Best friends Hailey and Alex have to come to terms with life and unfamiliar feelings.
|It began as a simple friendship, but sometimes even the simplest things can become so complex. Alex and I were friends ever since kindergarten. He was the one who taught me how to tie my shoes and ride a bike. I trusted him with my life.
When we were twelve things changed. Alex wanted to be one of the guys, which meant he couldn’t have a girl hanging around, cramping his style. Once or twice I tried tagging along when he and the guys were going to the movie matinee, looking at nudie magazines that Zach Taylor swiped from his dad’s bureau, or just horsing around down by Miller’s pond. Each time, Alex gave me this look that said Please, Hailey, don’t mess this up for me.
I’d turn and mope back home, my hands stuffed deep into the pockets of my bibs, chin hanging low. One day when I returned and flopped down in a wicker chair out on the veranda, a sour look on my face, Grampa came out to sit with me.
“Why so glum, Fireball?” he asked. My parents had named me Hailey, after the comet, which was a gassy ball of fire, so Grampa dubbed me “fireball”. He also loved to remind me that I had fiery red hair and a fiery temper to match, which made the name even more appropriate.
“Alex is really being a pain, Gramps.” I said with a sigh. “Why do boys have to be so dumb? No offense.”
Grampa laughed and said “Alex is just going through a phase, Fireball. He’s testing his wings. Be patient; he’ll come around in time. Then he’ll see you for the true beauty that you are.”
“Yuck!” I said, my tongue hanging out. “I don’t like boys! I just like Alex. We’re sposed to be friends. Why would I want to kiss him and all that other yucky stuff??!!”
“Well, Alex is a boy, and you my, flame-haired beauty, are a girl and sooner or later you’re both gonna see each other in a whole new light. Trust me on this.” Gramps said with a wink and a grin.
“Okay, sure, Gramps... Whatever you say.” I said with a sigh. I really didn’t want to talk about Alex right now and for some reason all this talk about kissing him was giving me a weird feeling in my stomach. Probably making me sick to think of it, I told myself.
That night I lay in bed with my arms crossed behind my head and pondered how I was going to get Alex back to just he and I. Suddenly an idea came to me and my face lit up in a triumphant smile. I drifted off into a peaceful sleep.