God, I really hated mornings. I act like I don't because I don't want to seem like a wimp in front of all the guys, but really, I hate getting up at the crack of dawn. I wish I could sleep in. Just once. Summers are for sleeping in, right?
I just felt plain dead today. Probably from staying up all night watching 300. I dragged my feet as I walked to the bathroom. Then I turned on the sink, splashed cold water on my face. And I mean cold. I was half-gasping as I looked up at my reflection in the mirror.
I'm kind of an average guy, I like to think. Some girls have told me I'm hot before, but...I dunno. I look like me. I have messy hair that my mom says is the color of...dark oak, or something. My eyes are nearly the same color. I 'm tall and lean, with some nice muscles from all the farmwork. One good thing about going to my uncle's every summer? You come back to the city buff. My life in Tulsa is kind of boring, really. I play football for my team (go tigers) and I make an average B in most of my classes. I'm not the most loved guy of the school, but I'm not a loser either. I've had about three real girlfriends, and we're all still friends. I have a golden retriever named Dougan at home who's dumb as a rock, my little brother Peeper (don't ask what my mom was thinking when she named him) has a shar pei puppy named Shrek who's also an idiot, and my little sister Maggie has a demon cat named PattyCake who's an evil genius. I really have a pretty normal life.
"Hey, Luke! Hurry up!" My second oldest cousin, Danny, pounded on the bathroom door. I knew my younger cousin Brice was with him when he mimicked Danny.
"I am," I grumbled, reluctantly grabbing my toothbrush out of the holder.
"Good, cause Miss. Destruction is already here and waiting for you!"
I nearly dropped the toothbrush in surprise. "She's already here? But it's three in the morning!"
"I know right? And she looks freaking hot, too! Hurry up and come outside!"
I was kind of disturbed as I hastily brushed my teeth. Why would she be here an hour early when yesterday she was two hours late? And how could anyone look hot at three in the morning?
Once I was ready, I started to head outside. And stopped, my eyes widening, when I spotted Sadie standing in the hole in the wall.
Holy crap, she did look hot.
She wore frayed jean shorts that were short enough that, in my opinion, they could be called underwear instead. The tanktop she wore was white with embroidered purple hearts along the sides. Her waves of golden hair were wound together in a one-sided ponytail that tumbled over one of her shoulders. And for once (maybe it was because it was still mostly dark outside), she didn't have those big sunglasses on. Her face was flawless. The slightly pointed chin, the perfect, little nose, the arched, golden-brown brows, the clever green eyes. It annoyed me that someone could be so rich and so attractive.
Her eyes narrowed and her nose wrinkled in disgust as she bent, gingerly lifted the paint brush from the can of white paint. I watched as she began to paint one of the paint-chipped bricks on the wall with the flair of a blind baboon.
"I see you took my advice." I said, walking over to her.
She jumped a little, teetering on the unsteady ladder she stood on. When she regained her balance, she glared at me under the curve of her side-swept bangs. "What?"
I gestured at her outfit. "You're wearing more suitable clothes."
She gave a haughty sniff as she turned, focusing on the painting again. Well fine, I thought. I'll just ignore you too. I went over to the paint can, dipped a second paintbrush into it. When I walked over to the opposite side of the hole, Sadie dipped her head under it and said, "You're immature, you know."
"I'm immature?" I said in disbelief.
"Yes," she replied matter-of-factly.
"This is coming from the girl who drove her car into a house."
Sadie scowled at me. Without a word, she withdrew her head and returned to her painting. Annoyed, I resumed my own painting. My cousin Cooper approached. "She really doesn't like you," he said in a low voice. He appeared entertained.
"I really don't." Sadie called from the other side.
"I don't like you either!" I said loudly.
I heard Sadie made a strangled, angry sound. There was a crunch as she hopped off the ladder, landing on split wood, and threw her paintbrush down. "I'm taking a break." she said heatedly. As she stomped off, I yelled, "Good! "
Owen, who had just came to Cooper's side, sniggered. Bemused, I paused in my painting and looked at my cousins. They were first cousins, but they looked so different. Cooper was utterly white, with spiked blonde hair and green eyes. And Owen was dark, indian, with shaggy black hair and brown/black eyes. While Cooper was loud, outgoing, Owen was shy, quiet. They each were quite a hit with the ladies, too. Cooper charmed them by playing the funny, dumb class clown. Owen charmed them by being the sneaky, mysterious guy. I definately admired them both.
I sighed. "How long do you think she'll have to work here?"
Cooper shrugged. "Matt mentioned earlier that it might take all summer to fix up the house."
No way. I was not dealing with her all summer long. No freaking way. There had to be some way to get rid of her. Thoughtful, I absently tapped the handle of the paintbrush against my palm. Then it came to me in one sudden stroke of glorious inspiration. "We're going to run her out."
Owen's brow furrowed. "How? Matt'll be too busy working us for any of us to find the chance to-"
"Then we'll get the ones he doesn't work too hard." I cut across him.
Owen and Cooper exchanged devious grins. I echoed it. We were all thinking the same thing. If there were any two boys in the world who were brilliant at pranking people, it was...
Cooper, Owen and I hurried toward our ten-year old twin cousins Leon and Abel. Even though they were so young, they were still the authority on pranks. I practically beamed at them.
They were both pretty short for their age, but made up with it with towering mohawks that were tipped in vivid colors at the top. Leon's was red. Abel's was green. They both had sun-browned skin, big brown eyes and toothy, always-devious smiles. They were great. When they weren't pranking you. Then they sucked.
"We have a job for you." Cooper grinned.
"That will require the utmost secrecy." Owen smirked.
Leon and Abel (their parents liked final fantasy, that's where they got their names) blinked. Then narrowed their eyes. "How much will you pay us?" Leon demanded.
"Ten dollars each." I offered.
"Twenty each or no deal." Abel ordered.
I stared at them. Ugh, fine. I got my wallet out of my pocket, withdrew two tens. When Leon and Abel opened their mouths to protest, I said, "The other half goes to you when you finish the job."
"Okay," they both said.
Quietly, I explained to them that I simply wanted them to terrorize Sadie until she ran off the ranch screaming. They agreed. They even seemed pretty excited.
I couldn't stop smiling as I walked back to the house. Sadie narrowed her eyes suspiciously when I got there.
"What?" I said, unable to keep the chuckle out of my voice.
She put her nose in the air. "Hmph." She turned away from me to continue slabbing bricks with concrete.
I was gleeful as I plucked up my paintbrush. With Leon and Abel against her, Sadie wouldn't last a day.