Sunday, August 3, 2014

Chapter 10


"Linda!"

"Surprise!!" she said with a laugh.

"Tommy said ..."

"Sunday.  I know.  I thought it would be but Tommy said you looked like someone had whacked you in the face with a fish when he left.  Guess seeing me ain't the only surprise."

"You're telling me.  What's that?" I asked pointing to a bag she was carrying.

"Something besides that old school uniform you're wearing.  Who wants to get married in knee socks, a skort, and a t-shirt that says Consolidated Central?  C'mon.  I told Tommy to keep the men outside on the porch.  Whew ... certainly is bound to smell better out there.  Plumbing backing up?"

I shrugged.  "Sawyer said something about checking a p-trap."

"He'd know.  He did maintenance at the potato chip warehouse.  I guess he told you."

"Yeah."  I pulled her up stairs and away from the open windows before saying anything else.  "Linda?  Is this on the up and up?  I mean, that man really was my bio-dad's uncle and ... and this house is really ours to live in if we get married?"

"Yeah.  And Tommy said you was probably kinda scared of Sawyer 'cause he's handsome but you shouldn't be.  Sawyer don't like being handsome.  Tommy said he spent more time trying to get interesting scars to cover up how pretty he is as he did getting into regular ol' fights.  He went to school at County and you know how rough it is."

"I'm not scared."

"Oh yeah?"

"Okay, maybe a little scared but not of Sawyer.  He's better than most of the foster boys I've had to live with ... it's all the other ... er ... stuff."

"Oh.  Sex.  You need me to explain it to you?"

"No!"

"Well I didn't think I did but better to make sure.  Just tell him you aren't ready.  Then tell him to help you figure out some way to get ready.  He oughta be able to at least do that much.  I mean if he wants it he should be willing to work for it."

"Oh my lord.  Linda!"

Linda sighed sounding a lot older than me which she isn't.  "Oh I know.  Momma would have a fit but being married kinda changes things.  And trust me, Tommy's mother sure hasn't left much to the imagination."

"Yeah Tommy said she ... uh ... gives a lot of advice."

Linda giggled.  "She sure does.  Tommy and the other men get crossed eyed every time she gets started on the subject."

A voice drifted up the stairwell asking, "You girls ok up there?"

Linda called down, "Yes Mr. Hartford!  It's just girl talk!"

"Oh.  Er.  Hmm.  Harumph."

Linda giggled more quietly.  "Tommy's dad might look scary but mention something being girl talk his guts get watery ... or so Mrs. Hartford said."

Now I almost giggled.  Linda was my oldest friend; we'd come and gone in each other’s lives ever since grade school.  We were a lot different but we had enough in common that the differences only made our friendship more interesting.  She and Tommy were the only two that never judged me even though the other SLD kids were almost more unmerciful than the kids on the "normal" side of the school.  When she and Tommy had graduated last year, and I'd had to go live with the Brensers, I'd almost given up.

"C'mon.  This should fit."

"Linda ..."

"Oh relax.  It's my khaki skirt from before they changed the uniforms.  My butt don't fit in it anymore and last time I tried this shirt on Tommy's teeth nearly fell out.  I'm busting out all over cause of them stupid birth control pills."

"Uh ... birth control pills?"

"Yeah.  Momma insisted.  Got me enough of them to last a whole year.  You got any idea what you and Sawyer are going to do?"

"Uh ..."

"Well you better figure it out unless you want to be popping boys out ever year or so.  From all I've seen and heard the Hartfords don't even know what shooting blanks are.  And they make more boys than anything I've ever seen."

"Linda!"

She giggled again and I didn't know whether to croak right there or giggle with her.  I was getting sick nervous to my stomach and she must have noticed because she gave me a good, hard hug, something most foster kids don't get all that often.

She turned and let me shimmy out of my old school uniform in relative privacy and then climb into the clothes she'd given me - second hand clothes didn't bother me because that's all I'd ever had - and looked around for my shoes.  "Kay-Lee why are your shoes wet?"

"Because that dog puked on them."

"Dang that Mooch.  I didn't know Tommy had taken him until after they left.  Were you scared?"

"No.  But I am never riding inside a truck with that ... that animal again."

"He do kinda stink don't he."

"And he has digestive issues."

"Oh Lord ... silent and deadly."  And we were off giggling again.

Then Sawyer's voice cracked as he called up the stairs, "Uh ... the ... the Jus..stice...stice of the Pppeace is here."

Linda looked at me all wide-eyed and said, "Looks like you ain't the only one that's nervous."

"Good.  'Cause this would really suck if I was."  And then before I could chicken out I asked Linda if she'd ask Sawyer to come upstairs real quick.

I heard fast boots on the stairs and a really pale Sawyer asked, "You having second thoughts?"

"Actually I wanted to give you a chance to have second thoughts.  One more time.  You know ... before you get stuck and ..."

Sawyer went still and got a really serious look on his face.  "You ... you look nice.  I didn't know your hair was so long."

"Huh?  Didn't you hear me?  Now's your chance."

Then he smiled all gentle and stuff and said, "I heard you.  I just ... well ... I admit I tossed back a shot of JD a minute ago but more 'cause Uncle James said it would take the edge off but I'm not drunk and I don't do that sort of thing on a regular basis.  I guess you could smell it huh?"

"No.  I didn't notice until you ... uh ... got closer.  But I know you aren't drunk.  I've seen it often enough that I know that's not what you are."

"Ok.  Just didn't want you to think that you were the reason I did it."

"It's ok if I was."

"No it isn't."  He stepped a little closer still and as the end of the bed was behind my legs there wasn't any place to back up.  Then he reached out real slow and took my hand.  "Look, I don't know why I'm sure we can make this work but I think we can.  Maybe I feel like I know you a little bit already because of Tommy and Linda.  Maybe it's because you haven't been pushing or expecting anything or acting all whatever.  And yeah, ok, maybe a little of it is because you ... well ... don't have any more options than I do.  It makes me feel like I'm not the only one on the hot seat here.  So I guess if you're giving me a chance to back out I need to do the same for you, but I hope you won't."

I took a breath and let it out.  Took my courage in my hand like I've done a thousand times before.  And then squeezed his hand and said, "I'm not backing out."

And that's the way we walked downstairs.

3 comments:

  1. off to a good but 'different' start and the best part is they are being honest with each other! thank you

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  2. Kathy, what a fantastic story thanks.
    Wayne

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