This snippet is not necessary to enjoy the story - but it adds a bit of fun and history to the book. Enjoy!
“Don’t even try it,” Mark said to his youngest sister.
There was a moment of silence, then he heard her sigh. “How did you know I was even in here?” she demanded, flopping onto his bed.
“You’re not very quiet, Joanie,” he told her.
She snorted. “You just have ninja ears. What are you doing?”
“Homework. Don’t you have some as well?’ he asked, not bothering to look up. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her hand inching towards his pillow. “You’ll regret it,” he warned, then flipped the page of the chemistry book.
Joanie’s hand receded, but he could feel her eyes moving around the room, looking for more mischief. With a sigh, he turned to face her, giving her his full attention which was what she was going for anyway. “What do you want?”
Joanie contemplated her oldest brother carefully, trying to find the words that would convince him to give her what she wanted. In the end though, she just went with the truth without embellishment. Joanie knew that Mark wanted to go to law school and she didn’t want to get caught in a lie. Not with Mark. “I want you to teach me that move you did on Eddie last week,” she said.
Mark knew exactly what she was talking about because he was still in trouble for flipping his younger brother. No bones were broken, no furniture damaged. This time. But his parents were furious.
And besides, Eddie deserved it, Mark thought. His brother had been stealing his sweaters. Being the oldest in a big family could be a pain in the neck.
He picked up the textbook again as he said, “No,” then started reading.
There was a disgusted noise before his sister flopped again. “Why not?”
He turned the page. “Because you’re impetuous.”
Joanie blinked and he didn’t have to turn his head to see her outraged expression. “Teach me how to do it or I’ll tell mom that you drove her car last week.”
He slammed his textbook closed, staring at his sister. “I didn’t drive her car.”
Joanie grinned. “Yeah, but she doesn’t know that.”
Mark stared at her for a long moment, contemplating the best way out of this. “Mom!” he called out. A moment later, their mother popped her head into his bedroom. Instantly, his sister knew that she was in trouble.
“What is it, dear?” She turned to look at her daughter. “Joanie, are you tormenting Mark again?”
“Yes!” Mark stated firmly. “And she’s going to tell you that I drove your car last week because I won’t teach her how to flip Eddie.”
Their mother’s mouth opened and closed, but being the mother to four children came with a lot of experience. And she quickly recovered. Turning to her daughter, she put her hands on her hips. “So you were going to lie to get your way?”
Joanie’s head swiveled from her mother’s outraged expression to her brother’s triumphant one, then back. Finally, a brilliant thought popped into her head. “I don’t really consider it lying when we both know that Mark will eventually drive your car,” she quickly improvised, then brightened her smile.
Mark chuckled when their mother’s lips compressed. “Joanie, I believe that there’s a garden that needs to be weeded.” And her finger pointed to the stairs.
Almost instantly, Mark’s sister rolled her eyes and groaned, but she also stood up and walked out of his bedroom.
Mark listened to his sister moan about the latest punishment while he picked his book back up. When he knew the coast was clear, he pulled the car magazine out from in front of his chemistry book and continued reading, knowing that the tattletale of the clan was occupied. Life was good, he thought, kicking his feet up onto his bed and leaning back. At least for a few moments anyway.
“Mom, we don’t know where we are,” Skye said, peering at the street sign, then down at the map. With a grunt, she turned the map around and peered again.
“We are not lost,” Eleanor replied and made a right turn down yet another gravel road.
Skye rolled her eyes, then sighed. “Mother, we’re lost.”
Eleanor chuckled. “Hey, we might be in the middle of…” she looked through the windshield at the trees that lined both sides of the road, “…well, I’m not exactly sure where we are. But that doesn’t mean we’re lost.”
“Mother, what exactly is your definition of lost?” Skye demanded, twisting around and grabbing a soda out of the cooler. They’d packed a picnic lunch for their trip down to Savanah, Georgia but most of the food was already gone. The song, “Three Hour Tour” popped into her head as she popped the top on the soda.
“You’re only lost if you can’t find your way out of a situation. We have a map. We have half a tank of gas and we have food. We’ll find our way out of this forest and it will be awesome!”
Skye laughed and shook her head. “Right. We’re almost out of chips.”
Eleanor’s eyes widened and her lips pressed together. “Well, why didn’t you say something?!” Immediately, Skye’s mother pulled over to the side of the road and took the map. After flipping it three different ways, they finally figured out where they were. “See?” she exclaimed when she pulled back onto the road. There weren’t any cars and hadn’t been for about twenty minutes. “I told you we’d find our way so we weren’t lost.”
Skye put her socked feet up on the dashboard and grabbed the last bag of potato chips. Watching her mother’s features, Skye slowly opened the bag. The release of air from the bag drew her mother’s panicked attention. Eleanor wouldn’t care if they ran out of gas or water. But no potato chips on a road trip? Yep, that was cause for panic!
Fifteen minutes later, they turned right, then left. In the distance, the entrance to the highway appeared. “Good grief, that was close,” Eleanor said as she grabbed the bag of chips from her daughter’s greedy hands, taking one out and munching away. “We’ll stop at the next gas station.”
Skye leaned over and noted that the gas gauge dial hadn’t moved since the last time they’d checked. “But we’re fine on gas.”
Her mother lifted the last bag of chips into the air between them.
Skye gasped. “Right! What was I thinking?” And they both laughed. But they also pulled off at the next exit and stocked up on fried, processed options for the rest of the weekend trip!