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A Night for Jack

He trudged up the front porch steps; he already had it planned. He knew exactly what he was going to say when he reached the top, where he knew Mama was waiting. Who did she think she was anyway? Telling that pretty girl from the corner store she had no business with her son. He’s just about seventeen years old. Old enough to worry about himself. And all those goddamn pretty girls.

At least, that’s why he should be mad, he tried to tell himself. But he knew- he knew he was mad he didn’t stop the truck last night. That strange, mysterious girl. Not from around here, he concluded. Too different.

“Where’s Pa?” He asked when he was about a nose-length away from Mama. She peered up at him, but he averted her gaze.

“Gone fishing. You know that, it’s Sunday. Which is why you’ve got to go get your good clothes on. You were missing this morning, so we’re going to six o’clock mass.” She countered.

Jack wasn’t in the mood. He slid past her into the 100 something year old half-farm he had grown up in. Well, ever since he was five and was placed in this foster home. Annabelle rushed to the door. Ah, Annabelle.

Jack hated every other foster kid his foster parents raised. There were ten total; the McDougars were never able to have kids on their own, and they couldn’t afford the adoption money, so they dealt with the cards they were forced to play with. Jack was the oldest, and Annabelle, age ten, was the middle child. Thus, she received little attention, and from an early age latched on to Jack.

“Jack! Where have you been!?” She exclaimed, for he had been gone nearly a day and a half.

“I went to go try and make amends with Tracy…remember the girl Mama kicked out of the house a few nights ago?” Jack lied.

“Nooooo Jack, you said you didn’t like Tracy. Where were you really?” Annabelle clutched his hand. Her biggest fear was losing him, and he seemed to be disappearing for longer periods of time. Even when he was home, he wasn’t home.

Jack ran a hand through his uncut, sun-streaked blonde hair. Fooling Annabelle was never an option- she knew him too well.

“Alright, Bells, wanna hear a story?”

“Yessir!”

“Once upon a time there was a lowlife- a boy raised to herd cattle and feed sheep, pick corn and run mills. His mama and papa, they weren’t even his real mama and papa, and he remembered it everyday. So, his life wasn’t exactly picturesque. Until one day, he borrowed his pa’s truck, and drove around town for an entire night, simply to clear his head. Unfortunately, he tried other tactics to clear his head as well, and actually made his brain a little murkier. So he slammed a princess…”

“What do you mean, Jack?”

“Are you listening or not? He slammed the brakes right before hitting a princess. A real princess, not a fake one from the other stories I tell you. This one had long curly red hair. Like fire, Bells, her hair was on fire. She had the biggest blue eyes you’d ever seen, and freckles on her shoulders. Beautiful, Bells, almost as beautiful as you.”

“So you’re the prince Jack? You and the beautiful fire girl? You’re gonna live happily ever after together?”

Jack laughed, “Unfortunately no. I almost hit her, remember? She yelled some vulgar words at me and stomped away. But for a second, when I saw her face in the moonlight- her scared, worrisome, porcelain face…I didn’t know how to drive away.”

“So you’re gonna go find her, right, Jack?”

Jack grabbed a freshly ironed button-down from the kitchen table. It was probably Andrew’s, since Jack didn’t own anything so nice- he didn’t care. His summer-tanned, muscular body barely fit into the shirt, but he tugged at it anyway.

“I don’t know Bells. Probably not. Princesses are for Princes, you know that. Come on, I’m surprised Mama’s not yelling. Time for church.” Jack went to the back hall to gather the rest of his siblings.

Princesses are for Princes, you know that.



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