It was dark out, almost six in the morning. The streets were silent in a small town; everyone was asleep in their homes for the most part. A cat ran across the street, startled as a squirrel ran up the tree behind it. A dog barked tiredly somewhere, having heard the cat's startled meow. A streetlight flickered before going out completely. Another flickered nearby, but did not go out. A slight breeze blew, causing some leaves to fall of the trees, as it was late October. The leaves scraped across the ground, creating an eerie sound. A leaf dropped onto the cat's head and it hissed, swatting the leaf off. Then, a car passed down the road, only one man inside as he drove towards home tiredly.
The wind blew again, causing more leaves to fall off the trees and scattered around the ones already on the ground. A squirrel darted up a tree and into its home, wanting to be out of the brisk wind. Somewhere, an unhinged door opened slightly as the wind blew and then shut quietly, still not latched. The cat darted across the street again and stopped out front of its home, meowing to try and get in. After a few minutes, it gave up and walked around to the back of the house.
Then, laughter pierced through the air. Six teenagers were walking down the street, laughing as they pushed each other around. There were three boys and three girls. They all went to the local high school and were currently juniors. It was a typical Friday night to Saturday morning for them. Out all night and then in all day, just like every other weekend. One of the boys threw a ball into the air and failed to catch it as it came down. The ball bounced up off the sidewalk and hit one of the other boys in the chest. They all laughed as the boy who got hit with the ball playfully punched his friend who had thrown the ball. One of the girls screeched and jumped slightly as a squirrel scampered by and up into the tree. Her friends all laughed at her and one of the boys pulled her to his chest to hug her.
The ball was then thrown back into the air, but the boy caught it this time. One of the girls laughed and grabbed it out of his hands before pretending to throw it at him. He laughed and pulled her towards him and lifted her off her feet. She giggled as their other friends laughed, rolling their eyes. Then, one of the boys grabbed the ball out of the girl's hands and then ran off towards the football field of their high school. They all laughed and followed him, screaming his name to try and get him to stop.
As the boy reached the bleachers, he turned, made a face at his friends, and then ran up to the top of the bleachers. One of the other boys laughed and followed him, jumping up the bleachers instead of running. The others laughed as they watched. One of the girls sat down against the fence as she laughed, her face covered with her hands. The last boy snorted with laughter and then followed his two friends, pulling on the railings as he walked up the steps. The girls just laughed as they watched. The one boy at the top of the bleachers smirked, holding the ball over the edge of the fence as the wind blew his dark blonde hair over his forehead.
"Don't you dare, Peder!" the second boy exclaimed. "That's mine!"
"And what are you going to do if I drop it, Macen?" Peder asked. The other one stopped and stared at Peder.
"Go get it from the ground…" Macen replied. Peder chuckled.
"Do it, Peder," the third boy laughed as he reached Macen's side.
"Shut up, Rupert," Macen said, shoving Rupert playfully to the side. Rupert laughed and then ran up the bleachers to Peder.
"Do it, Peder," Rupert repeated, pretending to be ghost-like. Peder snorted with laughter and then looked down at the girls. His gaze sought only one other. The girl with the long brown hair and blue eyes looked back at him, a small smile on her face as she giggled, her hands over her mouth. Peder, smiled, one eyebrow raised, and then ran back down the bleachers. Macen sighed and followed. Two of the girls screeched slightly as Peder jumped over their heads and over the fence onto the track while the brown haired girl giggled behind her hand. Rupert laughed as Macen did the same, chasing after Peder.
"Rupert, no!" one of the girls screeched as Rupert began to run down the bleachers too. He ignored her and she covered her head as he jumped over her, her red hair falling over her face.
"Lighten up, Julia," the brown haired girl giggled as she stood up to watch the three boys run around the field. Julia stood up next to her and gave her a look. The other girl looked back, smiling.
"You never worry about them, do you, Miri?" Julia asked. Miri looked out at the field as she heard Macen push Peder to the ground, both of them laughing. Then, she shook her head.
"I've known them my whole life. I've gone through enough bad times with them," she added, shrugging.
"I still worry," the third girl said as she walked up to Miri and Julia, her light brown hair framing her face. "And I have known them just as long as you."
"Well, that's your personality, Katie," Miri told her as all three boys toppled on top of each other. Katie just rolled her eyes.
Then, Peder extracted himself from Macen and Rupert, chuckling slightly. He jumped away as Macen tried to pull him back to the ground and then ran back over to the bleachers. His smiled grew wider as he stopped in front of Miri. She smiled back and reached down to ruffle his hair. He chuckled and rolled his eyes before taking Macen's ball out of his pocket and handing it to her. Miri smiled and rolled her eyes before putting it in the pocket of her sweatshirt. Julia smiled and rolled her eyes as she nudged Miri slightly. Miri rolled her eyes before jumping over the fence and landing next to Peder. He looked over at her and smiled. Miri smiled back before looking up at her two friends.
"Come on you two. Live life with a few risks," she said. Julia and Katie eyed each other.
"And exactly what risk are we taking?" Julia asked, looking at Miri.
"Um, hello? This school has a pool, remember?" Peder asked. Katie sighed and Julia's eyes widened.
"Come on guys. I swear we won't get into trouble," Miri said, pleading slightly.
"How do you know?" Katie asked.
"We've done it before…" Peder said, trailing off.
"A few times," Macen snorted as he and Rupert reached them.
"Really?" Rupert asked, his tone slightly surprised. Peder, Macen, and Miri all looked at him.
"Yeah. We had a group of around twenty kids in there once. It was so much fun," Miri replied, smiling at the memory. Peder snorted with laughter.
"Plus, the sun will be rising soon, and there's nothing like going for a swim and then watching the sunrise," he added.
"Better in the summer though," Macen said.
"Now, come on guys," Miri said, motioning to Katie and Julia. They looked at each other, sighed, and then jumped down onto the track next to their friends. Miri smiled and then began leading the way towards the school. Peder chuckled and followed her. Macen laughed and nudged his best friend and winked. Peder rolled his eyes and shoved Macen to the side. Katie and Julia giggled behind their hands as Rupert smiled and rolled his eyes.
"Hey, Mir," Rupert said as he reached Miri's side and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. She smiled.
"Hey, Rupert," she added, grabbing onto his hand at her shoulder. She knew exactly what Rupert was trying to do, which was trying to make Peder jealous.
"How is it going?" Rupert asked.
"It's going okay. And you?" Miri giggled. Rupert shrugged.
"Same. Going to crash the school's pool, which is pretty awesome," he added. The others laughed.
"Yeah it is," Macen agreed, running ahead of Miri and Rupert and jumping in the air. They all laughed as Miri smiled and rolled her eyes.
"Your cousin," Peder said, looking back at Miri as he pulled ahead of her and Rupert.
"Your best friend," Miri retorted, sticking her tongue out. Peder made a face in response before turning forward. Then, he laughed and ran at Macen before jumping onto Macen's back. Macen laughed as they fell to the ground.
"Sh!" Julia whispered urgently.
"Oh, calm down. No one is here other than us," Macen said as he and Peder got up from the ground.
"Exactly," Peder agreed as he walked up to the doors that lead to the pool. As he began to pick at it, Katie and Julia reached them.
"What happens if we get in trouble?" Katie asked, fidgeting slightly. Miri rolled her eyes.
"We get kicked out and people will be watching the school after hours more. Big deal," Macen snorted.
"Kate, loosen up, have fun!" Rupert screamed, throwing his hands in the air. Peder and Miri laughed as Peder pulled the door open. Macen immediately ran in, pulling his shirt, jeans, shoes, and socks off before diving into the pool. Peder followed soon after. Rupert laughed as he took off his clothes and then saluted the girls as he jumped into the pool backwards. Miri giggled as she pulled off her clothes and then dove in after Rupert, coming back up right next to him.
"Kate, Jule. Come on. We're not going to get in trouble. It's six-thirty in the morning on a Saturday!" Macen exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air as he tread water. Julia giggled and then jumped into the pool, leaving her clothes next to Miri's.
"Come on, Kate. Calm down, let loose!" Peder exclaimed. Katie gave Peder a stern look, hands on her hips. Miri laughed as she swam over to the edge of the pool.
"It's fine, Kate. We won't get in trouble. Just some harmless fun," she told Katie. Katie sighed and then gave up as she pulled her shirt and jeans off. Then, she jumped over Miri's head and into the pool.
"Woo!" Rupert laughed as Katie emerged from beneath the water.
"Shut up, Rupert," she giggled, splashing him. His jaw dropped as if he were shocked as he splashed her back.
"Hey! No splash fights!" Macen exclaimed.
"Uh huh. Sure," Julia said, rolling her eyes before splashing him. He laughed and splashed her back. Miri giggled as she pulled herself up to sit on the side of the pool, watching as four of her best friends splashed each other, all of them laughing. Peder laughed and swam over to the side of the pool to sit next to Miri.
"Nice to know they're all mature, huh?" he asked her. She smiled.
"I know," she added before looking over at Peder and smiling. He smiled back.
"At least they're getting Katie to have some fun," he added.
"Yep," Miri agreed, smiling as she watched Macen push Katie under the water as they all laughed. Then, Julia looked over at Miri and winked. Miri laughed and shook her head.
"You know it, Mir!" Julia added.
"I know this," Miri replied, rolling her eyes again.
"What?" Peder asked. Miri just shook her head.
"Nothing, Peder. Calm down," she added.
"I am calm. Don't tell me to calm down when I'm calm," Peder snorted, pushing Miri into the pool. Miri broke the surface laughing and pulled Peder into the water. He laughed also and swam away under the water before he was able to break the surface. Miri laughed and followed him. Macen dove under as Miri passed him and grabbed her around her waist. They both broke the surface laughing.
"You two are the weirdest cousins I have ever met," Julia laughed.
"Thanks," Miri laughed as she brushed her wet bangs away from her forehead.
"We already knew that though," Macen added as he chuckled.
"Who doesn't know that?" Katie asked.
"Good point, Kate," Peder snorted as he swam back over to them.
"Shut up, Peder," Macen said, shoving Peder lightly Peder just chuckled and pushed his hair away from his face.
"We should probably get out if we want to be dry and not freeze by sunrise," Rupert pointed out.
"Good point," Miri agreed as she pulled herself out of the pool and went to sit on the bleachers by the pool. All the others followed her and sat down nearby.
"So, exactly how many other times have you guys done this?" Katie asked as she squeezed water out of her hair. Miri, Peder, and Macen all looked at each other and then back at her.
"About three or four," Macen added. Katie's eyes widened.
"Why was I not invited?" Rupert asked. Peder snorted with laughter.
"Because you hadn't moved here yet," he added.
"Well, okay. That's a valid reason," Rupert laughed.
"Exactly," Macen agreed, shaking his head to get some of the water off his hair. Julia gave him a look as some of the droplets hit her.
"Excuse me, Macen Christopher, but there are other people around you," she told him. Macen smiled at her innocently.
"Oh, I know," he added.
"Rude," Julia added under her breath. The others laughed.
"Oh, we are all so mature," Katie giggled.
"Oh yeah, Kate. Totally," Miri agreed, smiling as she leaned back on her palms.
"We're awesome, so shush," Peder added, shoving Miri slightly. She just smiled and rolled her eyes as Julia and Katie giggled. Miri rolled her eyes as she rested her elbows on her knees and placed her chin in her hands.
"Grow up you two. I've had this discussion with you two before," she added.
"And we still say you are lying. You know you feel the same way," Julia said flatly, rolling her eyes. Miri rolled her eyes as well, smiling slightly.
"See! Your smile says it for you!" Katie exclaimed, pointing at Miri. All three of the guys looked at each other.
"What?" they asked.
"Nothing," Miri replied, sighing slightly.
"It's not nothing. You're my cousin, I know you better," Macen said. Miri gave him a look.
"It's nothing, Macen," she added, resting her chin back in her hands. Macen gave her a look. She smiled innocently as Rupert chuckled.
"Is this related at all to before when we were walking here?" he asked. Miri looked over at him.
"With what you were doing? Yes," she added.
"Woo! I'm awesome that I got it!" Rupert exclaimed. "But, come on! You so do!"
"See! Even Rupert says!" Julia exclaimed.
"Shush," Miri told them, rolling her eyes as Katie giggled.
"Denial. It is an awful thing," Katie added. Miri smiled and rolled her eyes as Peder's eyebrows rose and disappeared beneath his long bangs.
"You guys are weird," he added.
"And yet you still choose to be seen with us, Peder Jonathan," Julia said, making her 'I just got you' face. Peder stuck his tongue out at her, knowing he'd just been proven wrong. Miri smiled and stretched her legs out, resting her feet on Macen's leg. Macen looked at her, his brow furrowed, before he burst out laughing.
"You, my dear little Miri, crack me up over nothing," he added. Miri smiled.
"And I have no idea why," she told him, leaning forward to ruffle his wet hair. He chuckled as the others smiled.
"I wish my cousins were cool like you guys. I do not get along with them that well at all," Katie said.
"Same. All of mine are annoying," Peder said.
"Well, look at some of your aunt and uncles, Peder," Macen said. "They're not as cool as Mir's and my parents."
"That is a good point, Macen," Peder added, nodding as he tapped his chin with his index finger. Julia eyed him, her expression almost sarcastic.
"Okay, you are not sophisticated, Peder. Stop trying to act so," Julia told him.
"Shush. No one cares, Julia," Peder replied, making a hand motion as if to tell her to calm down. We all laughed.
"Okay, I think its time to get dressed again," Rupert said, grabbing his shirt and pulling it back on.
"You're boring," Macen laughed as he grabbed his shirt as well. The others smiled and rolled their eyes as they followed suit.
"Are we going to head up to the roof soon to watch sunrise?" Julia asked. Miri nodded.
"Best place to watch it here," she added as she pulled her shoes and socks back on.
"Lots of good times up there," Peder laughed. Miri, Macen, and Katie nodded in agreement.
"Like that time we dropped water balloons on peoples' heads," Katie giggled. Macen burst out laughing.
"I remember you hit Mr. Mott in the head and freaked out," he added.
"Shut up, Macen," Katie told him, making a face as they all headed out the doors.
"Don't have to," Macen replied.
"Oh, shut up both of you," Peder said as he locked the door after closing it. "Yes, Kate freaked out, but so did some of the other people with us."
"Caitlin," Katie and Miri giggled. Macen smiled.
"Well, that was because she hit the vice principal on accident," he said.
"Really?" Rupert asked excitedly. Miri, Macen, Peder, and Katie all nodded as they walked over to the steps to get to the roof.
"Yeah. She dropped to the ground so hard her elbows got cut," Macen said. "Mom and Dad freaked out at her, asking what happened."
"And then they really freaked when they found out what we had been doing," Miri laughed as they all stood in a line along the edge of the building. Peder stood next to Miri, Macen on his other side.
"It's peaceful up here," Julia almost whispered.
"Mhm," Katie agreed, crossing her arms as she rested them on the wall.
"Usually is," Peder added, leaning lightly against Miri's shoulder. Miri smiled and leaned against his shoulder as well. He looked down at her and smiled also.
"Which is usually why you find us hanging out up here all the time," Macen added.
"Even though sometimes we shouldn't be up here," Rupert laughed.
"Since when do we follow rules?" Miri asked as Peder wrapped an arm around her shoulders and brought her closer to his side. She just smiled and rested her head on his shoulder lightly.
"That is a good point, Mir. We are usually breaking the rules," Julia giggled, smiling.
"It's what we do," Rupert added as he pulled Julia to his side. She just smiled and rolled her eyes.
"Aw look. The two red heads," Katie laughed.
"Shut up, Kate," Julia laughed. Macen just smiled and rolled his eyes.
"Well, you two do tend to hang out with each other more," he added.
"Maybe because we're the two that have not known you guys since birth," Rupert said.
"That is a good point," Katie said, looking over at Macen.
"I know. But it is so easy to get them mad when you say that they hang out a lot and they both have red hair," Macen laughed.
"You're a jerk," Julia laughed, shoving Macen playfully. Macen just laughed as he pulled her to his chest to poke her sides. She giggled before pulling away from him.
"Hey guys, look at the sky," Katie said suddenly as she stopped giggling and looked out to the horizon. Macen and Julia immediately stopped goofing off and looked out to the horizon as well. A small smile touched Rupert's lips. Peder smiled and pulled Miri closer to his chest. Miri smiled and leaned back against Peder's chest, her head rested lightly on his shoulder. Katie looked back at Miri and smiled. Miri smiled back, her stomach clenching slightly as Peder rested his chin on her shoulder.
"It's gorgeous," Julia breathed as she looked out towards the colorful sunrise. Rupert, Katie, and Macen just nodded. Peder just chuckled in Miri's ear, his arms tightening slightly around her stomach. Miri giggled slightly and looked over at him, smiling.
Peder smiled back briefly, his green eyes sparkling slightly in the light before he leaned in and kissed Miri as they watched the sun rise in front of them.