Sarah and Nannette are friends who come from two different worlds. 6,390 words
”Come on! We’re going to have some fun.”
Sarah looked up from her soggy corn flakes and smiled at Nan. Her eyes sparkled every time Nan used that specific secret voice and that word... fun.
“Finish your breakfast, so I can finish the dishes, Sarah.”
Sarah looked down at her bowl. She hated limp, mealy, cereal. Yet, her mother always insisted on pouring the milk before she was ready to eat. Her mother was too efficient, a condition Sarah swore she’d never suffer from when she got older.
Nan nudged her and winked with a wide grin.
Quickly, before she lost her resolve, Sarah shoveled down her cereal and tipped the bowl like a cup to finish the remaining milk.
”Sarah! Really, your manners.”
”Yes, Mom. I’m done Mom.”
Sarah wiped milk from the light blond, fuzzy hairs of her upper lip using the back of her hand. She handed her mother the freshly emptied bowl and spoon.
”Okay. Thank-you, that’s the last of the dishes. Would you clear the table before you and Nan go out to play?”
”Mah-ahm!? I’m fifteen. I don’t go play anymore.”
”Oh, yes, of course. Have fun, Hon.”
Nan flashed a mischievous grin at Sarah. Sarah ignored Nan's twinkling eyes which seemed to tell her she was being too serious, again. But, her mom was like that, always treating her like she was still a baby.
”Is it all right if Sarah eats lunch at my place today, Doris?”
“Oh, sure, if your mom doesn’t mind.”
”No problem. Mom said it’d be fine.”
Nan and Sarah rushed out the front door into an early warm and bright summer morning.
”You’ve got a neat mom, Rah.”
Only Nan ever called her that and then, only when they were alone. Sarah felt herself smile shyly when she heard Nan call her by that pet name.
”So, what we gonna do Nan?”
Sarah looked at her friend and knew immediately something was up. That was another thing about Nan, when others were around it was like a curtain hid her. But once alone, that curtain rose and Nan's personality shown through for Sarah to see.
A wide grin tightened her cheeks and a sparkle flashed from her brown eyes, when Nan said in a casual and enticing voice of mystery.
”We’re going to have some ....”
As the girls turned the corner of the house, Nan bolted into a run, punctuating, “FUN!" with a laugh.
”Hey!” Sarah giggled and raced after Nan. Both girls laughed as they dodged hedges and rose bushes in their contest to see who would get to the stable first. It was always close. The girls were well matched in speed and their desire to ride the only decent horse on the property.
Nan and Sarah collided into the barn wall, their hands extended and arms buckling at the elbows acting as partial shock absorbers. Girlish laughter erupted signifying the end of the contest.
”I... Won.” Nan panted and swallowed between the words as she tried to catch her breath. She pivoted and leaned her denim rump against the wall. She bent forward with her hands on slightly bent knees and head down as she puffed to catch her breath.
”It...Was...A tie.” Sarah’s challenge was also broken up with swallowing between breaths as she mimicked Nan’s actions.
”Have it your way. Flip to see who rides in the saddle?”
”Nah, I’ll letcha have the saddle.”
”Fair nuf, since I’m the one who knows where we are goin'.” Again, Nan flashed a broad grin.
In no time at all, the girls had the strawberry roan saddled and bridled. Nan kicked him into a gallop as she felt Sarah settle against the back of the saddle.
Reggie had a strong, sure-footed gallop and a sensible head. He wasn’t a skittish cuss like a couple of the knot-head geldings in the barn. He was a working horse, a quarter horse. Reggie loved to run and it never took much coaxing to get him into a gallop.
Nan and Sarah often rode double. Actually, Sarah preferred riding behind. She liked riding, but not necessarily guiding. Nan was good. She had a firmer and more confident hand with the horses, even though it was Sarah who grew up around the animals. Sarah had actually taught Nan everything she knew about the horses when they had become friends some two years ago.
But, most of all, Sarah loved riding, sitting behind Nan. There was something tantalizing about the smell of Nan’s hair and the feel of her as she leaned back and Sarah would lean forward so they could talk while they rode. A deep excitement often made it difficult for Sarah to breathe, so that she often talked in choppy sentences.
Once Nan asked her why she always sounded like she’d been running when the horse was doing all the work?
Sarah couldn’t answer her friend. She didn’t really understand her feelings and felt safer to keep them to herself.
Reggie’s front quarters were lathered by the time Nan finally slowed him to a walk.
”Your mom really expecting us for lunch?”
”Nah, I just figured you’d be late if’n your mom expected you home for lunch, so this way you won’t be late.”
“Oh, Where are we going, anyway?”
Sarah could feel Nan’s smile, though all she could see was the back of her head. She closed her eyes and fell into the feel of Nan against her and the rocking motion of Reggie’s walk. As always, Nan smelled slightly of rose. Nan never wore perfume or deodorant, but the shampoo and soap she used to bathe always had the scent of rose. She also smelled naturally of herself. It was hard to describe. Nan smelled fresh and clean even when she perspired. She didn’t have a strong offending musk like some people and Sarah loved being close.
Sarah’s reverie was disturbed as Reggie leaned down to snatch at a clump of grass. Nan leaned forward and pulled steadily on the reigns to bring his head back up. An irritated nicker was all that indicated Reggie’s bruised sense of what was fair.
Today, anticipated excitement added to Sarah's normal inside squirm. This was the only way she could describe the growing low belly tension she felt when she was close to Nan, it was an inside squirm. She simply loved it when Nan was mysterious. They always had fun and she was always pushed just a partial step over her tight gripped boundaries. There was always a sense of intrigue as to what rule would be stretched if not broken. When she was with Nan, Sarah always felt the adventure of pushing the small limits in life. Nan was so carefree and fearless and she would always goad her into trying stuff she wouldn’t normally try. Sometimes it was trouble, but most times it wasn’t. It was always a learning experience about herself and her friend.
Both girls rode for about an hour, zig zagging down farmer’s access roads, between orchards, hop fields, pastures and hay fields. Sarah noticed they were headed toward the river, but Nan still wouldn’t give any clue as to what she had planned.
The sun was getting hot and Sarah realized they hadn’t brought anything with them to drink. She wondered if this was an over sight by Nan or part of her plan. She kept her questions to herself, as she felt confident that all her questions would be answered given time.
They didn’t talk much as they grew nearer to their destination; each quietly engulfed in her own thoughts. They often rode comfortably with their silence. It was as enticing and just as comfortable as their times of conversation.
Finally, they came to a thick of trees and Nan guided Reggie down a narrow trail surrounded by low shrubs, cottonwoods, elms and scrub willow. Sarah could smell the river and wished she had brought her fishing pole.
After the third turn in the path, Sarah realized where Nan had brought them. It was Gig’s Eddy. She had never been here, but she’d heard the stories of all the skinny dipper parties and the periodic keggers. Her older brother, James, used to smoke dope by Gig’s Eddy.
This was a taboo place. This would be another secret her mom wouldn’t know about. No wonder Nan put up the smoke screen about lunch; how wonderful and sneaky.
Nan turned in the saddle and smiled with her whole face.
”Well, here we are.”
Nan then stood in the stirrup and swung out of the saddle. Sarah slid over the back of Reggie’s rump using her grip on the saddle to ease her descent to the ground. Reggie ignored the girl’s movements as he simply stepped forward and grabbed a mouthful of grass and started munching.
”Kind of littered with beer cans, huh?”
”Is that all you’ve got to say?”
Both girls laughed as Nan disappeared behind a large stump and bush and then reappeared with a canteen, a backpack with a blanket, a halter-n-rope, and a victory smile.
”How long have you been planning this?”
”Oh, since Wednesday.”
”You think so?”
”No, I just said so to be cute.”
”Okay, be cute.”
Sarah slapped Nan lightly on the arm as Nan slipped the bridle and bit from Reggie’s head and worked the halter on. Nan laughed at her and then took the rope and tied Reggie to a stump where he could get at some grass and water. Then she removed the saddle and pad exposing his wet back where he had sweat under the saddle. Reggie nickered appreciatively and proceeded to munch the grass.
Sarah opened the canteen. She was thirsty.
”What is in this thing?”
She never got past her nose to take that long wanted drink.
”Oh, somethin’ I ripped from my dad’s cabinet. Its called whiskey!” Then, there it was, another big grin.
Sarah twisted the cap back on the canteen, not taking a drink. She scowled at Nan.
”You happen to have any drinking water stashed behind that stump?”
”What a prude you can be sometimes, Rah. Lighten up, you won’t get into trouble.”
“Hey, my mom isn’t dumb and this is trouble.”
Sarah threw the canteen at Nan to stress her point. Nan was still grinning as she easily caught, opened and took a drink of its contents.
Sarah couldn’t keep from laughing when Nan started choking and swearing in a strangled voice about how, “That burns... Good stuff... You oughta try it.”
”No thank-you, not right now.”
”Suit yourself kid, more for me that way.”
“You don’t need to get nasty about it, Nan.”
Nan grinned. She placed the canteen down on the crumpled blanket she'd just removed from the pack and headed in a slow walk for the pool. With her back turned to Sarah she methodically removed shoes, socks, shirt and pants. She wasn’t wearing a bra or under panties.
Sarah watched, not knowing what to do. Her face was flushed and try as she might not to watch, she couldn't take her eyes off the sight of her naked friend walking toward the river.
Nan walked atop a large flat boulder and jumped into the pooled back water of the river. Sarah looked around, but could see only trees and bushes all around. This was really a very sheltered and private place.
Nan sputtered to the surface and hollered for Sarah to join her.
”Come on Sarah. You can’t let me have all the fun.”
Nan's bright smile bobbed above the surface as Nan tread water to stay in one spot.
Quickly, Sarah looked around again to make sure no one was watching. She then went to the flat boulder and with many darting glances around her, removed her clothing, all except her bra and under panties.
Sarah blushed and wrapped her arms around herself as if to cover her exposure. Nan watched her and waited. She had never seen Sarah without clothing. Not even in the gym showers. She was shy about her body. As Nan watched, she couldn’t understand why she would be. Sarah was beautiful, from her button breasts to the light curly hairs not completely hidden by her bikini lace panties.
Sarah jumped into the same deep and cold part of the pool from where Nan had slowly back stroked. It was hard not to gasp when she surfaced and she laughed as soon as she could catch her breath.
Nan swam across the pool gently cutting the water with the blade of her hand. Sarah watched fascinated by her friend's sleek and shining beauty. She watched as Nan slowly walked out of the water onto a sunny and sandy bank where another large, flat, water smoothed boulder was exposed to the sun.
Nan turned facing her and seemed to pose with a lithe almost feline stretch. Sarah found it difficult to breathe and she no longer felt the coldness of the water she was still treading. Sarah couldn’t take her eyes off of her dark haired friend. She realized looking at her tanned skin, that Nan had no bikini lines. She must sun bathe in the nude.
As the light brown and wet glistening body settled on the boulder, Sarah started slowly stroking her way through the water to the same bank. Nan was so beautiful. Even more so than her glimpses in the gym showers revealed.
Often, Sarah had wished she was as daring as Nan. Her friend was proud of her body and shamelessly flaunted it whenever she got the chance. But Sarah was very shy. Even her mom had commented about how shy she was. She didn’t like the exposed and vulnerable feeling that gripped her when she was caught in a state of undress. The embarrassment she felt was almost painful.
Nan leaned up on an elbow and smiled at Sarah when her friend was about half way to the sunny bank.
”Well, you gonna tread water all day or are you going to share some sun? It’s really warm, Rah. You’ll love it.”
The water wasn’t as cold as the initial plunge, but Sarah realized she was getting weary from her effort to stay afloat. As she approached the bank her teeth started chattering, but she wasn’t sure if it was because she was cold or nervous. With a big sigh, Sarah walked out of the water. She watched Nan make it a point to watch her and she blushed again as the protection of the water was slowly left behind.
Sarah walked jerkily from the protection of the water. Though she managed not to cross her arms in front of herself, Nan noticed her arms would lift and then quickly return to Sarah's sides.
Sarah had trouble breathing and her nipples were painfully hard as she forced herself to watch Nan watch her come out of the water. Sarah wasn’t sure of the expression behind those dark alluring brown pools. Maybe hungry?
Nan’s eyes soaked in every inch of Sarah’s light skin emerging from the pool. The bra and panties tantalizingly accentuated what was previously hidden, now revealing the light brown pubic curls and the darker pink-brown areola and rock hard nipples. Nan found herself swallowing and concentrating so she didn’t visibly squirm with her growing tense warmth. She ached to touch her friend but made no move to act, relishing the delightful torture of constraint.
As Sarah sat next to her on the boulder, Nan spoke with a husky voice.
”Not bad for a prude, kid.”
Would you quit calling me that?”
”Well, that too.”
Both girls burst out in laughter. The spell between them calmed. Nan laid back on the rock and closed her eyes enjoying the warmth of the sun. She imagined herself willing Sarah to touch her.
Sarah sat and looked at the open invitation next to her. She thought Nan had somehow moved her body toward her but, Nan hadn't moved from where she was laying. Sarah wanted so to touch the perfect tanned, smooth and silky skin next to her but could not bring herself to act on it. Swallowing hard, the girl laid back on the rock and watched cotton ball clouds shape change in their sky wandering journey before she also closed her eyes.
A shadow fell across Sarah’s face. Startled, she popped open her eyes to find Nan smiling down at her.
”Have a nice nap?”
”Yeah, I guess I did.”
”Ready to get wet again.”
”Ready to get wet, again?”
Sarah brought a hand up to shield her light eyes against the assault of the bright sky and looked into her friend's eyes.
“We having fun yet?”
In a flash of fluid movement, Sarah was up and into the water. Startled, Nan wasn’t far behind. As she broke the surface, Sarah turned and with a cupped hand rapidly skimming the top of the pool, sprayed water into Nan’s face.
“OOOOOO! Your gonna regret that, Kid!”
Suddenly water flew in a flurry of mock battle. Then Nan disappeared under water and Sarah felt herself lifted up and thrown. When she surfaced, Nan was there and nailed her in the face with a wall of water. Sarah choked as she turned her back to Nan. Another wall of water hit her in the back the head. Blindly, Sarah dove away from Nan’s assault.
”I give. I give!”
Nan swam to where her clothes were on the bank. She put on her western cut short sleeved shirt and walked over to the blanket.
”You might think about covering up too, Rah. You’re lookin’ kinda pink.”
”Yeah, I suppose so.”
As Sarah climbed onto the bank, Nan spread out the blanket on the grass. She sat with the canteen sitting between her feet, with her knees bent and spread wide enough to accommodate the round bulk. She leaned slightly back supporting herself easily with her hand, watching Sarah.
Sarah threw on her white blouse that was still on the flat rock and collected her clothing bringing them to the blanket.
As Sarah approached, Nan lifted the canteen from between her legs and took a drink. Nan watched as Sarah’s eyes didn’t immediately follow the canteen, but rather dwelled on the tender delicate brown orchid exposure resting under a short patch of straight brown pubic crown.
Nan shuddered slightly as she swallowed and handed the open canteen to Sarah meeting her eyes with a knowing I caught you look. After a moment’s hesitation and instant flush of heat to her face neck and shoulders, Sarah accepted the canteen. Tentatively, she took a small drink.
She knew enough not to breathe until after swallowing, but this stuff made her eyes water and sent a violent shudder through her. She still ended up gagging and sputtering and gasping for breath.
Nan just smiled and watched her.
“What is this stuff?”
Sarah handed the canteen back to Nan.
”O, somethin’ my ol’ man cooks up. He says it’s better ‘n that government controlled stuff. Has more kick.”
Again that easy wide grin rested on Nan’s face. Her eyes were dancing and mischievous. Nan took another swallow, only shuddering a little now.
Sarah watched, unconsciously she placed her hand over her aching belly and exclaimed, ”Wow! That burns!”
”Yeah Rah, good shit.”
Nan’s voice sounded husky and strained.
Sarah settled down and though thinking better of it, again accepted the canteen from Nan. Her second swallow wasn’t so hard to take, but Sarah decided she didn’t like the taste or the fire burning in her belly. She declined the third swallow, so Nan took one more and screwed the cap back on then placed the canteen by the pack.
”You know what day today is, Rah?”
”It’s Saturday. Why?”
”No, I mean, do you know why today is special?”
Sarah thought hard but her head was starting to swirl and she came up a blank.
”No, I mean, should I? Have I missed something?”
”We’ve known each other exactly two years, today.”
“No shit, Sarah!”
Sarah looked away from Nan. She didn't want Nan to see the sudden tears that filled her eyes because she hadn't remembered a day that important to both of them.
”Why are we friends?”
”Well, as I remember it you clobbered me with a rock and we got into this major fight that first day we met?”
I liked your parents, Rah.”
Sarah was again looking at Nan who was now looking away.
”Well, remember your dad broke us up in that fight.”
”Well, he talked with my dad about it.”
”My dad was drunk on his butt and acted like a real ass. Well, your dad kept his cool. He didn’t even raise his voice. But, he said some things that sort of, well, made sense.
”What kind of things?”
”Oh just things, Rah. I felt bad after he left. What he said really ate at me and a couple days later I asked your dad if it was all right to apologize and be friends. I figured he’d give me the boot, but instead he called you out of the house and...”
”And that’s when I saw you squirm all over yourself until you cursed; right in front of my dad; and asked if I wanted to go to the pool and hang out.”
”You glad we’re friends?”
A silence passed between the girls for a minute or so?
”Do you love me?”
Sarah looked hard and deep into Nan’s brown eyes. She was serious. It wasn’t a time for teasing. Sarah frowned. She believed the answer was obvious.
”You’re my best friend, Nan.”
”Does that answer my question, Rah?” Nan looked away and wrapped her arms around her knees. She didn’t like feeling vulnerable. It scared her.
Sarah watched her friend, suddenly she regretted drinking because now she couldn’t seem to think. She very rarely ever saw Nan back off, but when she did it was because she had placed her heart on the platter so to speak.
”Yes, Nan. I love you. It comes with being best friends. I also like you and I enjoy being with you. We have fun together.”
”Yeah we have fun together.”
With all the serious talk and drinking on an empty stomach, Sarah’s head spun. Suddenly, she needed to take action. Sarah stood up running and dove into the pool. It was cold, as cold as that first plunge. Nan was standing on the bank in nothing but her half wet shirt.
Sarah felt a longing she didn’t understand and it frightened her. Nan was no longer smiling. Her mood seemed distant. She got this way sometimes and Sarah didn’t know how to reach her when she was like this. It was like a door closed between them and Nan wanted her to open it, but Sarah couldn’t seem to find the key.
Slowly, Sarah stepped out of the water. Her shirt clung to her and showed the flesh through the wet fabric.
Sarah stood before Nan, unsure of what to do. She knew but she didn’t know at the same time.
”Sarah do you think you could give me a hug? I really need a hug, real bad.”
Nan had taught Sarah about the soothing powers of a hug. They were part of the special bond between the girls. Without hesitation, Sarah engulfed Nan in an embrace. Sarah felt Nan’s shoulders heave as she sighed deeply and leaned into her encircling arms. As Nan’s arms rested lightly around Sarah’s waist, she laid her head down into the area where Sarah's shoulder and neck form a cradle.
Without realizing, Sarah stroked Nan’s hair with one hand. They stood like that for several minutes. Both girls had their eyes closed. Then slowly, Nan pushed herself away. There were tears in her eyes and she smiled weakly. Nan’s face was only inches from Sarah’s. Their eyes locked in a silent embrace. Sarah’s reflected concern. Nan’s reflected sadness. Suddenly, Nan stepped away and bent to pick up her pants. In a flurry of movement she was dressed.
”You might want to put your clothes on, Rah. We have company.”
Quickly, Sarah started putting on her pants. It was difficult because she was still wet from her recent plunge. Nan started saddling Reggie.
Sarah just finished tying her last shoe when Eric and John walked into the clearing from the same path Nan and Sarah had rode Reggie. Eric had a smirk he just couldn’t quite hide. Sarah wondered how long the boys had been around.
Sarah looked after Nan. Nan was hell bent for leather putting Reggie’s bridle-n-bit back on. She was pissed. Sarah would recognize that shoulder set anytime.
She hoped neither one of the boys said anything they’d regret. Nan would clobber them for sure.
As deliberately as she could force her movements, (Sarah realized she was slightly drunk) Sarah refolded the blanket, stuffed it back in the pack and slung the pack and canteen straps over her shoulder. The boys stood on the bank by the pool with their backs to the girls.
Sarah didn’t know if she should feel relief or suspicion. Nan was on Reggie waiting for her.
Both girls rode away from Gig’s Eddy without a word to the boys. Nan was quiet all the way back to the stable. It was about two, two thirty in the afternoon. They dismounted and Nan took care of bedding down Reggie.
”You want that I should help?”
”Nah, Rah. I want to be alone for a bit. How about you rustle us something to chow on, k?”
As Nan slipped the saddle from Reggie’s back, Sarah headed for the house.
”What on Earth?”
”Oh, hi Mom.”
“You look a fright. What you been doing?”
”Nan and I took Reggie out for a workout.”
”Yes, I see that. Is that a sunburn? You better go up and put some cream on those cheeks and arms.”
Sarah started up the stairs to the main bathroom.
”Oh, Mom. We never did get to Nan’s for lunch. Could we get a snack, or something?”
”My word! Sarah, you two sure do seem to miss the meals. It’s not good for you. Come here a minute.”
Sarah had stopped half up the stairs. She slowly turned and came back down. 'Here it comes, the third degree.' How she hated these moments.
”Just as I thought. You’ve been drinking alcohol.”
Sarah didn’t even ask how Doris knew. She couldn’t even look her mom in the eye.
”And from the looks of you, you’ve been to Gig’s Eddy.”
”Thought so. Go up and clean up and take care of that burn. I’ll fix you and Nan a couple sandwiches.”
Relieved to be out of her mom’s scrutiny, Sarah cleaned up. She put some aloe burn cream over the reddest spots. Then she started worrying about what her mom was going to do, besides make some sandwiches, that is.
Nan was sitting at the table eating a sandwich when Sarah came back down the stairs. Doris was sitting across from her with a cup of coffee.
Sarah was surprised to see Nan smiling.
”What happened then, Doris.”
”Oh we eventually got our clothes back, but only after a lot of screaming and threatening and embarrassment.
"Oh there you are Sarah. Sit down and eat. I was just telling Nan about my only adventure to Gig’s Eddy.”
”I’ve never heard you tell this story, Mom.”
I’ve never had any reason to tell it.”
”So what was it like, Mom?”
”Well to catch you up. A group of my girl friends decided to skip afternoon classes. We all piled into Renee’s little car and drove to Gig’s Eddy. Someone brought a bottle of rum, I’m not sure who and it was horrible tasting stuff. We got brave and took our clothes off for a swim. When it was getting a bit late, we discovered that our clothes were missing. You talk about panic. Imagine, six teenage girls all in their birthday suits and now it’s quite obvious they were not alone. Come to find out your father was one of those boys who swiped our clothes.”
”Yes! Don’t sound so shocked.”
”He was young at one time and wonderfully reckless.”
Sarah had rarely seen her mother like this. She was fun.
”What happened after you got your clothes?”
”Well Nan, I’d worn one of my sister’s summer dresses to school that day. When I finally retrieved it, the dress was quite muddy and torn. Ellie was furious. Then Mom found out that I’d skipped school. Boy! Did I catch it.”
“What did Grandma do?”
”I ended up washing every wall, curtain, drape and window in the house.”
”Grandma’s farm house?”
Nan looked at Sarah as she heard a tinge of dread in her friend’s tone. Suddenly, Nan realized they were in trouble and obviously Sarah thought so too.
”That must’ve taken months!”
”Not quite. It took me seven days.”
Nan and Sarah exchanged looks. Neither girl wanted to ask the next question. Sarah was feeling a bit wilted.
”Have some milk Sarah, it will help wash the lump down.”
Doris took another sip of her coffee and watched the silent interplay between the girls.
How much trouble am I in?”
”Oh, I wouldn’t go so far as to say you were in seven days of hard scrubbin’ trouble, but you’re in some trouble.”
”It wasn’t all Sarah’s fault.”
Doris smiled at Nan with understanding.
”I know, but Sarah is my daughter and I have obligations to help her in her choices between right and wrong. I didn’t get into trouble for going to Gig’s Eddy. I got in trouble for skipping school and being negligent with someone else’s property. I had to replace Ellies dress, too.”
”So basically, I’m in trouble because I consumed alcohol?”
Nan shot a look at Sarah. She couldn’t believe that Sarah just confessed to drinking!
”What happens now?”
”We talk with your father.”
Sarah visibly shrunk. Tonight wasn’t going to be an easy one. Nan even gulped on that one.
Doris let the word trail.
Both sets of eyes focused on Doris.
”We can settle this now and I can tell your Father about today’s little adventure.”
It was moments like this that Sarah really liked her Mom.
”Can we settle this now, Mom?”
”You won’t like it and your Father will talk to you about today, regardless?”
”I know, but he’s always nicer when things are handled.”
Nan had always been fascinated at how Sarah’s parents handled discipline. Now if the tables had been turned and her parents had found out about today, she would be sporting a couple bruises tomorrow. But not for drinking, but rather for stealing her dad’s booze.
But Sarah’s parents were more like moral teachers, instead of demi-gods who felt the need to force their children into submission. And it was effective. It worked! Sarah was one of the most straight and narrow kids Nan had ever met. She liked herself. Nan had never met anyone who actually liked themselves.
Doris broke into Nan’s reverie.
”This is going to effect you too, Nan”
Nan looked into Doris’ eyes searching for her meaning there.
”Sarah you will start tomorrow by organizing the garage.”
The whole garage!?”
”Yes dear, the whole garage. You can start on it right after church.”
”Can I help? I mean, I helped her get into trouble. I was the one who brought the booze.”
Both Sarah and Doris looked at Nan surprised. She had never admitted to wrong doing before. Nan couldn’t look at either mother or daughter. She couldn’t believe she just blurted that out.
”Well you see, this is how this is going to effect you. Sarah is not permitted to be around you for the week. Next Sunday, you can come over for dinner. Oh, you can call between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday. I know how hard it is to be away from a best friend. Otherwise, you’re grounded from each other.”
Doris watched as both girls slumped in their chairs. She saw the groan that wasn't voiced by either girl. Neither Nan or Sarah tried to dispute her. Nan had learned that once a thing was said in this home, that was how it would happen. There was no debate or argument. Sarah grew up knowing that.
If Nan wants, is it all right if she’s here when Dad gets home? But, only if you want Nan.”
Nan looked up at Sarah as if she were caught in a trap. Sarah looked at Nan with the word please oozing from her light grey eyes. Sarah’s eyes were usually a light powdery blue, they were only ever grey when she was upset.
”If Nan wants to be here, sure. In fact, if it’s okay with your mother, Nan, I’d be happy to have you over for dinner tonight.”
”I’ll call my mom and see.”
Nan stood and hesitated for a moment.
”You can use the phone in the living room if you like.”
Nan walked into the living room and called her home. Both Sarah and Doris knew it would be Nan’s decision. Her mother never seemed to say no when Nan asked to stay for dinner, when she’d been invited.
Sis, you know nothing is really final until your father comes home.”
”I know, but nothing really happened, ya know?”
”That’s not the point and you know it.”
Yes, Sarah knew all too well.
Nan walked back into the dining room. Sarah’s eyes pleaded with her friend across the room. Nan wouldn’t look at her.
”Um, my mom said...”
Nan paused visibly torn and struggling.
”Uh, so what’s for dinner, Doris?”
”Then I guess I’ll stay. It’s all right with my mom and you make killer meat loaf."
Sarah saw that big easy smile. Sarah wondered how she was going to go a whole week without seeing Nan’s smile? The garage was an inconvenience. Not seeing Nan for a whole week was going to hurt.
Dinner went smooth, though Sarah and Nan were a bit subdued. Terry, Sarah’s little brother, dominated conversation discussing his little league baseball game. They’d won of course.
The girls helped Ray, Sarah’s older brother by eighteen months, clear the table.
”Ooooo, somebody must be in trouble.”
Gee, do something nice for someone and this is the thanks ya get?”
”So what’d Sarah do , Nan?”
”No one tells me anything.”
”Good! You don’t deserve to know anything.”
Doris popped her head into the kitchen. ”Sarah, Nan you can go in the den now.”
”Whoa! Must be heavy duty.”
Sarah shot a killer glare at her brother. ”Thanks Mom.”
”Ray, go help your brother straighten up his room.”
”Go. I’ll finish with the table.”
”Sheesh, what did I do?”
Ray trudged upstairs all the while watching Sarah and Nan slowly walk toward the den.
Nan and Sarah shuffled into Mr. Phillip’s Den. Sarah’s dad pulled a couple chairs around so they could sit facing each other. Nan swallowed her throat suddenly dry. She’d never been a part of any discussion’s like this.
”Your mom tells me you need to talk about something.”
”Is that all she said?” Nan blurted out her surprise. Sarah kicked Nan but not hard. Chad ignored the interplay.
”Well Dad, Nan and I took Reggie out for a ride and we went to Gig’s Eddy.”
”Is that place still littered with beer cans?”
”Yeah!” Nan blurted out again, she really was not use to how easily Sarah’s parents talked.
”Did you have fun?”
”Well, yes we did, Dad.”
”What kind of trouble was there Sarah?”
Nan spoke before Sarah could.
”I brought some alcohol and we drank some while we were there.”
”I see.” Chad thought for a moment. He was surprised at how open Nan was tonight. Of course, she was sticking up for her friend in the hopes of reducing her blame.
”But what kind of trouble did you get into?”
”That’s just it, Dad. Nothing happened. I got sunburned. We did some swimming and when Eric and John showed up, we left.”
”Yes, sounds like you enjoyed yourselves.”
”But I did have a couple drinks of whiskey.”
”Yes that is some kind of trouble. Did you like it?”
Nan silently shook her head, also answering Chad’s question.
”Did you like the drunk feeling, was it fun?”
”Well, kind of. But, it was hard to do things when we had to pack up and leave.”
”I see. How about you, Nan? Do you drink, often.”
”Uh, I guess so. I don’t know. How often is often?”
”Legally once is too often, but I was a kid too. If you drink more than a few times in a year, I’d say that is too often.”
”Think about it, Nan.”
”Sarah, you know how your Mom and I feel about alcohol and drugs?”
”All the talks and garage cleaning or even the restrictions away from a friend, won’t stop you from drinking and drugging. Only you can stop that. I love you, Hon and I want to enjoy your company for as many years as God allows. But, alcohol robs you. It hides the you we all love. It worries me, Nan, that the two of you would be alone, possibly with very little on, under the influence of drink at Gig’s Eddy. It's dangerous.”
”Does this mean we can’t go to Gig’s Eddy any more, Dad?”
”I’d prefer that you didn’t, but I won’t forbid it. That could just tempt you more. But the drinking must stop.”
”If we tell someone where we are going, would it be okay? I mean, it was fun and peaceful and that was before I had anything to drink.”
”As kids, we always went in large groups. Things got wild sometimes, but there’s safety in numbers. Two girls, alone isn’t safe. Understood?”
”Yes Mr. Phillips, understood.”
”Nan, as someone who feels some concern, I want you to know that you have alternatives to drinking. Experimentation is up to each individual, but sometimes it can get out of hand. Be careful, be responsible, try to curtail your consumption.”
Nan looked down at her hands in her lap. "Okay."
”Do you understand how dangerous your fun was today? Think about your choices. I know it’s hard sometimes, but some mistakes have permanent unpleasant consequences.”
Both girls stared at the floor. They nodded their understanding and slumped rather than sat.
"Do you have any questions?"
Sarah looked at her father and shook her head. Nan looked at Sarah and also shook her head.
"Okay, I guess I'm finished."
Sarah stood and gave her dad a hug.
”I love you Dad.”
”I love you too, Sis.”
Nan hesitated as Sarah stepped back.
”You are welcome.”
Nan stepped toward Chad. The embrace seemed to happen naturally. It was an odd feeling for Nan to have Sarah’s father return the hug. She felt as if she really belonged. As she stepped away she blushed and looked at her feet.
”See ya later.”
Doris drove Nan home even though she only lived a couple blocks away. It was getting dark.
It would be hard not being allowed to spend time with the Phillips family. So hard, in fact, that maybe Nan would give up the drinking thing so she wouldn’t have to be isolated from them again. Doris and Chad always treated her like someone who mattered and Nan wanted to be a better person for them.
As she approached her front porch she heard her father's angry voice and her mother's defiant screeching.
Well, maybe she wouldn't drink. She still had to go home to her parents and their shitty world. This next week was going to be difficult and lonely. Nan spun around and went to the back door and stepped into the laundry room. If she were careful and extremely lucky her parents wouldn't know she was home until things calmed down.