The Art of Fields

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Six: "Get your coats, I'll call the crew."

I scream agitated, earning the attention of the whole class, “Chase, it isn’t fair!”

He sighs loudly, “What isn’t?” He says, tapping his chin and commencing his oblivious act.

Apparently, when Chase went to visit Jake at the hospital, they talked about me. I wouldn’t really care much since I’m sure it wasn’t even that big of a deal but when it rolled off Chase’s tongue unintentionally, he refused to tell me what they were talking about. The only reason I was so eager to know was because he hesitated.

I cross my arms and stand in front of his seat, “It’s either Jake or me. Pick.” I know that was a long shot considering those two have known each other their whole lives but, meh, it was worth a shot.

Chase laughs, and when he looks at my completely serious face, he cringes, “Okay lady, I’ve known Jake for like--”

I plop in my seat and cross my arms on the table. He slides into the seat next to me. I sigh, “Whatever, Mr. Wuss.”

“Don’t start that nickname thing you do, it’s weird.” He whines, pulling out one of his biology books as the teacher rolls in. “It’s like you’re talking about me — to me — in the third person.”

I scoff, “It’s funny.”

“Is not.”

“Is too.”

“Is not!” He yells and mutters a sorry to the teacher. His brown eyes piercing into mine, “I’m not telling you, Ash so quit it.”

“Well okay then.” I wave my hands in the air in surrender, “Shithead.”

“Ball-sweat.”

“Shit-holder.”

“Vomit-pit.”

“Shitbox.”

“Mr Tyson and Ms Kendrick!” The teacher exclaims, folding her tiny arms across her broad chest. “Out, right now.”

I mutter under my breathe, “Good job, Chase.”

Chase scoffs as we reach the door, “How is this my fault?” He pulls open the door and motions me to go first. I smile to myself at the idiot and walk first. He closes the door and we stand in the moderately cool hallway.

We spent the next forty minutes playing mind games, rock paper and scissors and even twenty questions. Twenty questions seemed the most pointless since we knew each other pretty well. Chase and I had a very routine sibling relationship, with constant arguments but it was nothing serious, it was all in good taste.

Our arguments always end us up in worse situations though, like getting kicked out of class but this was the least yet most frequent result. The worst was when we were kicked out of a volunteering unit. Who even gets kicked out of a place where you work and don’t even get paid?

〰▪〰

I get home and throw my backpack at the brim of the stairs. I could hear the silent creaking of my shoes against the wooden tiles of the kitchen, as I walked inside. Grabbing a juice box, I take my backpack in my hands and slowly walk up the stairs. The silence was growing thicker and the muscles in my body were tensing up, preparing for the worst scenarios.

“Alan?” I call out, midway on the stairwell, “Ricky? Sam?”

Alan’s voice calms my tensed nerves, “Ash, come here a moment.” I breathe a gush of relieved air and walk towards where the voice was coming from. I knit my eyebrows together upon realising all three of them were in my room.

I fold my arms, and press my lips together entering the room, “Why are you--” my sentence gets cut short as I notice Alan holding the note in his callused hands. Ricky standing next to him, with a raised eyebrow. “Give me the paper, Alan.”

If we were in a cartoon show, I wouldn’t doubt steam floating around the air of both my brothers, in front of me. Alan passes the paper to Ricky, who had a puzzled expression glued on his face. “Who’s Phillipe?” His voice indicating no-nonsense laced with evident annoyance.

I walk to Ricky and stretch my arms to grab the paper from his hands but he pulls it above me, away from my reach. “What does it matter to you?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Alan says, sarcasm dripping from his mouth. “You are my sister right?” His statement coming out more of a question than an actual statement.

I turn away from trying to pry the paper from Ricky, back to Alan whose face was contorted with seriousness. “Since when does that entitle you to give a shit about me?”

Alan tilts his head in confusion, “What are you--”

I notice Ricky’s hand slowly descend and quickly pry the note from him. Ricky rages but doesn’t say anything, he looked just as confused as Alan about what I had said. “Nothing. Can I help you with anything else?”

Ricky intercedes, “Ash, he asked you a question.” His tone laced impatience, considering Ricky had the patience of an elephant, I guess that I was beating around the bush for too long.

Alan and Ricky lean themselves on the mahogany study table, looking like duplicates of each other. They looked nothing alike but the way they acted was resembling that of telepathic twins.

I clear my throat, darting my brown eyes between them both, “I need to do this because the person who told me to do this is a bitch. If she finds out that I didn’t, then she’s going to... rat out things about my best friends.” I focus my attention on Alan, “And you don’t get to tell me otherwise because you never gave a shat. So I’m doing this, with or without both of your permissions.”

I walk to the room door and hold it open, “Nice talking to you too, bye.” I say abruptly with venom lacing my words.

Alan opens his mouth then shuts it, he gives me a final glance before leaving. Ricky pats my back and forces a smile on his lips, “If you need anything Ash, we’ll help.”

I scoff, “I think it’d be better if you spoke for yourself, Ricky.”

He was just about to step foot out, but once the words came out of my mouth, he paused. He turns back to me and purses his lips, “Alan is a very complicated person, the whole fricken world knows that. But he’s your brother, he’ll help you.”

“Hmm,” I mumble and he deadpans at me before leaving with a sigh. I’m used to my brother for seventeen years, if Ricky thinks he can change all my perceptions of my brother by his short stay, he’s welcome to try.

〰▪〰

Grabbing a ride with Alexie, we set out to visit Jake at the hospital. The sun was bright out and I could hear the birds chirping outside since the windows were rolled down. The weather was benevolent and tranquil, not too hot or too cold.

Alexie nods after I rant about my argument with Alan and Ricky, “Men.”

I chuckle, “Yeah, men.”

We chuckle softly for a while until she takes a sharp u-turn and parks in the parkade of the hospital. I pull open the door and we both walk to the receptionist.

Alexie clears her throat at the fairly middle aged lady, “Visitor passes for room 181, please.” Alexie crosses her arms on the high table and I let my eyes wander around the lobby.

There was a waiting room in the far right, where people were heading to. A small boy in a beanie was being dragged by his dad forcefully. The boy was pale, looking like fear consumed him. The dad had worry plastered on his face, as he finally collected the tiny boy in his arms and rushed him to the emergency room. My heart yearns slightly and I hope that kid was alright.

“Ash,” Alexie calls out, moving my shoulders repeatedly to reel me out of the trance I was in.

“Hmm?” I mumble, turning my attention to her, quirking an eyebrow. “Did you get the passes?”

I look at the lady behind the desk who was on the phone, I don’t miss the roll of her eyes she gives me. I squint my eyes at her then look back at Alexie who was going to blow from trying to tell me something. “Jake isn’t there anymore, his parents took him home.”

I form an ‘o’ with my mouth and she nods satirically. We head out the hospital and Alexie drives us to Jake’s home.

In a couple of minutes, she pulls into the driveway of his house. The garden was delicately decorated with gnomes, freshly cut grass and different sized bushes. His mom took a keen interest in landscaping, considering she majored in landscape architecture, it makes sense why their lawn was quite beautiful.

I curl my fists and knock lightly on the wooden door. The door springs open and Tara greets us in. I supposed that she took a day off her college courses to look after her clumsy brother. We take off our shoes, completely familiar with their house.

The essence of freshly made pasta floats in the air, placing my mouth hang up. Lucas and Mr Fields were screaming at the screen, shouting at the match that was taking place. As Alexie and I enter the living room, we took notice of the football match on the set. Brazil versus the Netherlands. Jake had his crutches balanced next to his recliner, as he propped his feet up.

Mr Fields sighs, “If Brazil would improve their defence they have a chance at winning this. Their formation is horrible. Why is David Luiz there?” as he pointed at the screen.

Lucas replies rolling his shoulder, “It doesn’t really matter anyway, Brazil sucks, they are inevitably going to lose. They all dive and it’s fu-” Jake nudges him, eying his dad. Lucas clears his throat, completing the sentence, “It’s really annoying to watch.”

Jake catches sight of me and laughs, “You might want to take that back before she pulverises you.” I grin slightly at the sight of my healthy-looking best friend seated on the couch. His hair was still tousled but it looked less messy, his blue eyes glimmering in betterment. When he realised I was staring, he rose an eyebrow, a smirk retaining on his face. I roll my eyes and plop in the couch next to Lucas.

After dinner which featured Mrs Fields one and only delicious portions of pasta, the four of us scurried upstairs to Jake’s room. Grabbing a controller, I sit on the blue bean bag in front of his ps4. Lucas switches on the set and the two of us go at it, playing zombie mode of call of duty. Alexie was munching on a granola bar as she sat crossed-legged on the bed with Jake next to her.

“Stop cheating!” I yell out and slap Lucas on the shoulder to which he feigns hurt.

Lucas gasps, “Cheating? Me?” He places both his hands over his heart, with a hurt expression on his face and repeats, “Me?”

I roll my eyes, “Stop shoving me, we’re supposed to survive the damn level together.”

“I know.” He replies smugly, looking at the screen, “It’s just fun pissing you off.”

“Idiot.”

Jake chuckles, “He has a point though.”

Alexie snickers, “You got to admit, Ash, you have a really short fuse.”

I pause the game and stand up. Crossing my arms, I look between the three confused faces, “We’re going out. Grab your coats, I’ll call the crew.”

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