Kristy scooted her canvas chair closer to the fire crackling on the ground, holding her hands to the flames. The forest clearing seemed preternaturally quiet without the normal rustling and chirping during normal camping trips. The flames hypnotized her until a hand bearing a brown bottle obstructed her view. “Here ya go, lil’ sis. That’ll warm you up.”
“I’m only sixteen, Derek,” she protested as she took the offering.
Her big brother shrugged it off as he sank into his own chair. “Grandpa gave me my first one at twelve.”
The mention of her grandfather brought pain to her eyes. “Do you think anyone will find out?”
“Don’t see how. If they do, I’ll take the fall for it. Go ahead, drink up.” He suited action to words and guzzled a long pull from his bottle.
Kristy placed the mouth on hesitant lips. The carbonation and sour taste fought against her gag reflex to travel to her stomach. Derek grinned at Kristy’s scrunched features. “It gets easier the more you have. Keep going.”
Kristy pinched her nose and gulped down several swallows. “That’s horrible.”
“It’ll put hair on your chest.”
Kristy rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue. “I don’t think any future boyfriends will appreciate that too much.”
Derek refused to answer. The two drank in silence; several bottles created a small pyramid next to each of them, though Derek’s stood a little taller. He broke the comfortable sibling silence with a soft chuckle. “Grandpa told the best stories.”
Kristy frowned, but didn’t interrupt. “Do you remember that one he told about how he met Bing Crosby in a bar? He said they got rip-roaring drunk and staggered out into the street.”
Kristy’s mouth curved upward of its own volition. “Grandpa said, ‘It looks like a winter wonderland out here.'”
“And I’ll be damned if old Bing didn’t take that and make a Christmas classic. I never saw a dime!” they finished together.
Kristy chuckled as another story came to mind. “What about the one where he took Dad to see Santa?”
Derek burst into a hearty guffaw, slapping his knee. “And he got into a fight with a midget because he said, ‘I thought elves were supposed to be cute.’ Ha! Remember how he’d have us hold onto his leg and he’d drag us around to show us what the fight looked like?”
Kristy snorted as the memory took hold, choking slightly on the drink she’d just taken. Derek hurried over and pounded on her back during her coughing fit. “Try not to choke to death on liquid, genius.”
“B..bite me,” she hacked out.
“I’ll leave that to those imaginary boyfriends of yours.” Derek stretched, arms wide. “Well, time to break the seal. Be back in a minute.” He headed into the tree-line, leaving Kristy wiping her eyes of tears and thinking of her grandparents.
Grandma kept busy by going to book clubs, gossiping with the women at the salon, and baking. Lots and lots of baking. I’m going to go up two sizes if she keeps going at this pace. She thought of the delicious pies, cookies, and breads that Grandma brought over almost daily. Totally worth it.
Derek stomped back, shivering. “It’s colder than a witches c-” He glanced at his sister. “Coffee,” he finished.
Kristy laughed at him. “I don’t think that’s the saying.”
“Well, virgin ears and all that.”
Kristy raised an eyebrow. “What makes you think I’m a virgin anything?”
Derek threw up his hand. “Don’t want to hear it. Please allow me my delusions,” he said as he retook his seat, affecting a mock shudder.
Kristy smiled. Her brother always knew how to lift her spirits, but she could feel the melancholy and worry start to descend again. “Do you think anyone will find out?”
Derek sighed. He leaned forward and stared directly in her eyes. “Grandma has a life now. One not filled with beatings and intimidation. The bastard’s dead, Kristy, and I told you, if anybody finds out it was us I’ll take the fall and say I acted alone. So quit worrying.”
Kristy felt tears come back for entirely different reasons and took a long pull from her beer.
Word Count: 700
This week’s prompts: The video “Winter Wonderland” (seen above) and the sentence “Grandpa told the best stories” to be used anywhere in the story.
Head over to Speakeasy and read some great writers that are only improving week after week. Write up your own and join in the fun.
Hope you enjoy!
Happy Reading and Writing!