TomKat Johnes(The Outsiders Love Story: Chapter 8)

School was finished for the year, we had about three months off, and I was turning sixteen in July. And to top it off I had a date with Keith tonight. I promised the guys I’d bring him home after a couple of dates so he could meet them. Right now I was struggling between my favorite black muscle shirt and my best black tank top at showed of my figure well. I had about twenty minutes If I was going to be there on time. And I was standing shirtless in my room now.

I was trying to decide. If I wore my tank top I won’t need a bra because there’s one built in, but if I wore my muscle shirt I’d need it.

I had on a more fitted pair of dark wash jeans, black high tops, a black belt, and I was going to wear my black leather jacket regardless. But I was stuck on my shirt. I gave up. I picked up the phone on my bed side table and dialed a number.

“Hello?”

“Evie, I need your help.” I said frantically.

“What with?” She asked concerned.

“If you were me and you were going out on a first date, and you were wearing fitted dark wash jeans, black high tops, and you black leather jacket, which shirt would you choose? My black muscle shirt, or my black tank top?”

“That black one you wear all the time, and the one that’s tight on you?” She asked.

“Yeah.”

“Neither. Go for that white wife beater with the Beatles on it. If you’re going that dark, you need something to balance it out.” She told me.

“You’re a life saver.” I said.

“What are friends for?” She asked, “Let me know how it goes.”

“I will, thank’s again.” And I hung up.

I dug in my drawers for a white bra and that shirt. I finally found them and slipped them on. I grabbed my good blade and put it in my back pocket. I picked up a few dollars, grabbed my jacket and was out of the house yelling later to my brothers.

I kept my hair down because I was told I looked a lot nice when it was down. I wanted to put it to the test.

I walked quickly to the place he told me to meet him at. It was in town. One of those fancy restaurants. Not one of them that’s real expensive but no greaser could eat there regularly. 

I walked in. I didn’t see him. 

“May I help you?” I looked up and saw what I presumed to be a Soc looking down on me with a sneer.

“I’m meeting someone here, I assume they’re already here.” I told him.

“Name.” He asked flipping open a book.

“Keith.” I said, “Keith Hallaway.”

“He checked in about twenty minutes minutes ago.” He said looking me up and down, “What possible business would someone like you have with him?” He almost demanded.

“Personal.” i replied with a smirk.

“This way.” he said and rolled his eyes leading me through the tables. As we passed everyone looked.

It was like they never saw a girl in jeans before.

He finally lead me to a personal section in the back. Keith saw sitting there looking over the menu when he saw me.

He stood up and smiled.

“It’s nice to see you could make it.” He said as he kissed me cheek.

“Nothing better to do at home.” I told him.

He smiled warmly and pulled out my chair, he helped me in too. I was a little thrown.

“Is something wrong?” He asked when he was seated across from me.

“No one’s ever done that for me since I was four.” I explained, “It’s different.”

“My father would have hit me if I didn’t.” he said, “That’s how I grew up.”

“I grew up obeying the Ten Commandments and the Seven Heavenly Qualities and denying the Seven Deadly Sins.” I told him picking up the menu.

“Do you drink?” He asked.

I nodded, “Why?”

“I was thinking about ordering a bottle of wine but I wasn’t sure since you were a minor.” He explained.

“So are you.” I told him.

“Nothing a fake id can’t fix.” He said.

I fake gasped, “Someone like you using a fake id, when you work in a law office? Keith, I am ashamed.” 

He laughed, “And have you done to break the law you want to share?” He asked.

“Easier question, “I said, “What haven’t I done?”

We laughed again.

He ordered the wine and I got a coke with it as well.

“You look very nice I might say.” He said making me blush slightly.

“Thank you.” I said, “You don’t look too bad yourself.”

He was wearing a dark grey suit, white shirt under a coat, and a blue stripped tie. I did feel bad that I was only in jeans and wife beater. 

“Besides your religion, breaking the law, and working at a gas station, what else do you do?” He asked.

“How do you mean?” I asked.

“Outside of school, outside of work, tell me about your friends.” He encouraged.

“I have three best friends, four good friends, two girl friends, and quite a few buddies.” I told him, “What about you?”

He laughed lightly.

“I had a best friend at home, but he went to war while I was in collage. He didn’t make it back.” He said.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” He shook his head.

“Where one of your brother’s?” He asked.

“Huh?” I asked.

He pointed to my chest, “You’re wearing a dog tag, was it one of your brother’s?”

I shook my head, “This is my dad’s from world war two. I’ve worn it since they died, it makes me feel like he’s here with me right now. Keeping me in line, best he can, helping me make desicions. I don’t know, it just makes me feel better.”

He nodded, “Tell me about your parents, if you don’t mind.”

“You first.” I said clutching the dog tag.

“My father walked out on me and mother before I was born, I don’t think my mother was much older than you are now. She gave me up for adoption after I was born. My Faust family was nice though. My mother would always make cookies, or muffins, or some sweet thing for us when we got home from school. My father was truck driver, he made good money, we might not of seen him a lot during the week. But weekends it was all for us. I had four older sisters. They adopted me because my mother was no longer fertile so they couldn’t have a boy. My parents were really nice, never beat any of us, never gave us anything to rebel against, always was there even when they were more tired than your could imagine. They loved us all, and still do.” He finished.

“My mama, she looks just like me, other than she’s got both her eyes green. She was always pushin’ my brothers to do better then they thought they could. Every last one of them played an instrument, was on the football team, had straight As. My father. He was somethin’ else. He looked like he could kill you in a second, yet he was the last one to raise a fist in a fight. Taught us about God and what he did, taught us French, Spanish, and Japanese. They were fair, let my brothers run the way they wanted too. There was always so much love with ’em. You couldn’t lie to ’em if your life depended on it. They were good people.” I said stopping there. I was starting to remember what happened.

“If it’s not too much, how did they die?” he asked.

I looked at him, I’m pretty sure my eyes were red, trying not to cry. I shook my head. I didn’t want to talk about it. 

The wine came back and we ordered our food. Keith got a steak, and I got chicken pasta. 

We talked a little more. We split a dessert, chocolate mousse. We got to a new topic.

“My friends want to meet you.” I told him as I took my last bite of the mousse.

“Why’s that?” he asked.

I shrugged, “Make sure your not gonna kill me or something.”

We laughed a little more.

He payed and we left. We went on a little walk through the streets. He held my hand the entire way.

“You know Kat, I came here for a job. I found something a lot more interesting.” He told me.

I looked at him, “Now, let’s just hope that you can keep that job and that something interesting.” I smiled.

He smiled back and wrapped his arm around my shoulders. 

“Has any one ever told you you look breathtaking with your hair down?” He said.

I blushed and looked away. Note to self, leave hair down more often.

We walked a little more in silence. I checked my watch.

“If we hurry,” I started, “You could meet them today.” I suggested.

“Lead the way.” He said.

I took hold of his hand and lead him over to the Curtis house telling him, in detail, about my friends.

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TomKat Johnes(A The Outsiders Love Story Part 7)

Junior gave me ride into town that morning so I skipped the Curtis house. I was just finishing at my locker when it was slammed shut.

“I need them.” Steve told me.

I wasn’t fazed. I reached into my bag and pulled out the notes that I was working on and handed them to him.

“Give Pony and Johnny their’s too.” I told him.

“Sure thing. You’re the best.” He said as he pulled me into a quick hug I couldn’t react to and left.

I sighed and headed off to Math. Nothing new really. A practice exam but nothin’ I couldn’t handle. Everyone else on the other hand was stressing about it, and the actual finals.

The day seemed to fly by. Not that I really noticed. Now we’d have the rest of the week to study, and next week we had the dreaded exams. I didn’t mind them much. Then again my grade point average was 100% as it is and I have a photographic memory, so. No, I wasn’t worried at all.

“Come on we’re gonna be late.” Steve called as he passed my locker.

“Keep your shirt on, I’m comin’.” I mumbled grabbing my shirt.

We walked to the DX. Pony and Johnny went straight to the Curtis place to study off the notes I made for ’em.

“Hey, Soda.” I said coming into the store and throwing my bag in the back.

“Hey.” He said, “Kat, can you be on pumps today?” He asked.

I waved a little as I made my way back outside.

A couple cars rolled up. I filled the tanks and they payed. Nothin’ really out of the ordinary. Until one corvet pulled up to the pumps.

“Can I help you, sir?” I asked.

He took off his sunglasses to reveal beautiful brown eyes. He smiled softly and said,

“Yeah, tell me how a girl as pretty as yourself is working at a place like this?”

His voice was smooth, warm, and welcoming. There was nothing in it that indicated any interest, only curiosity.

“I have a thing for cars, and my friends work here too.” I explained, “Anything else?”

He nodded, “I don’t know what but there seems to be something wrong with my car. I think it requires a beautiful ravened hair woman to take a look, what do you think?”

I couldn’t help but snicker a little.

“Pull up to that garage there,” I pointed, “I just gotta get someone out here to work on the pumps.”

He nodded. I quickly went into the store, found Soda helping some customers at the counter, and Steve staking shelves.

“One a you guys take pumps for a while,” I told them, Soda broke his attention from the girl who was there, she wasn’t too happy about it, Steve continued, “I got a customer in the back.”

Steve tossed the empty box to Soda and pushed past me to go outside. I went to the back and found him leaning on the side of the car.

“Mind if I pop the hood?” I asked coming up to the car.

“I’d be honoured.” He said smiling.

I smiled shyly back. I wasn’t usually like this, what’s wrong with me?

I popped the hood, the engine was amazing. Words can’t describe it.

I started doing the usual.

“So what goes on with it that makes you think you gotta problem?” I asked.

“It makes a funny noise, I don’t really know a lot about cars, but I know that shouldn’t happen. That it can get hard to start sometimes.” He explained.

“When was the last time you checked the oil?” I asked.

“I just got it replaced the other day.” He said, “Couldn’t be it. Could it?”

I shrugged, “Sometimes there can be a defective shipment of oil. Other times the place you got it changed just don’t got good oil to begin with. You never really know until ya’ check.”

“You seem to know a lot about these things.” He said.

“I know a lot about a lot of things.” I told him, “I just don’t look like I do.”

“Not true. You can tell just by looking at you, you have good amount of knowledge.” He said.

“My brother’s sometimes say that I know too much.” I said.

He laughed lightly, “Must make your parents proud though.” He said.

“I guess.” I mumbled and stood up straight.

“Pardon?” He asked.

“Passed away a while ago, my brothers take care a me. They’re old enough.” I said.

“I’m sorry,” He said, “I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable, if that’s what I did.”

I shook my head, “Happened a while ago.” I said, “Sides, they’re in a better place. They’re with God watching over me and my brothers. I know it.”

“Christian?” He asked.

“Catholic.” I corrected, “Just don’t act it most the time. What about you any religion?”

He shook his head, “I find it fascinating, but I’ve yet to come to a religion that I think is worth it. But I respect those who have one.”

I nodded, “Ain’t gotta be so formal, I got people trash talkin’ me ’bout everything all the time. Hell, one a my friends does all the time.”

“Doesn’t sound like a very good friend to me.” He said.

I shrugged, “He’s a good buddy. He just thinks stuff like that is a waste a time.”

He nodded.

“Problems the oil.” I told him, “Stuff can reck your entire engine if it ain’t good enough.”

“You’ve only been under there about three minutes.” He said amazed.

“Really?” I asked, he nodded.

“I think I just beat Steve’s record.” I said out loud.

He laughed lightly again.

“I’m Keith by the way.” He said extending his hand, “Keith Hallaway.”

“Tomkat.” I said taking it, “Tomkat Johnes. My friends call me Kat.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Kat.” He said.

“Like wise, Keith.” I said, “I’ll be right back, I need to get the oil.”

“I wont go anywhere.” He said.

I went into the store room and dug around a bit. I finally found it. I got that and the bucket we empty oil into. I came back, put the bucket under the hole, unscrewed the cap and waited for the oil to finish flowing.

“Have you lived around here long, Kat?” Keith asked.

“Whole life,” I said, “Why?”

“Do you know how to get to Tulsa Law office?” He asked, “I’m applying for a secretary position there. I kind of got lost though.” He said laughing lightly.

I don’t know why but it was starting to grow on me.

“If you don’t mind me askin’ who’s secertary’d you be?” I asked putting the cap back on.

“Best lawyer in Tulsa, supposedly.” He said, “Budwiser Constantien.”

I froze, I looked up to him and smiled, “I’ll put in a good word for ya’ if ya’ want.”

“That’d be nice, but what does your word have anything to do with law?” He asked respectfully.

“Who you’re applyin’ to happens to be one a my big brothers.” I said.

“Really?” He asked excitedly, but stopped and looked at me seriously, “You gave a false introduction. You said your name was Jones.”

I shook my head and moved the bucket, “It’s tradition in my family. Girls keep the maiden name of their mother’s, boys get the married sir name. It’s a little confusing, but it works for us. Sides, I like it.”

He nodded understand able.

I started to pour the oil in, “You go straight down the way you came ’til you come to a street called 3rd, turn left and go for three blocks. Turn right on Sutton, go straight for a mile or so until you get to a street called Miller Lane, turn down it. Name clearly stated on the building. If you can, say hi to Marry for me. She’s the front secretary.”

He nodded, “Thank you.”

“No problem.” I said cleaning my hands off with the rag.

“I’ll put in that word for you too, if ya’ want.” I said looking at him.

He was handsome. His dirty blond hair turning gold in the light. His eyes sparkling. His gentile features coming out so smoothly. Good build. Dressed real smart too.

“I’d like that Kat, thank you.” he said reaching into his pocket and pulling out a wallet.

He pulled out a few bills and reached out for my hand, he placed them in my palm and closed my fingers around them.

“There’s an extra fifty in there.” He said, “For your great service.”

“Thank you.” I said.

“And if it’s not too much at ask, “He reached back into his pocket for something, he pulled out a piece of paper, “Could I get your number? It might be nice to have dinner, we could talk about our outlooks on religion some more. It’s hard to find an intelligent conversation now a days.”

I looked at him a second.

“How old are you?” I asked

“Twenty,” He said calmly, “What about you?”

“Sixteen next month.” I said.

“I see.” He said slightly disappointed.

I smiled, “Something you should know about me, Keith.” I said taking out a pen and grabbing the paper, “Age is just a number to me. My parents were seven years apart when they got married.”

“You don’t care then?” He asked.

I shook my head, “I ain’t one of those girls. Sides, I know for a fact I’ll eat any guy my age alive if they want to date me.”

I gave him back the paper.

“I’ll be sure to use this.” He said.

I nodded, “But if it’s not me who picks up, just say that a friend of Kat’s called. If my brothers find out I had someone who’s that much older than me askin’ me out, I’m a dead girl walkin’.” We both shared a small laugh at that.

He promised to call.

I went back to work thinkin’ ’bout him. He seems like a nice enough guy. Easy to talk to. I got a little knotting feeling in my stomach.

I shrugged it off. I called Buddy after he left, let him know one of his applicants would be a very good choice. After a few more hours we locked up and went home.

Well the Curtis place anyway. Christine and Evie were there, apparently studying with Pony and Johnny.

I sat down on the couch still thinking about Keith. I pulled my hat off and pulled my hair out. I don’t know why I just felt like it.

“Kat, everything okay?” Evie asked giving me a ‘don’t hide anything I know’ look.

I nodded, “Yeah, everything’s okay.” I told her.

“What’s his name?” He and Christine asked hoping on the couch on either side of me.

All the guys were staring at us like we were crazy. I don’t have crushes, and if I do it’s on like Elvis, or one of the Beatles.

“What makes you think there’s a boy?” I asked.

“You have a dreamy look on your face.” Christine pointed out.

“You have this look on your face, Kat. And trust me I know when a girl is thinking of a guy, it’s something that comes natural to me.” Evie told me.

I sighed and smiled.

“His name’s Keith.”I said, they squealed, “He came to DX today with some car trouble. He wasn’t from around here, he was way too clean for it, even a Soc. He even admitted that he was here answering an add to be a law secretary for Buddy. While I was changin’ the oil to his car we got to talkin’. We talked about religion, what we think ’bout it, little of our outlooks. He was real nice too. Almost a perfect gentleman. He gave a good tip after I was done, and he asked me out.” They squealed again, “I gave him my number, and I guess we’ll see, huh?”

I buried my head in my hands because I knew what everyone was gonna say.

“How old is he?”

“What does he look like?”

“How does he make you feel?”

“Think it was love at first sight?”

“What kind of car was it?”

“How much was the tip?”

“Is he doing anything other than applying for secretary?”

Most of these came from Evie and Christine. I could answer all of them though.

“He’s twenty.” I started, “He’s got beautiful brown eyes, dirty blond hair, a nice build, gentile features, he’s well dressed too. My stomach got kinda knotty when we talked, and I keep thinkin’ ’bout him. I’m not sure if it was love at first sight, but I think we got a date, I just gotta wait for him to call me. It was a black 54 corvet. Tip was fifty big ones. And I’m not really sure, I was real quick with all the checkin’ and stuff so we didn’t really talk too much. Sides, if we did then he’d a missed his interview. I think I really like him though. He never said nothing bad ’bout me being into God and stuff, he apologised when he thought he hurt my feelings or brought somethin’ up that made me feel uncomfortable. I even told him I ain’t got my parents, he seemed real sympathetic, like he knew what I was talkn’ ’bout. I hope he got the job.”

“Eeeeee, I think our Kitty-Kat has finally found herself a new man after the Shepard!” Evie cheered and pulled me into a hug.

“Don’t celebrate yet, Eves.” Steve warned.

“Yeah, remember more than 90% of guys who ask her out don’t make it past the first date.” Soda said.

“I wonder how Shepard got in?” Pony wondered aloud.

“I was in a post-friend-break-up craze, I explained that already.” I told them.

“Think he’ll make it past?” Christine whispered in my ear.

“Boy I hope so.” I said smiling to her.

TomKat Johnes(The Outsiders Love Story: Chapter 6)

I went home that night and actually had dinner with my family. My brothers never minded ’cause they knew I was always with at least of the gang. They also knew that they looked out for me as well, if not better, then they did.

Stacey made dinner. It wasn’t anything special, homemade burgers and fries with salad.

I savored every bite though. This was my last meal of meat for the rest of the week. Because I was born so early I’m not exactly fully developed like everyone else. I eat too much meat then it hurts my stomach and it could shut down my digestive system.

Everyone’s gotten used to it. Though I doubt it helps when Buddy is lactose intolerant. We get by. No worries.

I took another shower before I went to bed. I always take two everyday for some reason. I don’t know why.

I figured I’d actually be about to sleep tonight. I was so wrong. The second I fell asleep;

I was running through a dead forest of black trees. The red moon bathed over everything turning everything the colour of blood. My feet kept crunching on sticks, twigs, leaves, and rocks. I was out of breath. I was running out of time. I fell face first into the freezing mud. I stood back up and took off running again. I didn’t know where. My breath was beginning to be shallow. I was getting tired, but I couldn’t stop. It was getting closer and closer by the second. One of the roots from the trees shot up and grabbed my ankle sending me forward once again into the mud. I was already numb from the cold. I was struggling so hard to get away. I didn’t have my blade on me. No one was around. And to top it off, it was here. Standing before me, still in the shadows of the dead trees was what I was running from. A giant, black, part wolf, part bull, part human demon that was hunting me. It extended a large muscular arm towards me. It’s hand was larger than my head, it had long powerful fingers and on the end of each one was a razor sharp claw that looked like they could cut through steel. It reached for me. I tried to back up, but I couldn’t. Then it stepped into the light of the moon. Piercing yellow eyes digging into me, razor sharp teeth that were way too large for it’s over sized mouth. It was at least twice the size of Darry and Junior put together. It grabbed me by the neck and pulled my up so I was eye level with it. I was gasping for air, as it restricted my airway more. It finally lifted me up above its head. Turning its head up so it was looking up at me. It opened it’s mouth and dropped me. All I could do was scream.

I shot up screaming at the top of my lungs. Junior and the twins were the first ones in my room. I always found it slightly amusing how even though Junior’s room was the furthest away from mine, he was always the first one in the door. I always found it comforting.

I was breathing heavy as Jaguire grabbed my shoulders and asked me if I was alright.

I leaned forward and rested my head on his shoulder, wrapping my arms around his waist.

“I was scared.” I told them, “I was so real.”

“Which one was it?” Buddy asked from the door way as Maddog was in the room next to Pepperonii.

“The wolf-bull.” I told them hanging on to Jaguire tighter.

He held me a little tighter too.

“The new one?” Junior asked.

I nodded. We had a system for all my nightmares. I named all of them. But every once in a while a new monster that haunts me while I sleep will come along and scare me even more. See, even though there real, I go through the night mares over and over again often enough that after a while it’s not so scary anymore. I’m still scared, but not to the point in which I’ll wake up screaming like this. But more like me waking up in an icy sweat.

“I’d say it’s about time we named that one.” Maddog said.

They all looked at me.

“He has horns, black fur like hair that covers his body, bull like hind legs, human like arms, sharp claws, he’s bigger then Junior and Darry put together, yellow eyes that cut through anyone, and razor sharp teeth with an abnormally large mouth.” I said, “Any ideas?”

They all thought for a minute.

“What was building up to for him to scare you like that?” Jaguire asked.

“A blood-red moon giving everything the colour of blood, black dead trees, me running from him, he eventually catches up with me, a root catches my ankle so I can’t move, he constricts my air way and then he lifts me up over his head, opens his mouth, and drops me. That’s where I always wake up.” I croaked.

“He’s not going to hurt you anymore, Kitten.” Jaguire said pulling back slightly so he could look into my eyes, “Wanna sleep with us tonight?”

The way he always says that, it always makes me think that it means, “Sleep in our room for the rest of the night, you’ll feel better.” I just nodded. He scooped me up and brought me down to his and Pepperonii’s room.

“Night Kitten.” They said together.

“Night guys.” I whispered before going into a dreamless sleep.

When I woke up the next morning Jaguire and Pepperonii were still on either side of me. I could never ask for better brothers than the ones I already have.

Going up to my room and getting cloths, something dawned on me. This was the last week of school before summer vacation. Also, it was only about a month or so before I was sixteen and Junior was thirty-one.

I showered and got dressed. Made breakfast and lunches, ate, grabbed my book bag and was out the door with my DX cap and shirt in my bag as everyone was getting up.

I walked over to the Curtis house. Nothing out of the ordinary.

“Hey!” I yelled and sat down.

“Hey!” They yelled back.

I watched Mickey Mouse with Two-bit until we had to go. I was in between him and Steve as we walked. This was usual. Soda would ride with Darry, Dally either wasn’t there or would be out causing trouble, Johnny and Pony would walk behind us and they’d talk. And then the three of us would goof around ’till we got to school.

I had a mixed scedgual so I had a couple of classes with Pony, a couple with Johnny, a couple with Steve, and a couple with Two-bit. The only one I had alone was gym. I was perfectly okay with that too.

First class was math with Two-bit and Pony, second was biology with Pony and Johnny, third was English with Pony, fourth was gym by myself, then there was lunch, after lunch I had music, me and Steve only took this one. Johnny and Pony don’t really have an ear for music, and Two-bit refused to be with any band nerds. This wasn’t the case for us, it was free music. Where you could play whatever you wanted, one catch was the you and everyone else had to perform one dorky song every year. The teacher said we got a lot better since Steve and I joined, he was good on guitar and I was a pianist since I was about four. Sixth period was history I had with Johnny, Pony, and Two-bit, seventh was health with Two-bit, and last me and Steve had auto mechanics.

The day went by so slowly. This was our last day of actual classes, after this all we had was exams.

We all walked to the DX. Pony and Johnny were gonna stick around because I was gonna show ’em something cool they should know about fixing a car. Two-bit always bummed around after school. It was like having my own personal three stooges.

“Hey Pepsi!” I chimed as we came in.

“How was tortor?” He asked laughing as he looked up over his magazine.

“School isn’t tortor, Soda.” I told him sliding on my shirt, “It’s the Socs and the stupid teachers that hate us and wont do nothin’ for us that make it hell.”

Everyone laughed at that. But they couldn’t deny it was the truth.

“I think you beat Two-bit again.” Soda said and slapped my cap on my head.

I fixed it as I said, “One of these days we’re gonna need to stat keepin’ score.”

They laughed and I walked into back. Pony and Johnny followed.

I popped the hood and began to work along with teaching then a neat trick and helping them study. My job in this gang is never done.

After our shifts were finished we locked up and headed home. Well, I headed home. Two-bit, Steve, Johnny, Soda, and Pony headed to the house.

When I got in I threw my bag down and yelled that I was home. There was no answer. I looked around. The house was deserted. Just like that day~

I shook my head to snap out of that train of thought. I wasn’t going to think about that, or anything else like it. What happened, happened, much as I want to I can’t change it.

I went into the living room and sat at my piano trying to do homework. But I couldn’t my sheet music wasn’t the way I left it, and it was bugging me. I sat up right while straddling the bench, they way I usually sit when doing my homework. I reached up to fix it when I noticed something; one of these piece weren’t sheet music, it was a note.

Kat,

Sorry to tell you this but no one’s home if your reading this. We all went out. Me and Stacey took the kids out because Ellie made honor roll. Buddy’s still out at the office, and Jane is volunteering at a camp, she took the quadruples with her. I think both twins had a date, and Maddog is working late. Sorry ’bout this again. Buddy should be back around nine or so, we’ll come back around ten. Don’t ask me about the other’s ’cause you know them as well as I do. Love you, Kat. Please don’t freak out again. -Junior C.

I read this and held it in my hands for a little while. At least one of them was nice enough to leave this for me. I thought as I put it down.

I got up and turned on the tv, nothing was really on. I also put on the radio. I needed some kind of noise. I was used to having the tv blaring, phones ringing, kids running around yelling, mom’s telling them to stop, me being asked to come play, dishes in the sink being washed and car doors slamming.

It seems like a lot, but not really. I always find the silence eerie. unnatural. Another thing that scared me.

I went back to me books. I promised Johnny, Steve, and Pony that I’d make notes for them so they’d have something easier to study off of.

I jumped as the phone rang. I wasn’t expecting anyone, but it is our house. I picked it up.

“Hello?”

“Kat?”

“Hey Buddy, something wrong?” I asked.

“Your home now?” He asked in disbelief.

“Yeah, some sorta law against that now or something I should know about?” I asked.

“No, it’s just not usual. You’re usually not in until at least midnight, even though your curfew is eleven thirty.”

“Aww, c’mon Buddy. You and I both know no one can get home by then.” I told him.

“True.”

“So were you just calling to see who was where?”

“Yeah, I was wondering who was home and if there was anything that was planed for dinner.”

“Junior’s out with his kin, Maddog’s working late shift, Twin’s gotta date, and I’m sure your aware of your wife’s current location.” I told him.

“Anything you want me to pick up?”

“Chines?” I asked.

“You aren’t getting any meat.” He warned.

“I’m more than aware of that, mom. But I figured since The Fortune Cookie had such great fried rice, noodles, and a veggie chowmen. Why not?”

He laughed and said, “I got ya’, don’t worry.”

“How long before your home?” I asked almost desperately.

“Uhh, half hour. And I’ll come with food.”

We both laughed lightly.

“Hurry up.” I said.

He hung up and so did I.

Eating Chines with my second brother. Not a bad way to spend a Monday night.

He got back in thirty-five minutes.

“Hey.” He said coming in a bag of papers to work on in one hand, chines take out in the other.

“Lier.” I said.

“What?” He asked confused as he set everything down.

“You took thirty-five minutes.” I told him not looking up from my work.

“Sorry I didn’t account for traffic.” He said as he took off his coat.

“Your supposed to account for everything, you’re a lawyer.” I told him.

“And you’re a fifteen-year-old who needs to stop questioning every authority that there is.” He said loosening his tie and sitting down.

“Can’t do that, Bud. I’m a greaser, and I’m almost sixteen.” I pointed out.

“Don’t remind me.” He groaned.

“Too late.” I giggled.

“What you workin’ on?” He asked.

“Study notes for the guys.” I told him closing my note books.

“Think Junior’ll let me drop out after I pass these exams with flying colours?” I asked leaning against my piano.

“What’s up with you dropping out?” He asked.

“I know the stuff, Buddy. You know that. I guess, I just don’t wanna waste my time doing something I already know how to do by heart when I could be working to help with bills and stuff.” I said.

“Kat, you don’t worry ’bout that. That’s our job. Not your’s. Your fifteen, you should be worrying about boys, cloths, your future. Stuff girls your age are worrying about.” He told me.

“I can’t.” I told him.

“And why not?” He asked.

“I’m not gonna worry about boy’s ’cause they lead to nothin’ but trouble. Stacey, Grandma, and everyone’s countless girlfriends have tried to get me into fashion, but when you’re running around with a bunch of guys playing foot ball, jeans are a hell of a lot better than a mini skirt, and just like everyone else in this neighbourhood, my future involves me staying here. Buddy, you know me, I can’t worry about stuff every other girl worries about.” I told him.

“You already do,Kat. And you don’t realize it.” He said. I looked at him like he just grew a second head.

He laughed before continuing, “Your weight. Your always so concerned about it if you feel you’re half a pound over weight you’ll starve yourself for days. The worst part is, it isn’t healthy.”

“I’m over that. And you know I’ve never eaten very much.” I told him.

“Yeah, come eat now before it’s cold.” He ordered.

“Yes sir.” I said and got up to sit next to him. We said grace and ate while watching a movie on tv. It was a good night overall.