Summertime

Summertime

The buzzing of the air conditioner signaled summer was here. My English Literature teacher, Mrs. Pooles, was currently discussing a play by Shakespeare. It didn't make sense that she would have a lecture so late in the year; hopefully she wouldn't give us an assignment over the summer.

"I'm very proud of all of you. I know it's the last day of school, and you can't wait to get out of here. However, I want you to at least try to write something this summer. It could be an essay, or a novel. Just give it a try, that's all I'm asking. Hopefully it'll re-new your interest in English Literature."

People scoffed at her. They wouldn't right the paper, I probably wouldn't either. She knew we wouldn't write it, I wondered why she even tries. Mrs. Pooles smiled eerily at us; there are days where I believe she's a little insane.

The bell rang, and people hurried out of the room. Brandon Pratt's party was tonight, it was supposedly going to be great. I saw Karen head toward the door; she signaled that she'd see me later. I walked up to Mrs. Pooles; I needed to ask her about college.

"Mrs. Pooles?" She had her back turned toward the chalkboard.

"Yes? Oh Erica! What do you need?" She answered, turning around and smiling when she saw me. She had a weird habit of smiling…a lot.

"Um, I was wondering if you'd help me with this assignment the college I wanted to attend gave me. I wanted to take English, but their class size is almost full. There are about twenty other people who want to take that class, and they only have room for five. Basically I'm asking if you have any suggestions." I blurted out the last part; I was never good at talking to people one on one.

"Sure that's no problem. The assignment I asked you kids to write would be perfect. I noticed you and Ryan haven't really spent time together in a while; I'd hate to see you lose your friendship. Do you think your family could come over for dinner on Saturday? If it's a problem I don't mind-" I cut her off from rambling.

"I'll check with my mom, but we'll probably go. Also I think I could finish the paper by then, do you mind looking over it?" Since she was a big help already, maybe she wouldn't mind helping more?

"I'd love to. Ask your mother to make her Greek salad, it's always been my favourite, and he makes it so well." I nodded; Mrs. Pooles and my mom have been friends ever since Ryan invited me to his sixth birthday party.

I left the room quickly and headed toward my locker. I grabbed the remaining binders I had left behind then headed out the front door toward the parking lot.

I grinned excitedly when I saw my truck. Dad had given me his 2000 pick-up once I had gotten my driver's license, and bought himself a new car. It was a win-win situation; my mom believed I should have gotten a beat up used car and pay for half instead of being given a car. She wanted me to grow up properly, and learn how to fend for myself. I knew she wanted what was best, but getting a car free was hard to pass.

The car roared to life, I loved how loud the engine was. I loved the shocked expression people had on their faces when I started it up. I also loved how it was mine. I drove out of the school, turned left and stopped at a stoplight. The woman in the car beside stared out her window at my truck, good thing the windows on this car were heavily tinted, or else she might have seen how embarrassed I was.

The twenty minute drive to home was the usual, however today I stopped at Starbucks and grabbed a Strawberries and Crème. I have to admit that Starbucks is my one weakness. Karen's car was parked in the drive way when I got there; she probably found the extra key under the rock in the backyard.

I grabbed my schoolbag and walked up the porch steps and into the house. I could hear the stereo on in the family room; she had already put it to our favourite station. I set down my bag by the stairs; I decided I'd bring it up later. I walked into the kitchen and found her rummaging through our cupboards looking for food. She should know by now that we kept all the food in the pantry. I leaned against the door frame, resting my head on the cool wood.

"One day you're going to be obese." I joked while I watched her zoom around the kitchen.

"So will you, and then we can burn it off together." She grinned then hurried across the room toward the pantry. She pulled out a bag of marshmallows and dumped some into a bowl.

"Do you happen to have Cheerios?" She asked walking toward the pantry and continued searching through the food.

"Yes, it's in a clear plastic container. On the middle shelf so you'd be able to spot it quickly!" I walked toward my counter and hoisted myself up onto it. I continued to watch her make her afternoon snack.

Karen grabbed her bowl of marshmallows and Cheerios and put it into the microwave. She punched in ten seconds and watched her marshmallows melt. It dinged; she reached it and sniffed her food.

"Geeze, that's disgusting Karen!" I watched as she munched on her 'snack'.

"No it's not Erica Sootes! Just try it!" She argued; small flecks of food flying out of her mouth. She handed the bowl to me and urged me to try it some more. I'm going to hate her for this.

I reached in and picked up a few gooey cheerios. This was beyond disgusting. I popped them into my mouth and chewed slowly and surely. My face scrunched up when I tasted the sweet marshmallows and the crunchy cheerios. What a weird combination.

I hopped off of the counter; Karen followed me with her bowl to the family room. I turned off the stereo, picked up my bag and began my ascent up the stairs; I like to skip every other step.

I plopped down onto my bed and shut my eyes. Karen sat down beside me and munched on her snack in silence. She began to fidget forcing me to open my eyes. Her blonde hair was tied into a ponytail today, mascara and eyeliner emphasized her blue eyes.

"What's wrong?" I asked sitting up and crossing my legs.

"Okay, I know how you get annoyed when I gossip; don't worry this time its just info I learned today. Anyways, Ryan Pooles made captain of the swimming team, and I heard a few universities and colleges are looking to recruit him onto their swimming team." She continued on eating and leaned against my headboard.

"And this concerns me because?" I stared at her incredulously.

"I just thought you'd like to know."

"Alright, so onto more 'important' things, Mrs. Pooles ask us to write something, and we've already graduated." I thought about what I wanted to write about, maybe Emily Dickinson.

"That was totally uncalled for. It's freaking summer! Besides, I'm not even going to write it, like you said, we've already graduated." She ranted throwing her hands up into the air.

"Are you going to sleep over tonight after the party? Better yet, are you going to drink?" I asked getting up and heading toward my closet.

"Depends, for sure I'll sleep over, but the drinking…I don't know." She bit her lip and followed me. She started perusing my closet; I knew she was going to borrow my purple halter top; she and I both loved it.

Sure enough she plucked it from the hanger and sat down on the bed. I looked at the tank top I had gotten for Christmas, it had a zebra print on it, and it was different. I took off my t-shirt and placed it inside my hamper. I needed to do laundry when I get back. I slipped the tank top over my head and looked at myself in the mirror.

My dark brown hair lay flat on my shoulders, no matter what I tried to do, it would curl. I had green eyes like my dad and a pointed nose form my mom. I also had a small black mole on my right cheek, just like Grandma. I guess you could say I was pretty, to me I was normal.

"Stop gawking at yourself Erica, you look fine." Karen teased slipping my halter over her head. She brought the bowl downstairs; I could hear her talking to dad downstairs.

"Hey Mark! Erica's upstairs changing." Karen and my dad got along well; mainly it was because they had the same appetite and liked the same weird snacks Karen made.

"Do you want to stay over for dinner? We're having Susan's meatloaf tonight." Mom's meatloaf?

"Sure, besides after we're going to the Pratt's for a party." I groaned, Karen is my best friend, but sometimes she doesn't know when to shut up.

"Oh, yes. Robert told me his son was going to have a party. I hear its going to be chaperoned so no worries!"

Karen's feet thumped on the ground as she walked up the stairs. She entered my room and sat down on my bed. She smiled excitedly.

Dinner went by somewhat smoothly; Mom and Dad were busy in the kitchen. Karen and I were asked to set the table and were presently doing so. I brought the food from the kitchen to the dinning room while Karen set the plates.

"So, plan on dancing with anyone tonight?" Karen waggled her eyebrows mischievously.

"We'll see." I stuck my tongue out at her, we both erupted giggles.

Mom and dad came in and sat at the table. We said 'Grace' and began our meal. I happily accepted my piece of meatloaf and ate it quickly. I listened to my parents speak about work and the neighbors.

"Oh mom, Mrs. Pooles invited us over for dinner Saturday." My mother nodded, we were going.

"So Karen, where are you going in the fall?" My dad asked. I watched him put a piece of meatloaf in his mouth.

"I plan to stay here and attend the college in the next town. We don't have enough to send me anywhere out of state, but I don't mind." She smiled and ate her salad.

"Erica wants to stay here too, I don't know why. We can send her anywhere, that's why we've been working. I think it's a waste of money." My mother retorted before she picked up her glass of water and sipped form it.

"Mom! I know you and dad have the money, but I don't want to be far from home. Besides you and I know that the education in the university upstate is great, and costs less than going across the country." I didn't want to get into this argument again.

"I just want what's best for you sweetie." She continued to eat; I had lost my appetite.

I picked at my food and looked up when my dad's cell phone started to ring. He glanced at the number and hastily picked it up.

"It's the office." He announced apologetically. He got up from the table and walked into the kitchen.

"Why did you call this number? I told you not to call when I'm having dinner! Tomorrow, I promise. Don't worry, I will." I listened to my father conversation. His work never called his cell phone, and what was happening tomorrow?

He came back and resumed eating. Something was going on, I could tell by how tight my father's grip on his fork was. We continued to eat in silence until my mother asked me a question.

"So I hear you're going to a party tonight. Please be back by midnight." My mom smiled at me, she was being lenient tonight. Most nights I was asked to be home by 11:45, maybe she was beginning to trust me.

Dinner finished ten minutes later, Karen and I were left alone to clean up while mom and dad went up to their room to watch TV. Tonight was another re-run of 'Lost'; I don't know how the writers have kept it up this long.

Karen washed the dishes while I dried and put them away.

"What's up with your parents? They're usually not like this; your mom seems gloomier since last week." She scrubbed the remaining meatloaf off of the pan my mom cooked it in and rinsed it off.

"I don't know; it's sort of weird hmm?" I dried off the last plate at the same time she turned off the tap.

"Hurry up; we're going to be late. It's nine, the party just started, plus it's a twenty minute drive from here. Don't forget parking is going to be a pain in the ass."

"Sheesh, calm down, we'll make it." I smirked seeing the panic evident in her eyes. Karen always worried she'd be late, and in the end she would end up late. I believed you just went with the flow, and somehow you'd end up where you wanted to be; if that makes sense. I was always on time; always.

Karen and I headed upstairs to brush our teeth, I finished after her. She was already downstairs whining about how slow I was. I put on a little makeup, grabbed my cell phone and keys and headed out the door with Karen.

We got into the truck and I started the engine, I cringed when the lights across the street turned on because my truck. Whoops? I turned to Karen and waited for her to buckle in. I peeled out of the drive carefully, double checking if there were any cars passing.

"Okay, Karen. You can drink but I won't because someone needs to drive us back. Besides, I don't trust other people touching what I drink, a least not at parties." She smiled at the last part.

"Whatever floats your boat!" She chimed; she saluted, earning a few people to stare at us. We burst out laughing and I continued to drive.

I turned onto the Pratt's street; we could see cars already lined up form where we were. Somehow the police hadn't showed up yet, strange. We drove around searching for a place to park, it seemed like we wouldn't find one.

I turned on the radio hoping somewhere a place would turn up. Suddenly a car pulled out just a few meters away; I gave enough room for them to back out then started to move toward the spot. A black Honda came out of nowhere and parked in our spot, Karen screamed in frustration. She slid the window down a bit and stuck her hand outside. I think you can imagine the obscene gesture she used.

Tonight was going to be some night.

A/N: Hello! Okay this is just an experiment. I got the idea while watching the Olympics, go Phelps! I think I might update a lot because I don't want to lose this idea. You could say it's a small fantasy of mine. :) Right, hope you enjoy and feel free to give constructive criticism. Also, some of the facts might be wrong, (you'll see later on) please don't get mad!