Chapter 4:

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 150

 

*Keely*

“Interesting,” Kirsten said, eyes glued to her computer screen.

“Did you find a venue?”  Look at me.  I sounded so professional.  To channel the wedding planner spirit I’d hunted down the channel that always had wedding stuff on it.  We’d hauled out the card table and some chairs and had called it headquarters.  Peyton was painting, mostly with her fingers on the paper.  I hoped.  I didn’t want to have to explain a rainbow array of colors on the light grey carpet. 

“No.  But Ke$ha is going on tour.  What are you doing August twenty third?”

“That would be the third official day of college,” I said.

“Wrong, the correct answer is driving to Chicago to see our favorite performer of all time.”

“I thought that was Taylor Swift,” I said, keeping my face straight.

Kirsten paused in her scrolling to glare at me over our computer screens.  “You know I hate Taylor Swift.”

“I know,” I said, fighting back the smile.

“Her lyrics suck.  Romeo and Juliet died in the end so her hit song doesn’t make sense.  No one cares that Joe Jonas broke up with her over the phone-“

“It was a twenty seven second phone call,” I interjected.

“I don’t care.I saw your cell phone, I know you have the date to her next album being released saved on your calendar.  My birthday isn’t even saved.”

“Because I have it memorized.”

“No you don’t.”

“June twenty second.”

“You’re good,” Kirsten gave me credit.  “But that does not change the fact that I am going to publicly denounce her when I am famous.”

“You can’t denounce America’s sweetheart,” I said.

“I won’t be because that would mean denouncing myself,” she said proudly.

I shook my head and went back to my mission.  The wedding dress.  That was all Leigh cared about.  I’d called all the decent dress shops in the area and they had all laughed at me saying I needed a dress in a month.  This was a dilemma.  Leigh would not give up on her white dress.  I didn’t blame her for that one.  But that was about all I didn’t blame her for.

I called my mom to get her take.  She suggested Des Moines.  “That’s four hours away,” I protested.

“We gotta do what we gotta do.”

“Oh this is going to blow,” I breathed, changing my search in Google.  I started calling the ones that got five star ratings.  I got pretty much the same reaction.  I must be crazy to think that any reputable store would find a dress in such a short amount of time.  I resorted to the four stars.  Then the three.  Finally one of them gave me the good news.

“We have an appointment to get everyone’s dresses tomorrow at nine,” I said to Kirsten, making a note of the address and time in my notebook.

“I have to get up at eight?  That totally ruins my day.”

“Try four thirty,” I said.

“In the morning?”

“Yes.”

“That one ruins my entire month.”

“You and me both.”

 

“Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy.”  My cell phone alarm managed to blast out that much before I poked the right button. 

Kirsten rolled away from the noise.  I rolled to face the ceiling, feeling like I hadn’t gotten any sleep at all.  When given a project I have this compulsive need to finish it.  But now I had everything lined up, waiting for Leigh’s confirmation.  She would hate being married at a golf course, but that was all that was available unless she wanted to use the back yard.  She should consider herself lucky I talked our minister into marrying her.  I had the reception lined up.  Food was ordered.  A DJ had been hired and would be waiting for the deposit.  If it was needed, I’d figured it out yesterday.

I poked Kirsten.  “Wake up,” I said.

“Stop,” she smacked at my hand.  “I don’t have to go.”

“Do too.  You’re the only one who will tell it like it is.”

Mom, Tori, and I basically had to go.  Tori and I were hopefully going to find our bridesmaids dresses.  Mom was there to keep the bloodshed to a minimum.  Leigh would take sick pleasure in making us look as ugly as possible.  I’d called Leigh’s best friend-cough, only friend- and had told her about the appointment.  Jessica, or Jessie as she told me to call her, was more than happy to show up since she was only an hour away.

I crept up the steps and flipped on the light in my bathroom.  Leigh had thrown a tizzy last night when I’d responded that I was wearing capris and a nice shirt.  I held up my sundress.  Kirsten had made me buy it last fall when it was on sale.  Hopefully it still fit.

I combed my hair and did the makeup thing, trying to conceal the big bags under my eyes.  I changed into the black and white cotton dress and grimaced.  I hate my legs in dresses.  I hate everything in dresses.  It accentuates that I don’t have a figure. 

Kirsten and I have a routine while getting ready in the mornings.  I opened the door and shortly after she stumbled in to brush her teeth.  She was not awake.  She was also garbed in a sun dress, actually the brown and white one she’d bought at the same time as me.  We almost matched.  We didn’t even do these things on purpose.

I had to go back downstairs after my black flats and my purse.  I also snatched up the notebook I’d now scribbled in on over half the pages.  I’d written out a budget, leaving a little wiggle room that I wasn’t going to point out, lest Leigh get the idea that she could have whatever she wanted.  This budget had to pay for her wedding, the engagement party she had to have, and the bachelor and bachelorette party.  So far I was doing good but Leigh still had to approve.

I came up into the living room and settled on the couch next to Kirsten, who was already asleep again.  I pulled my legs up and grabbed the blanket of the back of the couch.  “Isn’t this a cute picture?”

I sat up, blanket falling off.  “Ry?  What the hell are you doing up?”

“You are looking at the male perspective on her dress,” Ry said.  “And since she knows I won’t take this seriously, Tate is coming too.”

“She’s out of control,” I muttered, closing my eyes again.

About ten minutes later my mom came out of her room, looking tired.  She wanted to go to help but I couldn’t help but feel guilty for making her wake up this early.  She didn’t deserve to get woken up pre-dawn and drive to some horrible shop to listen to Leigh complain for hours. 

Tate joined us moments later, looking barely awake.  His dark brown hair wasn’t even combed.  The waves looked super cute, his bangs falling over his forehead.  He’s the same height as my brother and has the same obsession with keeping in shape.  I tried the gym  thing twice and hated it.  Tate had dark blue eyes, didn’t smile much but it was a heart stopper when he did.  Sometimes I didn’t understand how he and my lighthearted brother were such good friends and then I’d get stuck in a car with them for hours and listen to them joke around. 

The rest of us had been trying to be quiet, stumbling around in the dark so as not to wake anyone else up.  That’s what non-selfabsorbed people do.  Not Leigh.  The light at the top of the stairs flipped on, then the one in the stairwell.  She flipped on the living room light and the whole main floor of the house was illuminated.  “We’re late,” she said.  Tori was following her, looking super tired.  And like Leigh had hogged the bathroom.

“Shh,” we all admonished her.

Nonetheless, she loudly opened the door, letting the screen door slam shut after her.  Upstairs I heard Peyton start to cry.  “I’m going to kill her,” I said, Mom pushing me out the door.  Since at five in the morning it’s a little chilly to be running around in sun dresses, I brought my fleece blanket along. After flattening the middle row of seats, I crawled into the back seat, Kirsten following.  My purse and shoes were dropped on the floor.  Kirsten leaned against the window on her side, I leaned on my window.  The two of us slanted our legs so that they were in the middle and I tossed the blanket, which is huge and I love it, over the both of us.  I popped in my headphones and called it good.

Tate had to stop and fix the middle row, then climbed in next, sitting up straight in the middle row.  Ry followed him, slouching in his spot.  Mom started the car, which had been parked in the circle so we wouldn’t wake anyone up with the garage door.  The headlights cut into the darkness.  Leigh rolled down her window.  “Where is Tori?” she demanded to know.

“Taking care of her no longer sleeping child,” I answered.  You bitch.  I tacked that one up to being tired.  I’d vowed that I was going to be civil today.  I was off to a bad start.

A few minutes later Tori quietly slipped out the front door and opened the door to sit next to Ry.  I shivered when the cool air hit me.  “Thanks, Leigh, my husband really appreciates getting to put three ticked children back to bed alone.”

“I didn’t tell you to have three demanding kids and come stay at mom’s,” Leigh said.

I could tell that Tori wanted to strangle her.  She was in the perfect spot.  The thought definitely would have crossed my mind, which is why I was all the way back here.  “Don’t be a bitch, Leigh,” I said, sitting up, taking my headphones out.  “None of us really have to do this.”

“Your sister is right,” my mom said to Leigh.  I gloated and leaned back against my window, turning my headphones up more so I couldn’t hear Leigh at all. Kirsten was already out.

I sleep even worse in a moving car.  When Mom hit the only stoplight in town, I woke up.  Leigh was jabbering about something, non stop.  I could tell that Mom was only half listening.  Tori was asleep, or pretending to be, leaning her head against the window.  Tate was doing the same on his side.  My brother was slouched down, his feet propped up on the middle console.  None of us looked very comfortable. 

I dozed again on the interstate, which thankfully made up most of the journey.  I woke up when she turned off onto the Des Moines exit, which was probably a good thing since I needed to give directions.

I turned down the volume and just looked out the window, taking in the scenery.  Maybe it would have been prettier if I hadn’t been in the middle of a big city.  I’d written down the directions on a sheet of paper.  My mom followed them to a T but somehow we ended up not at a wedding dress store.

The car’s sleeping occupants got woken up by Leigh shrieking that this was horrible and all my fault.  “Chill out,” I said to her, already pulling out my cell phone.

“She has Dora,” Kirsten said.  I knew she was mentally calling my sister bad names.  I was doing the same.  Positive thinking was obviously not an option today.

I plugged in the address into my phone and held it up when Dora, as I call the mechanic female voice, started giving directions.  Ten minutes later we were pulled up in front of the small wedding dress shop, the white dresses propped up on manikins in the windows.  I put my shoes on and waited for the middle row to evacuate.  Tails were looking a little more bushy, eyes a little more bright.  It’s not like we could get worse.

I scrambled over the middle seat, since no one bothered to flip them back down.  “That was very ladylike,” Leigh said, flipping through her numerous dress magazines. 

“Why thank you,” I curtsied.  “Maybe if someone hadn’t demanded that I wear a dress.”

“On the shows the entourage always dresses nicely.”  Then she breezed into the store.

“She does have a point,” Kirsten said.  “On the show we were watching yesterday they were all dressed up.”

“It was a huge place with designer dresses in New York City.  They were getting filmed.  Of course they looked nice.”  Oh, god, I was part of her entourage.

“Touche.”

Tate held the door open for Mom and Tori, waiting patiently for me and Kirsten. I was taking one last breath to get me through the nearing torture.

We stepped in and I was temporarily blinded by the flash of white.  White dresses were everywhere, hanging in racks and on walls.  “You’re a good man,” I said to Tate.

I caught the tail end of Leigh telling the poor sales lady everything she wanted.  Lace, but she didn’t want traditional.  She wanted glam but not glitter.  She didn’t care about the dress cut but she wanted big.  She wanted to make a statement but not a gaudy one.  “And she has a budget,” I cut in, showing the saleswoman the number.  Leigh would have no clue.

Our group took a seat on a large bench-like couch as Leigh followed the woman into a dressing room.  Ten minutes later the sales lady came back, dragging a bunch of dresses with her.  I applauded her effort.  Leigh’s description had been totally confusing and highly contradictive.  I would have thrown something at her and told her to like it.

By the time the sixth dress was tried on, I no longer cared.  Kirsten was dozing and I was playing hangman with my brother in my notebook.  Tate was sitting, not giving anything away.  Ry owed him.  I owed him.  Leigh owed all of us.

The eighth dress caught my attention but I couldn’t let it show.  Kirsten jerked awake and stared at the dress then at me.  Mom looked at the satisfied looking Leigh and then me.  They recognized the dress, just like Tori and just like Leigh.  But she was trying it on to torture me.  She’d wear it just so I wouldn’t.

When Chance and his wife, Cora, had been engaged I’d been looking over the dresses with Cora.  There’d been one that had stolen my breath.  I’d said that if I got married, it would be in that dress.  That dress.  The one my sister was preening in and turning around to look at herself in the mirror.

I knew I couldn’t say anything because I knew that would make Leigh want it more.  Reverse psychology is a pain sometimes.  Mom and Tori knew they couldn’t say anything either, I could tell by the panicked look on Mom’s face.  And Leigh’s little friend, Jessie, was over on her end, bubbling.  “Oh my gosh , you look fantastic.”

Kirsten pursed her lips.  “I don’t know.  Something seems… off.”

And then Ry, bless him, jumped in.  “It’s that little belt thing.  It’s too low on her.  It makes her torso look freakishly out of proportion.”  I loved that belt.  I wanted it to be a cloudy grey with the white orchid off to the side, not a pink ribbon with the flower front and center like she had.And of course my torso is in proportion to the rest of my body so it will look good on me.

“And the color doesn’t look good on you.  You can go for the full on white or like antique lace but this one makes you look washed out.”

Jessie, not being bright but not wanting to look stupid by being the only one to like the dress when obviously it was all wrong, chimed in.  “I don’t like the strapless look on you.  It makes your shoulders look…”

“Masculine,” Tate supplied, with a nod. This team effort deserved a ten.

Leigh stalled.  She really wanted to get me.  “Well, we could move the belt, right?”

“Yes.”

“And order it in a different color?”

“Yes.”

“And I want the neckline to be different, and add some halter straps.”

I raised my pencil.  “Can this be done in three weeks?”

“No.  Three months would be pushing it.”  The sales lady pursed her lips.  I know, I know, we were huge pains in the rear for even suggesting such madness.

I leaned back.  Leigh was in a quandary.  She could go with this original dress, on the off chance that this was still my dream dress, knowing that she looked like a masculine out of proportion ghost.  Or she could get a dress that would make her look better than I could ever achieve.  I knew she’d go with choice two but that didn’t change the huge feeling of relief when she came out in a different dress.

Finally, with a different sales lady because the first one hadn’t thought it would take so long and had scheduled another appointment, Leigh chose a pale gold dress.  There was this pretty lace overlay that draped over her petite frame just so.  It hugged her curves but had a huge train.  I’d have to take that into account on the golf course wedding that I hadn’t told her about yet.

“Now, could you get those four into dresses?” she asked the sales lady, coming back out of the dressing room in her black slacks and crisp white shirt. 

“Um, four?” Kirsten asked.

I bit my lip.  And here was the real reason my sister wanted Kirsten to come along. 

“Well, Josh has this group of friends that he absolutely won’t choose between to be in his party.”  And I have no friends, I filled in the blank mentally. “So I need a filler bridesmaid and you fit the bill.”

I could see the wheels cranking in Kirsten’s head, trying to formulate a way out of this without making a lifelong enemy of my sister.  “Leigh, I don’t think you want someone you hardly know in your wedding party… I mean… it’s flattering and I would love to but…”

“Great,” Leigh clapped her hands.  “Let’s try that one.”  She pointed this hideous dress hanging on the wall.  I’d spotted it from the beginning, knowing that this would be a top contender.

“It’s going to be hot out,” Mom said, putting her foot down.  “You got a light dress, you’re not making your bridesmaids stumble around in velvet and hoopskirts.”  That’s right, velvet and hoopskirts.

“First off, you need to pick colors,” I said, handing my notebook off to Ry. He took it happily, which meant I’d be finding random words and pictures everywhere.  “There’s no time for anything so we buy, as is.”

Cue the montage music and the clips of all of us coming out in different dresses.  Color schemes clashed, one of us would hate the style, Mom would protest.  I knew it was bad when Tate and Ry burst out laughing and then turned it into coughing.  Unfortunately, those were the dresses Leigh chose.

On the horrible scale, they were actually only about a four or a five.  It just wasn’t my personal style.  Tori was upgraded to matron of honor since she refused to wear these dresses.  “No mother of three was meant to be seen in dresses like those.”  So she got an emerald blue satin dress that was cute and very comfortable looking.  Then there was the rest of us.

Leigh had been picking through the sale rack when she’d found them.  Let’s start at the top.  It was strapless, had a sweetheart neckline, with our chest area consisting of black sequin-diamond things.  They really irritated bare arms, let me tell you.  The rest of the dress was that horrible fluffy, slick looking material.  The very bottom layer was black so it wouldn’t be see through.  After that there were like twelve alternating levels of the slick material in black and blue.  It blended to make a really pretty color but it was like something you’d see on a Barbie.  Actually Barbie’s outfits actually made it to the past-the-fingertips rule.  These didn’t.

Unfortunately we’d used all of our vetoes so Leigh got her way.  There were some minor alterations that needed to be made on all of our dresses.  My mom quietly explained the situation and the manager was sympathetic.  After we were all pinned and then back in our street clothes, she told us to give them two hours and we’d walk away with the dresses.  Not that I wanted to.

Leigh was bubbly in the car, happy to have gotten her way.  Jessie paid for her dress up front and we agreed to take it with us.  She left, free as a bird.  Take me with you, I thought, holding my hand up to my window in the car.  The ditz backer up her bright yellow car and honked her horn, waving at us.

“Lucky bitch,” Kirsten muttered, leaning back in her seat.

“Need something, Kirsten?” Mom asked.

I bit my lip, trying so hard not to laugh.  Ry had heard her too and was practically biting his fist.  “No, Mom, I’m just hungry,” Kirsten covered quite nicely.  “Trying on dresses is so much work.”

When my best friend of four years called my mom “Mom” I could see the jealousy in Leigh’s eyes.  It was bad enough that she had to compete with her two sisters, but now outsiders, this simply would not do.  When her eyes narrowed, I knew the easy ride was over for Kirsten. 

“Well, the mall is close by, isn’t it?” Mom asked.  “You kids have been here more than me.”

I held up my hands.  “Do not look at me.  We all know that I am directionally challenged.”

“We’re looking at you because you have the phone with the navigator,” Ry said.

“Oh. Yeah.”

“Her name is Dora,” Kirsten corrected him playfully.  “She doesn’t like it when we’re cold and impersonal.”

“Neither does Richard,” I agreed.

“Who’s Richard?” Tate asked.

“Kirsten’s GPS in her car,” I explained.  “We don’t just choose names randomly.” 

“Why Richard?” Ry asked.  “Dora I get, for Dora the Explorer, but Richard?”

“Because when I’m driving somewhere, usually with your sister, and we get confused and Richard is giving us confusing directions we often yell at him,” Kirsten said simply.

“I still don’t get it,” Ry settled down in his seat.  Dora started to direct my mom. 

I repeated the directions for Mom and then flicked Ry in the back of his head. “Oh come on.  Think like me and Kirsten,” I prompted him.  “Guy humor.  Which  is hard for you, I know, but don’t disappoint me Ry-Ry.”

“You were never to call me that,” he narrowed his eyes at me.

“You started the whole Keke thing with the boogers and they still call me that so this is your punishment,” I said.

“I get it,” Tate said.  “Richard can be shortened to Dick.”

“Which I never understood,” Kirsten said.  “But you are correct sir.  Fifty points to Tate.”

“You have never lived until you’ve driven with us while Richard is being Dick,” I said.  “We get pretty funny.”

“Then you post it on your Facebook profile and no one cares,” Leigh said.

“Then why do people like it?” I asked.  “Riddle me that.”

“I can’t even talk to you when you’re like this.”

“Good,” I said primly, flipping her off below the seat.  Kirsten was the only one who caught it, and she wasn’t telling.  She was doing the same.It’s good to have a twin. *Tate*

 

It was not a moment too soon when the van pulled into the driveway.  Everyone was tired and crabby and the back was stuffed with dresses.  And a special surprise that the manager had found in the back room.  “Apparently the bride that ordered these dresses ordered these little coverups,” she had said, holding one up.  Keely’s eyes had widened.  Kirsten had choked on the water she was sipping.  It was a little sweater that would maybe go to the rib cage, was a matching blue color with the bright blue sequins that were on the top of the dress. 

“Holy sequins,” Ry had muttered.

Everyone had filed in, Leigh leaving her dress to be hauled in by someone else.  Keely and Kirsten had mutiny in their eyes as they pulled their dresses out of the back.  Tate made sure to hold the door open for them.  The whole be-a-gentleman lesson was engrained in him and he was thankful.  Guys who held open doors and pulled out chairs immediately had a one up on the guys that didn’t.  In that one regard, understanding a girl was easy.

Kirsten and Keely helped Mrs. Fitz make spaghetti for dinner.  Tate grinned.  One of these days he’d start calling her Mom like Rylan said he could.  Kirsten had no problem with it.  “Do you want me to warm up the bread in the oven, Mom?” she asked.

“That would be wonderful.”

Ry and Tate were spread out at the kitchen table, supposedly combing through papers looking for an apartment close to college.  There was really nothing.  Besides, it was too distracting smelling the food cooking, listening to the laughter from the cooks, watching Keely dance her way to the fridge to get out some mushrooms.  She was sautéing them now, stirring them with the wooden spoon so they wouldn’t burn.

Leigh breezed through the kitchen, a pencil tucked behind her ear.  She was totally enveloped in one of her school books.  She paused to sniff the air.  “Carbs,” she said dismissively.  “Mom, I don’t want spaghetti.”  And then she continued on her way.

Mrs. Fitz stopped and looked troubled.  “I thought she liked spaghetti.  That’s why I’m fixing it.”

“Mom, don’t feel bad.  Spaghetti was the easiest thing to make for all of these people and it’s not your fault she’s suddenly against carbs.  She can shove it.”  Keely went back to stirring the mushrooms.

“I have to give her something,” she fretted.

“Mom, she’s twenty three and she’s moved back in here.  I think we’re all doing enough for her so she can find herself something to eat.”

Tate found himself across from Leigh at dinner.  That gave him the perfect view of her face when Keely settled a bowl of lettuce in front of her, piled with croutons and cheese.  “Here you go,” she said, depositing some salad dressing next to the bowl.

Keely circled around the table to take the seat next to Tate, between him and the middle little girl, El.  “Do you need me to cut that up for you?” she asked the little girl.  The littlest three had gotten served their spaghetti first so it could cool off. 

“No, I think I’m good,” Tate said, face dead pan.  “Thanks for the offer though.”

Keely twisted around in her seat to shoot him an amused grin.  He smiled back.  It was impossible not to smile at her, looking so happy.  “I’m sorry, Tate, are you feeling neglected?”

“A little,” he picked at his food.  “Ry promised me slumber parties and fishing expeditions.”

“I love fishing!” Madelyn exclaimed.

“I love parties!” El piped up.  The youngest one just babbled and banged her fork on her plate.

“You created a monster,” Tori teased him. 

“Keke, can I sleep with you tonight?” Madelyn asked.  “We can watch movies.”

“I like movies.”

Keely smiled patiently at both of her nieces.  “I don’t think you want to.  It’s cold in the basement.”

“No, it’s not.”

“There’s not enough room.  Kirsten and I are both in my room.  You’d get squished.”

“No I wouldn’t.”

And as much as Keely persisted, even with backup from Tori and her parents, El and Madelyn wanted their slumber party.  “I can’t help but feel like this is my fault,” Tate said to Ry, watching Kirsten go downstairs, two bowls of popcorn with her.

“Oh, it is your fault.  And you can expect that Keely and Kirsten will get their revenge.  I can only hope that they don’t drag me down with you.”  Ry shook his head, sadly.

In the middle of the action filled movie they were watching upstairs with the rest of the family, Tate sensed something by his elbow.  He turned his head and there was El, tugging on his arm.  Peyton was beside her, sipping her juice out of her sippy cup.  “Hey, cuties,” he said, pulling El up onto his lap.

“Tate, come watch movies with us.”

Ry snickered and elbowed Jonathan.  “You don’t want me down there, do you?” Tate asked, ignoring his friend. 

“Yes.  It’s fun.”

“Tate is watching this movie, sweetie,” Tori said, enjoying the night off from mom-hood.

“We’re watching Princess and Frog,” she said, turning her big hazel eyes to Tate.  He could feel his decision swaying.

“Yeah, Tate, go watch the Princess and the Frog,” Ry said.  “Keely raves about it.”

“Sure, El, I will come watch the movie with you,” Tate said.  El happily jumped out of his lap and ran for the stairs.  Peyton, not trusting him, held up her little hand.  As Tate took it, he flipped Ry off over his shoulder.

Peyton led him down the stairs.  This part made Tate nervous.  He really didn’t want to be responsible for her falling down the stairs.  He held on tighter but she had it handled.  She had his hand and her other hand was braced on the wall.  She was almost an expert at these things.  If her legs were a little bit longer, she’d probably be as fast as him.

“Where’s Peyton?” he heard Keely ask. 

“I don’t know,” the other three girls answered.  Keely looked more irritated at Kirsten than the other two, but that could have just been the angle.

“I’ve got her,” Tate volunteered.  “Or really, she’s got me.”

“Tate wants to watch the movie,” El said to her aunt.

Keely smiled wryly.  She knew that there was no way Tate wanted to watch a Disney movie.  “Oh, he did, did he?  There wasn’t a little midget up there begging him to watch it with us?”

“No,” El said primly.  “There was two.”

Peyton, meanwhile, had led Tate over to the recliner.  The one where Kirsten was sitting. Peyton glared at her, still holding onto Tate’s hand.  “I see where I rate,” Kirsten sighed.  “I’ll just sit on the floor, then.”

“Just sit here,” Keely got to her feet, vacating the rocking chair.  “I need to go find the air mattress anyway.”

“What for?”

“There’s no way all of us are fitting on my bed and I am not sleeping on the floor,” Keely answered, already halfway up the stairs.  “I figured this way you could sleep in my room all by your lonesome.”

“I find that acceptable,” Kirsten said.  “You hear that midgets?” she directed at Madelyn and El.  “You sleep on the floor.  I get the bed.”

“No, we do,” Madelyn replied. 

“Ha, I don’t think so.”

After  a ten minute argument between Kirsten and the two midgets, involving wrestling and insults, toddler style, Keely was back.  She rolled her eyes at her best friend.  “Now that you’ve got them wound up, you can stay up with them all night.”

“No, I’m sleeping on the bed.”

“No, I am,” El said, smacking her arm.

“Hey,” Keely narrowed her eyes and pointed the  reverse vacuum thing that would blow up the mattress at her.  “We don’t hit.”

“Yeah?” El said, mischievously raising her eyebrow at Keely.  Tate bit back the snicker.  He’d been saved from all of this, Peyton peacefully munching on ice cream and drinking her juice.  She might just be the only one watching the movie. 

When El threateningly stepped towards Keely, she bent and plugged in the vacuum.  “Do it, and this blows your nose, right off of your face.”  Keely used her foot to press the button.  As the air kicked on, Madelyn and El screamed and ran for cover.  That was just too much fun for Peyton to pass up.  She slid from Tate’s lap and ran after them, screaming and waving her hands. 

“Now is when you make your escape,” Keely said to him, turning it off to plug it into the mattress nozzle. 

“Thanks, twin, I owe you,” Kirsten said, getting to her feet.

“Not even funny,” Keely shot her a look.

Tate smiled and dashed up the stairs.  He looked back over his shoulders when he heard the shrieking, catching a glimpse of Keely scooping Peyton up in her arms.  He almost wanted to stay down there with them.


Submitted: April 25, 2012

© Copyright 2022 DMT. All rights reserved.

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Book / Young Adult