After the lunch-time fiasco on Saturday, meals had gotten tenser around the McLancy house.
took to staying in her room until
she was yelled at to join the family.
Even then, she still refused to eat anything she deemed
unacceptable. Elizabeth and her mother
frequently argued over the meals, Evalynne throwing in her share of snide
Becoming more annoyed with the behavior of her family, a few days after the Saturday argument,
could be found
sitting sullenly at her desk, scribbling in her journal: Elizabeth
I’m so sick of this family. They never understand where I’m coming from. They only question all of Pastor Simon’s teachings and the word of the Bible and it’s incredibly annoying. I wonder how people get to live in the colony. I’d take spending every moment of the day with my church family rather than dealing with my siblings and parents at all times.
“Liz! Dinner!” Mom yelled up the stairs.
Sighing, and rolling her eyes,
shut her journal
and walked downstairs as slowly as possible.
Once she finally entered the kitchen, she took her place at the table
between Evalynne and Danielle. She
didn’t make eye contact with a single member of the family, but instead stared
at her plate. Elizabeth
didn’t even grace this with a
retort, merely a glare. Back before she
had joined the Children, she would have had a snappy retort ready and she would
have shot it at her sister most willingly.
Now, however, she knew self-control.
She now knew how wrong she had been in the past. She was no longer tempted by the need to
bring herself down to the level of outsiders.
Instead, she piled some salad onto her plate, and bowed her head to say
grace. She could feel the eyes of her
family watching her, but she didn’t pay them any mind. With her eyes still closed, and trying with
all her might to focus on the words of thanks she was thinking, the
interactions of her family kept interspersing themselves with her thoughts. Elizabeth
sighed and turned to face her
parents, who were both approaching quickly.
Her siblings could still be seen peering around the corner into the
froze and glared
at her parents with more intensity than ever.
“I can’t believe what I’m hearing!
Pastor Simon said you guys would have these reactions! Sorry to burst your bubble, but my eternal
soul, and thus my church and church family, is far more important. Maybe someday you’ll both understand
that. And now I’m leaving. Good-bye.” With that, she turned on her heel and
followed Sandra out the front door, leaving her parents standing flabbergasted
in the hallway. Elizabeth
“Thank you for joining us, Liz,” her father said in a forced cheerful voice.
mumbled. “I’m not hungry.” Elizabeth
“You’re never hungry,” Evalynne retorted. Suddenly there was a thud and she yelled, “Ow!” Glaring across the table at Andrea she cried, “That was so not necessary! I don’t care what the rest of you do or do not say, but I’m not going to sugar-coat this whole thing.” She turned to
and said loudly, “You’re being
stupid. You and Jackie. So knock it off!” Elizabeth
God, thank you for this food I am about to consume…
“Oh, for the love of...” Another thud. “Seriously, Andi, if you don’t knock it off right now, I swear—”
…I am grateful for this food you have provided and ask you to please bless it, the Children, and myself…
Another thud, but this one shook the table. Andrea screamed, “EVA! THAT HURT!”
didn’t blink an eye. Elizabeth
…Please give me patience…
“Kids, behave,” their father intervened.
“I think it’s bruising!” cried Andrea.
“Oh, boo-freaking-hoo, you big baby,” Evalynne mumbled.
“Eva, that’s enough,” warned their mother.
finally opened her eyes and took in
the scene surrounding her. Andrea had
her knee bent close to her face, rubbing and examining a spot on her shin. Evalynne was also rubbing her own leg, but
was more focused on glaring at Andrea to pay much attention to her wound. Both parents were shaking their heads
hopelessly, Gregory and Thomas were bright red with silent laughter, and
Danielle had suddenly become incredibly interested in her glass of water. It would have been a funny sight, one that Elizabeth would have
laughed at back before her baptism, but now she knew better. Now she knew how petty her family was being. With this thought drilling into her mind, Elizabeth didn’t comment,
and chose instead to take a bite of her dry salad. Elizabeth
“Tasty?” Evalynne said with an evil smirk.
, matching her
sister’s smirk. Elizabeth
Danielle and Andrea both rolled their eyes and shoved more chicken into their mouths.
As Gregory and Evalynne washed the dishes after dinner, and
had holed herself up in the attic again, the doorbell rang. After some mumbling that Elizabeth couldn’t decipher from her attic
room, she heard someone coming up the stairs.
A few seconds later, Andrea appeared in her room, rolling her eyes. Elizabeth
“Liz, one of your church friends is downstairs. She wants to talk to you right now,” she said with as little enthusiasm as possible.
After following her younger sister downstairs,
saw Sandra standing in the front hall. Elizabeth
“Hey, Elizabeth!” Sandra cried, embracing
in a tight hug. Elizabeth
greeted. “What’s up?” Elizabeth
“Well…” Sandra trailed off, looking at a point behind
shoulder. Elizabeth followed her friend’s eyes,
catching her entire family standing in the entrance to the family room. Elizabeth
“Do you mind?!”
cried. Her family, however, didn’t budge. She rolled her eyes and turned back to Sandra. “Ignore them.” Elizabeth
Sandra laughed. “I was just wondering if you would be interested in going on a youth group trip to the mall. Everyone’s going, it’ll be quite the event.”
“Definitely! Let me just grab my jacket…” Now it was Elizabeth’s turn to trail off as she watched Sandra gesture toward the scarf on her own head. Elizabeth furrowed her eyebrows and continued, “And my scarf? We’re wearing our scarves?”
“Unless you’re ashamed of your affiliation?” Sandra asked pointedly.
“Of course not! I’ll grab my jacket and my scarf!”
had made it back downstairs, scarf
securely on her head and jacket draped over an elbow, she and Sandra started
toward the door. Elizabeth
“Wait just a second, Liz McLancy!” Mom cried.
snapped, staring at her parents
“You spend every waking moment with these kids, or talking about these kids,” her mother began, folding her arms across her chest.
“What’s your point?”
“I think what your mother is trying to say,” Dad said, “is that maybe you should spend tonight with your family, since lately you’ve been spending most of your time with your church friends.”
“Don’t you have homework to do too?” Mom added.
“If we’re going, we need to go now,” Sandra said frantically.
“Mom, Dad, I get that you’re concerned or whatever, but I’m fine. Really. And I would appreciate if you would stop trying to suffocate me. I’m almost a high school graduate. I’ll hang out with my friends whenever I want. I have to go.”
“Young lady, you’re not going anywhere. Tonight you’re spending time with your family and doing your school work. Both of those are more important than your church friends,” her mother ordered.