'I'm on my way over - I know it's early.'
'Penina, I'm not even dressed yet.'
'Oh, I'll walk really slowly then...'
I laughed and put my phone down on the table and pulled on some socks. And then I stared into space for a few mintues until my phone buzzed with another message off of Penina 'Hey Hozzie, I'm here!'
'I'm still not dressed.' I replied before going downstairs and opening my front door for Penina.
She smiled at me "Nice pyjamas."
"Shut up, you're way too early. We agreed to meet at half nine, twenty past at the earliest. It's fucking nine o clock."
"Hollie! Watch your language!" My Mom yelled from the dining room and we both giggled.
"Well you can wait in the dining room because I still need to get dressed as you can say." I grinned and ran upstairs while Penina went into the dining room with my Mom. I pulled on a black All Time Low tee-shirt, my black jeans and brushed my hair before going back downstairs "Mom, that honey from last night didn't do anything." I told her. Last night my step-dad had forced me to eat a spoonful of honey because I had a really dry throat that made my voice sound funny.
"You need a cup of lemsip." Mom replied, getting up and bustling into the kitchen "It made me feel heaps better."
"You drink like ten cups a day though!" I moaned, walking into the kitchen "Is that the gross stuff that Jodie ate and nearly puked up?"
"No, this tastes like lemons."
"Oh god no, I hate lemons!" I shrieked while Penina laughed at me.
Mom ignored me and put something into a cup then put boiling water in as well and stirred it up "Alright, drink it all down." She said, handing me the cup.
I took a tiny sip and pulled a disgusted face "God! No! This is gross!" Penina laughed harder "I can't drink it."
"Just hold your nose." Penina giggled "Then you won't taste it."
So I held my nose and put some more in my mouth then pulled the cup away "I dunno who made that up but it isn't true! That still tastes disgusting." I heaved "I can't drink it Mom, I'm gonna be sick."
"Alright then you need calpol." Mom took down the medicine and put it on the spoon "Open up then!"
"I can do it my-" Before I could finish my sentence Mom shoved the spoon in my mouth. I nearly choked! Once I'd finished that spoonful she forced another one in. Penina laughed when she saw look on my face. I got a drink of water really quickly to get rid of the foul taste. I'd hated the honey but it was way better than the lemsip and calpol. I sat down at the table "I can still taste it. Bleugh! BLEUGH! Wait! There's a car outside! It's Riley!"
We both ran to the door to open it. Riley was there holding a present in her hands and a card "Hey guys!" She smiled "Gerard doesn't know where you live so he wanted us to wait outside."
"But he came over here to watch The Hunger Games." Penina said, raising her eye-brows.
"And surely Mikey could just tell him?" I asked "He's here nearly everyday."
"I know. Gerard's an idiot." Riley laughed "Oh look, here's Frank."
Penina squealled like a five year old girl and ran over into his arms "They're such a strange coup- OH MY GOD IT'S MIKEY!" I yelled, shoving Riley out of the way and running to Mikey. I threw my arms around him and giggled.
"Missed me?" Mikey joked.
"Totez." I groaned "I have got to stop saying that."
"So that's all of us, right?" Penina asked "Let's get inside before Raven pulls up!"
Raven thought she was going to the town centre with Ray but instead she was coming to my house and picking all of us up so we could go play laser tag and then go back to her house to just hang around for the day. We'd been keeping it a secret for three weeks now. At lunch times we'd talk about it to each other but we had to do it in code. For example, instead of Riley, Lorna was going to come but she couldn't come so I went to ask if she definitely couldn't come. So when I got back to our friends I'd yelled "Lorna said she hasn't done her homework. She didn't have enough time." meaning "Lorna says she can't come, she doesn't have the time." But then Penina nearly killed it all by saying "Yeah she has, she told me she has." And I yelled at her for about five minutes saying "No Penina, she hasn't!"
Anyway, Raven thought we were all planning to go somewhere without her today and not tell her anything. Well she'd be surprised.
At that moment two cars pulled up outside. I yelled goodbye to my Mom and we all came out of my house. I remember to bring one of Raven's presents which was a chocolate speech bubble with white icing saying 'Happy 16th Raven'. Raven's Dad was saying something to Raven in the back. And then Raven got out of the car "What's going on?" She asked "You guys made me jump! I don't know what's going on!"
"That was kind of the idea." Penina said and we all laughed.
Raven giggled and hugged each of us "What's going on then? Where are we going?"
"You'll soon find out." I smiled and we split up into different cars. I got into Raven's Dad's car with Mikey, Penina and Frank while Riley and Gerard got into Ray's Dad's car with Ray and Raven.
We all knew that Raven really wanted to play laser tag. Just a few weeks before, when I knew about the surprise party, Raven had told me how they were going to go but her little brother was too short to get in so they couldn't. And she started moaning about how badly she wanted to go.
"So were you guys waiting long?" Raven's Dad asked.
"No. Well Penina has. Since she showed up at my house at nine in the morning."
"I'm sorry! I was just ready really early, I didn't mean to show up that quickly!" Penina laughed "Raven looked really surprised."
"What's Raven like at school?" Raven's Dad asked.
We all thought for a moment "Loud." I said.
"Really? That's weird. She's pretty quiet at home."
"Yeah. And she sings quite a lot."
"She tells me off for singing. Are any of you in the school play?"
"Yeah, I am." I laughed "I'm the one who forced Raven to go to one rehearsal."
"Oh yeah she told me about that." Raven's Dad laughed "Have you ever heard Raven since properly? Because she's amazing."
"I've only ever heard her joke singing." I admitted.
"I heard her singing properly in Maths once, really quietly for about four seconds." Penina said "And yeah, it was beautiful."
"Hozzie, you've been laser tagging before right?" Frank asked. I nodded "I haven't. Is it dark in there?"
"It's pretty dark but not like extremely dark. I mean, I'm scared of the dark but it's not like scary dark in there."
"Are the guns heavy?"
"Not really. I guess they're kind of heavy but not so heavy they're gonna make your arms numb or anything."
"And how do you shoot people?"
"Just aim your gun at them and pull the trigger." I laughed "We'll be wearing vests. Just aim for them."
"Are we like in teams or do we have to shoot each other?"
"We have to shoot each other."
"Penina, I won't shoot you." Frank smiled at her.
Penina nodded "I plan to kick your butt."
We pulled up outside the large bowling alley where I'd played laser tag about a year beforehand. Raven jumped out of the car and ran over to me "Hozzie, what are we doing here?" She cried "They won't tell me but you will, won't you? Tell me Hozzie!"
"You'll find out in literally two seconds if you'd quit whining." I laughed, putting my chocolate present for Raven in the boot of her Dad's car "You'll like it, I promise."
We went inside and Raven saw the large laser tagging logo "I asked if we were going to laser quest and you all said no!" Raven yelled "I shall never trust any of you ever again!"
"Oh come on, aren't you happy we surprised you?" Ray smiled, hugging Raven.
Raven leaned her head on his chest and grinned "It's too early to say. I guess I'm looking forward to laser tag."
"Ooh! There's a photo machine! Let's go in it!" Frank cried like a little kid and ran towards it.
It cost three pounds but Raven's Dad paid for us to have a go before going off to pay for Laser Tag. Mikey and Frank sat down inside. I sat on Mikey's lap and Penina sat on Frank then Raven sat on me and Ray sat on Penina "Jesus Ray, have you considered going on a diet?" Penina shrieked but she didn't really mean it.
"We're not all gonna fit." Gerard laughed "I'll just poke my head in."
"Me too." Riley giggled.
Penina pushed the button "You didn't look at the options!" I yelled but the camera was starting a count down so I looked at the screen. God, none of us looked very good in this light.
We did a different pose for all eight photos and then they came out in two strips "They're for you Raven since you love us." I giggled as Mikey wrapped his arms around me.
"Oh thank you!" Raven put them in her purse "I don't wanna bend them but what choice do I have?" She closed the purse and squeaked as the photos bent.
"They'll still be perfect. Just like you." Ray grinned, kissing her cheek.
About half-an-hour later we were still waiting and then we found out something awful. We weren't gonna be the only ones in there. There were some other people showing up to play against us. Complete strangers "Okay, I say we turn into a team and kick their asses!" Raven said, suddenly loving the fact that we'd surprised her.
"What if they're hot teenage boys?" Riley asked then looked around "Oh yeah, you guys all have boyfriends."
"Sorry." Penina replied, shrugging her shoulders.
At that moment a man who appeared to be in his early fourties and four little nine year old boys walked over and stood next to us "Have no mercy even though they're so small!" Gerard whispered.
"But I'll feel guilty!" I cried.
"We'll surround them!" Frank yelled "And destroy them!"
"We need a team name." Raven said "How about team mockingjay?"
"I like it!" Penina grinned. Team Mockingjay was a reference to the hunger games, since I was wearing my mockingjay pin.
"Guys, my sparkly jacket will show off in the arena but I don't wanna take it off." Riley pouted.
"You're dragging down the team!" Raven cried.
"Are we team mockingjay or team sparkles?" I shouted.
Once we'd watched the video on safety (the safety guy had told us the man in the video was from Coronation Street and Riley had spent the entire time going 'Who is he on Coronation Street? I think he's making shit up.) we were taken into a room to put on our vests and guns. Then we were taken into the room. It was exactly how I'd remembered it.
The safety man activated the the blue teams guns first and then took us red team off into a different section to activate our guns. Once we were all activated we all tried to get to the top so that we could have a decent look out. However when we got to the top we decided we were bored and ran back down. Then I noticed something. The blue team were wearing blue vests that glowed in the dark and there were three of them surrounding someone in a red vest "Guys, I think it's Penina!" I said.
Frank shrieked and charged down the stairs and started shooting them at random "Stay away from my girlfriend bitches!" He yelled.
"Frank, they're little boys!" I shouted.
I ran down the stairs but when I got there everyone had gone "No, guys, don't leave me here alone!" I shrieked, running off somewhere else even though the safety guy had specifically told us not to run. At that moment I bumped into the safety guy. He had a gun and he shot me. What was his deal? He wasn't even playing! I dashed up some stairs and was surrounded by three little blue boys and the adult "Oh my god guys, I could do with some help!" I cried as I shot at them but they were shooting at me even more. No one showed up so I darted back down the stairs and bumped right into Ray "Where the hell were you?"
"Looking for Raven. I can't find her."
I grinned "She's a big girl Ray, I'm sure she can handle herself."
The others showed up and everyone was there except for Gerard "What if he's surrounded?" Mikey asked "What if the blue team got him?"
"You are aware that we're talking about little boys right?"
After the game (I got surrounded by the stupid blue team twice more) we took off our vests and guns and went into the main office to see how well we did. I came 14/14. One of the little boys had shot me 59 times. Brilliant. None of the others did very well either. They'd beaten us all. We had been defeated by nine year old boys.
We told Raven's Dad how terribly we did and he told us we could walk home. We giggled and got into the car after he'd taken a couple of pictures and went home. On the way we talked about our favourite childhood programmes until Raven's Dad asked me "Where's you accent from Hollie? You sound American or Canadian."
"Umm it's English. I just have a sore throat."
When we got home, Raven was surprised to see that her house was filled with decorations and her Mom had cooked heaps of food for us "I hope you have a good time girls." She told us before leaving the house with Ray's Dad, Raven's Dad and Raven's little brother.
"I can't believe you guys kept this all a secret from me." Raven grinned before groaning when she looked properly at the decorations. There were childhood photo's of her hanging everywhere and her Mom had made a huge collage of them in the living room. There was also an awesome fake tree with lollipops sticking out of it. We sat around eating chicken, pizza, chocolate fingers, party rings and sasuage rolls for a while "What are we gonna do?" Riley asked.
"Let's play blind mans bluff!" Raven cried "I'll get a blind fold."
While Raven was gone we talked about the 'magic trick' we'd played on Raven a few months ago and Gerard said he wanted to see it. So when Raven got back downstairs we showed him. Raven filled a tub with water and held it to the ceiling while Penina, Frank and Riley filmed it. Gerard pushed the broom stick against the bottom of the tub and it cracked. Little trickles of water started splashing on Gerard's face so Raven quickly got down and chucked the tub into the sink "Okay, that didn't work." Raven laughed. All of us were in hysterics while Raven went off to get a different container.
She came back into the room with a large red bucket and filled it up a little then got on top of the chair again. This time Gerard managed to put the broom to the bottom of the bucket without breaking it. Raven jumped down and smiled at him "Ta-da!" I laughed.
"No, Raven, please take it down!" Gerard begged. We left him there for a minute before the bucket started moving forwards by itself. We all screamed and edged away from it except for Raven and Penina who leaped into action and grabbed it before it tipped over or hit the floor. A little water splashed over the edges but it could of been a lot worse.
"That was awesome!" Raven cried "We have great reflexes!" Her and Penina hi-fived and we watched all six of the videos back and laughed "Now for blind mans bluff! I think we should have a camera man for that!"
Raven agreed to go on first and we all ran off to different locations of the house. We play blind mans bluff an awful lot. I've played it more since turning fifteen and sixteen than I did when I was about eight or nine. It's just really fun!
Penina was doing camera man duties and she followed Raven into her parents bedroom. Riley was hiding on the floor and Gerard and Mikey were on the other side of the bed. Riley grabbed an armful of Raven's parents dirty clothes, then shoved her onto the double bed with the clothes landing on top of her. Gerard and Mikey ran out of the room and were followed by Riley "You shall pay!" Raven shrieked, getting up as well.
We all ran downstairs and into the living room. I hid behind the door and Ray stole 'bop it' and started playing it in the middle of the room. So Raven followed the noise from the bop it game and collapsed on top of Ray. They wrestled for a second, the blindfold still on Raven's eyes but then Ray caved in and agreed to be on. Riley said she'd be the camera man now and yet again we all ran off.
Ray walked up the stairs really really slowly and finally made it the top. I panicked because I'd been standing at the top of the stairs, laughing with the others but suddenly I was by myself. I squeaked and ran into Raven's little brother's bedroom. I hid behind the door and Ray came in, pushing the door back. Luckily it hit a box before hitting me. Ray walked into the room, waved his arms around a little, then said "No." and left again. He went back down the stairs and into the kitchen. So everyone ran downstairs into the living room. I hid in the corridor next to the door and followed Ray as he left the kitchen and went towards the living room. When Ray was fully in the room, I grabbed the door handle but then someone shoved Ray over. Penina ran out of the room and I tried to shut the door but Raven pulled it back open and we all ran upstairs again. But Gerard had been stuck and got caught.
We went back into the living room and sat around playing bop it for a while because we'd all ran out of energy and the house was starting to look messy because Ray had accidentally set down a banner and eight balloons. There had been pins on the floor and Riley had had to quickly pick them up before Ray accidentally stood on them. Bop it was fun but whenever one of us lost and was out, we'd scream loudly. Then we played Just Dance 3 which was fun. It took a while but I finally convinced Penina to play 'This is Halloween' with me. And then we tried to play 'keep it up' with three of the balloons but it was too hard playing it in the living room so we all went through the front door and round the side of the house to play in the back garden.
Raven could only open the back garden gate from inside her back garden so she had to climb over the fence but finally she got us inside. We hit the balloons with our hands for a while but then Riley came up with the idea of us each picking a body part and whacking it with that. Raven and Penina argued over who was going to hit the balloons with their boobs while all the boys wanted to hit it with their butts. I settled with shoulders. Everytime the balloon came near me I yelled "SHOULDER POWER!" And whacked it with my shoulder.
We lost one of the balloons over the fence and Raven was trying to use her hips to hit it so she'd thrust at the balloons "Raven, it doesn't work when you use your fanny." Ray told her.
"Fanny means butt in magina!" Raven yelled and then cringed while we all laughed "I meant to say America! Leave me alone!"
"Let's play the word association game." Riley suggested and we all sat cross-legged on the concrete ground.
"We could get piles doing this." Frank told us all but nobody really cared.
Riley started us off "Skittles."
"Potato farm." I said.
"How the hell did you get potato farm?" Mikey cried "Okay, Ireland." We circled for a while going from Ireland to hairstyles to parts of the body. But then Riley announced that she had to go home to finish her paper round so we had to go back inside.
"But it's too hot inside!" Penina cried.
"It's 'cos you're in there Penina." Frank told her with a wink and Penina giggled.
Once Riley was gone Penina and Raven decided they wanted to have a butt shuffle race down the corridor. They sat on one end of the corridor and used their feet to get to the end. Ray counted them down and then they started. Raven was way better at it than Penina was and easily beat her. Then I said that I'd challenge her. However I was stuck on the floor for the entire race because I couldn't go anywhere in my socks. I was just stuck on my back, kicking my legs in the air and yelling "This isn't fair! I demand a re-match without socks!"
"Okay, you're on." Raven grinned and let me take my socks off and we started again. This time I managed to move but Raven was still faster so I tried grabbing her leg and pulling her back yelling "I wanna win! I wanna win for once!" But it didn't work and Raven won anyway.
Oh well. It was nearly Raven's birthday anyway.