a machia-belly-an scheme

Chapter 1

"I hope it's not inappropriate to ask…but what did he die from?"

It was Matt McClain and his girlfriend, Saira Rodriguez, walking home from their last day of senior year. Matt, at eighteen, 5'11, and still shooting up like a beanpole, had his hands shoved into pockets of posh designer jeans under an untucked vintage band shirt. His brown hair was an untidy mess of stray cowlicks after a long day of running his hands through it in a series of harrowing phone calls taken secretly in stairwells.

Apparently, his eccentric old grandfather had just passed away.

"He was just really old. 86."

"Heard, 86 Grandpa," Saira replied. Matt couldn't help but snort.

It was a restaurant joke. Saira's family owned one; a depressing little low-carb, gluten-free, keto joint uptown by the city mall, and she looked every bit the part of a girl who had grown up in a place like that. Small and thin despite being a year older than Matt–the workload had once seen her held back a year due to a lack of adequate time to study–she had raven hair, hollow cheeks, and a pinched smile that never quite reached her eyes. Hers was a sad sort of beauty that always tugged at his heartstrings…and hers was a sardonic sense of humor that never failed to put a smile on his face, even if it was a begrudging one.

They had actually met at the restaurant. He became a regular, and she charmed him. The food wasn't fantastic, but it was fuel enough for his athletic lifestyle.

"I didn't mean to make light–"

"I'm glad you did," said Matt. "It's gonna be an…interesting summer. I'm a little nervous, I can use all the laughs I can get."

"What's up?"

"My dad's sending me to stay with Gramps' widow." His young, plump widow. "I'm supposed to console her, or something. She's pretty torn up."

At least, that was the version of the story he was telling.

His grandfather had left everything to Gloria. Matt, at his father's behest, was to work her over and see if she would send a bit of the money their way. It didn't feel right, but he had his orders.

Not without his concerns, though.

"The thing is," he continued, "she's sort of a big lady, and I'm worried if her eating habits rub off on me…if I got fat like her, I could lose my track scholarship. Plus, I wouldn't want you to be stuck dating some fatty."

"Matt, are you kidding me?" Saira implored him. "Forget my parents for a minute. I'm not judgmental like them. No matter what you weigh, I will always love you."

His mind said, 'I hope.'

And then his lips said, "You're the best."

And then, they made their separate ways home.
1 chapter, created 3 months , updated 3 months
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