The summer holidays had ended, and today was the first day of school. The only thing that was good about it was that I was able to see Robin again. She had been gone all summer to Italy. Even though we lived right by the beach her parents had said that they wanted to go somewhere special this summer and I guess Italy was that special place. To think I had to stay here and watch the Harrling’s and Cason show off that they could buy all the latest treads. I didn't envy them; Prissy, annoying, self conscious brats who didn’t have a care in the world. Maybe I did envy their looks, their perfect bodies, and their flawless skin. I never knew if they were built like that or if they begged their parents to let them get a plastic surgery. Don't ask.
Robin always called them 'the Blondie Barbie’s' even though Michelle had long brown hair, which was definitely real; she still acted like the rest of them, or at least tried to. Peer pressure I guessed. Barbra Cason on the other hand, seemed to have a different haircut every other day, so after a while, it got pretty short. Then there was Michelle’s sister, Katlyn Harrling, who was the eldest of the three, with her shoulder length dyed blond hair and dark chocolate eyes to match her sister’s, who properly dated the whole football team. They seemed to come out of a High School musical movie. They would even walk in a threesome line, Katlyn in the middle, of course. How pathetic. You could even image them coming through a door with their hair blowing behind them. I swear I saw Rob stick out her foot to trip them at times.
I grabbed the first T-shirt and jeans that I got my hands on, slid them on quickly and went to the bathroom to check myself in the mirror. My almost black dark brown, shoulder-length curls were a tangled mess. I threw the cupboard door open and reached for my make-up kit. I quickly picked out a dark green eye-shadow to match my eyes and ran downstairs to the kitchen where I found a box of cereal already waiting for me. I grabbed what was left of the milk from the fridge and dumped it my bowl. I chugged it down. In my haste, I made a mess of my unappetizing meal. I grabbed my car keys that hung on the wall. I was running late for school, and I felt like a mess. I ran my fingers through my untidy hair and stepped on the gas.
As I drove into the parking lot, I could see Robin waiting for me beside her sleek blue sports car. I parked next to her and jumped out. Robin had her ear-length light brown hair pulled back into her usual ponytail. She just had enough hair for that. Her bangs fell down to her chin.
She grabbed me into one of her friendly hugs.
“I’ve missed you like crazy Charlotte.” she said as she let me go of her tight embrace. I smiled. “Same here. How was your trip; did your family enjoy it” I asked. Robin had a toddler brother, one younger sister and two older brothers. They all had been waiting to get out this summer so they where pretty siked when there parents decided to go to Italy.
We had been keeping each other up dated by email so I already knew the answer.
As we walked to the school entrance, Rob stopped and pulled a package out of her backpack.
“Guess what Jack at the joke shop gave me!” an evil grin spread cross Robin’s face. She walked over to Katlyn’s red convertible and unwrapped the package.
“What are you doing now?” I sighed. Sooner or later we would end up in detention for all the tricks we did on the Harrling’s and Cason. Or should I say, she did on them.
“Stink bomb,” she answered, her grin growing wider now. “Robin Milton’s in town; Time for those barbies to die.” I grinned back. It would be so obvious that it was Robin. Barbra would be the first to smell it, I was sure of that. Anything that smelt out of place in her perfect world, she could smell from miles away.
“Ok Miss Trouble Maker lets get to our class before Mr. Evans thinks we ditched.”
“Ow.” I grumbled as Robin walked up behind me and smacked me across the back of my head. I had just seated myself in the only free table in the packed cafeteria. She pulled up a chair, threw it around, and plopped herself in front of me, soda in her hand.
“What was that for?” I growled.
“You went out with Henry Davidson when I was gone.”
“What? Were did you get that from.”
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.” She pretended to be offended.
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“Well you didn’t answer mine.” she said smiling, clearly enjoying herself.
Before I could retort, she added quickly:
“Ladies first.” She certainly got me there. She was anything but a lady.
“No, but he did ask.”
Robin looked interested for a moment, but then she shrugged and took a large sip of her soda.
The door swung open. Robin looked up curiously, frowned and muttered something inaudible. I followed her gaze.
There, in a threesome line, exaggerating hip movements walked ‘The Blondie Barbies’. They look around to see if every eye was on them, then they spotted Robin.
Katlyn dragged the two other girls forward to where we sat.
“Look what I found, Milton. Something that actually might suit you,” Katlyn said, sneering, as she dug in her little pink bag. She pulled out a brown piece of cloth that was wrapped in a see-through plastic bag and held it out to Robin. Robin took the bag and shook out a rag.
“I thought it would match your eyes.” jeered Katlyn.
Robin studied it for a moment then handed it back and said a bit too loudly,
“Very thoughtful, but I think it will look better on you.”
The room exploded into giggles and muffled laughter. Katlyn looked, for the first time, like she had nothing to snap back at Robin. Katlyn motioned the girls to follow her to the salad bar, clearly very irritated with all the laughter directed at her. I stared to giggle after they left. It was pretty hard to contain to the hard burst of laughter that was building up. Katlyn probably would stay up all night, thinking about what cocky response to say to Robin. I couldn’t believe that she didn’t see that coming, it was pretty obvious. Then again, everyone who was a total idiot to Robin ought to expect a slap in the face.
Robin turned and winked at me. She was great at come-backs and always had some smart answer to what ever people said. She glanced down at her watch.
“Crap! English starts in five minutes.” She exclaimed. She kissed me lightly on the cheek.
“Meet you in Gym.” She called over her shoulder as she ran to her next class.
“See ya.” I murmured. Robin was basically my only light and joy, especially in high school. I sighed and heaved myself from my chair. As I got up to dumb my tray, Henry jumped up; his chair fell backward with a loud thud. I turned back to my tray trying not to glance up at him. The first thought was that he was trying to play Mr. Gentleman since I turned down his date. The boys that were sitting with him had finished eating and got up. One of the boys, Nate, muttered,
“Nice try.” Henry sat back down, a glum expression on his face.
I kinda felt bad for turning him down. He was really sweet and defiantly not bad looking, with short blond hair and striking gray eyes and he did play on the football team. I probably was the first girl to turn a date down from him, that’s probably why was trying to get my attention.
I made my way to my next class. I started into a little run when I saw that I only had a minute left. I slipped into my chair before the bell rang. I had just made, now to wait for a whole hour. I really wished this could end; it was my first day and it was already gloomy. So what, I’ll be with Robin soon and we’ll get to see the Barbies scream in panic when they discover the stink bomb. Oh the joy those screams will bring to my ears. I could already imagine them tripping over their two-inch high-heels as they tried to run out of the car and Robin roaring in laughter with most of the boys in the background. I smiled triumphantly at this thought.
The bell finally rang and I got lazily out of my seat and headed for gym, my last class of the day. This was probably my favorite class. I was a sporty person, not as much as Robin, but I could handle a racket pretty well. Robin taught me most sports: baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, and skateboarding. I wasn’t very good at them but at least I knew how to play. I pushed open the big doors to the gym room and walked to the changing room. I changed into a hideous yellow sport shorts and a white tank top and stuffed my clothes into the locker.
I walked over to where Rob sat and waited for Mr. Hunks to tell us what we were doing today. He seemed to be busy with some files he had in his hands and didn’t notice that his gym/class room was starting to fill up.
“Shame the Barbies don’t have gym with us,” Robin sighed looking very disappointed. “I’d like to see them play sports. Cheerleading really isn’t something you do for fun. You play football if you want to burn some energy. I still don’t understand why they don’t let girls go for tryouts. For the football team, I mean.” Robin looked even more disappointed.
Robin had been trying to get on the football team forever, but the rules stated that only men were allowed. So, of course they didn’t let her in.
Mr. Hunks called the class in order and said to meet him at the volleyball field.
Rob and I walked out into the field were there was a volleyball game starting up.
He made the teams, luckily he put me on Rob’s team so I was almost one hundred percent sure that we would win since Rob was one of the best players and I wasn’t so bad myself.
An hour later the game finally finished and, as I suspected, our team won.
Rob grabbed my arm a little too hard and dragged me to the changing room a minute before the bell rang.
“Robin.” I complained, rubbing the top of my arm when she let go.
“Oh stop being such a baby; I don’t want to miss any of the Barbies screams.” she smiled her impish smile at me and started to throw my clothes at me from out of my locker. I sighed and stated to get dressed.
“I’ll wait for you right outside.” She jumped up and walked to the door.
“How did you get dressed so fast?” I had just gotten my shirt on and was busy unraveling my jeans.
“Magic.” She winked and slammed the door behind her.
The quiet air with only a few students talking here and there was suddenly pierced by the shrill screams of Barbra Cason, followed quickly by Michelle’s squeal, and Katlyn’s piercing glare as she searched the crowd for Robin’s smirking that would give her away. Instead, she found Robin nearly in tears with laughter.
“What in the name of all that is holy, did you do to my car!” Katlyn bellowed at Robin and me.
“Religious now, are we? Tut, tut. I should stay around during the summers; make sure you don’t shave your head and become a Buddhist.” Robin snickered.
Katlyn’s face turned a nasty shade of red.
“I’ll get you, if it’s the last thing I do!” She wailed.
“Seriously Katie, couldn’t you come up with a better line?”
Katlyn’s face now looked as it were about to explode. The she stopped, as if thinking very hard. Then she broke into an innocent smile.
“I think Principal Whitte would love to hear about this. I think he would give you two a punishment; detention, I would think.”
This time it wasn’t Robin who answered back, Amber Dixon, a girl who always volunteered to help out with Robin’s schemes, said in an off-hand voice:
“You really ought to shut your trap more often, Harrling. For your information, Whitte doesn’t care what people do unless it’s in the school building.”
“Is that so?” Barbra said, raising an eyebrow. “Well then, perhaps you should put your head in a hole and mind your business Dixon.”
Amber cringed back a little from Barbra’s snappy tone.
Robin stepped in front of the private glare that was going on between Amber and Barbra.
“Anything else you happen to want to say?” It really wasn’t a question.
Barbra straightened up, shot one last dark look at Amber, and swiped out her cell phone.
“I’ll call daddy to come and pick us up.” She said to the sisters. “Let’s leave these children to there childish games. But mark my words, Milton, we will have revenge.”
“What are you gonna do, ask your daddy to tell my parents?” Rob said, her smile growing wider by the second.
Barbra dragged Katlyn and Michelle off to the end of the parking lot, waiting for Mr. Cason to pick them up. Robin sighed.
“The worst they could do is spray my car pink, but I doubt they would think about that; they conceder pink ‘cool’.” She said, as we walked over to her car. Amber was following us close behind and gave a little laugh at that.
“I’ll see you guys tomorrow then?” She asked.
“Definitely.” I replied.
She waved and ran off toward her car.
“So what are doing today” I asked.
“Well I’m going skateboarding with some of the guys. You can come along if you want. I think Henry will be there.” she quickly added.
Wonderful. Just what I needed. A nice little chat with Henry Davidson. He was no doubt going to try to warm up to me. Well that changed my plans with Robin. She had just started to teach me how to use a skateboard. Maybe if I kept myself busy he wouldn’t try to talk to me.
“I won’t tease you about him if you do come.” She promised.
“Were you going to?” I said in mock surprise.
“Charlotte Lacy Decoda you know me better then that.” She said.
“I would have started before gym but I wanted to use it as a threat because I knew you wouldn’t come if I didn’t have something to throw at you.”
I thought it though again. It might be fine, what’s the worst that could happen. He might talk to me a bit, small talk hopefully, and I’ll have Robin, I could make an excuse if it started getting weird.
“Fine.” I said with a glum expression.” Only if you promise not to gabber on about Henry for the next month.”
“Pro-.” She started but I cut her off short.
“Also if you see that I need saving when I’m talking with him you’ll come at my beckoning.”
“Okay okay.” she said rolling her eyes.
“Promise?” I said looking into her eyes making sure she wasn’t planning on throwing me in with the sharks.
“Promise.” she said rolling her eyes again.
“Alright. Lets drop my car off at my house and we’ll be on our way.”
I parked my car in front of my house, my parents car wasn’t there yet so I left a note telling them were I would be and changed into a new pair clothes. I slid down the railing and grabbed my skateboard that Rob had given me for my last birthday. In truth, I never used it much. Robin pressured me to allow her to teach me. I ran back to Rob’s car. She was waiting for me, wearing a pair of baggy pants and a white T-shirt, her favorite CD of rock music blaring. I hopped into the front seat of the shiny blue sports car. I tossed my skateboard over my shoulder, and onto the back seat. I turned down the music, which was starting to give me a headache.
“Which park are we meeting the rest of the crew at?” I asked. Robin had a little gang of friends that she would hang out with every week. They didn’t all come to the same school as us so we didn’t see them that much.
“Park la Skateboard.” she replied, her lips twitching a bit at the sides.
“Is that what you guys decided on?” I asked, surprise leaked in my voice.
“Well, that’s what I call it. Bonnie had a better name, of course, but we call it la Skateboard for now.”
I nodded. I knew which park she was talking about. The playground had two large skateboarding ramps, a pair of swings and a few climbing bars.
Robin parked the car a block from the park. She reached for the skateboards.
“Entrance is important.” Rob said with a twinkle in her eye when I asked why we parked so far away.
I chuckled. Skateboarding was one of Robin’s many hobbies and was what she was best at. I thought she was better then a lot of the boys there. Only Nate Rillen maybe was a bit better. He and Rob were always having competitions and people would constantly make bets of them both.
Most of them have been skateboarding forever. So they actually could do some pretty cool things. Here in the hang-out I was, in a sense, Robin’s sidekick.
Robin set her skateboard on the cement and took off in a flash. I followed suite, trying to keep up with the immense speed that she was going at.
“Who’s gonna be there?” I asked when she finally slowed down a bit.
“Same lot as always, with the exception of Sara Loken. She sprained her ankle.”
“And Henry.” I muttered under my breath. Robin grabbed her cell phone that was vibrating in her pocket.
“Yeahallo?” she said, snapping it open. She held up her hand as if to tell me to wait.
“Ah huh. Yeah. Okay, meet you at Charlotte’s house. See ya later, bye.” She snapped the phone shut and kept skating down the road. I waited for a bit then I asked:
“Who was that?”
“Somebody.” Robin said mysteriously.
“Can I ask who?”
“It’s none of your business.” She said in a casual tone.
I studded her face with a smile on mine because I thought that she was joking but when I saw she was serious, it became a frown.
“I think it is.” I said a little irritated.
“How, may I ask?” She stopped and turned to me.
“Because it’s MY freakin’ house.” I said shocked that she looked annoyed.” If you want to do anything sneaky then go to your own.” I almost yelled.
“Whoa, calm down Charlotte.” She said stroking my hair, making me feel like a dog.
“The reason why it’s none of your business is because were just meeting outside your house, so I don’t see why it would concern you.”
“I wasn’t freaking out.” I said as I took a deep breath.
She raised an eyebrow at me but I ignored it.
“But why don’t you meet at your house?” I asked.
“Well… I’ll tell you later, okay?”
“The others are waiting.” She said as she kissed my forehead and stared skating again.
I groaned and tagged along behind her unwillingly. Robin always had a weird reason for a lot of things and I had still not gotten used to it.
Robin made some type of flip and landed with a gentle thud onto the grass.
“Robin,” Bonnie cried. “Most of the boys are here as well as Amber and Chad. The rest said they’ll be here in a bit.”
“Ambers here?” I asked.
“Yeah, I invited her.” Said Bonnie as Chad and Amber came up from behind her. Chad put his arms around Bonnie’s shoulders and kissed the top of her shiny black hair. I waved slightly at them both.
“Hey Amber. Hey Chad” Robin said in cheerful tone.
“Well if it isn’t Robin and Charlotte.” He said. “I haven’t seen you down here in awhile Charlotte.” he turned to me.
I didn’t go skateboarding without Robin, so this summer I didn’t see them all that much and I defiantly wasn’t coming down here to be made fun of.
“Robin wasn’t here to teach me so I saw no point.” I shrugged when he frowned at me.
“You know I could have taught you, or Nate. Anyway that’s a bad-.
I cut him off.
“You or Nate, When I even try to do some sort trick on the board you guys can’t keep a straight face” I snickered. “I don’t want to know how you’ll be trying to teach me; I’d be your entertainment of the week.”
“It’s true; I would probably tell Nate to bring popcorn.” He said smirking at me, his hazel green eyes twinkling mischievously.
Just then, a few boys walked up to were standing.
“Well well, if it isn’t Robin Milton and Charlotte Decoda.” Said a familiar voice from behind me and Robin.
“Nattypoo!” I exclaimed as we turned to see Nate, Henry, and a few other boys that I didn’t know standing there.
“You know how I feel about that name in public Charlotte.” he said winking at me.
Nate was like my older brother, if Robin didn’t claim first place as best friend I would defiantly given it to Nate. He was the sweetest, coolest, cutest guy around, with reddish brown hair and a pair of deep blue eyes, and had every girl drooling after him. Even the ‘Blondie Barbies’ would try to ‘get’ him but all failed quickly.
I never liked Nate in that way and I don’t think that Robin did ether, but if she did nobody would have know about it. I did think that they would be a perfect couple though. I never told Robin that but, Bonnie and Sara did and everybody teased her for a week.
But everybody knew that Amber liked Nate. She was head over heals for him, and he knew it too. No one could keep a straight face when he talked directly at her. She would sputter and all her words would get stuck in her throat. Poor Amber, we felt so sorry for her.
He gave me a giant hug.
“Hey Bonnie, Chad, Robin…Amber.” He smirked,
Amber blushed and looked down. Everybody chuckled.
“So you up to a little competition Rob, you haven’t been here all summer. I bet Chad has gotten better then you.” He said with an impish grin.
“I’m up to any childish competition you have up your sleeve.” She answered back.
He beamed at her then turned to smirk at one of the boys standing there. I guessed that they must have been talking about Robin earlier
“I brought some friends along I hope you don’t mind.” He said turning back to us.
“Of course not.” Bonnie piped in.
Chad looked up and smiled.
“The more the better.” He said
“Actually I just remembered that I have to do something at home.” Henry said in a quite voice.
That was the first time I looked at Henry. His eyes were on the ground and I suspected that he did not expect me to be here. Ha, he thought that I would chicken out? Well, you almost did. I said to myself. But that’s not the point. I was shocked that I was blabbering to myself.
“What?” Said Nate “I picked you up at your house and your mom was waving and telling you have a fun time out, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if you forgot one chore.” he said in his squeaky voice he used when he was getting irritated.
I giggled. They misread why I giggled and stared at me with shocked eyes.
That was embarrassing.
“You’re using your squeaky voice.” I quickly defended myself.
Henry looked at me with a glum face and my eyes dropped to the ground.
“Oh.” Nate finally caught on.” Well if it’s that important.” He added quickly, giving me a side ways look then back at Henry.
“It is.” Henry said in a very miserable voice and I bet it was directed at me.
Sorry to burst your bubble. I thought to myself again, that didn’t work. I felt like sticking my tongue out at him. What was wrong with me today?
“Alright see you tomorrow.” Nate said giving him a soft punch and looking a little uncomfortable.
Robin looked up to the sky and grimaced.
“Well if we want to do any skateboarding today we better get started.” she said pointing to the sky. We were standing there talking for so long that we didn’t notice the clouds forming.
“Huh” said Nate” I heard that there was going to be a storm tonight but I thought was going to be later on.
“Let’s go then.” said Bonnie starting to walk ahead. Everyone else followed and I could feel Henry’s eyes shadowing after me.
We walked over to where the other guys were skating in the ramp.
“So what kind of competition are we doing?” Robin asked Nate as we reached the ramp.
“Why don’t you guys go on ahead, I need to talk to someone.”
I started to march toward the ramp when he caught my arm with unneeded force.
“Ouch.” I snapped at him. Why couldn’t people understand that I was a fragile person?
“Can I talk to you for a second?” It wasn’t a question.
“No.” I said politely. Robin needs to teach me so that you won’t mock me anymore.”
“Robin do you need her?” He yelled to the top of the ramp.
How did she get up there so fast?
“Naw” she yelled back as she jumped off the top and skated across to the other side. He watched her for a bit then he turned back to me.
“May I talk to you now?” he asked again
“Hmmm…I have a fairly good idea what you’re going to talk to me about, so the answer is, NO.”
“Please. It will be very quick.” He said looking straight into my eyes our noises inches apart. I thought how Amber would probably faint if she was in my place and I smiled.
Since I knew there was no point in resisting, I reluctantly agreed.
He walked me to the bench and we sat down. I kicked off my shoes and rapped my arms around my legs.
“What.” I said in a sharp tone. He smiled at my attitude and began.
“First I just want to say that if Henry wasn’t my best friend I would never give a talk like this.” He said looking at my tight balled hands.” So my first question is-.”
“Whoa, I have to answer questions.” I asked shocked that he would even attempt to go down that path.
“No.” he said quickly “I just want to know why you don’t like him.”
“Oh come on he asked me on a date and I said no, it happens all the time, you make him sound like my freakin ex.” I raised my voice at him a little.
“Just tell me, well him, why you don’t like him so we both can get it over with.”
He looked very uncomfortable. So I reached across and patted his hand two times, a comforting thing I got from Robin.
Then finally the pieces fell into place. I had thought it was weird that Nate would be giving this kind of talk. We were close but not THAT close. Defiantly not close enough to talk about boy problems. Henry must have asked him to do this. So I decided might as well get it over and done with for both our sakes.
“You can tell him that he’s just not my type and that if he will please stop trying to make me like him because he won’t succeed.” I sighed real loud. I never liked sharing my feelings especially sharing them with a guy. I felt very uncomfortable right now.
I hated lying to people, even though I was very good at it.
“Thank you.” He said and was tense once more. “Maybe if you just-.”
“NO, no, no stop right now Natty.” I squeaked.
He laughed. I looked at him my eyes narrowing.
“You’re using your squeaky voice.” He imitated me from before. I smiled at him it was hard to stay annoyed or uncomfortable with Nate around.
He returned my smile and said:
“Now that’s over, I swear to never to do that again.” He said to himself.
I pushed myself off of the bench and slipped my tennis back on.
“Thank God.” I said as I helped him to his feet. “I think Robin would probably want to have a race with you before it rains.” I said my mood lifting now that it was over with.
“One more thing.” He added quickly.
There went my happy mood.
“Promise you won’t tell anyone about this.” He said smiling broadly when he saw the relief on my face.
“Promise.” I sighed, as I dragged him toward the ramp.