chapter twelve

“I don’t see it yet.”

“Don’t worry about it, man. They’ll get here in time.”

Howie was getting tired of reassuring AJ that Keri and Cassie would be there. His friend had been posted at his window for the past forty-five minutes waiting to see the Mustang convertible that belonged to Keri.

Giving AJ one last glance, Howie turned and made his way through his living room and out to the yard, where Kevin was firing up the grill, engrossed in conversation with Jay. Brian and Nick had yet to arrive, and he was just as eager as AJ to see the girls arrive; he hadn’t been able to stop thinking of Keri since last night.

Meanwhile, AJ stood firmly in front of Howie’s window. He was too anxious to do anything else. Already he had messed up in trying to help Kevin out at the grill, and made a mess in the kitchen as well, causing Howie’s sister, Polly, to kick him out of there.

His heart narly stopped as he saw a dark blue Mustang convertible pull into Howie’s driveway.

“D!” he shouted, walking towards the front door. “They’re here!”

He stepped outside and watched, in dismay, as the occupants of the car got out. Keri, Gina and Brian greeted him with warm smiles. ‘Wait a second,’ he thought, ‘Brian?’

“Hi AJ.” Keri greeted him. AJ gave her a hug before asking. “Where’s your sister?”

“Oh, she should be on her way,” she replied. “I made her swear she’d meet us here, but the way her mind works makes me worry. It might entirely slip her mind until its too late.”

“I hear ya,” Gina laughed. “Remember the time we had that party at Jay’s and she showed up an hour AFTER the pary ended?”

“Classic Cassie,” Keri giggled. “She’s always got her mind on something other than what she’s supposed to.”

“I don’t know about you guys,” Brian chimed in. “But I think that triat makes her all the more fun!”

“I guess so,” Gina said. “But it isn’t ‘fun’ to see her like that at work, although she HAS been keeping it under control lately.”

Keri’s cell phone rang then, and she was quick to answer it.

“Hello?” sha asked. She let out a sigh as she spoke to the group around her. “Speak of the devil.” into the phone she said. “Whats up Cass?”

Howie had joined the group out in his driveway just in time to hear that Cassie was on the other end of the conversation. He gave Keri a warm smile and said hi to Gina before focusing his attention to the call.

“Cass, don’t go there.” Keri warned.

“Ker, I know you’re mad, but I can’t go!” Cassie’s voice crackled through the phone.

“You lied, Cass.” Keri scolded. “You said you’d meet us here as a way to get out of coming! I don’t get it, what the hell’s wrong with you today?!?”

AJ’s heart sank as he listened to Keri, not wanting to hear what he knew was coming.

“No, really! I was on my way out the door when Charlie called; she’s on her way over to hang out. What am I supposed to do?”

“So you say Charlie’s going to the house?” Keri asked. “Thats your reason? You didn’t just make that up?”

“No, I didn’t make it up!” Cassie yelled. Just then, Keri heard the doorbell ring. “See? Thats her. Hold on.” she heard muffled voices and then her step sister’s cheery voice.

“Hi Keri!”

“Hey Charlie,” Keri sighed. “How are you?”

“Whats going on?” Howie interjected. “Cass isn’t coming?”

“She can’t,” Keri explained, placing her hand over the phone. “My stepsister decided to visit, and Cass is stuck.”

“Nonesense,” Howie said. “Tell her to bring her along; the more the merrier!”

Keri smiled gratefully at Howie, who smiled back warmly. She didn’t quite understand why, but she felt her sister needed to be here today.

“Cass,” she said into the phone. “Howie said to bring Charlie with you.”

“Really? Cool! So what do I tell her?”

Keri grinned. “Don’t say a word about where you’re taking her. I want to see the look on her face when she sees whats going on!”

“I hear you loud and clear Sis,” Cassie grinned mischevously. “I’ll see ya in a few minutes then!”

“Bye.” Keri hung up. To the small crowd gathered in Howie’s driveway, she said “She’s on her way, and she’s bringing our sister, get ready for hell and a half, guys!”

“Hell and a half?” Howie questioned. AJ raised an eyebrow questioningly as well.

“It sounds like she’s talking about Nick and me,” Brian laughed. “But it can’t be that bad.”

“Au contraire, my friend.” Gina laughed. “its worse!”

“Charlie and Cassie are joined at the hip,” Keri explained. “Especially when there’s mischief involved!”

“That should bring some life to this lame party!” Kevin teased, elbowing Howie. “Thier combined presence will be most welcome!”

Everyone laughed as they made their way inside the house. AJ was grinning especially wide; Cassie was minutes away from showing up.

[chapter 11 | chapter index | chapter 13