Bang-Bang-Bang. Â A fist pounds on the door.
“Bella!Â Open this door!Â I swear I’ll kick it in if you don’t.Â Bella?Â Do you hear me?”
Bang-Bang-Bang.Â Sands is determined to talk to me just as I am determined to avoid her.
“Mummy, why won’t you let Sands in?” Fi asks.
Bang-Bang-Bang.Â “So help me God, I’ll break a window if you don’t let me in!” Sands threatens.
“Go play in your room, sweetie,” I avoid Fi’s question.
Bang-Bang-Bang.Â “All right, you asked for it.Â I’m calling the police.Â I mean it!”Â Â Bang-Bang-Bang.
Abe wanders from his room to the kitchen.Â “Mummy, I can’t play my videogame with all that noise.Â Can I open the door?”
“No,” I say and try to focus on the romance novel I was reading before Sands descended on the comfort of my misery.
The banging stops and I breathe a sigh of relief.Â I just can’t face anyone, not after what happened on the Date from Hell.Â So at home I stay, avoiding calls, knocks at the door and emails from inquisitive minds.
“Bella!Â What in the world is wrong with you?”
I nearly come off the sofa in fright and spill my tea across my lap.Â Sands is standing in the doorway between the kitchen and living room.
“How did you get in here?” I demand.
“Abe let me the back door,” she says.
Abe parades into the room.Â “Look, Mummy, Auntie Sands gave me a dollar!”Â He holds the coin aloft as if it is the greatest treasure the world has ever seen
“I want a dollar, too!” Fi cries.
Sands pulls another coin out.Â “Here you go.Â Now kids, I need to talk to your mummy, so run outside and play awhile.”
Abe crosses his arms. Â “That’ll cost you another dollar.”
“Scram.Â NOW,” Sands points toward the door. Â Abe and Fi hustle out. Â Abe knows he can only push her so far.
Sands plops down on the opposite end of the sofa while I get up.Â “Where do you think you’re going?”
“To get dishtowel to clean up the mess you caused by barging in here uninvited,” I reply dryly.
“I wouldn’t have been uninvited if you returned my calls in the first place,” she retorts.Â “Now talk.Â What happened on your date that’s so bad to make you cut off your friends?”Â I ignore her as I grab a towel and mop up the tea on myself and the sofa.Â “Bella, come on. Â You can’t hide in here forever.”
“I might as well,” I mutter.
Sands shakes her head.Â “Cat said you had sleeping pills and liquor.Â Bella, what were you thinking?
“What do you think I was thinking?” I snap.Â “And by the way, tell Cat I want those pills back.”
“It’s a good thing she took them and cared enough to stop by and check on you.Â God, Bella, you’re so freaking selfish sometimes.Â Can’t you think about anyone but yourself?Â What about Abe and Fi?Â What about your dad and grandmother?”