Arthur blinked. "Not even a wine cooler?"
"Sure, honey, we'll get you home," Melissa said kindly, knowing concern in her eyes as she watched Kevin's retreat.
Then she turned a positively incandescent gaze on Jon. "Arthur, dear. Would you please take Sarah inside and clean her up for me? Use Jon's bathroom."
"Huh?" Arthur said, the light frown in his face as he turned to his wife letting her know that he knew something was wrong, though he wasn't entirely certain what it was. "Yeah, sure. Come on, sweets! Let's get that ketsup off your face."
Jon felt suddenly and entirely exposed, like an ant beneath the murderous light of a magnifying glass as Melissa waited until Arthur disappeared inside with Sarah. Then, her smile dropped, the fingers of both hands splaying out on the table top as she leaned forward over the table, and Jon found himself leaning back.
"I cannot believe you," she whispered. "I cannot believe how rude you are being, how down right cruel. I've known you to be a lot of things, Jon, but cruel has never been one of them. What the hell are you thinking?"
"I'm thinking that she's a student!" Jon hissed back, just as quietly. "I'm thinking that you've brought a student to invade my home-"
"My home! My backyard!" Melissa spat at him. "I have never, in all the years I have known you, been so fucking angry at you as I am right now." And Jon knew it to be true in that sentence right there; Melissa never said 'fuck', in any variation of the word. She was standing now, leaning over the table, her palms planted on either side of the platter half-full with burgers, eyes burning. "Do you realize that that little girl is inside right now probably crying eyes out? Because of you?"
"That 'little girl' is not a little girl!" Jon bit, eyes wide as the words left him, guilt flooding him in their wake even though his words could be taken in any number of ways. Guilt, because he was pretty sure Melissa was right about Kevin's crying. And guilt, because despite how much Jon disliked him, it was not his place to reveal Kevin's secret. Not like this.
Melissa's nostrils flared. "I am well aware of that."
The laugh she gave was short and derisive, though the bitterness in the sound was not toward Kevin. "Not many women have square shoulders and an Adam's apple, Jon. But what right do you have to look down on her because of that? What gives you the right to be so high and mighty? Last time I checked, you were not Jesus Christ! And even Jesus Christ loved the whores, beggers, and cross dressers- shut your mouth, dammit!"
Jon, who had been about to say that he in no way compared himself to the Son of God, shut his mouth with an audible snap. Melissa was leaning so far over the table by now, her arms straight, her back rigid, that she looked about two seconds from crawling on top of it.
"And let me tell you this, Jon. You will take her home. And you will apologize for your abhorrent behavior, and you will be nice, because, so help me, if I find out you said one wrong thing to her, if you behaved in any way that is not due to a guest in my fucking house, I will castrate you with a melon baller!"
And then she was gone, striding off across the lawn to her house in her bare feet and sun dress like an avenging sprite, leaving Jon blinking after her in shock.
Melissa stopped once she was safely inside her house, hands balled into fists at her sides, breathing deeply through her nose. She gave her body a shake, attempting to get the tension and shaking anger under control, and put a kind smile on her face, walking to the guest bathroom's closed door.
"Karen?" she asked, knocking lightly. "Are you alright, dear?"
"If he asks me what day of the week it is, I'll be sorely tempted to answer 'orange'." ~Chang WuFei,