The mall trip came a day late. Instead I spent my Saturday night watching Jack and George mack, heh. Jack mack. Hee. Um...sorry. Anyways, I spent the night knitting and whining. Begging to go out and meet George’s sister. So late Sunday afternoon, here we were at the mall, smiling rather tensely at a pretty brunette with red streaks in her hair and an almost frenetic way of gesturing with her hands.
“And please, whatever you do, don’t call me Geo,” she says, “I know George tells everyone that’s my nickname. But it’s not. It’s my ‘My little brother is a twit’ name. And it needs to never leave the family. You can call me Sarah Janet, S.J., or Ep. I respond to all three.”
Jack wants to make a good impression on George’s family so he just blindly nods. I don’t care what impression I make. “What do you do if I call you Geo?”
She smiles widely, her eyes dancing. “I hit George over the head with whatever I can get my hands on.”
“Really?” She raises an eyebrow, daring me. I’ve only talked to this woman once before, turns out she’s the girl Pacey mauled in American Eagle, and I know we’re soul-um, kindred spirits. “So, Geo, how was work today?” I laugh as she bats her brother over the back of the head with her purse gingerly. He grimaces.
“Thanks a lot, Jen.”
“Ah, George, I was just playing with Geo.” I smile devilishly, and he winces as the whack is delivered to the side of his head. “She’s fun.”
“Oh yeah, a laugh riot.” He glares at Sarah Janet. She sticks her tongue out at him and smirks.
“So, Jack, I already like you,” S.J. announces, “to have a friend like Jen, you must be great. And you’re just as cute as Georgie says.” She smiles brightly at the two boys, her eyes resting on their joined hands for a second.
“Jen’s the best,” Jack offers immediately. Aww. I love being the recipient of a love fest. I’m so cool. Hee.
“So evening plans?” I smile expectantly. “We do have plans, right?”
“Uh...” Jack begins. George shrugs. Fan-fucking-tastic.
S.J. smiles conspiratorially and holds a hand out to me, already moving through the mall, her hips swaying in rhythm with the pumped-in music. “Walk with me, I’ve got a plan.”
“Sounds like...the best option available at the moment,” I say, grabbing her hand in mine. The boys follow reluctantly behind us.
An hour later, I’m watching two small red spotted fish swim around a plastic castle with a tiny, madly grinning princess. A princess with long curly blonde tresses that dwarf her tiny plastic body. Jack looks through the small tank at me, winking when he catches my eyes. We’ve been staring at these stupid goldfish for nearly twenty minutes while S.J. coos over a puppy being held by a guy she seems suspiciously more interested in than the animal in his arms. The guy is smiling back at her lecherously, his brown eyes flitting up and down her body, resting more often than not on her chest. He nods at something she says and his dirty blonde ponytail bobs behind him.
I go back to staring at fish. George has now joined us on Jack’s side of the tank, rolling his eyes at his sister on his way over. My toes are starting to go numb from kneeling on the linoleum floor of the pet store.
Jack’s eyes dart back and forth, like a spectator at a tennis match. He’s following the pretty black and red fish with the long tail. George eyes Jack sideways, biting the inside of his cheek to fight back laughter. Jack is easily entertained.
“Was this your sister’s plan? To hold us captive in the Petsmart until she bags the Kennel Boy?”
“Hey, don’t blame me. I’m the one who teased Geo. Remember? Not the one linking arms with her all buddy buddy.” George sticks his tongue out at me through the glass and grins as Jack remains oblivious, eyes mindlessly following goldfish. “That. was. you.”
“They say watching fish jogs the memory.” S.J. appears above us, her smile apologetic and teasing all at once. “Sorry, Jen. I really did have a plan, just ended up a little sidetracked. I’m ready to go. Ben just got off work,” she nods her head to Kennel Boy, “he’s gonna tag along, kay?”
“Fine with me,” I answer, “And where are we going exactly?”
“This absolutely great place. Plus, I’ve got someone for you to meet Jen. It’s gonna be a triple date!”
Oh dear God. What did I do to deserve this? From somewhere in the very back of my head I hear Grams say, “Go to church, Jennifer.”
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