Off to Neverland: A modern day Peter Pan story
To never grow old. To never grow up. Thats what I thought I wanted, until I had the option. The faritytale of my dreams, that I'd had read to me what felt like a hundred years ago, was becoming my reality. A boy who I'd grown up believing was just another character in a story book turned out to be the realist thing in my life. But when you're given the chance to turn your back on everything you'd ever known what do you learn about yourself?
"Well help me!" I exclaim to all their shocked faces. All at once the group converge toward me, as though they'd all had the same notion at once. I couldn't tell you who it was that actually pulled me to my feet, but once I was there they all stopped once again a stared at me like I was bound to fall again. "Boo!" I yell and a few people actually flinch. I roll my eyes and push my way out of the crowd.
"Honey where ya goin'?" asks Margret. I turn around and raise my eyebrow at her.
"I'm going to the kitchen, to get an ice pack." I say and she nods at me. I turn away from the group. Some of the surprise seems to be wearing off, and I hear a few people whispering and snickering as I limp towards the kitchen. What jerks. They're in my house, eating my food, and drinking the punch I made, but they don't even have the decency to save their laughter until I was out of hearing range? How rude. I stumble into the kitchen and go to the drawer to get a rag for my makeshift icepack. I hear the door open behind me and two familiar voices follow the sound.
"Let me get that." says Joshua taking the rag from my hand and going to the freezer in half the time it would have taken me. I feel a pair of hands lift me off the ground and gently place me on the kitchen counter. My blue eyes meet his green and I'm shocked.
"Thomas?" I ask. He smiles and thumps my forehead.
"Don't sound so surprised. I couldn't pass up the possibility of seeing you impale yourself on one of the kitchen knives." He says and I'm reminded of back in sixth grade when the three of us, Thomas, Joshua, and I, had been the best of friends. What had changed so much?
"Well thank you, I think." I say and he smiles. Joshua pushes Thomas out of the way and hands me the handmade icepack.
"Here ya go." he says and I smile at him. He looks me in the eye for a moment and I can tell he's holding back laughter
"Go ahead!" I exclaim with a groan, and they simultaneously burst into laughter. They're both bent at the waist laughing so hard I'm sure one of them is going to hack up a lung. "Yeah, yeah it's so funny. Some stupid brat pushed me and I fell on my face." my sarcasm only makes them laugh harder.
"You should have seen your face!" exclaims Joshua. I look over at Thomas who has tears streaming down his face.
"It wasn't that funny!" I shout but they both nod their heads, and if they weren't too busy laughing they'd be saying "Oh yes it was'. I groan and prepare to sit through their outburst. A couple minutes later the laughter begins to die down and I look up at them. "You done now?" I ask and Thomas nods just as Joshua lets out a very 'manly' giggle. I can't help but smile. They actually looked like friends from where I was perched.
"Alright you ready to go back?" asks Josh and I set my icepack down on the counter beside me.
"Nope. I'm not going back out there." I say and Josh nods at me.
'Well what do you want to do instead?" he asks and I tap my chin.
"We could go to the park?" i say and Thomas looks at me like I'm out of my mind.
"It's like thirty degrees outside, and you're wearing a dress!" he exclaims. I snort and look at him.
"Who said you were invited." I say and for once Thomas doesn't have something to say. I kick my heels off and carefully hop off the counter. Josh hooks his arm through mine and we make our way for the back door.
"Yeah whatever I'm not covering for you two." says Thomas sounding almost sad. I look up at Joshua who gives me a very pointed look. With a sigh I turn around and look at Thomas.
"Do you want to come Tommy?" I ask and he looks over a Josh with a smug grin.
"I'd love to.' he says joining me on my other side and taking my arm. I had an urge to begin singing "We're off to see the Wizard", but I suppressed it. We quietly slipped outside into the freezing weather. I shivered and was immensely happy to have two very hot guys on either side of me. My bare feet are against the ground and I squeak.
"Let's go!" I say dropping their arms and running down my drive way. Cars littered the street outside my house. I weaved in and out of them and turned right on the street. I knew the boys were faster than me in a race but I was a lot more nimble and I had a head start. The park was a few blocks down and beautiful this time of year. I heard their footsteps pounding behind me and my excitement induced laughter bursts from my lungs. I had just spotted the top of the slide when a pair of hands wraps around my waist and scoops me up.
"Gotcha!" says Josh in my ear and I elbow him. He huffs and puts me down. I take off again.
"No ya don't!" I yell I here his growl and his footsteps pick up again. I'm mere feet away from the grass when someone zooms past me in a streak of black and white.
"I win!" shouts Thomas and I screech to a stop. I hadn't even heard him coming! He climbs to the top of the monkey bars and beats his chest. "I'm king of the mountain!" he says and I smirk.
"Not for long." I say and I begin my march for the monkey bars. How long had it been since the last time we'd all been here? At this little park, fighting for the crown? I liked this feeling. Like nothing was different. Things had been so simple till we'd gone to high school. Back when I was still the ugly duckling. The three of us had been insepeaable until Thomas realized that hanging with me wasn't going to impress the 'popular' kids at school. So he ditched me and Josh for a life of parties and girls. It had hurt more than I liked to believe.
We're all in our Junior year now and I'd been trying to get things back to normal. Joshua and his fists had been doing his darndest to keep us three apart.
I run for the slide and climb to the top.
"I'm king of the slide!" I declare and I see Josh's grin. He sprints over to where I am and i look for something to grab on to. I feel the cheap plastic slide rock back n forth as he thunders up the steps. When he's finally to the top we're both silent for a second. "Don't do anything rash." I say holding up my hands. He wiggles his eyebrows at me and I gulp. "I'll make you my knight." I say in a small voice. He pretends to ponder this before yanking me away from the railing I'd been clinging to and throws me down the slide.
"Not good enough." he calls after me. I feel the wind push my hair back and cause my dress to come up around my head. Thomas is at the end of the slide ready to catch me. I blush and try my best to get my dress back in place. When I'm finally able to see again I see him doubled over in laughter.
"Nice undies." He says and I growl at him. I picked the wrong night to wear a thong.
"Shut up." I order and he ruffles my hair.
"Aren't you a little young for those miss?" he asks and I'm sure I'm about to die of embarrassment. The most popular guy at my school just got a flash of my lacy, barely-there, underpants.
"I can wear whatever I please." I say and he tugs on a piece of my hair. I look down at the hem of my dress and silently curse Josh for pushing me down the slide.
"I'm just kidding Audrey, you don't need to be embarrassed." he says and I push away from him.
"Yeah, whatever." I say. He groans and begins unbuttoning his pants.
"Thomas! What are you doing?!" I exclaim as he shimmy's out of his trousers. They fall to his ankles and I get an eye full of his bunny-covered boxers. My eyes go wide. "Are those bunnies?" I ask. His face is the color of a ripe strawberry.
"No they are not! They are rabbits. There's a difference." I look more closely at the long eared, buck toothed, pink things frolicking on his undies and burst out laughing.
"Those are bunnies." I say in a matter-of-fact voice. He groans.
"They're my good luck boxers." He says and I pinch his cheek.
"I love them." I say and he looks at me with a smile. He bends down and starts yanking his pants into place.
"What's going on down there?" asks Josh. I realize just how precarious this must look and my blush comes back.
"Uhm I can't really explain this." I say and I see Josh duck down the slide. He comes out of the little opening just as Tommy is buttoning his pants back.
"So . . . why were you're pants unbuttoned?" asks Josh and Thomas looks up with a smirk.
"Me and Audrey were comparing thongs. Jealous?" He asks and Josh's eyes go wide. He completely ignores Tommy's question and looks down at me.
"You're wearing a thong?" he asks me and I groan.
"Just drop it Josh. Can someone change the subject?" I ask. For a moment everything is silent then Tommy's hand comes out and shoves Josh.
"Tag! You're it!" He shouts. Both Tommy and I react instantly, sprinting off into the trees that ring around the little park. I feel my hair blow out behind me and the excitement has my heart beating like a jackhammer. I fly through the trees knowing I'm in my element. I hear both Tommy and Josh crashing through the brush, off to my right but I'm not worried. Their footsteps fly further and further away until all is silent but my ragged breathing. I hear a footstep come from behind me and I spin around in shock? Had they found me?
But it's neither Tommy nor Josh. In fact the boy standing before me is someone I'd never seen before, and trust me he had a face you would remember. He had a tan that would give most valley girls a run for their money and this strange almost ginger hair. His eyes were a beautiful hazel mixture.
"Hi." I whisper as he takes a step closer to me. He was about my age, maybe a year or so older but he didn't look too much taller than me. He was wearing a thin green, cotton shirt and pair of low-rise black jeans. His feet were covered in mint green converse. His footsteps make no noise as he walks closer to me. I know I should be afraid of this silent stranger slowly making his way towards me but I'm not. It feels as though I'm in a dream. Soon he's right in front of me, just inches away and I could count the individual freckles that covered his nose. He bends down until our noses our touching and his scent clouds my brain. He smells like fresh pine needles and . . . adventure. I couldn't think of a better word for it. He smelled like adventure. This close I can see the little gold flecks in his eyes. I close my eyes as his hand comes up to stroke my cheek.
"Come out, come out! Where ever you are!" screams Josh and my eyes fly open. The boy was gone.