Author: Sega Parks

Chapter 36
Quality Time

  Holly sat on the deck of Courtney Hofstadter's house looking out into the woods that sat behind the house. Courtney, Jen, Demi, Gigi, Melissa, Palma, Danielle, and Heather Gleason sat in their colorful deckchairs.
"Where's Reese?" Holly asked, biting into her hotdog Courtney had made.
Courtney had called Holly over there for a friendship meeting. It was supposed to be centered around Maris (who wasn't there) and Reese and Elisha were supposed to show up.
 "Oh, they texted me." answered Jen. "Elisha said she had to babysit and Reese has a lot of homework to do."
 Holly nodded understandably. "Ok, so obviously we're here about Maris."
She felt a little guilty talking about Maris when Maris wasn't even there.
"That's right." said Courtney, braiding her blond hair into a ponytail. "I think she's gone psycho."
Everyone but Holly laughed at Courtney's crack. Sure Maris had pissed Holly off at the party, but it was kind of cruel for them to be insulting Maris like that.
 "I say off with her head!" chortled Demi.
Melissa laughed. "Come on, now. She is our friend."
"Thank you." Holly said, surprised at Melissa for defending Maris. "Wouldn't it be better to have Maris here than for us to talk about her when she's not here?"
Courtney shrugged. "Could be, but I'm afraid she might try to kill me like she did to you."
 Holly was still surprised at Maris's action at the party, but she had gotten over it.
"I just wanna know how we're gonna solve this." Danielle said. "Obviously Maris has been there for us when we were in time of need, so we can't just drop her like that."
"No one said anything about dropping her." assured Courtney, her blue eyes darting towards a squirrel trying to get a nut from a tree. "She just needs to chill out."
"I agree." Holly said. "I love her too death, but she just needs to stop."
 Maris had been Holly's friend since eighth grade. Maris wasn't a monster, but she had always managed to tick Holly off. The time where Holly and Andy were supposed to be working on their science project, Maris had refused to help because she was allergic to the chemicals that were involved with the experiment. That was a lie, but even so, Maris still got a higher grade than Andy and Holly. Holly had always let Maris get by with a lot of things, but lately she was giving her a hard time for all those times she had screwed Holly and her other friends over.
 "Palma," Holly said, turning towards Palma who was listening to her Ipod. She was pretending she hadn't heard any of them.
"You've been quiet since you got here, what's your input?"
Palma shrugged as she devoured her Godiva chocolate bar. Particles of chocolate were on her heart-shaped mouth. In a weird kind of way, Holly thought it was cute.
 Jen narrowed her slanted eyes. "She's not gonna say anything because she's Maris's bestie."
"Aww..." Courtney mock-cooed. "She has loyalty."
Palma's pink cheeks turned a beet-red. "She's never been a bitch to me."
Holly looked at Palma with pity. She knew her group of friend's were insane and was sorry that Palma was now exposed to it. Palma didn't know how to handle American teenagers.
"Why'd you even call me here?" Palma asked, unwrapping her second chocolate bar.
"To get you more acquainted with us." Courtney said simply.
"Aww... thanks!" Palma said, her smile nearly falling off her face.
Heather's lips curled into a suspicious smile. "So... how's Andy?"
Palma's green eyes immediately brimmed. "No comment?"
"Oh, come on." tried Heather. "Give us all the details."
"I'm sorry," Palma emphasized, trying to hide her embarrassment. "I don't want to talk about it at the moment."
"Alright..." Heather said unconvincingly.
  Heather always pried herself into other people's lives. Holly knew she was disappointed to not find anything about Andy and Palma's relationship. She also knew that Palma wasn't doing anything with Andy because she had standards. That must have drove him crazy.
"Why didn't Jamie show?" Gigi suddenly asked, taking a sip from her Grey Goose.
"Virginia Carrie Linderman!" scolded Holly. "You know you're not supposed to drink on weeknights!"
"Sorry!" Gigi said defensively. "It's just that this is really good."
Holly rolled her eyes. Courtney's mother had given Gigi the bottle of vodka. Her mom was okay with them drinking just as long as it was in the house.
 "Now to answer your question, Jamie is over at Darien's." Holly said, scratching her pale arm.
"Of course." said Heather.
 Darien Mendelssohn was a sophomore and for some reason, Jamie had just started liking him. Holly made note to watch out for Jamie. She was known for doing things that were irresponsible and idiotic. Jamie was the first one out of all of them to lose her virginity. It had just happened over the summer and Holly couldn't have been more upset. She wished Jamie could have at least waited until Sophomore year.
  "Well, while we're here, we might as well have some fun." suggested Danielle.
"I kind of thought that was what we were doing." Jen giggled.
"Alright." Courtney said, clasping her tiny hands together. "I'll bring out the snacks and drinks."
She got out of her chair and walked back inside the house.
Holly gave a small smile. It was nice to have a little girl bonding time with her friends. All of those girls were her babies and she would do anything to protect them.


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