August sat in her car, fingers clenched around the steering wheel.
Going to a family barbeque with her girlfriend Janie felt like the biggest challenge of her life even though Janie had insisted it was casual, jeans and tennies.
That didn’t mean Janie’s family was ready for August. Or that she was ready for them.
Could a werewolf pack accept a fire dragon into their midst or was August just dreaming?
By Meyari McFarland
August sat in her car, fingers clenched around the steering wheel. Her knuckles ached. Every time she tried to breathe it wheezed in her chest, struggled to get down her throat. Sweat beaded on her forehead, chest, pooled under her breasts to soak her exercise bra.
Who specified that you should wear an exercise bra to a barbeque? Seriously. Who did that? No one, that’s who.
But Janie had been very firm about wearing comfortable jeans, a good exercise bra and shoes that August wouldn’t mind getting muddy. Or chewed on.
Chewed on? Really?
Well, if Janie had been talking about a new puppy or a Maine Coon cat like the one August’s mom had, then yeah, getting her tennies chewed on made sense. She hadn’t. She’d been talking about her little sisters, the twins, and how they were just starting to figure out running around. Seemed a little early to August. They weren’t quite a year old yet, but August didn’t know much about kids, especially really little kids.
And the house, that was nothing like what August had expected. She deliberately relaxed her fingers, afraid for a second that she’d left permanent indentations in the steering wheel, but no, her fingers were dented, not the other way around.
It was huge, the house, three stories, a fourth story on their tower. Improbable mix of grand old lady Victorian with all the bright red, purple and lime green trim and a starkly modern garage with an apartment on top that looked as big as August’s mom’s place.
Great huge windows, big deck that stretched all the way around. The front lawn, what grass there was, was covered with little kids’ toys: whiffle ball and bat, roller skates, a tricycle with a plastic soldier perched on the seat as if it was a chariot and the soldier was about to take over the world. In most places it was beaten earth as if the grass couldn’t get a hold before it was pounded down by passing feet.
Over by the battered lilac bushes that guarded the neighbor’s fence there was a badminton net that had sagged in the middle until August could have stepped right over the thing. Three badminton rackets lay by its sad belly. A fourth lurked high in the lilac bushes, caught on the brown husks of long-gone spring flowers.
Didn’t the neighbors complain about the mess?
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