Icing on the Lake

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Book: Read Icing on the Lake for Free Online
Authors: Catherine Clark
    “Most of the time,” he said.
    I smiled. “Well, you know, the thing about Crack the Whip…”
    “What?” he asked, giving me a confused look.
    Oops. That must have been the other guy I sort of met yesterday, the one who brought back my hat. “Well, you just, you know, it’s hard to stay upright when you’re at the end of the line. And I haven’t gone skating very much lately. You know, you get rusty.” Or at least…your skate blades do. I smiled nervously.
    “So you should skate a lot while you’re here,” he said.
    “Yeah?” I asked, probably sounding a little too eager. “I mean…yeah. I will. Good to get Brett out of the house and all.”
    “You’re here to look after Brett?” he asked.
    I nodded. “And my sister. So, speaking ofskating. This is probably an obvious question, but you play hockey, right?”
    “Cool. Well, maybe I can come to one of your games while I’m here.” Then I coughed, realizing what a blatant invitation I’d just issued for myself. “I mean, I’m looking for stuff to do with Brett. He likes sports.”
    “Right. You know, I could try to teach him a few things. Even if he is named after a Green Bay Packer.”
    “That was his dad’s idea. He’s from Hudson.”
    “Yeah, I know Luke. He’s a nice guy.”
    “He is,” I agreed. “So, would you like some more coff—”
    “ Sean? What are you doing here?” Gretchen limped into the room, wearing a terrycloth robe over her sleepwear.
    “Having some coffee and talking to your sister.” He turned to me. “I didn’t get your name.”
    “Kirsten,” I said.
    “Did you just get up, Kirsten?” Gretchen stared at me as if I had colored my hair green, or gotten a strange piercing. “Why are you inyour PJs ?” she said in a disapproving tone.
    “Look, I didn’t plan on going outside. Then I got locked out,” I said. “It’s a long story.”
    “More like the same old story.” Gretchen laughed. “When she was little, Kirsten was always running around in her PJs.”
    Oh no you don’t, I thought. You are not about to tell an embarrassing story on me .
    But she was, of course.
    “Kirsten even went to school in her PJs once. The school called and they were like, hello? Your daughter is wearing Care Bear footies.”
    Sean laughed.
    “But that was last year,” I joked. “I got sick of Care Bears.”
    Sean just looked at me and didn’t seem to get it. Then he got to his feet. “I’d better get going. Nice to meet you, Kirsten. See you around, okay?”
    “Definitely,” I said. “Thanks for, ah, the coffee.”
    “You made the coffee.”
    “Having coffee, I meant. And the shoveling,” I said. “Good work, excellent work.”
    “Well, have a good day, okay? See you later.”
    As Sean went out, Bear came running into the house. He stopped in the front entryway and shook his fur, sending ice and snow flying everywhere.
    “Kirsten, could you grab a towel and get some of that cleaned up?” Gretchen asked.
    After I closed the door, I turned around to face her. “Sure. But did you have to tell him that bit about the PJs?”
    “That’s nothing,” she said. “Couldn’t you have warned me that we had a guest, so that I didn’t come out of my bedroom wearing a robe ?”
    “He’s like…seven years younger than you are,” I said.
    “So what? That doesn’t mean I want to look horrible when I see him. I could kill you.”
    Likewise, I thought. “If you’re that concerned about a teenaged boy liking the way you look…I don’t know, Gretch.”
    “Well, obviously you’re not concerned,” she replied.
    “What’s that supposed to mean?”
    Gretchen made a sweeping motion to indicate my outfit of flannel.
    “It’s not my fault,” I said. “Bear’s the one who bolted and jumped all over Sean. I wasn’t planning to run outside wearing this.”
    “You should get dressed as soon as you get up,” Gretchen said. “You should brush your hair and get your makeup on.”
    “It was

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