By the time Friday night arrived I was going to strangle my little brother. He had been driving me nuts ever since he'd heard me ask Dad to borrow that blasted paddle. He even tried to take it from my back pack on Thursday morning when I was in the shower. He's lucky I didn't throw him out my window like I threatened or tell mom what he was doing. The problem was I was already feeling more than a little guilty. I told my father that I needed it for a school project, but that was only really a half truth.

You see the problem was that I kinda, sorta, but not really lied about why I needed the paddle in the first place. I had said that I needed it for a school project, a comedic skit. And although it was school related it had nothing to do with a project or comedy for that matter. I had been chosen to be part of the senior swim team and the captain of the team was hosting an initiation celebration of sorts at his house on Friday night.

Someone in their ultimate high school stupidity had decided that any and all new members of the team needed to participate in some sort of ritual. Luckily when this discussion took place I was actually present and was able to convince them all that stealing something to hand over as payment gave the team a bad name. I persuaded the group that the best display of prowess would be to "borrow" something that needed to later be returned. The group added the caveat that the object had to be something that would be difficult to take or of some value.

It was easy to come up with what I was going to bring. Initially I was going to just take the paddle as I knew where it 'lived'. But then on Monday mom threatened Sam that if she got another phone call from his teacher she would reintroduce him to it. At the time I didn't want its disappearance to be blamed on Sam and so I decided to ask to borrow it. That was the conversation that had both Sam driving me nuts and my guilt bubbling in my gut.

One might think that the reason I tried very hard to behave myself was that I didn't want to get into trouble. And although that did play a small role it was only a very small part of it. I have a horrible sense of guilt and it eats me up from the inside out. I get all jittery and feel like everyone is looking at me with laser eyes. I hate, absolutely hate that feeling and so I do everything I can to stay on the side of right.

So out and out lying is not something I do, ever. This little story seems to be the exception to not lying; a big exception. Not only did I lie to my father about what I was borrowing the paddle for but I also lied about where I was going to be Friday night. I didn't think he or my mother would approve of the sort of party that Landon, the swim captain, had planned. So I had suggested that I would be spending the night at Sean's place. And again this wasn't completely incorrect. I was going to sleep at Sean's place after the initiation party. These tiny truths are what allow me to tell the lie in the first place. If there was no truth in them I don't think my brain or stomach would allow my tongue to speak such inaccuracies.

If you hadn't already figured it out, things did not go as planned. Without even having gotten spoken to by either of my parents yet I've come to the conclusion that any plan that begins with a lie should be avoided at all costs.

How about I go back to early Friday afternoon and bring you up to speed on the current situation.

I arrived home Friday after school and started to remove by school books from my bag and pack for the night away from home. I packed a change of clothes, toiletries and of course the paddle GG had made so many years ago. As I was zipping up the bag Sam made one last ditch effort to convince me that I should find a way to lose the dreaded implement. He whined, pleaded and then tried yelling. My nerves were already raw from the past 3 days of lies about the events of that evening that I was neither patient nor considerate when dealing with him. He was being a pain in the ass little brother and I didn't feel like putting up with him.

What I'd like to know is why when I'm in the middle of a fight with my brother no one walks in when he's being unreasonable and yelling but they do walk in when I am calling him a pain in the ass. Just as the last syllable is out of my mouth I look up to see GG stride through the door. The look he shot in my direction had me quickly apologizing to Sam.

"GG…. GG… you saved me!" Sam's tone and actions were overplaying how awful I had been to him just moments before. "Whatcha doin' here GG?" Sam then asked confused as neither of us was expecting company.

"McGee called to say that they were going to be late this evening and that he didn't want Luc to have to change his plans" Gibbs explained before he continued "so you and I are going to hang out tonight."

My stomach started bubbling again. Jeez… make me feel even worse, everyone changing plans so that I could continue with my own. I just wanted to get out of the house start the evening forgetting what I'd done to make the arrangements. "Hey GG do you think I could take off now, I wasn't going to go until after supper so that I could feed and look after the squirt there" I said pointing to my little brother. "But since you're here…. I thought maybe I could head out early… do you mind?"

"Not at all… go have fun… stay out of trouble" GG called as I ran out of the kitchen, grabbed my bag and headed down the street to Sean's house.

Me showing up on the door step at Sean's place was not at all unusual and so when his mother opened the door she invited me in immediately. I made a beeline for his room and threw myself on his bed. Sean didn't even look up from his computer screen as he asked "What are you doing here now? I thought you were going to the party and then sneaking in the back door when it was all over" his tone confused but not accusatory.

I explained the change in plans and that I would still be using his unlocked back door later that night but I needed a place to spend the next few hours without my grandfather or brother looking over my shoulder. Sean and I had been friends for so long he didn't question anything I did anymore. He was more likely than I to get himself into wayward situations and so wasn't fazed by my decisions this evening.

When the time came I snuck out the back door so that Sean's parents didn't know I had left and made my way to Landon's. He lived much closer to the school and it was a good 20 minute bus ride. The driveway was full of cars as most of the team had their full licenses being seniors and drove themselves, maybe I could get a ride home at the end of the night I hoped to myself. I rang the door bell and waited. I could hear many voices behind the large wooden door but couldn't see anyone approaching. I rang the bell again wanting to be inside somehow feeling that being out in the open was going to blow my cover.

Finally the door opened a crack and Jeremy's face could be seen peering out. "Oh Hey Luc, com'on in" he said laughing a little too hardily for it to be normal. I was confused but too happy to be let in that I didn't even comment on his behavior.

A beer was thrust in my hand the moment I was in the living room. I tried to hand it back but was unsuccessful. I guess I would have to admit that my efforts were only half hearted as I didn't want to seem like a prude. But I felt really uncomfortable as I mingled amongst the team members and tried to make small talk. I guess it was not knowing what to do or say that had me start drinking the beer I'd been carrying around. It certainly wasn't because I wanted it, liked it or thought it was a good idea. One beer led to two and then I thought I would drink the punch instead. Ya, I know that was a stupid plan but after 2 beers and never having had that much alcohol in my life my thoughts were sort of fuzzy. It wasn't that I didn't know what I was doing. I did but it was like I was seeing everything through a fog of some sort. The fog just got heavier and heavier. By the time I saw the flashing blue and red lights through the curtain of the living room window I couldn't actually string more than 2 words together and didn't actually remember what had happened in the time between beer one and that moment.

Flashes of the inane stupidity came to me every so often if I thought very hard about it. Things like all of the new members ceremoniously handing over our borrowed objects to the captain. And Landon holding the objects over his head in the way a priest would hold up Holy Communion to bless it. I remember a gold ring, the paddle and something else lying across the coffee table as if it were an alter. I remember dares and acts of nerve that involved the paddle at some point in the night. I remember consuming some more beverages and maybe consuming something or other by smoking it but I'm not one hundred percent sure.

What I can't remember is how the police officer who was now standing over me had gotten my name, address or my father's contact information at work.