A nimated conversation electrified one corner of the schoolyard; summer was definitely in the air, dangling like a kite just waiting to be flown.

“I’m hosting a bonfire tomorrow night,” Fraidy presided, cheeks pink with excitement, “to celebrate the end of the school year. It’ll be so cozy, the six of us, just our group.”

“I’ll bring marshmallows,” Chavie volunteered eagerly.

“Count on my famous brownies,” Shiri offered.

“Terrific,” Fraidy agreed. “We’ll do hot dogs and hamburgers.”

“I can bring drinks and paper goods,” Estie and Dini said, laughing as their words spilled out at the same time. As twins, it happened often, but it never failed to amuse them.

“How about a Caesar salad?” Leah chimed.

“Perfect!” The group nodded, exchanging smiles.

With a sudden jolt, the warm camaraderie dissipated, as if blown away by a frigid arctic blast. Warily, six sets of eyes narrowed, watching Mindy and Rena approach.

“We couldn’t help but overhear,” Mindy began, “and the bonfire sounds like so much fun.”

“What time are you starting?” Rena wanted to know.

“Uh, I’ll get back to you, okay?” Fraidy replied. “I’m not really sure of a starting time yet.”

“Well, let us know,” Mindy said, a big smile lighting up her face.

“Yeah, I can even come early to help set up,” Rena suggested.

“Oh, great,” the group murmured, eyeing each other pointedly and meandering away.

With one accord, the six-some headed toward the huge dogwood tree at the side of the school building. The tree had listened empathically to many of their private woes over the years, a steady presence in a sometimes turbulent world. As soon as they arrived at their spot, Fraidy moaned.

“Now what are we going to do?” she wondered. “It was going to be such a blast with just us. Who gave them the right to ruin it?”

“Yeah,” Leah took up the thread. “They’re so—”

“Nebby,” Shiri filled in.

“Pathetic,” Estie sighed.

“We could tell them we canceled it,” Chavie said thoughtfully.

“Or that your parents gave you a limit of how many people you’re allowed to have,” Dini suggested.

“Good ideas, girls. Keep ’em coming,” Fraidy said. At that moment, the school bell ended the discussion, summoning them to their next class.

Fraidy walked around in a fog the rest of the day. Why did Mindy and Rena have to overhear their plans and spoil everything? It wasn’t fair!

I’ll have a conference call with the girls tonight and we’ll figure out a plan once and for all, Fraidy decided. There’s is no reason our party has to be ruined. Confidence restored, Fraidy jotted a quick note and wrapped it around her pen.

“Oh, did you say you needed a pen?” she murmured to Chavie, placing it on her desk.

Chavie discreetly read the note and passed it on. By the time it reached Leah’s desk, they were all on board, eagerly awaiting tonight’s brainstorming session.

At two minutes to eight, the phone rang, and Fraidy didn’t even bother checking caller ID before clicking talk. She figured it had to be one of the group.

“Hi, there,” she answered cheerfully.

“Oh, hi, Fraidy,” Mindy replied. “I thought maybe you tried calling and didn’t get through…” (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 667)