The Reckless & Charming

Lola Baxter has no motive in life. She lives life by the second, enjoying each day with adventure and recklessness. When Lola gets suspended from school for nearly a month, her parents send her off to her older sister's place in the assumption that she will learn something good from her but Sarah is not the same anymore and finally all hell break loose!

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1. The joy in having an older sister

My parents were wrong when they thought that I would learn something good from Sarah. Sarah is my older sister, a pre med student, the daughter that brings pride and joy to my parents. I'm the daughter that brings nothing but worry and trouble. It's not like I'm a bad person (at least not as bad as my mother makes me out to be). I'm just forever misunderstood.

It's all a big misunderstanding. I wish people would stop jumping into conclusions and hear me out. I sure as hell wouldn't have gotten suspended from school for four weeks if Mr. Waterhouse gave me a moment to explain myself instead of listening to what Tanya Hutchins thought had happened. Why does everybody even trust her, anyways? Just because she has a great butt and a rack. Bitch. Contrary to what most people (specifically, Tanya) think, I wasn't using drugs, at least not on school premises.

Seriously, what do I look like, an idiot?

I just happened to be present at the wrong place at the wrong time. I was only trying to warn Connor and his stupid posse about the locker check. Connor brings weed to school everyday despite the trouble he goes through hiding it every time. Instead of getting rid of his bag of weed, he decided it was a good idea to smoke it before the locker check, "I didn't want to waste it." 

Idiot.

I should have let him deal with his own shit but I couldn't. I like Connor, not because I find him kind of cute in the stoner way, but because he actually is a good guy. And I pity him. I have known Connor for two years now and I can't just let him down when I know all about his past, the physical abuse he went through years ago at the hands of his mentally unstable father. And I don't let down my friends, not that I have many in the first place. Besides, Connor has gone through a lot more in life than any other average Duncan Hill high student. God, no wonder he is so messed up. But hey, who am I to talk?

At first I was glad about the four week suspension. I mean, four weeks without school and four weeks without parents -they were supposed to be leaving on a business trip in a few days- and four weeks of having the house all to myself sounds close to heaven. But does anything ever go as I plan? No, never. My parents shipped me off to my sister's house that is close to her university, which was a present from my parents after she graduated from high school. "You will learn something good from her," they said "Be a good girl." As though I was a badly behaved bulldog!

After Sarah graduated High School and decided to pursue studying medical in Berkeley, my parents decided to give Sarah some space, give her a little freedom. It takes apporximately six hours drive from Berkeley to Beverly Hills but Sarah hasn't returned home for three years. And our parents being the busy people that they are have stopped bothering her, inviting her home for holidays. They communicate via online and phone calls. And sometimes occasionally they go up to Berkeley to visit her. But that's very rare.

Sarah used to be a social pariah in high school. She was the nerd that everybody wished to use for doing their home work but Sarah is a bad tempered nerd, she simply does not do other people's work without inner motive. It's a surprise she even took me in to her three bedroom condo for four weeks. My parents must have offered her something too irresistible to reject because my sister and I simply don't get along. We can't even stand the sight of each other. I know sibling rivalry exists among most siblings but the kind of hatred that Sarah and I have towards each other is just not normal. I don't know why we never seem to get along with each other but that has been the case since we were kids. I never bothered to dig in and find out the root cause of why and how it happened, I just learnt to accept that we will never be like normal sisters and live with it.

My parents consider Sarah as a blessing. Like I said, she is an angel of a daughter to them with her perfect grades, perfect behaviour and most importantly, the fact that she accepts everything my parents say. She doesn't argue back and she respects them. Doesn't something sound wrong here? If I try to point out the fact that Sarah's behaviour is abnormal I get labeled as a jealous little sister who can't deal with her older sister's success. 

So, due to all of Sarah's perfect qualities, my parents thought it would do me some good if I spent some time with her (as though spending those first fourteen years of my life with her wasn't enough).

Boy, were they wrong (my parents, I mean.) Looking back at what everybody, including myself, thought of Sarah before and what she has turned out to be as a college student makes me want to laugh. Because the Sarah that I'm now living with is nothing like the Sarah I had known for the past seventeen years of my life.

Sarah has changed. A huge, tremendous change at that too. I'm not just talking about her physical appearance -her tight clothes that shows off her curves in the right places, as opposed to the baggy clothes she wore during her time in high school, or her choice in make up or the fact that she finally ditched her nerdy glasses for contacts. She looks great! She is what Connor would call "bootylicious".

For starters, Sarah has friends. Plenty of them. It's only been two days since I got here and I'm pretty sure I've already seen more than half the students who go to her university. All of the changes about her makes me think, "What the fuck happened to my Sarah?" We haven't even had a single fight and it's already been two freakin' glorious days. What's even more odd is that I actually find her cool. She has got three ear piercings, one naval piercing, few arm tattoos and she dyed her brown hair jet black. My parents are going to freak if they find out. It's been three years since Sarah visited us after she went to college so there is no way that my parents know what Sarah is like now. 

I like the new Sarah but my parents are going to be disappointed which makes me like her even more! I guess college really does change people. No wonder she didn't come back home for three years. There is no way my parents are going to be okay with her current appearance.

My parents wanted me learn something good from Sarah but what I'm actually learning is; how to sneak liquor without getting caught. Oh, the joy in having an older sister. 

It's Friday and according to Sarah, every Friday is wasted if there is no party which I totally agree with. God, whatever it is that changed Sarah, I'm loving it! 

Since Sarah lives off campus, she takes joy in throwing the sickest college parties or so I'm hearing from Claire, her housemate who tagged along in our mission to steal every man's most honoured commodity -liquor. 

"Why can't we just go in and buy it like normal people?" I'd asked like an idiot when Sarah told me what we were going to be doing this evening. 
"Because I don't turn twenty one until February," Sarah'd said rolling her eyes like it was the most obvious answer...which I guess is actually the most obvious answer. "Besides, where is the fun in that?"

So here we are, parked in front of Grady's liquor shop, planning how to steal liquor on this glorious Friday evening. Boy, do I love my life. 

"Claire and I are going to go in first and start with the thing," Sarah says vaguely making odd gestures with her hand. By 'thing' I guess she means sneaking liquor. "You follow us in after five minutes. Since you're small, that guy over there," she says pointing at the window where the guy behind cash register is standing, flipping through a magazine "is going to think you're underaged, which you are! So he will be focused on you, watching your every move which will make it easier for Claire and I to steal whatever we want. And then when I give you the signal, you pick up a beer bottle and go up to him and he is going to ask you for your ID, you pretend to flirt with him while Claire and I will make our way outside the shop and then he is going to put you in your place and you just say "fuck it" and walk out. That's the plan. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Don't fuck this up and we will have enough alcohol to start the party!" 

I roll my eyes. This plan is such a child's play. I have gotten away with worse things.

"Whatever, I can pull this off," I say confidently. 

"You better!" 

"Stop worrying. You guys go and do your...thing" 

Sarah gives me a stern look probably estimating if I will do my job without fucking it up or not, the look she uses on people to make them fear her. Yeah, that look never works on me though. The lack of faith my sister has in me is completely appalling. Why is she so worried about this? Doesn't she know me at all? Oh wait, that's right, she doesn't. 

"You better not fuck this," she finally says breaking her stare to reach for her coat from back seat. 

"I won't," I say again.

"Let's go already!" Claire urges. Sarah smoothens her coat one last time and walks towards the shop with Claire trailing behind her. 

I chew on my thumbnail while I wait for my time to go in. I check my watch and sigh. I check my watch again and sigh heavily. I check my watch again and when it's finally time, I walk inside the shop. I take in the view before me. Racks and racks, stacked with all kinds of alcohol. 

Is this what falling in love feels like?

I start moving around, slowly feeling each bottle, careful not to accidentally push any of them. Red wine, white wine, and a lot of names I've never heard of, Tri-Nector, Rico Bay, Terlingua Gold and ooh... Is that flavoured voschkas? Oh yes, it is!

I'm so engrossed at running my hands along each bottle and feeling them in my fingertips that I don't hear Sarah's signal, some kind of a hissing whistle. When I finally get to my senses, I hear her. I quickly pick up a bottle of Terlingua Gold. Oh yes, baby, Come to mama! I resist the urge to kiss it for that will be totally weird on my part.

I walk towards the guy behind the cash register who is still flipping through his magazine, which I now notice is...Playboy?

Seriously. 

Playboy for Christ fucking sake! 

I place the bottle at the register quite loudly hoping to get his attention but I don't think he hears me since he still has that stupid grin on his face with his eyes glued to his magazine. I nervously glance behind my shoulders and see Sarah and Claire leave. Looks like I wasn't even needed in the first place. This guy is unaware of his surroundings as it is. Sarah and Claire could have gotten away from here without my help.

But anyway, plan accomplished. Yipee! Now I just have to leave! Oh, if only this guy would look up! I cough loudly to get his attention. There! He finally looks up and... Oh boy, he has blue eyes. Deep, mesmerising sapphire coloured eyes. Have I ever mentioned that I'm a sucker for blue eyes? Well, now you know. 

He shoves his magazine under the counter and stands straighter. He looks me up and down, taking me in and frowns. 

What, am I not good enough for him? Stupid prick.

"Aren't you too young for a," he says twirling around the bottle on the counter to read its label "Terlingua gold?" his eyes twinkles as he speaks. He isn't anywhere close to attractive but his eyes... Jesus H. Christ, his eyes are so pretty that I just want to swim in them. 

I want to say something witty, something smart, something probably like "and aren't you too old for Playboy?" But that isn't witty or smart. That is just plain lame and lame is not the kind of image that I'm going for. I realise that I've been staring at him for too long when I see him smirk. 

"ID please?" He finally asks. 

Right, ID. I need to get out of here and join Sarah and Claire outside. I briefly glance out the glass window and do a double take. The parking lot is empty! Wait a minute, where is her car? 
Oh no, this is not good. This is not happening. I press myself to the glass window with my palms and nose touching its surface and peer harder.

"Excuse me... May I please see your ID?" the guy behind the counter goes on but I ignore him. I look frantically around, first at the unattractive guy with gorgeous eyes and then that gorgeous bottle of Terlingua Gold, the cash register, the empty parking lot. I shake my head. This cannot be happening!

No. No. No! 

Did my sister seriously ditch me at a liquor shop? I should have known! Two days is too long a time for my sister and I to pass together without having a fight. Now what am I supposed to do? I don't even know the way to her house and this place, wherever this is, is probably miles away from my house. I can't think. My mind is clouded with worry and sorrow and lot of other mixed feelings. I'm going to kill her when I get the chance. This time it's war!

I'm definitely not thinking, that probably explains why I quickly reach for the bottle of Terlingua Gold and make a run for it. I mean if I'm going to be wandering around streets all night searching for my sister's house, I might as well have alcohol on me while I do that. I quickly run outside the shop and pass the parking lot. The unattractive guy with gorgeous blue eyes isn't that fast enough to catch up with me. I make it to the road and I fasten my pace. Ha, haven't been in the track team for three years for nothing! 

I can't say I didn't see this coming. I totally speculated something like this happening all along. Sarah's middle name is not "wicked witch of the west" for nothing!

This is it, I'm going to be homeless and I'm...

"Get in!" I hear a car rumble beside me and a familiar voice that sounds unmistakably like...

"Sarah!" I yelp in excitement, stopping in my tracks. She didn't ditch me after all. How stupid of me to think that she would leave me like this in a strange liquor shop? Sarah is not like that. Alright, I'm totally kidding. Sarah is exactly that kind of person who will ditch her little sister at a liquor shop. She is evil, I tell you. 

I'm assuming that after Claire and Sarah got back to the car they took off from the parking lot and were waiting for me on the road...

"Are you going to get in or what?" 

She didn't have to ask me thrice. I quickly open the door to backseat and get in. 

"Dude! That's a Terlingua Gold" exclaims Claire from the passenger seat, her eyes on the bottle in my hand. I smile proudly at what I've just done. "You stole a Terlingua Gold! Sarah, I like your little sister" 

"Good! Now let's get this party started" 

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what I learnt from my older sister, to be reckless. 
Not that I wasn't any reckless before... But you get what I mean, don't you?

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