Arizona Skies
Author: Isabella Darcy

Chapter 5
Getting Ready

By now I have a schedule. Every morning I get up, have a quick and usually silent breakfast with Lindsey, and go out on the rock to draw. Sometimes Frank is there and we talk or go for ice cream. After a couple of hours of drawing I come back and have lunch. Around that time Aubrey and Lindsey work outside, except for thursdays, when she goes to bingo night at the local senior center.

I drag my hair up into a ponytail and put on the gold bracelet my mother gave me my fifteenth birthday- the year she died. The whole reason I'm now stranded in this place is because of her death- Dad, working as an assistant director for a major Hollywood film is constantly on the go, and my brother Matthew is living in San Diego while at college.

I head over to my dressing table and check my makeup. My eyeliner is unsmudged and mascara un-clumpy. Good. Tonight Frank is driving me out in his birthday present pickup to Tuscon for a celebratory dinner.

I grab my bag and consider a sweater before dumping it back into the pile on my bed- like I'd ever need a sweater in Arizona. It's Thursday, and Lindsey is out , planning to go directly to bingo after her hair appointment, so I scrawl her a note telling her where I'll be and tape it to the fridge.

I shut the screen door behind me and wait on the porch steps for Frank. To my surprise, Aubrey is working on the shed anyway, his hair glinting in the dying sun, his sleeves rolled up. I turn resolutely away, keeping my eyes fixed on the road. He saunters toward me, a recklessly charming smile on his lips as he takes in my appearance.

"Well, well, well." Aubrey says, looking me up and down. "You look all dressed up."

I blush under his gaze but keep my voice aloof and disdainful. "I'm going out." I say, looking back to the road.

"Really?" His voice is unflatteringly skeptical. "With whom?"

I turn back to him, shading my eyes from the sun. "It's none of your business." Then, annoyed at the disbelief still written all over his face, "Frank Thompson."

"Ah." His features relax into amused indifference.

His tone riles me. "What do you mean, 'ah'?"

Aubrey bites his lip with a smile and looks away innocently. "Nothin'."

Conversation with him is always unsatisfactory. I give up. "Fine. Whatever."

He shrugs. "Whatever."

I fidget as he remains standing there, the smile on his face growing wider every second. Finally I turn to him, frustrated.

"What?" I ask, exasperated.

He shakes his head. "Nothing. I hope you and Thompson enjoy yourselves."

I thrust my chin up defiantly. "We will."

"Fine."

"Fine."

We hear the growl and sputter that means Frank's car and I jump up, slightly annoyed that Aubrey is refusing to leave. Finally Frank appears, in a scratche blue Toyota that shines in the Arizona sun. He leaves the engine running and sticks his head out of the passenger window.

"Hey California, check it out!"

I hurry forward and climb in, duly appreciative. The thing is vibrating and making more sound than seems normal, but I tell myself to relax. Frank sees Aubrey, and waves. Much to my chagrin, Aubrey decides to come up to the car. He leans in my window, arms hooked in. I glare as he smiles lazily at us.

"Hey Thompson, nice ride."

Frank beams. "Thanks. I got it used from my old man. Runs great, though."

"It's a beauty." Aubrey says apreciatively.

The minutes tick by as they chat. Finally Frank revvs the engine. Aubrey steps back from the truck and gives me a wink. I narrow my eyes, but he only waves, calling out "See ya!" as we drive away in a cloud of orange dust.

 

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