Just Keep Swimming.
I stumbled down the sidewalk, struggling to keep up with the 7-year-old who grasped my hand in a kung-fu grip. She dragged me along, her tiny feet slapping lightly on the pavement.
"We're gonna miss it," she whined, quickening her pace
"No we're not," I panted, I couldn't seem to get oxygen to my lungs fast enough. You'd think that after years of walking everywhere, I'd be used to this.
She stopped suddenly, turning around to give me some sort of death glare. It didn't really work, though. Her big brown eyes and soft features did nothing for making her look even slightly intimidating.
"That's what you said last time, and then when we got home I had already missed 10 minutes... ten whole minutes!" she yelled, snatching my hand and yanking me forward. What she lacks in intimidation she makes up for in strength. "Now, let's go"
I sighed tiredly, but followed along anyway.
We reached the house and I headed for the front-door. I pushed the key in the lock, deliberately moving as slow as possible.
"Frankie..." she whined, urging me to hurry
I swung the door open and she flew inside, running into the living room and flicking on the television. I sighed as the the cursive letters formed across the screen.
"Yes, just in time," she bounced on the old, blue couch in triumph, before settling down to watch the show.
I realize that not many seven-year-olds watch Oprah, but AJ is no regular seven-year-old.
"Hey AJ, I'm gonna go over to Adam's for a bit - are you gonna be okay here by yourself?" I asked.
I usually went over to Adam's place after school. It was just like a tradition, now. But I liked asking her, anyway.
Her eyes stayed on the screen while she answered, "Sure thing,"
"Okay, just don't open the door for any strangers..." I told her before leaving. I trusted that she could take care of herself. There was a freezer full 'Hungry Man' dinners and a perfectly good microwave. She'll be okay. At least until mom gets home.
I walked along the grey pavement, making my way back home. I'd just left Adam's house. His mother had asked if I wanted to stay for dinner, but I figured I burden them enough with my constant presence, so I politely declined.
Hazy oranges and pinks had begun to spread out through the afternoon sky. Mom was probably home by now. I continued down the sidewalk, my house soon coming into view.
Surprisingly, the door was already unlocked, so I walked right in.
I went into the dark living room, expecting to see AJ in the same place as I left her. But what I saw made my eyes nearly pop out of my head. There was a boy sitting on the couch, the room was too dimly lit for me to make out any of his features. His feet were propped up on the coffee table as he watched what looked to be Finding Nemo. I almost thought that I'd walked into the wrong house, but a quick look at my surroundings proved that I was indeed, at home.
"What the fuck is going on here?" I yelled. The boy quickly jumped up from the sofa, turning to stare at me.
He just looked at me for a moment, a confused look on his face before his mouth twisted in a smirk, "Oh, you must be Frank"
I gaped at him in disbelief, "Who the hell are you and why the fuck are you in my house?"
He just stared at me again, his lips slightly parted and his eyes wide and innocent. For some reason, my reflexes seemed to kick in. I rushed over to him and tackled him to the floor; we rolled over the fuzzy carpet before coming to a stop. I straddled his thighs, pinning his hands above his head so his movements were pretty much limited.
He unsuccessfully struggled against my hold, "What are you doing?" came his weak voice
I gripped tighter on his wrists, "Where is my sister?!"
The boy looked absolutely petrified, his bottom lip caught between his teeth as he stared up at me through dark lashes. If I wasn't so livid, I might have felt sorry for him.
The light suddenly switched on, causing us both to jump in surprise.
"Frank, what are you doing to Gerard?" I heard my mother ask
AJ was right by her side - safe and sound - an amused grin gracing her lips.
"Gerard?" I asked, confused as hell
"Yea, remember I told you that my friend Donna and her husband were going out of town and wanted Gerard to stay with us for a few days," my mom answered
I looked down at the kid again, and felt the blood rise in my cheeks.
"Oh," was all I could say
I stood up quickly and raised myself off of him, holding out my hand to help him up. He accepted it warily and I pulled him to his feet.
I realised that his face was probably just as red as mine.
"I'm really sorry about that," I mumbled, looking down at my worn out Vans
"It's okay," he replied softly, chuckling a bit.
We both stood there as an awkward silence filled the space in the room.
"Well, that's an interesting way to start the night," I heard AJ say, tossing herself on the couch and singing along with the movie.
'Just keep swimming,
Just keep swimming.
Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...'
This is my first story on ficwad, and the first frerard I've ever written. It may start off kind of slow, but it will progress. I hope you like it. R&R.