Giselle walked to the door and stopped. She could feel the heat through the screen door and then regretted saying she was going to look for her brother. Leaving the air conditioned house so soon wasn’t really a good idea, but she pushed herself onto the front porch letting the door close behind her.
The moving truck was parked on the curb in front of the house blocking the neighbors who sat out on front of their porch across the street. The next door neighbors to the right didn’t seem like they were at home and the ones on the left were in the backyard starting up a barbeque. She sighed not hearing her little brother’s voice along with any of the neighbor’s kids, sending her off down the block to the corner that was just a 30 second walk away.
Across the way from the neighborhood was a huge grassy area where there was a parking lot straight ahead and two courts off to the left side, a park a little further and then a golf course all the way to the left that was no longer in use until her father had bought it a month ago. Scanning the park, nobody was there playing around, but the basketball courts closed in by a tall, metal fence separating the two were where the party was.
A bunch of guys played on one court that not a lot of people watched and on the other court, guys and girls flocked leaning up against the gate. She made her way over there, noticing her older cousin Brittany who she hadn’t seen in a few years. “GIGI!” Brittany ran over to her with open arms and a big smile. “It’s about time you got over here! Where have you been? Your brother is about to get his ass beat!”
“What?! Where is he?”
“He’s playing against Reece on the basketball court.”
"Okay so why you not stepping in and dragging his ass off the court then?!"
“Because Gigi they don’t play regular basketball out here.” Brittany informed her. “They’re betting, and when somebody steps on the court, they have to play. The gate is locked. Ain’t no way Jarell is getting off that court unless someone wins. And the bet is if Jarell won he’ll take all the money in the Betting Hand, but if he lost Reece said he’d beat his ass to teach him not to step on his court again. And girl, yo lil brother is losing. It’s 8 to 12. They’re going to 15.” Giselle hurried to the fence, unable to see through the thickening crowd. “MOVE!” Brittany demanded. People stepped to the side and the two cousins made their way to the fence.
Giselle saw her little brother, Jarell getting his ankles broke. Lord knows she'd get a mouthful from her mother if she let anything happen to him. So without hesitation, she made her way out of the crowd and hurried down to the gate's entrance. Some tall, dark-skinned man leaned against it.
“Hey,” she called.
He turned around, over-towering Giselle. “What?”
“What are the rules?”
“No girls. That’s the rule.” He turns his back to her, watching the game.
Giselle backed up, sighing in defeat and ready to run home and get her dad in the last attempt. But even then it’d be too late. Maybe she should just let him get his ass beat. He probably talked sht to the guy anyway, she thought. Always back talking somebody and acting like he’s a thug ever since they switched from private school to public school two years ago. Let him learn his lesson about acting tough in a new neighborhood.
“You just gonna stand there and let him get his ass beat,” a deep, chilling voice asks, pushing past Giselle. It was her cousin and Brittany’s older step-brother, Brandon. “Dris, open the fcking gate!” he demanded.
Dris, the man guarding the fence’s gateway, opened it up and called time out on the game. The people groaned as the game was stopped and others became dead silent.
Brittany walked over with some girls following behind her. Brandon snatched Brittany up by her shirt, clenching his jaws. “Fck is yo problem not keeping an eye on family while I’m gone? Too busy tryna talk to these thirsty ass muthafckas, I see! Let me catch your ass out here talking to one of these btch ass niggas!” Brittany kept quiet as her brother breathed her down and let her go. "Take yo ass home!" She stumbled back into her friends and then walked off in anger. “Come on, GiGi,” he says with a straight face walking through the open gateway.
Giselle gathered her strength, breathed in and out, and followed her big and bad cousin onto the court, which only meant one thing: she and Brandon would be playing a game of basketball against Reece in exchange for Jarell.