Tag Archives: Acting

The Split

 


Last night was great. Gina and Brody haven’t had a moment alone in forever. Gina had fully recovered from surgery and she was ready to begin Dancing in the Minefields on Broadway, in a few weeks, and Brody just announced signing to a Christian Music Label to make an album with Sower’s Cove Worship. Gina and Brody had no commitments to meet for a few weeks and they could focus on just the two of them.

They sat on Gina’s balcony enjoying fresh croissants, fruit, and French-pressed coffee. Gina didn’t have her best friend near to monitor her screen time and hold her accountable to not scroll through social media or keep from looking at the latest gossip about her. Feeling no guilt, Gina googled Brona (the celebrity name of her and Brody) and found tons of stories about them. Majority of them rumored Gina was pregnant. A couple said they were engaged. One source claimed they eloped… Gina wished that was true.

Eight months ago, when they got back together the fourth time, before this time… Brody wanted to whisk her away and elope in Greece, but both their friends and their families put a stop to that when they breathed the word marriage.

Brody was Gina’s first love and she was his. They shared a lot of first experiences together. Their first time to the grammys. Their first real relationship kiss. Their first time having sex. Their first pregnancy scare. Their first tattoo… luckily not of each other’s name… ironically, the same name though… He got “Jesus, Savior” tattooed on his ribcage in French and she got “Jesus” in Hebrew tattooed on her left wrist.

Gina pictured becoming Mrs. Brody Scott Dault one day, but they both became insanely famous at the same time. They both started drinking and doing drugs and they both did stupid things to hurt each other.

Like the first time Brody cheated on her. She cheated on him with his career rival to make him jealous. After their first break-up, Brody started dating her childhood friend out of spite. She Tweeted Brody was abusive just to get back at him.

After their third break up, they both went through their equivalent of hell. Brody experienced such depression that he got a few DUIs, tanked a few live shows, and accidentally ran over a paparazzi photographer. Gina suffered depression too, but she got incredibly sick which led to her diagnosis of lupus.

Something shifted inside of her. She was hungry to find real purpose in her life. When she began chemotherapy (just a pill treatment plan) for lupus, she’d wake up every morning staring at “Jesus” written on her wrist, and that led her to go searching for more of God… who she found.

She started going to Sower’s Cove Church in New York. During Q & A’s after her Broadway shows, she found herself testifying about the goodness of God. And in a short amount of time, she was onstage with Sower’s Cove Worship- one of the most popular worship groups in Christian Music- leading worship.

Then suddenly, her dream of crossing over to television happened. She got a job starring as an up and coming actress on Broadway. While the show was at its height of popularity, she got opportunities to voice characters for kid movies and to star in indie films. And every interview she had, she found herself thanking God.

As her life got on track, firmly building upon Christ at the center. Brody’s life spun into a deeper mess. So she did what she could only do, she prayed. She prayed for Brody daily.

Soon after that, he was hanging out with the pastor of Sower’s Cove L.A. campus and his life turned around. He restored his relationship with Jesus Christ and in the middle of his concerts, he broke out into worship.

He called her to get back together the fourth time. They laid all the cards out on the table. No sex- of any kind- until they got married. Devotions every day together via phone or in person. Never be alone without friends or family present (so they wouldn’t have sex). Things were great for a month. They grew closer by getting to know the-more-mature-versions-of-themselves, but then things kept happening that brought the worst out in each other. The fought and they fought ugly… yelling at one another. Throwing things at each other and out the window… it was baaaaaaddddd…

That break up was all Gina… needing a break from the drama… she felt it wasn’t good for her health. And the headlines were not good for either of their careers.

When Gina found out she needed a kidney transplant, she was believing God for a miracle. She needed a miraculous healing or a new kidney fast, or she was going to die young. Fortunately, a match was found from a family member, her Aunt Mia- her father’s sister and six months later she was doing well and her body hasn’t rejected the transplant.

Her lupus seemed to be fully under control with no flare ups in a few months. For the first time, in a long time, Gina was super hopeful. She was returning to Broadway. Right now she had another TV show was in the works, in which she would star and produce. The last film she starred in got her golden globe and SAG-AFTRA nominations. Everyone in Hollywood was convinced she’d be nominated for an Oscar. Her career was right where it needed to be.

They’re back together for the fifth time because of her… She was in LA, visiting a friend and they both went to church. Brody was there, leading worship and in that moment, she saw the man she always felt Brody could be. She missed him. They went out to lunch. Herself, Brody, Pastor Ronny, his wife Gail, Riley Hall (yes- the Riley Hall- TV Personality and the young female American version of David Beckham), and Gina’s best friend. On the way out the door, Gina pulled Brody aside and told him the truth. She missed him. She still loved him. And she regretted breaking up with him the last time. She asked if he would take her back. At that moment, he said he had to think about it.

He looked like James Dean, hanging his head and his de-shelved sandy blond bangs hung in his face. Out of the corner of his green-blue eyes, he pensively stared at Gina. Who nervously bit her bottom lip, and twirled a strand of long black hair around her finger. A few seconds later, Brody’s serious stare broke out into a smile and he took Gina in his arms and he kissed her. That was two months ago.

For two months, their relationship has been solid, but they haven’t had much alone time together.

Brody was finishing the final leg of his “Meaning” Tour. Making headlines by holding worship in the middle of every concert. Gina’s dad and his wife Carla, had a new baby and Gina went to help Carla out and to bond with her first baby brother, Milo Marciano, Junior.

Yesterday, Gina flew home to her place in New York, because in a few days rehearsals started for Dancing in the Minefields, and Brody was waiting by her door with a bouquet of Gerber Daisies. Overjoyed to see each other face to face, they didn’t care about their rule about NOT BEING ALONE TOGETHER.

They were good. They sat on opposite ends of the room as they talked until 2 am in the morning. She went to bed in her room and he went to bed in the spare room.

Now, they sat on the balcony overlooking central park.

GUIDE TO THE STARS just posted an article on their website with the featured image of Gina and Brody eating their brunch now. Laughing she showed Brody.

Gina: Look, according to the GUIDE we’re newlyweds expecting a baby! Isn’t that sweet?

Brody: (chuckling) I wish.

Confused, Gina set the phone on the table and leaned back in her black iron chair. The fall nippy air breezed across her cheeks. She readjusted her robe to make her feel warmer. Glaring at Brody, she asked him to clarify.

Brody: (thoughtfully) Well, we should be married by now… and I can’t wait to start a family with you.

Did he not hear anything he said last night? For now, she just wanted to focus on the Musical, and her TV Show, and maybe she’ll finally put out that album… She will barely have time for their relationship for the next nine months. She can’t be thinking about marriage, let alone having a family.

Taking care of Milo was a lot of work… He like never slept and cried all the time. How could she handle late nights while needing to rest for shows or go to meetings.

Gina: I can’t wait to get married either, but-

Sliding out his seat he got on his knees at Gina’s feet,  and Brody took her hands gently.

Brody: Marry me then. Let’s stop waiting and finally start our life together.

Gina: We’re both going to be really busy, when do you suggest we fit a wedding into our plans.

Brody: I don’t care when, I just want to know that you do want to marry me.

Gina broke eye contact with him. She was afraid to say “yes” without knowing how badly he wanted children. She retracted her hands from his grasp and nervously took to chewing on her left thumbnail.

Frustrated, Brody sighed. He ran his fingers through his bedhead hair as he stood up.

Brody: Why are we even back together if you don’t want to get married… eventually…

Defensively, Gina stood up and wrapped him in her arms as she rested her head on his back.

Gina: I want to marry you so badly… but…

Brody walked out of her embrace and he turned to face her. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned forward to interrogate her about the matter.

Brody: Then why hesitate to say yes? Should I have gotten you a ring? Oh wait-

He pulled a small red box out his gray sweatpants and cracked open that box to reveal a very shiny, very big, diamond ring.

Brody: I got ahead of myself, but I have the ring… I’ve had it for a while… I got it a few days after we got back together… Riley helped me pick it out.

Great… Gina thought… Riley helped pick out the ring.

Brody could sense he said something or did something wrong.

Brody: How did I screw up this time?

Gina: You didn’t… not really…

Gina wasn’t going to start a fight over something so trivial. She reached for the box and took it from Brody to get a better look at it. The ring was perfect. Riley had good taste. Brody walked up to Gina and held her by the shoulders. He leaned his head against Gina’s forehead. He took a deep breath.

Brody: I love you Gina… I never stopped loving you.

Gina: I love you so much, Brody.

Brody kissed Gina and Gina kissed him back and she closed the ring box and tucked in her robe pocket. Not breaking their lip lock, he headed towards the balcony doors and Gina followed his lead walking backwards. The passion was more intense between them than it ever was before. When they both realized they were about to go too far, they disengaged and distanced themselves from each other. Gina stood inside and Brody stayed outside. The threshold of the open sliding door keeping them apart.

Brody: So that’s a yes? We’re engaged?

Gina: How important is it to you to have kids?

Brody: We had the kid conversation like on our second date. Family is just as important to me as it is to you. Don’t we both want kids?

Gina: That was six years ago Brody. A lot has changed.

Brody: Someone who wanted like five kids doesn’t suddenly want zero kids six years later, or is that the case now?

Gina:(shrugging her shoulder) That may be the case now.

Brody covered his face with his hands as he turned his back to Gina. He groaned heavily, the grunt muffled by his cupped hands over his face. Clasping his hands on his head, he held his elbows up at each side… without even looking at Gina he asked her why she changed her mind.

Gina: I have lupus.

Dropping his hands at his sides he turned back to argue.

Brody: Women with lupus have babies all the time.

Gina: I’m a kidney transplant recipient… between that and my lupus… the odds of premature birth and a risky pregnancy is so much higher. The chance of miscarriages… are higher too… Having children would be really challenging for us…

Brody: We serve a mighty God. A miracle working, awesome God. One way or another as long as we believe we’ll get a miracle.

Gina: I’ve been believing for a miracle for years and I still have lupus! I prayed to get healed so I wouldn’t have to get surgery and I still needed surgery… For whatever reason, I have to live out my life with lupus and I don’t want to make it harder. I don’t want kids at least… not naturally…

Brody: So you want to adopt.

Gina: Yeah… maybe…

Brody: Well, how else would we have children?

Gina: Surrogacy.

Brody: No.

Gina: There were concubines in the Bible… Surrogacy is the modern form of that.

Brody: No, it’s not that… I want to marry you. I want to make a family with you and however we do that, I’m fine with it… but you not wanting to have kids can’t be why you’re not saying yes… what’s the real reason?

He knew her so well. Maybe too well…

Last night she dreamt and when she woke up, she remembered.

She was on the beach, at sunset… She recognized the place. It was Brody’s property in the Bahamas. The beach part was set up for a wedding. The guests were there. The groom’s side and the bride’s side filled with many people they knew. Brody was in position. Pastor Ronny was in position ready to officiate the ceremony. Brody’s side had his whole family and his friends and his people from the old label and the new. And though the Bride’s side was filled with people Gina knew, it lacked the people that counted… like her family.

She watched the bridesmaids walk down the aisle… not one of them were dressed in a color she would approve and not one of them was her best friend. And when Gina saw the bride wasn’t her… Gina cried… in her dream… not even waking up.

Brody: Who was the bride again?

Gina: Riley… you were marrying Riley… not me.

Brody: Riley and I have never dated. We’ve never kissed. We’re just friends.

Gina: I know and I believe you.

Gina stepped forward and placed her hands on Brody’s chest. She repeated again and again that she believed him as he defended his friendship with Riley.

Brody: Maybe I should go and give you some time to think about whether you want to be with me or not.

Brody brushed past her but she caught him by the wrist. She rotated to look at him.

Gina: You love the beach. You love your house in the Bahamas. You would love to get married there. And I don’t know Riley very much, but I know she’s at the beach all the time. The reliable sources always report so.

Brody: But you always wanted to get married in a church…

Gina: I still do…

Brody: What are you saying? You had a prophetic dream I’m supposed to be with Riley?

Gina: I think we need to pray and we need to ask God, if we can build a strong marriage together…

Brody this whole time hadn’t looked at Gina. He took control of his arm and walked away…


A few days later… Brody met Gina outside the theatre booked for her new musical. Brody wore his square black shades, his biker leather jacket, a white tee, and faded blue jeans. Gina was in her dance practice gear- a black tank and gray sweats. She wore her choreographer’s oversized hoodie to stay warm from the fall chill.

Brody rocked the de-shelved, untamed hairdo. Gina rocked the messy, loose, bun…

Brody: Before we got back together this time, that morning I asked Pastor Ronny and Ms. Gail what they thought if I asked Riley out… I was convinced we would never get back together… I finally felt like I was over you… and I’m ready to be married. I want to be a dad while I’m young… But more than just that, I’m ready to focus on making a family and when we got back together… I thought you were finally ready for that too.

Gina: (crying) So you do have feelings for Riley?

Brody: I guess… I don’t know… She’s just my best friend… I’ve never had a best friend like her. I can talk about anything with her… I don’t even know if she likes me.

Gina: (wiping her tears with the hoodie sleeves) We need to split up. I think we just really want really different things…

Brody: (taking Gina by the arms) No, I’m here to tell you. I choose you. I want you. You were my first love and I want you to be my last, and if I have to give up my friendship with Riley… I will… And I’m okay if we never have children… I just want you.

Shaking her head, she backed up out of his clutch.

Gina: Did you pray?

Brody: God doesn’t put people together Gina. We are free to choose who we want to be with…

Gina: And I agree, but we both know there are no coincidences with God! And the day you propose to me, the night before, I have a dream about you and your best friend getting married in a mutual favorite venue? That was a sign! And I haven’t eaten in three days and when I wasn’t memorizing lines I was praying and before I got here today, I have heard God more clearly than I have in a long time. We’re not right for each other. We shouldn’t get married.

Brody: Gina-

Gina: Am I another one of your best friends? Can you talk to me about everything like you do with Riley?

Brody: Gina that’s not fair… Riley’s just been there for a long time. You’re being ridiculous!

Gina: Well, let me make this clear. I don’t want to be with you. (Taking the ring box out of her pants pocket, she hands him the box back, cupping it in his hands.) I won’t marry you Brody.

Brody broke down crying. Without hesitating Gina held him and rubbed his back.

Gina: (whispering in his ear) It’s okay… Everything will be okay…


Four months later, Brody posted a picture on his Twitter account of Riley on his lap, with the Bahamian setting sun behind them, on his Bahamian house deck and Tweeted: The LOVE of my life said “YES”! I’m so grateful God gave me you and I could not be happier to marry the woman of my dreams. I want us to have a godly family and I pray everyday God leads me to be the man you and our family needs. I love you so much!

Everyone tried to get Gina’s thoughts. On the street, on the phone, during interviews, but she stayed quiet. No one knew how they broke up or even why and it was going to stay that way. Did it hurt to see Brody with Riley? The queen of reality tv and the number one female soccer player in the world, probably going to the next Olympics… Who also happened to be beautiful enough to be a model… oh, she was that sometimes… for cosmetics and sports gear. Hot. Girl. Sports. Gear. Yes, it hurt that he only waited a week to start dating her. It hurt that he got engaged out of nowhere, fourth months to the day after breaking up.

But Dancing in the Minefields was a wild success. The pilot to her TV show got picked up by the number one network currently. And she did get that Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Right now she was living in the promise of an amazing career and she used every opportunity to make Jesus more famous than herself. For now and maybe forever, Jesus was enough.


Note from the Author:

I know what you’re thinking?! Yes, I was mildly inspired by those celebrities who both are singers, one is an actress, and the male singer got engaged to someone who wasn’t that famous singer who acts… So what does this factor make this story? I guess a bit of fan fiction. I have no idea how they split and I mean no disrespect to them. I love their witness for Jesus the Messiah and if I never meet them in this life, I’m excited to meet them in Paradise in Eternity.

But the bottom line is, this entire story was inspired by their break up and I thought about these possibilities as being the reason why they did. NO ONE BUT THEM AND WHO THEY TOLD KNOW WHY.

And if you live in a bubble and have no idea who I based the characters on, then I hope you enjoyed the story about two famous people who loved each other but broke up.

Tune in next SUNDAY for “BUSSING IT” to continue. If you haven’t read part one, check it out now in the archive, as you like:)

Much love,

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Because of Faith – 6

I sat inside an old office space supposedly transformed into a black box theatre. The stage was a plank of mahogany wood a few inches off the ground.  The entire platform may be the size of an apartment living room. On a built-in extended wall, were two doors, one on the left and the other on the right as the only stage entrances and exits. I haven’t been backstage but it must be cramped.

The walls are pitch black. Black drape hangs from the ceiling on each side of the stage. The seating are black, pleather cushioned chairs and divided in three sections around the stage. A part to the left, the largest part in the center, and the smallest part to the right.

The house seats are spackled with a sparse crowd. Mostly silver-haired folks, which are probably the season ticket holders that keep this hole-in-the-wall theatre operational. The young faces in the room seem familiar. I think I’ve seen them around campus or at the bar.

As the house lights go down, I hear, “I’m here!” Gracie just arrived. I look over my shoulder and see her apologizing to the House Manager for being late and pleading to be seated. He obliges her and lets her in. “Thanks, Ricky!” She whispers loudly.

Gracie runs down the aisle and plops down on my lap, at the end of the third row, to climb over me to get to her seat. I would have stood up to let her in, but she acted too fast for me to move.

The potent aroma of lilac and honey engulfs my nose. She smells great and even though its dark, I can make out she is fixed up to impress someone. She straightened her wavy locks and the contour on her face makes her look grown as opposed to her natural youthful self. Restraining myself from hitting on her will be difficult tonight.

I did ask her if she wanted me to pick her up. I figured we could have grabbed a bite before coming to the show. She said it sounded too much like a date and therefore declined my offer.

I remember clearly a few weeks ago I was a potential boyfriend in the hallway at school. She and David whispered about me assuming I was soundly sleep. I give up. Let her keep me in the friend zone, but I really do need to find a girlfriend… I’m not only lonely but dirty videos aren’t anything like the real deal.

Gracie put her hand on my thigh, a little higher up than usual and she leans over to me and whispers, “I’m excited.”

The actors take their place in the ghost lights and Gracie decides to rest her head against my bicep, if she were taller her head would be on my shoulder. Okay, maybe she changed her mind… I’m still boyfriend potential?

The lights go up and down center stage stands the most beautiful woman in creation. Kelsey Cadence. I hold my breath without understanding why. Around a month ago, she was physically in my living room, suffering from the walk-of-shame as she waited for her ex-boyfriend to pick her up. I still can’t believe my brother betrayed me and slept with her.

The play opens with Kelsey’s character giving a monologue that’s like a prayer out loud. She could look anywhere in the audience, but she chose to look at me. Our eyes lock, and I can see the fear in her eyes. Her character needs to get far away but she’s broke, isolated, and she’s never traveled outside her little town. She’s interrupted, by David’s character who looks sharp in a mid-1960s suit.

“There you are Faith!” David-in-character says rushing over to her.

Turning toward him in a flirty way, ‘Faith’ acknowledges the man approaching her, “Deacon…”

Only three cast members ever take the stage. The third member a man with blond hair and blue eyes called Canon.

The lighting sticks to blue hues. For the set, big black blocks are staged to be a staircase upstage left, a bench centerstage, and a ledge downstage right.

Deacon is a guy in seminary school, but he’s a rapist. He lures women with his bible talk and good guy act, and rapes them in a park. Faith suffered physical abuse from her mother and sexual abuse from her father as a child. When she meets Deacon, she runs away with him hoping to escape her terrible life. Cannon narrates majority of the story. He mainly whines about how there are more posers in the world claiming to be children of God than actual children of God… he also kind of serves as Faith’s guardian angel. At the climax of the play, when Faith thinks about killing herself, Cannon appears and gives her hope.

However, Deacon appears to spoil the hopeful mood. In a struggle for the gun, between he and Faith, the gun goes off and Deacon ends up dead. Faith flees and returns home. The play ends with no real resolution. She’s on her knees praying for forgiveness and a chance at a better life. Then right before the lights go out, Cannon appears, standing behind her. This time she can’t see him. His final monologue implies she’s pregnant and that the child is her second hope next to her faith in God.

Okay… between the lighting, the staging, the set, and the acting it was entertaining and it wasn’t total crap. If anything, it was immensely thought provoking. Cannon made some interesting points about religious people, yet he and Faith were so faithful to a flawed system. I think I kind of liked it. A unique Theatre-of-the-Absurd-Genre production.

After the show, out in the lobby the cast came to mingle with the audience over wine and mini-snack-foods. Gracie got trapped into talking with her acting instructor from childhood, Vera. As a little girl, at the Invincible Theatre, Gracie took acting classes during the school year and was involved in Theatre Day Camp over the summer.

Vera’s dried out, matted umber brown hair stays up because a crown of pens locks her hair mats in place and though she’s really fit physically, her tanning-booth darkened skin looks rough like leather. When the woman laughs, she sounds like a goat with a duck vocal box… I think. I am just annoyed. And she smells like incense… I hate that smell.

I’m a good six feet away and I can still smell Vera. The merlot’s not bad. I love how no one carded me. I barely look legal. Then again, I only card people at the bar I think are at risk getting caught by their parents or the law, other than that Deus doesn’t really care if I card customers or not. The goal is getting the coin and cash. He only cares about the money.

“Gray!” Gracie calls me over. Only because she’s my friend, I drag myself over to her and the strange woman.

“You rang,” I joke…

Gracie laughs flirtatiously and then explains why she summoned me, “I was telling Vera you did stage crew back in high school… Funny thing… she’s looking for a stage manger to help with all the children’s theatre productions.”

No. I’m definitely saying no. “Kelsey and I are helping too as teaching assistants.” Gracie adds. “You should join us.”

“Grady?” I hear a half-excited, half-shocked shrill from behind me.

I turn around and Kelsey Cadence rushes to wrap me in her arms. Sighing partly with relief and partly with enthusiasm, Kelsey confesses, “I’m SO glad you came!” Abruptly, very repentantly, she removes herself from my person and asks, “Did you come with a date.”

“Ah…” I sigh. Not entirely sure why.

“Kels, you know Gray?” Gracie asks Kelsey.

While I say, “Sort of,” Kelsey talks over me to say, “Kind of…” bugging her eyes out in a comical fashion. I think she’s a little nervous.

“I always thought Gray was short for Grayson.” Kelsey admits combing her fingers through her voluminous dark hair. Then she crosses her arms cloaking herself with a subtle attitude towards me and Gracie. “Well, um…”

“Wait,” Gracie’s countenance grows confused. Baffled she points at me and says to Kelsey, “This is the guy who pretended to be Irish and lured you into a one-night stand?”

“Whoa!” I snap snatching her pointing finger. “Lower your voice and actually—,” before I could defend myself, Gracie aggressively frees her hand from my grasp, takes both Kelsey and I by the arm and drags us back into the Black Box Theatre for privacy.

She sits us down in the front row, in the center seats. Little Gracie clings her torso by crossing her arms and she stands before us on the stage, with her hips cocked to one side.

Facing towards me but with her gaze looking down, Gracie says, “This is why I was hesitant about dating you. You drag everyone to hell with you and I didn’t want to be one of them.”

“What did I do?” I ask her. Trying to assess what is going on I ask Kelsey, “What’s happening right now? I should have said this at my house but Kelsey—,” and she cuts me off mid-confession that I did not sleep with her. 

“I’m pregnant.”

That is definitely something no single man wants to hear in his last teen year.

Involuntarily I say, “And you think I did that to you?!”

The back of Gracie’s hand smacks me like a freshly fired paint ball pallet in the shoulder. Clutching my shoulder I cry, “Ouch,” even though the blurb of pain is several seconds gone now.

Tearing up, Kelsey explains, “My fiancée and I weren’t together that much in that way… when we did we were safe you know… and well, that night I don’t remember much…”

“No one raped you okay,” again, my lips have a mind of their own. Why am I defending my brother? I don’t know what he did, or what they did that night… Other than the fact he used my name to pick Kelsey up.

Wiping her eyes with her hand, she sniffles, “I’m not saying you did… like my ex was at that party and I saw him with another girl… the girl he cheated on me with… and I wanted to make him jealous, so I got drunk and I was determined to hook up with the first guy that flirted with me… Or at least make Felix think I was going to hook up with a total stranger…”

“Kelsey…” I say, pausing trying to figure out how I can explain my brother knocked her up if it wasn’t her ex Felix.

“Kels,” Gracie says stepping over to Kelsey and crouches low at Kelsey’s feet, “Grady can be a jerk sometimes… He learned from his prick of a brother, but deep down,” she reaches to take my hand and caresses the back of my hand with her thumb, she comments, “he’s the sweetest, most faithful guy I know.”

“Kelsey… I should have been honest back at my house, but we didn’t spend the night together… My brother…”

“I may not remember a lot but I vaguely remember a Grady picking me up with an Irish accent.”

“Birdie got picked up by your brother,” Gracie chimes in, “She’s really upset he hasn’t called her.”

“Why would I lie? If anything I would say, ‘Yes, I’m the father’ so I could have a chance with the girl—,” I stop myself before my lips could get me into trouble with Gracie before we ever finish our first date?

Gracie furrows her brow and glares at me, “Kelsey is the girl you were madly in love with in high school? The one that had no idea you existed?”

I forgot I told Gracie about Kelsey a few times, without dropping her name.

“Yeah, okay.” I say.

My stomach tightens and I feel like my heart lodged itself in my throat. I can’t be here. I have to go.

“Don’t lie,” Gracie orders.

“I don’t think he’s lying…” Kelsey says.

“Yeah… my brother brought you home and asked me to see you out… He’s a jerk… sorry…”

“We went to high school together?” Kelsey questions not remembering me at all.

“You were in the same class as my brother. I was two grades behind you.”

“You kind of look like this kid from stage crew, Timmy, but he was skinnier and wore glasses.”

“That’s me. Grady Timmins, aka Timmy.”

Suddenly her eyes got huge like an owl and she forced me into an unexpected hug, “Timmy! You dated Miranda. She did say you were a sweet guy.”

Her hug is unique. Snug like being wrapped in a blanket and peaceful like my mother’s embrace. She backs up to let me go, but I keep holding on a little longer. I didn’t realize how much I missed my mother’s hugs…

When I finally let her go, she wonders, “How do I get a hold of your brother?”

Good question. He didn’t pay his phone bill. I can’t even get in touch with him and I haven’t heard from him since he left. He could be lying dead in a ditch somewhere.


#storysunday_rol

COMING SOON “B/C of Faith” on Audio, until then read Grady’s Saga piece by piece.

Because of Faith – 5

Deus, who’s actual name is Tom, pats me on the back as he tells me congratulations. As I walked in the door, he just decided to promote me to bar-manager/bartender. He’ll pay me a couple more dollars an hour and he feels comfortable enough to leave me alone to handle the Dive, the name of the bar, on my own. What is it with everyone abandoning me today? At least here I’ll be surrounded by drunks.

            Deus, if you couldn’t notice by the name, is cock-headed. He thinks highly of himself and as the most dedicated atheist I know, he lives not only to discredit religion but to mock God as if he’s almost real. What Deus thrives on more is pissing people off. If a court would allow him, he’d change his name to God or Deus, but no judge is that immoral. Out of respect for peoples’ religion, I call him Tom, and he’s okay with it. Aside from his son, I’m the only who can call him by his birth name.

            Well into his sixties, he sports a long white beard, and shoulder-length predominantly white hair. And usually always wears all-white. White slacks, a white short-sleeve button shirt, and white flip flops. I think he takes the mockery of God too far, but I think what once was a gimmick to him became his notoriety. I once went to a hardware store with him, because he had to make a few repairs at the Dive, and workers and customers at that place knew who he was. People will do anything not to be forgotten.

            “The place is all yours Demi-Deus Dos,” Tom chuckles handing me a set of keys, “Tonight should be slow and clean up should be quick. Lock up will be a breeze.”

            I watch him leave the Dive a little stunned. I haven’t worked here a full three months and I’ve been promoted. I didn’t think I’d actually get the bartender job. I applied for the heck of it. I wasn’t even sure I was legally old enough. Some people say you have to be 21 in AZ, others say 19 is okay. If Tom was a normal human being and not the freak he was I would rest easy that bartending age is 19, but Tom doesn’t exactly follow the law on a daily basis. The only statute he follows to a T is the status of the Dive’s liquor license.

            “Can I commit commandment 6?” April, a loyal drunk, asks from her usual seat at the bar behind me.

            Yes, Tom is that sick. He’s dedicated a drink to each ten commandment. Thou shalt not kill is an easy one to figure out: Bloody Mary.

            April, who’s old enough to have given birth to me, flirts with me as I make her precious drink. Telling me about how she goes wild for Irishmen and the thing or two she could show me if I give her the chance. I guess it’s really not flirting… She’s blatantly open and honest about things she wants to do to and do with me.

            The woman’s a heavy smoker and reeks of cigarettes, her dark, black hair is frazzled and thin, and she’s covered in faded tattoos. I’m not really into girls with tattoos. They’re gross. I’m definitely not in to women who smoke, double gross! I loved my mother, I still do, but I never had the desire to screw her, therefore I will never screw that woman. But I do let her think she may get somewhere someday… Did I mention she’s a mighty generous tipper?

            As I tune April out, talking about her days as a stripper, I look around the bar and there are only two other people around. Both regulars: Harold and Shannon. Harold’s a navy vet from Vietnam, so he didn’t see much action, but he sure acts like it. Shannon is a dude, and if I had a girl’s name I’d drink a lot too. He wears black attire; he never takes off his shades, and drinks nothing but Jack Daniels. I think he’s trying to be the incarnate of Johnny Cash. Instead of singing a song about A Boy Named Sue, it can be a song about The Man Named Shannon.

            Only a few more customers stroll in out before close. The loyal drunks, by no surprise, are too wasted to drive home. I had to confiscate their keys and call all three a cab. Cab drivers will drive drunks home for free and then the next day, drive them back to their car for free too. I always feel bad the cab drivers have to do all that work without pay, so I just give them fifty bucks from the tip jar. Tonight, since business was slow. I’m only giving out twenty to each driver.

            Clean up was easy. Quick restock of the bar. Quick wipe down of a few tables. And lastly a quick mop. Lights out, lock all the doors, and I was home a little before two in the morning.

            My alarm goes off at six, as it always does Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, but I don’t get out of bed until 6:45 am. I don’t bother to shower. I might even skip food, but when I step into the hallway I smell the makings of cooking pancakes and frying sausage, which means Peg is here. Entering the kitchen, the strong aroma of French Vanilla Roast coffee engulfs my nose. A mug filled with fresh brew is offered to me by Peg, who I might add looks beautiful this morning. Her sun-kissed blonde hair braided into a fishtail. Her face made up with light blue eye shadow and a glossy, glittery rose pink lip balm gives her thin lips some volume. Wearing her own pair of tattered, faded blue skinny jeans, she wears one of my brother’s green Henley’s, the sleeves are scrunched up above her elbows, and the bottom hem of the shirt nearly meets her knees like a super short dress.

            I can’t refuse fresh brew, especially when tiredness threatens to take me back to bed.

            “Sit down. Let me fix you a plate.” She says.

            Why resist her hospitality? I take a seat at the bar counter, on a comfy, cushy stool instead of the table. Leaning forward, propping myself up on one elbow, I slowly sip the dark, yet smooth roast. Again, I’m King Odd… I love the bitter, tart taste of coffee.

            Seconds later, a plate piled high with five, fluffy pancakes and four big patties of sausage I try not to have a heart attack prior to my first bite. Peg sets the bottle of cold syrup in front of my plate. She remembers that I’m the only person on the planet that doesn’t like hot syrup.

            As I wolf down breakfast, determined to leave at a decent time so I’m exceptionally late to class, I just have to know, so with a mouthful of food I ask, “Why are you back together with my brother?”

            Peg chuckles obnoxiously as she starts cleaning the dishes she made. For a moment, she ponders over the question staring at the running water from the faucet. Finally she admits, “I don’t know.”

            I nearly choke trying not to laugh. After I endure a coughing fit to preserve my life, I chug some lukewarm coffee to wash down the remnants of food. As I finish up my food, I listen to Peg rationalize her decision to get back together with Alastair.

            “When we met for coffee last Saturday, he told me how lonely he’s been. That he hasn’t even been able to use his childish antics to chase after other girls. That I’ve been the only one on his mind for the past few months… It was the most honesty I’ve ever seen come from him, and somehow I just knew things would be different this time.”

            Wow, my brother is the god of bullshit. He told Peg exactly what she wanted to hear to swindle her back into his arms. If hell is real, there’s a special place waiting for him there. I don’t have the heart to tell her that Alastair picked up two chicks Friday night… one right after the other… I’m not going to focus on how disgusting that is… She could be right, things could be different this time. They could break up even faster once she learns the truth.

            Alastair walks into the kitchen and waltzes over to Peg, folds her into his grasp, and kisses her without taking modesty into consideration. Peg starts tittering from embarrassment over their PDA and she gently nudges him away. Still hugging on her, gearing up for another kiss, Alastair says, “The van’s all packed. We just have to go pick up Dougie and Sly.” Sly’s the second guitarist for the band. Traveling the country in a Dodge Caravan with four people and a bunch of music equipment is going to get cramped. Glad I’m not going.

            I don’t really do well with goodbyes. Finished with breakfast, I stand up and try to take my dishes to the sink, but Peg races over to me to steal my dishes. As she cleans them off, Alastair squeezes me into a quick, snug embrace. After a couple pats on the back, he releases me. I guess we’re both not good with goodbyes. He doesn’t say anything to me. Walking away he informs Peg he’ll be in the van waiting for her.

            Drying off the dishes she just cleaned, and putting them away, one after the other, Peg says, “He’s gonna miss you. You’re the most important person in the world to him.”

            “Huh,” emits from my lips. He may say that but he never really shows it.

            Peg takes a second glance to make sure she didn’t miss a dish. Satisfied, she follows me to the front door. Seizing the opportunity, she too hugs me goodbye and says, “I’ll make sure he calls you.” Softly, she pecks me on the cheek ending the hug.

            I take a moment to watch them drive away before I get into my car. It’s official… I’m a loner now.

            Circle time just began when I burst loudly through the door. It’s not like I could help it, the door is loud. Gracie gestures me to join her side. Then she’s fast to boast about her friend, David Marchetti, being in a Late Night Show at the Invincible Theatre, and that her and I are going opening night of the 27th of this month.

            “Cool, what’s it called?” Geoff asks.

            I shrug my shoulders because I have no idea. I met two people in the production and they left out the title.

            “Waiver… as in a waiver you would sign to relieve any responsibility for a sky diving company if you get injured or die.” Gracie explains.

            “Is that what it’s about?” Geoff wonders.

            “No… It’s about a woman struggling to break free from a life of abuse and reconcile her faith. I hear it’s a little Theatre of Absurd. I just know the acting is going to be phenomenal!”

            The remainder of class muddles along. As does the rest of my day, and day after day, week after week here after, I go through the motions slightly detached from the world. If I could, I’d sleep all day and all night. I’d sleep my way into a coma if it was possible. Keeping the house is more important to me than my own sanity, therefore attending school and work outweighs my desire to escape life through R.E.M


Coming Up w/ Grady from B/C of Faith

Suddenly, a presence looming behind me makes me feel self-conscience. Am I standing in a weird position? Does my hair look alright? A deep gurgle vrooms from that looming presence and a question follows, “You don’t like the script, huh?” I here David ask.

            He steps around me and stands beside Gracie. She reaches out to him and he swoops in her an embrace, lifting her high off the ground. Once he sets her down, talking the speed of a fret train, she tells him everything she loved about the play, which is everything. Once David confesses how he struggled for months to write the script, I suddenly know why Gracie loves everything about it. He also directed the play… no real surprise there. Some actors aren’t meant to write and direct… they’re just meant to act… but some think they can do it all.

            “Grady?” I hear a half-excited, half-shocked shrill from behind me. I turn around and Kelsey Cadence rushes to wrap me in her arms. Sighing partly with relief and partly with enthusiasm, Kelsey confesses, “I’m SO glad you came!” Abruptly, very repentantly, she removes herself from my person and asks, “Did you come with a date.” She looks around past me, directly at someone, and gazing over my shoulder I notice she’s eyeing Gracie, probably wondering if she’s my date.


Thanks- Grady


Hello! As mentioned earlier, thank you for partaking in #StorySunday.

Grady Timmins, Tasha Turner, Ann Taylor-Talmadge, and Cleo Swan are some of the recent characters featured in stories @ briannamonique.blog …

I’m BriAnna Monique, the author of every original story, and if you enjoy what you read on #StorySunday, I’m glad and that warms my heart.

Come back every Sunday to read more!

If you’re a fellow saint, I pray the Father keeps you. If you’re not a saint yet, I dare you, ask God if He’s real and I know He’ll reveal Himself to you.

Be blessed,

BriAnna Monique Williams, blogger

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