Ryrie's fine, light brown hair billowed out as she ran. Her laughter floated in the breeze. Crandon and Michael tackled her and missed. It would take a long time until they could steal back their hats.
Ryrie had known Crandon and Michael since fourth grade, and the trio had been almost inseparable. The time they really got close to losing their friendship is when Crandon and Ryrie had a boyfriend and girlfriend relationship and when Michael was being left out of their conversation pieces. Alas, times had changed and Ryrie broke up with Crandon, yet their friendship was preserved.
"Come on, Ryrie! Give us our hats back!" Crandon called out.
"Yeah, just give them back!" Michael exclaimed.
"Now why would I do that?" Ryrie laughed. Her clear blue eyes shone in the sunlight.
Ryrie was giving them payback for all the times they had stolen her purse in fifth and sixth grade. She picked up a little bit of speed and ran through the green field. She dodged them at any cost.
This soon became a game for her. She was laughing so hard at their silly attempts to get back what was rightfully theirs made her fall down. The guys were laughing with her, and soon, the trio was trying to tame their giggles on the ground.
"So, you guys want your hats back?" Ryrie smiled.
"I guess we could take them." Crandon chuckled.
"Hey, wait. Who's that chick over there?" Michael said pointing to a girl with wavy, dirty-blonde hair.
"Oh, you mean Sammy? She's new, but I went to school with her in first through third grade." Ryrie replied.
"She's been staring at me all day. You know, she's kind of hot." Michael said.
"I'll hook you up with her." Ryrie offered. "Here's your hats back."
"Thanks." Crandon and Michael muttered.
Just then the bell rang. Ryrie popped up and ran to the line to get inside. Her next class was Tech, and she didn't want to miss it. Sammy had told Ryrie her schedule was the same as hers.
"I wish she didn't break up with me." Crandon sighed as he and Michael slowly headed inside.
"Well, I'm glad she did. If not, the three of us wouldn't be friends." Michael replied.
"Yeah well, being an item really is a weird situation. I mean, I wouldn't do anything to offend her, and she was waiting for me to make a move. She's so prude."
"At least she's going to hook me up with that one chick. I think her name's Samantha, right?"
"Let's hope! I like that better than Sammy."
The two guys laughed as the teachers ushered them in.
Fifth bell rang. Ryrie rushed out of her homeroom to get a decent seat in Tech. Most of the time all the seats in the back were taken and she had to sit up front. That was a really bad position to be in when checking email without wanting Mr. Haler to know.
Ryrie grabbed two seats in the back and told Sammy to sit here.
"So, Sammy," Ryrie asked, "have you seen any cute boys yet?"
"Yeah, well, I think it was one of your friends." Sammy said, brushing her long, blonde hair.
"Was one with long brownish-black roots with caramel tips the one you were checking out?"
"No, it was the one with dirty-blonde short hair." Her green eyes seemed to be picturing him.
"Oh, you mean Michael? I'll hook you up with him if you want."
"You would do that? Thanks!" Samantha shook her hair with relief.
"Hey, you want to come over after school?"
"Sorry, I can't. I'm grounded."
"That sucks. Would you like to come about next Friday for a sleepover?"
"Sure, that'd be lovely." Ryrie faced the computer screen as she began their assignment.
After school, Ryrie walked home with Michael and Crandon.
"So, how about going out with Samantha?" Ryrie asked Michael.
"That'd be nice."
"Well, she wants to go out with you, so call her. Here's her phone number!" Ryrie handed Michael Samantha's phone number as Michael went into his house. "So, Crandon, what's up with you? You've been looking funny since recess."
"Nothing's wrong. I just- never mind." Crandon sighed.
"Please tell me!" Ryrie had to know what went through other people's minds. It helped her find out who her friends are and aren't.
"IT'S NOTHING, OK?" Crandon shouted.
"Ok…" Ryrie felt intimidated.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean for it to come out that way." Crandon apologized sensing the objection in her face.
"Just, let it be." Ryrie hastened her pace and swiftly got home.
"Man, I blew it!" Crandon scolded himself.
Ryrie grabbed some CD's and her portable CD player. She walked over to the deserted park and laid there in the grass, near the daisies.
Just then, she saw Sammy, Michael, and Crandon walking over to the basket ball court. She scurried and hid out of site among the bushes, close enough that she could hear their conversation.
"So, you did ask Ryrie to come, right Sam?" It sounded like Crandon.
"Of course I did! Unfortunately, she couldn't come." Ryrie was sure Sammy was speaking that time.
"But Sammy, I've already hired some guys!" Crandon exclaimed as it started raining.
"I know, I know, but the thing is, I just wanted some alone time with you and Michael without Ryrie knowing we're here" Samantha grinned. "Gosh, this rain is going to ruin my hair!"
"Why wouldn't she want the three of us together without her knowing?"
"Oh, I thought you and her boyfriend and girlfriend."
"Where would you have gotten that impression?"
"You two are always hanging out, and I've heard that you've gone out before."
"So, what's your point?"
"You still like her."
"No, I don't!" Crandon yelled indignantly.
"Oh, I can tell by the way you look at her that you like her. Michael also told me that you wish you would've never broken up.
"Whatever. The guys are coming anyway, so I'm going to head-"
"AHHH!" Ryrie screamed from behind the bushes.
The men Crandon had hired were attacking her. See, Crandon gave them a picture of her so that way they didn't mistakenly attack someone else, like Sammy.
There was a loud crack and Ryrie assumed that her leg was spit into two, because of a pain that hurt like a thousand daggers stabbing into one's skin. There was another crack. This time she thought it was her right arm. Both her other arm and her leg were broken.
Crandon just stood there in disbelief.
"Hey, Crandon, where's our money?" The strongest of the group asked him.
"Uh, here it is." Crandon slipped them a wad of money and as fast as the gang came, they went.
"Crandon, how could you?" Tears stung her eyes with the pain consuming her.
"I, um, I just-"
"I can't believe you guys were talking about me behind my back and have just hired an assault group to break every bone in my body! What were you thinking?"
"Well, they weren't supposed to hurt you. I was supposed to come out at a precise time and save you, that way you'd love me."
"So, that's what you're blaming it on? For goodness sake! You were trying to catch my eye and make me your slave of eternal gratitude? You were to make me love you by foul play? By gosh, you're pathetic!"
If Ryrie could, she would have kicked him, really hard, but with her legs broken, alas, she couldn't. She held back her tears, and slowly got up.
"I hate you!" She yelled. "I HATE YOU!" Tears started to roll down her cheek, along with blood from a scratch she had gained from the attackers.
Crandon started, "Ryrie, I-"
"NO! I don't want to hear another word out of you! You have disrespected me!"
"It was you guys who did that?" Sammy acted like she didn't know about it. "How dare you do that to this poor-"
"SILENCE! I've heard enough out of you. You knew all about this!"
"No buts. I'm leaving, and not once will you hear from me again. Don't try to apologize, it won't change the way that I feel. Be gone!
Michael and Crandon bowed their heads in shame. Sammy just stared at her and rolled her eyes.
"What did I do? I mean, ugh, she is such a loser! I was never her friend, that ugly fiend." Though Samantha.
Ryrie wobbled home. With every step she took, the pain felt like it was a fire was licking her all over her body. The rain, that normally soothed her, weighed her down. She had left her CD player at the park, for it was useless after the rain had hit it.
Ryrie felt like she was being watched and followed. She slowly spun round looking for the culprit.
"Who are you?" Ryrie bellowed. "Show your face. Tell me your name. I am awaiting the lurking figure of the shadow I have seen."
Ryrie heard a crunch of feet on the leaves and awaiting a bulky man with a scruffy beard and a bright red face, she found herself looking at a little girl. She appeared to only be in second grade. She had fine light brown hair and clear blue eyes.
"Celeste? Is that you?" She had just gained control, but at this strange site, tears poured down Ryrie's face. "Celeste?"
Suddenly the image dissipated right before her eyes.
"It's foolish to believe that it was her." Ryrie told herself. "Celeste has been dead for four years. I wouldn't see her again today. Today's just an ordinary day."