The Girl, The Boy, and The Pothead Brother

So last semester for my Creative Writing class, we were supposed to write some short stories. There was no assigned topic but I was so uninspired that this is what I ended up turning in. I have no idea where I was going with this, and since I just wrote it because I had to, there truly is no point to it. But there are a few good lines here and there so I thought I would post it here. I might rewrite it and include a plot and whatnot, try to make it a real story, but until then, this is what I have. And no, this story is not finished and that is not the real title. There is actually no title at all, which is why I wrote that one so I wouldn’t leave it blank. Please, no cruel judging, I know it’s terrible. But I just felt like posting it here. Oh, well. Here it is.

The rain fell, hitting the glass pane behind her with a pitter-patter sound, causing the image of thousands of fingers tapping on the window to come to mind. The bright lights above blinked in and out existence, making her narrow my eyes in order to be able to see. She could hear the wind trying its best to uproot the palm trees outside the house, making the trunks shake and the leaves shiver. The girl wrapped her blanket tighter around her form, the blinking lights only adding to the sense of dread creeping up on her, raising goosebumps on her arms. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, smelling the rain even from inside the room. The house was empty, as far as she could tell, and would be for a few more hours. She sighed, grabbing the cup of coffee she had left on the table beside her, and took a sip, getting to her feet and stumbling off to the kitchen, narrowly avoiding hitting her hip against the doorknob. The brunette didn’t bother turning on the lights in the hall, since the storm outside would only make them blink repeatedly and give her a headache. Or, well, worsen it. She reached the stairs and took them down two at a time, reaching the landing with a surprised humph when she didn’t fall or stumble a single time. The young girl headed to the kitchen, and all but dumped the cup on the sink, spinning on her feet and marching on to the TV room and pushing the power button on the remote. The TV flashed to life, flickering once, twice, three times, before finally settling on the grainy image of one of the local news reporters, Letty something or other, and her garbled voice could barely be heard over the wind. She was not even saying anything useful, just what she already knew. The winds were strong and the rain was heavy. The girl rolled her eyes and headed back to the kitchen, this time not moving away fast enough to not stub her toe against the couch. Even with the storm, her curse could be heard all the way outside, where a stranger snickered at her expense, having witnessed the scene from the living room window. The girl aborted her journey, choosing instead to tumble into her aunt’s couch and burying her face against the pillows. Her hair fell around her, on the pillows, over the armrest, and hanging off the back of the couch. She was too tired to tie it back into a ponytail, so she ignored it as it fell over her eyes when she turned her face, choosing instead to shake her head wildly until it fell away enough for her to still be able to watch the news reporter prance around the screen. She didn’t even notice when she drifted off to sleep, at least not until she felt something poking at her bare feet and opened her eyes wide enough to see a shadowy figure standing over her by the end of the couch.

The stranger, a boy just a few years older than the girl inside the house on Gull Street, ran down Ware Road, cursing at whoever thought it was a good idea to have no sidewalks. He ducked into a Stripes when it came into view, bumping into the mass of people who had sought shelter during the storm, same as him. But while they all just stood there, staring mindlessly at the chaos outside, he rushed to the cashier, who was in turn staring mindlessly at the crowd in his store, and grabbed a chocolate bar from one of the boxes on the side. It took a few tries, but once he finally got the cashier’s attention, he threw him a damp five dollar bill, waiting impatiently for his change, tapping his foot to the rhythm of the rain outside and storing the candy in his hoodie’s front pocket. A minute later, he was cramming his crumpled change into his pocket before dashing back outside, standing under the cover of the roof for a few seconds, jumping on his toes a few times, before running out into the heavy rain. For a few uncertain seconds, the wind pushed him sideways and he careened to the right, his left foot leaving the ground momentarily. He shook it wildly and tried to get it back to the ground, not managing to do so until after he lost his balance and his hands out to catch him. He crouched on the concrete, both hands and feet safely on the ground as his heart did its best to beat out of his chest. Damned broken down car, he thought, damned McAllen weather. He took a deep breath before he started running again, this time leaning forward and a little to the left, so his face would not become acquainted with the ground. His shoes were covered in mud and he could feel his socks were drenched in rainwater, and cursed again at whoever thought it was a good idea to have no sidewalks. He ran for one, two, three blocks before turning on the street in front of Hendricks, where a sidewalk finally appeared. The stumbled onto it, grateful and more than a little exhausted, bending over to rest his hands on his knees to try and catch his breath. A minute later, he was running again. One, two, three, four more blocks, and then he was there. The house on the corner, the one with the stop sign on its lawn, stood tall and proud before him, beckoning him inside, if only for the warmth of the heater. He reached the front door in record time. Getting out the key from his jeans pocket was harder than he thought it would be, what with having to dig through the bills and coins to find it. He peeked in through one of the windows just in time to see a brunette stub her toe against a couch and curse louder than anyone he knew, which was an accomplishment on itself because he knew a lot of loud people. He snickered at her expense before going back to looking for the key. It took him a ridiculous amount of time to do so, but once he got the front door open, he made a beeline for the living room, where he found the girl passed out on the couch, her hair covering practically the whole thing. He took out his candy bar and poked the sole of her foot with it before opening it and taking a bite.

The girl shrieked, and for a moment she was proud of her horror-movie-worthy scream, before jumping to her feet and scrambling madly for something to defend herself with. Her fingers grasped at the first thing she found and she held it before her, as a weapon. The boy shot her a smirk, since personally, the TV remote wasn’t his choice of weapon. He took another bite of his chocolate bar. She really wanted to know who he was and what he was doing there, but he wasn’t exactly keen on sharing that information with a stranger. Or so he claimed. And she wasn’t particularly keen on being in the same house as a stranger who could be a serial killer or something. He wanted to know where she thought she was because McAllen was definitely the last place a serial killer would go to pick his victims. She didn’t particularly care about what he had to say.

She looked him up and down, trying to figure out whether it was safe to put down the remote (a lot of good it would do), or run away screaming and lock herself away in one of the rooms upstairs and wait him out. It wasn’t until he started chocking on his candy that she decided she would have to do neither, he would probably take himself out. The girl eyes him warily, because she really didn’t want to be the one to explain to her aunt why there was a dead body in her living room. She asked him if he was okay, and when he tried to nod but only made his choking worse, she put down the remote and headed back for the kitchen. A glass of water and a few pats on the back later, the girl found herself sitting side by side with the boy on her aunt’s couch, both staring at each other untrustingly. She really wanted to know who he was and what he was doing in her aunt’s house. And, well, he really wanted to know who she was and what she was doing in his house. When the last word left his lips was when she cocked her head to the side and widened her eyes at him. She was sure he was wrong because her aunt didn’t have any kids and she was in her aunt’s house. Of that much she was sure. Well then he wanted to know how come his key had worked on the front door. Because he was pretty sure keys weren’t supposed to work on every lock. But… but the front door had been open, just like her aunt had said it would be. The boy tsked, saying he always left his front door open because his older brother was too much of a pothead to remember to carry around his key. She scooted away from him on the couch and demanded, quite rudely, he thought, where the heck she was then if she wasn’t in her aunt’s house?!

The young man found the whole situation hilarious. Nothing ever really happened in this town, so even something as simple as a girl walking into the wrong house was probably the most interesting thing to happen to him since… well, since ever. He led a simple life, what could he say? He looked over at the brunette having a panic attack on the other end of his mother’s couch and wondered whether he should take pity on her and tell her he actually knew her aunt, since it was all the old woman would talk about for the past three weeks: her picture perfect niece coming down for a visit. Her aunt lived a few houses down from his, next to the house with all the pit bulls, and he was usually the one stuck with the task of mowing her lawn, since his mother tended to volunteer him and his brother, the latter who he didn’t particularly trust around heavy machinery… or machinery of any kind, really. He and his brother were actually known for running around the neighborhood late at night screaming their hearts out (or, more accurately, him running around the neighborhood while his brother ran after him screeching at him to give him back his car keys), so there was that. Anyway, the old lady was always home so he was always stuck with listening to her talk about her life while he worked, and the topic for this past month had been this girl sitting next to him on the couch. So now that he had realized who this stranger hanging out at his house was, he wasn’t particularly thrilled with keeping her here since then the only thing he would have to listen to for the upcoming month would be the story of how the old lady’s niece had disappeared for hours and never made it to her house until hours after she was supposed to be there. But then again, he also wasn’t particularly thrilled to send her home when the storm was still going strong. He wasn’t that much of an asshole.

She had literally only one thing to do and she had somehow managed to mess it up. All she had to do was walk into the right house. Literally. How does someone manage to mess that up? Seriously, she was considering just giving up and going back home, to hell with seeing her aunt again. How was she supposed to tell her she had managed to get the wrong house? Who even did that? The girl took a deep breath and stared at the guy next to her, who was staring blankly at the screen, nodding to himself. She really didn’t want to know what his deal was. He was surprisingly calm about the fact that there was a stranger in his house, on his couch, sitting next to him. That couldn’t be normal, could it? She considered calling her aunt to tell her, and just as she opened her mouth to ask him if she could use his house phone since her cell didn’t have any service, a clap of thunder resounded all around them and the lights blinked out. They didn’t come back on this time. Of course. She groaned and leaned back on the couch, resigned to staying there until the storm passed. Or until the stranger kicked her out. It was more than a little weird to sit there in the dark with him, with the occasional lightning outside shining light into the room for a few seconds at a time. She decided not to mention anything in case he got any weird ideas. But just in case, she took advantage of the lightning and located the discarded remote causally resting on the coffee table in front of her. Just in case.

This couldn’t be good. He wondered how big of a creep he came off as, sitting there in the dark next to her. He should have told her he knew her aunt before, to make her feel more comfortable. He thought that saying it now would only be weirder. He decided not to say anything. But then changed his mind after realizing that sitting in silence was even weirder. Which was why ten minutes later, he was passed out on his mother’s living room floor, with a strange girl standing over him, wielding his TV remote in her hands. He had just wanted to make her feel more at ease around him, but he guessed it didn’t work well. He had scooted over closer to her when he noticed her shivering and moved to wrap his arm around her shoulders when he realized that would be a terrible idea. So then his arm ended up hanging half off the back of the couch uncomfortably, making him feel pins and needles all over it. This had been a terrible idea, in his humble opinion. The young man was pretty sure the brunette had noticed his aborted action, but was thankful she decided to pretend she hadn’t, even if she was eyeing him warily. He cleared his throat and told her she looked familiar. She just raised her eyebrow at him, so he decided to try again. Okay, so in retrospect, saying she looked like this old girlfriend of his who he dumped because she was kind of a slut was bound to not go over so well, but he had never really been good under pressure. During the next flash of lightning, he definitely saw her eyes resting on his TV remote. So he tried to backtrack. Not that he was calling her a slut or anything. The complete opposite, in fact. She looked really modest and… all that. She demanded to know if he was calling her a prude. Yeah, he was definitely not good under pressure. He shook his head wildly, stammering that she should forget everything he had just said, that he was sure she slept with plenty of guys. In the next flash of lightning, he saw her dive toward the coffee table and knew what was about to happen. I know your aunt was all he managed to blurt out before he saw her swing the TV remote his way. That was the last thing he saw for a few hours.

On the bright side, she wouldn’t have to explain to her aunt why there was a dead body in her living room. No, instead she would have to explain to a woman why her son was passed out in her living room floor with a bump the size of a tennis ball on his head. She couldn’t believe that he had waited until the TV remote was millimeters away from his left temple to tell her that he knew her aunt. It was like he was trying to get smacked. Seriously. And even now, ten minutes after the… accident? No. Incident. Ten minutes after The Incident, she was trying to figure out whether he had been calling her a slut or a prude. It wasn’t like she had much more to do while the storm passed. It was all pretty dull inside the house. And it turned out the Big Man up There had a sense of humor because just as that thought crossed her mind, the front door flew open and a man who held a striking resemblance to the passed out moron by her feet walked in. She concluded that this was the Pothead Brother who never carried around a key. Well, this couldn’t be good. It took him a few seconds to notice her there, but once he did, he cocked his head to the side and studied the scene before him. And what a scene they must have made. A random brunette sitting calmly on his couch with his younger brother passed out by her feet, a huge bump on his head and the girl’s weapon of choice resting peacefully on the armrest. The girl expected the Pothead Brother to be angry, or heck, even confused. What she didn’t expect was for him to start laughing.


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