Chapter Two: Earlier That Day

"Ja-ack" John did that whole little dragging my name out with his annoyance that was clearly not trying to stay hidden like he did at least a hundred times a week as if it would get me to move any faster. What can I say? It was Friday. The end of the week, finally! And as usual, all my energy was almost completely drained from my body. I started walking down the steps and heard someone counting from the kitchen, when all of the sudden my brain woke up to remind me of the third step that had a huge hole in it. But it was too late, I felt my foot go through the hole, causing my body to become extremely unbalanced. I screamed and covered my head, as I felt my entire body summersault down the next seven steps.

"I'M OKAY!" I shouted from the ground as soon as I quickly checked with my mind that nothing was hurt to badly. I got up and walked into the kitchen feeling slightly dizzy. I looked at the head of the table where my step-dad, Daniel, did a quick look-over to make sure that I was actually "ok" and went back to his newspaper. Next to him was John smirking at me, then there was Derek who was having one of the hardest times of not laughing really hard, Kate looked confused, probably because she didn't know whether should be concerned or laugh with Derek and John, Patience just looked at me and shook her head sadly, but she was also smiling.

"Daniel, you really need to fix that step. Jackie is going to get herself killed one of these Fridays." I looked up at my mom who was cleaning the pan she just made pancakes and sausage on. Ah, the normality of Friday rituals. Before you ask, the answer is "yes", every Friday morning I fall down the stairs. It's been like that for the past two months. You'd think I'd learn after the first fall. But unfortunately, I suffer from some sort of memory loss every Friday morning when I get up. My mom believes it's from me falling down the stairs, but I think it has to do with the school trying to teach me too many things at once and when Friday rolls around I'm too brainwashed from school that I forget what happens at my home life.

John found the whole thing so amusing that about after the third time I fell down the steps, he invited the rest of The Elements, because they didn't believe that I actually fell. It wasn't until they heard me hitting every step a couple of times before they started laughing also. Kate and Patience were the only ones who didn't laugh like hyenas. Ah, see there are some friends that love me, but I do fear the Kate will soon be laughing.

Then a tradition started, every Friday morning The Elements would gather at John and my house, mom would cook something, and I would fall down the stairs, mom would mention to Daniel about fixing that step and Daniel would nod and say something about me needing to pay more attention.

"Well, Jack needs to watch out for that step." Ah, see? I told you so.

"Well, if Daniel would just listen to mother and fix the dang thing." I used the same bored but important voice he used. He looked over the newspaper at me and gave me a death glare.

"Jack."

"Daniel."

"Ss." Derek, and John laughed and Patience just smiled, as did mom.

"I don't get it." Kate looked around at everyone looking confused.

"Jack Daniels." Patience told her, and Kate gave her a blank look. "A brand of Whiskey…"

"Oh, I get it." Kate sounded like the just found the cure to cancer, and the rest of The Elements rolled their eyes and laughed.

!!

"Later, Mom," John ran out the door with his over packed backpack in his hands, then there was a loud bang when the screen door closed.

"See ya, Mrs. R!" the screen door slammed again as Derek ran outside.

"Bye," Kate followed.

"Thank you for breakfast, Mrs. Raney, have a great day," Patience smiled at my mom and was then shoved out the door by me.

"Bye, Mom!" I ran out the door, letting the screen door slam one final time.

We all climbed onto our bikes and headed towards school.

"Hey, John, what's the formula for slope?" I heard Patience call from the head of the line before she moved to the side and slowed down enough for everyone to pass her, then rejoined the line.

"MX, rise over run, X two minus X one over Y two minus Y one. Kate, who said the quote 'Give me liberty or give me death' and why?" John then repeated what Patience did, and moved to the end of the line.

"Patrick Henry, during the American Revolution, before he got hung as a spy by the British. Derek, name two famous paintings by Picasso." Kate then moved to the end of the line.

"Guernica and The Young Ladies of Avignon. Jack, one plus one?" Everybody laughed but me, but I couldn't help but smile.

"You still can't figure that one out, Derek?" there was a round of "ooo"s and "burn" that went around.

"Okay, okay. For real this time, what was the last state to rejoin the Union after the civil war and what was the date?" He cycled to the end of the line.

"Georgia rejoined on July 15, 1870." I paused to take a breather, we were traveling up this huge hill and I was getting out of breath, "Okay, Patience… what… was… the… name… of… that… dude… who… wrote… Julius… Caesar?" I stopped my bike completely and got off and walked the rest of the hill. I really hated this hill. If it could be called a hill. It's more like a wall. Man, there is seriously a reason why I don't exercise.

"William Shakespeare." Patience shouted to me as she passed me by. Then I watched as John, Kate, and Derek passed me as well. This was our study group. On the ride home on Mondays we'll talk about what up coming test we'll have, then though out the week we'll help each other study for them, and then on Fridays we'll quiz each other by taking turns. The whole person in the front of the line asking the question and then moving to the back just kind of happened one Friday, and we've been doing it ever since, switching up the order as we made our way to school.