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My parents were merciful enough to grant me temporary parole for the Independence Day celebration at the lake in town. A day packed with games, live music, inflatable play areas, junk food concessions, and water fun at the lake. The majority of the town would be there. Savannah and Sydney lived in one of the nearby lake homes and could always be relied upon to allow friends to park on their property avoiding the heavy traffic at the park. It also made a great headquarters for free snacks, a place to rest, and clean bathrooms, outweighing any inconvenience that the five block walk around the lake to and from the park appeared to be.

My dad was quick to remind me that I was to return to my imprisonment first thing upon my early curfew. This meant I would not only have to drive separately from Cari, but also leave immediately after the fireworks display, missing the after party shenanigans many of my friends would partake in back at Savannah and Sydney's.

After trying on three different outfits for the party, I finally optioned for comfort instead of style—my black full piece swimsuit to wear under my clothes, in the event I actually decided to get into the lake. I cringed at the idea of anyone seeing me in a bathing suit, though.

"Jules, if you went any slower to get ready, we'd be going backwards." Cari muttered impatiently as she sat at the window seat in my bedroom, hanging her head out of the opened window while smoking a cigarette. I was pretty anal about smoking; it was unhealthy and it smelled horrible. "I want to get a great spot for the show at noon...I can't wait for you to see this guy! He's an amazing musician."

She finished her cigarette and ducked back into my room, grabbing the air freshener, and spraying erratically as she studied my latest look. In spite of her efforts, I could still smell the stench. Before I could complain, her face twisted in disapproval. "You look like a hobo. If you're trying to get everyone to believe that you're drowning in misery over the break up, you're off to a bang-up start." Cari was never subtle in her thoughts. "And you're going to have a heat stroke in that hoodie."

My goal for the evening, other than avoiding any discussions about my crucified love life, was to stay out of the water and to keep my bathing suit-clad body covered. The ridicule of my flat physique was tough enough when I was fully clothed. Standing next to Cari's well-endowed body only added insult to the injury. She donned a pair of short denim cut-offs and a black tank top, unsuccessfully trying to conceal her god given gifts that were at an overflowing point in her purple bikini top that peeked from behind the thin, black fabric. Her shoulder donned a tattoo similar to the Jolly Roger but in place of the cross bones were drumsticks.

By the time Cari and I parked our cars at Savannah's and made our way to the park, the celebration was in full swing. With nervous butterflies in my stomach, we walked through and entrance that held endless possibilities for a girl who had spent her summer cooped up at home and in school. I was excited to see familiar faces, reacquaint myself with school friends...maybe even see Broderick?

As I looked out to the crowd of people, a friendly pair of blue eyes swept into my line of focus. Blue eyes that belonged to Joey Burnett. "Hey, Jules! Is Nat here too?"

Joey became like a brother to me ever since we were lab partners in Chemistry last fall. When I was struggling, he came to my rescue. During that time he had also became a best friend to my younger sister, Natalie. His unspoken affection for her was clear to everyone but her. She had a knack for being one of the guys, but her natural beauty eventually compromised her friendships with the opposite sex. Joey knew that if he ever made his feelings known, she would bring their friendship to an abrupt halt. So he hid his affection, hoping someday she would return those feelings.

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