Because of Faith – 2

            Miranda and I are walking hand in hand as we walk Beau in the park. A Border Collie with assembly line markings of his breed. Black and white long, flowing fur with beady but wise nutmeg colored eyes. He doesn’t need a leash. He stays in front of us, scoping out the land with his sniffer. Making sure the way before us is safe to travel.

            Sonoran desert sunrays warms the skin with nearly flame hot heat, but the huffy, warm air takes away the sting of the heat a little. Every time I look at Miranda, her beauty mesmerizes me. If I didn’t know her so well, I’d be speechless.

            I tell her a joke I think she’ll appreciate.

            “How does Moses make his coffee?” I ask.

            “How?” She inquires.

            “He-brews it.”

            Laughter escapes her lips signaling that she enjoyed the joke. She slaps me in the shoulder and tells me that joke was cheesy.

            Her long, dark brown hair glistens a faint redwood hue under the sun’s light. That red hair of hers beaming with such a heavenly glow that makes her embody sheer gorgeousness. Her narrow, pensive brown eyes gaze at me lovingly as she notices my staring eyes.

            Beau barks ferociously to direct our attention to what’s before us. It’s Felix Salinger, dressed in his high school football uniform. The entire cheerleading squad surrounds him, hanging all over him like slutty vampires waiting to sink their teeth into him. His camera-ready-face with his strong Latin jaw and flirty Spaniard countenance taunts me. Miranda lets go of my hand and takes off running toward Felix, shouting his name like she’s about to have an orgasm. And the closer she gets to Felix, Beau turns around barking at me and nipping at my feet. Right as he pounces to attack, I wake up to my blaring phone alarm set for six in the morning.

            I forgot to turn off my alarm from yesterday. Well, now I’m up to enjoy something I haven’t seen in a while. Saturday Morning Cartoons! Sweet!!!

            I throw on some briefs, a T-shirt that doesn’t smell funky so it can’t be dirty, and I grab a mixing bowl full of knock off brand fruity pebbles. The only spoon clean is a big cooking spoon. It shouldn’t be too difficult to eat from. I plop on the couch and turn on the TV as a proud couch potato and flip to channel eight to veg-out to the dumbest, wackiest cartoons ever created.

            In the middle of my favorite one, about the faster than light hedgehog, Alastair emerges from the hallway and plants himself in the middle of my viewing point. He’s half dressed with his ratty, patch-less pants on and socks on his feet. Nervously, he looks over his shoulder, back down the hallway, right before he slips his greasy, dingy muscle shirt on. If it doesn’t look clean, it can’t pass for clean. He should wash that.

            “Will you get out of the way already!” I yell at him.

            Shushing me loudly, he crouches low as he rushes over to me, and leans into my face. Putting a hand on my shoulder, I have a feeling of what he’s about to say.

            Brother…

            “Brother,” he says. He pauses to glance over his shoulder.

            Do me a favor…

            “Do me a favor why don’t you?” He asks.

            Take care of the girl when she wakes up

            “See to it, when the girl wakes up that you take care of her and let her know that things are cool…” He licks his lips anxiously, “But make sure it’s clear there isn’t going to be a next time, alright?” He pats me on the face as if he’s being encouraging.

            Revoking the opportunity for me to accept or reject, he stands up and says, “Thank you, brother. I owe you.”

            By the door, he hurriedly slips into his shoes. He doesn’t even untie the laces to slip them on easily. He opens the door, and outdoor daylight beams in like blinding stage lights. Spotting his shades on the coffee table he snatches them quickly, and staring into the light he puts on his big, bulky, golden aviator shades.

            “Where are you going?” I manage to ask before he closes the door fully.

            Poking in his head back through the door, he whispers loudly, “I’m meeting Peg for coffee.”

            “You’re back together with her?” I ask already feeling sorry for the sweet woman.

            “No.” He admits. Then snickering he adds, “But I will be, after coffee.”

            The sound of a female yawn wisps from down the hall. The girl he banged last night is up, which means I have no time to ask if it was the black dream from the monastery. Like a scared little boy, Alastair escapes out the door, yanking it shut behind him.

            I figure I should at least look descent. It’s not the first time I’ve let girls off easy for my brother. I set my nearly finished bowl of cereal on the floor next to me. The sugary, pinkish milk is the best part when it slides down the throat all creamy with the grit of left over pieces of cereal. Stroking my hair to lay flat in all directions, I figure my bowl cut must look halfway presentable now.

            Yawns are contagious. I yawn as I hear barefooted steps head toward the living room down the hallway. I open my eyes as my yawn ends, the footsteps have stopped, and I’m shocked to see Kelsey Cadence.

            A seething rage forms a stuffy energy to encase my heart and if my brother were here I know for a fact I’d strangle him. I wouldn’t kill him, but I’d sure as hell get close…

            Ten… nine… eight…

            Counting backwards from ten sometimes helps with the anger. I think it’s working or maybe it’s just being in her presence that’s calming me down. Now that I think about it, it’s not like my brother knows I have a huge crush on Kelsey. I never told him. When he pointed her out last night, he was just thinking she was a random girl he could entice me with to be his wingman.

            Her gaze is fixated on the terracotta tile floor. The language of her body is tense with shame and embarrassment as she slouches into the support of her crossed arms. The perfect Lara Croft braid she had last night is a mess now, with strands sticking out every which way as a crown of frizzles stand at the edge if her hairline. Her wrinkled strapless, pink and green floral dress serves as a sign that she slept in it. Her black, dance flats tucked in her clenched, underarm grasp. Clearly, one night stands aren’t her thing. I hope it’s what she wanted, well, I hope at least that she was a willing participant.

            To break the awkward silence, I clear my throat. The gurgled noise causes Kelsey to look at me, and just for a second her shame falls as a coy smile posts on her face. She seems happy to see me.

            “About last night,” I say and quickly confusion encompasses her face.

            With angry pursed lips and a raised brow, she asks, “What happened to your accent?”

            Trying not to laugh because she fell for his gimmick, but she thinks that I’m Alastair. She must have been pretty drunk.

            “You couldn’t tell the accent was phony?”

            Kelsey marches up to me, she gets as close to my face as she can, “What kind of jerk goes around picking up chicks with a fake accent?”

            Chuckling a little, I admit, “A big one.”

            Moaning in angered unbelief she turns away from me. Restraining herself from trying to hit me with one of her shoes, holding both shoes like twin daggers equipped to strike at any moment.

            “Look, I don’t normally do this sort of thing.” She says.

            I give a typical, “Mmhmm,” so it seems like I care, but amazingly enough I don’t. I do feel a little sorry for her, but then I remember she’s an idiot when it comes to reality. She should learn how to detect a@#holes on her radar.

            “I’m just gonna go.” She blurts as she darts for the door. She steps into her shoes, one at a time, and then she walks out the door closing it gently. At least she has manners.

            The door slowly creeps back open. With humiliation lathered all over her, from her facial expression to the way she moves, she lunges back inside, she hurries down the hallway, and moments later she comes back out toting a big, gaudy, purse made with black patent leather. Again she exits the house, only to come back inside.

            “Can I wait inside for a ride, after I call for one?” She asks holding up her smartphone to prove that she plans to call someone.

            I want to say no and make her wait in the hot sun, but I don’t have the right to be angry with her. It’s not like she knows I like her in that way. And now my chances are absolutely blown with her… since I’m a big jerk that used a ridiculously terrible Irish accent to pick her up and have hot, meaningless sex with her.

            “Sure.” I say, offering her a seat in the recliner by pointing at it.

            Of course, I could explain my brother’s the jerk while she waits for her ride. Then I would kind of be throwing my brother under the bus.

            “Thanks Grady.” She says sitting into the rocking recliner.

            What?

            “Your name is Grady isn’t it?” She double-checks.

    Curse that brother of mine! He stole my identity too to score with the chick. I’m definitely going to strangle him now.

            “Yep, it sure is. Grady Timmins…”

            She scrolls through her contacts and then makes a call. Right when the other line picks up, she asks, “Can you come pick me up?” Listening to whoever she called, she rubs the back of her neck. “Where am I?” she questions. Then she looks at me to clarify she was actually asking where she’s at geographically.

            As I giveaway my address, number by number, letter by letter, Kelsey repeats all the info to her rescuer on the other line.

            Then for a long period of time, she listens to the person she called. She must not receive the most positive attitude from that person by the glum look on her face as she takes in every word.

            “You said if I ever needed anything, I could call though. I have no one else to call.” She defends herself.

            She listens to the other person response. Before she hangs up she says, “Thanks… I appreciate it.”

             I sit back down on the couch, I pick up my bowl of milk, and we wait. Our eyes both fall on the TV, but I wonder if she’s like me. I can’t stay focused on the program. The uncomfortable atmosphere of this slice in our lives makes it impossible to concentrate on anything.

            I think of all the ways I could hurt Alastair, aside from strangling him. I could castrate him, but then he’d be a whiny eunuch and knowing him he’d pick up more women with his vulnerable-guy-act with a sob story. There’s beating him to a bloody pulp and then throwing him in a tub of ice to dull the pain. The latter idea is growing on me.

            “I saw the guitars in your room, do you play?”

            Seriously, she’s trying to make a small talk with me. Yesterday, I would have killed to have small talk with her. I might as well embrace the moment… and enjoy it a little bit.

            “A little, it’s my brother that has the passion for it. They’re probably his guitars. I was just messing around with them the other night, I think.”

            “I love the guitar. I learned how to play my freshman year of college.” She begins to unbraid her hair. “I’m a novice really, but at least I’m an all-star vocalist.” She titters.

            I find myself chortling with her. I agree with her, “That you are…”

            “OH GOD!” She shrieks as she covers her face with her loose crinkled hair strands. Looking at me with one eye open, “Did I sing while we were… you know… doing it?” She recloses her eye as if she could shut out the potential future embarrassment. Wow, she sings during sex. Now I wish it was me instead of my brother. Not that I think I’d be turned on by it, but it would be fun to witness in action.

            For the heck of it, since I’m knee deep in this lie, I say, “Yes, yes you did.”

            “Uh!” she groans disappointedly. Lifting her face out of her hair, she questions, “Do you think I’m a freak?”

            I try to get her to relax. “Like I’m any less a freak,” I say.

            We both laugh at our circumstance. In that instance, the awkwardness between us dissolved and a natural flow of conversation sprung. We talked about theatre and the numerous types. The motion of time became irrelevant. Missing my Saturday cartoons didn’t bother me. I, at last, converse with Kelsey Cadence.

            I allow her to talk mostly. She talks about her last stint of auditions for the U. She didn’t research any of the plays in the U’s season. Unfamiliar with the characters and completely clueless of the plots in each play, her nerves almost put her body in shock. She doesn’t even remember how she performed her monologue. She couldn’t recall if she nailed it or bombed it. That’s why she was surprised to be the lead in two of productions this year. In Nov. she’ll be the lead in the U’s new segment of main stage originals, the first of student work to be produced on a grand scale by the U. Then, in April she’ll be a weeping leading lady in a Classical Greek Tragedy. Right now she’s finishing up rehearsal for a late night show, at a small local theatre. The production is four nights only opening Friday Sept. 27th at 10:30 pm., on Saturday night at the same time too, and then is closes the following weekend on Oct. 5th. If all goes well it might get picked up for a couple extra nights on Wednesday and Thursday of that first October week.

            Kelsey finally gets to finish fixing her hair. Kelsey combs back her frizzy hair and loose strands with her fingers, and wraps the long tail of trailing hair into an imperfect, swirly bun. Stretching her neck, by cocking her head side to side in even-timed-intervals she sighs in relief as the tension loosens in her neck and shoulders.

            “You should bring a date or someone and come to opening night. And tell like everyone you know to come.” As she stretches her arms up and back behind her head in a long reach. I have a guy moment and stare at her perky breast perched out as her back arches the harder she stretches.

            “That wouldn’t be awkward for you?”

            Her bashfulness emerges as she comes out of her stretch, and curls her arms close to her body, by resting her clasped hands in her lap. Again her line of sight falls on the ground. Biting her bottom lip she says, “Not really.”

            Interesting…

For being a wonderful actress onstage, she’s a wide open book with a horrible poker face in real life. I would genuinely be interested in going. And I know without a doubt it wouldn’t be awkward or weird for me. I love to see her onstage. Gracie would probably want to go check it out.

            I tell her, “Maybe.”

            “Seriously though, if you don’t go, tell like everyone you know to come, k?” She pleads as subtly as she possibly can or as I assume as much.

            Her phone rings, the chorus to the Rhianna song Stay blares. She answers the phone.

            “You’re here?” She asks and listens. “What do you mean you’re lost?” She tells her ride to hold on. “How does he get here from Nolan St. and Rhodes Ave.?”

            Him…? Did she call her dad or something?

            “Tell him to take Rhodes to Pearce, turn left and take Pearce to Longo, take a right, and we’re the third house the left.”

            Kelsey stares at me blankly. She didn’t pick up a word I said.

            “Don’t leave! Hold on,” she barks into her phone. Agitatedly, she forks her phone over to me to give her personal taxi directions.

            I take the phone.

            “Kels! I don’t have all day.” I hear Felix Salinger hound. “I have a flight to catch in two hours for the game tonight.”

            He begins to rant, calling Kelsey vulgar names. When he hears me clear my throat he falls silent. Then he questions who’s on the line with him. I ignore that inquiry and give him directions to my house. I stay on the line with him.

            “Is yours the house with the old lady car out front?”

            He’s referring to my moonglow Prius C. With the gas guzzler he probably drives, he’s probably just jealous I get crazy good gas mileage. I open the door and wave to him in his old school, hulky crème Escalade.

            Kelsey joins me at the door. I hang up the phone and hand it to her. For lingering seconds, we gaze into each other’s eyes. I have no idea the thought floating through her head, but I wonder if I’ll ever see her again.

            Impatiently, Felix honks his horn. Startling us both, this then causes us both to focus on everything around us. Kelsey’s reflexes must be wired to react to his demands. She exits the door toward his SUV parked by the curb.

            Since high school, I’ve wanted to find a way to tick this guy off. Now I finally have the chance. I grab Kelsey by the arm, and reel her back inside. Cupping her face cautiously, but quickly and without flinching I kiss her long and tenderly, drawing out as much time as I can. I kind of want to puke knowing my brother touched the tongue my tongue now touches, but I keep my mind on the reward. A long, eardrum rattling, honk blares from the Escalade. I could keep our kissing session going, but out of politeness, Kelsey and I mutually pull away from our lips’ embrace. Not-so-coincidentally Felix’s horn stops honking.

            Walking backwards, Kelsey timidly waves goodbye with a smile of bliss on her face. Once she turns around, she runs ever-so-girly to Felix’s Escalade. She climbs in and before she fully closes the door he speeds off revving his engine down the street.

If everyone wasn’t up this Saturday morning, they are now. What a selfish punk… I hope she makes it home sane. I guess with that kiss I didn’t really think about her, I just thought about me.

Still, it felt great to piss off that son of a b@#%*! And if she wasn’t cool with the kiss, she would have pushed me away, right? I hope she would have.


Thanks- Grady

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