Chapter 4.3V

Double-J turned back to the road, resumed walking away from his derelict car. Annie followed. They walked quickly, their motivation rising as the temperture fell, their footfalls srunching loudly in the crisp air. Moments later, Double-J spoke.

Didn’t see Biscuit at practice tonight.

Bernie said he had to get home. And can you stop calling him that?

It’s just a nickname. Kinda cute, if you ask me.

Well he hates it.

That’s his problem.

They walked in silence for several steps, scrunch-scrunch-scrunch-scrunch. Then Annie spoke.

What are you trying to prove?

Nothing. Well other than Biscuit’s a little thin-skinned, but —

Who I date is none of your business.

Double-J stopped, threw his head back, laughed loudly. You — huh huh huh (shaking his head) — you. Every time I think you can’t get more full of yourself, you surprise me.

Annie had turned to him, spoke sharply. You were the one who dumped me.

Double-J laughed again, put his hands on his knees. Again — why should you surprising me surprise me? Bunny —

Annie snarled at him.

— I never dumped you, there was nothing to dump, we never had a relationship.

So that night at the river —

We had our fun.

You USED ME!, her words shooting at him, spit flying from her mouth like venom.

Double-J stared at her, both of them silent. Around them was cold stillness, the sound of their breath as audible as the steam that rose from their faces.

Let’s go, Double-J said, resuming his walk down the fire road, passing Annie then suddenly stopping as he was hit hard on the side of his face. He staggered, nearly fell, needed a moment to collect himself, figure out what had happened.

Annie had slugged him, a hard right cross to his chin, a punch delivered with precision and power learned through years of martial arts training. He turned to her, began to speak angrily, What the —

She rushed up to him, snarled in his face, said tersely Do NOT call him Biscuit, and DO NOT call me Bunny!

She followed with a scream, EVER!, that echoed in the cold night air.

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