Released from her grocery helping duties, Judith hurried outside with her little sister close behind her. As she suspected, Maura had already arrived at the house.
"Sorry, I wasn't out here to meet you. My mom made me help with the groceries," she apologized, breathless from her sprint out of the house.
"No problem, I wasn't waiting long."
"You could have come inside and found me."
"That's alright. It's a nice day out and Jeremy was just telling me what he was doing with his car."
"I can see that," Judith huffed. It was no surprise that Maura had been sidetracked by Jeremy. It was no secret to anyone with eyes that she'd had the biggest crush on Jeremy since the beginning of Junior High. Judith couldn't help being annoyed though, when her best friend seemed more interested in hanging out with her older brother than with her.
"Is this your little dog?" Jacqueline asked. "He's so cute."
"No, he's a stray I found. I'm going to try to find his family, but if I can't find out who he belongs to, I'm hoping my mom will let me keep him."
As Jacqueline played with the dog, Maura turned her attention back to Jeremy. "So . . . do you think you'll have it finished soon?" Maura asked.
"I don't think so. It needs a lot of work and I'm still learning how to fix it as I go."
"I'm sure you're a natural at it. So are your parents really going to let you drive it once it's running? Do you think you could give me - me and Judith - a ride when its done."
"Probably. We'll see."
Maura laughed a giddy laugh and clapped her hands together. "Great. I can't wait. I bet it's going to look sooo good when it's done."
"Hey Maura, my mom said we could go to the park for awhile before dinner. Want to go?" Judith interrupted.
"Yeah, sure. Okay. I'll see you later, Jeremy."
Jeremy waved a short goodbye and turned his attention back to the parts under the hood.
As the girls started to walk towards the street, they heard a small voice call after them.
"Wait for me!" Jacqueline called. "Mom said I could come too, remember?"
"Right," Judith groaned. "Come on.
The girls crossed the street to Wilton Park, one of Maura and Judith's favorite meeting spots. The park, named after Judith's father, one of the neighborhood's founders, was located right in the middle of Arrendale Heights and was conveniently located inbetween Judith and Maura's houses.
"Do you think Jeremy will really take me for a ride in his car when it's finished?"
"Maybe. I don't know."
"It's pretty cool that he can already drive and everything. I wonder if he'd let me drive his car when I get my permit."
"I really doubt it. I don't think he'd let me drive it if I was old enough to get mine."
"That's because you're his younger sister. He might think differently if it was someone else," Maura said hopefully.
"Who cares about Jeremy and his stupid junk car anyway," Judith asked, tiring of this line of conversation.
"Maura does. Duh!" Jacqueline chimed in.
"Jackie! Mind your own business," Judith snapped. "Why don't you go play on the swings or something?"
"Swings are boring. You and Maura are way more interesting."
"If you don't stop bugging us we'll go back home."
"Fine," Jacqueline begrudgingly agreed, before running ahead to play with Maura's dog.
Judith sighed. She suggested going to the park to get away from her family, instead Jacqueline was tagging along and all Maura wanted to talk about was Jeremy. "Sorry, my mom made me bring her along."
"It's alright. I think it's kind of neat that you have a little sister. I always wished I had a sister."
"You can have Jacqueline if you want. It's not as great as you think," when Maura didn't answer, Judith took the opportunity to change the subject. "Did you talk to your mom about registration yet?"
"Yeah, but I don't know what day we're going to go. It depends on when she has to work and if she's on call at the hospital. I think she's going to try to plan a meeting with Vince's councellor at the same time, at least that's what I overheard."
"To find out if he can graduate after this year like he's supposed to. He's going to be in big trouble when my mom finds out that he's been skipping a bunch of his summer school classes."
"She still doesn't know he's been skipping?"
"No, she has to be at work in the morning before he has to leave for school. She makes sure he's up in the morning before she leaves, but some days he just doesn't go. Usually it's when his friends come over and talk him into hanging out with them instead. I wish he would listen to Mom and stop hanging out with them. They aren't good friends and I don't even like being around Vince when he's with them."
"They aren't at your house a lot are they?" Judith asked with concern for her friend.
"No. Mom said they weren't allowed at the house, so when they come over they don't stay long They don't want to get caught."
"It looks like your mom's home," Judith said, nodding towards Maura's driveway.
"She's not supposed to be home yet. It's too early," Maura said curiously.
The girls watched as Lucy got out of the car and Vince got out on the passenger side. He walked up to the front door with his head hanging low as Lucy marched decisively behind him.
"This doesn't look good," Maura remarked. "I'd better go home and see what's going on."
"Ok, call me later," Judith called out as Maura hurried across the street.