Lynn puttered quietly around the kitchen in her bathrobe, hoping not to wake the kids. They'd stayed up ridiculously late watching movies she knew, and it was only half five. Her schedule had her leaving the house by then most mornings, and even though she'd taken the day off to help Brent finish moving into his apartment, she couldn't seem to sleep any later. Lynn snorted as she thought about Brent's "apartment". It hardly counted really, a tiny little studio in the newest of the three apartment complexes in town-which meant it was a good 15 years old now.

It was in decent shape, but really Lynn wished Brent would stay home for another year, until he could afford something nice. Still, she understood that he needed his privacy and independence, and at least the rent was affordable. They'd see how he handled it anyway. A year ago she would have been expecting a call from the fire department within the first week, but for all his smart mouth he was maturing. And it was within walking distance of the store, and if she knew Gavriil and Theo at all, they would be checking on him.

She settled down at the end of the large table, her mug of coffee loosely clasped between her hands, warming her fingers. The boy she was worried most about at the moment was a very different sort of boy altogether, though she loved him just as much. Billy had always been a bit softer than the other boys-softer than Alexis for that matter. Oh, he was a brave boy, and with the others for friends he wound up being physical whether he liked it or not. It was more that things hit him harder, that he took them more to heart. Sensitive, she supposed, was the word.

Out of all the children, those of her blood, and those who might as well be, Billy was the last one she would have expected such extreme behavior from. He was always so eager to please.

Lynn was also slightly worried that the storm had yet to hit. As far as she knew Billy had yet to show any of the major signs of withdrawal, and from what she had seen last night he was still quite high-pupils far, far wider than they should have been, and he seemed to have a light sheen of sweat appearing and disappearing as the night went on. If he'd been walking around the house like that and she hadn't noticed…well, there would be time for blame later, for now it wouldn't help Billy much at all.

He'd been fidgeting constantly at dinner and just moving more and far quicker than he ordinarily did, tapping his fingers on the table, and feet on the floor. If Billy hadn't been trying so hard not to move, it wouldn't have been quite so obvious, but when someone repeatedly starts and stops the same action it draws attention. He'd also zoned out several times-just staring at nothing, or pulling out his phone (that they were not supposed to use at the table, thank you very much) and getting sucked into the screen for minutes at a time. Lynn had been on the verge of raising her voice, just to get his attention, when Brent had snatched it away, as he'd said, in an effort to keep Billy from facing her wrath.

He should be coming down by now, if he hadn't started to last night, and the process would be anything but fun. They should be prepared for some serious mood swings, if nothing else. Compared to say, heroin, it wouldn't be that hard on his body at all, but it certainly wouldn't be pleasant…

She was pulled out of her mussing's by a tousled head peering a bit apprehensively through the doorway. A tousled head that unfortunately did not appear to have slept at all. "Morning Billy love, come sit down with me." Lynn patted the seat next to hers and then took a sip of coffee. Billy hovered in the doorway for a moment longer, before coming and sinking down into the seat, exhausted head leaning down on the table, "Couldn't sleep?" Lynn's free hand moved to card gently through his hair.

"No ma'am." Billy's words were spoken into the table, and were more of a groan than anything else. Lynn hid a smile and petted him briefly, before withdrawing her hand. Billy looked up to find her staring at him thoughtfully.

He would later claim to have channeled Brent or at least his inability to keep his mouth shut, as "Oh god, we don't have to talk about it now do we?" left his mouth. Billy blanched with horror as his ears caught up to the rest of him. Lynn tried to look at him a bit sternly, but secretly found the idea about equally appealing.

"No, love we don't. But," here she fixed him with a stern look, "we will be talking at length later." Billy nodded but kept quiet, looking more like he'd been told he was dying of cancer, than that he'd earned a talking to. "For now, I was just wondering if you thought you could drink some cocoa? I know you probably aren't hungry for anything solid, but I thought that might tempt you."

Billy looked at her warily for a second-Lynn's cocoa involved real chocolate and heavy cream, and was reserved as a treat. They generally had it at Christmas and birthdays-he'd certainly never heard of it being offered up for a weekday breakfast. He'd kind of thought he was in disgrace…

"You know what, I feel like having some, so I'll make a pot with plenty for all of us okay?" Lynn patted his hand briskly before rising and making herself busy throughout the kitchen, getting out dark and milk chocolate and cinnamon, and all the other "secret" ingredients. Billy watched her silently, feeling overwhelmed. Everyone was being so nice. Even Rick, furious as he'd been with him at first, had been very gentle after he'd…well Billy was avoiding thinking about that. His ass was still sore. It's not that he was unused to them being kind to him, but it was like they were all afraid he might break.

Of course, since he felt about as sturdy as broken glass, maybe that was a good thing. As Momma Lynn added spices to the heating milk on the stove, Billy laid his head on the table again, finding the familiar smell consoling. He was so drained now, as though his body had used everything up, but he still wasn't sleepy. Tired yes, sleepy no. He breathed in deeply through his nose, melting chocolate now mixing with the other smells in the air. Billy closed his eyes, slumping further onto the table. He might not be able to sleep, but at least he could relax…

Lynn smiled to herself as Billy's breathing slowly evened out, stirring the steeping cocoa as she moved the setting to low. No need to hurry. She doubted he'd be able to sleep deeply until tonight at the earliest, but a small nap would make this day a lot more bearable.

*.*.*.*.*.*

Brent and Alexis both pouted at the mug of chocolate clasped in Billy's hand as they entered the kitchen, still clad in sleep-clothes, up far earlier than normal as the smell of cocoa had permeated through the house. They'd tiptoed past Rick and Lily in a heap, cuddled together, and Cammy who was still sleeping, although barely as she'd wound up mostly on top of Brent, and he'd had to ease out from under her. Unlike Rick and Lily, they were still confined to separate sleeping bags, but it didn't make it that much easier. Lynn, seated next to Billy at the table again, rolled her eyes and pointed to the stove and the pot with a ladle sticking out of it, "You know where the mugs are."

All sleepy smiles now the two crossed the kitchen, eagerly filling their own cups with the thick, creamy mixture and coming over to flop at the table. Alexis gave a deep sigh of pleasure, almost a moan really, as she took her first sip, and everyone else smiled and laughed a bit, making the girl blush.

"Hey, I can't help it if that's good, can I?" She joked, and the boys groaned. It was a second before Lexi's mind caught up to the double entendre , and her blush went from a tinge on her cheeks to a tomato red covering her whole face, "Yeah, I think I'm just going to shut-up now."

"I'll take the compliment as it was meant, thank you Lexi." Momma Lynn didn't even try to hide the twinkle in her eye, and the boys outright laughed as Alexis buried her head in the table and mumbled something unintelligible that might have been "never talking again. Never, ever."

Lynn stood up from the table, "Well, I've set around long enough this morning. I'm going to go get ready for the day. Make sure you leave enough cocoa for the others, I don't want a riot on my hands." She passed a blurry-faced Cammy on the way out of the room, and pressed a quick kiss to her head, saying, "There's cocoa on the stove."

Cammy, who was rather like a zombie early in the mornings, shuffled slowly over to the table and collapsed in the chair next to Brent, slumping over onto his shoulder without a word. Brent thoroughly amused, and a little more awake now picked up his mug of cocoa and swirled it around by her nose. After a moment her eyes opened slightly, revealing sea-glass green slits, as she peered blearily in front of her.

"Cocoa?" Cammy's hands shut out and grabbed the mug out of a startled Brent's hands. "Gimmee." She stuck the cup right up to her nose, inhaled deeply, took a long drink, and leaned onto Brent again, eyes closed and cup clasped loosely in her hands.

"Awesome." Alexis nodded, "Officially awesome. Cammy burned you while practically asleep!" Billy sniggered quietly, hiding his smile behind his mug when Brent shot them both a dirty look.

"You know, that was kind of my cocoa." Brent smiled at the top of Cammy's head; he thought she was adorable really, but at the same time-cocoa. Cammy hmmed at him, and clutched the cocoa mug tighter, snuggling into his shoulder. "Do you think we could share?" Cammy hmmed again and clumsily thrust the mug closer to Brent, eyes still closed. He rescued it just as it was threatening to slop all over his shirt. "Thanks, Cam."

The kids set there in a comfortable morning fog for nearly half an hour, only interrupted by Brent getting up to refill the mug he and Cammy were sharing. Slightly more alert, but still a rather adorable version of zombie, Cammy spoke up, voice thick and sleepy, "Why did we get cocoa? Did I forget a birthday, or something?"

Brent and Alexis each glanced at Billy, but didn't say anything themselves. He sighed, and said, "I think it was to cheer me up or something, since I face a non-lethal execution squad later."

Cammy stared across at her brother, utterly befuddled for a moment, before she remembered the day before. Still sleepy, and now a bit upset, Cammy glared at him, "Good, 'cause you're kind of an idiot." Lexi hurriedly looked away, busying herself with the last of her cocoa, to give Billy and Cammy some privacy. Brent was still being used partially as a pillow, and was stuck rather awkwardly in the middle.

Billy looked down and nodded, he knew that, he'd known it the whole time, "Yeah." He just sat there for a minute looking at the table, waiting for Cammy to speak again. When she didn't, he looked up to see her worrying her lip between her teeth, trying to blink tears from her eyes, Brent's arm having been transferred to around her shoulders.

"Dammit asshole," Billy nearly flinched before realizing there was no heat in her words, "You're supposed to argue, so I can get all mad and yell. It doesn't work if you just sit there all guilty and quiet." Cammy gave Billy a tremulous smile, which he returned, relieved.

"Sorry."

"Yeah. You still suck." The two smiled at each other for a long moment, before Brent interrupted.

"So, I'm still hungry. Who says we break out the jimmy dean sandwiches before Momma comes down and makes us eat something healthy?" Disentangling from Cammy, Brent clapped his hands briskly, and stood up from the table without waiting for an answer, heading over to the freezer.

"Dude, way to ruin the moment!" called Lexi, chucking her rolled up napkin at the back of his head. Brent flipped her off without turning around and bent down to rummage for breakfast sandwiches.

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

Lily stretched her arms above her shoulders, rolling the joints as she woke, stretching her legs down next, and wiggling her feet. Ordinarily sleeping on the floor didn't really bother her-she was only 23-but after dismantling and moving Brent's scant amount of furniture yesterday, her body apparently had other plans.

The stretching definitely helped though. She turned her head to the side, locking her gaze onto Rick as he slept. Lily usually loved watching him sleep in the mornings, he always looked so peaceful, but today his forehead was wrinkled, and he seemed tense even as he snored. She rolled onto her side, pressing her body close to his and rubbing her hand gently up and down his arm, a gesture that always soothed him, "Hey sleepy, wake-up." After a few more repetitions, during which his forehead unwrinkled but Rick kept snoring, Lily decided to unleash her secret attack. She snaked one finger up his arm and tickled at the crease of his armpit, knowing just how incredibly ticklish he was there. Sure enough after a few seconds he twitched a bit, and his eyes popped open as an involuntary giggle popped out. Lily's hand was trapped and used to pull her body even farther over so she was laying half on top of Rick, as he sleepily mock glared at her.

"We talked about this…tickling is frickin' evil." Lily just smiled in response, and Rick closed his eyes again leaning further back into his pillow. "Any chance I can go back to sleep?"

"Everyone else has been up for a while, and we do have a bunch of stuff to do." Lily shrugged, tugging on a lock of Rick's honey brown hair curling its way across his forehead, "Also I'm pretty sure I smell cocoa."

Rick groaned and brought a hand up to massage his forehead, "Yeah, I'm not exactly looking forward to the part of the day where I have to talk to Billy." At Lily's raised eyebrow, he amended, "When we have to talk to Billy. You realize he's addicted to the shit right? I don't know what the hell to do. He could wind up like tweaker John, living out of people's garbage cans. It's not like this was a one off, how the fuck are we supposed to help him get clean?"

"It's not going to be easy. Honestly, I don't know either," She said this like a confession, and Rick moved his hand to her cheek, "last night in the bathroom was pretty terrifying. But Momma's a nurse, in case you forgot, so she should have some idea of what he's gonna go through getting it out of his system. We'll figure it out. Billy has us. He will not wind up like tweaker John." Lily shuddered at the idea and leaned her head down so it was resting on Rick's chest, continuing, "By the way, I changed my mind about you tracking down who he got it from-Find the bastard so I can kick in his ribs."

Rick laughed, a deep rumbly sort of chuckle, and pulled Lily all the way on top of him, wrapping his arms around her, "I'll even hold him down for you, baby girl."

"I was counting on it." She shifted a bit to get comfortable, and then smirked knowingly at Rick, shifting a bit more as apparently a certain part of his body rather enjoyed her moving about on top of him. Who knew?

"You shouldn't start something you can't finish in your Momma's house," Rick leered jokingly at Lily and made her start with laughter. She kissed him soundly, but relatively chastely, and pulled back reluctantly.

"Alright, alright, let's get up," She crawled off of Rick, and set on her haunches by him. Rick looked up at her suddenly as though just remembering something; Lily returned his look with confusion.

"Wait, did you say there was cocoa?" She laughed again, grabbing his hand as she stood, pulling him to his feet, and tugging Rick towards the kitchen once he was steady.

"Yeah, and the brats will have drank it all if we don't hurry." Lily tugged on his hand again, and Rick followed laughing.

*.*.*.*.*.*

Lynn sat on her bed, glaring at the clock. There were other members of the family that needed to be informed, and she was not looking forward to it, yet at the same time wanted it over with.

The information should have been shared last night, and the longer Lynn put it off the harder it became.

If her brother could just develop mind reading powers or somehow gain the knowledge through osmosis that would be nice…

At the moment it was too early to call, the store wouldn't open until eight-thirty on Saturday, and Gav often took the phone off the hook when he first came in so his elderly business partner Theodore, who lived above the store, wouldn't be woken. It was the one day of the week they could get him to rest a bit, and Lynn knew he'd had a cold the week before.

Telling Theo, who was her father figure and had been since she was a child, who might as well have been Billy's grandfather, was certainly not high on her list of things she wanted to do either. Waking him up to do so would just be cruel for both of them.

Gavriil would have already left home by now, and he was worse about his cellphone than any of the kids; it was always both off and at home. She'd just have to try the store later…

*.*.*.*.*.*

After gorging themselves on Jimmy Dean and more cocoa, the make-shift family had divided up into two groups. Lynn, Lily, Rick and Billy sequestered themselves in Lynn's study, for what Billy had begun to think of as "The Talk Of Doom". It was like there was a soundtrack in his head chanting "doom, doom, doom, dee-doom". He read too many comic books. As the study door shut behind him he could have sworn it sounded like a million locks clicked, even though there wasn't one at all.

The rest of the kids set about packing up the last of Brent's room, doing their best not to think about it. There wasn't much left, all the big furniture had been loaded into the back of Lily's pick-up the day before, secured and covered up.

At the moment they were taking turns taping full packing boxes shut, and carrying them down stairs to the garage, so they'd be easy to load once the pick-up was empty again. Brent heaved a large one up into his arms, tossing it up a bit once he had it in his hands; to get it settled how he wanted it. "Brent," said Cammy, rolling her eyes, "if you drop it on your foot and break a toe, today is going to really suck for you."

"I know how to lift a box, thank you very much." Brent grumbled. Both girls looked at him in surprise at his shortness; Cammy sticking a hand on her hip as she turned to face him. Brent took one look at her face and decided he would be better off capitulating quickly-and/or running away. "I'm sorry. It's just this not knowing what it going on is pissing me off." Before anyone could do more than nod in acknowledgement, he hurried out into the hallway, heading downstairs.

So he'd chosen the "and" option. Didn't mean he was scared of his girlfriend, no siree, it did not.

*.*.*.*.*.*

Billy sat on the couch in Lynn's office, staring determinedly at the coffee table, and trying to ignore the sweat beading on the back of his neck. It wasn't the lack of wanting to have this talk-though he certainly wished they could avoid it-that had him clammed up. He honestly didn't know how to start. There was so much they didn't know, and none of it good. The others set in chairs in a semi-circle on the other side of the table, making him feel hemmed in. He couldn't help but notice at least one person he'd been expecting wasn't there…

"Billy, love," said Lynn, with her characteristic, calm, no-nonsense voice, "I know it's going to be hard, but before we can decide how to handle this we really do need to know how this started." Billy nodded, but stayed silent, and Lynn pressed on. "Could you tell us when you first tried meth?"

Billy opened his mouth, and hesitated like he wasn't sure what to say, and then looked down again, as though if he ignored the question it would simply go away.

Lily spoke up, "Billy, any trouble you're in you're already in, anything you tell us isn't going to change that, or make it worse. Or better." Billy had looked up when she spoke, and though her words weren't exactly cheery, he found them reassuring.

Billy nodded slowly, licking his cracked lips, "Okay," he nodded again, "Okay, but you guys have to promise not to freak out." Because that sentence wasn't enough to give you a heart attack. The other three exchanged glances; easier said than done.

"We'll do our best, love. Okay?" Lynn had reached across the table and grabbed Billy's hand, as much to reassure herself as him. She was already "freaking out" on the inside, but she would do her best not to let Billy, or Lily and Rick for that matter, know.

Billy closed his eyes and gulped, squeezing his Momma Lynn's hand tight. Everyone was going to utterly freak out and he knew it… "Sixteen." The whole room dropped into silence, and Billy felt his heart drop as the hand in his went slack. Shit, he had really done it this time. He was too much of a fuck-up, it didn't matter what Rick had said at the creek. His mother already didn't really give a shit about him, she'd made that clear, him and Cammy both, and now he was going to lose this family too. They would send him away, he'd lose everything…

Just as Billy was sure he should have lied, that he really was going to be kicked out, he felt Momma Lynn's arms wrap around him and begin to rock him, clutching him to her like a much younger boy, laying her head on top of his. When he felt her tears touch his head, he thought he must be the most horrible person in the world, because instead of making him sad, his heart swelled.

He wouldn't be sent away. She still loved him.

They sat like that for a few minutes, Momma Lynn cradling Billy to her, murmuring to him. Lily still sat in her chair, legs now pulled up to her chest, and her arms hugging around them, a few drying tears slowly tracking down her face. At the far window, gripping the window sill so tightly he was chipping the paint, stood Rick, glaring out the window trying to get himself under control. He'd thought last night at the creek was the maddest he'd ever been. No. This right now, this was the angriest he'd ever been. But not at Billy.

Oh no.

He was going to find the slimy little cock weasel selling hard drugs to sixteen year old kids-to his kid brother-and he was going to kill them. He was going to murder them.

Oh yes.

*.*.*.*.*.*

Well the other's had taken a brief break to decompress, and wash teary faces, Rick stayed glued to the window. When they came back in first Lily, and then Lynn, had tried to get him to come back and sit down, but had eventually given up. Yet as everyone set down, Rick was the first one to speak up.

"Who was it?" His voice was quivering with suppressed emotion, trying to sound calm after how upset Billy had been. The boy hadn't cried, not exactly, but he'd shook, his body shuddering almost like he was sobbing after he'd finally relaxed into Lynn's arms.

"Huh?" Not having expected Rick to talk, Billy was momentarily caught off guard, and shaking his head as though to make sense of the question, said "Uhh…um…"

Doing his best to sound patient actually seemed to be helping Rick be patient, and he made himself take another deep breath before asking again, clearer this time, "Who sold meth to you the first time?"

Billy hemmed and hawed for a minute, before finally saying "I can't tell you." Rick turned around, incredulous, as Lynn made a disapproving sound in her throat. Rick decided he'd be more effective closer, and walked back to his chair, still determined to be patient.

"I don't think you are in much of a position to be telling anyone can't right now, young man." Lynn looked seriously down her nose at Billy, and he hung his head, blushing with embarrassment, but resolutely stayed quiet.

"Billy." Rick looked at him steadily and Billy could feel his stare beating on his head until he could ignore it no longer and found himself slowly raising his gaze to lock with Rick's. He'd expected to see anger there, and yes there was definitely some of that, but there was also empathy, and understanding, and something Billy thought meant protectiveness. And love.

Why did they have to know who? Billy couldn'ttell them. Rick spoke again, "Please, Billy."

Billy shifted agitatedly in his seat for a second, clearly struggling with himself, he even opened his mouth-and then shut it, shaking his head. "I can't." No one in the room missed the raw pain in his voice, that it honestly sounded like he wished to tell them, but couldn't, or thought he couldn't, and Rick wanted to scream, because he'd been so, so close. "It was three years ago. Why do we have to go into that? You guys know…well, how bad I fucked up. What does the rest matter?"

It was Rick's turn to speak up now, his face having taken on a grimmer look the longer Billy talked. "You mean besides the fact that you agreed to tell me yesterday? How about, that we are your family and we're worried as all hell about you? That this is a hell of a lot more serious than previously thought?-three years is a sight different than four months, Billy. Is that enough of a damn reason?" His voice rose a bit at the end, and Billy glared at him fully, feeling attacked. Rick felt his patience snap with the defiant look on Billy's face, ignoring the signals from Momma Lynn to back off, and spoke harshly. "Or maybe you want to be a tweaker, is that it?"

"No!" Billy exploded out of his seat, "No, I don't want to be a fucking tweaker! You don't understand!" He glared down at Rick, who not intimidated in the slightest, glared back.

"Then explain it to me." Rick managed not to shout, but his voice came out as a strangled growl instead. This seemed to make Billy even more upset, and he began pacing back and forth in front of the couch, his hands in fists.

"You don't get it! I just-I just can't! You wouldn't understand-" Rick cut him off, standing as he spoke.

"What don't I get? What wouldn't I understand? Just try me, goddammit!" Rick took a step closer, not realizing he was intimidating the younger man, just willing him to understand.

"Back off man! I can't think!" Billy was breathing hard, and Rick, suddenly realizing he was making things worse, started to raise his hands his hands in a peace gesture, preparing to take a step back, when Billy lashed out, shoving Rick square on the shoulders, hard. Rick reeled for a second, and then nearly shoved Billy back instinctually, but stopped himself short. Billy was scared, as well as exhausted and coming down off drugs. He forced himself to take a slow step back from Billy, who at least seemed to have shocked himself out of his anger and was now gaping at Rick, the look on his face a mixture of guilty and mortified.

"m'sorry," Billy mumbled, eyes wide in his head, still locked on Rick.

Rick nodded in acknowledgment before speaking, "If you shove me like that again I will swat you. Do you understand?" Billy flushed crimson and grimaced, but nodded. He knew he'd been basically throwing a tantrum, he just hadn't seemed to be able to stop. Rick widened his arms and Billy took the invitation for what it was taking the step forward and letting Rick envelope him in a bear hug. "I got ya bro, I got ya. It's gonna be okay."

*.*.*.*.*.*

"Going to the Walmart and gluing googly eyes on things?" suggested Brent with a thoughtful tone, from where he sat on a box in the garage, after an impromptu circle with the girls in celebration of having finished moving the last of the boxes downstairs.

"No," returned Cammy, with a shake of her head, "We can't leave when we have no idea when the work is starting. That's a good one though," She turned to Lexi on her right, who had acquired a pair of slotted dubstep style sunglasses from somewhere, along with her customary stocking cap and pigtails, and had a brightly patterned notebook spread open on her lap, the words "Fun Shit To Do" scrawled on the top, and a list that was steadily added to crawling down the page, "I up vote it". Alexis saluted Cammy, and jotted down the idea.

It was a small town. Boredom might not be deadly in those under 25, but it was damn well destructive.

To give you some idea of the damage possible, the top three entries were "Go to the dollar tree and complain that the prices are too high. Also, pay with pennies.", "Ride on top of car, ie car surfing", and "Climb giant tree by city pool. Jump in." They had not shared the list with the older members of their family, though Lexi insisted Rick would "totally go for like 90% of them".

"Sliding down the stairs on the left-over packing boxes?" Alexis was already writing it down, certain the others would up vote that.

"Definitely add to the list," said Brent, "But it'll make too much noise if we do it now." He thought to himself for a moment, "We could-no, Momma would kill us…We could rig up the zipline in the backyard that Rick took down for winter, it is spring now."

"I don't want to die," said Lexi, "Rick said one of the ropes had to be replaced before we could set it up again, remember?"

"Fuck, no, I forgot." Brent scowled, he was sick of just sitting around, but there was nothing to do. Then, for seemingly no reason, he brightened, "We could go visit Mister Theo and your dad at the store, Lexi."

Lexi looked at him like he was crazy, "We do that all the time, how is that list worthy?" The list was a sacred treasure trove of fun; it was not to be sullied with everyday things. Lexi felt Brent should understand this.

"He just wants to get a snack at the soda fountain." interjected Cammy, laughing as Brent pouted at her.

"Traitor."

"You're just mad 'cause she's got you pegged."

Brent stuck his tongue out at both girls, trying not to laugh. "So, if my idea doesn't fly, what are we going to do?" Lexi shrugged, looking at her list again for inspiration.

"You guys are so missing the obvious," said Cammy, shaking her head in seeming disbelief that they hadn't already thought of her amazing idea, wispy strands of blondish-red hair flying into her eyes, "We take the cardboard, wax paper and go to the hill where the zipline was…" She trailed off waiting for them to get it. Luckily, it didn't take long.

"Summer Sledding!" shouted Brent at a ridiculous volume, pumping his fist in the air, "Awesome!" He jumped up and said "I'll grab the boxes." As he darted out the door and up the stairs where the boxes were, Lexi shouted after him, as she finished jotting down the final idea.

"We'll grab the wax paper, and meet you outside!" Done, she shut the notebook and ran out of the room before Cammy had finished standing up. The younger girl surveyed the empty space where her friends had been, shaking her head in bemusement.

"Fact: All my friends are crazy." She shrugged her shoulders and went to wait outside in the yard.

*.*.*.*.*.*