Without Merit(10)

By: Colleen Hoover

I occasionally think it’s funny, but I’m mostly just embarrassed. Most of the residents of our small town already feel we’re out of place here, living in this old church. Our actions only prove to reinforce those feelings. I think my father actually tried to make an effort to fit in last year and make our house look more like a home than a church. He spent two weeks putting up a cute white picket fence around our entire yard.

The white picket fence didn’t do much to make it look more like a home. Now it just looks like we live in an old church surrounded by an out of place white picket fence. A-plus for effort, though.

I go to my bedroom and close the door. I toss my sack on the floor by my bed and plop down onto my mattress. It’s almost three in the afternoon, which means Moby and Victoria will be back soon. Then Honor and Utah. Then my father. Then family dinner. Joy.

Today has already been too much. I’m not sure I can take much more.

I go to the bathroom and search the drawers for some sleep medicine. I don’t normally take it unless I’m sick, but the only thing I can think of that will get me through tonight without obsessing over my kiss with Honor’s boyfriend is a few sips of NyQuil. Which is precisely what I find under the sink.

I take a dose and then text my father when I’m back in my room and under the covers.

I’m not feeling well. Left school early and going to bed. Will probably miss dinner.

 I turn the sound off on my phone and slide it under my pillow. I close my eyes, but it doesn’t help me to stop seeing Sagan in front of me. Honor and I aren’t as close as we used to be so it’s not unusual that I didn’t know about her new fling. I have noticed she’s been gone more than usual but I haven’t asked her why. As far as I know, she’s never brought him to our house, so I had no idea who he was when I saw him today.

If only I had seen his face prior to the incident on the town square, that whole embarrassment could have been avoided. I would have known who he was immediately. If he has even one decent bone in his body, he’ll break it off with her and never step foot inside this house. It’s not like they’re in love. They barely know each other; it’s only been a couple of weeks. Anyone in their right mind wouldn’t want to come between sisters. Especially twins.

But then again, I doubt he has any intentions to pursue me at all. It was an honest mistake. He thought I was Honor. If he had known I was her sister, he never would have said sickeningly sweet and confusing things like “You bury me” right before sticking his tongue down my throat. He’s probably laughing about the mix-up. Hell, he probably ended up telling Honor what happened and they’re both laughing about it.

Laughing about poor, pathetic Merit who thought the cute guy was actually into her.

I hate that I’m so embarrassed by it. I should have slapped him when he kissed me. Had I done that, I would be laughing about it with him. But instead, I threw myself at him and consumed as much of that kiss and him as I possibly could. It’s a feeling I want to experience again. And that’s what has me the most upset. The last thing I want is for there to be something of my sister’s that I’m envious of. Just thinking about Sagan kissing her like he kissed me today makes me so jealous, I would bleed green if someone stabbed me.

I’ve always feared something like this would happen. That someone would assume I was her and I would embarrass myself somehow. Really the only thing that sets us apart is that she wears contacts and I don’t. It doesn’t matter that I’ve done all I can to differentiate myself from Honor, including cutting and dyeing my hair, starving myself, and overeating, but we always seem to weigh the same, look the same, sound the same.

But we are not the same.

I am nothing like my identical twin sister, who prefers cadaver hearts to fully functioning ones.

I am nothing like my father, Barnaby, who has turned our entire lives upside down, simply out of spite for a canine.

I am certainly nothing like my brother Utah who spends every waking moment living an externally precise, perfect, and punctual present to make up for all the internal imperfections that live in his past.

And I am absolutely, without a doubt, a far cry from my mother, Vicky, who spends her days and nights in Quarter Four watching Netflix, licking the salt off potato chips, living off disability, refusing to vacate the house where her ex-husband and newer wife, Victoria, continue to live their lives upstairs, primarily in Quarters One and Three.

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