Rebecca knew a lot more about life than most children do. Rebecca, being the eldest of three children, had a lot of experience with young kids. She was kind and accepted the challenges that everyone must face now and then. What she did not know was that something huge was coming, something that would change four children’s friendships forever.
Fred Lipto adjusted his Harry Potter glasses before finishing the last (and hardest) problem on his ninth-grade algebra test. Fred was in fourth grade. He was a math wiz with freckles, and a good sense of humor. He was Rebecca’s best friend and had known her since kindergarten. He was also the co-author of Stonehedge, a book he and Sarah (a girl who I will mention later) are currently writing. Fred’s pen name is Flying Duck.
Sarah Hinkle flexed her fingers and sharpened a fresh, number 2 pencil before looking down in her notebook to do a final edit of the story she had been working on for months. Sarah was an author, a lover of books, a critic, and a lover of comfortable shoes. She treasured green eyes, black hair, black cats, and Harry Potter movies (as well as the books). She was Rebecca’s good friend and never missed a chance to cheer people up with her lively ways and sharp mind. She played the violin, as well as the piano, and her two favorite quotes were, “Great minds think alike” (she said that to Fred a lot) and “Winners are losers and losers are winners” (she said that to George a lot). For your information, George is the fourth friend. Sarah’s pen name is Keylock Sniders.
“George Wiles, put that video game down and do something useful!” hollered George’s mother.
George Wiles reluctantly put down his control and turned off the X-Box he had gotten for Christmas. He had been at the height of the game where Mario was about to get out of the Yube, get back his star charts, and enter the secret chamber! He walked outside and helped his sister, Madison, haul the disgusting garbage cans out of the garage and onto the sidewalk. His neighbor, Robert Mettla, was doing the same thing. When he went back inside, he recaptured the moments in school that day. The class had loved the new (and improved) “Ember Tyke and Breezy Baby” story that he wrote. Ah, life was perfect for George, or so he thought.
Wham! The door slammed as a tired Mr. Decker walked in. He settled himself in a chair and his wife brought him a steaming plate of macaroni and cheese, and, of course, a mug of boiling, hot coffee. As he stirred his dinner around in his bowl, he thought about his fourth-grade class, especially Rebecca Baits. She was a good student, a little on the shy side perhaps, but precise and clever.
Three blocks away, Fred had put down his algebra book and was now nestled snugly in his favorite chair, eating rice and chicken. Two blocks away, Sarah was settling down to some steak and cucumbers after just submitting her latest story to Stone Soup magazine. At 36 Joseph Drive, George was scraping the last piece of pizza onto his dish. It was obviously pepperoni pizza, George’s favorite. On Baits Lane, Rebecca and her family were eating pasta, Rebecca’s favorite food. Her mother cleared her throat.
“I’ve already told your siblings about this,” she began. “You are not going to like what I have to say. Guess what, Rebecca Baits? We’re moving.”
Rebecca didn’t tell her friends immediately that in four short months she would have to move from Norwell, the only home she had ever known. A battle raged in her mind between enjoying her life and spending a carefree four months with her friends or giving her friends the time to get used to the idea that she was moving. She finally decided to tell them. Even though Fred was her closest friend, she told Sarah first. She had always been able to share a lot of things with Sarah, for she was a girl too. Sarah took it calmly but you could see the worry in her hazelnut eyes, and when she got home she destroyed her newest story (an act that her mother said was a disgrace). Sarah promised to let Rebecca break the news to Fred and George and swore she wouldn’t tell anyone else at school. Next, Rebecca told Fred. He jumped up and down and said he’d cut off his left arm if Rebecca moved. When he got home, he tried to snap his flute in half George’s turn! George went home and chucked his Play Station 2 out the window he was so mad. All of them were terribly angry but didn’t tell their parents anything. Rebecca pleaded with her parents, but they said they had to move because of their jobs.
“Where are we moving to?” Rebecca questioned, but the answer was always the same.
“We don’t know yet.”
Rebecca was discouraged. Her friends tried to cheer her up but it was no use. She had known George since third grade, Sarah since second, and Fred since kindergarten. Rebecca had faced many challenges before but this was the worst. She didn’t know what she was going to do. Sure she was going to make new friends, but not like these. She would miss everyone in her class, especially her teachers, Mrs. Williamson and Mr. Decker.
When she found out the day they were moving to Alabama, Rebecca immediately told her friends. On the day of the move, right before she got into the car, each of her three friends gave her a parcel.
“Good luck,” they all said, “and goodbye.”
Rebecca hopped into the car, and was driven away. In the parcels she found from Fred a little book that said “My Secrets” and a note that said, “In case you forget all the secrets we shared—Fred.”
From Sarah she got a large notebook. Inside the book was a note that said, “In case you forget to write stories.”
There was also a necklace with half a flower-shaped charm. Engraved on the charm was the word “Best.” Sarah was wearing the other half of the charm, which was engraved with the word “Friends.” Rebecca put the necklace on.
From George she got a beautiful plant and a box of stationery His note said, “In case you forget to write us all.”
Rebecca wanted to cry. She was probably never going to see them again.
* * *
THREE YEARS LATER
In Alabama, Rebecca met a very nice girl named Ashley They had lots of fun together, but Rebecca still never forgot about her friends.
One day, Rebecca, the now Junior High student, got home to find her mom in the backyard. Her mother patted a space next to her on the hammock where she was sitting. An exhausted Rebecca gratefully sat down and flung her book bag onto the grass.
“Guess what, Rebecca Baits?”
Rebecca groaned. “I have some good news for you. We are moving back to Norwell.” Rebecca was overjoyed. There was only one small problem, she didn’t know how she was going to part with Ashley…