“Ah, would you listen to that?” I ask Sonnet, who is curled up on the plastic-covered loveseat with her nose buried in her Kindle. “The glorious sound of work being done. And we’re not the ones doing it!”
“Yeah, seriously, great sound,” she mumbles, but I can tell she’s not really listening to me.
We’re taking a short break from cleaning out Aunt Penny’s office while the contractor’s crew is fixing the roof. I swear I’ve been out there ten times to make sure it’s “properly flashed” so we can avoid leaks this time. I don’t know much about flashing, but the foreman assures me the flashing on this job is perfection.
I can’t believe all the crazy stuff we’ve found in Aunt Penny’s office so far. First off, there are enough art supplies in there to make Bob Ross turn Phthalo Green with envy. Secondly, we found canvas upon canvas of her paintings, all stacked up in a huge pile in the closet. You can see the various moods she cycled through while living here: there are cheery ocean landscapes with brightly colored kites dotting azure skies, and there are dark, foreboding scenes with angry-looking waves crashing on bleak gray shores.
“I’m going to hang some of Aunt Penny’s paintings at my new business,” I tell Sonnet, who is still not paying me one bit of attention. “After all, she’s posthumously funding my new venture. Once I finally get a place to set up shop, I mean...”
“Great idea,” Sonnet mutters, her eyes never once leaving her screen. Whatever she’s reading must be 300% more riveting than me, which I find hard to believe. I’m usually the most riveting thing in the room, I chuckle to myself as I begin to tiptoe up behind her so I can try to read over her shoulder. I don’t know why I care about Sonnet’s reading habits, but I’m intrigued nonetheless.
When I’m about two feet from her, she whips her head toward me so fast, her glossy dark ponytail smacks her in the face. “What are you doing?” she questions, glaring at me with her sparkling hazel eyes.
“Uh, just wanted to see what you’re reading,” I answer, leaning over the back of the loveseat so I can see her screen.
She flips her Kindle over with lightning-fast speed. It’s a good thing her reaction time wasn’t that fast when we were kids, or I’d never have been able to pull any pranks on her.
“It’s none of your business!” she shouts as a pink blush starts to creep across her cheeks.
Oh, well, that only makes me more determined to find out what she’s hiding on that screen. I reach down to try to grab the Kindle out of her hand, but she snaps it away from me in the nick of time. Damn it! When did Sonnet develop serious ninja skillz?
She jumps up from the loveseat and backs away from me toward the kitchen. If she runs out of the house, I have no chance of catching her because she actually runs for fun, whereas I’m just a fat, beer-drinking former high school athlete trying to get a rise out of my business partner. Sure enough, she sprints down the hallway. And sure enough, I just can’t help myself and go sprinting after her.
Instead of heading out the back door, she bounds into the guest bedroom. I have no clue why she did that because now she’s trapped. Who’s the valedictorian now? Finding nowhere to hide, she desperately flings herself on the bed, tucking her Kindle protectively underneath her body like a goose sitting on a golden egg. I fly toward her like I’m tackling a 300 pound linebacker, but somehow manage to only partially knock the wind out of her lungs. She sputters, her arms and legs flailing wildly as she tries to keep the Kindle away from me while also trying to keep from damaging it. These competing motives are my key to victory!
I snatch the device from her like a raptor seizing its prey and hold it up high enough that she can’t reach it. She’s lunging for it, jumping high in the air, but being only 5’2”, there’s no way she can regain control. While it’s still hovering over her head, I press the button so the book she was reading comes into view. I begin to read aloud with increasing amusement: “He watched her fingers work her button and zipper, sliding her jeans down her thighs, followed quickly by her panties, which, as she suspected, were soaked with desire.”
Oh my god, Sonnet Jayne reads dirty books? This is an absolutely priceless discovery!
“Stop it!” she screams, standing below me with her hands firmly planted on her hips. Her face is amazing – a combination of shame and outrage, a lovely shade of crimson blooming on her cheeks.
“What the hell is this, Sonnet?” I question. When she doesn’t answer, I keep reading: “She paused, letting his eyes absorb their first glimpse of her nude, her curves bathed in the candlelight. She climbed onto the bed toward him and took his face into her hands, kissing him deeply. Her hands began to wander, touching and stroking his well-developed arms and back, feeling the tight mounds of muscles—"
“That’s enough!” she shouts, still breathless. Her face falls into her palms and her ponytail flips around her shoulder so it brushes against her heaving chest.
“I had no idea you were into smut!” I laugh at her.
“It’s not smut,” she fires back. “It’s thoughtful, provocative erotic romance with a strong, independent heroine!”
I close out of the book so I can see the title on the screen along with the rest of the books on her virtual shelf. “Mountains Wanted?” I ask, eyebrows raised. “I bet there’s some metaphorical mountains involved,” I wink at her. “Fisher of Men? The Playground?” I let out a deep, guttural laugh. “Yeah, those sound really…thoughtful all right!”
“Fuck you!” she fires back, her hands never leaving her hips. “It’s better than the stupid video games you play all the time!”
Wow, she’s really upset.
“There’s no shame in reading romance,” I finally say, forcibly wiping the smile off my face. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to make you mad.”
“Boundaries, Andrew,” she says, having recaptured her breath, “ever hear of them?”