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Coming of Age Friendship Holiday

The Hall's were always a very bright bunch. Danielle and Kurt Hall had given birth to five girls over the span of seven years, who now were between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one, and were referred to as "The Hall Sisters."

Ashlynn, nicknamed 'Ash,' was the oldest at twenty-one. She had auburn hair and brown eyes.

Rae was nineteen and had a scholarship to Brown University.

Marsha was eighteen and had beaten the all-time girls 400-meter sprint time at their school.

Kennedy, "Ken" for short, was sixteen, and had light brown hair and loved their dog Pooch with all her heart.

Rory was fourteen, the youngest of the bunch, with reddish hair and tantalizing gray eyes.

Clay, Trey, Liam and Jackson were the group of four brothers who lived down the street. The girls had grown up with them, and now, fate would reunite lost bonds.

Marsha and Liam saw each other regularly, as they were both in their senior year and on the track team. Occasionally, Marsha would see Clay, who was the head coach of the shot put team, but otherwise, none of the girls interacted with the brothers anymore.

Kurt Hall was deployed in the Middle East and Danielle had suddenly been called away to Canada, so the Hall girls were left to fend for themselves for a week.

Ash had come up from college to get an early start on Thanksgiving break and watch over the mischievous bunch. Inside their house, Ash decided to order a pizza for dinner.

"Okay, pizza it is," Ash said loudly. "Any objections?"

"No," Rae said, pushing her glasses up her nose. "However, could we order a pie from Johnny's instead of Fred's? Johnny's is New York Style, which is sooo much better."

Ash sighed, holding up her phone. "Fine. What's the number?"

Rae took it upon herself to call, snatching the phone from her sisters hand and dialing herself. As Rae put the phone to her ear, Ash looked around.

"Where's Marsh?" she asked Rory, who was sneaking a cookie from the cookie jar.

Rory shrugged. "I dunno."

"She's at track," Ken supplied, appearing in the kitchen, scrolling through her phone.

"Does she need a ride home?" Ash asked.

Ken rolled her eyes. "She's eighteen. She can drive, ya know."

Ash frowned. "So no?"

Ken shrugged. "Her and Liam carpool. I think it's his turn to drive this week."

"Liam?" Ash repeated. "Liam Townsend?"

"The one and only."

"Huh, I didn't think I was gone that long," Ash laughed. "Do you remember when we used to play Manhunt with those boys? And Trey would always hide on the deck, and you would always beat all of us and you never told us where you hid?"

Ken paused her phone-scrolling and looked up, an odd look in her eyes. "I remember." she said after a pause.

"I see Jackson in school," Rory said matter-of-factly, wanting to get in on the conversation.

"Oh, he's your age, right?" Rae asked, dropping the phone to her side. She handed it to Ash. "Pizza will be here in 20 minutes."

"Great, thanks."

There was the sound of a sliding lock at the front door, and Marsha burst in.

"Hey Marsh," Ash said, walking up to her sister. Marsha set down her duffel bag. "Need a hand?"

"I got it." Marsha straightened, her face pink from the wind. Ken appeared at the bay window, looking outside at their driveway, interested.

"What're you looking at?" Ash questioned, edging towards Ken. Ken turned away.

"Nothing."

"I know what she's looking at," Marsha said, smirking.

"Marsha!"

"It's Liam."

"MAR-SHAA!"

"Liam?" Ash repeated, looking from Ken to Marsha and back to Ken again. "Wait, I'm so lost."

"It's pretty self-explanatory, actually," Marsha said, rolling her eyes and going into the kitchen.

"Huh." Ash shot Ken a questioning look. Ken looked away, sheepish.

"...are...are any of the other Townsend boy's home?" Ash asked casually, entering the kitchen and distracting herself with dishes.

"I think Trey might be here for Thanksgiving," Marsha said. "But don't quote me on that. Clay still lives in the area, so he'll probably pay his family a visit. And Liam and Jackson... Well, that's self-explanatory."

"Everything is self-explanatory with you," Rae said primly. Marsha rolled her eyes.

"I call 'em as I see 'em."

"Maybe we should pay them a visit."

"WHAT?!?" Marsha yelled. "ARE YOU CRAZY?!"

"Um, are you okay?" Rae asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I'll seem like a freak to Liam!" Marsha said bluntly.

"Um, why does that matter?"

"Because he's my friend and I don't just wanna show up at his doorstep on Thanksgiving and say "Hi! I know my sisters and I haven't interacted with you and your brothers much in years, but how are you?" What message does that send to him?"

"Um, that we're nice." Ash said, defending her idea.

"No, that you and Ken are way too eager to stare googly eyes at the Townsend Boys, that's what!!" Marsha said loudly.

"Wait, what?"

"Back it up, Ash?"

"I'm for going to see them," Ken piped up.

"Of COURSE YOU ARE!" Marsha sighed.

Ken frowned and looked down. Ash stepped between Ken and Marsha. “Marsh, it would be nice to see them again before we all graduate and go out into the world.” she said definitely.

“You’re already out in the world,” Marsha said, rolling her eyes.

“Yes, but I’m here right now.”

Marsha bit her lip. “Won’t it be weird?” she said finally. “I mean, not between Liam and I, since we’re already friends, but everyone else?”

Ash chose her words carefully. “...No. Because it’s not like anything bad happened between us. We just… drifted apart. All of our lives led us down different roads.”

“Except for Marsha and Liam,” Ken said quickly, glaring at her sister. “They both somehow got on the “Track” road.”

“Yeah, yeah, we get it, you wish you were Marsha, please stop now and quit while you’re ahead,” Rae said, holding back a smirk. Ken’s frown deepened.

“How old are they?” Rory asked politely, looking at her oldest sister with innocent eyes. “I know Jackson’s in my grade.”

“Liam’s seventeen.” Marsha and Ken supplied at the same time.

“I think Clay is twenty-four and Trey is twenty-two,” Ash said, forehead creasing as she tried to remember.

“That sounds right,” Rae nodded. The doorbell sounded.

“Pizza’s here!” Rory yelled excitedly, racing for the door.

Rae frowned and glanced at her watch. “Pizza’s early.” She noted.

“Guys?” Rory called from the entryway. “C’mere a second…”

“Rory?” Ash said, confused. “Rory, what’s up?”

Ash stopped when she saw. Rory was standing in front of the open front door with four people standing outside- one with sandy blond hair, one with gray eyes, one with messy dark hair, and another with dull green eyes.

“Hello?” Rory said.

“Hi.” Jackson said bluntly.

“Happy Early Thanksgiving,” Liam said sheepishly, holding up a store-bought cake. 

“...come in, come in!” Ash said, finally getting over the shock of what she was seeing.

“Looks like we both had the same idea,” Marsha said to Liam. He raised an eyebrow.

“You mean…?”

Marsha nodded.

“Hi Trey!” Ash said, her voice higher than usual.

“Great minds think alike,” Liam noted, looking from Marsh to Ken and giving her a smile. Ken blushed.

“Yes, they do.” Marsh smiled. “Yes they do.”

January 29, 2022 20:47

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