3.2 Still Capable

by Matt P.

Walter killed the engine to his bike and swung himself off of it, rolling his neck around as he shoved his keys in to his pocket. The house he had found, with the help of the Marshal’s office on one of the many trips to and from Kansas City in the months before the move, was nice and neat. A small green space lead up to a porch ringed by little garden areas for Antigone and Ryan, who had their mother’s green thumb. He stepped up to the unlocked door and swung it open, scattering a pile of shoes and socks stacked by the door.

Walter chuckled a little bit, shaking his head. Since he couldn’t get them to move them to their rooms he decided to be grateful they didn’t track at least. He heard the sound of the television coming from the den, something animated that he would probably have little interest in, complimented by the sounds of Antigone and Ryan’s murmured voices. In the kitchen he found Siobhan seated at the island, her bare feet propped up on one of the other chairs. He gave them a significant glance and she stuck her tongue out at him while he retrieved a beer from the fridge, and another bottle of water.

“Top you up?” He asked, and at her nod refilled her glass. “Long day, Bug?” She gave a little bit of a smirk at the familiar nickname, before she shrugged. He’d known her shrugs for as long as she’d been breaking them out, and he figured this one was inviting. He leaned against the counter. “Wanna talk about it?”

Siobhan sighed a bit, idly checking her fingernail polish (black) as she thought about if she did. “Well, good news is we got invited to a party tonight. Benefit of school starting on a Thursday and Friday being a day off, I guess.” Walter nodded.

“And the bad news?” He asked.

“Well, some creeper harassed Annie.” She answered, and Walter blinked. And then sighed, and shook his head.

“Am I getting a call from the school?” He asked in a somewhat well-practiced tone of weary acceptance. Siobhan considered for a moment, before she gave a little smirk and shook her head. “Well good. I suppose you can go to the party then.” He said, drawing a pair of raised eyebrows from his daughter. “If you want to.”

She pondered. “I think Annie wants to. She really wants to be popular.” She looked up at her bangs. “I’ll see if I can darken up my hair a bit. It’d be a shame if I blew my image by being popular.”

Walter snorted, finally popping the cap off of his Newcastle Brown and taking a long draw from it. “Yeah, what a shame.” He looked over as Ryan entered the room. “Hey Ry, how was your day?”

He grunted, retrieving a diet soda from the fridge.

“Alright man, it’s time.” Walter told him, still leaning on the island. “Haven’t heard you talk all day, you know what to do.”

Ryan rolled his eyes, and gave a long suffering look to Siobhan, who returned an un-goth-like giggle of amusement. “I am still capable of human speech.” Ryan uttered with a deadpan seriousness as he exited the room.

“Thank you!” Walter called out, shaking his head. “Try not to punch anyone tonight at the party, huh Bug?” He asked. “It was an…odd day already.”

Siobhan smiled gently and stood, reaching out to squeeze her father’s hand, as she padded away to go start getting ready.