Sneaking in for the first time was probably supposed to feel like a bigger deal.
Boots in hand, Erica walked up the cement walkway to the red painted front door. The ground was cold under her feet, and she wondered if it rained while they were in the club. "You're welcome!" Stiles yelled from the Jeep. The realization that she should wave or flip him off arrived a few seconds too late. Stiles peeled off, with Isaac no doubt still bitching in the back seat.
From the porch Erica could smell the sugar in her mother's coffee, but the steady heartbeat meant Mom had fallen asleep on the couch. There was a bit of a letdown. She was looking forward to a blowout.
Mom would demand to know where she'd been, what she'd eaten, had Erica taken her medication, who was she with and did they know how to handle a seizure. Erica would flash her shiny power. Venom would lace her rebuttals. She'd reduce Mom to silent blur who would cease to view her daughter as a delicate mash of nerves. It would be poetic as shit.
The door opened to Viola Reyes asleep on the plaid couch in a plaid robe. Mascara had smeared under her eyes, and her fingers were barely holding onto the mug Carson painted for her last year. Erica locked the door and plucked the mug out of Mom's hands. Her black boots were tucked under her left arm as she rinsed out the mug.
For a minute Erica held onto the idea that Mom had boots like these when she was sixteen. Mom loved talking being a punk in San Francisco when The Dead Kennedy's were just starting up. There were pictures of her in a coffee tin, discolored polaroids. Tangled hair, splattered jeans and marker stained shirts. Sometimes Erica wondered what happened to turn Viola Reyes into the mousy woman with thinning gray hair, but not for long. The answer was easy, because it was documented.
There was a picture of Mom pregnant, still punked out but tired. Around the pictures from Erica's fourth birthday party, her mom's hair began thinning and her smiles became canned. The seizures started half a year before, and by the time Erica was five Mom had every right to hate her. Parties ruined, nights in hospitals, money burned on medication. Erica didn't blame her.
But that was over now. Everything was getting better. Erica had just come from a party fueled by freaking strobe lights. She was invincible. No one had to worry about little Erica Reyes anymore. The bite would set her family free.
Erica put the boots down. Lay a blanket over Mom and took her bra off as she walked upstairs.
Poetic justice would have to wait for another night.