Re: The Stones (and maybe any guests they bring along?)
Was she trying too hard? That had to be it; had to be why her sister was so tense. The little girl who used to giggle and beg the twins for the chance to help out in the kitchen for the Thanksgiving meal was no longer there. In her place, was an older girl, who no longer trusted the world, and for that, Leah was partially to blame. Her smile wilted, yet at the same time she tried to keep up appearances. This was why yelling at Kori was always easier. It made them both feel less vulnerable.
"Did you invite them? Remind them to come?" She asked, her voice carefully neutral. It wouldn't surprise her to learn that Kori had specifically invited Lilah and Brandon, and neglecting to send one to her. Surprising? No. Hurtful? Yes. Did Leah deserve it? Hell yes.
It had been years since Leah had felt the desire to perform her customary Buddhist meal blessing. It wasn't that it was inappropriate, though that was part of it. It simply didn't matter to her anymore.
With a plastic fork, Leah began helping herself to a slice of the fried spam and the vegetables, using the distraction of loading her plate to try and come up with a conversation starter that wouldn't end badly. Nothing came to mind.
"So, how are those kids you look after?" Not a safe topic by any means, but it was something, and it showed an interest in what Kori had been up to.