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A knock on our apartment door, and my sister trills a happy, “Good Morning, Emma,” and begins to sing me Happy Birthday, along with several embarrassing verses we wrote when she was five and I was seven. It includes something about monkeys slipping on banana peels.
Still in my skimpy sleep-clothes, I open the door to find my sister—long, blonde hair curled to perfection, not a strand out of place, red hair band matching her flouncy short skirt and the red hearts on her too-cute-for-words tights. Glimmering strands of silver lace peek through her pink sweater. As always, Angelina’s the image of vomit-inducing school-girl perfection.
And standing behind her—
My best friend from childhood. The boy—er, man—who should be ten hours away in Kodiak, Alaska, rather than here in Anchorage.
The man staring at my naked legs.
And I’m standing here in my panties and baby-doll T, which clearly shows I’m not wearing a bra, especially as Alaska is cold in February and the door gapes wide open.
I cross my arms over my chest to hide my breasts and duck my bottom half behind the door. “Jason, what are you doing here?”
“To take you out for the day. It’s your twenty-first birthday. Did you think I’d let you celebrate without me?” He grins and slips into the room before I can stop him. His eyes travel up my bare legs (thank goodness I shaved last night) with the ugly wool knee-high socks, the black T with the pink Batman symbol, and ending with my short, blonde hair, sticking up in all directions on one side, matted on the other.
He's gorgeous. He's sexy. What's not to like?
Except I like a man with personality. And Jason has that too:
Inside the closest tent, stalls filled with white horses line the center aisle. Tack hangs along one wall in the entry way, and stacks of hay and barrels of oats fill the other side.
White horses with long horns protruding from their foreheads.
“How did they glue the horns on?” I lean in close to inspect.
I raise an eyebrow, and he grins.
“Would I lie to you?”
“There was that time you told me the mud pies would give me flying powers if I ate them.”
“Not my fault. I really thought they would.”
Growing up, he concocted the craziest schemes: trapping leprechauns and hunting for the pot of gold at the rainbow’s end, building our own invisible clubhouse far from where hikers and tourists would trek, or inventing flying bicycles. When the flying bicycle, version umpteen-thousand, failed to fly, he mixed up his own batch of mud pies.
We ate them (ick!) and jumped out of our favorite climbing tree. I broke my leg, and he didn’t even get a scratch. The next day, he picked me magical wild flowers that if I sniffed them would make the pain go away.
I threw them at him and said I never wanted to see him again . . . not that it lasted long.
Now I stand in a circus tent with my insane best friend with seven white unicorns.
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