Underneath a blanket of stars, through the trees, we run.
Out of breath, laughing. My stomach hurts, but I cannot stop myself from an up fit of laughter that comes from the depth of my diaphragm.
All the fear, anxiety, and stress that have built throughout the years, leave me in one shuttering breath.
"Freddie, Freddie, Fre-ddie" - I gasp, yearning and aching for my breath to return.
There it goes again, before I can stop myself, another fit of laughter. The impact of this unexpected burst knocks me off my feet, and sends me tumbling down a small bank, straight atop a pile of leaves and wet earth.
"Betty, ya'okay?" - Freddie looks as me, one eyebrow raised.
I see Freddie, the smile of his laughter widens as he sees me. We exchange a glance for just a moment before we both start giggling again from the position I'm in. Out of breath, and checks flamed red, he leans himself against an old pine tree.
I feel the wetness of the soil seep through my clothes as I'm lying, but I'm beyond care. Through the tree tops moonlight breaks, and a particular ray lands on my brother's eyes, he winces at it.
If not any other feature on his face his eyes are beautiful. The same mesmerizing shade of emerald eyes he shares, with his mother.
"Nothing, do you think she's still following us?" - I say with careful caution.
A curious look falls on his face and he leans in, grabbing a cluster of leaves, throwing the colorful array in my direction, I shield myself, of what little I could shield, with my slender arms.
" Probably. Do you have it, lil sis" - Freddie's exchanges an expression, laid back with his hand outreached.
He has recently developed this habit of calling me little sister, he winks and extends his hands.
"Ya, you idiot, how many times do I have to tell you not to hid your pot in the drawer. Jesus, she does
your laundry, do you want to be caught?"
"Ya, ya whatever hand it over" Freddie still outreaches his hand.
I pass him the ziplock bag and watch. His fingers are so practiced, so sure. His face becomes serious as he works. He carefully takes a piece of parchment as thin as onion paper, and carefully lines an amount of pot. He rolls one end to another, and with his thumbs he lifts the ends of the parchment. He extends his tongue just a bit, and carefully licks one end of the paper to another he turns the whole blunt to secure it. He puts the weed into his pursed lips, as he searches his pockets for a matchbox. Once he finds it, he flicks the matchstick, lights his blunt, and throws the stick into the damp soil.
"You were lucky I was there"I look at him, in true admiration, even though I have seen this a thousand times.
"Was I?" Freddie smiles at me coyly.
Smirking I pick up a pinecone and aim it to the top of the tree. A rustle of leaves and a downpour of raindrops fall and stream down his soft forehead. He barely registers it, and continues smoking.
He uses his free hand to push back his hair off of his face. He grins at me.
"Sometimes I think I should just tell your mother all the shit that you do with Bradley, and if what I
hear is true last week at Janet's house in her stairwell - I tease
"You wouldn't have the balls, for all we know she'd end up blaming you" -Freddie teases back
I bite my lower lip, I know it's true but it doesn't hurt any less.
Freddie realizes the impact of his words, and looks at me with pity.
"Betty, thanks for snatching my pot from her while she was yelling at me, thanks for running with me, thanks for"
"That's enough" I quip curtly, the lightness moments before is gone, and is replaced with coldness and silence. I start to realize the disgust of the soil that has ruined my sweater.
I look at Freddie smoking his blunt, the red end glows brightly. I then look at the moonlight breaking through the trees. I start grinning, then giggling, and then finally without hesitation, and without control, I laugh, and I laugh, and I laugh.
"What's the matter with ya?" -Freddie is startled and his tone changes.
With his remark, I laugh even harder
"Betty, tell me, what the hell" - Freddie begins to look at me with concern.
"You stole that matchbox from besides the statue of the Virgin Mary right?" -B
"Ya, but why the fuck are ya laughing" -F
"Because, because she lights a candle for you, using those matches to preserve your innocence" -I laugh and cannot stop myself, until I realize how Freddie's face has darkened.
Silence takes hold, and as he stubs his blunt into the damp tree he gazes at me and lightly whispers.
"She should really stop lighting those candles"