Welcome to Twelve, a new book of Friday Fiction! This story begins the summer Emily Kingston turns twelve and is about a friendship that changed everything.
I hope you enjoy it!
CHAPTER SIX – LEMONADE
After a day of swimming at Morris Hills, Jackie, Tommy and I sat on our back steps, as we had done almost every afternoon. Our suits had been wet, then sun-dried, then wet again, and we sat holding the tall glasses of lemonade Mom had just given us. My face and my back felt a new layer of heat from sunburn and I was happy to be in the shade. This routine felt like it would go on forever. We didn’t think about how school was starting at the end of the month. The only thing I was thinking about was the lemonade in my hand.
“Hey, let’s have a contest to see who can finish their lemonade first.”
I looked at Jackie. It didn’t matter what we were doing. Jackie always found a way to make a game out of it. Just seconds before, I had been thinking about how I wanted to sit there with my drink, chew on the ice and feel it cool my body from the inside out. Tommy and Jackie stood up and Tommy said, “Okay, but you know I’m a better chugger than you are, Jackie.”
Jackie said, “Come on, Emily. We need three for this race.”
I stood up reluctantly, deciding that I could get another glass once our game was over, and drink that one slowly.
Jackie gave us the preliminary rules. “Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. I’ll say, ‘Ready, set, go’ and the first one with an empty glass wins. I’ll even give you guys the advantage since I have more in my glass. Are we ready?”
We all stood in a circle, facing each other, listening for Jackie’s cue. Our glasses were raised and we heard Jackie’s “Go!” I started drinking. I could see Tommy to my right, guzzling his drink. Then I heard Tommy yell, “Ahhhhhhhhhhh!” and I looked up to see that Jackie had splashed all her lemonade on Tommy.
Tommy’s shirt and face were covered with lemonade. I looked at his startled face. For an instant, he looked vulnerable to me and I felt sorry for what Jackie did. He was wet with lemonade and then Tommy’s face turned from shock to anger. In a split second, he was after Jackie, and in an equally quick flash, Jackie was two leaps ahead of him. He chased her through our backyard and up the street and finally back to the steps. I could tell that Tommy was still mad. He looked like he wanted to fight Jackie. I’d seen Tommy in fights with other boys and thought he stood a pretty good chance of pinning Jackie down and making his point even though he was younger. I didn’t think he would hit her, but I wondered if he would try to shove her or knock her down, like during our game of Capture the Flag. But Tommy, if he considered the thought, decided against it and stood there, angry with no recourse.
Jackie was laughing at her trick. “I win! My glass was empty first!”
Tommy glared at her. “You suck, Jackie.”
“Hey, don’t be a baby. I never said you had to drink your lemonade. You could have done the same thing to me or to Emily.”
“Yeah, the point is, I wouldn’t have, Jackie, and neither would Emily. You always take things too far.”
Tommy went inside, letting the door slam, and Jackie and I sat back down on the steps. Jackie was still laughing when she said, “That was too perfect. Did you see his face?”
I wanted to tell Jackie that I did see his face and that she couldn’t possibly have seen what I saw. I was mad again at my best friend. Then I thought of other things she had done that summer and suddenly I was mad about them too.
“Why did you do that, Jackie? I mean, really, what was the point?”
Jackie laughed again. “You two don’t get it. It was just a joke. So he got wet from my lemonade. It’s not like we haven’t been wet all day from swimming. And it’s not like he’s going to catch a cold or like he was all dressed up in his best clothes. I was just messing with him.”
I gathered up the strength to face Jackie down. Maybe it was a small thing, but I saw Tommy’s face. I knew it wasn’t small to him.
“Well stop messing with him. I think you went too far.”
“Oh, he’ll get over it.”
Thank you for reading.
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