Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday has Never been so much FUN...

Welcome to a special presentation of FUN AND GAMES WITH K & K.  This installment brought to you by Karla/Karlie/LastWord0524 (whichever you know me best as).  If you missed Kelly's Friday snip, click here.

Now, on with the show!!!

No one spoke as Truman ushered his sister out of the house and into his car. Once the door closed behind them, Lucky shook his head, belted out a chuckle that was so incongruous with the happenings of the evening that both Grace and Owen turned twin looks of disbelief his way. “Dude, you just stood there and let him wail on you. When did you become such a pussy?”


Owen just glared at Lucky, the urge to wail on the grinning idiot overwhelming. Instead of abusing his brother, he swiveled around to Grace. “I’ll take you home,” he told her quietly. “Lucky, stay here and watch Kevin and Rachel.” A clear command that brooked no argument and cut Lucky’s guffaws short.

She nodded absently and followed him out the front door, catching sight of Tru’s car peeling off down the street. What she wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall at the Simonson house tonight.

Truman slid the car easily into their driveway, having said nothing the entire way home, his every movement measured, mechanical as if he were holding himself so tightly that any little thing might cause an explosion of catastrophic proportions. Harper, knowing him as she did, remained quiet until he shut off the car.

“I appreciate you sticking up for me, Tru.” A timid smile played at her lips. “But, you really shouldn’t have attacked Owen like that.”

His eyes slid closed, and he sucked in a long, loud breath that he held for several seconds before blowing back out in a very, very slow careful exhale. He was clearly walking a fine line, teetering on the edge of brutality. A rage that Harper wanted to be far, far away from when he finally did erupt.

“Yeah,” he nodded agreeably, the calm before the storm. “I probably should apologize to him. It just looked like…well, it looked to me like you were crying, and…” he trailed off, looked to her to either confirm or deny his suspicions.

“I was a little upset,” she hedged. “But, not because of anything Owen did.”

“Then, why?”

She didn’t respond, just sat there staring in his direction. Not really looking at him, but through him.

“Harper? Why? What happened? And, don’t even try telling me nothing happened. You’ve been acting weird for the last week,” he growled out, all patience at an end.

“But, don’t you get it, Tru?” She whipped around in her seat, her whole countenance going from living statue to frenetically animated in a fraction of a second, jolting him with the violence of it all. “Nothing. Happened. I keep telling them all that, and no one will listen to me. It’s like I’m the little boy that cried wolf. I shout, and I shout about how everything is fine, but they don’t hear me. No one listens!”

“Seems to me like they are.” It was said quietly, but with a wealth of emotion that nearly strangled them both, and suddenly, the lights went on in Truman’s head. It was as if the truth had been there all along, but the room had been too dark for him to see it clearly. Now, with all the switches flipped into the on position, it was all so glaringly obvious, but still, he didn’t want to believe it. “So…when did this thing that didn’t happen, happen?”

She flinched, her jaw dropping open, her eyes going wide with terror. “I told you, Tru. Nothing—“

“Happened,” he finished for her, reaching out a gentle hand to cover her own. “I know. But, tell me what they—Grace and Owen and even that other kid—“

“Lucky.”

“And Lucky.” He rolled his eyes. “What do they all think happened? Even though it didn’t,” he hurriedly added when she opened her mouth to interrupt again.

“It was nothing,” she mumbled again. “Just a little misunderstanding. Hardly worth all this drama.”

He grunted in acknowledgement, rubbed his chin as he regarded her. What happened a week ago in his sister’s life? He flipped through his memory banks. Last Saturday, he’d gone out to some rave with the guys, met a girl. Chrissy? Christie? Michelle? One of those. He barely remembered her face, let alone her name. Wasn’t all that great a lay, anyway. Not even worth the effort needed to try recalling it.

Mental head slap. Not him. Idiot.

What had Harp been up to that weekend? She’d raced out the door early, all but running to Grace’s pink bug idling at the curb. Just as she opened the car’s door, she turned with that luminous grin of hers and waved, calling out a reminder to their mother about some party that night, one that Harper alone was going to…band geeks only.

“Son of a bitch!” He slammed his palm against the steering wheel, the horn blaring, causing Harper to jump about a foot into the air and the front porch light to come on. He grabbed his sister by the upper arms and shook her once, instantly assailed by guilt at her fearful reaction to his manhandling. His fingers loosened almost immediately. “Did you tell anyone about this little misunderstanding, Harp? Like an adult?” When she did nothing more than stare at him, he pressed further. “What about that music teacher you like so much? Named after a fruit. Mr. Tomato…or Avocado?”

“M-Mr. Haas?” The name came out small and weak, her eyes widening even more, like it physically hurt her to think of him.

“Shit, Harper, I—“ He fell back into his seat, beat on his steering wheel some more. The shrill horn sounded again, prompting the front door to slide open, their mother peering out at them. He rolled the window down, waved to her. “Just me and Harper, Mom,” he called to her. “We’ll be there in a sec.” She nodded and hurried back inside, completely unaware of the turmoil filling the interior of her oldest son’s car.

“Okay,” he said after a long, tense minute. “Nothing happened? You really mean it? I’ll believe you if you look me in the eye and tell me it’s true.” Yeah, right. His mind was already whirling with plans for retribution.

“Nothing happened.” Forceful words that he would’ve taken as truth from anyone else. “I just want to let this go, Tru. Can we do that?”

The desperate plea in her eyes, her quivering lower lip, and the hopeful way her hand reached out to squeeze his all were his undoing. He’d give her the sun and the moon if she but asked for it. Anything for his baby sister. Didn’t she see that? Slowly, he nodded. “Of course, we can, Harps. Whatever you say. It’s already forgotten.”

“Really?” At his nod, she relaxed a small—yet very real and obviously relieved—smile dancing across her face. “Can I ask for one more thing?”

“Anything.” Her stomach growled at that moment, clear indication of what she’d been about to ask. A grin of his own splashed up to his lips. “Take-out?” he asked.

“Chinese? Pepper steak?” Harper comfort food.

He leaned forward and started the car back up. “I’ll get it, Harp. You go on in and find us a movie to watch. Preferably something with lots of action.”

She nodded gratefully and hopped out of the car. “Oh, and Tru?” She leaned back in, hand braced on the door. “Don’t forget the Crab Rangoon. And extra dipping sauce.”

He lifted his hand in a mock salute, watched as she skipped up to the front door—her steps infinitely lighter than they’d been all week—and then he put the car in gear. A little ways down the street, he spied a truck that looked suspiciously familiar. Pulling to a stop right alongside it, he rolled down the window and waited for the driver of the other vehicle to do the same.

“Thought I’d take a little ride,” he said. “Maybe get a music lesson. You in?”

“Hell yes, I’m in,” Owen said, jumping down from his truck to slide into the seat Harper had recently vacated. “I was just on my way to ask you the same thing.”

“Great minds think alike,” Truman responded before putting the car in gear and turning it in a direction that was only a little out of the way for Chinese food.

So, that's it for me.  Kelly will be up and running with her snip tomorrow.  Where do you think she'll take this?  I know ;)