"No! That's stupid, Carmody." Charlie bit her lip furiously, a sure sign that she was angry.

"I know, okay? I know." I used my most soothing tone, trying to calm her down. I felt like I was talking to a three-year-old. 

"Well, . . I don't know any way to fix this." I stated. Charlie's brow furrowed. "What do you mean? You could still come."

The problem was, my mother had sat me and my sisters all down in the living room last night. "I've got some news." she said. As it turns out, this whole vacation was a cover-up- not according to her, anyway, but I could just tell. Turns out, she put up our house for sale while we were gone. We were going to move to California.

See, my mom's boyfriend, Jack, got transferred from his job at a National Parks Service. She couldn't bear to be separated from him, I guess. So this meant we wouldn't drive to Florida anymore, which meant next summer's plans here, already begun by Blaire and Malaya and Emery and Charlie and me, were bust. I'd never see them again. 

 Saying goodbye was going to be harder now. Maybe, just maybe, if I did it quick, just a couple words and hugs, it wouldn't be too bad.

Yeah, right. These were some of the best friends I'd ever made.

I sat under a palm tree on the beach, thinking and listening to the sound of Charlie's flip-flops trudging away through the sand.

"Got your suitcase, dear?" My mom hefted her own suitcase, an ancient Louis Vuitton, into the back of the car. I wasn't really mad at her, for some reason. I was sad, for sure, but not furious.

"Yeah." I threw my floral-print duffel into the trunk with the rest of the things, and climbed into the front seat. Lindsay protested, but I wasn't going to have her yakking and complaining about moving the whole way back, with the sound carrying to the back seat and whatnot. She was going to sit in the back, with the little girls, and get banana mushed into her shirt and orange juice spilled on her shoes. Just like I'd had done to me on the way up.

Just one last thing- Ah, there they were. My friends came towards me from the beach, where they'd walked from town to say goodbye.

"Carmody," sobbed Mayala, "Why do you have to go so far away?"

Charlie just stared at her toes. Blaire gave me a quick, energetic hug. "Stay chill." she whispered in my ear. I nodded, and smiled.

Mayala was next. Gosh, was she a sobbing mess. I had to run in and get her a tissue. "You made the summer so fun."
My eyes started to tear up. Next was Charlie. "I'm not about to give you a hug," she said,  looking with cautious disgust at Malaya, "But-" she shoved something into my hand. "Take this." I unfolded my hand- and what lay there but a miniature ship in a bottle, tiny and elaborate and unique. Just like Charlie, I thought. "From my personal collection." she said, stiff but proud.

Last, but certainly not least, came Emery. Her eyes were red-rimmed, but she was strong and proud. As her tan arms embraced me, she whispered in my ear. "You've changed me forever, Carmody." Her lilting accent was so pretty. "You've taught me how to be kind." she said as she stepped back. "You've taught me how to love."

I was so shaken and sad I couldn't answer. A single tear drifted lazily down my face, and plopped into the sand. "Thanks, guys." I finally got out, though hoarsely. They started to back up and walk back down the beach. I watched them for a minute, and when I could almost see them no more, Emery turned back and nodded. I waved, and then they were gone.

I knew they would be all right. They had each other, and most importantly, Emery had made friends. This had been the best summer of my life.
3/20/2012 08:52:56 am

IT"S SO SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD. How did that happen? But good story. :D What will your next one be about?

4/4/2012 06:04:27 am

I don't know yet. Got any ideas?

4/4/2012 12:17:54 pm

Hmm... there's a prompt Silv told me about. I'm planning to do a story about it- maybe you'd like it too?

Setting: Seaside
Object: Bookmark
Theme: Love

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