Until We Break(9)

By: Jamie Howard

“Nope.” I skip down the stairs, my hand trailing over the wooden banister. Turning down the hallway lined with picture frames, I slip into the kitchen, with Blaire hot on my heels.

“Gran, please tell Sloane she’s being a complete jackass.”

Gran looks up from the carton of ice cream that she’s got her spoon buried in. She’s already put on her pajamas and fuzzy bunny slippers and is sitting at the kitchen table. “Sloane, you’re being a jackass.”

I roll my eyes at her. “You don’t even know what we’re talking about.”

She taps her spoon against the table and then points it at me. “If it’s about that boy and she’s telling you not to mope around all summer, then I agree with her.”

I swear this woman knows everything. I’m going to check my bedroom later for hidden microphones.

“Gran, can you please tell Sloane that she should come out with me tonight?” Blaire folds her arms across her chest and smiles smugly.

“And where do you think you’re going?”

“The Edge.”

Gran harrumphs. “You both have your fake IDs?”

I shake my head at her in exasperation. Of course she’s condoning underage drinking. She’s always played by her own set of rules, which is one of the reasons Dad was less than thrilled we wanted to spend the summer here. But I’d asked nicely, begged, if I’m being honest. He’s never been able to say no to me, and I desperately needed this summer away.

“Yes ma’am,” Blaire responds, producing the IDs from the depths of her pocket.

“Well, then, Sloane, go have a good time with your sister.” Her words hold a sharp edge to them that tell me any argument would be pointless.

“Fine. Whatever.”

Blaire just grins at me. “Great, so if you want to go and—”

“Nope. I’m not changing.”

Her eyes drift over my frayed jean shorts, flip-flops, and blue tank top. It’s not much compared to her shorter shorts, halter top, and heels, but I really don’t care. I’m not trying to impress anyone.

Gran shrugs. “Choose your battles, my pet; at least she’s getting out of the house.”

Blaire sighs but gives in. Walking up to me, she stands close enough that her nose brushes mine. She shoves my ID into my pocket. “At least try to have a good time?”

I run a hand through my hair, brushing back a few honey-blond strands that drifted in front of my face. I don’t even know why I’m really resisting going out. I want to have a good time this summer.

“I’ll try.” Reaching over to the green ceramic dish on the counter, I snag my key ring. “I’m driving.”

“Good, ’cause I’m drinking.” Blaire slings her arm around my shoulder, giving me a squeeze when we get to the car.

The Edge isn’t far, and it’s known for having a young crowd. That’s not to say that the owner doesn’t police it at all, but it’s a pretty lax establishment. Or at least that’s what I hear. It’s hard not to hear things in a place that has as much gossip as grains of sand on the beach.

The place doesn’t look like all that much, just a typical square building with vinyl siding, but its location makes it a prime spot. Situated right on the beach, the bar is of the indoor-outdoor variety. There’s music going every night, and even from here soft notes drift across the summer breeze toward us.

What was only a light hum of music outside blasts us in the face as we walk through the door. That and the smell of beer and grease are the first things I notice. Off to my left are a few pool tables, and the sound of cues striking their mark crack through the air like fireworks. The seventies called; they’d like their wood paneling back. In fact, everywhere I look is wood—the ceiling, the floor, the walls. One misplaced match and this place would burn to a crisp.

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