"Melanie, where did you put the chocolate chips?" Whitney McConnell searched the top shelf of the cupboard.
"I put them in the freezer." Melanie Olson carefully measured out two cups of flour.
"Why did you put them there?" Whitney rescued the chocolate chips from their icy prison. "They'll freeze!"
"Sorry, I wasn't thinking."
"I forgive you, but I'm not sure if the chocolate will!" Whitney grinned at her best friend as she pounded the hard, cold bag of chocolate chips on the counter.
Melanie eyed Whitney mischievously, waited until Whitney turned her back, and then bombed her with a handful of flour.
"Melanie!" Whitney squeaked, attempting to brush the flour out of her long braided hair. She gave up on the impossible and hurled a handful of flour back at Melanie.
Melanie giggled and ducked as another flour bomb exploded on the wall above her head. The girls continued their flour war for almost ten minutes. Whitney was the one who finally called it to a stop.
"Mel, wait! Look at the mess we've made!"
The two girls surveyed the kitchen, which had been overpowered by white powder.
"Oh my gosh, Whitney, we are in so much trouble!" Melanie moaned.
Whitney shook her head. "No we're not! Mom, Chloe, and Amber are going to be gone until late tonight, and Dad won't be home from the store for at least twenty minutes.
"What's your point?"
"We can have it cleaned up by then."
"Do you really think so?" Melanie asked doubtfully.
"Sure." Whitney found two rags and tossed one to Melanie. "You take that side and I'll start over here."
For the next twenty-five minutes the two girls washed counters, scrubbed floors, and wiped down cupboards and walls. But they finally got the kitchen back to the state of cleanliness it was in before their flour "war".
"It actually looks pretty good in here!" Melanie decided.
Whitney agreed. "Now let's finish our cookies. I'm hungry!"
"I can't believe the flour caught the stove on fire!" Whitney sat down on her bed.
"I know! We wouldn't have gotten caught if it hadn't." Melanie bit into one of their gooey chocolate chip cookies that they had finished baking.
"We were so smooth! I mean, we had the whole kitchen cleaned and everything, but then when dad got home and tried to cook dinner, the whole burner just went up in flames." Whitney giggled. "It was kind of funny though."
"Yea, it reminded me of something that would happen in a movie!"
"We seem to do stuff like that a lot." Whitney said, recalling the time when the two girls had put baking soda into their homemade biscuits instead of baking powder. Melanie remembered the time that they had put one fourth of a cup of salt into the bread they were making when the recipe only called for one fourth of a teaspoon.
"I've been thinking lately," Melanie said suddenly.
Whitney looked at her. "Oh dear, that's never a good thing!" She joked.
Melanie frowned, "Come on Whitney, give me a break!"
Whitney nodded, "Alright, what have you been thinking about?"
"Amber and Chloe."
"Yea," Melanie took another bite of her cookie. "About how they're so crazy about getting boyfriends."
"Oh I know. I don't understand them!" Whitney shook her head.
"Well, let's think about it." Melanie laid her head down on her pillow.
"Think about what?"
"Their craziness. I mean they have to have some reason, and they are older than us."
"You point being?" Whitney was tired and she wanted the conversation to be over so she could go to sleep.
Melanie sighed. "I'm sure one day we're going to be just as crazy as them. About boys I mean."
"I'm sure we will. But I'm only eleven! They're fifteen!"
"Yea, but it's not like we've never liked a boy or whatever." Melanie pointed out.
"True. Remember that boy in second grade. What was his name? Joshua or something?" Whitney laughed at the memory of the boy that Melanie and she had fought over so many times when they were younger.
"Oh my gosh! Don't remind me!" Melanie covered her face with her hands.
"I know we're going to be interested in guys sooner or later, but I'm really not planning on that happening any time soon. So can we please talk about this later, like a couple years from now so I can go to sleep?" Whitney rolled over and closed her eyes.
Melanie giggled. "Good night Whitney!"
"Sweet dreams Mel."
Whack! Whitney was awakened by a pillow smacking her head. Whack! She covered her face with her arms.
"Get up you guys!" Chloe McConnell, Whitney's 15-year-old sister, tossed a pillow at Whitney.
"Chloe, stop!" Whitney groaned and rolled out of her sleeping bag.
Just then Amber Olson, who was also fifteen, jumped on top of her sister. Melanie screamed and tried to get out from under Amber's body trap.
"Girls, you said you would come jogging with us this morning!" Amber said.
Melanie moaned. "No, we said we would go to the park while you two went jogging and besides, we didn't know you meant at six o'clock! We just fell asleep."
"That's your fault, and it's not six, it's almost ten thirty!" Chloe argued.
Whitney gasped and sat up. "Ten thirty? We have to be ready to leave soon!"
"Where are we going?" Melanie asked.
"We're going skating with Rachel and Jessica, remember?"
"Oh yea, but that's not until two thirty." Melanie tried to go back to sleep. "We have plenty of time."
"No you don't! We're going to the trail. Get up!" Amber grabbed Melanie by the feet and dragged her out of the warm bed.
"I don't want to get up!" Whitney complained.
Chloe held a glass of water above Whitney's head and threatened to spill it.
"Alright, I'm up!" Whitney jumped out of the way just as an icy stream of water poured down on her pillow.
"You have five minutes to get ready." Amber started towards Chloe's room. "We'll be waiting."
Chloe raced after her friend.
"Come on Mel, let's get dressed."
The young girls quickly changed out of their pajamas and into matching pleated, denim skirts and plaid, button up shirts.
"We're matching again!" Melanie exclaimed.
"I know, we can't help it if we like the same clothes." Whitney laughed.
Melanie glanced at their reflections in the oval mirror on Whitney's dresser. "Our friends think we're crazy!"
"It's because we only wear skirts and dresses. But I can't stand pants or shorts, and neither can you." Whitney smiled.
"Exactly. See they just can't understand that." Melanie braided her long, blonde hair and then turned to help Whitney with hers.
"Let's go!" Whitney stepped into her off-white sandals and found Chloe and Amber waiting by the front door.
"What are you two wearing?" Chloe demanded.
Amber scrunched up her nose and shook her head. "Are you two every going to grow up?"
"We wear what we like to wear. Not what other people think we should wear." Whitney answered, looking to Melanie to confirm her statement. Melanie nodded.
"You guys have been wearing the same thing for five years!" Chloe waved her hand at the girls' outfits. "Ruffled, denim skirts and baggy, plaid shirts with mismatched sandals."
"And your hair is a whole other problem!" Amber added. "I mean come on, you haven't cut your hair since you were born, and you've been wearing it in braids every day for the last five years as well!"
"I like my hair." It's taken me eleven years to grow it this long." Whitney argued, fingering the ends of her blonde braids.
Melanie agreed. "Just because you cut your hair Amber, it doesn't mean we have to too!"
"There's nothing wrong with having long hair, I have long hair, but it's just the way you wear it. You could at least style it a little." Chloe said. "You don't even wear any makeup!"
"I'm in the sixth grade!" Whitney laughed.
"Well next year you'll be starting Jr. High and I really think that you should try doing something different with yourself if you want to have any friends."
"I agree completely." Amber nodded. "Melanie, you're starting Jr. High this year, don't you think you should at least consider wearing makeup or something?"
"Why?" Melanie questioned.
"Never mind! Let's go, Chloe." Amber led the way out of the house and the four girls started down the street towards the waterfront park, three blocks from the McConnell's house.
"Do you think that they're right Mel?" Whitney whispered as the two girls dropped behind a couple feet so they could talk privately.
"I don't know. Part of me wants to just completely ignore them, but the other part can't help thinking they're right!" Melanie said.
"Gosh, why do big sisters have to mess everything up?" Whitney complained. "I was perfectly happy with my life and then they come and say stuff like that. Now I'm not sure about anything, and my day has been ruined!"
Melanie laughed. "Oh Whitney! It's not half as bad as you make it sound!"
"Yes it is Melanie!"
"We're not even sure if they had a point or not. Let's not let it worry us today!" Melanie tried to cheer up her friend, "We're going to have a great day with Rachel and Jessica today, remember that."
"I'll try to be happy for you Mel," Whitney put on a smile and the two girls ran to catch up to their sisters.