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Conflict of Interest Ch. 5

Chapter 5

By Lily CaudillPublished 6 days ago 6 min read
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The fire was roaring in front of them and Alice felt warmer and happier than she had felt in a long time.

By Sergei Solo on Unsplash

What’s a regret you have?” Lucas asked as he reached his wrist into a pickle jar.

“Dang! Hitting me with the hard questions….” She thought for a moment. One time a few years ago I almost got into a fistfight with a high school girl and just so you know I wasn’t exactly the fighter type before the quake” Alice chuckled to herself.

Alice 5 years prior

Alice looked over at her little brother in the car. He was laughing. She was laughing too with him, but she had no idea why he thought he was so funny because every time he opened his mouth he began wheezing. When he was happy his laughter was contagious to everyone around. It was late October and it was the first time she could remember him laughing since his breakup in early August. She couldn’t believe a breakup could have hit him as hard as it did but he was dating an 18-year-old at 14. He thought it made him more mature and Alice worried it just made him have an anxiety level of an adult relationship when he was barely in high school. Being an older sister was taxing. She wanted to beat the crap out of this girl that had broken his heart, but it wasn’t logical to beat up a ditsy 18-year-old cheerleader in the honor society. If roles were reversed and she was a guy with a little sister no one would blink an eye at giving a stern talk or glace to a senior jock in high school dating a freshman girl. Alice didn’t know if she hated the gender roles of this society or just hated being a girl. She loved her femininity, but the rules for women even in 2017 were just not for her. It was then in the midst of the laughter his phone made a sound of a lightsaber drawing its blade. *vroom*. It was quiet, but it quieted his laughter quickly. It was the sound he had for his Ex. He pulled his phone from his pocket.

“Just don’t look at it,” Alice said quickly.

He shook his head. “What if she needs me? What if she is having an attack again?”

“Then she can text someone else” Alice snapped back a bit too harshly.

“You don’t understand what it’s like for her,” He said loudly.

“What I don’t understand what it’s like to have anxiety. What it’s like to have depression? At least her pancreas works and she doesn’t have to go to bed every night wondering if her sugar is going to bottom out in her sleep! This girl broke up with you Nate. You need to ignore that message.”

He looks down. “She said she's thinking about cutting herself again”

“You know what... I don’t give a flying F” She stated

They had arrived at the pool. She was dropping him off for swim practice. “Nobody understands! I get Mom and Dad but, I thought you would have a little bit of compassion” He got out of the car and slammed the door.

Alice sat there for a moment. He could make her angrier faster than anyone. She looked at the time 4 pm. She had to pick him back up in an hour and a half. She thought and fumed about what to do.

She took her car out of the park and sped down the road across town. Going faster than she ever had. Her iced coffee spilled out of the top of the cup a little bit every time she went through a curve. She put her gun in her side just in case things went bad. She got out of the car and took a deep breath to calm herself. She rang the doorbell as calmly as possible. Hopefully, the bitches parents would still be at work but even if they were there she could handle herself. Her heart was beating fast. She wanted to punch her, but that’s not how girls fight. They fight meaner. Brea opened the door.

“Oh, Hey Alice! Is Natey with you?” She looked confused

Alice looked inside to see Brea’s father watching television. “Step outside with me” Alice whispered.

“Well, I don’t feel comfortable” Then Alice cut her off. “Look you little twit, I don’t care what you think you’re going to come outside or I am going to spill the beans to your father.”

Alice quickly stepped outside. The entire tone of Brea’s voice had changed to a deeper town. “What do you want?”

“I want you to leave Nate alone and stop contacting him,” Alice said.

“Too bad,” Brea said in a smart tone.

Alice took a chance. A chance she didn’t know if it would work, because she hadn’t seen any pictures they texted but she took a chance.

“If you don’t leave my little brother alone I’m going to the police with the topless pictures you sent him. You distributed nude pictures to a minor. That could be jailtime sweet heart and forget about going to nursing school.”

Her face grew white. “You wouldn’t… How did you see those.”

“You’re going to text him you found someone else and leave him alone forever,” Alice said sternly.

Brea nodded and walked back into the house.

Alice wanted to jump up and down, but she calmly walked back to her car and went to pick him up from swim practice.

Her brother got back in the car. “Hey Nate, I’m sorry I got mad I just worry about you sometimes.”

“It’s okay. Brea actually texted me while I was in practice.

“What did she say?” Alice asked while trying not to smile

“She said she was sorry for dragging me along for so long and she was dating someone else and was going to block me so her new boyfriend didn’t see…He paused… “Man, what a bitch he finally said.

Alice looked ahead on the road and knew her brother was finally over her this time.

________

Lucas just laughed. “So, that’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?”

“Well, no I can't tell you allll my secrets... but maybe I should have given my brother the chance to figure it out on his own. Come on….it’s a little badass. Plus I was trying to protect him” She pushed Lucas’s shoulder.

She felt resistance in his arms. He was stronger than she had given him credit for. It was the first time she had actually made physical contact with Lucas. She suddenly felt aware of all the layers they had taken off their bodies. She brushed her hair behind her ears and looked over at Lucas to see if he had picked up on her sudden nervousness. This felt more like a candle-lit dinner than 2 strangers eating pickled beef in a house with no electricity.

“Are you okay?” He asked

“Yeah, I was just thinking how thankful I am to be warm tonight” She continued to stroke Carrot's head while they all set in front of the flames.

By Matthew Henry on Unsplash

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About the Creator

Lily Caudill

I take inspiration from my family roots in The Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. I enjoy writing poems and tales with darker undertones. I dabble in fantasy fiction as well as medieval fiction.

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