Chapter 1

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Song: Annabelle's Homework by Alec Benjamin

R I L E Y

Sparkly Farkly: Did you know that the slowest marathon time ever is 54 years, eight months, six days, eight hours, 32 minutes, and 20.3 seconds? Yeah, in 1912, an Olympic marathoner from Japan supposedly disappeared during the middle of a race. Some say that he stopped to get a drink from an outdoor party, but ended up staying longer than he should have. Risque, if you ask me. Anyways, he was too embarrassed to finish the race, so he flew back to Japan instead. Years later, he decided to finish what he started by running the whole marathon himself. What I'm trying to say is WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU? Riley, you're seriously taking much longer to get to the boardwalk than this Japanese marathon guy. Hurry!!

I looked at the horrifically long paragraph Farkle had sent me and sighed. Being best friends with him also meant being best friends with your very own encyclopedia, which can be extremely useful at times. Although, it really isn't when your phone is constantly being bombarded with numerous texts about everything and nothing.

Gentle reminder that I live farther from the beach than you do. I'll be there soon! Don't miss me too much :)

I quickly text back. I gripped onto my camera strap, which is draped over my shoulder, as I start quickening my pace.

When we became closer over the years, Farkle and I both created a tradition of spending almost every Saturday down at the boardwalk. In regards to this, the main rule that we've agreed upon would be that if one of us couldn't make it, we would have to have an extremely valid excuse. Me being the more "laid back" friend, I've been pretty lenient on Farkle if he couldn't make it. Wish I could say the same about him, though.

Last night, I had to stay up till two in the morning helping my mother out at the flower shop. Arranging flowers isn't as easy as one may think. In result, I woke up later than usual, causing me to be about 30 minutes late. So far, I've received a fact text from him for every minute I ran late. It truly amazes me how he could just drop these facts off the top of his head.

I'm practically already running when I see Farkle by the entrance, arms crossed.

"I'm sorry!" I pant. I take a second to breathe before I continue speaking. "I.. I woke.. Wow, I'm not cut out to be.. an athlete, huh?" I joke.

He rolls his eyes as a grin forms on his face. "Where were you?"

"I was up all night helping my mom with the flowers. I woke up super late. I'm so sorry."

He nods in approval of my excuse. "That's okay. However, I don't think we could go to the diner now. Brooklyn and her minions are there. Seated in our spots too!"

The thought of Brooklyn made me sick to my stomach. Brooklyn was the Regina George of Harbor High School, and basically all of Santa Cruz. Like your typical teen cliche, she was the popular girl who also the prettiest. Brooklyn also had her own entourage, as she always had two minions following her. With her bitchy personality, you may say that it's surprising that she gets all the guys. With her body, though, it really isn't. It's probably how she had my crush of four years and counting, Charlie Gardner, falling for her.

"Well, I guess we would have to postpone our meal then," I say, linking my arms with his. We enter the boardwalk and head straight for the arcade. We're surrounded by all the games you could never ever get tired of. From Dance Dance Revolution to laser tag to racing games, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk Casino Arcade has you covered. Farkle and I have our common favorite, air hockey.

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