Saturday, September 17, 2011

And That's All She Wrote {Day 9}

Franny tucked herself into one of the folds of the tree trunk and held her breath.

"Ninety-nine . . . one hundred!" Nick's voice echoed through the forest. "I'm coming!"

Franny tried to stay as still as possible. His footsteps were soft, as if he were stalking his prey. She shut her eyes tight, hoping that the action might make her more invisible. She heard him stop just a few feet to the right.

"I will find you, Franny." He said. "I always win."

Franny bit her tongue in order to keep from yelling out, No you don't! Not always . . .

The two kids had an ever growing rivalry since preschool. They'd lived next door to each other their whole lives and everything one did well, the other had to do better. Their latest competition had been hide and seek and neither would admit that the other was better. They would race home from school, drop their backpacks on Franny's porch and then race into the woods and begin. It had become a routine by now. Most afternoons they ended up bickering so much they couldn't stand each other and they'd storm home swearing they would never talk again. But then the next day would come and they would realize how boring their lives were without each other.

It was a healthy competition. It kept their friendship interesting. Neither of them got along very well with many kids at school because no one could out up with their bold, obnoxious, I'm-better-than-you-and-don't-even-try-to-deny-it personalities. Franny had Robin, and Nick had Snug, but in reality (though both would die a thousand deaths before they admitted it) Franny and Nick needed each other. He stuck up for her when Puck pulled her hair in class, and she helped him with his math homework. Sure, they fought just as much as they talked, but they loved each other, and that was obvious to anyone around them.

"Come out come out wherever you are!"

Nick was getting closer, and Franny didn't know how long she could keep still. Her legs were cramping and her lungs ached from holding her breath for so long. But she would not cave.

Then finally, "Nick! Franny! Come home and wash up for dinner!"

"Yes mom!" Nick turned to go back home.

Franny leaped out from her hiding place. "Ha!" She pointed a finger in Nick's direction. "You gave up! I win."

"No! I was just pretending!"

"Were not!"

"Was too!"

Franny huffed and stormed off to her house and Nick did the same. "You're a cheater and a liar, Nickolas Bottom!"

"You're a baby and a loser, Francesca Flute!"

They parted, screaming insults over their shoulders, swearing their friendship was over. But both knew, tomorrow they'd go back. They always went back. Their lives just would not be the same if they didn't.

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