Did I mention how brave I am for doing this? I thought you should know.
I had no idea what an anglophile was until Jackson called me one, which was really surprising given that my vocabulary has got to be twice as big as his is. I wasn’t about to ask him what it meant—I’d never hear the end of it so I had to wait until he left before I could figure out how seriously he had insulted me. I whipped through my dictionary, tearing through such mundane words as aeration and angle before I finally found it. Anglophile: n. someone who holds an extremely romanticized view of the English. Well then, that’s exactly what I am.
After all, there’s Prince Harry, the blokes of One Direction, and the entire cast of Downton Abbey. I love them all. With all my heart. Jackson teases me like crazy about it all, and he especially thinks it’s a riot that I plan on going to Oxford.
“What are you going to do?” he asked me. “Marry an English lord?”
Actually, that’s exactly what I’m planning on doing, but I’m not about to tell Jackson this. It will just send him rolling off the sofa and right out my front door. Not that that would be a bad thing.
I don’t know why they boy is so determined to give me such a hard time. I’m sure he picked it all up from his best friend and my older brother, Wade, who much to my relief finally left for college. I couldn’t wait for the day that the goading, the teasing, and the hazing would stop, and as payment for all my long-suffering, Wade would finally bequeath me his room. It’s the least Wade could do for me. I mean I’m pretty sure that once I can start making my own health decisions, I’m going to need some serious therapy for all the damage my brother’s done. Jackson just seems determined to run up my bill, and let me tell you something. Psychiatrists are not cheap.
So anyway, last Saturday afternoon, Jackson and I were fighting over the DVR remote. He wanted to watch the Jazz game, and I suggested Sherlock Holmes, which I thought a fairly good compromise, but Jackson, as a rule, avoids anything on Masterpiece Theater. Since I live with four brothers, the back of the remote’s was missing as were the batteries so neither one of us got what we wanted.
Jackson wasn’t very happy about it, and after he rummaged through our junk drawers and still came up empty handed, he decided it was time to give me another’s driver’s license.
I know that most girls at our school would die to get in a car with Jackson, but I’m not like most girls around here. I did not vote for him as most as the most preferred man on campus. I don’t think his eyes are that blue—certainly not the blue of Colgate’s sparkly fun toothpaste which is what Kayla says.
I also really don’t like it when Jackson acts like such a know-it-all especially in an area where my expertise is wanting. I’m also dealing with some serious post-traumatic stress due to an incident that happened a year ago, an incident that Jackson unfortunately witnessed. He feels it his duty to remind me about it every week and usually throws in a few guffaws for good measure.
A year ago, our family went up to visit my uncle’s cabin. Wade invited Jackson as always. I had this crazy idea that while the boys nailed each other with ice balls and stuffed each other’s shirts down with snow, I would curl up with a George Eliot novel and a cup of white hot chocolate.
Nobody had warned me about the snowmobiles.
Before I knew it, my dad put me on a Polaris, gave me a thirty second course on how to drive it and then zoomed up the mountain on his own snowmobile. Wade and Jackson were right behind him on their snowmobiles which they seemed quite adept at driving. Unfortunately, I was not. I got the brakes and the throttle completely mixed up and raced right towards a lovely thicket of Aspens, lovely until I plowed into them. Since it took them a while to figure out that I wasn’t following him, I was left all alone, a poor damsel in distress, smoking coming out of the engine and neither a Mr. Knightly or a Mr. Darcy in sight. It was most upsetting. And my dad got mad at me, saying I wrecked his best friend’s toy. Jackson and Wade were standing behind him trying not to snort, while my dad continued to rant with such aplomb that I learned a few words that were not found in my unabridged Oxford dictionary.
So excuse me if grinding Jackson’s stick shift right in front of him doesn’t get me all excited, especially since I know I’m just giving him fodder for more jabs in the future.
Jackson drives an old blue Toyota corolla and rumor is that he paid A.J. Rasmussen twenty-five dollars and a pair of roller blades for it. He opened the driver’s door for me and knowing what I was in for, I decided to dish it to him while I still could. “Oh. Have Hansel and Gretel been through here?” I asked as I brushed away a bunch of crumbs off my seat.
He smiled as he tossed me the keys, which I dropped because his dimples were distracting me. Seriously, his dimples are absolutely charming, and they would have won me over a long time ago, if Jackson wasn’t so annoying.
“Jackson, I’m really not in the mood to drive right now,” I said, pushing my hair behind my ears like I meant business.
“Are you ever?”
I reluctantly put the keys in the ignition and tried to put the car into reverse. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to get the reverse and 4th gear mixed up in a blue Toyota Corolla, and corollas are not about to let this kind of thing go unnoticed. Finally, after the car had protested long enough, Jackson put his hand over mine, which was trembling over the stick shift, and put the car into reverse. He kept his hand on top of mine while I slowly backed out of the driveway, and when I finally got out onto the street, he moved my hand into first gear and said, “Well, Lizzie, why didn’t you tell me you were going to take so long? I could have finished my calculus assignment.”