Keep The B-ball

Keep The B-ball
By Sarah
Short Story

        This is a really small town, I thought.  Really small, like two blocks long and we’re in another shore town.  By the shore, I mean the Jersey shore.  I don’t know why the guys decided to take the long, scenic route to Northern Jersey for our next performance, but they did.  They always make screwy decisions, at least that’s what I thought.  Like driving in a rental car by ourselves, driving the whole way instead of flying (although I totally despise flying, its still the fastest way to get anywhere), and deciding that we’d take my younger brother with us, just for fun.  Don't get me wrong, Aaron is a great brother and all, but sometimes the kid gets on my nerves.  Especially in a place where you really can’t get up and move around…like this mini-van…
        "Hey, Nick!"
        I jumped, turning away from the view of the passing small stores and houses.  "God, Aaron, don’t do that!  What do you want?"
        "I gotta go to the bathroom," Aaron whined quietly.
        I groaned.  "Aaron, that’s the third time in the last two hours!  What did you have to drink this morning?!"
        Aaron looked at me sheepishly.  "The big thing of water and Brian’s orange juice."
        I sighed and looked around outside as Kevin drove slowly through the summer traffic.  "Hey, Kev, pull into that ice cream store over there," I said, leaning forward.  I pointed to our right at the small white and purple building.
        Kevin nodded.  "Ok, hungry already?"  He asked, grinning.
        I shook my head.  "Not really, AC is acting like a Mexican jumping bean back here.  He has to use the potty."
        "I don’t use the potty!"  Aaron said indignantly.
        I chuckled as Kevin pulled into a parking space and killed the engine.  "Sure you don’t," I said, getting out.
        "Hey, Frack, your hat," Brian, my best friend, said.
        I grabbed the dark green fisherman’s hat from his hand and pulled it on my head.  Kevin and I led everyone inside and someone came out from the back.
        "Good afternoon!"  She said cheerfully.  She was carrying a large container of ice cream.  "Just let me put this away, I’ll be with you in a moment."
        I nodded, nearly hypnotized.  She was gorgeous, with long brown hair in an intricate looking hairstyle and sparkling green eyes.  I took a look at her over the counter as she bent down, she had long, bronzed legs, and the sight wasn’t that bad…
        "Nick…" Aaron pleaded, tugging on my basketball jersey.
        I snapped out of my trance as the girl straightened up and closed the ice cream case.  She reached for a rag and wiped off her hands.  "Ok, what can I get you fellas?"  She asked, smiling.  Wow, her smile was amazing.
        "Do you mind if he uses your bathroom?  Otherwise, we’ll have a jack-in-the-box for the rest of our trip," Kevin said, gesturing down to a squirming Aaron.
        The girl bit her lip and glanced outside.  "Yeah, just don’t let my boss know, she’ll have yet another cow on me."   She flashed another killer smile and looked down at my brother.  "Come right over here, buddy, what’s your name?"  She asked, helping him behind the counter.
        Aaron glanced at Brian and me and we both nodded.  "Aaron."
        The girl smiled and led Aaron into the back.  She came back a moment later.  "Ok, can I get y’all anything?"  She asked.
        AJ, who’d been pretty quiet for some reason, nodded.  "Yeah, can I have a chocolate shake?"  He asked.
        The girl nodded.  "Sure, hard or soft?"
        AJ did a double take.  "What?!?"
        The girl laughed.  "Hard or soft ice cream?"  She asked, reaching for a cup.
        "Oh, soft," AJ replied, turning red.
        Brian, Howie, and I snickered and Kevin just hung his head in his hands.  We were all thinking the same thing: AJ only has one thing on his mind…
        "All right, anything else?"  She asked, squirting something into the cup.
        "Yeah, a medium cup of cookie dough," Brian said, trying to hold back his laughter.
        "Ditto," Kevin said.
        "Medium twist, in a cup," Howie said, trying to stop laughing.
        The girl nodded and picked out three of the medium sized cups, sitting them on the back counter.  She held one up to the soft machine and pulled down a lever.  "Anything for you, big bro?"  She asked.
        I looked at her, confused.  "How did…"
        "You two look so much alike its not even funny.  If you weren’t so much taller than him, you two could pass for twins," she said.  She tipped off the soft twist and set it on the counter, sticking a spoon on the side.  She started on AJ’s shake.
        "Oh," was all I could say.  I mean, I knew Aaron and I looked alike, I was just surprised at this girl’s forwardness.
        She started mixing the shake as the phone rang.  "Good afternoon, Beach Plum," she said sweetly, picking it up.  "No, this is Stacy."
        I smiled as she held the phone to her shoulder and walked back to the mixing shake.  I liked her name.  Stacy, it had a nice ring to it.
        "Yes…ok…aight, Linda, feel better, I’ll see you tomorrow.  No, it’s not busy.  Ean called in sick, I was just going to see if I could handle it myself, Aly’s coming in at four and Jess is coming a little after that, so I’ll have some help soon.  Why am I making a shake?  Because someone asked me to, why else?"  Stacy paused, listening, then laughed.  "No, my shake with sprinkles is for later.  Ok, go get better, I’ll see you tomorrow.  Bye," she hung up the phone, sitting it on the table, and pulled the shake cup down, without spilling a drop.  She put a cap on it and placed it on the counter next to the register with a straw.  She grabbed an ice cream scooper and started scooping Brian’s ice cream.  "Well, you gonna have anything?"  She asked, finishing with Brian’s ice cream and starting on Kevin’s.
        "Wha…oh, yeah.  Um, medium mint chocolate chip, please," I finally spit out.
        "Cup or a cone?"  Stacy asked, setting the two cups on the counter, which were quickly taken by the cousins.
        Stacy nodded and grabbed another cup, exchanging the scooper for another.  I watched from an angle as she bent over.  Damn, I thought, she was a lot nicer looking than a lot of the other girls I’ve seen here.  A lot nicer…
        "Here you go," Stacy said, placing the cup in front of me with a spoon sticking out on the side.  "Anything else?"  She asked as she walked to hang up the phone.
        "Yeah!  A large chocolate cone!"  I heard Aaron exclaim from the back.
        Stacy turned and smiled at him.  "A large one?  Why don’t you ask your brother about that," she said, leading him out from behind the counter.
        "Nick, can I?"  Aaron begged me, tugging on my jersey again.
        "Medium at the most, Airboy," I said sternly, tasting my ice cream.  It was really good…
        "Ok, a medium hard chocolate cone.  Can I have sprinkles too?"  Aaron asked as Stacy reached for a cone.
        She nodded.  "Sure, chocolate or rainbow?"
        "Chocolate," Aaron said instantly, grinning.
        Stacy chuckled as she bent over in the ice cream case.  "Looking for a sugar rush?"  She asked jokingly.
        "I’ll say, and we have another few hours left!"  Howie said.
        Stacy smiled as she walked to the sprinkle vat, not saying anything.  My ice cream was almost gone, and I needed an excuse to stay.  I watched as she handed Aaron his cone, smiling.  She rang up the total and Kevin paid, handing Aaron a few napkins while he there.  I made Aaron sit in the chair next to mine, he’d be my excuse.  We could be here for a while, it was one big cone…
        I tossed my cup in the garbage can and watched Stacy move around behind the counter.  She cleaned up and then started making herself something.  She took a medium cup and a scooper, opening the middle case.  She spooned something into the cup and closed the case, moving to another one.  She added another ice cream flavor and picked up a spoon.  She came around the counter and sat at the table at the end, where a notebook was sitting.
        "Yo, Nicky boy, get your head out of the clouds and back on earth."  AJ said, hitting my head lightly.
        I hit him back.  "Don’t call me that," I whispered.
        AJ held up his hands, almost in surrender.  I turned around and leaned on the table, but turned my chair so I could see Stacy.  I couldn’t control myself, she was an absolute sight.  Her green eyes sparkled in the sunset as she wrote in her notebook with large, neat handwriting.  She finished her ice cream quickly, mint chocolate chip and something else with chocolate in it.  She got up and went in the back, then came out and started making herself a shake.  When it was finished, she added sprinkles and put a lid on it, then brought it in the back.
        "Yo, Nick, we’re leaving," Brian said quietly, tapping me on the shoulder.
        I looked at him, protesting.  "But…."  I gestured to Aaron, who was nearly done with his cone.  "Why don’t we wait until he’s done?  Just so it doesn’t get all over the van," I suggested quickly.  I didn’t want to leave until after Stacy left, after I got at least a number.
        Kevin looked at Aaron, who looked up, confused.  "What?"  Aaron asked, his face covered with ice cream.
        I laughed.  "Its amazing, after all the years of practice you’ve had, you still look like when you ate ice cream for the first time," I said, handing him a few more napkins.
        "Shut up," Aaron said, taking them.  He furiously wiped off his face as someone came into the store.  We all looked down, covering our faces with our hats.
        "Hey, Aly, ‘bout time you got here!"  Stacy said from behind the counter.
        "Sorry, I got a little held up."  The girl came around the counter, pulling her short strawberry-blond hair up.
        "Well, at least you came.  I just got beeped, I have to leave, like, now."
        "Where’re you going?"  Aly asked, walking into the back.
        "Good question, when I called back, no one answered.  So, I’m taking it as a sign and splitting, going down the block to the school and shooting a few before I have to meet ‘Rissa."
        "Ok, well, have fun, and don’t strain yourself walking all that way!"
        Stacy laughed as she picked up her notebook and clipped her green beeper on her pocket of her shorts.  "Yeah, I’ll have so much trouble walking those long seven houses to the hoops.  Laters, Aly," she called, walking out the side door.
I stood up suddenly and walked quickly out the door, ignoring the calls from the guys.  I hurried outside and saw Stacy turning around the corner of the store.  I waited, then moved forward, peeking around the corner.  I followed her at a respectable distance down the black and she placed her notebook on a porch.  She grabbed the basketball sitting there and walked back down the steps.  She walked down the last of the block and crossed to the elementary school.  She walked in the gate and dribbled to the basket.  I watched her from the sidewalk, hiding behind a tree.  She wasn’t that bad and, before I thought about it, I walked in and over behind her.  She threw the ball against the backboard and I caught the rebound.
        "Nice shot, you just put a little too much force on it," I said, attempting the same shot.  It went it, not even hitting the rim.
        Stacy caught the ball and walked towards me.  The sun was nearly down, I wasn’t sure if she could see me.  "Check," she said.
        We played one on one, somehow mentally agreeing on twenty-one points.  She was better than I thought she was and she kicked my ass, fifteen to twenty-one.
        "Damn!  Nick got beat by a girl!"
        I whirled around to the gate and saw the guys standing there with Aaron.  I’m never gonna be able to live this down, I thought.
        "Eww, Nick, you let her beat you?  I just lost all respect for you," Aaron said.
        I started to blush.  "Stop it, she’s good."
        "You aren’t half-bad yourself," Stacy said, picking up the ball.  She walked over and stuck out her hand.  "Name’s Stacy," she said, still breathing a little heavy.
        "Nick," I replied, taking her hand.  I felt a shock go through the touch, like electricity.
        "I know who you are," she said, letting go of my hand.  She turned to the other guys and smiled.  "Itching to shoot, aren’t you?"  She asked Brian.
        Brian nodded and stopped wringing his hands.  She threw him the ball and he dribbled to the foul line and shot, making it in.
        Stacy smiled and leaned against the tree in the yard.  She untucked her work shirt and pulled it off, leaving on a tank top.   She glanced down at her beeper and turned to leave.  I caught her arm as she walked out of the gate.
        "Wait, can I call you sometime?"  I asked, hurried.  I didn’t want to loose her so quickly.
        Stacy smiled that killer smile and took out a pen.  She wrote her number on my hand, then wrote something else.  She capped her pen and put it back in her pocket.  She turned and walked away.
        I looked down at my hand and smiled.
        "Have fun tomorrow night, keep the b-ball, Stacy," I read aloud.  I chuckled, they always know.

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