“I still can’t believe you’re leaving for the summer before our junior year,” Marcus said while tossing the ball around the basketball court. We always spent most of our day after school at the old basketball court around the corner from my house. I met Marcus Hatter before I met Mason. Marcus was a little bully in kindergarten. Until I told him to stop being a bully and slapped him across the face. It was like the kid needed someone to stand up to him. He came from a broken home. He wasn’t abused but his family was poor and they never paid him attention. After that, he just started following me around.
He changed his ways and we were the best of friends. He spent a lot of time at my house. The older we got the more time he was home with me. Marus has an older brother named Sean and he is ten years older than Marus. He also runs the streets with the wrong people. Marcus thinks he is on drugs and every time he comes homes it’s a huge fight. Needless to say, Marcus hates being home. Over the years Marcus made big changes in his life. Things that made me very proud of him. He was now a jock and he hated bullies. Sometimes it caused him to get into trouble. He would protect someone, but because of school policies. He too would be in trouble. It still made me proud of who he had become and soon other kids realized not to mess with him.
About a week before kindergarten was over a new shy boy joined our class. His name was Mason Black. It seemed like he needed some friends and that turned out to be Marcus and me. Mason came from a good and rich family. Even though Mason’s home life was good. His father had remarried and he hated his new stepmother. He did his best to avoid her. His mother died when he was born. It was just him and his father until Mason turned six. He too spent a lot of time over at my house.
I guess I would say I come from a middle-class family. Were not poor and were not rich, but both my parents are still married and make good money and they believe in good values and we do a lot of things together. I have a younger sister named Joni and she was born when I was in kindergarten. I’m very close with my little sister and she has always had a crush on Marcus. It’s really cute, and Marcus is very protective of her. Most days both guys have dinner with my family. The only one who normally gets called home is Mason. His father is a bit of a hard ass, but Mason keeps good grades and is practically on every sports team he can join. So his father doesn’t give him too hard of a time. Sometimes Marcus and I are invited over to his place for dinner. We have learned real fast why Mason hates his stepmother. She is a coldhearted woman who only cares about the finer things in life and Mason’s father is too happy to give them to her.
Over the years I realized that my two guy friends were turning into the biggest hunks. They both had great personalities and bodies to match. Marcus started getting tattoos when we hit our eight grade year. He even got Mason to go and get one with him. Mason, of course, keeps it hidden. They both love to work out and it shows. I think they take out their problems by working out. They have a nice charm about them that even I can’t seem to resist. Out of the three of us. I was the nerdy bookworm. I had great grades and always put my schoolwork ahead of everything else. Even as we hang out here at the court after school. I’ve got my homework out and the guys are tossing the ball around. I have never been the girl who cares about her looks. It’s not that I don’t like that kind of stuff, but it has never been something I cared a whole lot about. I always keep my brown mousy hair tied back into a braid and I hide behind my glasses. I’m a thin girl with a decent body, but I keep my body hidden behind oversized clothing. I don’t think even Marcus or Mason has seen my body. Even spending time at the beach. I still keep a cover on. As you can tell, I don’t like the spotlight Marcus and Mason are always in the spotlight so I do my best to stay out of their way. Meaning I stay behind them or on their side. Sometimes it really makes them mad. I’m only truly myself when I’m around them.
They are my best friends and I wouldn’t change them for anything. The three of us depend on each other and we always have each other’s backs. We are always together. The only thing I hate is the fact that I have to watch the girls drool over them. Even though everyone in school knows we’re best friends. The girls who catch feelings for them usually can’t stand me. You would think that wouldn’t matter to them, but you would be wrong. If one of these girls is mean to me in any way. Marcus and Mason dump them before they can even react. I’ve told them over and over that, they don’t have to do that, but both of them only shake their heads and tell me that bitches come and go, but best friends are for life. I just smile and shake my head at them. “Do you have to go for the whole summer?” Mason said.
“I told you, my grandmother is sick and she might not make it the rest of the year. I have to go see her. I’ll be home before the first day of our junior year.”
“Yeah, but what the hell are we going to do all summer without your mom’s cooking?” Marcus said.
“I don’t know, why don’t you try eating at home,” I said. Mason laughed.
“My mother can’t cook for shit. The only thing she can cook is a bottle of whiskey.” Marcus said.
“So your only going to miss my mother’s cooking? I don’t mean shit?” Both of them started to laugh. I rolled my eyes. Then two sets of arms went around me.
“Please Candace, you know we are lost without you,” Mason said.
“I mean I know this, but my parents will still be home. You can over without me there.”
“That would be kind of weird, don’t you think?” Mason said.
“Look, I’ll just tell my mother that would guys will be lost without her and she will be happy to feed you, trust me.” We all laugh. “Now leave me alone so I can get this homework done.” Marcus rolled his eyes.
“Can’s there’s like four days of school left. I promise you will move on to the ninth grade if you skip your homework tonight and come shoot the ball with us.” Mason said.
“Haha, you know how I am.” I said and stuck my tongue out at both of them.” They went back to playing ball.
“Hey, Marcus.” I heard her annoying voice across the court. I looked up to see Tiffany James and her group of minions come walking up. I just put my head down and went back to work. Tiffany has been in love with Marcus since our freshmen year and Marcus took her out once and has regretted it ever since. Tiffany is a popular girl in our school and has the shittest attitude to go with it. She tries to play nice with me but I know it’s nothing more than an act to get to Marcus. Of course she and her two best friends, Makayla and Annie. Come bouncing over towards me and sit down. I look over at Marcus who just gives me an I’m sorry look. “So Candace, I hear you’re going to be gone all summer long?” Tiffany says with a smile on her face. I don’t know why all these girls think I’m in their way to get to the guys?
“Yeah, I’m going out of the country to visit my grandmother.”
“Oh, out of the country. Where?” Makayla asks.
“England,” I said.
“England, wow I didn’t know you had family outside of the US,” Tiffany said.
“Yeah, my grandmother lives with my mother’s sister and daughter who is my age that I never see.”
“Sounds like it’s going to be a great time,” Annie said. I just smiled at them and went back to work. The rest of the week went by like normal and on the last day of school. Marcus and Mason wouldn’t let me be. Everywhere I was they were. I didn’t even get to clean out my locker. They did everything. I was leaving Sunday Morning and my family decided to have a cookout on Saturday night. I was making potato salad in the kitchen when I heard the front door open. I knew it was Marcus and Mason. They never knock.
“Hey Can’s.” They both said as they walked into the kitchen. I smiled at them and went back to making my food.
“Is that your potato salad?” Marcus said as he stuck his finger in the salad.
“Yes, you sicko. Get a spoon, you animal.” I said as I hit his arm.
“Ouch, You’re nothing but a bully,” Marcus said rubbing his arm. Mason walked over and kissed my head and then headed outside. Mason has always been the most clingy. He loves to hug and is very affectionate. Always has been. Most girls think he and I are together, but in fact, there has never been anything more than friendship between me and the boys. We just don’t look at each other in that way. I honestly believe that’s why we are so close. I would never jeopardize our friendship in that way and I know they feel the same.