Family Business: An excerpt from Jonathan of Jamesville High

Kip ran sprints alongside Jake. “You ready for Centerville?” Jake asked between gasps.

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

“I heard college recruiters will be there.”

“Yup, that’s the word–West Virginia, Pitt and Ohio State, to name a few.”

“So which one do you want knocking on your door?”

Kip shrugged. “Don’t care, so long as they do.”

“I hope it’s Ohio State. That’s where I’m going.”

“You’re that sure?” Kip asked, looking at him sideways.

“Hey, I’m a legacy. My old man was in the class of ‘87, and he gives them lots of money.”

Must be nice. “Doing well, is he?”

“People need cars, don’t they?”

Right, and everyone came through Mike DeLong’s Ford dealership. “I guess so.” He stopped to catch his breath.

Jake looked over his shoulder. “Say, is that Megan?”

Kip turned and saw a hunched figure, shivering on the metal bleacher seats. Like a shadow, everything about her was dark–black hair, black clothes, nails and lipstick, except for the eyes, blue as arctic ice, and just as cold. My sister, the human icicle. He walked toward her.

“Come to watch practice?”

She rolled her eyes. “Hardly. I need a ride, and you have a car.”

“Why don’t you hop on your broom and ride home?”

“Hah, hah. Jerk.”

Jake stepped around Kip. “Hey Megs, you’re looking fine these days.”

“Shut up, shitbag.”

Jake raised his hands defensively. “Wow, do you kiss your mom with that mouth?”

Meg’s eyes narrowed, but she said nothing.

Looking at his watch, Kip said, “I have another ten-minutes.” He saw her shiver again. “Here,” he slipped off his sweatshirt and handed it to her. “Put this on, before you freeze to death.”

She looked away, ignoring him. He pursed his lips and looked at Jake. “C’mon, Jake. We have some more sprints to do.” Jake turned and started walking away. Kip draped the sweatshirt across Meg’s shoulders anyway. As he stepped away, she shrugged, and it fell on the bench.

Shaking his head, he turned away and felt the probing fingers of the cold November air. No good deed goes unpunished.

Twenty minutes later, while running sprints, he stole a glance and saw Megan still sitting, but with his sweatshirt over her shoulders.

Honestly. Was that so damned hard?

 

By a quarter to five, practice finished. Kip couldn’t find Megan anywhere. Maybe she found a ride home? Nah, nobody would take that risk. He walked to his car, a ten-year-old Dodge Charger. The green paint still gleamed, though scratches and rust spots marred the overall finish. I hope to God this thing starts; it hates cold weather. He put the key in the door and a shadow appeared next to him. With a start he turned to see blue eyes glaring at him.

He frowned. “Is there some reason you can’t let people know you’re there? You almost gave me a heart attack.”

“You need to have one for that to happen,” Megan groused.

Kip ignored the comment and unlocked the doors. A sandy colored head appeared on the other side of the car.

“Hey Kip, can you give me a ride? I have to go the gym downtown.”

Kip winced, Sam had known he was going there after dropping Megan at home. It was hard to say no. “Can’t you find anyone else to take you?”

“Of course not,” Megan growled. “No one would be caught dead with a creeper like him.”

Sam retorted, “Since you look dead anyway, it shouldn’t be a problem. What do you say, Kip?”

He sighed. “All right, get in.” Sam flashed Kip a grin and slipped into the front seat.

“I’m not riding with him,” Megan stated.

“Not now,” Kip said. “You won’t be in the car with him for long, and you’ll be in the back seat.”

“No.”

“C’mon Megan, stop being a jerk. You wanted a ride; I will give you a ride.”

“Either he goes or I go.”

“You’re being an ass, stop it.”

Meg turned away and began walking toward the street.

Kip turned and shouted at her, “I’m not the one being unreasonable here.” She kept walking.

Dammit! Serves her right. He opened the door and slipped into the driver’s seat.

“What’s her problem?”

“You, it seems.”

“Me? How so?”

Where do I start? “Forget it. Let’s go.”

Sam watched Megan disappear around the corner. “You know, she wouldn’t be half bad looking if she didn’t dress like a corpse all the time.”

“Shut up. I don’t want you talking about my sister.”

“Sorry.” He dug into his pocket and pulled a small plastic package full of pre-rolled joints. “Since we don’t have Mother Teresa with us, let’s have a toke.”

“No,” Kip said. “You know I don’t do that crap anymore, and don’t smoke in here. It stinks up the car.”

“Man, you’re a downer.”

“Whatever.” I couldn’t give a shit. If you weren’t my cousin, I’d kick your ass out of my car. With a roar, the car started. Thank you Jesus!

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