The Fifth

The wooden steps bowed and creaked as I ran up them and across the front porch, looking like a gothic nurse in all black scrubs.

Alex was following me, covered in petroleum. We were on a mission to get this Friday night started, but I needed to lose these clothes and he was in need of a shower.

It was February of 2009 and Alex and I had just gotten out of school, where we were both enrolled in technical college. Alex for diesel mechanics and me for Cosmetology. Since that past summer I'd been working in a hair salon, shampooing and bookkeeping, and I loved it.

So, we had stopped by my dad's house first for me to grab clothes. After running up to the front door, I swung it open and left it that way for Alex.

About to sprint down the small hallway to my bedroom, I was stopped by my dad, who turned around in his chair at the kitchen table to give me the kind of look you never want to get from your dad. "Hey, come in here. We need to talk."

As he walked through the door, Alex's eyebrows shot up as he heard my dad's choice of words.

I was mentally going through every possible thing I could've done in my entire 19 years that my dad didn't already somehow know about. I'd obviously done something.

My dad turned back around as he heard Alex come in. "You too, Alex."

Scratch that. We'd obviously done something.

Alex looked like a deer in headlights.

My step-mom Marcia, brother Marvin, and sister-in-law Shayna were all sitting at the kitchen table with my dad. What looked at first like a family meeting, turned out to be a game of Rook, as I got closer and saw my dad dealing out cards for a new hand.

As Alex and I came to stand beside my dad, Marcia eyeballed me closely with a hint of a smirk on her face, eyebrows slightly cocked.

Oh, boy.

Continuing to deal out cards without looking at us, my dad asks, "You got anythin you wanna tell me?"

When I looked at Alex for help, he was mirroring my panic. Next, I tried my brother who was giving me the you're-about-to-step-in-shit look.

"Uh, no... I don't think so?" Brilliant.

Dad looked at me from the corner of his eye without turning his head, eyebrow raised. "You don't think so?" Heavy emphasis on the think.

Shayna was covering her face trying to stifle a giggle. Glancing at Alex, I saw he was just as confused as I was.

Stone-faced, my dad shook his head at her and her laughter dried up, "Nothin new with your sister?" He asked me.

One sister in particular, the one who barely measures five feet tall and in her senior year of high school, was the topic of which I was trying to avoid because I'd been sworn to secrecy or eternal damnation. So, I played dumb. "Which one?"

"Which one?" Both of my dad's eyebrows were now up high. "Which one, she asks?" He was talking to the audience at the table who hadn't even bothered to look at their hands now that dad was through dealing out the deck. The cards remained where they'd landed.

Marcia was trying not to giggle now, but my dad's death stare doesn't work on her and she can't stop.

I'm so confused. And so is Alex who is half-smiling, half-grimacing, unsure of what kind of situation he willingly walked into.

"The pregnant one." My dad turns and looks at me now.

"Oooohhh." Alex slips.

Laughing in mock disbelief, my dad looks at Alex. "Oooohhh?"

Desperate, I chance another look at my brother who just shrugs his shoulders and laughs.

Finally feeling some pity for Alex and me, my dad lets up. "Your sister came by a little earlier to spill the beans."

Well, that explains it. I let out a sigh of relief. "Oh."

My dad eyeballs me. "Said you and Alex knew long before anyone else."

"We were sworn to secrecy." I look at Alex who backs me up with a nod.

"Sworn to secrecy..." With a laugh my dad shakes his head.

After everyone had a nice laugh over Alex and me sweating bullets, I changed clothes and hightailed it back out the door to Alex's car.

"God, that was awful. She could've at least warned me!" I muttered as Alex slid into the driver seat, me into the passenger.

He was shaking his head as he jammed the key in the ignition, "I'm gonna kill Kim."

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