"Duncan!" Courtney said through gritted teeth. "You're not helping."
Beatrice was still dumbfounded.
Duncan cleared his throat. "Well what do ya want me to do?"
Beatrice seemed to resume normal composure. She smirked. "Didn't I tell you? If it's important I always find out. And by the looks of it, this is hella important."
Courtney growled. "I swear if you tell any living soul I will-"
Beatrice interrupted her. "What? Pound me to pieces? You wouldn't do that; because you'd you have to explain that to your mom."
Courtney hated that she was right.
Beatrice looked closer at Duncan, as if trying to recognize him. "Hey! You're the guy who was with that blond guy who tried to wave to Courtney!"
Courtney face palmed herself. Shit, she thought. Beatrice recognized him! Not only does she know I have a boyfriend, but she knows who he is! Not good.
Duncan shrugged. "The name's Duncan, sweetz." Courtney shot him a look of disapproval. "What? She already knows."
"Beatrice! Are you coming?" Shanice yelled from outside.
"Comin, just hold on a bit!" Beatrice yelled back.
"Alright, we'll talk more about this," Beatrice beckoned to the couple. "Later. I need forty cents."
Courtney raised her voice, saying, "You busted into my room to ask me for a mere forty cents?! Didn't your mom give you money?"
"Yes," Beatrice said. "But it's not like I'm going to use my own money. I'm only here for a month, remember?"
Courtney reluctantly walked to get her piggy bank. She took out 4 dimes and handed it to Beatrice.
Beatrice smiled. "Thanks Courtney!"
"Thanks Courtney!" Courtney mocked her cousin.
"All right then," Beatrice said. "Bye Courtney! Bye Duncan." She winked at Duncan, and Duncan winked back. She shut the door.
Courtney's jaw dropped open. "Did you just wink at my cousin?!"
Duncan shrugged. "Yes. What? Just tryin' to be friendly."
Courtney put her hands on her hips. "Not that friendly!"
He chuckled. "Will you relax? Nothin's going to happen."
"How am I supposed to relax when my devious cousin knows something she wasn't supposed to?"
"Didn't ya say that your relationship with her was improvin'?"
"Yes, but I didn't have something like this in mind…"
"I know she won't say anything."
"No. You don't know her as well as I do."
"What does she have to gain by exposin' ya?"
"I don't know, pleasure? Pleasure of seeing me get into trouble? She's done it before?"
Duncan massaged Courtney's shoulders. "Like what?"
"There was this one time she broke this antique of my grandparents and got me blamed for it! I was grounded for a month!"
"And another time! While at that stupid reunion, she put my hand in a cup of warm water while I was sleeping!"
Duncan laughed and Courtney shot him an icy glare.
"Not funny, Duncan!" Courtney exclaimed.
He immediately stopped laughing. Courtney was scary sometimes.
"Okay, okay, I stopped!" Duncan said, putting his hands up in defense.
Courtney softened her eyes. "Sorry."
Duncan smiled. "It's okay; you're hot when you're mad."
Courtney looked away, blushing. Duncan kissed her cheek.
She laid her head on his shoulder. "Duncan, what're we going to do?"
"Well if ya ask me," Duncan said. "This is a whole lot better than anyone else knowing."
Courtney gave him a questioning look. "How?"
"Well for one," Duncan started. "If she likes to cause trouble for you, then she obviously does sneaky stuff of her own."
"What makes you think that?" She laid back on her bed.
"Well, she's obviously not a goodie-goodie like you," Duncan said and Courtney scoffed. "Goodie goodies don't get other people in trouble. At least not without reason. And besides, we trouble-makers recognize one another."
Courtney thought about it for a moment. Beatrice? Doing sneaky things besides getting her in trouble? She hadn't thought it about it before but, the idea wasn't completely implausible. What Duncan was saying did make sense. Although she wouldn't admit it, she was a goodie-goodie. She'd never get anyone into trouble just for the fun of it.
If that was the case, then maybe Beatrice would be understanding.
"Maybe you're right…" Courtney said.
"Of course I am darlin'," Duncan said. "Wow, it gets really hot in here."
"Yeah," Courtney said. "Just noticed?"
"Kinda," Duncan said, standing up and pulling his shirt over his head. "Much better."
Courtney couldn't help but stare. His abs was a perfectly toned six-pack.
Duncan nuzzled his hair and noticed Courtney staring. "Like what ya see, Princess?"
Courtney realized what she was doing and stopped. "Uhh…"
"You know, maybe you could do the same."
Courtney glared at him. "I'm not that hot, you pervert."
"Whatever floats your boat."
"If you come downstairs, you can get some lemonade."
The two went downstairs where it was much cooler. Duncan plopped unto the couch while Courtney got them glasses of ice-cold lemonade.
"Thanks," Duncan said once she was back from the kitchen.
"Mhmm," Courtney said. "You know, we're not upstairs anymore. You can put your shirt back on."
"Nahh," said Duncan lazily. "You know you'd rather see me without one."
Courtney blushed again. His messy black hair. His teal blue eyes. His signature smirk. Those perfectly toned six-pack abs. Duncan was hot. But she wasn't about to say that aloud.
"Whatever," She said. "Do as you wish."
Duncan flipped the channels for something decent to watch. When he flipped past the news channel, he remembered Danny's homecoming. Having remembered, he told Courtney about his homecoming.
Courtney had never seen Duncan so happy before. She could tell that he really missed Danny and she was happy for him.
"Mom says that she's going to make him go to college so that they can't draft him anymore."
"You must miss him a lot."
Duncan sighed. "Yeah…."
Courtney and Duncan cuddled on the couch. Duncan flipped through the channels while Courtney's head was relaxed on his bare chest. His arms were around her shoulders.
Courtney found herself falling sleep. She didn't know why, but she was. She thought she should stay awake just in case her parents returned, although they wouldn't return until night fall. She was too lazy to stay awake or get up.
Courtney eventually fell asleep, but Duncan remained awake.
Duncan noticed how beautiful she was when she slept. Her eyes were perfectly closed. The rise and fall of her shoulders. The steady beat of her heart. She was so calm and collected, unlike when she was awake. What a beautiful sight it was.
Wow, Duncan thought. This girl is making me a sap.
He finally settled on an action movie from the 50s, something she probably wouldn't want to watch. It was called Forbidden Planet. It was about a planet 16 light years from a Earth, named planet Altair IV.
40 minutes into the movie, Duncan heard the door unlock. He knew it was Beatrice, having heard her outside the house just before.
Beatrice came inside and locked the door. She went to the kitchen to get herself a glass of lemonade.
She sat on the sofa adjacent to the one the couple was sitting on.
"Why hello Beatrice," Duncan said.
"Hello," She said. "Is Courtney seeping?"
"Yes," Duncan said.
Beatrice sipped her lemonade. "So you're her boyfriend.
"How'd you two meet?"
"Saw her in Jackson one school day. The rest is history."
Beatrice smirked. "How long have you two been goin' steady?"
"About a month and a half."
Beatrice put her lemonade on the table. "I never thought Courtney was the type to be sneaky."
"Well," Duncan said. "Ya learn somethin' new every day."
"Wake her up, will ya? We have some things to discuss…"
Duncan nodded. He tapped Courtney lightly at first, then slightly harder. She woke up.
"What the…?" She muttered, sitting up. "How long was I asleep?"
"Only about half an hour," Duncan said.
"Hey Courtney," Beatrice said.
"Beatrice," Courtney yawned. "Why are you back so early?"
"Because Shanice forgot to do her chores," Beatrice said.
"Figures…" Courtney said.
"Yeah. So about this," Beatrice beckoned to the couple on the couch. "I didn't know you had sleuth in ya."
Courtney rolled her eyes. "So what're you going to do? Tell my parents?"
"Hmm…" Beatrice said. "I could… but honestly I don't know what I'd get out of it. I've done my share of sneaks over the years…"
Courtney raised her eyebrows. "Really?"
Beatrice laughed. "Oh, sure! I used to have secret boyfriends all the time back in Puerto Rico. I also got into my share of trouble too… my mom just doesn't like to mention it."
Duncan gave Courtney an "I told you so" look.
"Of course," Beatrice continued. "Things aren't nearly as bad as they are here…"
"You can say that again," Courtney said.
"Anyway," Beatrice said. "First things first. Repeat after me-"
"Just do it Court," Duncan whispered.
Courtney sighed in frustration. "Whatever."
"As I was saying," Beatrice said. "Say this: I, Courtney Rodriguez"
"I, Courtney Rodriguez," Courtney said reluctantly.
"Is no smarter or prettier than Beatrice Rodriguez."
It took all of Courtney's might to muster out the words.
"Good," Beatrice said. "It's just fun to watch you get mad."
Duncan chuckled. "I know right?!"
Duncan and Beatrice high fived each other.
Courtney glared at Duncan saying, "So you're not going to tell?"
"Nope," Beatrice said. "Back in Puerto Rico, me and my siblings always had each other's backs. We never tattled on each other. That'd be like breaking the code, y'know? It can be that way between us."
"Sure. Court, I understand the position you're in. You don't want to tell Linda and John because they probably wouldn't understand. I see how hard Jackson is and I've only before for a couple of days. I don't want to make it any harder."
Courtney narrowed her eyes. "Who are you and what have you done with my cousin?"
Beatrice laughed. "I'm not going to tell. I promise."
"How do I know this isn't one of your tricks?"
"Well," Beatrice started. "If I was going to tell I would've by now. I would've called our moms at work."
"You have to swear that you won't tell."
Courtney sighed. "All right…"
Beatrice got up with her lemonade. "I may be a trickster, but I'm not heartless. I'll leave you two alone."
Beatrice went to her room and closed the door.
"I told you," Duncan said.
"Burt what if she's just playing us?" Courtney asked.
"Boy you're so paranoid," Duncan said. "She's not lying. I know a rule-breaker when I see one."
"Are you sure?"
"Positive. Now could we please get back to what we were doing before?"
"And what was that?" Courtney grinned.
"This." He kissed her softly on the lips. He was a good kisser.
Later that Day at 10:30
Linda and Grace came home first that night.
"Hello girls," Linda said.
"Hi mom," Courtney said.
Courtney and Beatrice were in their pajamas.
"Good evening auntie," Beatrice said.
"Anythin' interesting happen?" Linda asked.
Courtney and Beatrice smiled at each other. "Nope."
"All right then," Grace said. "Lin and I are going to eat and then hit the day. Don't stay up too late."
Grace and Linda went into the kitchen.
Beatrice dragged Courtney upstairs to her room, much to her chagrin.
"What the heck?" Courtney asked, laying on her bed.
Beatrice whispered, "If we stay up late enough, we can probably go out again."
Courtney widened her eyes. "Go out?"
"Sure! Shanice just got a car. She wants to take us out."
"You know. Me, You, some of your friends."
Courtney sat up. "No way!"
"Aww come on! You're already breaking one of the rules so-"
Beatrice rolled her eyes. "Whatever. But when they're asleep, I'm going. And you know what that means…"
Courtney sighed. "I have to go with you."
"Okay, fine! But if we get into hot water I'm blaming it on you!"
"We're not going to get caught! Do you know how many times I've done this back home?"
Courtney was unnerved.
"Listen, we're not going to get in trouble. And if we do, I'll take full responsibility."
Courtney crossed her arms. "Oh really?"
"Yes, really!" Beatrice exclaimed. "Now find something nice to wear and I'll come when I'm finished getting ready."
"Whenever that is, Queen Beatrice!" Courtney said sarcastically.
Courtney got up and began looking for something to wear. Beatrice and Shanice were crazy. Perhaps they were related.
She changed into jeans, a white tank top, and a black hoodie. She looked at her violin case. She hadn't practiced in a while. Perhaps practicing would calm her nerves.
Duncan left Courtney's house at about half after eight. After Beatrice left them alone, they watched T.V. and fell asleep in each other's arms again. Courtney wished that he could stay all night but they both knew he couldn't.
He was in his bed, throwing a baseball at the ceiling and catching it. He was determined to find a way for them to hang out outside of the house.
The only way for them to do such a thing was for her to have a disguise. The only disguise that came to mind was Izzy's bear suit. That or they could wear all black and go downtown at night.
But what would they do?
Perhaps, if they walked into every white business with a costume nobody would say anything. But if they walked in with costumes all the time wouldn't people become suspicious? And ask them both to reveal their identities?
Duncan groaned in frustration. Why was it so hard? Everything had to be carefully plotted with no room for error. It was frustrating.
Maybe they could do it every once in a while, and at a different business. That way they could have fun and not get into trouble. If they did get into trouble, Duncan would probably get off easy. But Courtney on the other hand… he didn't want to imagine.
He heard faint voices in another room on the floor. He went to the door of his parent's room and put an ear to it.
"Think we scared em' good?" Mr. Meyers said.
"Of course. Them niggers was probably cookin' up a ruckus in their houses."
Mr. Meyers snickered. "Talked to Jim. The meetin' is sometime next week."
"We're doin' big things." Mrs. Meyers said.
"Those niggers were probably runnin' wild in their little ugly houses."Mr. Meyers snickered.
"They're lucky we even allow them to live! Why they gotta be causin' all that ruckus about rights or whatever in our streets?"
The two of them snickered.
"Should we get Duncan in on this?" Mrs. Meyers asked.
Mr. Meyers sneezed. "Nah. It's best he don't know. Who knows what trouble he'll get himself into."
I'm bout to get you in some trouble, Duncan said.
Duncan heard kissing shortly after. Gross, he thought. That was his cue to leave. He'd be keeping an eye out for the next meeting and Geoff would accompany him.
John came home an hour ago. All the adults in the house were sleeping, or so they thought.
Beatrice quietly made her way to Courtney's room.
She opened the door, startling Courtney who was lying on her bed.
"Beatrice!" Courtney whispered. "I didn't even hear you come up!"
"That's because I'm sneaky," Beatrice said. "You ready? Shanice will be outside in a couple of minutes."
"Yeah," Courtney said.
"Why am I doing this?" Courtney muttered to herself.
They exited the room quietly. Courtney closed the door quietly while Beatrice abruptly stopped them. She beckoned to Linda and John's room. Courtney looked at Beatrice questioningly?
"Hear that?" Beatrice asked, whispering.
They stepped closer to the door.
John and Linda were speaking in faint voice.
"When does your probation end? Courtney heard Linda ask.
"October 10th," Courtney heard John say.
Linda sighed. "You better not do anything to prolong it. I'm serious."
"But I have been organizing activist events. Talk is, we're also planning something big next summer."
"I thought we'd already talked about this. I need to be active in this fight."
"But John, it might be dangerous. It is dangerous!"
Their voices were rising.
"Nothing's happened yet."
"Something could happen! Did you not hear the gunshots? Or was that just a figment of our imagination?" Linda hissed.
"Don't you see? They want us to be scared! Do you want to live in fear forever?!"
"But you could be putting us all in grave danger."
"They'll come after me. Not you guys."
"Listen to yourself! If anything happened to you… do you know what kind of effect that'd have on me?! On Courtney?"
Beatrice looked at Courtney sympathetically. Courtney smiled sadly and looked down at the floor.
"I just need you to understand that I need to do this. I was in this movement from the minute I was born."
A light turned off in the room.
"You're crazy and giving me a headache. Good night."
"Good night, sweetiepie."
Beatrice and Courtney quietly continued down to the living room. They waited 30 minutes to make sure Linda and John were sleeping.
Be strong, Courtney kept repeating to herself mentally.
"It must be rough," Beatrice said. "With where you live and all."
Beatrice put a hand on Courtney's shoulder.
"You don't have to go if you don't want to," Beatrice said.
Courtney nodded. Now she was just wanted to forget. About everything. The racism, violence, arguing, the tough times.
"It's okay," Courtney said. "I'll go."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes! Shanice is outside."
"Okay, okay! Take your keys!"
They quietly left out the door and got into Shanice's car. Shanice's car was a black Ford Custom 300. Made in 1957, it had a passenger seat, a driver seat, and a long seat in the back. It's interior and exterior were brown/black with a grey carpet.
Leshawna and Katie were in the car as well. Leshawna was sitting in the passenger seat. Beatrice and Courtney sat at the ends in the back. There was one stretchy seat-belt that was in the back.
"Hey guys," Courtney said.
"Courtney?" Leshawna said in disbelief. "Didn't expect to find you here."
"Well," Courtney said, not wanting to tell Leshawna about her parents' argument. "Beatrice dragged me."
"I see," Katie said.
"Are you guys ready to be amazed?" Shanice exclaimed. "We're gonna get on the highway and see how fast this puppy can go!"
"Is this even legal?" Katie asked.
Shanice shrugged. "Who cares? We're just having a little fun. Besides, no policeman is on the road at this time."
"I hope not," Courtney said. This is so not legal.
"Let's go!" Shanice said, putting the car in drive and leaving Courtney's house. She got on the road to Jackson. She began to slowly speed up.
Leshawna and Katie rolled down the windows.
"50 miles an hour!" Shanice said.
Courtney and Katie stuck their heads out the windows.
"Are you sure no one's on these roads?" Courtney asked.
"I'm sure!" Shanice said.
The wind was blowing through her hair. It was, in a way, blowing all her troubles away.
Everyone cheered the night on.
"Linda would kill us if she found out what we're doing," Beatrice laughed.
"What can I say?" Shanice said. "I'm a night person."
"Oh! Red light!"
The car came to a jolting stop.
"Shanice!" Everyone yelled.
After 15 minutes of speedily driving, they were finally inside of Jackson.
"Shanice!" Courtney scolded her. "You know there are multiple policeman inside of the city right now!"
"Don't be a drag Court," Leshawna said. "She's got it all under control, right?"
"Yeah, Yeah!" Shanice said. "We're just gonna be cruisin' down the streets."
"If we get caught-" Courtney said.
"We're not! Leshawna, turn the rock music down. I don't want the police to hear it."
The city was so pretty at night. The lights for all the tall buildings were lit. The nightlife was alive and well. There were dance clubs and live performances. Although alcohol was prohibited in Mississippi, that didn't mean it wasn't in the cities. If you looked, you could probably find a speakeasy.
"Why don't we ever come here in the night?" Shanice asked.
"Oh I don't know," Courtney said sarcastically. "Because there are racist policemen here and late night Jackson is no place for a bunch of black teenagers!"
Katie looked at Courtney fearfully. Courtney was scary sometimes.
"Will you calm down?" Beatrice asked. "We'll be out soon."
"Courtney- the voice of reason!" Katie said.
"Thank you!" Courtney said.
"And also a drag," Leshawna said and snickered. Courtney glared at her through the driver's mirror.
"How old do you have to be to enter a dancelub?" Katie asked.
"My guess is 18," Shanice said. "But I'm not sure."
"We could try now," Leshawna said.
"No!" Courtney objected.
"Chillax Courtney, "Shanice said. "We're not. But only because all of us are dressed too casually."
Courtney looked at everyone's casual attire. They were all wearing jeans, and that was about as casual as you could get.
"Besides," Shanice said. "I'm not in the mood."
"Hey!" Leshawna exclaimed. "I reckon that could be our end of the summer blast!"
"Count me out," Courtney yawned.
Leshawna scoffed. "Ya always go anyway."
"I know," Courtney said. "But this time's different!"
"Ya say that every year!" Katie, Shanice, and Leshawna all said in unison.
Courtney crossed her arms and slouched in her seat.
"Whatever!" Courtney said.
"We need to go to the pool again," Katie said.
"We'll do all of that when it's time," Shanice said.
Courtney looked at the window. She saw policemen yelling at a group of black men and lining them up on the walls. They then brutally attacked them, causing blood to gush out immediately. Police brutality towards blacks was common. Everyone in the car seemed to have seen the atrocious sight. The car grew abnormally quiet while Shanice drove a little bit faster.
Soon, they were back in Tougaloo. Shanice drove to her own house first, much to Courtney's chagrin.
"Ahh how was that for a first spin?" Shanice said.
"Why did we come back to your house?" Courtney snapped.
"Because driving tires me," Shanice said. "I'll take you all home; just let me relax a bit."
"Chillax Court," Beatrice said for the umpteenth time that evening.
Shanice's parents were activists as well. They weren't at home due to work needed in Alabama and would be coming back in a couple of days.
Shanice's houses had one floor with four bedrooms. The front door led to the immediate living room and the four rooms were in a single hallway adjacent to the living room.
Katie and Courtney went to the kitchen for lemonade while the rest of the crew stayed in the living room.
"Beatrice's crazy," Courtney said in the kitchen. "I can't believe she made me do this."
"Relax," Katie said. "It could be worse."
"I suppose you're right," Courtney said.
"Besides you wouldn't let us get into any trouble."
"Exactly! You people need me to keep out of hot water.
Katie laughed and became serious. "Hey, Court."
Courtney sipped her lemonade. "What?
"Remember when I said my mom was being a chickenhead?"
Courtney put her hands on her hips. "I think so."
"Well it was because, b-b-because…"
"I made a white friend."
Courtney eye's widened. "Really?"
"Oh don't act so shocked," Katie said. "You do have a white boyfriend."
"Shhh!" Courtney shushed her friend. "Shanice has a pretty big mouth so I don't want her to know."
Katie smirked and rolled her eyes. "Her name is Sadie. She was at the bustop by Tougaloo College. She seemed to be lost, so I got on the next bus and helped her find her way back to Belhaven. My mom works at the college and saw the whole thing."
"Have you seen her since?"
"Maybe like twice. My mom's not too pleased, she says it isn't good to be friends with white people. But oh my gosh we just have SO much in common! She likes the same bands I do! She even dresses like me! We like the same hairstyles, have the same opinion about a lot of stuff, like the same foods, the same-"
"Alrighty," Courtney said. "I get it, trust me. Just be careful, kat."
Courtney smiled. She was beginning to smell something. It was very familiar and smelled a lot like…
She marched into the living room. The familiar smell was coming from the center of the living room. She marched right to Shanice.
"What the heck?!" Courtney exclaimed.
Leshawna, Beatrice, and Shanice were all holding joints of marijuana. A lighter was on the table. That was the smell. She knew it anywhere.
"Calm down Courtney," Shanice slurred her words, her eyes bloodshot red.
"Yuck," Katie said.
"You're lucky your parents won't be back for a couple of days!" Courtney snapped.
"Flake off Christina," Shanice said, obviously too high to think responsibly.
Leshawna was asleep, but Courtney could tell she'd been smoking too.
"How the heck are we going to get home?! Shanice isn't sober," Katie said.
"I guess we'll walk," Courtney said and then immediately looked to Beatrice. "Beatrice!"
Beatrice exhaled smoke. "Chillax. I hadn't had one in a while, so I did just now."
Courtney glared at her. "Do you know what mom would do if she found you smoking cannabis?! She'd make you regret you ever did! Don't play with her!"
Beatrice smirked at Courtney with her bloodshot eyes, her lips hot from the joint. "Groovy."
"Give me that!" Courtney snatched the joint from her cousin's hand and crushed it with her feet.
"Hey!" Beatrice said. "Whatcha doin' ruinin all my fun?!" Her accent was heavy.
"We have to go home!" Courtney exclaimed.
Beatrice closed her eyes. "No."
"Oh yes you are! I'm not getting into trouble because of you!" Courtney dragged Beatrice off the couch by the legs.
"You're wiggin out," Beatrice slurred her words, but she seemed to be more sober than the rest of them.
"Leshawna can stay," Katie said. "She was sleeping here anyway."
"Good," Courtney said. "Beatrice! Can you walk?"
"Of course I can walk, stupido," Beatrice said, standing up.
Beatrice walked badly, but it was good enough to get them home.
"We'll talk about this later, Shanice and Leshawna!" Courtney exclaimed, guiding Katie and Beatrice out.
"Katie we'll walk you to your house first," Courtney said.
"Are you sure?" Katie asked.
"Of course," Courtney said. "It's not safe to walk around at night alone."
"The sky…" Beatrice trailed off. "Have you ever noticed how purple it is? Purple…. Like-like-like an elephant! Ooooo look at meeeeeee I used a similieeeeeeeeee!"
Courtney and Katie shook their heads in frustration at High! Beatrice.
A/N: The nightlife! I would've had this chapter out earlier but, I was watching the Legend of Korra! Anyone else watch that show? I have too many feels!
Your follow up questions:
1. Did you expect Beatrice to be understanding?
2. Did you expect her to be sneaky?
3. Courtney seeing Duncan shirtless?! Thoughts?
4. What'd you think of the whole driving in the night thing?
5. Is something going to happen to John?
6. Thoughts on the weed smoking?
7. Suggestions, advice?
Thanks for reading! 3