The Edge of Eighteen

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4 | Where The Fault Lies

~Anna~

“You are so dead,” Alyssa screeched, charging like a bull. I batted her flailing arms out of the way, grabbing her around the wrists and twisting.

“Tag out!” I demanded, “I need to hear you say it!”

“Never,” Alyssa bellowed, shaking her head fiercely.

Alyssa wiggled attempting to free herself. I twisted my hands in response, careful not to hurt her; it was her fault she was stubborn, refusing to tag out.

“Ow, you’re hurting Asher, get off.”

“Say it,” I repeated, my voice peaking.

Alyssa dropped Mr Snuggles onto the carpet. For a moment my gaze followed suit, and Alyssa thrust the tip of her boot against my shin. I doubled over as a searing heat tore through my leg. My sister was cunning; I’d give her that; being shin-kicked I imagined was similar to labor, but much worse.

My hands reached for the point of impact and soothed it better. Alyssa mistook my crouched position as vulnerability, knocking me over onto the floor. Alyssa giggled wildly as my hands snapped at her ankles.

She squealed racing past to get to the door. I heard the distinct sound of keys being jangled.

“I’ll hit you where it hurts, you have no ability to drive that ancient death trap anyways,” she threatened and moved at lightning speed through the door. I bolted reaching the door in time to have it slammed in my face.

I surveyed the room for Mr Snuggles, a wide smile stretched across my face. You asked for it, Alyssa. Locking my bedroom door I scooped the bear up. One pair of scissors later I was leaning out of my bedroom window.

“Alyssa,” I called, “Put my car keys down or your teddy ....” I dragged a pointed finger across my neck and smiled.

Her eyes widened in panic. “Don’t you dare Asher James Archer,” she challenged. This wouldn’t have been the first stuffed casualty from one of our fights. I snapped the scissors and drew them dangerously close to Mr Snuggles fluffy ears.

She glanced around. “Hey, New Girl!” she shouted, “Come over here.” My eyes followed hers across the street. A stranger wandered over, long caramel hair and dark brown eyes wearing a navy college sweatshirt that looked five sizes too big. A U-Haul van was parked in the adjacent driveway; she must be the new neighbor I figured.

My eyes moved between Alyssa and the new girl. They shared the same look of annoyance. If anything, the new girl looked scarier than Alyssa did.

Alyssa whispered something to her and pulled back smiling.

She cocked her head to one side and she regarded me curiously for a moment; a twinkle of mischief danced in her eyes. What was she thinking about? I ran a hand through my hair and straightened up under her apparent scrutiny. I thought about deflecting the sudden nerves that had sprung from nowhere with a cheesy line or joke but for some reason, my mouth was dry and my ability to form a coherent sentence was gone, then she blushed.

I knew right then I wanted to know why.

“I’m Anna.” She batted her eyelashes, “You have something that belongs to my new friend.” A small smile tugged at the corner of her mouth, the scary girl from a few moments ago vanished.

I realized I was smiling, I couldn’t help it.

Her eyes softened at the same time something inside did. She raised a suggestive eyebrow and my hormones raged at the mere hint of something sexual, an unfortunate by-product of being a seventeen-year-old boy.

She held out her hands without breaking our gaze. I gulped tossed Mr Snuggles down to her, because she’d asked.

Alyssa pelted over picking up Mr Snuggles and giggled. “You’re such a sucker for a pretty girl, Asher. It works every time,” she said triumphantly. They both smiled smugly. They had played dirty and I had fallen for it.

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