The Stupid Boy and the Outsider Chapter 11
There were a lot of people at the party as usual. Most of our neighbors and their kids were there as well as kids from school and their parents. Everyone loved the Jonas family and loved to take part in their celebrations. There was a bunch of us talking and hanging out when Kristine, Francis, and Cindy finally got to the party.
"I guess someone wanted to make a fashionably late entrance," Berna said under her breath.
Everyone could feel the awkward silence. I'm sure even Joe noticed it. No offense to him, but he's just a little oblivious to the obvious sometimes.
"Come on Berna, let's go get something to eat," I said and lead her toward Pastor Jonas cooking up some burgers. We heard Kristine make a noise which made Berna turn around. Luckily I was anticipating something like that happening and managed to get her to turn back around before anything bad happened.
"I don't care if Joe is your other best friend and that's his girlfriend, she's a bitch and you know it." I did now it, but Joe had to make his own mistakes. "You're not seriously gonna let him date that," she stopped talking as we got closer to Pastor Jonas and dad at the grill. We each both grabbed a plate with a burger and some of Mrs. Jonas's homemade fries and walked away. "You're not seriously gonna let him date that whore are you?"
"She's not a whore."
"I can't believe you're defending her." Neither could I.
"But technically she isn't a whore."
"Oh yeah she needs to date and sleep around with a bunch of guys, but I guess she can't do that when she's always been after Joe like a sick puppy. It was really pathetic." It kinda was.
"Well, Joe's the sick puppy now."
"Yeah and she's being a total skank about it." I had to give her that one. Ijust laughed a little and nodded my head in agreement.
I got Berna to drop the subject when we approached JD, Kevin, and Nick. The five of us were just hanging out for a little bit when Mrs. Jonas came up to us.
"Kevin, could you run down to the store and get a couple more bags of ice please? We're running low," she asked.
"Sure mom. Can someone come with me?" Kevin asked us.
"I'll go," I volunteered.
"Hurry back, we're planning on singing Happy Birthday soon," Mrs. Jonas said as we walked away.
Kevin and I walked around the side of the house only to see Joe and Kristine talking. She didn't look very happy as she said, "I'm not exactly into camping."
I guess they were talking about the camping trip Joe planned for both of our families. After Kevin asked if they needed anything from the store we were in Pastor Jonas's van.
"Excited about the camping trip tomorrow?" Kevin asked as he drove.
"Only if Berna can go." Kevin gave me a questioning look as we waited for the red light to turn green. "Well, if she's not there then I'll be the only teenage girl there, but if she comes then not only will I not be the only teen girl, but I'll get to see her roughing it in the woods or wherever we're going."
Kevin laughed as he put the van in park. "That would be something to see. I'll enjoy watching Joe and Nick try to rough it too."
When we got back to the Jonas house Kevin and I took two trips each to bring in all the ice we got. It was almost 6:30 and the party was still going strong. Mrs. Jonas herded Kevin and me outside so that Kevin could get everyone to sing Happy Birthday.
"Hey you guys," Kevin yelled to get everyone's attention. "Where's Joe?"Everyone started looking around. I spotted him standing up and walking over to where Kevin and I stood. "Oh, there he is. Okay everyone now we're gonna sing Happy Birthday alright? On the count of three. One... two... three." Everyone joined in singing Happy Birthday as Mrs. Jonas and mom brought out the cake. It was a simple sheet cake with the words Happy 15th Birthday Joe on it. When the song ended Joe happily blew out the candles. He's such a kid sometimes, but that was a part of his charm. Right when the candles were blown out Berna and I sprayed silly string all over Joe. He just stood there and took it.
When we were done with the silly string Joe looked down at the cake. "I thought I was getting a Barney cake," Joe said as he stuck his finger into the icing and licked it off.
"Joseph, just be happy with what you have," Mrs. Jonas said to him as she passed out cake to the little kids.
"I know mommy I was just kidding." See how that charm works? He took some of the silly string off his shirt and placed them on Mrs. Jonas's head. She just shook her head before taking the string off.
After all the little kids were satisfied with their cake and playing with whatever silly string was left, Joe started opening presents. There were gift cards to different stores, checks and money, clothes, and other various things. We were getting to the bottom of the pile of presents when Joe was handed arectangular gift wrapped in hot pink wrapping paper.
"Bet you five dollars it's from Kristine and inside is some expensive piece of clothing," Berna said so that only I could hear. I tried to hide the smile that was forming on my face. I don't think I was really successful. Berna elbowed me lightly. "You in or what?"
"No because I know it's true."
Joe unwrapped the box. Inside was a solid blue sweater vest and a white short sleeved polo shirt.
"A sweater vest? Do you think she's gonna invite him to daddy's country club anytime soon?" Berna said sarcastically.
"Did you want to go instead?"
"Eww, not in a million years." We weren't even paying attention anymore. I can only guess that Joe thanked Kristine with a kiss or something, but kept it rated G since everyone was around.
All of a sudden we heard a slight ruckus. We turned our attention to the birthday boy to see him holding up a leather jacket. It was simple no studs or crazy prints, nothing like those biker jackets. This was really nice... I was slightly jealous.
"Thanks Berna," Joe said turning to us.
I looked over at her. "What happened to the shirt?"
"I decided to keep it for myself," she said with a smile. She probably used it as a night shirt last night.
We were down to two boxes and one was mine. Joe opened the other box, it was from JD. It was a new wiffleball and bat.
"We're so playing later," he said to his guy friends. He looked at the last box as Mrs. Jonas handed it to him. He looked at me and said, "Where's your gift?"
"You're holding it," I said. Wasn't it obvious? My name was on the box plain and simple.
He looked at the tag and saw my name. "Oh," was all he said. Maybe he thought Igot him something else since the box was a little big for just a kazoo. He opened up the box and there was the book. "My kazoo!" He exclaimed.
"And a how to book. Smart move Jackie," Nick said as Joe sent him a glare.
"Looks like there's something else in the box," one of their younger cousins said.
Joe looked in the box and saw the tambourine. He looked so excited. "No way!" He looked up to his brothers and said, "Let's go play everyone a song," and they went off to play one of the songs they recorded for their album.
Mrs. Jonas came over and placed her arm round my shoulder and said, "You just made his birthday I think."
"Doubt it," I said back.
She looked at me like I was a little crazy. "I don't think he could be happier if we hired a guy in a Barney costume to entertain the kids."
Joe's happiness seemed to rub off on everyone else as they performed for everyone. That is, everyone except for one. Three guess who, but I didn't let it get to me. As long as she didn't do anything I was fine... not like I would have hit her or anything.
The night ended on a good note and I finally got Berna to say yes to coming camping with us.
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It was early morning and there was a knock on my door. "It's open," I said. Ireally didn't feel like getting up. The sun wasn't even up, so why should I?
"Sweetie, get up." It was mom. "We're leaving in an hour and you're only half packed."
"Well I only knew about this trip for a day," I said yawning and sitting up on my bed.
Mom left me in my room and I got to packing. Luckily Mr. Rada goes to work pretty early and Berna was able to help me pack when she was dropped off.
"Did you girls pack jackets?" Mom asked as we were loading our car. "Dad says it gets pretty cold up there."
I felt Berna nudge me as I tried to force the last duffle bag in a small space in the trunk. We were ditching dad's Camry and taking mom's Highlander because we could fit more things in it. It was such a soccer mom car, even though she wasn't a soccer mom... well not really. Berna nudged me again when I finally got the duffle to fit. I looked up to see Berna pointing towards the Jonas house. There was Kristine talking to Joe.
"Don't tell me she's coming," Berna said.
"I don't know. He didn't mention it." If she was coming... well let's just say Iwas considering going back in the house to look for a helmet or hardhat. Before I could make up my mind I saw Kristine get into a car and drive off. I guess she isn't coming.
Ten minutes later we were driving westward to the camping spot. I actually fell asleep since I was still so tired. When I woke up Berna was asleep while my parents were chatting softly in the front.
Mom looked back at me and said, "Oh you're awake." I just nodded my head. "Well we're just gonna stop over some place for some breakfast." I just nodded again.
We were in a little town. You know the kind where the buildings aren't more than two stories high and practically everyone knew each other.
We parked in front of a quaint little diner called Tory's Diner. The food was greasy, hardy, and perfect for any trucker that happens to drive by... even though I don't think trucks are allowed on these streets, at least not the 18-wheelers.
"Why don't you kids go looking around the town for a little bit," Pastor Jonas said to us as he pulled out a map from his back pocket. "Arthur and I want to plan a little first before heading out."
"Okay," Joe said as he grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the booth.
"Joe, slow down," I said as he kept pulling me out onto the sidewalk. "What about everyone else?"
"Don't worry about them." He stopped right outside the diner and pulled out apiece of paper.
"Directions," he said simply before pulling me again.
This was getting old really quick. "What's all this about Joe?"
"Just hurry up," he said. He kept pulling me for a block or two before he stopped right in front of a store. I looked at him like he was crazy. "Look,"he said pointing at the store we stopped in front of.
What was this all about? I turned to look and saw something that I never thought I'd ever see in real life. In front of us was a bookstore and on the window it read Leong's Books and Coffee.