“It’s on sale,” I press my face against the glass, looking into Macy’s. “It’s still expensive, but it’s on sale.”
“Just buy it,” Harriet shrugs, looking through her cookie monster purse.
I sigh, pulling a wad of cash from my pocket, plucking the red bikini off the rack, and strolling up to the checkout counter.
“44.95.” The woman smiles at me. Of course she’s happy, I think as I hand her fifty dollars, she probably gets paid on commission or something.
I take my change and purchase and head out of the store to meet Harriet. I look around, but my neighbor is nowhere to be found. How can you lose a girl who’s dressed as cookie monster?
That’s Harriet Silverheart’s defining trait. She loves (and is obsessed with) the furry, blue, cookie loving puppet known as cookie monster. Now you might say everybody loves cookie monster, right? Well, not like Harriet. I’ll be the first one to say Harriet is a little off. Not all there. But really, that’s not the point.
There she is. I rush over to Harriet, who’s decked out in her signature blue dress, with cookies and such all over, and a matching blue headband with a cookie monster sitting on the top. She’s talking to the balloon animal guy.
“So have you heard of the cookie monster?” Harriet asks the man.
“Eh, no. I make you snake, yeah?” The man says tying a balloon and handing it to her. Wow, he’s good.
“Um, no thank you.” Harriet hands the balloon back to the man.
“Uh, Harriet, we have to go.” I say.
“Oh, okay.” Harriet nods happily, following me out of the mall.
“Lanie!” I walk through the door and am ambushed by a bubbly four year old.
“Hey Iz,” I smile at my little sister.
“What’d you bring me?” She gets to the point.
“Nothing,” I say, petting my cat, Monroe. Huh, looks like he’s put on a little weight.
“Then what’s in here?” Iz dumps my canvas shopping bag out on the floor. The skimpy red swimsuit falls out, right in front of Mom.
“Isadora,” Mom says in a stern voice, “don’t do that.” I gulp as Mom picks up the bikini. “Hmm, this is cute.” She eyes me suspiciously, “Did you buy this?” I nod. She just shakes her head, “You know you can’t wear a bikini.”
“But Mom,” I whine.
“I suppose you can wear it around the house,” Mom says, tossing it to me, “Since it is pretty cute.” She smiles at me and walks out of the room.
“I found it!” Iz shouts, pulling a toy dolphin from the pile of clothes and knick-knacks.
“You’re welcome.” I say sarcastically.
She immediately rushes to my side, hugging my legs, “Thank you, Lanie!”
“Yeah, yeah,” I rub her head, “Get out of here.” She skips away, chasing Monroe down the hall and around the corner.
Isadora Prudence Agnes Meredith or Iz for short is my darling little sister. She’s adorable, really…and really, really annoying. Four years ago, when I was ten, I wasn’t too thrilled with having a little sister. So I suggested the worst names possible for her, most of which Mom loved. Hence, Iz’s long name. But it seems the more ugly names she got, the cuter she got. Stupid irony…
“Lane!” Mom calls me into the kitchen.
“Yeah?” I enter the room. I survey the scene. Mom’s cooking dinner. Mmm, chicken. Monroe is begging for scraps. You don’t need it kitty, you don’t need it. And Iz is sprawled out on the kitchen floor, singing some Barney song.
“Lane, why don’t you take Iz to the park. Dinner won’t be ready for another half hour.” Mom says.
“Alright,” I sigh, “C’mon Iz, let’s go to the park.”
“I looove you! You looove me!” Iz sits up, half singing, mostly screaming.
“Isadora!” Mom shouts. “Go with Lane! Now!”
Iz ends her song, takes my hand, and we head down the block towards the park.
“Will you go on the swings with me?” Iz skips next to me as we approach Birch Park.
“Maybe.” I say as Iz takes off towards the playground.
I sigh and follow her. I push her on the swing for a little while, until I finally break down and let my inner-child get the best of me. I sit down on the swing next to Iz and take off.
I’m high in the air, Iz swinging forward as I swing back when something catches my eye. A group of kids that looks vaguely familiar. Then it hits me. Holy Hill High School’s open house. I was attending an open house at my future high school when I recall seeing a small group of students, my age, navigating the halls. And that’s when I saw him. Cute blond boy. He wasn’t in the group. He had been walking past them. Oh he was gorgeous. And blond.
It’s not long before I realize this is a completely different group of teens, but still, the thought of cute blond boy is enough to send me into a daze, lose my balance, and fall off the swing.