I couldn't do anything other than follow her inside. Kerry wasn't one of my friends, but we knew each other, and he was acting kind of squirrelly. He grinned at us with the biggest, whitest teeth I'd ever seen in my life. The first, but not the most important, was the concept that I would own the ranch one day.
We found ourselves in what looked like a family room, except there were racks of clothes all over the place. For that reason alone, when he went back through that door, I started to follow him. The second was that, through it all, Addison never doubted that I could do my part.
There was one parked there, and I recognized it as Jerry Thompson's. There were garage doors in the back too, on the lower level of the walkout basement. She was correct in her belief that she could not only get me into the university, but that, if I declared a major in Biology and then went on into the vet school, I could get scholarships to help me with that plan. I had to take all kinds of tests, to see if I was well suited for that course of study.
I explained macromolecules, and proteins and carbohydrates and nucleic acids, and how DNA was double stranded, while RNA was usually only single-stranded, and her eyes kind of glazed over. And then he said it again the first time I went on a date and was all nervous. One of my father's old buddies, a guy on the same team that rescued my mother, came to visit us a couple years back. "I have much experience in this business, and I can spot a hellcat when I see one. In fact, ten minutes after she heard about it, she was making plans with Aunt Maureen about how to make it all happen.
Dad walked through the dining room about then and she stopped listening to me and spoke to him. It was usually my mom who interrogated us and wanted to talk about everything. He was still in the Army and he looked like he could kill you just by looking at you. Since this Zharkov guy ran a business, and might have set hours because the business demanded it, he agreed to let us do homework before or after she worked, or both, if necessary. I think you might fail in the attempt." He grinned. I'm making it sound like it was all sweetness and light. Addison wanted to stay at the ranch, and finish school there.
Her favorite phrase was "Let's examine the options." Maybe Dad adopted her attitude because she was off on an archaeological expedition in Peru and would be gone another six months. He and Dad sat in the living room and slaughtered a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label, which my father had had sitting on a shelf ever since I could remember. "On days when she works, homework gets done as soon as you get home from school. Two hours on those nights, and no more." He reached for the paper in my hand and looked at it again. Zharkov has to agree to all that." Now she didn't want to storm off. She also got dispensation for supper, which was usually a sit down meal where everybody who was in the house had to be there. I know both Addie and I looked at him stupidly, because what he said made no sense. Perhaps there are things Cindy has failed to notify me of. Aunt Maureen wanted no part of that, insisting that her sister needed to help raise the baby, not her.
She was a good whiner, though I had learned how to be impervious to it. Even I could imagine the snickers if it got out that she was under my supervision. It flowers, there in the first blanket to touch its skin. " which is unnecessary, because you've known that from the ultrasounds for months, but it shocks you into a big, goofy grin anyway. Whenever I remember those sixty seconds in time, when my son came into the world, it just takes me back.
Anyway, there was a regular driveway that led to a two car garage at the front of the house, but the driveway also went off to the side, around and behind the house. "I'm Addison Stapleton, and this is my brother, Bobby," she said. He glanced at it, and then turned his eyes back to us. His eyes fell to her chest and stayed there a long time. I don't think either of them had ever envisioned me as a veterinarian, which was what Aunt Maureen's intentions were.
Addie had been told to go that way, and when we got to the back yard, there was a parking apron big enough for three cars. As an alum from the school of veterinary medicine at the university, she had pull and access to programs in that field.
There was a sign on the door that said, "Come in if you've been invited. Suddenly he looked like an overgrown, very hairy Peter Pan, getting ready to crow. I had to maintain a 3.0 grade point average in all courses that were required for the degree, and a 3.5 grade point average in all other courses.
Stay out if you haven't." I looked at Addie, who looked at the release Dad had signed. He's just acting funny." "They're obviously modeling in there," said Addie. And then there was vet school, which was another four years of unbelievable hard work.
Except he sounded funny somehow, and there was this look on Chuck's face that said, "And I know you could do it," and my mother suddenly got up and said it was bedtime, even though there was half an hour left before bedtime. "See if you can make me want fries." She would have stormed off, except we weren't finished with homework. And I thought all this was stupid, because she didn't even have the job yet, and had no idea what hours this guy might require her to be there. It was in Pine Bough Estates, which was where the rich folks lived. We had to actually help him rebuild the engine, so we'd know now much work went into it, and how it worked and how to fix it if it broke and all that. But she was my sister, and I started getting hot under the collar again because this guy wasn't sneaking peeks at her boobs, like everybody else did. Eventually she just gave up and moved to the "I'm sorry! " gambit, trying to make me stop before I left my handprint on her butt. While they hadn't been in favor of the making of this baby, once he was out into the big, wide, world, he instantly had two loving, doting grandparents.
And pretty soon we heard the front door open and close and we never saw Chuck again. So once in a while, when our father said something in that special tone of voice he had used with Chuck that night, we didn't ask questions. So it was possible there might not even be a job for her, the first time we went to the house. The houses were set on two or three acre plots, and there were lots of swimming pools, and nice cars and all that. It was part of his explore life philosophy, I guess. " Addie let go of my arm and shoved the paper towards him. " I expected him to snatch the paper out of her hand, crushing it in his paw, but he plucked it, instead, almost daintily from her fingers. And my mother made it crystal clear that her grandson and his mother were going back to Hastings, where her daughter was going to finish high school. The rest of the "plan", however, fascinated them as much as it fascinated Addie and me.
Well, maybe people like Donald Trump and Madonna think they're special. I like working out, and I like having muscles I'm proud of. But it's not like I'm a hunk or anything, and girls fight over me, or will pay for dates just to be seen with me. A couple of the popular guys at school are in exactly that situation. And that's important - about girls sometimes being stupid - because my sister, Addison, did something stupid that I got sucked into, and my perfectly normal world suddenly got all fucked up. No TV, no video games, no nothing, until homework is finished. Usually Dad is the one who free wheels and goes along with everything. He was Special Forces and she was doing post graduate work, documenting antiquities that the Taliban were destroying. Perhaps this is why she suggested your name." Suddenly he was all business again. After we ate, we went back to the car, an old Lincoln Continental that Aunt Maureen's father had purchased new. happened and we ended up here, and all our plans got kind of shelved." "So you're going to go back to Hastings and work at Mc Donald's or something? "Mom and Dad say I should go to the Tech when I get back, and start college that way." "You do good work, Bobby. "Addie has to finish school." "That doesn't mean you have to be there too," said Aunt Maureen. I have often wondered if that was the only true thing Vlad ever told us ...