Chapter 1: Crossroads
“Ronnie, wake up!” My mother shouted at me from down the stairs.
Groaning, I pull my warm blankets off me already missing the warmth. Up here in Canton, Ohio, it’s still winter till May. You get used to it after a while, I suppose. It is all that I have ever known. This is how every school mornings go - Mom yells at me to get up, I grab the first thing I see to wear, I run down the stairs, and act like I was there the whole time.
“Good Morning, slugger,” my Dad greeted as he sipped his coffee, reading the daily newspaper.
“You do know that you can read that all on your phone,” I state as I grabbed one of my energy drinks from the refrigerator.
You always need a boast in this household.
“Yes, I can but there is something about reading it printed and feeling the paper between my fingers.”
I think he lived back when the dinosaurs were around.
Laughing while shaking my head, I headed over to my mother who was reading emails. Maggie’s Shirts is the name of her business. To explain, families, groups, teams, etc send her what they want on shirts, and poof, she has them ready. She is like superman… or superwomen.
“What’s the order today?” I asked, taking a sip of my drink and rubbing her shoulders with my free hand.
“Well, today I got a big order. I have to make jerseys for a family going down to Disney, so I am going to be very busy. Could you be a doll and take Parker and Avery to the park or somewhere after school? I asked Bonnie earlier, but she has some senior activity thing after school,” She pleaded, looking over at with me with puppy dog eyes.
Sighing, I looked down at her, her deceiving eyes, and fell into the trap. “Yeah, sure. I can.”
“Oh thank you so much, baby,” My mom smiled, but then got right back working.
Nodding, I grab my keys yelling, “Parker and Avery let’s go!”
Meet the craziest twins in the whole wide world. They are fraternal, of course, but do look alike. I think they spent too much time in the womb together because they despise each other a lot. Their backpacks swallow them whole and make them look tinier than they are. Avery always liked dressing up anywhere where we go even if it is just to walk out to get the mail so I wasn’t surprised when I saw her running down in a dress. On the other hand, Parker does not like clothes in general. We usually have to force him to have some pants on when company is over. However, today he was dressed in nice slacks and a button-up. Very unusual for him.
“Why are you dressed handsomely today, Parker?” I asked as we started to walk out into the October weather which was a chill breeze.
“I want to impress Rylee,” He answered as they jumped into my navy blue Tahoe.
“Who is Rylee?” I teased starting to drive off as his face turned to beat red.
Canton Elementary was on the same road as the high school- very convenient for me. This is a small town so this elementary school goes from kindergarten to fifth grade. After dropping them off, I sadly had to go to the high school. We don’t get a summer very long here, only hot in the months of May through July. Now, the winds keep getting stronger and colder.
“Woah, Woah, slow down!” Ellie yelled as she threw her hands in the air in the middle of the parking lot.
Rolling my eyes at my best friend since diapers, I pull into my parking spot for three years. This is our tradition every day since we both started driving in high school. It is kinda silly to strangers.
“You know,” I start to say as I get out of my car. “I thought you would have stopped doing this after you almost got hit by another car. It is a little dangerous Elle.”
“Danger is my middle name, Ellie Danger Jenkins.” She laughs as we start to walk in.
“Did you finish your photography project on levitation?” I asked as we opened the glass doors to the school.
The halls were busy and lively which I don’t know why since it is 8 o’clock in the morning. Blue lockers were lined across both sides of the hallway but the color seems to be fading away. Probably because of how ancient this school is.
“Um… what project?” Ellie asked, startled.
“Really, Elle? We have known about this for two weeks,” I laughed putting it in my locker combination.
“Thank goodness photography is the last block of the day. I can just do it during office work,” she pushes off. “I wonder where KJ is. I think he went running with the baseball team or something.”
“Well, you got me,” I smile, shooting a thumbs up as we head to chemistry.
“Welcome to class, KJ and Ross,” Mr. Truman stated as the two boys walked in ten minutes after the bell.
“We were running for football sir,” KJ explains and then Ross adds, “And our baseball coach made us run too.”
“Get your coaches to text me,” was all the teacher said, shooing them away to their seats.
This is preposterous.
The teacher did it all wrong. What should have gone down was Ross getting expelled. Maybe that’s a little too harsh? Who cares! He needs to be punished, and why might you ask. Ross flipping Foster does everything wrong, but never gets in trouble! If he were to wear a crop to school, all the teachers would bow, but if I were to wear one, I would have gotten detention. He is my enemy, has been since we were in Kindergarten when he made fun of me in front of the whole school at an award ceremony.
“Dorky Ronnie, back at it again,” 7-year-old Ross yelled from the crowd in the auditorium at Canton Elementary. “Dorks always win everything.”
When it was the end of our kindergarten year, there was an award celebration for the whole school. I had won a medal for being most dedicated. In our school, we broke down the classes into four cores - English, math, science, art, and PE. When the bell would ring the teachers would change out changing the subject. I was most interested in art where every day I would get there early and draw all my ideas. That ended up getting me an award for most dedicated in the school. And ever since he yelled “Dorky Ronnie,” that became my new name at the school. Veronica aka Ronnie aka Dorky Ronnie.
“Ronnie,” whispered Ellie as she passed me a chemistry worksheet.
Sighing, I started to work on the sheet as I pushed the memory to the back of my mind.
“Just because you don’t understand what you are doing photography doesn’t mean I am going to help you,” I state as I munch on my sandwich.
“Please,” begged Ellie as she stared at me with puppy eyes with her computer in her hands.
Rolling my eyes, I gave in just like I did for my mom this morning. Gosh, I am so nice. We are in the photography club together and our latest project this week is making an object levitate.
“Ellie,” KJ smiled as he sat down next to her kissing her on the cheek.
KJ Holmes, also known as Kaden-John, is Elle’s boyfriend of ongoing four years. They started dating in eighth grade and look at them now, still together in eleventh grade we are in the 11th grade. Their story is rather cute you could say. One day in the middle school cafeteria, this random baseball boy started seating next to my best friend. We never would have thought they would have been here today. A rather unfortunate fact about him is that he is on the football and baseball team with Ross. He has to have a friendship with him, and oh do I feel so bad for him.
“Hey, KJ baby,” She giggles as she hugs him.
See, I have never had a boyfriend nor do I really like anybody at the moment. Boys are merely just extra humans in my life. I’d rather be alone than to be huggin’ and kissin’ up on a nasty specie.
“Hey, Ronnie,” KJ greets as we do a fist bump.
“Wassup, Holmes,” I joke.
“Are y’all coming to the football game this Friday?”
“What game?” I ask so confusedly as I finished the project for my dumb best friend.
Oh, how I hate high school events.
“The one this Friday? Against Madison?” he questions as I still stare blankly at him.
“We will totally be there since we are like your biggest fans,” Elle says nodding her head and making up for my cluelessness.
Shaking my head at what Ellie said, I go throw my trash away thinking about all my life choices because of Ellie.
She really does drag me into some crazy messes.
“Where are we going, Ronnie?” Parker asks in the car after I picked Avery and him up from school.
“We are going to the park, so mom can have some peace and quiet at home,” I explained as I rounded the corner almost there.
“Swings!” Shrieked Avery wide-eyed throwing her arms out like she was gonna hug them.
“Sign up here for Baseball-Ready!” Yelled a voice I knew all too well… Ross.
“Come on, Ronnie! We have to go check it out!” Parker shouted as he grabbed my hand running towards him.
Ross was standing behind a table that had “Baseball-Ready” written in huge caps. There were lots of papers laying across it. Avery came running in behind us as we approached the table.
“Hey there, little bud. Would you like to sign up for Baseball-Ready?” Ross asked handing Parker a piece of paper.
“What is this… Baseball-Ready?” I asked only for Parker not meeting his eyes, only keeping them on the paper.
“Oh, I didn’t see you there,” Ross sarcastically retorts as he shakes his head, “But Baseball-Ready is for young boys to them ready for high school and even college-level baseball teams. I think you would meet the height requirement for the toddler special.”
“Very funny. Tell me about the team for Parker?” I roll my eyes.
“So for him, it would be the minor baseball team that starts off with boys his age to learn the understanding of what baseball is. It only cost $50,” explains Ross as he hands me another packet.
“Alright,” I say as I start to walk away with Parker and Avery by my side.
“Wait Dorky, you need to do my homework,” he laughs as I roll my eyes (again) and continue to walk back to my Rider.