“Ahh!” I screamed in my most dramatic voice. My brother, Kian, was doing his best piratey scary act and I was the damsel in distress. Our little cousin Makenna was another damsel.
There were too many damsels.
I squeaked, “Oh please don’t make us walk the plank, mean old pirate! I have children who would miss me!”
Makenna just parroted, “Childwen!” She was the cutest three year old on the planet.
Mom and Dad sat me down this morning telling me how important it was for me to make sure I watched out for her. Ever since Uncle Zack and Aunt Myla had moved away to Brindleton Bay, we never got to see them much. But they’re here for a few days, on their way to see my grandpa in Del Sol Valley. And since I’m the oldest (I just turned twelve), I was supposed to babysit whenever the grownups did their boring blabbing. I didn’t mind at all.
And boy did she need watching. She almost fell out of the cardboard boat!
“Hold on!” I yelled, pulling her back inside.
“Uh oh!” she cried.
Whew. Tragedy eliminated. I decided to become a dastardly damsel instead.
Grabbing a sword, I thrust it under the offenders neck. “How dare you, scallywag! The princess almost lost her life in the sea!” I was pretty good at making up dramatic lines.
My brother even looked scared! But then he popped the fourth wall. “Geeze, Shy, I’m not the one who pushed her. She fell on her own.”
Oh. My. God. Did he not understand dramatic tension? He’s supposed to counter with a maniacal laugh and a parry. I crossed my arms and rolled my eyes. Brothers.
Then Makenna started slobbering all over Kian’s sword.
He wiggled it and yelled, “Get off it, Makenna. You’re not supposed to eat the sword.”
After a ton of bribing with cookies, I finally pried Makenna’s mouth off the wooden blade. Thinking fast, I became a talking water dragon and roared, “It is futile to resist, filthy plunderer! Lay down ye arms or I’ll waylay yon vessel with my mighty fire breath!” I snorted for effect.
Makenna squealed, “Mighty bweath!”
Kian laughed hysterically, raising his arms. “You’re so awful at this, Shy. Mighty fire breath? Hee hee! You’re the skinniest dragon I’ve ever seen!”
That was it.
I jumped to my feet (unknowingly bouncing Makenna off my back in the process) and screamed, “We’re just pretending, dork-face! Why can’t you just go with it instead of having to break character? God! Are you stupid or something?”
He shrugged like he was all innocent. “Is it my fault you don’t fit the part? Just saying…”
It was so good to see my brother. I’d really missed him. Ever since Myla got a job in Brindleton Bay as a vet a few years ago, we’ve drifted apart. Of course, we talked a lot on the phone but it just wasn’t the same. I couldn’t blame him for the move. It was a chance for them to be around Mom so she could babysit for them. It was so ironic. Mom was now a great caretaker of their little daughter, Makenna, when she was anything but while we were growing up.
Zack was telling a story about a photoshoot gone bad when I noticed my wife’s angry look.
Uh oh. I didn’t like that look. “What’s wrong, honey?”
“You don’t hear the yelling? I told you Cheyenne was too immature to handle babysitting with her brother.”
Sighing, I said, “I’ll go check on them.”
“You think you’re so much better? This is what I think of your acting.” I gave Kian a thumbs down. He was lucky I didn’t flip him off. “Plus, you’re an asshole for constantly ruining our fun.”
“Uh…Shy? I’d shut up if I were you…”
I was about to give him a pithy retort when my father’s cold stare shot me in the heart. Dead.
“Uh…hi, Daddy!” I said, hoping he didn’t overhear me call my jerk brother names. “Everything is just fine here. No need to worry. You can go back and do your grown-up boring things. I’ve got it all under control.”
“What do you mean, under control?” my lame brother sneered. “You just called me an asshole!”
Thanks, Kian. Way to make sure I was going to get it.
“Kian, take Makenna to her parents,” Daddy said with his totally scary-as-a-vampire voice. “Cheyenne, let’s go to your room and talk.”
Kian whispered, “Serves you right. I’d never call you an asshole.”
There were only a few things that frightened me. One, not getting the lead part in our school play every year. And two, disappointing Daddy. For some reason he had like this super power of making you feel really guilty without even saying a word. I guessed it was because I looked up to him so much that just thinking about screwing up and getting his angry face made my heart squeeze until it burst.
I was very close to tears as I faced him.
“I don’t understand, Cheyenne. You promised to be on your best behavior. Why are you calling your brother names?”
Thinking through, I did overreact. Why was I so dumb? “I’m sorry, Daddy. I shouldn’t have done that. It’s just…he makes me so mad sometimes.”
“We’ve talked about this. You must control your anger, Cheyenne. You’re too old to be acting like this. How can we trust you to go to drama camp this summer when you can’t get along with your brother for one night?”
Uh oh. Just the thought of getting drama camp taken away was like facing the big bad boss in The R.E.F.U.G.E. XII. I gulped. “I’m really sorry, Daddy. I won’t do that again.”
“But that’s what you always say and now, here we are again. How can I believe you?”
I chewed on my nails. What could I say? I mean, I wanted to be good but it was so hard sometimes, especially with an annoying little brother who thought he knew it all. But this was for drama camp! And it wasn’t any old drama camp. It was Plumbob Pictures Performing Arts camp in Del Sol Valley. I was finally old enough to attend. I would take classes for not only acting, but also singing, dancing and playing piano and guitar. It was going to be heaven for a solid thirty days!
But all I could say was, “I dunno, Daddy.” Tears pinched the back of my eyes.
Daddy put his hands on his hips and said, “I guess you’re not mature enough to handle a thirty day camp, Cheyenne. And that’s very disappointing.”
Panicking, I burst, “Oh Daddy, please let me go! I promise I’ll do better. How about if I’ll make sure Makenna is as happy as a bug in a fuzzy blanket rug and I won’t argue with Kian and I’ll even tell him I’m sorry. Honest, I didn’t mean to call him names and I won’t do it again even if he tells me I suck at acting or a hundred other possible things he could do to annoy me. Will you give me another chance? Please?”
He didn’t say anything which felt like the apocolypse was about to rain fire from the skies (or my bedroom ceiling). But then his face relaxed and I saw a twinge of a smile. “Okay, Cheyenne. One more chance. You need to get along with your brother faithfully. And if he’s doing something to annoy you, just ignore it. Okay, pumpkin?”
We didn’t hear a peep out of the kids for the rest of the night. Cheyenne truly came through with doing her babysitting job. We had told her we’d pay her initially, but since she’d gotten in trouble earlier, she offered to do it for free. I felt that was a step in the right direction.
When it was time for us to go to bed, I smiled when we came upon our children.
“Aww…” Myla said. “Isn’t that so cute?”
“Yeah, who would have guessed after the screaming match earlier?” Charlene answered. “Go figure.”
The kids were out, together, looking very happy. I’d always pictured mine and Zack’s children getting along like this. And that Cheyenne was sleeping on Kian’s lap meant they’d really made up.
After scooping up a dozing Makenna, Zack and Myla headed to their car.
Our house was set up for entertainment but only held three bedrooms–not enough for them to stay.
“Well, babe, I gotta hand it to you.” Charlene threw me a proud look over her shoulder. “You’ve got a way with Cheyenne. Looks like she did a great job here. Want to get her to bed while I take Kian?”
Wrapping Cheyenne up in my arms, I walked through our living room to her bedroom. I caught a glance at our family picture we took while visiting Selvadorada last summer. It was hard to believe Cheyenne was turning into a young lady already. I wasn’t ready for it.
She still hadn’t had her growth spurt yet, so it was honestly hard for me to wrap my brain around her leaving us for a thirty day camp. I didn’t feel like she was old enough for it. But that was six months away. Surely, she’d do a lot of maturing by then.
She was so impulsive at times that it worried me. I mean, what if she got in trouble at the camp because she didn’t go by the rules? And worse.
What if there were boys at the camp? The thought of her flirting with any during that trip made my stomach roil.
She was still my little girl. Maybe attending the camp wasn’t a good idea after all.
Welcome back to the continuation of these crazy Days! And I must say this will be a crazy generation. 😝 Thank you for sticking with me through the much needed break. I’ll be updating on Mondays and Wednesdays. If you want to follow this story, please make sure to punch the follow button on this website. Or follow using discord where you’ll receive email notices.
See you Wednesday!