A/N: All recognizable characters belong to their respective owners. I own nothing except this beat-up laptop. And maybe an appreciation of southern boys.
This is a WitFit writing exercise and any chapters will likely be un-beta'd. Hopefully any remaining errors won't be too distracting.
WitFit Prompt: Heist
"C'mon, Eddie," Jasper pleads, shaking my shoulder like he could shake the gloom right outta me. "You can't sulk all summer long, man. Enough is enough."
I lift my head in slow motion as I turn, scowling at my cousin. I know beneath his unruly mop of crazy curls that he's actually quite levelheaded and calm – my true counterpart. The fire evident in my hair color attests the fire that runs in my veins. Grammy Vera always said natural red heads have a temper, and although my hair's more bronze than red, I've still got a touch of the ginger. And, apparently, a touch of a volatile temper, too.
What started as depression two weeks ago morphed into a complete rage before finally devolving back into the glum state I've been in for the last three days. Raging is a little more fun, but I just don't have the energy for it.
"Get your shit," Jasper says, turning away from me. I watch as he scouts my room for my backpack and dumps the few papers and notebooks still left inside from the last day of school before shoving a towel and a pair of my gym shorts inside.
"Isn't that what I have you for?" I ask, the hint of a smirk pulling at my lips. I know I'm acting like a petulant child. I don't give a flying fuck.
Without missing a beat, Jasper dishes it back to me. "Yeah, well, unless you want your lily-ass skin to peel with sunburn or you want your dick hangin' out down at the river, I'd suggest you get dressed and pack what you need in here." He dumps the half-filled backpack at my feet and walks out my bedroom door. From down the hall, I hear him shout one more order. "We leave in ten!"
"Son of a bitch," I grumble, shuffling over to my dresser. I strip out of my cutoff sweats and yank on some board shorts. They hang more loosely than they should and I have to tighten the drawstring. I look in the mirror at my slouched shoulders, unshaven face, and unkempt hair. I don't want to look at my own ribs anymore so I throw on an old t-shirt.
I make my way down the hall to the bathroom. I take a leak, brush my teeth and go through the motions applying deodorant. I catch my reflection in yet another unforgiving mirror and pause, sighing. I'm skinny, pale and blind as a bat as soon as I remove my glasses and place them on the counter. I pop in a pair of contacts and blink a few times, adjusting to the feel of them resting on my eyeballs. I can't stand the things, but if Jasper's dragging me to the river, I can't risk losing my glasses. Again.
Back in my bedroom, I finish what Jasper started and shove some sunscreen, a clean shirt, and a pair of boxers in my backpack. After shoving my hair down under my red NC State cap, I slip on my flip-flops and lope downstairs.
Jasper's in the kitchen, where he's already making out with Allie, her legs wrapped around his waist as she sits on the island.
"Get a fucking room," I mutter.
Jasper pulls his lips from Allie's and levels me with a stare. "C'mon, now," he admonishes, "ain't no different than always." Allie gives me a wan smile from over Jasper's shoulder before he turns and plants a little peck on the tip of her nose. "All right, let's load up."
We step outside and it's already hot. Like, sticky, wet, and oppressive kinda hot. The kinda hot you only get in a Carolina summer. But it's only May, and knowing we have months of this ahead of us makes my shoulders hunch lower, my walk slower. It takes too much energy to move in this heat.
I don't even notice Emmett Jr.'s truck is running until the passenger side window comes rolling down. Rosie sticks her blond head out and waves excitedly. "Hey, y'all!"
"Hey, Rosie," I mumble, giving her a half-hearted wave.
"Aww, cheer up, Eddie," she says with a pout. "It'll do you some good to get out and have some fun. I got that new floating cooler we saw down at the Harris Teeter and everything."
I can tell my brother's girlfriend is doing her best to try to make me feel better, but it has no effect. Still, I don't want to hurt her feelings. Rosie's a good girl, and she and Em, my twin brother, have been together since ninth grade. She's practically my sister. And my momma would kick my ass if she saw me treat her bad, so I give her a reluctant thanks and climb into the back of Jasper's truck.
Allie's already in the front seat, and I see through the little open window between the seats and the truck bed that she's furiously texting. Jasper shoves a cooler into the flatbed near my feet and tosses his backpack and a grocery store sack in, too.
"Make sure we don't lose the hot dog buns, Eddie."
"Yup," I mutter, wondering if he thinks I'm a damn fool. My cousin is a year older than us, and just because he graduated last week and the rest of us still have a year to go doesn't make him a genius.
Jasper jumps into the cab of the truck and whistles. "Y'all ready?" He doesn't wait for an answer; he hits the gas and I hold on for dear life as we hit the dirt road that leads five miles south to the river.
I hate riding in the back, but I'm the smallest, besides Allie, so I always get sent back here. I might be a temperamental ass, but I wasn't raised in a goddamn barn.
I mean, I've got some height to me, but I'm more beanpole than brawn. Em got all the muscle and I got all the… well, I'm still figuring out exactly what I got outta the deal. Seems like the whole sharing of the womb thing favored my four minute and twelve second older brother. I take after my mother, her thin frame, auburn hair and green eyes are reflections of my own. My twin brother favors my father: a strong, athletic build, blond hair, blue eyes and tan.
Son of a bitch.
I have a bad habit of muttering that cuss, out loud or in my own thoughts, and it's terrible when I direct it toward my brother because, hell, even I know talkin' like that about my momma is a sin unlike any other.
We hit a rut in the road and I'm sure my hip is gonna be black and blue. I cuss again and decide Jasper'll take some teasing for that one.
A few minutes later, we arrive at the river, and I look around to see a few other cars already there. Mikey and Jess are unloading a cooler from the trunk of his car, and Lauren's already down to her teeny bikini, sitting on a towel on the riverbank rubbing on tanning lotion. I see Tyler's van and wonder if that means Ben's here.
And if he's here, it means she's here, too.
I don't know if I can handle it, and an ember deep inside flares to life as I think about having to watch the two of them together. It's bad enough when your girlfriend breaks up with you. Getting dumped because she realizes she has feelings for your friend is a non-stop fucking gut punch.
But it's not Ben's fault, and I'm thankful at least Angela didn't cheat on me before breaking things off. She did the right thing, but it doesn't make her leaving me any easier. I'm still bitter because that shit hurts.
Jasper pulls the keys from the engine just as Em's truck pulls up alongside. I shove the plastic bag of hot dog rolls inside the cooler before anyone can see where I've put them.
Allie comes bouncing around and pulls open the lift-gate. She takes Jasper's backpack and calls out, "I got your bag, babe!" before shooting off to grab a prime spot on the riverbed, waving to our friends as she goes.
Jas makes his way to the foot of the truck bed and raises a hand to the top of his cowboy hat, glaring at me from beneath one raised brow. "Where the fuck are the hot dog buns?"
I look around, feigning surprise. "I don't know, man," I say, shrugging. "I heard there was some sort of bun heist or somethin'."
We stare at each other for a beat before I lose the battle to suppress my grin and Jasper leaps into the truck and punches me in the shoulder. "You fucker," he teases, grinning at me. I realize it's the first smile I've worn in a solid couple of days. It feels foreign, but it feels good.
Jasper's smile falters. "Listen, Ed," he takes off his sunglasses and squints at me in the bright mid-morning sun. "I shoulda told you before we left, but she'll be here today."
I nod, looking over my shoulder toward Tyler's van. I don't need him to clarify who he's speaking about. "Yeah, I kinda figured."
"I'm sorry. I just really wanted to see you out with the gang, not moping around at home. I mean, it's summer vacation, man. Right?"
The way Jasper looks at me, I know he needs me to let him off the hook. Like I said, he's an easy-going, sensitive guy – despite his mad-scientist appearance – and I'm sure my combination of mopin' and bitchin' the last few weeks wasn't easy on him. Or Emmett. Or my parents.
"Yup," I say, forcing a smile.
Jasper slips his sunglasses back on and gives me his mega-watt grin. "'Atta boy," he drawls, and I can't help but shake my head and chuckle. "Help me carry the cooler over, will ya?" He asks as he slides down out of the truck.
I move to follow when the sliding door of Tyler's van opens, catching my eye. Angela steps out, her golden brown hair falling loosely around her shoulders. Ben follows, jumping down onto the grass, three towels loaded into his arms. I'm about to turn away, eager to ignore the burning sensation in my chest at seeing them together when a third person emerges from the van. It's a girl, and I can't tell much about her from this far except that she's wearing the tiniest red string bikini my eyes ever did see.
"Who the fuck is that?" I whisper, feeling like I got the dang wind knocked right outta me.
A/N: Well, hello there! It's been a long time since I tackled fic… I figured it was time to test the waters and try a WitFit. Wish me luck! And please, be kind; I'm a little rusty. ;)
Thanks for reading.