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?
Bridley . . . what else needs to be said?
"Why're you being so quiet?" asks Tommy and I look up at him. I hadn't bothered to tell either of my friends about he boy in the woods. It just sort of felt like a secret I should keep to myself. He was my secret. I liked the sound of that.
"I'm just thinking about how I wish we could all hang out like this more often." I say. It wasn't exactly a lie, but it hadn't been what I was thinking. Thomas gives me a guilty look.
"That's my fault isn't it?" he ask me and I punch his shoulder.
"Yeah it kind of is." I say and he looks down at his fancy Italian shoes that I have an urge to stomp on.
"Well personally I don't want him to hang out with us Audrey. No offence Thomas, I mean you used to be really cool, but lets face it, you ditched us. Why should we even talk to you?" asks Joshua and I look over at him in shock. Part of me wants to scold him but part of me is also glad he asked the question I was dying to know the answer to.
Tommy groans and runs a hand through his perfect blond hair. By now we'd all stopped walking and were standing just outside my house. I could here some lame Christmas song playing inside and silhouettes on the window seemed to be dancing.
"You're right. I did ditch you guys. Back in freshman year I thought the most important thing was popularity. I stopped playing pokemon and threw my trumpet away, and basically I forgot who I was. In my eyes the fact that I had money meant that I was better than anyone who didn't it took me a really long time to realize that I was being really, really stupid but by that time you two had already moved on a forgotten about me. I've been trying to work up the nerve to talk to you guys for a very long time. It's just you guys were always so, I don't know . . . happy with yourselves. It didn't even seem to bother you that I wasn't there anymore." he trails off sounding heartbroken. I reach my hand out to give his a squeeze.
"Oh Josh, Can we keep him?" I ask and Josh's mouth quirks at my wording.
"Hey I'm not some random puppy you found on the side of the road." says Tommy but I can tell he's holding back a smile. Josh groans.
"Fine but you have to feed it and clean up it's messes." he says and I grin and pull both of my boys in for a hug.
"Yay! It's just like old times." I say and the boys both shake there heads at me but join in the hug. "Alright so we've got at least two years of bestfriend-dom that we have to make up for. When do we start?" I ask and they both look at me like I'm crazy.
"And how do you purpose we do that?" asks Josh. I tap my chin and am about to respond when the front door of my house is thrown open and Tommy's mother comes stomping out.
"Thomas Bridley Moore! Get inside this instant! Where have you been?" she exclaims. Tom releases his hold on me and takes a step back. I hold back a giggle at his middle name. He's always hated it and in third grade, as a result of this fierce hatred, Josh and I had taken to calling him Bridley, just to tick him off.
"Mom will you please chill? I am seventeen years old, I don't need to alert you every time I go to the bathroom!" he says and I swear I heard her growl.
"One more word Thomas, and you're grounded." she threatens. I know how difficult it must be for Thomas to hold his tongue. He and I were a like in that way, occasionally our smart mouths got the best of us. I reach out and touch his arm. He looks over at me.
"Just go inside, so you won't get in trouble. We'll be in right after you." I promise and I see his jaw unclench. "Please." I whisper and he nods his head at me. I watch as he slowly marches toward the door and shoulders into my house past his mother. She fixes me with a glare before slamming the door.
"What a . . ." Josh fights for the right word to describe her and I nod at him.
"'What a' is right." I say with a shake of the head. Josh wraps his arm around my shoulder and gives me a squeeze.
"So interesting night huh? We got our best friend back." He says and I pick up on a hint of sarcasm. I lean into him as we start making our way for the back door.
"We sure did." I say and he chuckles "I never knew he played with pokemon cards." I add on as an afterthought. I look up at Josh when he clears his throat and notice his blush.
"We both did, but we didn't want to tell you cause we were afraid you'd think we were lame." He admits while hanging his head in mock shame. I can't hold back my giggle.
"That is probably the cutest thing I've heard all day!" I stretch on my tippy toes so I can ruffle his chocolate brown hair and he pokes me in the stomach.
"Shut your mouth Audrey." He orders and I struggle to keep my next giggle inside my mouth. He groans at my obvious effort and holds the back door open for me. "Just get your butt inside okay? You've got to be freezing by now." he asks and I realize he's right.
As my muscles start defrosting he goes to the cabinet and pulls out so instant hot chocolate mix.
"I'm sure everyone at the party wouldn't mind some hot chocolate." he says in a droll voice
"Who doesn't like hot chocolate?" I stutter out through my shivers. He pats my knee and goes to the stove to start on the chocolaty brew. He whistles as he goes.
I take this second to give him a look over. Josh was pretty attractive. He had curly dark brown hair, and black eyes that he hated. He was very tall and always liked to make fun of me because of my 'midget' stature. He had one dimple in his left cheek and I loved it with all of my heart. He was quite a catch, and every girl at school seemed to think so too. If it weren't for me he'd probably have a new girl everyday of the week. The thought brought a pang of . . . hurt to my chest.
Was I holding him back?
Josh's hand flashes in front of my face, breaking me out of my internal strife.
"You okay there Audrey? You had your thinking face on." He says and I laugh. He was always kidding about my thinking face, he said that when I think too hard I end up looking constipated.
"Well when someone has their thinking face on maybe you should just let them think." I say and he sticks his tongue out at me before going back to stir the giant pot of hot cocoa on the stove. Its mouthwatering smell is soon filling my tiny kitchen with a pleasant aroma. The kitchen door creaks open and my mom pokes her little blonde head in. She takes a big whiff and grins.
"Hot cocoa! Why didn't I think of that? Did you make enough for everyone?" she asks and I roll my eyes.
"Yep, there should be enough." says Josh with a smile. She grins at us both.
"I owe you big time." then she scurries off to announce the chocolaty addition to our party that would be ready anytime now.
"Question is," I say turning to Josh who looks over his shoulder at me, "do we have enough cups?" I ask and he groans.
"Dammit. I didn't think of that." the whines and I pat his shoulder.
"Don't worry. I think I've got it covered." I rush out of the kitchen and into the living room. I don't even have to clear my throat to get everyone's attention. I guess they're all secretly hoping I'll fall again.
"Uhm has everyone gotten some punch?" I ask and a chorus of 'yes's goes up. "And do you all still have your little plastic cup?" I ask. This time my question is met with a split response. The majority say yes but a few seemed to have thrown theirs away. "Okay those of you that still have your cup go make a single file line outside the kitchen door, those of you that don't stay here and I'll come bring you a cup." I say and the entire room gets into motion to follow my order. I scurry back to the kitchen and Josh looks up at my entrance.
"So? What's your solution?" he asks and I beam.
"Get your ladle ready. The people are ready for their cocoa!" I announce as I go to the cabinets and start gathering up all our stray cups and mugs.
I hear his chuckle as the first round of dip wads make their way into the kitchen.
"It's cocoa time!"