“Pasta with strings attached” Extract from Casting Queen Ch. 31: Elektra gets home from a VERY good party to find her mother up and waiting for her…
It was kind of predictable that I got home late. Not that late but late enough. It was predictable that Mum waited up. It was also predictable that she’d been having a nervous breakdown.
‘Why do you never pick up your phone?’ she said (as she so often did).
‘I didn’t hear it ring,’ I protested (as I quite often did).
‘If you can’t behave responsibly when you’re out, then you can’t go out,’ she said (she didn’t say that very often because I didn’t really go out very often).
‘You’ve no idea how responsibly I behaved.’ And comparatively speaking that was true.
She paced and tutted for a bit, but couldn’t help herself. ‘Are you hungry? Do you want pasta?’
‘Yes, please.’ I was starving.
‘Fine. I’ll make you pasta and you sit down and tell me everything.’
Oh. OK, this pasta had strings attached. ‘Moss was there,’ I said. She looked worried. ‘Oh, dear, did you have another argument?’ ‘No, it was really nice to talk to her. It was all good.’
‘I’m pleased,’ said Mum simply and for once had the sense not to ask me any questions about something that mattered. It didn’t mean she wasn’t going to ask any questions. ‘So, did you have fun?’
‘Uh-huh.’ I went as non-committal as possible; I didn’t want her to think I hadn’t had fun, but I definitely didn’t want her to know how much fun I’d had.
‘So you didn’t have fun.’
‘No, no, I did.’ I just really didn’t want to tell her about it.
‘Was it awful? You hated it? They were mean to you?’ Every teenage parenting book she’d ever read had been preparing her for this moment. ‘Darling, if anything happened, anyone peer-pressured you, you did anything you regret, you can tell me.’
‘NOTHING HAPPENED! I LOVED THE PARTY!’
‘Why do you sound angry then? Something’s obviously upset you. Just tell me – stop being so defensive.’
I spoke very slowly, like you’d speak to a small, rather stupid child who was threatening to throw themselves under a train. ‘No, I had a very, very nice time. The party was amazing. I didn’t drink anything. I did no drugs. I did not engage in sexual contact.’
‘Oh, all right.’ She almost looked disappointed. ‘Who did then?’
She was a lost cause. I ended up telling her about Flissy’s ‘moment’ in the bushes because my judgement was a bit impaired, it was seriously funny, I owed no loyalty to Flissy and Mum deserved payment for the pasta. She took this as proof that the party was a rampant orgy, then she let me go to bed, her fears about not having anything to worry about allayed.