Wil shuffled her grilled cheese sandwich in a circle of its own dark crumbs. The action piled even more bread bits on the plate, due to how long Jakob had overcooked it. All of the sandwiches were blacker than the family preferred, but they couldn’t afford to buy another meal in replacement.
“Next time, put your phone down,” Rob had said after finding the small kitchen full of stink and smoke. Wil had just walked in and started coughing in surprise. They all heard Cynthia echo the noise from her bedroom.
“Sorry,” Jakob had provided, thus ending another of their lengthy exchanges.
Wil had then been tasked with brushing the burnt parts into the garbage. She’d only dropped one of the sandwiches in, and had managed to retrieve it before anyone noticed. To be fair, she’d then placed that sandwich on her own plate.
Perhaps that was why she wasn’t interested in eating. Then again, maybe she was worried about her mother and Dr. Sullivan’s recommendations. Or, Wil might be tired after their long day.
Her lack of appetite certainly had nothing to do with a little exchange at the playground a half hour before dinner.
“Oh!” Wil exclaimed into the silence. Her family stared at her, all raised eyebrows and questioning expressions. “Erm… I remembered some homework I had.” She looked down, blushing. Wil couldn’t lie and they all knew it. She took a hasty bite of her sandwich to avoid further questions.
Jakob drained his glass of water and wiped a sleeve across his mouth. “Welp, I do have homework. ‘Night.” He cleared his place settings and rinsed them in the sink before stacking them on the counter. His pace was quicker than Wil usually saw him move as he headed down the hall to his room.
She swallowed her stale food. “He must have a lot to get done,” she observed. Her parents shared a look she didn’t understand, then turned away from each other smiling. “What?”
Her mother’s beautiful, loving eyes met Wil’s confused pair. “Oh, Wil. I love you.”
“Well, I love you, too, but that doesn’t explain why -” Wil’s thinking finally caught up with her speaking. The way Eric had looked at her in the dark had reminded her of something, and that something had been how Jakob had stared after Reagan as they were leaving the hospital. Two and two added to four in Wil’s mind; her brother was going to chat with her older school friend, just as she’d guessed before her hasty departure from the family car.
She saw her parents exchange another amused expression.
“But… that’s not homework, either!” she managed.
Her mother turned to Wil again. “‘Either,’ hmm? So, Wil, what were you lying about?”