More Questions...

“Hey Mouse! Come on, are you gonna just sit there all day?” Makenzie looked up and saw her brother Ty and his beat-up truck idling in front of the high school. Since Aaron had asked her to dinner before lunch, she had been in a daze. She had been trying to put him out of her mind for hours, but had yet to succeed. Makenzie sighed and swung herself up into the pickup’s cab; Ty rolled his eyes at her “I’ve been here for ten minutes while you were lost in La La land.” She paused as she was pulling her seatbelt on “Look, I’m sorry. But could you call me mouse any louder? I don’t think everybody heard you.” Makenzie looked up and saw the familiar devil-may-care grin on his face as he opened his mouth. Realization of what he was about to do struck, and like a bullet from the barrel of a gun, she clamped her small hand over his lips. His shoulders shook with laughter as he easily swept her small hand away.

“Mom told me I had to pick you up ‘cause she’s in the middle of making chili” both of them grimaced at the thought of their mom’s chili; only Camriel, their college-age older sister was able to eat it. “Why? We hate it and Cami’s four hours away. So what’s the occasion?” Ty chuckled, and shook his head “Surprise” he laughed at her half curious half pleading expression “that means I can’t tell you, Mouse. But seriously; Camriel and chili. Duh!” Makenzie groaned, thinking of the spicy smell that always made her sick. “Tell me about it” Ty agreed, theatrically plugging his nose. “Well, at least I can escape; there’s a football game tonight and Jessa and I are in the band.”

The mention of the game brought Aaron to the front of her mind, as well as a problem she hadn’t thought of. Getting into town would be difficult; they lived a good twenty minutes away from the school. “Hey Ty, can I have a ride to the game tonight?” The truck hit one of the many potholes that dotted the country road and they were bounced around, effectively drowning his answer. “No” he repeated and before Makenzie could protest he continued “Jessa and I are going together, and this is the closest we can get to a real date because of her dad.” At the mention of Ty’s long time girlfriend, Makenzie made a face. He ignored her again and kept going relentlessly “Look, if you got a date, you wouldn’t want me playing tag along, now would you?” They pulled into the long, winding driveway, and as he switched off the ignition he gave her a long look. “You don’t have a date, do you Max?” Makenzie didn’t reply, but she could feel her face changing color rapidly. She grabbed her bag and dashed into the house.

As she slipped into the front room, the smell hit her harder than one of Camriel’s fast pitch softballs. Makenzie gagged and buried her nose in the bulky collar of her hoodie and hurried up the stairs, careful to skip the creaky second and fifth stairs. She crossed the long hall and opened her door barely wide enough to admit herself, and then shut it with a barely audible click. The nauseating smell of chili was still there, though it was not as strong as it was downstairs. She shook her head like a dog trying to clear water from its ears as she glanced around her small, lavender-colored room. Her favorite pajamas were lying in a heap where she had left them that morning, and her cat, Sarah, was using them as a bed. Makenzie sighed and scooped up Sarah despite the cats’ protests; she dropped the cat into her basket and swept her PJ’s into the hamper.
With nothing else to do, Makenzie tossed her bag on the unmade bed and went to the window. She began tugging on the ancient wooden frame, trying to budge it open. At first, her progress was measured in inches, but, with a rush of fresh air, it slid open. Carefully she slipped out onto a flat section of the roof and leaned her back against the wall of the house. From her perch, she could see the fields that surrounded the small town, the dark ribbon of the highway, and the dusty gravel road to town. After a while, Makenzie closed her eyes and put her headphones in; as the opening notes of her favorite song played, she gave in to the tidal wave of daydreams that had been threatening to break all day.

She was so far gone that she didn’t hear the sound of the window protesting as someone jerked it open, or the muttered curses as it got stuck. So when a hand touched her shoulder, Makenzie jumped and almost fell. She spun her head around to glare at the newcomer as she swept the headphones from her ears. Camriel’s pale, grinning face came into view. With her dark cloud of black curls and hazel eyes, it was like she’d never left; sitting there with her long legs tucked under her as she knelt on the roof beside Makenzie. She was holding two steaming bowls one full of chili and the other full of chicken flavored ramen. Wordlessly she held out the dish of noodles as a peace offering. Makenzie took it and dug in. “Surprise!” Camriel yelled. She swallowed fast and burned her throat in the process “what are you doing home?!” Makenzie gasped as she rubbed her neck wincing. “Ah, I had a couple days off. But whatever. Ty says you have a date tonight.” Makenzie nodded her conformation, knowing her face would give her away if she lied. Cam smiled “Well, does he have a name? What does he look like? Is he cute? Did you tell Mom” Makenzie held her hand up to stem the flow of questions and began telling her about the day’s events.

A quarter of an hour later, she had finished both her narrative and her noodles. Camriel nodded, and said “I’ll drive you. Go and get ready. You are sooo NOT wearing that” she gestured at the baggy hoodie and paint stained jeans that Makenzie had been wearing all day, and sighed “honestly, no one would know we’re related by our fashion senses” She grinned “well, no one believes we’re related anywho ‘cause your this tiny redhead and I’m about a foot taller than you”. Camriel rose to her feet saying “Go. Get ready. We’ll leave in ten minutes” then crawled back through the window, leaving Makenzie alone with her thoughts.

Along with earlier questions, new ones began spiraling through her mind. “What am I going to wear? Does it matter? What will I tell Mom? Will I tell Mom?” Her already fried brain was so full of questions that panic seized her and for a minute she froze, unable to move. She shook it off, and climbed in after her sister. Once her brain slowed down to a comprehendible speed, a single question presented itself above the rest;

“Now what?!”

She really wished she knew





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback