Thursday, February 3, 2011

FUN & GAMES Gets Lucky ;)

As we all know, when it comes to FUN & GAMES WITH K & K and who Grace should end up with, I am Team Lucky all the way.  And, really...who doesn't want to get Lucky every now and then? ;)

So, this one is for all my Team Lucky minions.

Ass crack of dawn and Lucky was up, bleary-eyed and just itching for a damned fight. It was all Owen’s fault. For more than a month, his brother had been mooning over that girl. All goofy grins, and puppy dog eyes, O couldn’t seem to just shut up about her. Harper this. Harper that.


And then, last week, it had abruptly stopped. His normally easy-going, talkative twin turned coldly silent, stand-offish seemingly overnight. Of course, now, he knew the reason why. And, yet, Owen was still so stuck on her that he couldn’t see how wrong a relationship with this girl was. There was just too much damage there, too much baggage. She needed space and time. Something that Owen, whether he knew it or not, wasn’t able to give her.

Owen had always been the caretaker of the family. Being the oldest, Lucky should’ve been the one to step up when Dad left, the one who Kevin and Rachel turned to when they’d had a fight or were hurt. He probably should’ve been irritated at this, but he’d always found himself doing exactly the same thing. O was the rock, the glue that held everything together, and this thing with Harper…well, it was tearing his brother apart. O couldn’t even see past his own need to help to understand this.

Christ, what a mess.

He laid in bed, staring up at the ceiling, the gray-ish light of the December dawn creeping into his room, drenching everything in sallow, gloomy tones. His ears perked up, his whole being going on red-alert at a soft shuffling from the room next to his. But then, it quieted, and he could once again hear the deep, even breaths that proclaimed Owen not just asleep but dead to the world. Thank god. O had tossed and turned all night long, only just settling down less than an hour ago, leaving Lucky wide-awake and getting angrier by the second.

This whole thing had just gone too far. If Owen wasn’t going to do anything about it but hold Harper’s hand, Lucky would find some way to do it for him. And, in the meantime, he’d go get his brother’s truck. It was the least he could do, especially since he wouldn’t be sleeping anytime soon. Shoving back the covers, he jumped to his feet, tugged on jeans and a sweatshirt before stumbling downstairs.

His mother was already awake, standing over the sink, coffee mug in hand when he entered the kitchen moments later. “You’re up early,” she observed, her lips quirking up as she eyed him thoughtfully. “It’s barely seven, and it’s the weekend. Shouldn’t you be sleeping until noon?”

“Who says I’ve gone to bed yet?”

“There’s my son.” She threw back one last burning gulp of her coffee and then set the mug in the sink. “I’d love to stay and chat, honey, but I’ve got a thirteen-hour shift at the hospital today.” She patted her scrubs as if looking for something, and then snatched up her purse, car keys lying right on top. “Mrs. Patterson from next door is going to come by a little later to pick up the kids so you and Owen don’t have to spend all day at home. I’m sure you want to go out with your friends.”

He nodded absently. Yeah, the one person he’d want to be with would probably have her boyfriend over, and it was just his luck that said boyfriend happened to be Harper’s brother. Owen would kill him if he even thought about picking a fight with the guy. Shit. Could things get any more fucked up?

“Hey, Mom?” She stopped rifling through her purse to spear him with a questioning look. “Can you drop me off somewhere on your way in?”

“Sure, honey. Where to?”

He lifted his shoulders in a careless shrug. “I want to go get the truck. O took it over to Harper’s last night, and her friend wanted to bail early, so—“

“Owen let someone else—a girl—drive his truck?” Of course, she was incredulous. He barely let Lucky drive it, and even then, only under duress. She shook her head, blowing out a low whistle. “I really have to meet this Harper. Anyone who can get your brother to willingly hand over the keys to his baby has to be special.”

“Don’t even get me started on that,” he muttered under his breath.

“What was that?”

“Uh…nothing. So will you take me?”

She made a point of looking down at her watch, bit her lip, and then nodded. “Yeah, sure. It’s not too far out of the way, right?”

Grinning, Lucky shook his head and followed her out of the house. Ten minutes later, she turned into Grace’s driveway, pulling to a stop just behind the truck. Shooting a worried glance at the dash clock, she pointed toward the darkened, lifeless house. “You sure you should be here so early? Looks like everyone’s still asleep.”

“No worries, Mom.” He pushed his door open and climbed out. “She probably left the keys in the ignition.” He closed the door before she could argue and then jogged up to the truck. In the cab, he found the keys hanging exactly where he’d expected. Rich blonde girls who lived in fancy neighborhoods never thought twice about security. Not that he had anything against rich blonde girls, especially ones that drove pink slug bugs.

The truck’s engine roared to life, and Lucky watched as his mother backed out of the driveway and took off, horn beeping twice in farewell. His hand hovered over the shifter as he watched the front door, a small part of him hoping for just one tiny glimpse of her. Grace.

But, it was far too early for any sane person to be up and wandering around. He knew that. And, really, what would he say if she had been up and came outside to talk to him? She had a boyfriend. That meant she was off-limits. Even Lucky, with his relaxed view of dating, wouldn’t cross that line.

Heaving out a resigned sigh, he slid the truck into gear and backed out of the driveway. Once on the road, the GPS system bleeped on. Unthinking, Lucky reached out and scrolled through the history. There was only one address on it he didn’t recognize. He slowed the truck and pulled a wide U-turn. Everyone always joked that Lucky was far nosier than any cat that ever lived, and well, it was a well known fact what happened to curious cats. So, instead of going on home, he followed the glowing green line.

The ranch house he stopped in front of was like every other on the street. Small, brick, and with a detached single car garage. He let the truck idle for a fraction of a second as he considered this singularly unspectacular house. What had he come here for? Really? What did he care where his brother and Grace had stopped last night? When Owen had come home last night, sans truck, he’s simply shrugged off Lucky’s questions with a muttered, “Grace took the truck. I stayed at Harper’s for a while.”

There was so much more going on than the little bit that Owen had clued Lucky in on. And, he was done being left in the dark. Determined to get answers from his twin, he reached out to put the truck back in gear. Even if he had to drag O out of a sound sleep and beat the truth out of him, he would do just that. Lucky was the older brother, damn it. It was about time O realized that and allowed him to help.

Darting one last curious glance at the house, Lucky’s eyes widened. “Son of a bitch!” He slapped his hand against the steering wheel, shut off the truck, jerked the keys out of the ignition and hopped down from the cab.

“Hey,” he called out, hurrying across the street. He wasn’t really thinking through his actions right then. In truth, his brain had shut down the minute he’d seen the man exit his house, guitar case in hand, and it all had come together in his mind. Knowing his brother, Owen had probably come to this house last night with the intention of beating the shit out of this guy. So why didn’t he have any marks on him now? O definitely hadn’t sported any last night.

Well, whatever the reason, Lucky could set things straight now. And, it wasn’t for Harper…although no girl should be attacked like she’d been. No, he was doing this for Owen. Because brothers had each others’ backs.

“Hey,” he said again when the man stopped and turned toward him. “You’re Mr. Haas, right? The music teacher over at Ridgefield?”

Haas looked at him for a long moment, the gears in his head shifting as he tried to determine whether he’d met Lucky before. “Yes,” he answered, slowly, carefully. “I am. Do I know you?”

“No,” Lucky replied easily, cracking his knuckles loudly as he got within reach of the teacher. “But, you know a friend of mine.” He didn’t say anything more. He didn’t have to. In the next moment, the rage that had been simmering just below the surface all night came up to a rolling boil, and he exploded, letting loose on this man with everything that he was feeling.

Haas never saw what was coming. He fell to the ground with Lucky’s first punch and curled into a ball in an effort to protect himself, crying out over and over again, a long pitiful whine of Why are you doing this? When it was over, when Lucky’s anger finally drained completely away, he stepped back, hocked up a loogie, spit in the older man’s face, and then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“You know why, you piece of shit.” Then, he walked away, not once looking back as he crossed the street, vaulted up into the truck, and headed home, a giant, satisfied grin plastered across his face.

Okay, friends.  What do you think? Still hungering for more? I hope so because Kelly will be back with her snip next week.