Gina opened the front door to her house and poked her head in. Neither one of her parents were in the living room. She didn’t hear anything coming from the kitchen either. Hopefully, her father was in the basement and her mother was in their bedroom. She entered the house and closed the door softly behind her. She wasn’t in the mood to talk to them. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to, but she didn’t want to lie to them.
She adjusted her backpack onto her shoulders and quietly made her way over to the stairs. As long as she’d be able to make it up there without making too much noise, she should be in the clear.
Except pretty much every step squeaked. Why was it that the stairs never made a sound when she walked normally on them, yet they spoke loudly whenever she was trying to be stealth?
“Honey, is that you?” she heard her mother call.
Gina froze in the middle of the stairs. Honey could mean one of two things – either her mother knew Gina was due home from school or she thought she was talking to her husband.
“Honey?” she called again.
Gina bit her lower lip. Come on, say a name! Honey wasn’t getting anyone anywhere.
There were a few moments of silent. Gina hoped her mother had given up. Maybe she thought she had heard things. Yeah, that would be good. Now all Gina had to do was try her best to keep as quiet as she could. She was halfway up the stairs already. She could do this.
Gina lifted her left foot to take the next step when she heard other footsteps. She froze again. The basement stairs were directly below the stairs going up. That meant her father was coming up from the basement.
That was okay, though. Maybe he was just going into the kitchen to get a snack.
She heard the basement door open. This was still okay. As long as she didn’t move, no one would notice her and she’d be fine.
She remained still. How had she not heard her father round the corner? Clearly, he had much more practice at being stealth than she was.
“Uh, Gina? What are you doing?”
Oh, right. She was still frozen. She relaxed and turned around to smile at her dad. “Hey, how are ya?”
Her father narrowed his eyes in confusion. “I’m good, how are you doing?”
“Great,” Gina replied all too quickly.
“Honey, what’s going – oh. Hi, Gina.”
Gina snapped her head around. Her mother was now standing at the top of the stairs. “Oh, no… I’m cornered.” She muttered.
“Cornered?” her father repeated folding his arms sternly.
Gina grinned. What else was she supposed to do?
“Did anything interesting happen in school today?” her mother asked.
“Well, you don’t have to pressure me! Fine, I’ll tell you.” Gina said exasperated. She threw her arms up in the air before turning back to her mother. Did she detect a small smirk on her mother’s face?
“I got…” Gina began but then sighed.
“Suspended, we know.” Her father finished her sentence.
Gina paused. “Wait, how?”
“Your principal called.” Her mother answered.
“Oh,” Gina relaxed. In a way she was relieved. She didn’t want to lie to them but she also didn’t want them know she had gotten too many detentions to warrant a suspension. Which reminded her… “Do you know why?”
“Too many detentions.” Her father said.
“Which explains why you’re home late sometimes.” Her mother added.
Gina nodded. There was no getting out of this one.
“So, were you sneaking up the stairs?” her mother chuckled. “What were you going to do during the school day for the next week without us knowing?”
Gina opened her mouth. Honestly, she hadn’t thought that far ahead yet. It was true, she would have had to pretend to go to school every morning. What would she do? Where would she go? Her mother stayed home, there was no way she’d be able to just hang home all day.
“Well, it doesn’t matter, Dear.” Her father said. He started walking up the stairs and slid past his daughter. “She’s grounded anyway.”
Her mother nodded. “Yes, I suppose you’re right.” Once her husband was at the top of the stairs, she took it upon herself to go downstairs. She patted Gina on the shoulder as she passed.
Gina watched her mother as she disappeared into the living room. She looked above her and her father was already gone. She leaned her back against the wall and sighed. Well, that didn’t go as planned. Deep down she knew that was for the best.