Chapter 1: A Circle of Friends
I gently shifted the strap of my favorite tiger purse over my right shoulder as I exited my ninth period Accounting class. With my free right hand, as I turned left and descended to the first floor, I shoved my homework assignment into my Accounting workbook. I neared the main hallway, just to have someone call my name.
I stopped, and pivoted on my heel, so I could look my best friend, Cory Fuller in the face. He approached me with the biggest grin on his face, revealing his shiny white teeth. His purple and black hair was tied back into a ponytail, and was spoofed-up with a pretty pink headband. And he was wearing a pink fairy shirt and his favorite pair of jeans.
"Hey, buddy," I greeted happily. It was my favorite thing to see Cory on my way out to the bus circle. He stepped to my side, and we began striding in unison towards the main entrance. "Are you ready for this weekend?" I asked excitedly.
This weekend, Cory and I were throwing an awesome dance party. I had the invitations already sent out to every one of our friends, and over half of them had RSVP'd already. I was going to be working the music booth, and Cory would be catering the entire thing.
"You bet," he said happily. "I got my grandma to give me five-hundred bucks towards music. And I'm going to cook up a shit load of food," he said. "We'll be packed tight with deliciousness."
I giggled. "There's never a time when I'm not full of your delicious food," I replied loudly.
He giggled sweetly. "Yeah, I know. What time did you want to leave Saturday morning?" he asked, opening the front door for me.
I stepped out into th afternoon light. There was a gentle breeze and it gently blew my brown hair from the back of my neck. The air outside was much better than that of the air inside the school. Cory stepped out into the light, and pulled out his cell phone. We waited for a moment, while he shot a text to his mother, when our other friend, Denise Fousse, exited the school.
"Panda!" I screeched happily allowed.
"Katie-san," she greeted happily.
"It's Denise," pointed out Cory, pointing a finger to her. "Hi, person," he added, waving ecstatically.
I quirked a brow. "Have you seen Jasmine?" I asked. "I need to ask her a question about our Accounting homework."
Denise shook her head. "No, I haven't."
I looked at the ground, acting like a child, I said: "Darn it!" I loved acting like a child, it was one of my favorite things to do. All of my friends did it in their spare time, too, so I had no problem doing it in public.
Suddenly, I was attack-hugged from behind. I squealed, and whirled on my toes. There was one of my other best friends, Rachel Lafontaine, standing before me. She had that goofy smile on her face that I loved so much. The smile she always gave me-or someone else- after thinking perverted about their comments. Rachel wasn't your average best friend, she was loyal, fought for what was right, and was totally abusive. But that was okay because, the abusiveness was her way of saying she loved you.
"Hi, Rachel," I said, waving a hand at her grinning face.
"Hi, soulless ginger," she greeted.
I laughed. Rachel had always said that ginger's were soulless. She had learned it from some manga or anime she read. Or was it from a picture on the Internet? I couldn't remember. All I knew was that I had dyed my hair brown, and I wasn't a ginger anymore, so i found it funny.
"Wheres that person?" Rachel asked, making her grin bigger.
I got lost for a moment watching Cory text so fast on his phone. I wondered if he even took notice to the fact that all of our friends were surrounding us. I decided to pull out my own crappy phone, and text my grandmother. I wrote three words, just to be interrupted by a very familiar voice.
"Rachel!" said the voice. "It's called a 'clavicle', not a 'cervix'," said the voice of Mikaela Corriea. I raised my head to witness Mikaela smack Rachel with a book for emphasis of how serious she was. I knew what she was nagging Rachel about, and I truthfully thought it so funny that I just stood back and watched Rachel get nagged.
"Play nice, Children!" rang out the voice of the totally awesome Dena Cooper. She approached the group, a Coca-cola in her grasp, wearing her BOCES Criminal Justice shirt.
Cory began typing so fast on his phone that he laughed hysterically, and stuck his tongue out in a hilarious way. "Mom said that Devon is grounded," he informed us happily. "He can't leave his room for a month."
I shook my head. I loved how Cory wasn't afraid to teach his younger brother what was right and wrong. In fact, ever since he and I became friends, I had started to nag my own brother about the absurd things he did for stupid reasons. One of the things he did was break his girlfriend's heart because his friend, Jake Johnson, had told him too.
Cory shoved his phone in his pocket, and smiled. "So, whose ready for the party?" he asked.
Everyone's hand shot up. Cory smiled again. "Word," he said.
"I still have to ask my mom, though," said Denise. Poor Denise was cursed with one of those over-protective mothers. Honestly, I pitied her. "But I'm still ready," she informed us happily.
I had just realized at that moment that it was Thursday already, and the party was on Saturday. I still had a list of recommended tunes to listen too. The list was in my purse, and it grew longer everyday. Ever since Cory had announced the party, everyone had been shoving songs at me. So far, Denise had the longest list. I was aware that every one of my friends liked different music, so I picked the best songs of everyone's favorite category, and was working on the mama-of-all-song-lists. So far, I had about three-hundred songs collected. It was going to be an amazing party. There really was no real reason for throwing it. Mikaela and Cory would be graduating this year, so I guess that it's our farewell party to them. The party would be at my house, for I had alot of yard space, and a pool to swim in.
I felt a tap on my shoulder, and Dena handed me her soda. She always gave me things to nourish myself with. I took the soda and sipped it gracefully. "I will have the pool open to everyone," I informed them. "And before it gets too dark, I'll give Finny rides."
Finny is my horse. Finesse is her real name. Cory and I became close when we worked as head volunteers at the Cracker Box Palace, a place where they shelter homeless animals. As an exchange for our labor, Cory and I got to ride the rideable horses. Cory fancied a dark brown thoroughbred named Howard, and I fancied Finny. I never knew that I'd adopt her and bring her home for my own personal use. But I say it was because of Cory that I had the most amazing horse ever. We don't work there anymore, but Cory still rides Finny at my house.
"Finny, Finny, Finny, Fin!" Cory cheered our Finny cheer out loud. "Your little fatty horsey," he said at me.
I nodded. "And the best part is that Grandma and Grandpa will be gone that night."
"Please tell me you have permission to do this?" Mikaela asked.
I nodded. "Oh, yeah," I replied.
Cory nodded too, for he had been there when the conversation between me and my Grandma had went on.
The buses began pouring in behind us. I wasn't worrying because Cory was coming to my house, and he was driving us there.
"Alright, I'll see you all tomorrow," I said, grabbing Cory's sleeve, and walking him away.
"Bye," said Mikaela.
"Peace," said Denise.
"See ya," said Dena.
"Bye you soulless ginger, and you Cor-cor," said Rachel, giving us our nicknames. I wanted to stay longer and talk, but Rachel, Dena, and Denise had buses to catch. Normally I rode a bus, and Mikaela walked.
The ride didn't take very long, it was only about a ten minutes to my house. Cory drove with such dexterity, hands idle on the wheel, eyes always straight. I knew he wanted to talk, but I also knew that if he talked it would break his concentration, so I kept quiet.
He pulled into my driveway, and up to the carport. I exited the car and stared out toward the horse barn, as I always did when I got off the bus. My three horses stood, grazing peacefully.
"There's fatty," Cory squealed, referring to Finny, who had her muzzle to the ground, eating, as she always did. He clapped his hands gaily. "Finny, Finny, Finny, Fin."
Once in the house, Cory and I said a quick hello to my grandmother, who sat with her nose buried in her laptop, and we headed upstairs.
My tow birds, Ashley and Racie, gave a friendly chirp as we entered my room. I tossed my purse on my dresser, and uncovered the bird cage so Cory could see them. Cory loves birds, in fact, he has two of his own, Hayden and Lydia. Cory was a bird master. It was because of this fact that whenever he came over, I allowed him to work on their training, getting them used to being man-handled. Cory opened the hatch, and bravely tuck his hand in the cage. He withdrew it, with Ashley settled in his palm as it was a nest. "Nice birdie," he said, stroking her back with a mere finger.