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Love Thy Neighbor

By:Belle Aurora

front of Natalia. You know how she is.” Mom’s English is pretty darn good. She’s a little dramatic. Not that I blame her. Raising three hot-headed girls will do that to you. My dad has been trying to marry me off to a nice Croatian boy since I was eighteen, and whenever he works marriage into a conversation, I normally just walk away with him still flapping his lips.

Dad glares at mom. “Ana…”

Mom cuts him off with a firm, “Boris.” Dad pouts and looks away.

Mom 1 – Dad 0.

“I can see Nina over by the bar. I think I’ll join her for a drink.” I remove myself from my father’s clutches and walk away.

I walk two steps and hear my dad yell out, “Pamet u glavu! Nemoj mi sramotit!” I smirk. I’ve been hearing this since I was a child. It basically means Use your brain and Don’t embarrass me. Every Croatian child hears this growing up, and most likely, still does. I’m almost twenty-nine and am still hearing it!

My sisters are at the bar chatting, and very obviously flirting with the handsome blonde barman.

He is actually handsome.

Not hot exactly. He looks classy.

I’ve seen him several times, but don’t know his name. We all meet up at The White Rabbit every Saturday night to drink and unwind. Nik made us girls permanent VIPs. We have our own booth and everything!

I smirk internally and decide to be a real bitch. I’m going to spoil their fun.

I put on my best sultry smile, walk in-between my sisters and lean over the bar towards the barman.

“Hi.” I tilt my head and search his face as if I’m really just seeing him for the first time. “I’m sure you’re new. I would’ve remembered you if I’d seen you here before.” I lightly chew on the nail of my pinky finger, accentuating my naturally pouty lips.

The barman stares at my lips, swallows and replies a choked, “Hi.” He clears his throat and tries again. “Hi. Actually, I know you, Nat. I see you every Saturday night with the Safira party.”

I put on my best humiliated face and lean even closer, so he can see my cleavage. “I’m sorry. Maybe I can make it up to you…”

“Stefan. But everyone calls me Sheriff.” He takes my hand and kisses it.

I take his hand, kiss the tip of his middle finger very lightly and run it along my bottom lip. Stefan’s mouth parts slightly and his body tightens. He looks to be in pain. I whisper, “Let me make it up to you sometime…Sheriff.” Then I wink and walk away, leaving my sisters fuming.

Ha-ha…Take that, ya whores!

My sisters and I have a love-hate relationship. We love to hate each other. We all look alike, have the same attitude and are extremely short-fused. But we love each other to death, and if someone hurt one of my sisters, they’d have to answer to me. Or my fist. Repeatedly.

I make my way to the restroom. As soon as I walk in, I hear retching.

“Everything okay in there?” I yell out.

“Fine! Bean doesn’t like mama dancing around too much.” Poor Tina.

I chuckle. “Either that, or it’s an attention seeker.”

Tina chuckles and retorts, “Just like Aunt Nat!”

I pull out the fakest laugh I can, which sounds a bit like an old man’s guffaw. Tina bursts out laughing in the stall, but she quickly starts retching again. The poor thing gets morning sickness all day long. I remember her being just the same when she was pregnant with Mia, Tina’s daughter who died a few years back.

“Do you want me to get you some lemonade?” I ask.

She groans and replies hoarsely, “Yes, please, honey.”

Before I leave, I check my reflection in the mirror. I love my hair. It’s long and slightly wavy. It used to be a deep magenta/violet, but I recently dyed it a vivid red. With my red pouting lips, green eyes and curvy body, I could easily be mistaken for Jessica Rabbit. And I love playing the role of seductress.

I exit the restroom and head back to the bar to my unhappy sisters. Once there, they both glare at me. “What the feck was that about, slut?” My older sister, Nina, spits.

“Yeah, he went all goo-goo over you, and now he won’t come back here, tramp!” My younger sister, Helena, sneers.

Ahh, feel the love.

When a person looks at us together, they can tell we’re sisters. We’re only a year apart from each other. The only difference between us is Nina’s hair is dyed blonde and Helena’s hair is dyed black.

Nina is a hairdresser and has her own salon in Cali. I hate having to pay to get my hair done in New York when my sister is a hairdresser. Helena is still studying. She wants to be a physical therapist.

“Back off, whores. It was totally obvious what you were doing. Stop embarrassing yourselves.” I say out the side of my mouth.

Anyone looking at us would see three sisters smiling and having a nice chat. No one would guess what we were really saying to each other. Every cuss word and insult is uttered with the utmost affection though, I promise.

Nina smiles and wraps an arm around my shoulders. “He was totally into me. Back off, hag.”

Helena fake laughs and lightly pushes Nina. “Oh please, he didn’t want you, Nina. No one wants a girl with a moustache.”

We all burst out laughing and wrap our arms around the others’ waists. We really do love each other. We just have a weird way of expressing it.

I joke, “Maybe we should do the sister act. You know, if you want one of us, you have to take all of us.”

Nina replies, “Oh, yeah, because one hoe isn’t enough. He needs three.”

Helena teases, “Sure. We could invite mom and dad to watch.”

All of us stop and blink at each other. At the same time, we scrunch our faces and mutter, “Ewww.”

Stefan comes past our side of the bar, and I yell out, “Sheriff, I need some lemonade. Stat. The bride is retching again.” He stops suddenly, turns, and the lemonade appears in front of me like magic.

I take the bottle, kiss my sisters’ cheeks and head back to the restrooms. I pass the lemonade under the stall, and Tina cheers, “Hooray! No more vomit breath.”

I chuckle and ask, “Do you want me to stay with you,