"Like a fool I went and stayed to long,
The girls sang as loud as the could down the old road that rarely had any traffic passing through, weaving around each other, over the centre line and back teasing their friends into swerving every now and again to avoid a small topple over and scraped knees. Chrissy showed off putting her feet up on the handle bars or taking both her hands off, Teeny wasn't bothered, after all she was the one with the radio. As much as she had tried before, the fancy bike riding stuff was something she avoided; it always ended up in blood and tears on her half.
Sam had already abandoned her t-shirt, the mid day heat was really getting to her, if she could do with out any clothes she would, but she doubted her friends would approve of her new found freedom. She laughed to herself at the thought, 'Sam the nudist'. Instead she settled for her bikini top.
They past the old truck that they stopped by for their first smoke when they where fourteen, still in the same condition, that proved how little the road was used, still lying there on the side, waiting for passers by to use it for a sit down after a long walk, or a sleep if the car broke down. It was familiar to the five girls, a sense of consistency Tara thought. That was the best thing about this town, always the same, even when she finally leaves the place and rediscovers her freedom away from her family; she knew if she ever came back, it would be the same, and in some ways it was a comfort knowing that.
They turned the corner that changed the scenery from wide fields for miles and small un-tactfully made wooden fences to a little town that could've been a painting, a well mowed lawn in the centre with an old statue holding some Latin inscription at the bottom, little shops and few cars parked around the place, the town hall, and of course their much loved library the girls always went to if they needed older information. Their journey to Greenfield was a common one, since so many books where lost in a fire back in the gaslight edition it was their nearest stop.
Usually they would've parked up their bikes for an ice cream but today all of them just wanted to get to the swimming hole as soon as possible. They rode through quickly and turned down their radio, until they where past they small town.
"Arggh! Are we there yet?" Chrissy whined, she knew this trip like the back of her hand but the time and heat it was taking to get there was driving her crazy.
"Come on Chrissy not far to go" Roberta breathed out, every push on her peddles felt like bricks where pulling her from behind.
Finally the glorious sight of the water hit their eyes, and light shimmered on the surface making it look bluer than ever. They all dropped their bikes running for the water throwing off articles of clothing on the way; even Chrissy couldn't miss out this time. As soon as they hit the edge of the sand relief came over them feeling the coolness of the swimming hole, never had they been so glad to arrive.
"Oh man, I thought we'd never get here" Tara sighed as she did the back paddled out further to the middle.
"Mmmm, this is the part of Summer I love" Sam followed behind Tara dipping her head under the water in attempt to get the redness of her cheeks to calm down.
Chrissy spun in circles in the water reveling in being able to finally relax, her legs hurt so much, she hadn't cycled this far for months, the pain eased in the cool of the water slowly.
The five girls where lying on their backs together near the water for a short break of splashing around and getting water in their eyes, dunking each other under and so on. Chrissy was sitting up ringing out her new top, as much as she liked feeling the cool of the water, she hadn't come with a plan to swim, and now her shirt was all creased and had crumbs of sand and soil all the way through. In frustration she threw it down on the hot floor.
"Truth or Dare Tara?" Chrissy laid back down next to the blonde, knowing it was a perfect time for a bit of gossip.
"Ok, Tara, do you have a new guy in your life?" Teeny said eagerly. Tara looked away wondering how much truth or detail she would have to give in this answer, she looks across seeing Roberta shift around as well.
"No" She replied simply. Teeny looked disappointed, hoping Tara would have said yes then told them all about a big scandal of her and Scott Wormer, and then maybe a big bitch fight between her and Roberta, that would be exciting. Her eyes glinted.
"No one" She confirmed. "Sorry I can't be more exciting."
"I'm sure you could..." Roberta taunted, but stayed quiet after that.
"So how far did you go with Scott?" Sam smiled and nudged her playfully.
"Shut up! I'm not answering that!" Roberta punched Sam in the arm; she had already indulged too much when it came to information about her and Scott. They had heard it all already anyway.
"Plus, it wasn't my turn, Teeny, truth or dare?"
"Truth" She seemed distracted, hearing splashing further around the swimming hole.
"When you skipped drama class last term and told us you had a dentist's appointment, where did you actually go?"
"You can't ask me that! You already know!"
"Yeah but we don't" Tara said playfully pointing at herself, Sam and Chrissy.
"Come on, spill it." Tara continued when she saw Teeny's defeated face.
"Under the stage with Peter Morter!" Tara, Sam and Chrissy sat up in shock.
"PETER MORTER!" They all yelled at once.
Sam was laughing so hard she could feel tears coming to her eyes. "Are you kidding me? Peter?!"
"It's not what you think honestly..." Teeny sulked down quietly feeling her cheeks burning. The splashing and laughing was getting louder making the girls quiet for a second.
"Chrissy, which one." Tara tapped her friend, realizing that they where still playing.
"Dare, for once."
"Ok I have one, but we are all doing it." The girls sat up waiting to hear what Roberta had planned.
A few minutes later.
"Since the last time, they've been so overprotective with their clothes!" Chrissy pointed out. It was the height of summer and running away from the Wormers felt like the least desirable thing. Chrissy looked at the water longingly.
"It's been two years!" Sam complained this was an opportunity not to be missed, now that Roberta was over Scott they could finally go back to taunting the guys. Sam had spent a lot of time obsessively imagining all of the pranks she could pull on the group, now it was time to start acting on it she thought to herself. Roberta spoke up pulling Sam out of her trance.
"Tara, you go last, 'cause if they see us, you look the most innocent."
"What kind of logic is that?!" Tara was already annoyed and this just didn't seem right today.
"If we get caught, because you look so innocent, they might think you're just having a walk around the lake"
"Roberta, you're dreaming, if someone that had been our arch-neighborhood-nemesis...es was wandering around your clothes you'd be out of that water yelling in nano-seconds." But it was too late; Roberta and Sam had already hunched their backs over and were trying to be as stealthy as possible as they went for the pile of clothes. Sighing in defeat Teeny and Chrissy followed, leaving Tara with no choice but to join them.
Finding the clothes, Roberta notice they seemed a little small for the boys, but without hesitation she grabbed a bunch and stood a few feet away waiting for the rest of them to grab some items, and being ready to make a run.
Tara knew how fun this was when they where fourteen, but it seemed a little immature now, or rather, something was holding her back this time. She should've trusted her instinct but knowing her friends where waiting, she grabbed the pile of clothes, turned and ran.
"Come on Tara!" Teeny yelled, everyone's eyes suddenly went wide, Teeny had just advertised to anyone near by that they where up to something.
"Shit Teeny! Want to let them know what we're doing too?" Roberta whispered angrily. They all turned and started running, dodging the twigs and various plants in front of the path. Tara was shortly behind, she ducked her head to miss a bush by a millimeter but in doing so failed to see the large rotting wood directly after it causing her to stumble, she dropped all of the clothes, sighed in frustration and cursing herself for being so clumsy. One by one she picked up the clothes getting ready to get back on her feet again.
"HEY!! What do you think you're doing?!" a voice was yelling from behind her. In a panic she reached for the last item, Tara was almost caught up to the girls, but as she last piece she suddenly realized what it was, a red bikini top with a small flower printed in the corner.
"Oh Willow..." in shock she froze with guilt, knowing how much she would regret this is she kept running. How could they have mixed up the Wormers with Willow and her friends? Roberta must have known. With that realization Tara was filled with anger and sadness, Roberta must be trying to boy-cott her new relationship with Willow, but how would she know about it? She shook the thought out of her head as a moment of paranoia.
"Tara! Hurry up now!" she heard Sam's panicked but hysterically amused voice, simultaneously she heard footsteps getting closer and closer to her. She wanted to stay their and admit defeat, but if she did, it would mean admitting her secret to everyone.
Instinct took a hold of her, her legs moved on their own will and carried Tara away from the annoyed complaints behind her, she caught up with the gang in no time at all, but it seemed that the cloth-less ones behind where also fast runners.
Tara finally reached the clearing seeing her bike waiting for her. Her friends had just jumped on theirs and where caught in a laughing fit, Teeny was swerving all over the road because she was giggling so much, as they had thought once again they'd screwed over the Wormers.
Tara finally took charge over her body and stopped herself at the foot of her bike and turned around. In the same place two years before she had seen the boys shivering with cold. In their place, where now standing two angry faces, one was a short blonde girl who looked as if she was about to kick Tara's behind, if only she wasn't naked behind the rusting tractor giving them some dignity, if not a whole lot. Next to her was a taller dark shaggy-haired guy looking very confused. Tara got the impression this wasn't the first time it had happened to him. Next to him, was two almost identical younger ginger haired boys with freckles all over their noses, they couldn't have been older than twelve. Both of them look impatient, and then turned their attention to the girl standing to the left of them at the same time.
"Willow! I want my clothes back" One of them tugged at her arm, but she was frozen staring at Tara.
Willow felt her heart sink, she thought it must have just been a mistake, after all she hadn't seen them at the pool, and they might have just gone for their clothes by accident. But there it was, the truth standing right in front of her, her red bikini top clearly hanging over Tara's arm. Tara knew it was hers and yet she still kept going.
"I-I um, I-..." she stammered over her words not knowing what to say, she turned around to Roberta, Chrissy, Teeny and Roberta standing by their bikes looking rather embarrassed hoping they would apologize for her, after all it was their idea.
"Hey, we're sorry, we thought it was a bunch of loser guys that usual hang around here" Roberta finished.
"Sorry! That's it? We're standing NAKED behind a tractor!" the small blonde shot at her.
"Hey, missus we're the ones standing here with your clothes so how about you show us some respect!" The blonde just had a way of annoying Roberta with every word she said.
"Us? We should show you some respect?! What kind of respect are you showing us! And my name is not missus, it's BUFFY! Ok!! BUFFY!!"
"Hey...Buff, I'd quite like to get my clothes back, how about you stop aggravating the nice girls holding them." The dark haired guy whispered too her and turned back to the group of girls showing a trademark nervous smile.
"G-g-give them their c-clothes." Tara got out finally, she had been battling with her mouth during the small squabble trying to say something, she approached Willow slowly putting out her arm with the clothes dangling over them. Willow didn't take her eyes off the girl the entire time.
"Thank you..." she said quietly. Tara could clearly hear the hurt in Willow's voice.
"I'm sorry, I really am" she gave the others a small smile and let her hair fall over her eyes again. She was about to turn around a walk away, but as she did so she saw Roberta throwing the clothes over to the other side of the tractor. The anger in Roberta's face told Tara what she had to do. She was sick of this.
She turned once again to face the poor group that had been unfairly taken of their dignity and approached them. She went up to Willow so she was close enough for only her to hear, picking up odd socks on the way that had fallen on the grass.
"Willow I'm sorry" she whispered, pretending to pass over more items. "We didn't know it was you, not u-until I was out here and I realized it was you're top, honestly I w-wouldn't have otherwise" she wanted to continue but she could feel the tears building up her eyes, she felt embarrassed and angry altogether. She breathed slowly gaining control over her weak tear ducts, waiting for rejection.
Why did I have to screw this up? We were doing so well! Sure it was only two weeks but still, it's been the happiest time of my life...and it's over. Totally over.
A tear fell down her cheek with that thought, more were about to spill but she was surprised to hear her red head speak up.
"You're not lying?" She said quietly. "No no, Will never, I would never lie to you, it really was an a-accident" she struggled to get the last word out; she knew she should've trusted her instinct earlier.
"OK" Willow replied simply, finishing with a smile.
"Are you sure? I'm sorry if we upset you...really really so-"
"Tara come on we should go" Sam said, I little unsure of why Tara was taking so long to hand over 3 socks.
"Yeah, I'll see you...later...right?" Willow whispered to her girl.
"Same time, same place" Tara gave Willow a smile and a wink before she turned back to her friends, climbed on her bike and left.