Elmire was bullied at school.
When she returned home, her father wanted to see her in his office.
Asher: Everyone who bothers you at school is a single-digit IQ dimwit dodo. Never think you deserve to be disrespected. You are not and will never be a dimwit, so you should not think like them. Understand you’re great and keep your head up.
Asher thought they were idiots (dimwits) because messing with his child was not something anyone with any sense would ever do. Even if they didn’t know about him, they should have known that ignorance was dangerous. Thank goodness the school called him to take care of this instead of his wife because he would definitely take care of it as soon as he found out who the parents were… He momentarily and silently fantasized about how delicious setting things straight would be. Regardless, his daughter would not feel unsafe at school again.
Of course, Asher had more to say.
Asher: Tell them to (#$@)*$%)@*#@ %)(@)#( *#)%@)*# )(#%)%.
Asher continued. He told her she should do whatever she wanted to any bullies. Hit them. Kick them. Bite them. Lie. He would defend her completely. He would delete them.
That didn’t sound quite right to her, so when he asked about who the bully was, Elmire told him she didn’t know and that she was okay. It had been some much older, bigger kid—not someone in her class. It wasn’t okay, though. She’d been scared, threatened, robbed, and she’d cried in front of other people at school. Just thinking about it made her want to cry again. She wasn’t sure about what to do next. The bully had gotten in trouble, but had he been reformed? She didn’t know, but she did know she wanted to try standing up for herself in her own way because her dad sometimes didn’t feel the same way she did about the difference between “far enough” and “way too far.” Elmire didn’t want anything really bad to happen to anyone.
Still, Asher made her feel better and laugh with some of the things he said.
Elmire’s friends, Brett and Britany, visited and cheered her up further. They played games and then danced, delighting in their common love for music.
Elmire tried to suss out what cards Brett had from his tone and expression, but couldn’t quite figure him out.
Her struggle made sense. Brett’s unique expressions were hard to read.
Fun facts about Brett and Britany: Brett has a sizeable crush on Elmire’s older sister, Delmarya, and Britany is a relative. She’s Asher’s great-granddaughter.
That evening, the fourth generation Fiers (Dawn, Dysis, Darius, and Dyna) and their partners also came to visit. Deli was really excited about her boyfriend coming over.
While most were in the music room, Rashad, Dysis’ husband, joined Adelise in the kitchen for tomato soup and sandwiches. Rashad was more than happy to eat anything Adelise prepared and he wanted to ask her about toys. He wasn’t a parent yet, but he wanted to get advice from other parents beforehand. Oddly enough, he never asked Asher about anything child-related…
Later, Deli (perhaps feeling a bit bad about how she’d slighted her youngest sister earlier) invited Elmire to join her and the rest of Elmire’s older siblings outside, which improved Elmire’s mood even further. She wasn’t a dimwit! Her IQ had more than a single digit and she was cool enough to have been invited to sit and talk with the adults, even if they were just her brothers and sisters.
It became late, so Elmire left to “go to bed.” In reality, she went straight to Cocoa, to do her favorite thing and reflect on a confusing day before sleeping.
Darius and Dysis also rose. They weren’t necessarily going home, but they wanted to give the couple some alone time.
Just as Zach and Deli were getting comfortable, Asher joined them. Zach rose to greet him. It was awkward, but Asher didn’t stay long.
It wasn’t like he didn’t have something he wanted to do.
Deli loved that her pajamas matched Zach’s: glasses, shorts, and a shirt with minimal sleeves. For the record, Deli didn’t need glasses to help her see. She used them to comfort herself as one might use a blanket or stuffed animal. As a child, she’d been enamored by a character called Kal-El. When Kal-El wore glasses, people thought he was a normal guy (instead of a superhuman alien) and they called him Mr. Kent. Thus, even though it was childish, when Deli started high school, she modeled herself after Kal-El and wore glasses. Did they change how anyone saw anything? Probably not, but they made her feel safer. People thought that she was a (relatively) normal girl. Some teachers even called her Ms. Fier. No one noticed that puberty had changed her into someone who craved plasma and could only spend the briefest of moments in the sun.
Regardless, when Deli slept, she liked to sleep with things that comforted her like her glasses and blue blankets, and in a slightly different sense, with …