A couple days later is when the real trouble began. My folks had gone off to church and I’d slept in until the rising summer heat made it too hot to stay in bed. Now I know it was mostly my fault and I ain’t making excuses, but I was still yawning and wiping sleep from the corners of my eyes when I left my bedroom. I wasn’t much used to sharing spaces having no siblings and I guess what part of me remembered Becky being around just assumed she’d gone off with Mom and Dad to church. The bathroom door wasn’t locked either and it swung right open for me. I stopped in my tracks only a half step inside and if I’d backed out right then and closed the door things might’ve stayed a bit calmer.
Becky stopped wiping a hole in the fog on the mirror and turned her head real slow like in my direction. I was blinking trying to figure out if I was still in bed asleep or if my bathroom really could produce that much steam. It was humid enough on the outside, but in that little room it was thunder storm weather. Becky must have thought I was blinking for different reasons though cause she let out a blood curdling scream that probably could have been heard on the moon.
I took one step back and said, “Sorry.”
She grabbed a towel and draped it in front of herself. It was only then, it’s the truth I swear, that I realized Becky wasn’t wearing anything except bra and panties. If it’d been my intention to catch her like that I’d have at least brought along my Polaroid to capture the moment. Course she didn’t see things quite the same.
“Pervert!” she screamed and grabbed her hairbrush off the counter to wave menacingly in my direction. She took a step toward me and lost her hold on her towel. It fell to the floor between us and she stared down at it looking betrayed while I gawked at her nearly non-existent tan lines. I wasn’t blinking no more until the back of her hairbrush smacked up against the side of my cheek.
“What the,” I said and took another step back, stopping myself short of actually cursing in front of a lady, “heck was that for?”
I’m guessing Becky didn’t have an answer. She raised up her hairbrush and swung it toward me again only I managed to get my hand in the way before it struck my face. The crack of it against the back of my hand echoed in the hallway and left me shaking my hand something fierce. When I saw her raising the brush again, I decided it was time to run. I could have taken it away from her, but I was taught not to raise a hand to a girl and though the situation suggested it might have been an exception to the rule, the wild look in her eyes scared me.
Had I stopped and thought about direction before running, I would have headed straight for my room and barricaded the door, but I was still half asleep and not thinking. I wound up in the living room and Becky stayed right on my heels. Somehow we ended up on opposite sides of the couch and it was just big enough to keep her from hitting me. She moved left, I went right and so on. It was safe enough except she showed no signs of giving up.
“Coward,” she said.
I bristled at the word, but stayed on my safe side of couch. “I said I was sorry.”
“Why don’t you come on over here and my brush will teach you about sorry,” Becky said.
The clock on the shelf behind her told me my folks would be home soon and I knew that wouldn’t be good if we were still in the living room, specially with Becky more undressed than dressed. I imagined Dad would more or less have expected me to have gone blind under the circumstances and try as I might I couldn’t help staring at my cousin.
“Maybe you should go get dressed?” I said.
“What’s the matter?” Becky asked. Her tone had the taunting ring of a playground bully. “Are you afraid your Mom and Dad might find out you’re a Peeping Tom?”
“It was an honest mistake,” I said.
She shook her head. “It’s only honest if you tell the truth.”
Our little dance might still be going on if it weren’t for Mom and Dad coming in the front door. The slam of the door had Becky and I both looking to them and they stopped pretty short on entering the house. Dad’s face got that dark look I knew was never a good sign and Mom couldn’t seem to keep her jaw from dropping. I imagine from their perspective, things had to look pretty bad.