Book cover of “Little White Lie“ by Zaynab

Little White Lie

  • Genre: Romance
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Language: English
  • Author: Zaynab
“Name?” “Katy. Katy Trent.” “Age?” “25.” “Are you married?” “What?” I stared at the woman for any hint of a joke, but I couldn’t find any playfulness on her face. “Yes.” Lying for once won’t hurt, right? Scribbling down some random name and phone number in the staff form seemed so easy at first. But why my boss decided that I am married to... 

Chapter 1

Katy’s POV

I pulled the scarf up to the brim of my nose and quickened my pace. There were only a few people passing by. I waved at Theodora, the elderly woman who lived across the street from us. She was performing her daily workout routine, which involved jogging around the neighborhood. Despite her age, she was young at heart. I passed by the few papers stationed in the mailbox, probably notices and all. 

The door made a small sound as I entered the passcode. Ever since a burglar broke into the house, I had set a passcode to ensure our safety. Thankfully, no one was around when they broke in. Since I didn’t know how many of them there were, I took extra precautions.

As I entered the living room, I saw my sister Amy sprawled on the floor. She had one hand resting on her chin, and I immediately recognized the novel in front of her. A giggle erupted from her lips, which meant she hadn’t noticed my presence yet. I made myself known by clearing my throat. She instantly slid the book under the couch and stood up, almost tripping on the way.

“Oh, sister, you’re back?” Her statement came out as a question, and I could see the fright on her face. She knew me so well.

Dropping the groceries gently on the wooden table positioned at the farther end of the living room, I walked toward her. My shoes made some faint sounds on the way. Poor shoes. I kept my eyes on her as I retrieved the book.

“Diary of a Psychopath Teenage Girl,” I read aloud. The name seemed interesting, but I didn’t plan on showing my reaction toward it. I shut my eyes to calm myself from lashing out at her. I thought I had warned her already. I counted to three before opening my eyes.

“I’m sorry, Katy. It’s just that I have nothing to do. Mom hasn’t come back yet, and neither have you. I’m bored at home with nothing to do. It’s the only thing keeping me company in your absence,” she said, her voice dripping with a plea.

There she goes again with her complaints. The look on my face since the moment I caught her with the book didn’t waver a bit, but it ignited something in me. Anger.

“You have nothing to do, huh? What about your textbooks? Aren’t you supposed to read them or do your assignments?”

“Do you expect me to read textbooks every day? School. School. School. Twenty-four hours like a maniac. For goodness sake, I need a break,” her voice was slightly raised, followed by a lone tear that visibly rolled down her chin.

For some reason, I felt guilty. I knew I wasn’t supposed to snap at her like that, especially when I knew how sensitive she was. I was trying my best to provide her with a good future, a good life, and good education. These were things I couldn’t get for myself while I was busy taking care of the family.

My body went weak hearing the small sobs emanating from her. Reaching for her arm, I pulled her to my body, rubbing my palm on her back.

“I’m sorry, Amy. I didn’t mean to snap at you. However, you should understand the situation. Understand me. I’m trying to give you the best life and education. I’m not stopping you from reading novels. No. I just don’t want you to drift away from your studies.”

“I know you’re doing it to keep our family together. But Katy, why will you only suffer? What about Mom? She only comes home at night drunk and leaves early in the morning to God knows where, and you take care of her debt. What kind of mothe—” Before she could complete her statement, I pulled away and placed my finger on her lips, shushing her.

“Don’t. She might behave indifferently, but she’s still your mother. Our mother. I know she’s not been taking care of us, but at least she’s here for us,” I managed to brush off the tear that threatened to spill out of my eye. I can’t get emotional in that state in front of Amy. It will only trigger her more. She stared at my face blankly as if trying to figure out something, but I masked it up by pulling her to me once again.

“I’m sorry, okay? You can read your novels during the weekend,” I said.

She pulled away almost immediately. Her face lit up. “Are you serious, sister?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Thank you, Katy. You’re the best. I promised to concentrate on my studies more than before.” Pecking my chin, she grabbed the book and dropped it on the floor. “I love you,” and sauntered into the room. The room we shared.

My eyes lingered on the closed door, followed by a sigh escaping me. I might not be the strongest person at the moment, but I will try my best and be there for her. After all, she’s all I have. And maybe Mom. I wonder where she is. I didn’t finish closing off my thoughts when I heard some indistinct voices from the outside. I ignored them, thinking it was from the neighborhood youth stars arguing about their daily lives. Football, movies, or celebrities.

Shaking my head at their nonsensical attitude, I made my way to our kitchen. Not big and not too small. Enough for us to use. Our house is not that spacious. It consists of only two rooms. The one I and Amy share and the other that Mom uses alone. Then one bathroom. The living room is big enough. Two couches, an LCD TV, a decoder, and a few decorations. Enough for us to fit in.

Ignoring their banter, I went ahead to the kitchen. I started by arranging the vegetables in the refrigerator. Something caught my ear, which halted my actions.

“Shut the fuck, man!” A female voice exclaimed. Wait. I know that voice. It can’t be…

“No, you shut the hell up! If you don’t pay me my money right this instant, then you will have to bear the consequences that will follow!” Another voice exclaimed, loud enough that I could hear it vividly in my ear. At that moment, I knew who it was and what it was about. Drying my wet palms on my jeans, I darted for the door.

“Who the hell do you think you are to threaten me?” Mom’s voice went straight to my ear as soon as I opened the entrance door. She stood closely in front of the huge man. One look at his face, and you will know he isn’t someone to mess with. But my mom stood her ground, throwing daggers at him. In a swift motion, he grabbed her arm, her palms landing on his chest due to the harsh grip. His eyes suddenly darkened, a familiar look in his eyes.

“Oh, maybe you can pay me by…” he trailed off, raking his eyes down her body. My mom, in her drunken state, didn’t seem to notice the man’s inappropriate thoughts. I walked up to them before things could escalate, and we would become the talk of the town.

“Excuse me, sir, is there a problem?” I asked calmly. Both of their faces snapped toward me.

“Katy,” Mom uttered. “Oh, my sweet daughter is here to my rescue,” she said again, moving away from him. I steadied her before she could fall to the ground. Her heels were not solving matters.

“Is she your mother?” the man chirped. His tone was dripping with sarcasm.

“Yes, sir. Is there any problem?” I repeated.

Mom leaned her head on my shoulder, and a giggle erupted from her mouth. “You see, Katy, this man is claiming I owe him money, which I don’t have a recollection of.”

“Clai—” he leaped forward, but I was quick in blocking his way.

“I’m sorry about what she did. Can you tell me the amount, and I will pay you back?”

His tightened muscles relaxed, and he shifted back. “The money is not that much. It’s just $50.”

Did I just hear him say fifty dollars?! My eyes snapped to mom in anger. “Mom!”

“He’s lying, Katy. I don’t remember getting that money from him or whatsoever. And as he said, the money is not that much.”

To say I was beginning to be fed up with her would be something I didn’t see coming. She always gets herself and me in trouble one way or the other. And to make things worse, she always denied them.

“Excuse me, miss. I’m not here to listen to your boring act and your mother’s drunken state. Pay me my money and be freed from what’s in store for you.”

Slipping my hand in my pocket, I counted the money and handed it to him. My last cash. I grabbed mom’s hands, ready to take off, when his next words stopped me in my tracks.

“You should learn how to control your mother. One day she might get herself in very big trouble.”

What does he want again? I didn’t drag the issue because I didn’t want to cause a ruckus. Yet, he was trying to make things harder than they already were.

“That’s none of your business. I’ve paid you your money, so back off!” I seethed. The left of his lips curved up.

“Well, I like that attitude. Does it run in your family? Oh, I almost forgot. It seems your family is cursed. The father was nowhere to be seen after getting chased by loan sharks. The mother is drinking with rich men. And the daughter…” His eyes raked through my body. “What will we expect from the daughter? Maybe she will follow her parents’ footsteps or much more than that.”

If I said his words didn’t sting down to my core, then I would be lying. Bile rose in my throat, and I did the only thing I thought was the best. Walk away.

I didn’t care about my mom leaning on the mailbox, trying to steady herself. I didn’t care about the prying eyes of our neighbors. I didn’t care about the smirk of victory playing on the man’s lips. And most of all, I didn’t care about my heart telling me to turn back and give him a piece of my mind. I didn’t care. I walked away.

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