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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2317504
Amy knows only one way to get him calm

         How lucky they are, she thought, with a sigh, as she sank lower down the seat in a car that reeked of stale burgers, wet socks, and sweat.

         Outside the barely lowered window – the handle had snapped off sometime ago and it was impossible to get it any lower than mid-way – revealed half-naked buff men in skin-tight bike shorts jogging away in the blistering summer heat. How they still managed to look like they had stepped out of the pages of a magazine was beyond her.

         Shouldn’t have been much of a surprise though considering what part of the country they were in, all the same, she wished she could take off her shirt and bounce around – boobs and all – to get some reprieve from the insufferable –

         “Moooooom. I wanna pee!”

         “You just went half an hour ago, Jack,” was the impatient retort from the front seat. “We are not stopping again.”

         She was rewarded with a petulant shriek and the pounding of Sesame Street sneakers against the back of her seat.

         “Knock it off, Jack,” their father replied absently as he fiddled with the radio dial, perhaps hoping some tune from the Golden Oldies would come filtering through the airwaves. No such luck. It was back to KSM 101.5 and Whizzy Bang the DJ chattering about upcoming tickets to the baseball game happening this weekend. Right behind the dugout, folks! Can’t beat that, if only you guess just how much was in the honey pot. Rumour has it that it’s almost at the five-thousand-dollar mark.

         She wondered what she could do with five thousand dollars –

         “Amy! Switch places with your brother.”

         “Huh?” Her voice sounded so syrupy; like she had been drugged. Must be the heat.

         “I said, switch seats,” her mother insisted, this time turning around to face them. She looked no better; the once crisp white V. Westwood blouse now stuck to her skin to reveal the outline of the black bra beneath. Her auburn hair was stuck to her forehead in ringlets, and she absently dabbed away the sweat that threatened to fall into her eyes.

         “Why should I-?”

         “Just do what your mom says,” Dad interjected with a brief glance at the rearview mirror. Was there an unspoken plea in there? Probably. After all, it was his harebrained idea for them to take this trip when there was no air-conditioning in a second-hand car, he had purchased a month ago. Mom, who was usually the spend-thrift of the household, had marvelled at just how cheap her husband was to not invest in something more reliable.

         With a roll of her eyes, she glared at her red-faced sibling. He looked like he was ready to explode; all the huffing and puffing.

         “Cut it out, Jack,” Amy snapped with impatience. “Do you want us to have another chat?”

         The immediate reaction was one that had their parents sharing a look of bemusement. Neither could understand what power that word had over their five-year-old brat of a son, but it seemed to work every time. The once tomato-hued siren fell into sniffling sobs; his sky-blue eyes as wide as saucers. He complied without complaint when she motioned for him to switch sides, and still wouldn’t stop staring at his older sister – as if seeing her for the first time – from his new seat position.

         “The chat, huh?” her father would later ask as they sat comfortably by the poolside of the hotel. Now clad in a sensible swimsuit – she would save the bikini for later as she had spotted a couple of cute surfer-dudes earlier – the heat didn’t seem so oppressive. Or maybe it was just the time of the day. The sun was finally giving them a break.

         “What about it?” Amy asked as she absently watched her mother and brother splash each other in the pool. Petals, from Sakura blossoms dotting the hotel’s periphery, fell upon her chest and arms. She flicked them away, but not before staring at one such pretty petal.

         So pink.

         “What exactly do you say to him that gets him to keep quiet?” Dad prodded. “I mean, nothing we say ever seems to work.”

         “It’s just what it is, Dad,” Amy replied, a smile tugging at her lips, “We just talk, that’s all.”

         “Ah, one of those sibling-only things, huh?”

         “You got it,” Amy agreed.

         No longer interested in the conversation, she rose to her feet, brushed away the last few pink petals from her skin and dove gracefully into the cool waters.

         After all, it would be hard to explain, to them, just how she had managed to get away with sneaking in a boyfriend on Halloween night last year. He had been dressed as a ghostly version of Davy Jones – wooden leg and all – and her poor dear sleepwalking baby brother had stepped out of his room to witness that ‘terrifying’ sight. Knowing he was likely to burst into tears or scream, she had quickly dashed to him, cradled his trembling body in her arms and whispered the words of reassurance.

         “It’s okay, Jack. Why don’t we have a quiet chat, hmm? This is going to be a secret between you and me, because if you say anything to Mom and Dad, that ghost will never stop haunting you…ever!”

         His responding whimper was more than enough, and she had taken him back to bed with the promise of getting his favorite ice cream the next day. How was she to know he would take it so seriously? She was sure he’d eventually grow out of it, and realize it was all a trick, but until then, she was only going to do what big sisters do best.

         Savour every moment she could get away with anything.

WC: 955

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