This is a story about four best friends, Clara, Annie, Ashley, and Mindy, the most popular girls in the school, and what happens in the 8th grade year.
Clara walked into her huge bedroom suite with popcorn bowl in hand. She set it on a little Japanese style table low to the ground. There were four cushions around it. Three of them were already occupied by her best friends, Annie, Ashley, and Mindy. She sat down at the head of the table and lifted her Coke bottle. “To us,” she said.
“To us,” her friends repeated. The clinked glasses and gulped the soda down. Then they dug into the popcorn.
Clara and her friends had sleepovers every Friday. They switched off houses, but everyone knew that Clara's parties were the best, even people who had never been to one.
Clara and her friends were known as the Four Aces. Clara was Diamonds, Annie Hearts, Ashley Clubs, and Mindy Spades.
When they finished their first bowl of popcorn Clara pushed a button on a little white box. “Can we have more popcorn, please?” she asked it.
“Sure thing, Miss. Suguro,” Clara's family's cook said over the intercom.
“Thanks Basil,” she said cheerfully.
“Can we play Truth or Dare now?”Annie asked.
“Sure,” Clara said. “I'll go first.” Clara thought for a moment and then said, “Annie, Truth or Dare?”
“Truth.” Annie always chose Truth. She especially liked the boy related questions.
“Okay, let me think...oh, I know! What's your deepest, darkest secret?”
“Well... I don't know. You guys already know everything.”
Clara looked at her in a way that said Just say something, chicken. Annie hated being called a chicken, even if someone wasn't actually saying it out loud.
“Okay, I have something, but it's not that good.” She took a deep breath and said. “I'm getting a foster sister. Her name is Billie.”
“Her name is Billie?” Clara asked.
“Oh, well, that's cool... I guess.”
Annie turned to Mindy and said, “Truth or Dare?”
“Dare,” Mindy always chose dare when it was Annie giving it. Annie was a miserable Dare-giver.
“Um...carry Clara around the room once,”
“Seriously, is that the best you have?” Clara asked at the same time as Mindy said,
“I can't lift her!” It was true, Mindy was a weakling. She was more into books than sports.
“You have to,” Annie told her. “I Dared you.”
“Fine,” she grumbled. She and Clara stood up and Clara jumped into Mindy's arms. Mindy groaned and slowly dragged herself around the room, leavingAshley and Annie laughing so hard they were crying.
When Mindy had finally made it around the room, she dropped Clara and flopped down. She took a few deep breaths and then said, “Clara, Truth or Dare?”
“Truth,” Clara told her.
“Okay, let me think. Oh, I've got one. Are you a virgin?”
“What a stupid question! Of course I'm-”
“A lip virgin.” Mindy interrupted.
Clara sat in her chair for a second, trying not to squirm under her friends’ gaze. “Fine,” she let out a sigh, “I'll tell you. In fifth grade I was headed to the office because I didn't feel good and Joseph, you know that really geeky guy? Well, he was going to the bathroom at the same time and we were walking next to each other and he kissed me.”
“Oh my God!” Annie screeched. “Why didn't you tell us?”
“'Cus he's a dork and I didn't think you'd care.”
“What did you do?” Mindy asked her.
“Well, I pushed him away and told him that if he ever came within three feet of me again, I'd make his life miserable.”
“So that's why he never went near us!” Ashley said.
“Yup. Well, I guess since we've gone all the way back to me, we're done.”
“The girls started to move the table but then Ashley said, “Wait, what about me?”
“Oh, sorry,” Clara said. “Forgot. Okay, Ash, Truth or Dare?”
“Dare,” Ashley said immediately. She was a complete daredevil, and Clara gave pretty hard dares.
“Let me think.” Clara stood thinking while Annie and Mindy giggled while Ashley wrung her hands. Then Clara walked over to one of her closets where she kept her cat, Nutcracker, 's things. She grabbed a box of cat treats, tuna flavored, and carried them over. “Eat all of these without stopping, and you have to swallow them.”
Ashley gulped and was thinking about chickening out when she remembered that she was Ashley Cansat, the daredevil. She grabbed the box and threw back her head. Treats tumbled out of the box as Ashley chewed, struggling to keep up with them.
When they were all gone and she had swallowed every one she sat back down, trying not to make a face. The treats had been soft and a little bit gooey on the inside, and Ashley hated fish, but all the same, she didn't want to seem weak.
“Wow,” Clara said. “I'm impressed. Well, now that that's over, let's go to sleep. I'm getting tired.”
Clara clapped her hands and the lights turned off. Everyone slipped into their sleeping bags, except for Ashley. She waited until she was sure that everyone was sleeping, or at least, pretending to sleep. Then she crept over to Clara's bathroom and turned on the faucet. She stuck her head under it and let the cool water flow into her mouth.