Reggie was grinning as he leaned out the window of his buddy’s pickup. His buddy being Mark Thompson, their quarterback.
Mister Ed. He hated that nickname because… well, he didn’t like to think about it so he pushed it aside.
He gave his head a shake and continued down the street. He was on a mission. He had to buy his sister a birthday card. Grace was turning 22 tomorrow and he wanted to get her a really pretty card. A pretty card for a pretty woman! He blushed at the inappropriate thought. He’d known Grace since she was 10 and he came to live with her and her mom Shirley Wilson when he was just a young boy of 6.
When his mom died in a car accident, Shirley, being her cousin and the only living kin available, took him in. He found out later that her charity was mostly to get her hands on his mother’s limited estate and the insurance money. Shirley made sure he was aware that she was not replacing his mother. She also told him that while he was actually her cousin once removed he could call her Aunt Shirley for simplicity. She did make efforts to keep him fed, clothed, sheltered and educated.
Through the years he’d spent with her she’d often remind him of those efforts. He heard her complain that he ate too much to afford keeping him fed, grew too fast to keep him in clothes that fit, was too big for their furniture, and most recently wasn’t smart enough to get a job to pay back those debts he owed her for taking him in. Shirley wasn’t exactly the warm and fuzzy type.
Grace had been delighted to find Ed was an easy going little brother who pretty much let her do anything to him as long as he was allowed to hang out with her. Dressing up, make up parties, you name it, if Grace wanted to do it Ed would be right there indulging his new big sister. She had no idea the young boy was starving for the lost love of his mother and would take anything resembling affection.
All she knew was that Ed was a fun new plaything. She had more of a nurturing nature than her mother and until she reached that age where boys suddenly became attractive, she would cuddle up to him on the couch to watch TV with him.
When the puberty fairy started to fill her out in areas Ed was secretly enthralled by she began to restrict her physical signs of affection to ruffling his hair, pats on the back, an occasional kiss on the cheek, and the even more rare hug but she always had a smile and kind word for him. She saved the boy from a very lonely childhood and he loved her deeply for it. Though they were second cousins they grew up together as brother and sister.