We followed Ryan out the door, and he quietly led us across the parking lot and to the van. We all climbed in through the back while Ryan went around and sat in the passenger’s seat. Once Mr. Parrish made his way into the driver’s seat, and everyone was safely in the back, he started up the van and in an instant pulled out of the now abandoned parking lot.
Driving away, I sat in the back with Luke, Mark and little Danny. Before we had been on the road for 5 minutes, Luke and Mark opened their bags and pulled out the snacks they had taken from the store—for Mark, some pretzels and Lucas, cheetos. They began eating.
“Ryan?” Danny asked.
Ryan, eating a hostess ding dong, finished chewing and wiped his mouth with his sleeve. “What, Danny?” He asked, a bit annoyed.
“did you get anything for me Ryan?”
“Sure, D,” he said, rummaging in his pack, he threw him something, “enjoy.”
Danny caught a small Slim Jim in his hands, and looked up at Ryan who had turned away and continued eating. “But Ryan I’m Really hungry—” He said.
“I’ll get you some more next time we stop.” He said uncaring.
Danny sighed and just stared down at his slim jim, with a sad expression.
How could he do that? How could Ryan not feed his little brother? I felt so sorry for him. I looked at him and saw a small tear escape his eye.
I scooted to my left and put my hand on his shoulder, “Hey—” I said reassuringly.
He looked up at me and I motioned him to me.
I sat in the corner of the van, and he scooted himself closer to me, and when he was close enough I picked him up slightly and pulled him close to me. With my right arm around him, I reached over and grabbed my purse with my left hand.
Once close to me, I dug around inside and pulled out a big bag of beef jerky and some potato chips. I saw a huge smile on Danny’s face out of the corner of my eye. He took the chips from me, and opened it noisily, as I smiled at him.
The first time I had smiled in that time.
He grabbed a handful of chips and shoved it into his mouth as I opened the Jerky. Once opened I lay it on my lap; the delicious fumes rising up at me. I took a big piece out and bit into it. It tasted so good. It was the first time I had eaten in days.
“Thank you,” Danny said, sweetly. Despite having an older brother like Ryan, Danny was very well-rounded and well-mannered.
“Your welcome, sweet-heart,” I said.
He smiled and took a piece of beef jerky out of the bag, shoving it his mouth—he looked at me and chewed it with the silliest expression on his face—big bites, wide mouthed chews.
I laughed, and popped a piece in my mouth as well and began to chew the same way. He laughed to, and we had fun for half an hour.
Once our chips and jerky ran out due to vigorous eating, I reached into my bag, trying to find something else to eat, and moving some cheetos, I saw the Swedish Fish packaging. I grabbed it up and opened it. I took out a small red fish and looked at it.
“What’s that?” Rita had asked, sitting up in her booster seat.
“What’s that?” Danny asked turning to look at me.
“Silly Rita, It’s a fish—” I told her.
“It’s a fish, silly,” I said to him.
“That’s Icky,” She said pinching her nose.
“That’s gross,” Danny said wrinkling his nose.
“Not a real one Rita, it’s a candy fish,”
I laughed, “It’s candy,” I said turning to him.
“Does it taste good?” She asked.
“Is it good?” He questioned.
“Good?” I said, “It’s the best.” and popped it into my mouth. I took one and handed it to him.
He took it from me and bit off the head. “This is good!” He said bewildered.
“It’s yummy!” Rita had shouted, taking another bite.
“See, Rita? I told you,”
“I love you Mari,”
“I love you too.”
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