They settled in, the Pine Street regulars: Franny, Leo, Allison, and now Douglas, just returned home. Precious curled up in her usual spot on Leo’s lap. They were ready for David to explain his comment to Kassandra, a seemingly offhand reference to “best friends spending their last summer together,” which had caused the artist-barista to blanch.
But it was Kassandra herself who began. She described her girlhood friend, Sasha, as she had seen her through fifteen year old eyes: tan limbs, honey-blond hair, full of vibrating energy of adolescence. Kassandra described the colors of their friendship: azure blue skies, dark green lake waters, candy-colored beach towels.
Sasha, the free spirit, had noticed the boy at the lake first. But both girls fell for his charming, dangerous smile. And the boy himself had initially approached Kassandra as she rested on the swimming dock, letting the bright sun warm her after a plunge in the cool water.
Young, inexperienced, and flattered by the handsome boy’s attentions, she had perhaps shared too much.
Where they were staying, for instance. That it was their last night at the lake. Their parents’ plan to enjoy a nice dinner out while the two girls would go to the outdoor movie and, weather permitting, spend the night outside under the stars.
By then, Sasha had joined them on the dock. She’d lifted herself out of the water in one smooth movement, and shaken water out of her long hair, laughing as the drops hit the two of them. Electricity sparked between her and the boy, who introduced himself as D.J.
And by then, D.J. knew the two girls would not be missed until the next morning, at the earliest.
Kassandra paused, surveying her rapt audience in Marilyn’s old living room.
“I feel a little sick,” Franny said. “This sounds like a story with a bad ending.”
“It could have been,” Kassandra offered a rueful smile. “It sure could have been.”
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