"This could really be the good life." - OneRepublic "Good Life"
“WE DID IT!” Penelope yells over the noise. You would think a local diner wouldn’t have the same volume as an Applebee’s but The Diner definitely shattered that thought.
“Penny, calm down!” I laugh.
“Oh, you know you’re excited, Liz!” Hayley, my best friend, teases me. I roll my eyes good naturedly at the truth of Hales’ comment.
“What I don’t get is why Penny’s so excited. I mean we used to come out here all the time,” Penny’s sister, Emily, points
“Em, go with the flow! It’s not like we’ve been here with you!” Hales’s sister, Jaime, responds.
“Yeah!” Brooke chimes in. “I’m getting married, so let’s have fun!” We laugh and decide to take her advice.
I can’t believe Brooke’s getting married. Brooke Thompson is the oldest of us at the ripe old age of twenty five. Her fiancée, David Turner, and she are going to be married in the middle of September. It’s going to be weird for her to belong to Dave and not to us. Brooke’s always taken care of us. Brooke’s always been the mom of the group. She ignores combing her wavy blond hair if it means clearing a disaster on one of our heads. She knows exactly what to say when we have a problem. She always smiles no matter how she’s feeling. If she even catches a glimpse of you with her dark blue eyes, she’ll smile.
“Would you guys mind if I call the planner?” Em asks while twisting her tousled auburn hair.
I’m surprised. Most of the time she isn’t this considerate.
“Yes!” we all yell.
Em’s boyfriend, Keith Walker, proposed a month ago, and she’s already thrown herself into planning a wedding taking place next year. Emily Strauss is our ultimate bridezilla. Even when we were kids, everyone knew Em would be a bridezilla. At twenty four years old, she’s proved us right. The thing is we didn’t realize how early it would show. She’s shut herself in her room for at least three hours every day trying to figure out a guest list and wedding party. If you walk in and say anything so much as “Hi,” she will widen her crystal blue eyes and start yelling. At this point, I think Penny’s the only bridesmaid and only because she’s her sister. We don’t like getting too close to her but we still love her. Em’s always been tough and a fighter. She has an attitude problem sometimes but she means well. Somehow, she manages to take care of herself, help everyone, and not get hurt. I have to commend her for it.
Jaime continues on while rolling her amber eyes, “You have the rest of your life to worry about you and Keith. Spend what time you have with us now!”
Jaime Keller is the most independent of us all because her boyfriend, Lucas Harp, have a long distance relationship. Jaime’s engaged to be engaged to Luke. He goes to grad school in another state, and they don’t want to get so serious when they’re that far apart. It works for them, though. They’ve been friends since birth, practically, so they don’t have separation anxiety. Jaime’s entering her last year at law school since she’s twenty four and needs to focus. Everyone knew Jaime would end up being a lawyer because that’s the attitude she has. Jaime can have fun but she gets frustrated if things aren’t rational enough for her. Even if her brown curls are out of order, she gets annoyed. If things make sense, she’s happy. If things get too messed up, she’s absolute hell to deal with.
Penny’s phone gets a text. She looks at it and giggles. “It’s Chase again.”
No one really knows about Penny Strauss and her boyfriend, Chase Knight. They’re definitely going out, possibly engaged to be engaged and already act like a married couple. They’re attached at the hip one moment and fighting the next. They “break up” at least once every two weeks over the stupidest things, but we still love them together. They would make the greatest reality show, way better than Speidi ever did. Even though Penny isn’t the youngest, she can act like such a baby sometimes. Chase can be mature enough for the both of them at times but mostly they’re immature together. Penny’s used to being babied since she’s the youngest in her family. She and Em get mistaken for twins, because they’re carbon copies of each other, until you get to know her and realize she’s most definitely younger. I still love her though. She’s my age, twenty three, and so much fun to be around. She can be a brat sometimes and will hold on to grudges, but she’s hilarious too.
Hales laughs at Penny’s emotions because she’s excited about being here with us but she also wants to be with Chase. Hayley Keller isn’t one to judge, though, because she and Scott hate being apart too. Right now, Hales thinks Scott Strauss is just her boyfriend. What she doesn’t know is that he’s planning on proposing on their one year anniversary which is in a little over a week. He’s already cleared it with her parents, broke the news to Em and Penny (his younger sisters), and went ring shopping. Penny, Jake, and I went with him because if he was on his own—well I won’t be mean enough to go there. Let’s just say living with Em and Penny hasn’t exactly improved his jewelry taste. It’s ironic that Hales is the one who went out with Scott because Scott is Penny’s older brother and Hales is the baby of our group. Hales is the one everyone watches out for. I never really got why. Hales isn’t the toughest on the outside, but she’s not fragile. If anything, she takes care of us. I would’ve been an even worse during my teenage years if Hales wasn’t around. Even though she is the baby, sarcastic, and can’t spell her way out of a paper bag, she’s a great listener and sometimes is very good at reasoning. I tend to have an overactive imagination and self esteem issues so, growing up, I thought everyone was always out to get me. Hales was the one who always had to convince me that the whole world didn’t hate me. She’s the simplest of us all. Her light brown hair always ends up in a ponytail by the end of the day. You’re lucky if you find her wearing anything on her amber eyes other than eyes shadow at an occasional wedding. Her typical attire is sweats or jeans. Her clothes reflect her attitude. Oh well, more drama queen to go around for us. I think we’re all grateful to Hales because she doesn’t go running. We all have our fair share of problems, but Hales puts up with that.
I know I’m grateful for Hales and all my friends that I’m surrounded by. I’m Elizabeth Fields, by the way, but I’m mostly known as Liz. I don’t have separation anxiety, a long distance relationship, or a ring, but I do miss my boyfriend, Jake Evans, a little. I love Jake. There’s no florid way of saying it. It’s pure and simple. He’s really sweet and really, really hot. That’s not the only reason I liked him, though. I don’t know why he likes me, with my wavy, uncooperative black hair and gray eyes. You could argue it’s my personality but I can be really weird or emotional. Jake’s an angel to put up with me for the past seven years. I don’t have insane mood swings, but you wouldn’t want to be around me when I’m PMSing.
Brooke asks, “How did you get your uncle to let us come?”
“We used to come out here all the time,” Em starts. “But after our cousins and we grew older, we stopped coming. Now, we just stay if we happen to be in the neighborhood.”
“When we started talking about getting a summer home, I thought we could stay here. We knew no one would be here and thought it would be perfect.”
“And it is,” I assure her.
The house really is amazing. It’s a conch house a few blocks away from the beach. The door opens to a foyer. On the sides of the foyer are rooms. To the right is the living room, straight ahead is the kitchen, and to the left is the dining room. Closer to the living room is a set of stairs leading to the second floor where all the bedrooms are. The dining room leads to another entrance to the kitchen. The recently renovated kitchen has a wrap around counter that separates it from the den. The welcoming den has a few couches and comfy chairs. It has a door that leads to the deck in the backyard. The deck is attached to the wraparound porch that surrounds the house. The house has a huge balcony that stretches across the front side. Each of our rooms upstairs has doors that open to the balcony. The only rooms upstairs that don’t have access to the balcony are the bathrooms and one guest room. The best part is that their basement was recently renovated to be a home theater. I have a feeling it’s going to be used a lot over this summer.
“I think we should do a toast,” Jaime states. I raise my eyebrow. “What? We’ve finally accomplished our dream of living together for a summer. We should do something to commemorate this very important moment!”
“Fine, fine,” I agree. “To this summer, to love, and to friendship.” I realize those are my hopes for the next two months, summed up in a fragment. It’s all we need. We need an amazing summer full of love and friendship. As I look around at these girls who are practically family, I am positive we can achieve it. We are on the road to the summer of our lives.