“Oh my god, those were the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted.” Raine exclaimed as the trio sat around the kitchen table, stuffed.
Macy looked up at him sweetly though there was a strange glint in her eyes. “Thanks.” She leaned into his shoulder and he wrapped his arms around her. After a moment though, she glanced toward Brandon. “You’re cleaning up.”
“What?" Brandon snapped in a way only a jealous sibling could, “Why doesn’t he have to clean up too?” He stood and started gathering up dirty dishes.
“Because I’ve got to talk to him. In private.” Macy gave Raine one more look and then they exited the kitchen. She led him out back to sit on the swing that hung on the large porch.
“So what’s up?” He tried to sound like he had no idea what was about to escape her lips.
“What’d you say to Dalton?”
“Oh. Nothing really.” He shrugged off the topic.
“Raine. That’s all I’ve got to talk to you about. What did you say to him?”
“I just … gave him a gentle warning to stay the hell away from you.”
“And what did he say?”
“Oh. Nothing really.”
Macy huffed angrily as he moved the swing back and forth slowly. “Well fine, if you’re not going to tell me then I’m going to go ahead and go.”
“Go? Go where?”
“To the bank.”
“Its Sunday,” Raine tried to reason.
“I’ll go to the ATM then. But I’ll be back later. Just … keep Brandon busy here. Don’t let him storm off to Dalton’s. Okay?”
He sighed loudly, giving in. “Okay. But don’t take too long.” He kissed her lips as she went back inside to get dressed.
Macy sat in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, dialing Stan’s number on her cell phone. He answered after two rings. “Can you come meet me at Wal-Mart?” she asked quickly.
“Yes it’s me. Can you come meet me or not?”
“Why am I meeting you? Is something wrong?”
“No nothing’s wrong. Are you … are you with Dalton?”
“No. I’m at my place. Macy, just tell me what’s up.” Stan sighed audibly into the phone, making her pull it away from her ear momentarily.
“Okay ... well I uh have your money.”
“You have my money?” He repeated her words in a question as if it was the most far-fetched idea he’d ever heard.
“Yeah. Um … Brandon gave it to me.” But she instantly smacked her forehead; that wasn’t a believable lie.
“Brandon gave it to you? Why would he do that?”
“Look, do you want your money or not?” She snapped, ignoring his questions all together. She knew Stan wanted it no matter what questions he had.
It still took him a minute to answer but eventually he did. After hanging up the phone, Macy pulled out her wallet. The wallet she’d just placed four hundred dollars in. Four hundred dollars that would hopefully save her life.
Fifteen minutes later, Stan parked his big, black Jeep beside Macy’s bug. She had been tapping her fingers impatiently on the steering wheel for the entire time she waited. The progress of problem solving was taking longer than she thought and any minute now Raine would be calling her up, worried.
As Stan got out of his Jeep, Macy motioned from him to get into her car. He did slowly, almost having to roll up in a ball to fit in her tiny car. But once he was settled inside, he finally said something. “Hi.”
Macy stopped herself from laughing out loud like a crazy person. “Hey. So um yeah. I’ve got the money. All 400.”
“And I’m guessing Brandon didn’t give you that money?”
“Yeah.” She bit her lip hesitantly. “He didn’t. But still take it. Please. Then Dalton will have to stop ... ya know.”
Stan sighed loudly, staring into Macy’s eyes for a long time. He looked as if he wanted to say something but it took him a while to actually open his mouth. “Where’s the money from, Macy?”
“That doesn’t matter. Just take it.” She fished out the bills from her wallet and handed them to him, but he kept his arms crossed tightly over his chest. “Take it,” she urged on desperately.
“No. First you’ve got to tell me where you got all that money from.”
“It’s really not that much. And if I tell you, then you won’t take it.”
“Exactly.” His expression was firm. “So tell me.”
Macy looked away from his gaze. “So if I tell you … will you take it without a doubt?”
She gave in anyway. “Okay fine. It’s my money. But I don’t care. I don’t need it for college yet like Brandon does. I’ve still got a couple of years. Besides my grandmother puts money into that bank account every other week. I can get back four hundred dollars like that.” She snapped her fingers together, hoping Stan would understand.
“Macy I can’t take your money.”
“Yes you can. I’m offering. Please.”
He shook his head no but his facial expression read “yes”. Yes please. Finally, he took a deep breath loudly and said, “Okay. But only if you do something for me. Something important.”
Uh oh, were the words that ran through her mind, but she still agreed.
“Just … keep your guard up today.”
“Keep my guard up? What’s that supposed to mean?” At last, Stan took the money out of her waiting hand and rolled it up, placing it in a pocket.
“It means … don’t … put yourself into danger.”
“That makes no more sense than the first sentence did. What are you trying to tell me?”
Stan shrugged, jumping out of her beetle. “Then I guess I can’t explain it. But thanks. Thanks for the money.”
“Your welcome.” She tried and failed at a smile.
“Can you … trust me if something happens? If anything happens?”
“Um, never mind. Just forget it.” He shut the door without a goodbye and drove away in his Jeep, leaving Macy to ponder what he was trying to really tell her.