Robert Day was frugal to the point of miserly. This had served him well, raising four daughters on what was basically a starting salary, but even now with three of those daughters left home he hadn't abandoned the habit of penny pinching. Spending money seemed to almost physically pain him, so much did he dislike it. He would sigh and grimace, rub his temples and grit his teeth and roll his eyes whenever he had to open his wallet, as if every dollar he spent was a drop of his own blood he was shedding. Georgia Lee could recall vividly her childhood mortification, visiting a grocery store with her father, seeing the clerks' look on with a mixture of concern and exasperation as he groaned and grumbled and counted out nickels to pay for milk.
When it came to his money he was careful. Every purchase would be inventoried, every expense recorded. He didn't make investments: those were far too risky. He didn't play lottery, didn't give to charity, never tipped over 30%, never returned a library book late or overparked or incurred any fee of any kind, ever. Did he have a credit card? Did he even use a bank? Georgia Lee didn't know, but she wouldn't've been at all surprised to learn her family's savings lived in a shoebox under her parents' bed.
She had once, and only once, seen her father willingly part from money when it wasn't absolutely necessary.
It was the 2014 NFL season, the Cardinals were 9 from 10, and Arizona had football fever. It was all that was on the radio, the only thing worth mentioning on the TV. Bruce Arians had gotten settled, people were saying, and this year he was fixing to take the Cardinals all the way. This was the season. Her mother described it as a wave of "Statriotism", which crashed over and washed away all his frugality and care, making him place the one and only bet of his adult life.
Georgia Lee didn't know how much he'd bet. A lot, she thought, though it'd probably've hurt him just as much if it were only a few dollars. The Cardinals went two to five for the rest of the season. They wildcarded their way into the playoffs and exhibited the worst offense in playoffs history. It was all that was on the radio. The only thing worth mentioning on the TV.
Her father's face as they'd lost that last game was another of Georgia Lee's clearest memories. He'd stared at the TV like it was lying to him, like it'd crack and admit that they'd won, that he was rich, if he only applied enough pressure. The TV didn't crack, and Robert Day was quiet for weeks after that. Perhaps the dollars were a little like blood, to him. Certainly, to Georgia Lee, it seemed as if this had cost him a little part of himself.
There was a lot that Georgia Lee got from her father, she suspected. Her meticulousness. Her stubbornness. Her dedication. More than any of those, though, she credited him with the lesson that there is never a reason for compromise. If you're going to do something, do it absolutely, and don't do it because you think that the universe will reward you for it. That if you save and scrimp enough, the lottery ticket you buy will be the big one, or the bet you place will come through. She worked to take what she wanted, not to somehow persuade the world to give it to her. She worked hard, and she was very, very, very careful about slipping up.
Georgia Lee knew her vices and her triggers, and she took a level of care around them that would've done Robert Day proud. She watched herself around them like her father had watched those last, losing games. Unblinkingly. Nervously. Not without a certain amount of pain.
Food was Georgia Lee's weakness. She'd cooked for herself for years, initially to simply assert her independence, to show she could feed herself. There was power, though, in controlling what you ate. She monitored calorie and nutrient intake with rigor, avoiding processed sugars and saturated fats like her father avoided buying a car manufactured in her lifetime. She'd loved to eat as a child, could do it all day, every day, piling forkful after fistful into her mouth and never getting full. That was the hunger of a tiger, and a tiger left unwatched and uncaged will cause no end of havoc.
Sometimes, still, she'd lose control. Things would get too hard, she'd have a moment of weakness, and she'd gorge. It had been worse when her sisters still lived at home, and there were more temptation foods available, but even now, walking past a store after a particularly grueling practice, or struggling with study at night, knowing there was ice cream in the freezer... the temptation was still there. She had to watch it.
It could be hard, really hard, maintaining self control. Other times, though, it made things easy. Like, now, for example.
Was the burrito a peace offering? Was it some kind of trap? It didn't even matter. It was full of grease and beans and probably some spit, and even that didn't matter either because Georgia Lee had already eaten a nutritionally optimised and balanced meal at the start of the lunch period, because she was responsible and she managed her time well and prepared food based on her dietary needs unlike some people who were apparently so lacking in self-knowledge that they could prepare two more burritos than they needed, which was simply a ridiculous surplus to have. How many burritos did she think she could eat? How many had she eaten already? Was her freakish level of burrito intake the secret behind Fiyori's freakish height?
She was probably new at this whole cooking thing, Georgia Lee decided. The burritos were unlikely to be very good anyway, then.
"I already ate. Thanks."
If she was unable to cook a sensible number of burritos, she'd have to work that out herself. It wasn't Georgia Lee's problem.