Double A [Short Story]
(Written June 20, 2020 - based on a prompt)
It was a bright day, a spring day, one of the many days that Alicia Richard sat next to her best friend, Alexander Fleetwood on the side of a hill right outside town. It was just like any other day, other than school being officially out for the summer. Only a few hours ago, they’d been freed.
Neither of them knew what they were going to do with the freedom.
Alicia shifted her arms, sliding slowly onto her back from the propped up position she’d been in. “So...” she began, watching the clouds leisurely float by. She didn’t finish whatever she’d planned on saying.
“So...” Alex mimicked her, copying her position.
Alicia slid her leg closer to him and tapped his shin with her foot. “What’re we going to do?”
“For?” Alex smirked at the sky.
Alicia huffed. “Stop being like that. You know what I’m talking about.”
“And if I don’t?”
Alicia sighed. “What are we going to do this summer?”
“Nap,” Alex replied immediately.
Alicia stifled a laugh. “You plan on napping all summer?”
“Not all summer,” Alex protested, then grinned. “Just most of it.”
“You’re impossible.” Alicia ripped a handful of grass off of the hillside and tossed it at him.
“Hey!” Alex tried to brush it off of himself, but he kept missing from his current position. After a few attempts, he pushed himself up, doing a much better job at it while sitting up.
As she watched him in amusement, Alicia noticed that the biggest clump of it was clinging to the hair that hung over his forehead. She didn’t say anything about it.
Beside them, Alicia’s phone buzzed. She glanced over at it, sighing when she saw the text from her mom. “I need to go.”
Pushing herself up, she got an even better view of the clump of grass on Alex’s head.
Alex stood with her. “I should probably head home, too.”
Alicia stifled a laugh as she stood next to him. Looking up at his face, she could see the grass hanging across his forehead. Imposter hair, that’s what it was. “See you tomorrow?”
Alex nodded. “Same time, same place.”
Same people, Alicia thought. She moved closer to Alex, hugging him quickly, and before he could hug her back, she dashed off in the direction of home.
Alex watched her until her figure turned into a blur and then into nothing. Even a moment after that, he watched the general direction. Finally, he turned towards his home. Better see if he could find something to do there, right? It sounded better than sitting on a hillside alone.
Alicia didn’t know, but when they just sat there, Alex was occupied. When it was just the two of them messing around, he didn’t have as many thoughts running through his head.
It was, quite simply, the two of them, alone in their little bubble.
He wandered back home, walking along the grassy dirt path he’d made over time. It had used to be just another part of the hill, but it had been beaten down so much over the past years that the grass had begun giving up on trying to reclaim it. You don’t realize how much time you spend with someone until you walk there every day, rain or shine. Sometimes, Alicia wasn’t even going to meet him there. He just went there to think. Sometimes, when he was there, it was as if she was still there, like Alex felt her presence.
Two birds flew overhead, one seeming like it was chasing the other. He looked up, wondering if it was just a coincidence.
As he wondered that, he stumbled, his gaze jerking back down to the rock he’d just kicked. The thought was already gone.
Slowly, over the hill, his house appeared, the dirt path leading up to the side of the road. After glancing both ways, he jogged across it, letting himself into the house.
"I'm back!" Glancing around, he noted that there was nobody in the front room.
“Dee!” His two year old sister came charging across the floor towards him, her breath coming out in happy giggles as she ran.
“Bubbles!” Alex mimicked her tone, crouching so she could run into his arms. He lifted her up and spun her around before settling her on his hip, watching her carefully. “What trouble did you get into while I was gone?”
“None!” She grinned proudly, her eyes sparkling.
Alex raised his eyebrows in disbelief. “What? You didn’t do anything? I think we need to go ask Mommy.” He walked into the kitchen, bouncing his sister on his hip more than he had to.
She shrieked with laughter, clinging to him.
“Mom, Alyss says she didn’t get into trouble. Is this true?”
His mother turned from stirring a pot on the stove. Seeing him, her eyes widened and her hand paused in the pot. Shaking her head and resuming her stirring, she chuckled. “If I hadn’t looked at you, I’d have said yes. Where did she get the grass? I thought she was inside.”
Alex frowned in confusion. Grass? “What?”
Little Lyss giggled, patting the top of Alex’s head. Strands of grass floated down onto the floor.
He looked at them in confusion before he realized what had happened. He groaned. “Alicia!”
His mom laughed as Lyss bouned herself on his hip and let go of him to clap. “Yay, Ali!”
Alex shook his head and smiled down at his sister. Alicia had won today, but he’d get her back soon.
No doubt she hadn't told him about the grass just to see how long it'd take for him to notice. Or rather, hear about it when he asked her about it. But for now, as he listened to Lyss laugh, he decided that it was worth it.