Day 197 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about a character’s friends.
Erin: Many wondered why I was friends with Lax. I’m not going to pretend that they were completely off base. She could be a lot to handle. Honesty was her biggest strength, excessive honesty in most cases. The thing was she honestly loved me and criticisms rarely fell on me. But when they needed to they did. She made sure my pants looked good, and told me when I was being taken advantage of. She was my hard shell and without her I was a vulnerable pile of organs. We were better together and what others thought of me because of my choice seemed irrelevant to me.
Shannon: I’d known Emma since we were little kids. We had a dance class together and since we both had trouble learning the moves, we always ended up standing next to each other behind the better dancers. What she lacked in rhythm she made up for in humor. She could always make me laugh back then, and she’d only gotten funnier as she got older. Nothing was ever dull as long as she was around. I’d always admired how she saw the world as if she already knew everyone, getting strangers opinions on almost anything and starting conversations with them without a reason or an introduction. I wished everyone was more like her, but I suppose I should count my blessings having her as a best friend.
I met Mia through Emma when were high school. We had the same lunch period, and we meshed as a group almost instantly. She was known for her planning. Whether that was planning for her future or what we were going to do that weekend, she was always on top of it. She wanted to be a part of the excitement, and we were right there beside her, or at least we’d hear about it later.
Introduce your character’s partner in crime.
I arrived first, which was unfortunately considering I was driving my beetle and nothing, and I mean nothing, fit in that little thing. Everything I’d packed was somewhere on the highway under an iffy tarp that had been strapped down by a guy who failed knot tying. Throwing the tiny car into park and turning off the engine, I hopped out and bent over to stretch my sore back; vehicles of this size were not meant for long road trips. There was a small cooler of water and possibly some fruit in the back seat, but I didn’t want to appear worried when everyone else showed up, so I settled for lugging the enormous boom box I had in the trunk out. I gently heaved it up on a large, rough-hewn stump and started hunting around in my purse for my iPod, cursing the sun for being so hot and bright this early in the afternoon.
When I’d managed to hook up some tunes and they were reverberating through the entire forest for all to hear, I kicked my feet up on the bent trunk of a tree and took in my surroundings. We had found a campsite that was across the lake from a rowdy children’s camp, but just back from the pure sandy beach I couldn’t hear a thing other than a few loons. In a small circle before the beach, the trees had been cut down to create a campsite with ample parking a ways back, room for several tents, a picnic bench and a path leading off through the trees with a sign proclaiming that the loo was that way. Though I didn’t know what kind of loo this site had, I figured it couldn’t be that pleasant based on the price.
About halfway between the water and trees was a small open fire pit with logs placed around it for seating; it looked so peaceful and fun with the still water right there. Suddenly the relative quiet was cut through as an enormous, growling engine headed toward me from the hidden path and shuddered to a stop beside my miniscule bug. It continued to fume and groan for a few seconds before the engine cut off and the silence was restored. As Jenny, one of my best friends from high school, hopped down from the passenger’s side and stepped around in her flip-flops, short-shorts and bikini top, she squealed with unbridled joy.
“Oh my gosh, Lyn! This is sooooo gorgeous!” she shouted over the grunting and swearing of her significant other, Ben, who’d started to pull gear out of the truck. Jenny was tall, lean and gorgeous, so I’d never understand why she was friends with me, exactly. Since grade eleven she had been working at a boutique making fair money that she put aside for college, but hadn’t really decided on a path for. On the weekends we used to camp in her parent’s backyard, but as we got older and our lives got more complicated we had drifted a bit. This week of camping in the middle of nowhere was a reunion of sorts; an opportunity to catch up on events and reconnect.
While I’d personally not been anything more than acquaintances with Ben in school, he was a big part of Jen’s life now. That was partly because his job, professional hockey, had him flying across the country with her in tow. She said he was fine with her staying home, but she hated to see him go, and I didn’t blame her.
“Jen, hon, can you please help me with this stupid tent,” he called to her as a few poles crashed around him and he swore again. Rolling her eyes, she skipped to the love of her life and attempted to help him unpack the unwieldy gear. I watched the two of them working together as though they were of one mind and sighed at my severe lack of a partner, finding it suddenly difficult to recall why I hated the idea of a significant other.
After a while, the next vehicle pulled up and parked as far from the monster of a truck as they possibly could, and vomited six squinting and exhausted college students. Tyler, Graham and Tess scrambled away from the minivan and flopped on the warm grass as soon as they were in park, while Andria and Diane started studiously unpacking the back without speaking a word. Andy was snoring loudly in the back seat, apparently oblivious to the tension in the rest of the vehicle.
Grumbling under the weight of a mini grill, Diane snapped at the lazing triplets, “You idiots had better help us or you’ll be crammed in Lyn’s bug and strapped to the top of the truck on the way home.” Clearly in a bad mood, Diane almost dropped the grill on Tyler, who gripped it tightly and shrugged over to the picnic table to set it down. Graham and Tess jumped to their feet, not wanting to earn any more ire as Andria piled the foot on the table and started tossing sleeping bags and backpacks into the dirt. With the five of them working to unpack the van and, Jen and Ben almost finished with the truck, I found myself reclining once again against the tree trunk with a smile plastered on my face.
As we lay sprawled in the warm sand of the beach, a campfire roaring behind us and the camp across from us alight with brilliant colours and faraway laughter, I began to wonder why we didn’t simply live here for the rest of our lives. The remnants of our hotdog supper were splayed out on the picnic table, but the chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers were in a neat pile behind one of the logs; they were just waiting for us to regain the will to sit up. High above us the sky was alight with twinkling stars, unimpeded by the city lights this far out in the wilderness they were putting on a spectacular show for us. We could have been there for hours, or even days, just basking under the brilliant night sky.
“I am definitely ready for s’mores, but I don’t know if I can get up,” groaned Ben, who was somewhere to my right with Jen’s head on his chest. There was a fair bit of moaning and gasping before he was walking between the campers, without Jen, toward the fire and dessert. As soon as his steps had stopped, the rest of the group began to noisily get to their own feet in the deep sand. I turned over and shoved myself onto my knees, waited for Tessa to pass me by, and managed to leap to my feet in a shower of sand.
Everyone gathered around the fire, taking up the myriad of marshmallow-toasting implements that we’d amassed as loud ballads traded off for up-beat pop on the speaker system. Passing crackers and chocolate squares around, Jenny was the first to dip a fluffy white puff into the fire; as it bubbled and singed, my mouth began to water waiting for the marshmallows to get to me. I plucked a few from the back, passed it to Graham, and picked up the pair of barbeque tongs I had picked out; my plan was to burn the daylights out of mine so it wouldn’t just melt onto the metal. When the first one fell right through the hole in my tongs and fizzled on the firewood, I gave up and resigned to waiting for another implement to come available.
Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to wait too long as Ben stretched his arm around Jen’s shivering shoulders and whispered in her ear. “I think we’re ready for bed,” he exclaimed to the campers as Jen stifled giddy giggles and faked a yawn. Passing his sharpened stick to me, he steered Jenny away from the warm, bright campfire and into the relative darkness of our campsite.
“Well,” I started, dipping a marshmallow as far into the fire as I dared, “what do you guys wanna talk about?” Glancing around at my old friends, I squished the burnt puff between some crackers and chocolate before shoving half of it into my mouth.
Graham, who was carefully peeling the burnt parts off his, eating that part and sticking the rest back into the fire, chuckled a bit. Though they weren’t actually triplets, he, Tyler and Tessa had been inseparable since they were little, so they may as well have been. “I finally got a job fixing computers,” he offered weakly, blinking into the smoke.
After some polite murmuring, Andria added, “I’m happy for you Graham, and I have some pretty big news, too.” Even through the dark and smoky circle I could see her teeth gleaming in a wide smile. “I’m gonna be a teacher this coming year; grade seven mathematics,” she finished, nibbling on a plain Graham cracker. Everyone always knew she’d make a great teacher, even though she hadn’t decided on the vocation until she was out of high school. There was something very commanding about the way such a short and kind person could take control of a room.
“I just bought a café last week, and now I’m absolutely terrified I made a mistake,” Diane shouted to the stars, looking shaken as she took a long drag from a hip flask. Blushing furiously, she hid the booze and stared into the fire for a while before silently walking away to her tent.
No one stopped her, but I wanted to say something; Diane was always controlled and calculating in her moves. She took business courses and accounting even though she hated it more than anything, just to keep her options open as she weighed the choices. It wasn’t like her to do something so insane, but I felt a bit of pride in my heart for her.
Tess was the next to leave, unwilling to give anything away about her career choices, but Tyler was more than happy to divulge as soon as she was out of earshot. “Last month she was talking about a big movie she’s gonna be in and apparently it’s gonna make her a star,” he gossiped as he shoved a few marshmallows onto his spit and spun them around in the smoke. “I’m hoping to be promoted to head chef in the next while,” he added about himself as he watched the fire, “because ours is quitting to be a personal chef or something.” All through high school Tyler was this nobody who didn’t have any ambition and now he was going to be the highest paid of our original friends circle.
In silence, the rest of us thought long and hard about our life decisions as the stars twinkled and the fire crackled into the night.
Heather is not the only friend that the Novelty have. She would be surprised to know they have friends that are not superheroes. Rick knows the least, since he’s at home a lot. But he has Kristee, a soccer loving friend who stops by sometimes to hang out. He helps her with her physics homework, and she makes sure he gets sleep, food, and showers during long projects.
Nikki has a friend in the basketball team, who also keeps attempting to get her to join as well. This friend’s name is Wendy. She also knows Alya, who dabbles in almost everything, but sticks to art most of all. The three girls sometimes have sleepovers with Jacey.
It is easy for Jacey to make friends with her bubbly and optimistic personality. She’s been asked to parties and she’s also had a few date requests, but Jacey keeps loyal to her fellow Novelties and a small group of civilian friends. Her love of animals is shared with Jason, who also works at the zoo. She also knows Anna, and supports her friend despite the problems she has with boys. She also knows Kristee, helping her to take care of Rick.
Josh also has a large number of people that are ‘friends’ with him. He loves helping people with homework, but can’t always do so outside of school. He is friends with a few of the students at his family’s dojo, such as black belt Izzy and green belt Kalen. At school, he’s bonded with a fellow English enthusiast, Vivian, though she’s more into fiction writing. She admires his mother’s work. He trusts her enough to show her his mother’s journals. Just, not enough to reveal his identity. He also gives her ideas for stories, which she works on diligently.
August is also friends with students at the dojo. He tends to be around the yellow and white belts, teaching them how to practice and encouraging them. There are twins that really struggle, Ben and Alek. He makes sure they are included and even invite them to pizza with him and Josh. He doesn’t interact with too many people at school, but he’s been noticed by girls. He keeps to his Novelty friends in that area, but has bonded with some guys within the weight room and gym class. A few notable ones are Travis, Xaviar, and Frank.
Ever since Finn started going to school, he’s kept to the team. His art was praised by many students and teachers, but he doesn’t really speak to anyone about anything else. He’s afraid they’ll learn what he’s done in the past, or what he can do. But his art teachers have squeezed into his life, asking about his days when he comes in outside of class to use their light tables or get critiques. Whenever he needs references for art jobs, all of them will say yes in a heartbeat. There is a girl in his art class that has tried harder than all the other students to get to know him, but so far, he hasn’t really noticed the reason she tries to hard. It’s not what everyone thinks; Alya wants a mentor, not a boyfriend.