outfits have to match every day, which means I need different shoes for different outfits – plus I have makeup, so those shades have to go with my skin and my clothes.”
“I don't want to wear the same pair of jeans for days, and I'll need dress shoes for the school dances.” The boy remarked as he sat at the table with his family.
“If he gets special shoes for the school dances, then I...”
“No! No special shoes, it's not a competition!” He planted his elbows on the table and covered his face. “Your mother did this on purpose.”
“Probably,” the boy agreed.
“Well, Kyle loves blue so I need some clothes that go with that, so we look good together.” The girl commented absently, though her gaze flicked to her brother's face to catch his reaction.
“That's not funny.”
“It's true, though. I think with the right shirt, makeup and some color coordination, I can make a pretty strong impression.”
“You stay away from him!” Her brother stood and leaned over the table, “This isn't funny.”
“What are you two arguing over now?” Their father moaned.
“We both like the same boy, daddy. Tell him I'll win this one, will you please?”
The father looks from one to the other and then starts to chuckle, slowly building into a steady laugh that is soon full on uncontrolled cachinnation. The son scowls at his father while the daughter looks on in confusion. Father's hands move restlessly from covering his face to lightly slapping the table and then back.
A woman enters the room, purse over one shoulder and lab coat slung over her forearm. She stops and surveys the situation with a knowing smile.
“It's not funny,” the boy mutters.
“What are they fighting over this time?” She asks.
“A boy,” the father gasps.
“Name?” Mother prompts.
“Kyle,” girl supplies. “He's blond, very pretty blue eyes – he likes to wear blue because it makes his eyes pop. I have a plan,” she says confidently, “I'm going to win.”
“You don't even care about him, next week it'll be someone new. Just leave him alone!” The boy says angrily.
“Oh come on, he's cute and he gets so confused around us, I think he can't decide which one to choose. I'm just going to help him with that.”
“You've already lost,” the boy says sullenly. “He made out with me last Thursday. He doesn't want everyone to know.”
“I wouldn't want anyone to know, either.” She replied.
“It's not funny!”
“I have to go to work, have fun, dear.” The woman said and, with a quick peck to her husband, left the room.
“Son,” the father placed his hands flat on the table and sighed deeply, “Do I need to buy you condoms? You've had all the speeches, but...”
“No fair! If you buy them for him, you need to buy mine too!”
Father's hands slapped down over his ears and he begins to make random noises to block out his daughters voice. “That's it,” he stood and pulled out his wallet. He withdrew two plastic cards and tossed one to each. “Three fifty each, that's it! Screw school shopping!” And so saying he left the room.
The boy picks up the card and glances at his sister. “So, who's Kyle?”
She grins back, “No idea.”