Image courtesy of Southern Arkansas University via attribution license on Flickr Creative Commons (Attribution Link)
Phillip was counting the coins again. It was a meditation for him, a way to calm whenever he felt shaky and big crowds upset him. Brandon knew that, so he was grateful Phillip had agreed to come down to the park. It wasn't easy for Phillip, but he came willingly, for his brother.
There, at the end of the table, Brandon could see the girl he'd been hoping to see. He didn't know her name yet, but he already had a favorite among the pairs of short denim shorts she favored. He liked the ones with the silver fan designs on the pockets. She was wearing them now. When she looked back their direction, he smiled at her. It felt like one of those moments--shared laughter across a room, an inside joke.
Still, he was surprised when she walked their direction. He started to rise to greet her. More surprised yet when she sat down opposite Phillip and took his hand in hers. "Hi Philip!" she said. Her voice was bright, but sincere. Did she know his brother? "I've missed you, Baby." Baby? Phillip kept counting his coins, smiling his little smile, but he didn't pull back his hand. Phillip, who had trouble letting his big brother touch him, was letting this girl hold his hand?
Without letting go of Phillip's hand, the girl smiled at Brandon. "You must be Brandon. I'm Kandace. I'm Philip's girlfriend."