Four teenagers stood in a driveway, one girl and three boys. It was the middle of March and the weather was unusually warm for Northern Indiana. All across their neighborhood of Range Wood kids and adults alike were outside enjoying the weather.
The teenagers stood in the driveway passing a basketball back and forth and shooting at random times.
"Oh! Look at that bitches!" Yelled Matt Kleine, or better known as just Kleine, as he made a swish shot.
Kleine, like the rest of the boys, was tall and skinny, 6'4, popular, and a senior. With his height, shaggy brown hair, that reached the bottom of his ears, and goofy grin he was easily one of the best looking guys at school. He was considered the "ego" of the group, as he put it. He was the loudest, cockiest, and foulest person of the group but he was still a good friend. He was the one who always put a smile on your face at the most inappropriate moments.
"Nice, Kliene." Nathan Burns cheered.
Nathan was tall too, but was scary skinny, with dyed blonde hair that was spiked up most of the time. He wore black rimmed glasses over his blue eyes. Nate was a simmer just like his mother. He was quieter then the rest of the group and was super smart.
"Thank you." Kliene bowed as Nathan laughed while running across the street for the ball.
"Good shot!" Austin Hamilton shouted, clapping his large hands, a smile gracing his beautiful face.
Austin was 18, a senior, popular, and a star player on New Prairie's basketball team. He was tall, 6'5, skinny, with short dark brown hair. Austin had such a sweet, innocent face and personality he could get away with anything. If any of his friends were going to get in trouble they'd want him with them because eh could always sweet talk his way out of trouble. He was a sweet boy, but he always up for a good prank or could be a jerk like any other person. But unlike Kleine and some others he always realized what he did early and fast. Then he'd apologize as soon as possible. Austin was kind and affectionate. He was the pretty boy of the group.
"Language, Kliene!" McKenzie McHale shouted her soft curly light brown hair falling out of her ponytail. "Why do I bother playing with any of you?" She threw her hands up in frustration. "You're all either, one, really freakishly tall, or two, are or were on the basketball team." McKenzie explained as she counted her reasons off with her fingers.
McKenzie unlike the rest of the boys was 16 and a sophomore, while the others were 18 and seniors, (well Kleine's 17). she was short, crazy curly hair.
McKenzie has known these boys since before elementary school. Especially since Nathan is her cousin and Austin's parents are best friends with her parents.
So when Kleine moved into Range Wood as a little kid he was met by a easily nice kid, Austin, and was introduced to Austin's two best friends, Nathan and McKenzie. And from there the rest is history.
"Oy! Quit you're complaining, McKenzie!" Nathan yelled at his "baby" cousin. McKenzie gave her "fuck off" face, as Kleine called it, to Nathan but her just laughed and threw the ball to Austin.
Even though Nathan and McKenzie may fight they were actually really close. They were both only children and were the youngest grandchildren. McKenzie always liked to ask Nathan advice on a problem, he wasn't called the voice of reason for nothing.
McKenzie sighed loudly and plopped down on the hard concrete driveway.
"Ow!" She whispered as she rubbed her bruised bum
"Watch the concrete dear, it's rather hard." Kleine informed her, imitating his grandmother.
"Kleine!" She growled in a low dangerous tone.
"Hey, you two!" Austin and Nathan shouted.
Kleine and McKenzie took the warning and shut up. McKenzie leaned back on her palms, legs crossed at the ankles, and face tilted up to the sun.
"I'm loving this weather!" She commented as she tugged on her short shorts.
"Yeaah." Kleine agreed as he glanced down at McKenzie's legs. Nathan chuckled at Kleine's less than subtle glance.
"It is nice, especially for March!" Austin nearly shouted. "We'd still have snow or cold winds, normally."
"El nino, baby." McKenzie laughed. "I'm tellin' you that's it."
"No, it's definitely Global Warming!" Nate argued.
"You think everything is Global Warming!" She spat back, waving her hands in the air.
"Don't you pay attention to the news?" Nate asked. "It's Global Warming!"
"Why should I when watch it enough for all of us?" McKenzie shouted getting to her feet. Angrily she grabbed the basketball roughly out of Austin's hands, intending to throw it at her cousin.
"Hey!" Austin shouted. He advanced toward her.
"Austin! No!" She yelled, as she ran towards his front lawn, Austin hot on her feet.
"Give me back the ball!" He yelled. "I'm trying to practice!"
McKenzie leapt behind a tree, sticking her head around it, shouting:
"Honey, you practice enough for all of us. Get a Kit-Kat and take a break!" He jumped right behind her stretching his arms toward her, but she was too fast.
Kleine and Nathan just took a seat on the hood of Austin's car to watch the proceedings, used to the behavior.
"Come on, Austin! Get her already!" Shouted Nathan.
"Keep it up, Kenz! You can do it!" Kleine cheered as he watched his best friends chase and fight for a measly basketball.
"You know there's 3 more balls in the garage?" Kleine whispered to Nathan.
McKenzie was nearing the trees separating the Hamilton's property from their neighbors.
"Come on, Austin, I know you can run faster than that!" McKenzie tauted.
And Austin did just that. He used his long legs and sped up to her, scaring her in the process, which sent her stumbling slightly over some tree roots. Her stumble gave an advantage to Austin, as he came up behind her. He wrapped his arms around her chest, not even thinking, and squeezed her tight, lifting her off the ground, tickling her sides to get her to finally drop the ball. He dropped her, grinning in victory as Nathan clapped for him.
Austin peered to his side cautiously expecting her to be up and kicking him in the shins or other areas any second. Instead he found a crumpled form of his best friend on the ground, holding herself.
"Kenzie?" He asked quietly.
"God! You, ass!" She yelled between gasp of pain, as she rolled on to her back to face him. "Hello?! If you haven't noticed but I am a girl!!"
Austin tilted his head to the side in confusion.
"I have boobs!" His eyes widened in realization as she shouted. "And you just smashed them! Hard! God, that hurts and my sides, too!" She
complained. Nathan burst into laughter at his cousin's shout.
"Shut the hell up, Burns!" McKenzie shouted as she lay on the ground.
"I'm so sorry, Kenzie!" Austin said in concern as he knelt beside his friend.
"Yeah. I'll survive." She stretched her arms over her head. "Now that I'm down here I think I'm gonna stay." She sneezed.
"Thank you. Kleine turn the iPod on please?"
Kleine stood and walked to the lawn chair where the iPod dock stood. He pressed play and Shadow of the Day by Linkin Par blasts on.
"Mmm. Good song!" She murmurs. Yawning, "I don't want to go to school tomorrow!"
"I know. I know." Austin sighed.
"Hey at least Spring Break is the week after next." Kleine shouted gleefully jumping up and down. The song suddenly jumped to Kelly Clarkson's Walk Away and Kleine started singing along, off key.
"Just walk away! Da da da! Walk away!" He sang. Nate, Austin, and Kenzie stopped breathing they were laughing so hard as Kleine did his "booty dance".
Austin fell to the ground in laughter next to McKenzie.
"Kenziers did you see that?!" He laughed. She wiped stray tears from her eyes. "Yes!" But suddenly McKenzie quieted.
"What's the matter?" Austin asked as he tickled her sides, knowing she'd never be able to fight him off.
"Can you" Screams! "-Austin stop-believe its-haha" She laughed. "-Spring Break-Stop!-of your Senior year?" Austin stopped tickling, letting her catch her breath. Butterflies crept up into McKenzie's stomach as Austin turned closer to her.
"I can and can't believe it." He grinned. "It feels school has gone by too fast and then too slow." He laughed. "I'm excited but scared as hell."
"Are you gonna miss me when you go off to big bad college?" McKenzie laughed to cover her sadness. Because she will truly miss them when they are gone, and moments like these were the ones she'll miss having everyday.
Laugher spilled out of Austin "Of course I'm going to miss you!" He grinned, tugging on her ponytail. "You're my best friend!" McKenzie sighed in disappointment.
Why am I disappointed? He's my best friend and that's all...
"Eh what am I?" Kleine asked clutching at his hear in mock hurt before he dropped to the ground. Nate lay on his stomach next to Kleine, as Kleine situated himself settling the back of his head on his hands.
"I don't know really. Some insane guy whose been tagging along for almost-how long has it been?-Oh! 14, 15 years now." McKenzie and Nate laughed as Kleine replied.
"Thank you. Thank you very much, Hamilton."
"So what about you guys?" McKenzie asked Kleine and Nate.
"About what?" Nathan asked lazily.
"About missing me when you go away to college?"
"Hmm..."Kleine trailed off.
"I don't know...."Nathan teased.
"Hey! That's so mean!" McKenzie pouted.
"Oh, stop your pouting. Of course we'll miss you, Kenziers." Kleine reassured her.
"Thanks. And I'll miss you guys too!"
"Of course! How could you not miss us!" Kleine stated dramatically.
"Shut up, Kleine!" McKenzie yelled.
The four sat in silence as the iPod played on.
"How am I going to do it?" McKenzie asked quietly.
"Do what, Kenz?" Austin asked but knowing the answer already.
"How am I going to finish the rest of high school without you guys?"
"You've been in a different school than us before." Nathan reminded her.
"Yeah I know. But I always knew I'd come home and find you three in a middle of a game of basketball. Or in the kitchen eating." She laughed. "And next year I won't be riding home with Austin or eating lunch with you guys." She continued. "I'll be coming home to a very quiet, lonely neighborhood." She stated sadly. "While you guys party it up at college!" She finished angrily flinging her hands up in exasperation.
"Wow." Kleine said in disbelief.
"What? It's true." McKenzie said angrily.
"Calm down, already!" Kleine shouted.
"Ugh. I'm going home!" McKenzie stated as she stood. "See you all tomorrow."