“Love Our Lurkers Day?” I read through a few blogs, amazed as always to see that there are people out there who live the way Natalie and I do. I hesitantly tap out a few sentences, delete them, and type them again.
Hi. I’m Kat.
I delete the sentences again.
Natalie calls to me from the hallway, and I hastily shut down my computer. “Kat? Can you help me with the groceries, please?”
Usually grocery shopping is my job. I jump out of my chair and hold the door open as she lugs several plastic bags filled with chips, fresh fruit, and…I pounce on a package and hold it up accusingly.
It’s not often that I get to scold, but I relish every opportunity. Natalie averts her eyes and smiles sheepishly before giving me a kiss on the cheek.
“You’ll let me have a couple of cookies, won’t you?”
“Yes! Real cookies! Why do you have to keep buying these fake crappy ones?” I walk to the kitchen garbage can with the brand-new package of fudge mint Oreo crèmes, but Natalie’s voice stops me.
“Kat,” she says, “I’ll make a deal with you.”
Deals are never a good idea with Natalie involved. They usually get me in the corner or spanked or in the corner and spanked. I refuse to get a spanking or corner time because Natalie buys processed artificially dyed chemicals that pretend to be a cookie. What’s wrong with my gingersnaps? She always says they are her favorite.
I open the garbage can lid.
“Stop right there!”
I nearly swallow my tongue as I drop the cookies on the floor and bang my knee against the corner of the cupboard.
“Ow!’ I complain, rubbing my knee.
“Close your eyes,” she says.
I don’t know what game she’s playing, but I do as I am told. For once. I hear Natalie’s footsteps behind me, feel her soft nimble hands brush my hair to the side and slip something around my neck, and giggle at the ticklishness as she fits together something in the back.
“Look,” she says.
I open my eyes and stare into the large black hand mirror she’s holding in front of me. My hand goes to my neck as I finger the shiny pendant, a delicate ballet slipper on a chain. My mouth opens, and I gape at Natalie.
“But…it’s not my birthday…or Christmas…or…”
Natalie gives me another kiss. “Remember what Dad said when he first met you?”
I think back to our first day as college roommates. “Hi?”
Natalie laughs. “No, silly. He and Mom gave me flowers to give to you.”
“And he said it was for putting up with me. And…” Natalie shrugs a little. “I’ve been pretty harsh with you lately. I know I’m not the easiest person to live with in the whole world. I’m glad you’re still here.”
I am crying like a silly little girl as Natalie puts her arms around me. “I love you, my Katya,” she murmurs into my hair.
“I love you, too,” I choke out between my sniffles.
As Natalie starts pulling out the ready-made deli food and serving it onto plates, she tells me that she’ll do the cooking tonight. I giggle and wipe my eyes.
“What did you do today?” she asks.
I glance over at my computer sitting innocently on the coffee table.
“Nothing,” I say. “Just read a few blogs online.”
“Anything interesting?” she asks.
I pause, thinking. Then finger my new necklace again. “It’s a day of love,” I answer. Someday I might tell her about the blogs. Maybe. I think it will give her too many ideas.
“A day of love?” Natalie repeats. I nod. “I like that,” she says.
“You know what would make it a day of love?” I ask. We go to the table with our plates and utensils.
“Hm?” she asks.
“No spankings for the rest of the year,” I answer.
“It’s too early for April Fool’s,” she laughs. I giggle and pull in my chair.
“Natty,” I say, tilting my neck back to show off my new necklace better. “How does it look?”
“I’m not sure,” Natalie says, pretending to be serious. “But I am sure it will look wonderful over your leotard and tights. Shall we have a ballet lesson after dinner?”
“And then we’ll talk about you smashing my cookies.”