Authors: Heather Van Fleet
Tags: #Perfect Timing#1
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When It’s Least Expected Copyright © 2013 Heather Van Fleet
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Cover art by Dakota Trace
Published in electronic book format April 2013
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“Come on, David. You know you want to at least try to go! Pretty please, with a big,
delicious cherry on top … for me?” Harley Anderson seriously thought she’d never live
to see this day. This one, single day when she’d be down on her knees, arms outstretched
prayer, begging and pleading with her twin David to go with her to their high school’s
first football game of the season.
“It’s not going to happen, Har, so just lay the hell off for once, would you?” David
barked, pushing past her. His jaw clenched in what was probably irritation, but Harley
knew what was best for him. He
to go to that game. It was life or death in the sports world for her brother, and
Harley knew, without a doubt, that he’d regret this day if he stayed at home to mope
like the skilled loner he’d become.
Harley crossed her arms over her chest, heaving herself onto the floor, legs crossed.
eyes narrowed, her lips pursed in frustration, and she groaned. This was
not happening! She turned her head, watching as he wheeled away, his anger evident
as he whipped his shoes off against the closet door. Harley snorted and shook her
head. It was painfully obvious that he was in
kind of mood today. Lucky for him, she knew just exactly what to do.
Now … if only he’d listen to her…
She picked at a lone hangnail, gathering the right words to say in her head. How did
convince him to go when she hated the sport herself? Seriously, if she wanted to watch
a bunch of barbaric animals running up and down a field of grass, then she’d go to
the prairie park two counties over! She never understood the appeal of throwing balls
and jumping on top of each other anyways. Oh, and the sweat … just … ick! You didn’t
even want to get her started on the sweat or the smells that accompanied said sweat.
She shivered at the thought, staring over at David’s pale profile.
“It’s the first game of the year, and you’ve gone since we were four, David!” Harley
whined, pounding her fist into her lap; her bright, brown eyes begged and pleaded
with the boy who was both her best friend and her brother. His answering scowl said
it all. Um, yeah,
apparently he wasn’t falling for her puppy eyes anymore.
She heaved a heavy sigh, rising off the hard wooden floor of his room, resolved that
would never get him out of his funk. Pigs could fly, and cows could jump over the
moon, but David would still be there … moping his life away.
Luckily she loved a challenge.
“Would you just give me a break, Har? I’m tired, like I just ran a marathon legless
of tired.” Her shoulders slouched, her heart followed suit as she moved across the
room. God, she was failing with her sisterly duties once again. But David was one
tough nut to crack, so she had to give herself some credit for at least trying.
She stretched her arms out in front of her and interlocked her fingers, regretting
her five minutes of floor begging. She made her way towards the floor to ceiling mirror
that hung on his wall next to his door. She twirled as she approached her reflection,
eyes wide as she studied the white, mid-length skirt that she’d picked to wear. She
cocked her head to the side practically staring holes through the material, grinning
inside as she did. It was feminine, floating around her bony knee like a butterfly’s
wings. For once, she almost looked and felt like a girl.
“Besides,” David continued behind her, his voice low and hinting of sadness. She
blinked, staring back at his reflection in the mirror behind her, noting his matching
brown eyes looking equally as sad as his voice. Her chest tightened, her heart burned,
but she refused to give up on him. He reached for the break release on his chair,
and scooted closer to her. “I’m not in the mood to have pity eyes on me all night
because of this damn chair.”
He stared down at his one, under muscled leg, releasing that world famous, half-hearted
David shrug that he almost always saved for when he was lying. Harley knew that move
all too well. She had one similar herself. In that one single moment, Harley had finally
come to the conclusion that her brother had to be either severely depressed or truly
insane. Either way she was done with his feeling sorry for himself attitude.
It was time to pull out the big guns.
“Sure, big brother,” she bit her lip, praying he’d fall for it. It was all she had
left, “I’ll just go with Abigail then.” She sighed, letting her eyelashes bat heavily
against her cheek as she stared down at her intertwining fingers.
She moved unhurriedly towards the bed, sitting on the edge with an extra bounce when
she reached it. She slapped her hands against her lap, heaving out yet another sigh.
“I mean, we
going to meet her there anyways, so I guess it’s not a big deal if she picks me up…”
She chanced another look at David, noting how his wide eyes had popped with the
mention of her best friend. His lips twitched, his jaw clenched, and he all but rewarded
her with his famous middle finger wave. Harley grinned menacingly in response. She
was getting to him.
But oh no, she wasn’t done, not by a long shot.
“You know, she’s been asking about you ...” The statement hung in the air between
and Harley held her breath. A button had finally been hit when she noticed his normally
dull eyes brighten. He was intrigued … finally! She straightened her spine as she
waited for a response.
She was officially one step away from an “I did it” fist pump. Now all she had to
do was wait for his yes…
Abigail, her best friend in the world, was
the key when it came to David and his emotions. The two of them were
in love with each another, and had been since the age of six when David secretly
stuck little balls of red play dough into Abigail’s ears. Abigail rewarded him back
by dumping an entire container of grape Kool-Aid on his head.
Young love had never been so sweet…
Now, if only life was still that simple. “Crap, Harley,” he groaned.
Harley blinked, instantly knocked out of her daydream. She stared back at David, noting
all traces of happiness had been wiped from her brother’s lips. In its place was a
frown that never seemed to cease.
Crap, he wasn’t going to comply.
“I just…” He paused, running a hand threw his long shaggy brown hair, “…can’t tonight.
Tell her I’m sorry and that I said hey though, okay?”
And boom, he was back to square one, sounding even more defeated than before.
With her shoulders slouched for real this time, and doubt weighing heavily on her
Harley was officially ready to give up, but in order to keep her role as the family’s
argumentative member of the group, she had to try, at least once more.
to get out of that house! And Harley
to be the one to make him.
“Daaaaviiiiiid…” she droned, stomping her bare feet as she began to chase his retreating
body out the door.
Damn he was fast in that chair.
“Come with me, God damn it, and start freaking living again!”
She cringed, slapping a hand over her mouth, instantly regretting the ridiculously
swear word she’d just spouted off. She paused, letting her ears open wide as she waited
for the inevitable.
“Watch your language, Harley Ann!” Right on cue … her mother had some seriously
Harley shrugged, staring over at their mother’s office door. The verbal warning was
better than the alternative of course. Money in the swear jar sucked, especially when
she was on a limited budget.
“Sorry, Mom! Won’t happen again!” Harley rolled her eyes as her voice dripped with
sappy satire. David chuckled a few feet ahead of her as he turned towards the kitchen,
Harley snarled at his backside, almost forgetting her original intentions.
She’d reached the door frame of the kitchen seconds later, gnawing on her lip as she
watched him struggle to stand on one leg. He stumbled, grabbing the countertop as
he simply tried to reach for a cup alongside the sink. She gripped the side of her
shirt, so she wouldn’t automatically reach out for him. He didn’t want help, a fact
made known a while ago, but it was still hard to fight her heroine instincts.
He moved back to his chair to wheel towards the fridge and successfully poured himself
glass of milk. He downed it in one, slow gulp. Harley exhaled a slow, quiet breath.
Yeah, her brother was one legged, but he wasn’t an invalid; she had to remember that.
She glanced at the clock on the wall. It was a quarter after six. Dammit, she’d run
time. Guess she’d forego her annoying begging after all. It apparently wasn’t going
to work anyways.
“Fine, whatever … don’t go, but please, David, next time…?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll go next time.” He shrugged. She grinned. Hey, it was a start at
“Next time though, watch out because I am totally dragging your butt out of that wheel
chair, and making you go!” She crossed her arms, and tapped her toe. She was the epitome
of stubborn, and no snarky, big attitude jerk like her brother would stop her from
getting her way.
“You know I love you, Har, and I promise you I’ll get out of this funk soon.” He so
obviously lied as he leaned back on his wheels. His arms bulged around his t-shirt.
The boy would lay anyone flat with muscles that huge. She didn’t call him on his lie
in the end. Like she said, she’d done all she could, so what was the point of adding
more drama to the mix?
An uncomfortable silence passed between them as Harley stared blankly over his
shoulder out the kitchen window. She blinked a few times as the guilt of his accident
ate away at her once again. She swallowed a lump in her throat, to keep her emotions
in check, as she
refocused on his face staring up at her.
Dammit … wasn’t this supposed to get easier? Wasn’t the guilt supposed to go away?