My mother was acting strangely. She had been for the last month or so, though not in any overt manner, no specific ways that stuck out, but in much more subtle ways that anybody who didn’t know her as well as I do after eighteen years would ever notice. Other than bitching at me about little things, (growing up, learning the meaning of ‘responsibility’, getting a job, how I’m so impossible) it was as though something had been on her mind, distracting her and, while we didn’t dislike each other, our relationship wasn’t close enough for a mother-daughter talk about it. That early evening, however, her behaviour was even more irregular than it had been. It was in the way she carried herself, how she stood, moved and in her facial expressions. Most of all, it was in her attire.
Again, the differences were subtle, but obvious to one who knew Vanessa Griffin and her staunch routine of years. An off-white, short sleeved blouse that I hadn’t seen outside her closet in a few years was chosen as that evening’s top. It was just a little small on what had become her pleasantly curvy figure, the reason she’d left it hiding away, but it only showed in how its buttons strained slightly around those proud D cups. She even left the top two undone rather than fasten the thin garment up so far as to practically choke herself to death as usual. Looking close, I could even just barely make out the lace pattern of her white bra underneath and, from what I could tell, it didn’t look like a granny bra.
She’d left the blouse untucked, the short tails resting nicely just above her rounded hips in a manner that accentuated them as much as the black business skirt, one I’d never seen her wear to her job as receptionist at the Audi dealership. It’s not that the skirt was indecent in any way, no more than her blouse, but its hem rode a few inches above her knees rather than just below. A six inch slit up the back added to its understated sexy appeal, and the open toed, black, three inch heels that added to her natural five-seven height finished the ensemble in a way that they never spoke for her usual outfits.
Her long, auburn hair, usually worn up, was now down and flowing over her shoulders, straight but somehow not lacking body. Green eyes complimented a face that was attractive despite how it’s shapely mouth and full lips almost never smiled since she and my father divorced. Also, her makeup was applied differently, more vividly I might have said, and her whole look made it seem almost as though she was trying to attract attention, not that she needed to. I knew she was hot and I’d noticed plenty of guys checking her out on many an occasion.
Yes, something was definitely going on and, that evening, I was becoming more curious about it by the minute. Clickety-clicking on her laptop at the kitchen island, she performed a double take at me from the corner of her eye as I peered at her from the doorway.
“Darin, what are you doing?” she asked, irritated, but also vaguely paranoid at my attention. “I told you, I’ve got an appointment at eight that I can’t miss. If you want a ride to the mall, you’d better be ready in fifteen minutes.”
“What appointment?” I asked as her eyes returned to the screen.
(Clickety-clickety-click) “The garage.” (Clickety-clickety-clickety)
“I thought the car was fixed,” I casually challenged.
More irritated, she quickly replied, “They had to order parts, would you please get your ass in gear?”
I was mostly ready anyway, save for finishing up with my hair, black like my father’s and a little shorter than hers where it rested at my shoulders, and the choice of an outfit suitable to cruising the mall with my friends. I chose a pair of black capris leggings with a pink T shirt that was long enough to just barely cover the bottom of my shapely, fit posterior. The V neck wasn’t quite as low as I would have wanted, but I’d never get anything lower past Mom’s critical inspection and it still looked great on me. A wide, black belt with a big, round, gold buckle accentuated my hips and a pair of zebra striped Mary-Jane heels finished my look perfectly.
Checking this ensemble in the mirror, I wished I’d inherited Mom’s boob size along with the bright green eyes that looked back at me, but my perky Cs looked fabulous in that top and went with my athletic hips very well. I wasn’t quite as tall or voluptuous as my mother, but I was happy and comfortable with my body and enjoyed showing it off.
I gave myself a little smile as I considered bringing another top in order to do an end-run around the fashion gestapo downstairs, but I didn’t want to be weighed down with a pack. Grabbing my small, rectangular, black clutch instead, I left my room just as said gestapo yelled at me to hurry, or I’d be left behind.
As it was, she shook her head slightly, rolling her eyes in silent disapproval of my outfit, but I pretended not to notice, practically skipping past her, through the kitchen and to the adjoined garage. By the time she was beside me in the driver’s seat of her red coupe, whatever it was that had her so distracted had removed my appearance from her mind and, by the time she turned out onto the street, I was back to wondering at that.
I surreptitiously watched her nervously tapping the steering wheel with her index finger as she drove, nibbling at the inside of her lower lip, and my curiosity finally got the better of me.
“So, what’s eating you?” I asked with indifference in my tone.
“What?” she replied, a little startled at first, as though she’d forgotten I was even there.
“Something’s on your mind.”
“Why do you say that?” she asked, clearly defensive now.
“Because there is. I can tell.”
“There’s nothing on my mind,” she lied.
“Sure,” I sarcastically agreed, half interestedly checking out a cute guy walking down the sidewalk as we passed.
“I’m worried about the car and how much it’ll cost,” she lied again.
“Uh huh,” I laughed. “If I didn’t know better, I’d swear you were going out on a date or something.”
She jerked her head around to look at me and I almost laughed again at expression on her face.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she scoffed. “I told you, I’m nervous about the car.”
“What’s so ridiculous about you going on a date?”
“W- Nothing, It’s just that that isn’t the case.”
I sighed, shaking my head and rolling my eyes, saying, “Whatever. Anyway, why don’t you just get it fixed at work? Wouldn’t they give you an employee discount or something?”
She snorted derisively and replied, “They don’t work on Chevrolets and dealerships are the last place anybody should take their car for repairs, employee discount or no.”
I laughed again at the irony of her statement, considering her occupation, but didn’t follow her up on it. Flipping the visor down, I used the vanity mirror to check my makeup, asking, “So where are you taking it, then? And what kinda place is open at this hour?