Triplets Win Lottery (Part IV)
The truth will out.
Maribeth looked at Will. Had he not told his sisters that they’d gotten a no-fault divorce two weeks ago, after the requisite six-month waiting period? Hadn’t he told his sisters, his parents? Did the band know, at least?
She turned back to the car. “Actually, Kate, I’ve been treating Will fine, but it’s been super easy because I hardly ever see him because we’re not together anymore.”
Kate just stared at Maribeth with her mouth open before taking a quick, hard drag from her cigarette. She exhaled the smoke directly into the back of Margo’s head, giving Margo a billowing halo.
“Shut up,” Margo said to Maribeth, still frowning, but intrigued.
“No, really,” Maribeth laughed, “it’s true.” She turned to Will, to get his backing on her story.
Unsmiling, he nodded and strummed a G cord.
The girls had never liked Maribeth.
She couldn’t imagine them liking anyone their brother married, because they were so posessive of him, unnaturally attached to their baby brother, but their complaints against Maribeth had been enumerated with a high level of specificity, both to her face and behind her back: She was too old for him (being six years his senior). She wasn’t pretty enough. She was from a broken, Protestant family (her parents had divorced when she was ten) and the girls were never invited to her family’s rare gatherings. She didn’t drink. She was a snob who thought she was better than them. She couldn’t cook. She didn’t want children and hadn’t had any. She didn’t know how to really have fun like the Dunns knew how to have fun. And all of her pursuits — reading, choral singing, hot yoga, master’s swimming, and her doctorate in social work — bewildered and disgusted them. In short, she was an old, big-bottomed bore and they didn’t see why their brother even liked her.
Kate switched off the headlights and stepped out of the car with her cigarette, slamming the door and leaving Margo in the dark. She walked around the front of the car and came to lean against the back passenger-side door, close to Maribeth and Will.
“Soooo,” she said, smoking, arms crossed, “you are no longer legally married at all?”
“Not at all,” Maribeth said. She had an odd feeling, like she was talking about her gynelogical medical record with her dentist.
“Then you don’t have any say over what Will does at all, no legal standing to prevent him from doing anything at all?” Kate asked. “And any money he makes will be his and his alone?”
Maribeth turned to Will, who was half smiling, looking at his sister as if she amazed and amused him.
“Will, what the hell is going on exactly? Why did you want me to call your the girls tonight?”
“You wanted her to call us?” Margo said from the car. “You couldn’t tell her yourself?”
Will shrugged. He picked a little minor key archepeggio.
Kate flicked her cigarette butt in a red arc in the darkness and shoved her fists into her front pockets. “Listen, Maribeth, we’re making a documentary of our life and Will is an integral part of our film. His footage forms the backbone of the third act, as it were, and we’re using it.”
Maribeth laughed. “OK? And this has anything to do with me how?”
“Well,” Kate said, “I mean, you’re in it.”
“What do you mean I’m in it?”
Will sighed. “There’s footage of our lives, mine and yours too.”
“From a hidden camera or something?” Maribeth asked, looking back and forth from Will’s impassive face to Kate’s obstinate one. Her stomach felt bad. She had a strong urge to bum a cigarette from Kate. Margo was biting her nails in the dar car, and opening and closing the glove compartment compulsively.