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College

Author’s Note:

isn’t that how these so often start

Everyone’s 18 and up, comrades;

1st writing attempt by a long-time reader;

Let me know if you could use more cowbell;

Thanks much if I’ve faved you or your stories,

even the deleted Braindard and Varshanka ^m^

*

I blame my sister.

She blames the corona virus.

“Well after all,” she’d said, “how else are we supposed to know what 6 feet apart looks like?”

***********

Let me back up: a 10-minute conversation with my sister, Kaylee, is 9 minutes longer than you need to realise she’s an air-head. Beach-blonde and skinny enough through most of her schooling to be named “string-bean” by more than a few, Kaylee isn’t outright stupid; she’s just lacking enough in both situational awareness *and* the ability to follow a conversation, so much so, that she comes off.. as.. an air-head.

Kaylee is two years younger than me, and as an 18-year old wrapping up her high school senior year, I have no doubt that most of her classmates have drawn their own impressions of her air-headedness from their time together.

“So Ms. Reitzer,” her history teacher might ask at the end of a lecture, “how did Joan of Arc die?”

Goodness knows how many of her classmates couldn’t stifle their laughter to Kaylee’s would-be response of “Uhh.. The Great Flood?”

Part of what prevented anyone from claiming she was a flat character from a 90’s sitcom, however, was her aptitude in the quiz bowl. Air-head or not, put Kaylee in a competition, and the girl could recall pointless minutiae from across the spectrum. Throw her behind a buzzer and pitch a slew of ace-level trivia topics, she’ll snipe at least 9 outta 10. But if you ask her to hold a conversation be sure to remember your manners. Maybe it has something to do with the specific surroundings of a quiz-bowl competition.. I honestly can’t explain it. How can you cross the wires in someone’s head so haphazardly as to get Kaylee: potential ‘Jeopardy champion’, potentially ‘might unwittingly reveal to her teachers how her friends were sneaking vodka into the prom punchbowl’? Trivia and swimming, those were her two past-times. She swam all 4 years on the high school team, often top-3 in a few different strokes, but never the lead.. Probably why the coach mainly used her in the relays.

Either way, at 5’4″, my toned, young, beach-blonde air-head-of-a-sister had grown into a babe.

Now any guy that has a hot sister and isn’t comfortable admitting it, knows on some level that they’re fighting back a primal desire to dance with the devil. On the other hand, any guy willing to admit his hot sister is hot.. is at least comfortable with himself & his relationship with his sister. Come on, awkward family circumstance aside, be able to call a ‘spade’ a ‘spade’, fellas.

Anyways, as the towncar dropped me off at the airport terminal and my sister strolled over to me, waving eagerly, suitcase forgotten behind her, the one thought I couldn’t get past was that Kaylee had become a bona fide babe.

It’s no wonder I hadn’t noticed previously, all things considered: the past two years away in university and the summer semester in-between had kept me heavily occupied between classes and parties alike. As a result, how was I to notice that the string bean little sister I’d left behind two years ago, had sprouted into this gorgeous, would-be swimsuit model with an omnipresent look of blank confusion on her face.

“Jackson! Big Brother!” she waved, grinning at me as she approached.

She had gotten a hair cut different from her former Rapunzel-look– her blonde cascades now barely reached her shoulder blades. That wasn’t the only thing I noticed right away. Wearing her reading glasses, an olive-green hoodie and jeans, you might easily miss how her frame had some poignant curves in just the right areas, unless you had known her before.

“Where have you been all my life, Apple Jacks? I hope you didn’t get lost along the way,” she laughed.

“No more than you, Special-K,” I returned, as we refreshed our old nicknames for each other. “Nah, the towncar tried picking me up at the wrong train-station, but luckily wasn’t too far off. Been here long, sis?”

While that wasn’t the whole truth, I didn’t feel bad about the white lie. Sorry, but keeping secrets wasn’t one of Kaylee’s natural strengths. I Love her! I’ve never doubted for a moment that I’d protect her from the world, if needs be… But, No. I’d tell her that I was working my way through college in a marijuana-induced haze of laughter one day when I have a stable career. Not before, when I have to trust my parents wouldn’t find out about my preferred lifestyle and possibly cut me off from my college funding.

Now before you pigeon-hole me too unduly, I’ll give you the short-version: I’m a stoner who fell far from the tree.

The long-version? My mom and dad moved to New Jersey at young ages from Cuba and Austria, respectively; they worked to become bursa escort doctors and met in their residency before settling down years later in Newark; they worked hard, earned plenty, and expected their kids to do the same. Alas, I was lackadaisical from toddlerhood, on. Unlike my sister, whose aloofness was defined by her lack of situational awareness, I was usually aware of everything important going on, I just DIDN’T CARE. For example, in 4th grade once, my teacher was regaling us with the feats of Christopher Columbus. Gazing out the window into the city proper, I must have been having a daydream loud enough to bother his lecture.

“Mr. Reitzer! Perhaps you care to explain why Mr Colombus’s achievements have no impact on your life?” my teacher intruded.

“Yes, sir,” I turned & replied readily, eager to begin the game.

“You said Colombus discovered America, but you also said he was looking for India. How did Colombus discover America if people were already here, and why should we celebrate a sailor who got lost and never realized it?”

I certainly didn’t mean it to be disrespectful, but Mr. Jones explained to me later, while my questions were valid, not all teachers in my future would be so easy to forgive being shown up in their own classroom. That lesson stuck with me even as I chose to ignore it, evolving my game of keeping ahead of the academic curve without putting in undue effort. After discovering marijuana there was no turning back. The game became as funny as it was satisfying through high school to teach my teachers early each school year that I understood what they were teaching, even if I came across lackadaisical as fuuuck. A high mathematical aptitude got me accepted into NYU’s civil-engineering program, as well as my parents off my back about my future prospects. The deal became, my parents would cover my dorm & tuition so long as I kept up my grades. Always having coasted to the easy-A, I thought I’d chosen my major well. Incidentally, while civil-engineering *is* the ‘easy’ branch of engineering, it’s still engineering, and for the first time in my life, I’d been working hard to keep my class performance on-point. Luckily, through the uncharted waters, I had an ever-ready dance partner, eager to take some of the stress off my shoulders: Mary-Jane.

As it applies here, I had actually slipped the driver $20 to swing by a recreational cannabis dispensary on the way to the airport. What’s spring break without an extra few laughs, I figured.

Luckily Kaylee hardly noticed my tardiness, and our plane was a small chartered flight essentially waiting for us both, regardless. Now my parents had informed me of their intentions to highjack our spring breaks a couple months ago. When they found out that Kaylee’s high school spring break landed on the exact same days as my own, our fates were sealed. Mom and dad had booked a 10-day excursion to Phu Kett couples island in Thailand, and to keep Kaylee safe and both of us out of trouble, we would be spending our spring breaks on a fully comped stay in a charming cottage on Martha’s Vineyard.

Nearly done with my second year of the engineering program, a fully comped vacation on a cozy, little island actually sounded ideal to me. It was just going to be rough sharing a pad with my string bean of a sister through it all, knowing that my plans were going to include smoking alot of weed, and with some luck, bringing back a babe or two along the way for some downtime.

The airport we found ourselves at was tiny compared to every other one I’ve been through, but as we found out, that was because it only handled local flights like ours. All things considered, stoned as I was, I was still hugely impressed by the logistics of the excursion our parents had set up for me and Kaylee: university to train to towncar to plane to shuttle to cottage was less than 10 hours, most of which I slept through on the uncomfortably early train departure.

The airport shuttle dropped us off in front of a cottage that might as well have been a life-sized gingerbread house, my munchie-addled mind concluded. As I grabbed Kaylee’s suitcase and my duffel out of the shuttle, a primly dressed woman approached us from the cottage.

“I’m Joanna, the booking hostess,” the woman said. “You must be the Reitzer couple.”

“Yes, that’s us: Jackson and Kaylee Reitzer!” my sister replied, clearly missing Joanna’s explicit overture.

“Welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Reitzer. While I don’t recall having ever had the pleasure of hosting a couple quite so young before, I must say it was very forthright and generous of you to have paid for all of our amenities in advance, and having tipped so generously– the staff wanted me to forward their thanks. Now if you’ll follow me, I’ll show you your lodgings.”

In the spirit of calling a spade a spade, I was still baked. The hit I’d taken from my vape during the shuttle ride was settling in far heavier than the plant I normally smoke. That’s probably why I didn’t care to correct Joanna’s bursa escort bayan assumption about Kaylee’s and my relationship, nor to stop airhead Kaylee from speaking for both us through the rest of Joanna’s diatribe.

“Wow Wow Wee!” Kaylee remarked as we walked into the cottage we’d have for the week.

It was larger inside than it looked, but despite the sunken floors, vaulted ceilings, finely carved arches, and elegant cross-beams, it still felt cozy: no bigger than it needed to be. Living room, a breakfast bar adjoining the kitchen to the lounge, guest bedroom and bath downstairs; master bedroom and bath upstairs; modest pool in a backyard otherwise ringed by an impressively tall, well-manicured bamboo barrier.

I had already forgotten what my college dorm room looked like by the time Joanna had shown us the massage beds next to the pool.

“The bamboo planted along the perimeter of the yard works even better than the privacy fence it blocks, making sure you feel completely comfortable with your slice of Heaven,” Joanna beamed in a speech she must’ve rehearsed countless times.

Rehearsed or not, it made me grin at her like a buffoon.. but again, that may have been the weed. She wrapped up the tour by showing us the hot tub on the master balcony, right about the same time I had decided precisely which bedroom I’d be sleeping in.

“And what else might a young couple enjoy more at the end of the day, than a private, moonlit view of scenic Martha’s Vineyard from their own balcony jacuzzi?”

Sure enough, the fact that our cottage sat on a ridge slightly higher than all the island behind us, left our balcony gazing over the backyard pool and bamboo hedge, directly over Oak Bluffs (the nearby village) onto the beach and ocean beyond.

“Now with the deposit you made with us while booking, we’ve stocked the pantry heartily, catering to a variety of tastes, but of course we’d welcome you forwarding us any other grocered items you require, and the housekeeper, Wanda, will have them within the hour. A full listing of the restaurants and local businesses set up to cater to your needs is in the foyer, along with the number of your exclusive private driver through our company. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, the beach is only a 12-minute walk from your cottage via the footpath. Are there any questions on your end, Mr. and Mrs. Reitzer?”

“… Wooow, you really know how to weave a tapestry, don’t ya, Joanna?” I drawled hazily, my vape buzz finally abating enough to let me form coherent sentences.

“Hahaha, I do have the gift-of-gab, Mr Reitzer, no two ways about that. It’s just, the young couples we occassionally cater to, are generally in a hurry to.. erhm.. Break-in their vacation lodgings.. Together.”

“I know *we* are– Right, Jackson?” Kaylee piped in, clearly not following Joanna’s drift.

“Of course, you two will be the first ones in *this* lodging, as it was only finished last winter, so in the spirit of ‘maiden voyages’, feel free to pop a cork on one of bottles of champagne you’ll find in the wine-rack; cork-screw’s laid out,” Joanna flourished with a wink. “If there’s no other way I can be of service, I’ll leave you to make yourselves comfortable. Welcome to your new home.”

“… ‘Welcome home’ indeed,” I mused aloud, as Joanna shut the front door behind her.

“Right? Hey big bro, you think mom & dad would mind me drinking on vacation?” Kaylee posed to me off-handedly.

I was chuckling as I turned to answer her, because I didn’t know if she was serious or not. Also, when stoned, everything’s funnier.

“Well, sis, whenever you drink at home and they don’t find out about it, do they mind?”

As she walked back to the kitchen, she literally stopped & turned her whole body to reply, hand-on-hip.

“You know what actually? Now that you mention it, every time they don’t find out, they *never* seem to mind.”

I laughed my way into the kitchen, musing over how well air-heads and stoners fit together. Looking into the fridge, my eyes were drawn right to my favorite beer: Corona, fresh limes to be found in the produce drawer below. Our parents must’ve mentioned the beers specifically when they were providing all the booking information; either way, I wasn’t about to question it.

While I was inclined to let Kaylee figure out how to work the wine-opener on her own, she opted to grab a beer and lime slice after she saw me do as much. We took our beers out back to the porch to sit by the pool in the afternoon sun.

“Wow wow wee,” Kaylee remarked again, claiming the chair next to mine.

“I know, right? Mom and dad really set us up well for spring break,” I replied, stonily stating the obvious.

“They did! We should be sure to call them tonight and let them know how everything is,” Kaylee decided, sipping her beer.

“It’s the least we owe them.. but with the time-difference, we should probably wait ’til later tonight,” I pointed out.

“Ooo, I didn’t even think escort bursa of that. Good point, bro.”

“Not the first thing you missed, Special-K. You realise that Joanna thought we were a married couple, right?”

“What? No way, Jackson: we’re brother and sister! Brothers and sisters can’t get married, duh.”

“Oh, sis. I know that. And you know that. But our parents must have booked this whole package for ‘Jackson and Kaylee Reitzer’ without mentioning to the booking agent that we’re blood-related siblings on a relaxed spring break, not a young couple paying generously for a romantic cottage to bone in… Which is why Joanna kept calling us ‘Mr and Mrs Reitzer’ … ” I intoned patiently to her, not for the first time.

“Ohhh, that explains a few things… Does that mean we have to keep acting like a couple as long as we’re here?” she asked, her brow furrowing in concern.

“Hahaha, only if you want to sis,” I laughed lazily, really not caring if she thought I was serious. She followed me inside as I got up to grab another beer to take upstairs and swig while unpacking my duffel in the master bedroom.

I wasn’t two stairs up before Kaylee caught onto where I was going.

“Dibs on the upstairs room!” Kayleed shouted, with more excitement than I’d seen since she greeted me at the airport. This might’ve been the first time the air-head had *ever* beat me in dibs.

‘”Oh, Hell, Kaylee, that’s not fair! I was already on my way up, plus I carried your suitcase in for you, plus the flight and the beer..”

(‘..and the weed’ I mumbled under my breath).

“Hah! You know the rules of ‘Dibs’, big bro,” she sassed at me, hands on her hips.

“I doooo, though I’m starting to regret how well I taught them to you, sis. Let’s at least agree you can’t keep me from using the balcony hot-tub. I *have* to try that baby out a few times while we’re here.”

“Oh, I won’t keep you out of it, but as Dibsmaster, there will be a toll for its use,” she smiled.

You’ve gotta understand that growing up, I *always* beat Kaylee to anything we had to share thanks to Dibs. After explaining how fair the rules of Dibs were to her (along with a number of extensions & corollaries to the rules when specific circumstances arose), I would often revel in my rule as Dibsmaster of the remote-control or radio-station or whatever else life threw at us, while Kaylee always meekly abided.

Not this time, apparently.

“And what, pray-tell little sister, will be the cost to use *your* hot-tub?”

“Boom, I gotcha! Let’s make it simple, big bro. You know how I threw out my shoulder in my last swim tournament– well you can use the hot-tub whenever *you* want, if you give me a back massage whenever *I* want.”

My sister couldn’t be more cocky if she tried.

“Alright, alriiight, agreed,” I conceded.

At least working on my sister’s back and shoulders would get me back into practice for when I had a more appropriate lady in the right position.

“You realise though, that you can actually order a masseuse to come out any time you want.. Joanna mentioned it when she showed us the massage tables out back.”

“Oh. Well… damnit, I didn’t hear her say that. After seeing them, I just thought how nice it would be if only there were someone to give me a massage…”

“Haha, don’t worry about it, sis. I’m sure the professionals have limited working hours– you can use me as back-up if you *really* need to resort to your *brother* loosening up your back. But look, if I have a chick downstairs in my room, don’t think you’ll be getting a back massage from me until I’m free, okay?”

“Deal,” she smiled in reply. “Now be a doll, big bro, and take my suitcase upstairs, will you?”

*************************

After unpacking in our rooms, we both showered, I took another shmoke (a citrus-y sativa from the dispensary), and we met in the kitchen to discuss dinner. We decided to patronize an Italian restaurant from the foyer list, partially because Kaylee wanted an excuse to wear a long, floral, summer dress she’d recently purchased, partially because my munchies were starting to push me towards an overriding desire: Spaghetti.

Our personal driver, Cisco, got to the cottage, and us to the restaurant, in a grand total of 10 minutes: one more sterling example of the quality of service found on a small resort island, I observed. While I still think he was an American faking it, Cisco’s English accent was nothing if not charming, like most everything else we’d come across on the island thus far.

The restaurant hostess logged us in by our names, and finding them in the travel company’s guest registry, showed us right to a table, reminding us not to worry about paying, since our meal was comped as part of our travel package. The server was quick and professional as he told us about the menu. When we both picked the spaghetti, he suggested we get a couple-meal, and was even forward enough to suggest a bottle of wine to accompany. Kaylee led the way in accepting each of his suggestions without realising, due to our booking, that he too thought us a couple. For my part, I was nicely stoned, halfway between ‘this is too funny’ and ‘whatever, don’t really care’.

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