Sixteen the Hard Way -22.1- Shimmy

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Joni has a lot to learn, but she's very...talented.

Sixteen the Hard Way
22.1 Shimmy
by Erin Halfelven

Rod Pick stared. Linda had pointed me out and called me her sister Joni, but it didn’t seem to have registered. He kept staring at my chest.

I’d been worried he would recognize me, but it now appeared he was honestly just interested in two things. Annalisa poked him to move with the flow of the line they were in.

I didn’t know whether to be annoyed or amused. He actually startled when she poked him, as if he had completely forgotten she was there. Was this going to be an easy masquerade after all?

My line moved fastest, and I reached the window first, so Donna and Linda joined me. We ordered tons of “pogey-bait” as Dad called it, for some reason. Candy, popcorn, and sodas were loaded into two cardboard cartons, and Linda was rewarded with a sno-cone of her own to carry.

I glanced toward where Rod and his date had just reached the hot food window and were placing their orders for pizza and dogs. They must be with someone else to order so much.

Donna nudged me carefully to indicate we should leave, so I turned, and we followed Linda back toward the Mom-wagon. Donna had a grin half a yard wide and giggled when I looked at her.

“Toldjaso,” she crowed.

I had to smile at her triumph, and I guess I even giggled.

“‘Dja see Annalise’s face when she realized where he was looking?”

“I didn’t notice,” I said as convincingly as I could, then we both giggled.

Why did I not feel offended by where he had been staring? I couldn’t make sense of that, but truthfully, I had enjoyed it. I looked sideways at Donna.

She was still grinning. “Rod is a moron,” she announced. More giggles.

A loud, “Whoa!” from the bed of a pick-up parked backward in the space by the speakers attracted our attention. We looked in that direction and saw five teenage boys sprawled on the tailgate and fenders. They were grinning at us.

One of them remarked, “Big sister, little sister,” and they all laughed. They didn’t mean Linda, who had skipped on ahead of us and was almost back to the Mom-mobile.

Donna frowned and bumped me with a hip, and our audience laughed again. “Kyerful, don’t spill nothin’ on yer shirt,” one of them drawled in a cartoony voice.

Another asked, “You girls are sisters, aincha?”

I turned a bit to face them, Spocking an eyebrow. “She is, I’m not,“ I said cryptically, provoking a snort from Donna. They didn’t understand that, but they snickered anyway.

The September night sky above us showed bright little stars in a deep gray velvet, but a few clouds glowed much brighter with reflected light from the city. It still wasn’t dark enough that we couldn’t see faces. I didn’t recognize any of them, but I knew they could see us as well as we could them.

I didn’t intend to do or say anything else, and Donna murmured to me, “Let’s go.” For some reason, I didn’t step up my pace, but slowed a bit and winked at the boys in the truck.

They reacted like the truck had suddenly been electrified, actually causing the springs of the old beast to squeak and groan.

I did a bump with each shoulder in their direction, careful not to spill anything in the tray I carried. I knew exactly what that looked like since I had tried it in the bathroom mirror at home.

Donna had gotten a step or two ahead of me and didn’t see what I had done, but she did hear the howls and barking the boys began. She looked back at me with a bit of alarm, and I did hurry to catch up.

Dad came along to meet us after Linda showed up at the car alone. By that time, both Donna and I were fizzing and hiccoughing from laughing.

We didn’t realize two of the boys had followed us until Dad spoke to them over our heads. “You fellas ever have a good reason to be somewhere else, now’s a good time to use it,” he sort of drawled in that Arizona ranch voice he uses sometimes. “Don’t turn around,” he said to us when we started to do just that.

He took the tray from me, smiling. “What did you do?” he asked.

“Me?” I squeaked.

“She sort of flirted with them,” Donna suggested.

“I did not!”

“And you flirted with Rod Pick at the concessions.”

“That’s a fib,” I told Dad. “I hardly even looked at him!”

“Yeah, and his date noticed that, too. Joni’s a flirt and pretty good at it.”

I couldn’t deal. Donna was smirking, and Dad looked like he believed every word. I didn’t know if I was going to laugh or cry when I opened my mouth. But what I said was an exasperated, “Daddy!”

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This story is 868 words long.