Zane Power didn’t stay a baby forever and grew into quite a handsome young kid. He was a perfectionist and liked organizing his room a certain way. He had trouble completing his school assignments and was always trying to have the best handwriting.
Paolo loved Zane but didn’t understand his perfectionist tendencies. He occasionally “helped” Zane with his schoolwork. “Zane, that word is fine. Don’t erase it. I said DON”T. Zane, stop. Zane, just move on to the next problem. Stop rewriting it! You’ll never finish. Okay, okay. I’m walking away. You sit here all night if you want.”, Paolo felt like that might be the last time he tried to help Zane.
Parker loved showing off her brother. She would take him with her to the park to play with her and her friends but he was shy and couldn’t bring himself to join the big kids on the playground.
Zane preferred to play by himself on his lab kit. He made several potions and and would make his dad drink them. Sometimes, he even got his dad to throw up! He was grounded for a month after that.
Parker was growing older and older. Soon, she would be “a teenager who couldn’t play on the playground anymore.”. like her dad said. Parker and Zane would be going to different schools. That worried Parker. Zane liked to keep to himself and would only hang out with her. Parker had tried easing her brother out of his shell but he still didn’t have any friends at their school.
“I love you, Zane, but I won’t be there at school anymore. Can you promise to try and make a friend?”, she asked her brother while pulling him into a hug.
“Sure. I don’t need a friend though. I will still have you at home!”
Parker rolled her eyes.
Cassiel and Paolo called the kids inside and lit Parker’s birthday candles. They sang as Parker blew out the candles. Parker walked up to her dad and laughed.
“Wow, Dad, I think I might be your child. I look crazy like you!” Paolo grunted. His daughter did look a little like him but she was also young and pretty. He would need to make sure all the boys kept their disgusting hands and eyes off her.
Parker was a good girl who wanted to earn her a fortune of her own one day. Cassiel had told her how the women in the family made lots of money through art and she could teach her what her mother had passed down. Parker was intrigued and eventually loved the feeling of a wet smear across the canvas.
“Wow, Parker. You are learning so fast. I think you might have a knack for it. Who knows? Maybe you get it from your grandmother.”, Cassiel praised. Parker beamed. She loved hearing about her grandmother, Angel. She really loved being compared to her.
Even while Cassiel mentored Parker in painting, she lectured Parker about the benefits of a good education. Parker knew the importance of an A to her mom, so she started a homework club where she and her friends can work in peace.
Zane was still content in playing with his lab kit when his burner started sparking one night. “That’s weird”, he thought, “that wasn’t the reaction I was looking for.”
“I best go get some water.”
Parker was walking up the stairs when she smelled something weird. There was smoke coming out of Zane’s room! She ran up and ripped open the door. The whole lab kit was in flames. Parker screamed at Zane and then started running down the stairs when he didn’t answer. She was shouting, “FIRE! OH MY GOD! ZANE STARTED A FIRE!”. Cassiel immediately grabbed their extinguisher and ran up the stairs. She burst into Zane’s room and started spraying down the room, Paolo and Parker behind her. She quickly put out the fire and turned to Paolo. “Find Zane. We need to have a talk.”
Zane had been grounded. Between poisoning his dad and the fires, his parents wanted a break. Needless to say, Zane was very angry. When he was ranting and raving about what he was supposed to do for fun, his sister suggested playing outside on their jungle gyms. Zane wasn’t into playing outdoors much but he had lost his science lab so he didn’t have much of a choice now.
It turns out, Zane loved the pirate ship. Here he was a king! Where the science lab had no spontaneity, the jungle gym had no rules. He could be whatever he wanted.
Whereas Zane was King of the Pirate Ship, his father was King of the Parties.
“Yeah man, having another giant bash! Wife’s at work, get everyone together and let’s hang! What? Oh yeah. Yeah, my kids will be here so it’s gotta be on the chill side.”
Parker heard the sound of Paolo turning in his DJ booth. She rolled her eyes. Another party? At least there was bound to be some good food. Her father usually had a cook hired to feed party guests. She walked downstairs.
There were already some guests at the party. She had met some of the ladies before when she was younger, but she felt awkward around them. She had grown up but they still treated her like a child.
“So Parkah, how’s the high school? You got chaself a boyfriend yet?”, asked Eva. Parker turned and faced the dark haired woman in purple. Parker hated her accent and the way she said her name.
“No. No boyfriend. I’m working on my grades.”
“Yeah, Eva. She doesn’t need a boyfriend.”, a girl Parker had seen flirt with her dad. She had pink hair and was super tiny. Parker thought she was pretty and probably had tons of men after her. The girl continued, “Who likes boyfriends when you can just play the field? What’s the point of just one?”
Sophia looked at the girl with a weird expression as if she couldn’t believe what this girl was saying.
“Parker, don’t listen to Candy. Who knows of her future,” she leered at Candy for a second, “or her past. You should start thinking about dating. Soon you’ll be an adult and you’ll want marriage and kids. You won’t have too much time to land yourself a husband. If you wait too long, you’ll be gone before your kids even grow up.” Everyone stared at Sophia. Suddenly the room felt stuffy and tense.
“Yeah. Thanks, guys.”, Parker walked upstairs. That was a weird conversation to have with almost complete strangers.
Karma had kind of helped Parker. Eva had gone outside where she bumped into another girl at the party. They were wearing the same outfit and unfortunately, the new girl was wearing it much better. She looked Eva up and down and scoffed. “I think we know who should go home and stay there.”, she spat. Eva left the party with tears forming in her eyes.
A few months later, Cassiel had come home from work to BLTs on table. Zane was already sitting eating his sandwich and Paolo walked in the dining room. He pulled out Cassiel’s chair and she sat down. He poured her a glass of water and asked if she wanted anything special. Cassiel was wondering what was going on. Paolo sat down and started eating his dinner. He didn’t wait long until he started his proposal. He wanted to throw a big party, bigger than all his other ones, and he needed Cassiel to help out.
“I don’t know, Paolo. Tonight? I’m so tired.”, she whined. Paolo hesitated.
“Well, I’ve already got people coming over. If anything, could you and Zane go to a friend’s?”, he asked. Cassiel threw her hands up. How could she say no when she was already backed into a corner? Paolo gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and went to get ready. Cassiel sighed.
“Well, on better news, I got all A’s on my report card!”, Zane boasted, excited to see his mom smile.
“Really? Wow, Zane! That’s great news. For that reason, you and I will go out for fancy ice cream! We will have a celebration!”. Zane cheered.
The next day, Zane was playing outside when a girl walked up and asked if she could play. Zane thought she kind of looked familiar but he couldn’t remember how he knew her. He invited her onto his pirate ship and they clicked immediately. She made him laugh with her crazy jokes and she liked his invader ideas. Zane felt like he had a best friend.
That night, at dinner, Zane was talking all about his new best friend. Parker started to tease her brother.
“Oooh, looks like Zane has a new girlfriend.”, she laughed. Zane looked at her confused.
“What are you talking about?”
“Do you like her?
“Do you think she’s pretty?”
“Yeah. She wears pretty clothes.”
“Do you want to kiss her?”
“WHAT? That’s gross. Boys don’t kiss girls.”, Zane stuck out his tongue in disgust.
At that moment, Paolo looked up. “If boys don’t kiss girls, then who do they kiss?”. He asked his son.
“Uh, boys I think.” Zane had scrunched up his face in concentration. He was really thinking about it.
Paolo slammed his hand on the table.
“No. Boys kiss girls. Girls kiss boys. You got that? That’s it.”, He glared at Zane who was wide-eyed.
“Calm down, Paolo, he’s just a damn kid.”, Cassiel spoke lowly to Paolo. Parker got up from her seat and grabbed her and her bother’s plate.
“Come on, Zane. Let’s go.”
Cassiel and Paolo stayed at the table, both keeping their eyes on their plate.
Zane wasn’t talking to his dad. For some reason, Zane didn’t feel too happy around his dad anymore. Not like his dad was fun anyways. He always got so mad or was busy with his friends. But a week or so later, he was woken up by a nightmare. He ran into his sister’s room. He woke up his new protector who let him crawl into bed with her. He begged her to fight the monster in her room.
Parker got up and went into the bedroom. She sprayed down the room until it reeked of lavender. She called Zane in and they sat on the bed. “Look, we need to talk, Zane.”
“Don’t listen to Dad. He’s old school and insecure. If you want to play with girls and not kiss them, that’s fine. You don’t need to do anything you don’t want to.”
“I don’t even know if I want to kiss anyone!”, Zane cried.
“You’re getting older, you’ll figure it out soon, but you don’t need to now. Just be a kid.”, Parker comforted her brother.
“And if that means you play on the playground with your new friend, then you keep doing it!”
“Thanks, Parker!”. Parker tucked her brother in and went back to her bedroom. They slept soundly the rest of the night.
And Zane did just that. He continued to invite over his friend and they played outside for hours and hours. He didn’t think about kissing her. Not even once.
Soon, it was Zane’s birthday. Parker had made him an awesome cake and his dad had invited all his friends over. It was time for Zane to enter his teenage years. Parker wondered what was in store for him.
As always, thanks for reading.