— @LUCASTOWN AND I ARE CURRENTLY HOSTING A WRITING CONTEST! FOR MORE INFORMATION, CHECK THE CHAPTER IN THIS BOOK OR FLIPPED ENTITLED, "WRITING CONTEST!" —
the aroma of a heavy barbecue and various snacks wafted through the musky air in hawkins, indiana.
on a plaid-printed blanket sat four jubilant teenagers, their legs all tangled together as they discussed their upcoming year at high school.
"maybe i'll finally get a girlfriend." dustin groaned, shoving a chip in his mouth.
"the chances of you ever getting a girlfriend are zero to none." lucas remarked, causing dustin to shoot a glare at him.
"well at least i'm not an asshole, jesus!" dustin shoved him jokingly.
"you guys are so annoying. when is el going to get here?" max questioned, leaning her head on her boyfriend's shoulder.
"probably whenever mike gets here." will quietly answered, picking dirt out of his fingernails.
"i'm not surprised, they're probably late because they're hooking up or something." dustin commented, letting out a loud laugh.
"you're disgusting, they're probably just—holy shit, look at how pretty el looks!" max's original train of thought was cut off as she spotted her best friend a few feet away, laying down on a blanket with a certain lovestruck boy.
there el sat, giggling loudly as mike interacted with her. a light blue dress made out of a denim fabric hugged her figure, her shoulders barely exposed.
"she looks pretty." will smiled slightly, hugging his knees.
"hey, lovebirds!" dustin hollered across the large lake, el tapping on mike's shoulder and pointing over to their friends.
el waved with a shy smile on her face, grabbing mike's hand and forcefully pulling him up from the ground to go over by their friends.
"hi!" el exclaimed contently with a glowing smile gracing her features, mike wrapping a protective arm around el's waist.
"you two really can't keep your hands off of each other, can you?" lucas snickered, causing the couple to duck their heads sheepishly.
"s-shut up, you guys are literally holding hands right now, idiot." mike snapped back at lucas, causing the redhead and the chocolate-skinned boy to tug their hands back into their own laps.
"at least we have each other, will." dustin sighed hopelessly, holding his hand up for will to high-five. will looked up at his hand, shaking his head with confusion shown on his face.
"burgers will be ready in five minutes!" steve hollered from a few feet over, giving the group of kids a thumbs-up as he flipped over a slab of meat.
"thank god, i'm starving." dustin shoved more chips in his mouth, his words muffled.
"shouldn't you be at a party with your friends or something? you know, with like, kids your age?" max turned her head around to see steve with a frown on his face.
"who said you guys weren't my friends?" steve nervously chuckled, clearing his throat as he shoved the fourth of july cake he had made for them under the table.