Chapter 4.3L

Coach Dan wants us to see some good stage fencing Annie said.

What’s the point of that Double-J asked.

Don’t be so cynical. We’re going for free after all.

Double-J snorted, displeasure hurling through his nose like vomit. Would a boxer accept free tickets to a professional wrestling match?

Annie shrugged as they approached his coupe. Boxers could like pro wresting.

Only the stupid ones Double-J said, his keys clinking metallically in the cold as he retrieved them from his jacket.

Annie began to brush the inch of snow that had accumulated from the car’s windshield. What the hell are you doing asked Double-J, opening the driver’s side door. Just trying to help she replied. Double-J turned the ignition key, the coupe rattling awake, the windshield wipers then sweeping across the windshield, leaving arcs of snow in its wake that were only partly cleared during the return sweep. He called to Annie, his voice hurtling out from his mouth then veering to his left, through the open door, then taking a sharp turn forward, then across the front hood of the coupe to where Annie stood on the passenger side — All set.

I’ll get the back.

Jesus, will you get in the fucking car already?

Annie stared at him a moment, her view of him obscured through the streaks of snow on the windshield. She saw her reflection, noticed her mouth was open, her eyes surprised. She shook her head, composed herself, did a quick check of her reflection to verify she was bearing the proper coutenance, then turned her glance in the direction of Double-J’s eyes, and spoke.

If giving me a ride is such a pain in the ass, then I’ll ask Kassandra’s mother to take me home. But if you’re done with whatever the hell it is you’re trying to prove, I’d like to get going.

She saw him raise his eyebrows, pause, then nod quickly several times. Come here he called.

Annie walked around the front of the car, stomping snow from her shoes as she made her way to the open door. She saw Double-J grinning up at her.

Here you go he said, pulling a snow brush from the passenger seat and handing it to her.

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