For the rest of that evening, Allie and her friends were having the night of their lives. From pillow fights to telling silly, scary stories, gossiping about boys, and even some of the other girls at school, the three girls were really reveling in their moment. Allie couldn't remember the last time she had ever laughed so much like this, and it was long after when Esmeralda had turned her life upside-down by doing all those nasty things to her. For her first time at a friend's house, Allie was certainly having a peachy keen time.
Now they were up in Betty Jane's room, each lying down on their sleeping bags on the floor. Allie yawned and said, "Whew, have I had such a peachy keen time tonight."
"Me too," Mary Beth said as she also yawned.
"Well, you gotta admit, the food was the best part of it all, wasn't it?" Betty Jane said with a giggle. She was certainly a huge fan of food.
Allie and Mary Beth laughed as well. Then Allie said, "Wow, I didn't know that you had such a big bedroom, Betty Jane. Yours is even bigger than mine."
"My room is lovely," said Betty Jane. "Your room is as big as mine, Allie. I've seen it all before."
"You've been to Allie's house before?" Mary Beth asked Betty Jane.
"Of course!" said Betty Jane. "Allie and I are the best of friends, aren't we?" Allie nodded in response.
"Did you know that Allie also has a secret diary?" Betty Jane said to Mary Beth, giggling.
"You wouldn't dare, Betty Jane," Allie said, also laughing.
"Wouldn't dare do what? Tell your former nemesis about how you keep a diary book underneath your bed?" said Betty Jane playfully.
"For your information, I keep my diary underneath my pillow, not my bed. And it also comes with a lock, so not even you could read all that I've written."
"Relax, Allie, I would never sneak into your diary," Betty Jane said. "After all, I am your best friend, and we keep secrets between each other, right?"
"Right, I guess."
"Aren't I your friend as well?" Mary Beth asked.
"You're our best friend too, Mary Beth," Betty Jane said.
"Wow, that makes me feel very good," Mary Beth said. "I have just learned that a best friend is someone that you have good times with, and they make you very happy. Unfortunately, that was never the way it was for me and Esmeralda. I always thought that whenever she called me up, it's because she wanted to have a real conversation with me, but it actually turns out it's 'cause she only wants something from me. Something just to inflate her universe-sized ego even more." She looked a little disappointed now.
Allie and Betty Jane were starting to feel sorry for her. "But didn't you have any other friends?" Allie asked her.
Mary Beth shook her head. "Not really, none that I was familiar with. Basically, Esmeralda was the only one. She's just that type of person who, when you meet for the first time, you would think she's all right and such, and you would say to yourself, 'Gee whiz, now this is a really swell girl that you can have for a friend!' But then, she preys on you, and she'll only call you when she 'needs' something, such as how to put someone else down, and other stupid stuff like that. She can get anyone at all to follow her around and become her little sidekick, but in the end, she's always gonna ditch them and stuff. I have a feeling that she's gonna be a real sore loser for the rest of her pathetic life."
"Oh, you don't need her, Mary Beth," Betty Jane said. "With friends like us, who needs enemies like her?" Then they all laughed.
"Yeah, I guess that is true," Mary Beth said. "And I'm a little new to the whole friendship thing after being with Esmeralda for years, so I feel like I want to be included in your group, if you two know what I mean."
Allie and Betty Jane glanced at each other, as if thinking for a moment, then Betty Jane said, "Of course you're part of us, Mary Beth. We want to make you feel special and happy. Isn't that right, Allie?"
"Yeah," said Allie. "I mean, I came here in the summer all the way from Boston, and until I met Betty Jane, I felt like I was a part of something. You can feel part of the family when you're with me and Betty Jane........just like how she and Quincy made me feel part of the family."
"Aw, thank you," Betty Jane said emotionally, sniffing with exaggeration as she gave Allie a small hug. Allie giggled and hugged back.
After what seemed like more than a few minutes of silence, Mary Beth suddenly said, "So, is anyone ready for the Dance Team performance?"
"To be honest, I am a little nervous," Allie said. "I have never really done something like this before."
"It's okay to feel a little nervous, Allie," Betty Jane said. "Sometimes it can be a little scary to try new things. But then, we need to show Ms. Hazel that we really know our stuff. She's the kindest person ever; she understands things."
"Well, I know that we're all gonna do just perfectly," Mary Beth said. "All it takes is believing in yourself. Do you, Allie? Do you have faith in yourself?"
"I do," Allie replied.
"Then that's what truly matters," Betty Jane said. "Thinking that you can do it, knowing that you can do it." The three of them giggled in agreement, and after that, it was a moment of silence for the rest of the night as they started falling asleep at 12:00 a.m.
In the meantime, Alexandra and Paul had had their night out, dining out at Ralph's Cafe with Paul and his good friends from long days past. A waitress came by to gather all their plates, and Paul said to her, "Excuse me, ma'am, but I would like to have just one more cup of whiskey, please. You know, before you can fully pack up."
"Coming right up, sir," she said as she took his cup to get him a refill, which was obviously like the millionth cup he'd had so far.
Alexandra then stepped on his foot. "Paul, isn't that like the third cup of whiskey you've had all night?"
"Save it for when we get home, Allie," Paul said to her, and he and the five other men laughed.
"So, Pauly," said Jefferson Garrett to Paul. "Since you just got the promotion yesterday, why couldn't we have gone out yesterday instead of tonight?"
"Perhaps Alex here could answer that," Paul said as he laughed. Alexandra glared at him, and he quickly cleared his throat. "I mean, well, when you've got kids and all, sometimes they tend to be a little bit of a burden. You know what I mean? Alex and I have decided that once our little girl becomes old enough to go steady with boys and all that other junk, we can have most of the evenings all to ourselves." He placed his arm around Alexandra in a sensual manner. She gave him a slight push.
"I admire you, Pauly," said another friend, Clyde Stevenson. "Always putting your kids ahead of your own needs. Too bad none of us are like that." Then he and the four other men laughed.
"Actually, we have just one kid," Alexandra put in, "and it's a girl."
"Is she as lovely as you are?" Clyde asked.
Alexandra nodded. "Very lovely. In fact, she's my namesake."
Pretty soon, the waitress arrived back with Paul's whiskey. "Thank you," Paul said to her as she left.
"Are you gonna finish the rest of that?" Jefferson asked Paul.
"Only if I'll make it out of here alive tonight," replied Paul as he took a sip of his whiskey.
Allie did not wake up until 6:45 the next morning. She yawned and fluttered her eyes open and noticed that Betty Jane and Mary Beth were still fast asleep. In a few hours, she would be getting ready to go to church. She was trapped between going back to sleep until Betty Jane or Mary Beth was awake, and going to the living room to call her mother to come pick her up. She decided to do the first one; Allie was not really much of a morning person, especially on the weekends. Allie fell asleep for two more hours until Mary Beth and Betty Jane suddenly awakened. Betty Jane said to Mary Beth, "Did you have a good sleep?"
"Yeah," Mary Beth replied, yawning. "How about you?"
"Slept like an angel."
They both glanced over at Allie, who was still sound asleep, despite being the first one out of all three of them to have waken up and fallen back asleep. Betty Jane smiled and said, "Wow, she's such a heavy sleeper, even when I'm around."
"You've slept over at her house before?" Mary Beth was amazed.
"Shh. Of course I have," Betty Jane said in a whisper. "Don't wake her up."
"Sorry about that."
Back at home, Alexandra and Paul did not wake up until 9:00, the same time they woke up on Sunday mornings to get ready for church. Paul reluctantly and groggily awakened and threw the alarm clock on the floor. Alexandra woke up on her side of the bed and said to him, "You didn't really have to do that, you know." She gave him a small smile.
"What, you mean throwing the clock across the room?"
"Yeah, that's right. How else will we know when to wake up for church?"
"God will remind us, not some stupid alarm device," Paul said, and Alexandra just laughed.
"Wait a minute," Paul said. "Is Allie still sleeping to death at her friend's house?"
"Oh, yeah, that's right." Alexandra just came to that realization, being the fact that she just woke up. "We need to go pick her up."
"No, you go pick her up. I'm too lazy to go out in my pajamas," Paul said, and he chuckled.
"You're wearing a house robe, silly. No one's gonna judge you."
"I'll stay here and get cleaned up," Paul said. "Besides, I need a good grooming."
"You most certainly do," said Alexandra in agreement. She quickly put on a blouse and a pair of slacks and house slippers, grabbed her purse, and went down to the living room to dial Betty Jane's mother.
The phone rang, and Betty Jane's mother slowly got up to answer it. "Hello?" she said.
"Hi, this is Mrs. Sampson, Allie's mother," Alexandra said. "How do you do?"
"Oh, hello, Mrs. Sampson," said Betty Jane's mother. "I'm fine, thank you. Are you calling for Allie?"
"Yes. Please tell her to wake up because I will be arriving there shortly."
"Okay, I will tell her. Thank you, Alexandra," said Betty Jane's mother.
"Thank you very much," said Alexandra, then she hung up.
Betty Jane's mother then came up to the room and knocked on the door. "Betty Jane, open up," she said.
Betty Jane opened the door for her mother. "Good morning," she said to her mother with a grin.
"Allie honey, please wake up. Your mother's coming to get you soon," Betty Jane's mother said as she tapped Allie really gently. "Come on, dear, I know it's a Sunday morning, but still. Please get up, can you?"
Allie groaned with fatigue as she suddenly opened her eyes. "What time is it?" she muttered sleepily.
"It's 9:01," Betty Jane replied.
Then Allie was fully awake. "Oh, I have to get ready for church!"
"Okay, well, you go on and get dressed up while you wait for your mother," Betty Jane's mother said.
Fortunately, Allie had packed her dress that she would wear for church today, along with her dress gloves, shoes, and other jewelry. She took her time getting cleaned up and dressing up. By the time she was about to put on her dress gloves, the doorbell rang, and Betty Jane's mother went down to answer the door for Alexandra. "Hi, Alexandra. Allie's just getting dressed up for church," she said, shaking hands with Alexandra.
"Okay, I'll wait for her then," Alexandra said as Betty Jane's mother let her in, and sat on the couch.
"Would you like me to fix you a cup of tea?" Betty Jane's mother asked.
"No, thank you----what's your name?"
"No, thank you, Ellen," replied Alexandra. "But that's very kind of you, though."
Three minutes later, Allie arrived down, looking just like her lovely self for church, and Alexandra was amazed. "Wow, Allie, you look.......fantastic!"
"Thanks, Mama," Allie replied. "Betty Jane, Mary Beth, and I had such a great time last night."
"I'm sure you did, sweetie," said Alexandra. "Now come on, let's go home now." She helped carry one of Allie's bags, while Allie carried her other bag, along with her purse. Betty Jane's mother opened the door for them as Betty Jane and Mary Beth came down to share their good-byes with Allie.
"I'm glad you had a really peachy keen time last night, Allie," Betty Jane said to her. "We really should do this again sometime."
"Yeah, it's pretty much like a reward for doing so awesome during Dance practice yesterday," Mary Beth said with a grin.
"Yeah, I'll be back again some other time. I promise," Allie said, then she reached out to give both girls a hug.
"Bye, Allie. See you tomorrow," Betty Jane said as she and Mary Beth waved to her.
Allie waved back to them. "Good-bye, you two. See you tomorrow as well."
"Good-bye," Alexandra said, waving to Ellen, who also waved back to them. Pretty soon, Alexandra and Allie both got into the car, and Alexandra began driving off.
"You never told me about the other girl, what's-her-name," Alexandra said, talking about Mary Beth.
"Oh, you mean Mary Beth. Uh, she's just.......a new friend."
"Yes. She was actually one of the two girls who pushed me off the swings at recess that one time. But don't worry, Mama. She's a really nice girl now. She said she was sorry for doing something so horrible as that."
"I believe you, dear," Alexandra said. "Is she also on the dance team with you?"
"Yes, she is."
"Well, your father and I are looking forward to watching your performance next week."
"I know it's gonna be swell! Only problem is, I'm just a little nervous, Ma."
"Oh, it's okay to be a little nervous, sweetie. But I know that you'll do great. You're having fun, aren't you?"
"Yeah, I am."
"Then that's important. As long as you enjoy doing it, you'll be just fine. And don't forget to knock 'em dead during choir today," Alexandra added with a wink. Allie was a part of their church choir, being very musically talented at a rather young age, and passing on that wonderful talent to Joanna. Like mother, like daughter.
"I will," said Allie confidently.