"And now to Jess for the weather…"
I turn to the pantry and look for something for breakfast while drowning out the newscaster's too-perky voice.
"AJ, can you take your sister to school today?" mom asks as she stirs her coffee.
I shake my head as I pull out a box of cereal and set it on the ebony counter. "Can't. Dad took my car because I'm grounded, so Erik's taking me to school."
Mom sighs. "I wish you would stop seeing this boy. He's a bad influence."
I turn away from the cereal, not hungry anymore. "Mom, Erik and I are jus friends, and…"
"Mommy! The president's on TV!" exclaims Beth, my seven year old sister.
Mom turns around and turns up the volume while reaching for an Advil, her stress-reliever pill.
"As of today, the numbers of our police departments will be doubled, and every home will need to house at least one soldier for protection…"
"Damn," I say. "Isn't that against our bill of rights?"
"Annabelle Josh, we do not use that kind of language in this house!"
A horn honks loudly outside. Erik.
"Bye, mom. Bye, Beth," I call over my shoulder as I grab my green bag and run out to Erik's black corvette. His face is set in an angry mask.
"I'm guessing you heard the great news."
He gives me a sideways glance and speeds through a red light. His anger is like a thunderstorm about to explode.
After a few minutes of tense silence, we pull into the school parking lot and Erik punches the steering wheel hard, making the loud horn scare a couple making out in a car nearby.
"This is bull and I'm not putting up with it," he says angrily, his ice-blue eyes flashing.
I look out the windshield and put my feet on the dashboard. "This is going to open up hell for us."