Drama Kids Holiday

        I had no good reason to dislike Bella as much as I did. She had a sweet smile and soft brown eyes. Her dark brown hair always looked smooth and elegant. She was quiet and pleasant, and her voice was calm with a slight Southern accent. She used her genius IQ for the benefit of science fairs and fundraising for the school, and she built Rube Goldberg machines in her free time.

               I had no reason to dislike Bella as much as I did. But when she joined our study club last month, I immediately wanted her to leave.

               We all sat at our table in the library with our books in front of us. We started a study club, the four of us, about three months ago. We all happen to excel in different areas, so it was nice to be able to help each other. The usual routine was to chit chat until everyone had arrived, then study for an hour. Then we got dinner together. These gatherings made Friday nights my favorite part of the week.

               I was first, as usual. A few minutes later, Mei waltzed in sat down across from me. “How are you doing?”

               I smiled. “I’m doing well. How are your puppies?”

               She proceeded to tell me all about her Goldendoodles and the adventures that came along with them. I listened attentively and watched her bubble as she talked. Her jet black, shoulder-length hair swung around her face.

               Riley and Tia arrived next. Despite being opposites, they get along perfectly. Riley was an extroverted redhead with a freckle-filled face and curious eyes, and Tia was an introvert with beautiful, smooth skin and black hair in big bunchy braids. The four of us sat in a square at the table and talked about school and soccer games and math competitions.

               Bella walked in last.

               “Hey, Bella!” Riley waved and stood up. “We’re glad you made it.”

               Bella smiled. “Thank you for letting me join.” She sat down next to Tia and laid her brown canvas bag next to her.

               Mei straightened her books into a neat stack. “Should we start with introductions?”

               Riley nodded. “I’m Riley.”

               “I’m Mei.”

               “I’m Tia.”

               I chimed in last. “I’m Allison.”

               Bella stroked her braid. “Nice to meet you. I’m Bella.”

               “Why don’t you tell us about yourself?” Riley said.

               “Oh, um, alright. I’m 17 years old, and I just moved here from Tennessee. My favorite color is green, and I like science and stuff.” She paused. “I guess that’s it.”

               Tia leaned forward. “Do you have any siblings?”

               Bella scratched her arm. “I have a sister, but she moved out awhile back. Now it’s just me and my little brother.”

               Riley clapped her hands loudly and got dirty looks from other people around us. “Wonderful!”

               I squinted at Bella. She seemed perfect in every area but punctuality. I didn’t trust her. We all did our work quietly, but I occasionally cut my eyes upward to watch her.

               She used yellow gel highlighters. All her pens were blue. Surprisingly nice posture.

               I glanced around the table to see Mei watching me stare at Bella. She snickered and shook her head. I felt myself blush.

               Sunday afternoon, we met for lunch downtown to show Bella around a bit. Tia chose a hippie-pizza place right on main street. We all agreed happily. They had the best pizza in town by far.

               The five of us squeezed into a booth and Mei pulled out her phone. She showed us all pictures of her puppies. “Do you have any pets, Bella?” Mei asked as she passed her phone around.

               “I used to have a parakeet. His name was Teriyaki.”

               Everyone asked questions.

               “What color was he?”

               “Yellow with gray on his back.”

               “Was he noisy?”

               “Sometimes. He liked knocking things off tables and desks. He even managed to break a vase.”

               I silently enjoyed the atmosphere as they giggled about Teriyaki. Large murals of mushrooms and people making peace signs lined the walls. A huge plaster elephant painted as a mandala hung above the bathrooms. The host stood behind a Charlie Brown “psychiatric help” booth. A Dr. Who telephone booth stood beside the door to the kitchen. Odd music with flutes and drums played through the speakers.

               “So Allison.” I snapped to attention. “Why don’t you tell Bella about yourself?” Riley gestured to me. Tia folded her hands on the table. “I promise, Bella, you usually can’t get her to stop talking. This is unusual.” I glared at Tia and her untimely sarcastic remarks.

               “Well, I’m Allison, I’m 16. I like blue and painting.”

               Bella’s eyes got wide. “Really? I paint too. I’m not good though. Do you have any pictures?”

               They all chorused for me to show pictures. I gritted my teeth and pulled out my phone. I found a photo of a sunset I had done a few years ago. It had won third in a state-wide contest. I slid it across the table to her. “That is just stunning. Your blending is amazing.” I thanked her and put my phone back in my Kavu.

               The food came and I slowly chewed on my Hawaiian pizza. I watched Bella eat. She was too nice. She gave too many compliments. I didn’t trust her.


Halloween of 2012 was one of the best I remember. I bounced in the backseat of my mom’s Honda and searched for a white house. My mom was bringing me over to her friend Natalie’s house to play with her daughter. She was eleven years older and I adored her. I considered her my sister. I counted down the days until we went to see them, and it wasn’t difficult to arrange considering my parents were divorced and Natalie’s husband was working overseas. Neither of our families did much for Halloween, so we girls made candy apples together.

               We stood at the kitchen counter and swirled red liquid candy onto Fuji apples. I complained to my friend about second-grade drama.

               “Maddie didn’t even invite Sarah to her party after their fight. Sarah cried in the bathrooms until Ms. McGuire went to get her!”

               My friend looked down at me, shocked. “You’re kidding!”

               “No, it’s true!”

               She shook her head. “That’s cray-cray. Sarah needs to pull her drama together.” She snapped three times. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but it looked cool when she did it.

               I giggled and snapped too. Bella laughed really hard. I called her nuts. She flicked me.

               “Speaking of nuts, do you want some on your apple?” She offered me a can of crushed peanuts.

               “Ooo, I love peanuts.” I sprinkled them on the red oozing candy.

               “Can you put some on mine too, please?” She held out her apple to me. I smiled. “Ok!”

               She gasped. “Oh, you won’t guess what happened at work today.”

               I beamed. “What?” She told me all about a guy at her work named Jimmy and some crazy person in the driveway who was screaming about bad service and then threw a large sweet tea at him and got his uniform all wet and sticky. She told me all about how a manager came and told the crazy guy to leave, and then Jimmy got to eat his order. She had a way with words. Math could sound exciting if she was telling about it.

               “Allison! Can you come here?” I heard my mom call from the living room.

               “You too, Bella,” my mom called. I grinned.

               Bella. The most beautiful name in the world.

               That Christmas, Bella’s dad still wasn’t able to come home. My mom and Natalie decided to have one big girl’s sleepover on Christmas Eve. We all watched Home Alone. Bella held my ears when they cussed.

               The next morning, all of our presents were under the tree. Bella had bought me an American Girl doll, the super expensive ones that I had been saving for. Mom bought me a bed set and wardrobe for her, and Natalie bought me three outfits for her. I named her B. It was short for Bella, but I didn’t tell anyone that. I was oblivious to the fact that everyone already knew.

               Three weeks later, Natalie sat on the couch with my mom, and I sat on Bella’s bed. We both cried. “Why are you moving?” I pleaded with her.

               She had anger in every crease of her face. She tried to hide it from me, but I could tell. She grabbed my chin, something she often did, and smiled. “It’s not your fault. I promise.”

               “Then why are you leaving me?”

               She flung a shirt into one of her three suitcases lined on the floor. “I just have to, Ally.”

               She muttered something. I wiped my tears. My best friend in the world was leaving overnight. I knew it was my fault, but I didn’t know how.

               Her suitcase struggled to zip under the pressure of her clothes, but after bouncing on it, the zipper finally moved.

               Her once lively room was now dull and empty. The rug where we used to play with my dolls was rolled up in the closet. Her dresses that she let me wear were smashed into tote bags. Her framed pictures of us were wrapped in tissue paper in the backseat of her car.

               My mom peeked her head in the door and told us it was time to go. She shot Bella a dirty look and told her goodbye. Bella reached down and hugged me as tight as she could. I squeezed her back.

               We drove away. I haven’t heard from her since.


               I arrived at the library early as usual and sat down at our table. Bella was already there. Smiling, she closed The Fellowship of the Ring and pulled out the chair next to her.

               “Hey, Allison!”

               I laid my bag down and set my books on the table. “Hey, Bella.”

               She shifted in her chair. It was quiet for a moment.

               I sighed. “I’m sorry.”

               She looked up. “For what?”

               “Not liking you.” I kicked myself. I could have been a little smoother.

               I think I caught her off guard because she gasped a little. “Oh, um, that’s alright.”

               “No, it’s not alright. I really didn’t like you, and I haven’t properly welcomed you. But you are super nice and I have no reason not to like you.”

               A look of both panic and flattery covered her face. “Thank you.”

               “I am glad you are in our group.”

               Relaxing a little, she gave me a half-smile. “I appreciate it,” she sighed, “but I didn’t like you either.”

               Now it was my turn to be surprised. But I felt like I had it coming. “Why?” Curiosity got the best of me.

               She bristled the pages in her book. “You just remind me of my sister. She left a few years ago after she got a boyfriend. My parents tried to raise her to be a good citizen with a fulfilling job, and she flushed all of it down the toilet to go live in a dumpy camper while spending potential mortgage money on alcohol. I was super close to her.”

               “Why do I remind you of her?”

               “Her name is Allison.”

               My eyes got wide. Just as I opened my mouth to tell her about Bella, Riley sat down.

               “What are you guys up to?”

               Bella grinned. “Casual conversation I suppose. Where are we going to eat tonight?”

               Riley clapped again. She needed to stop doing that for the sake of the poor librarian. “I thought maybe a BBQ joint downtown, not far from the pizza place. They have the best BBQ sauce around, and they have candy apples for the whole month of October. I really want to try one.”

Bella flashed a thumbs-up.

               I smiled to myself. Bella. The most beautiful name in the world.

August 26, 2020 17:39

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Genevieve Taylor
03:45 Sep 17, 2020

Wow this story was great! I loved the relationship between Bella (both of them) and Allison. The repetition of the first line was really nice. You're a natural born writer. I did catch one tense mistake in the beginning when you said "Despite being opposites, they get along perfectly." I know the story isn't editable anymore, but in this, "get" should be "got." Also, it was a bit tell-y in the beginning, when you were describing the study group's traditions, but I've read your most recent story (it really was fantastic) and you seem to...


Mackenzie Meetz
13:52 Sep 18, 2020

Thank you so much! I will try to be more aware in the future:)


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Amaya .
22:06 Sep 02, 2020

Hi! I was wondering if you could read my newest story and give me tips/feedback. It would be super amazing. I can't wait for your next story btw, I'm excited!


Mackenzie Meetz
00:42 Sep 11, 2020

Sorry for the late response, but I will go read it right now! I appreciate your compliment more than you will ever know. Also, I just posted my latest story:)


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Lizzy Burt
22:06 Sep 02, 2020

Hi! I got your story for the critique circle and I loved this story! The characters are fun and interesting, and even though not much happens plot-wise, I was engaged and wanted to keep reading throughout the whole thing! I liked the explanation for why Allison didn't trust Bella in the form of a sub-story! (If I'm interpreting that correctly)


Mackenzie Meetz
00:40 Sep 11, 2020

Sorry about the late response, but thank you so much! You interpreted it correctly, and I appreciate your kind words. Maybe next time I will try to add some to the plot:)


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Amaya .
23:33 Aug 30, 2020

This is really good!


Mackenzie Meetz
03:42 Aug 31, 2020

Thank you so much!


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