It was a rainy mid-spring afternoon when the kids were all in the Wheeler basement, the boys playing a campaign and El and Max half paying attention. Max looked out the basement window covered in little water driplets, and nudged El whispering, “Look out there El, wouldn’t it be fun if we all went out there for a little bit and played in the rain?” El glanced at Max, confused but also a little intrigued. “I guess,” El shrugged and looked out the window at the gloominess of the outside world. “I have an idea,” Max stood up from her crisscrossed position on the floor and announced out loud, “Sorry to interrupt you boys, but El and I were thinking it might be fun to go outside and play in the rain.”
“Is she crazy?” Lucas looked around at the boys and then out the window at the drizzling rain outside, but he actually loved the idea. Mike shrugged at Lucas, “I think that’d be super fun, guys, don’t you think? It’s been forever since it rained, and we’re just sitting inside, and this campaign can wait.” Dustin looked at Max with doe eyes, “Yeah, that’d be cool!” Mike looked at El and smiled at her, scrunching his brows a little, his way of asking if she wanted to go. She nodded her head and smiled back, and it was like they had had a conversation of their own. Will stood up and said excitedly, “Let’s get our coats on and go out there!” The rest of the boys began standing up, Dustin stretching a bit since they’d been sitting for about 3 hours. Mike walked over to El with a little skip in his step, “It’s gonna be so pretty out there, El. And the rain is one of my favorite smells. Do you have your coat?” She nodded as the herd climbed the stairs to all get their coats, which were hung up in the coat closet. Karen was baking some lemon pie, from what it smelled like in the kitchen, as the six kids came stampeding into the foyer. “What are you kids up to? It’s pouring out there,” Karen said with a bit of worry in her voice. “We know, mom. We’re all gonna out there for a while, if that’s okay?” Karen squinted her eyes at Mike and with some hesitation said, “Okay, kiddos, but don’t track in too much mud when you decide to come back inside,” she was smiling now, glad the kids were having fun. “Okay, mom!” Mike looked around at the kids waiting to go out. “Everyone have their coats?” They all nodded impatiently and collectively exclaimed, “Let’s go!”
When Lucas opened the front door, El could smell the moist dirt and trees that surrounded the Wheeler house. “Don’t you love it, El?” Mike closed his eyes and sniffed the air comically, and El nodded and giggled. Mike loved making El laugh more than anything in the whole world. As Lucas, Dustin, Will and Max playfully jumped and splashed in puddles, El and Mike went off on their own underneath a big evergreen tree to the side of the Wheeler house. The branches were high enough off the ground that they could both stand under it semi-comfortably, Mike’s dark mop of hair gently brushing on some damp branches ever so slightly while El was an inch or two below the branches. They looked up into the dewy tree, covered with tiny driplets of water, facing each other and holding hands. One driplet lightly fell onto El’s soft cheek. She wanted to shake the water off her face, but Mike insisted on brushing it off with his thumb instead. El smiled up at Mike and looked deep into his beautiful dark brown eyes and pulled him into a hug. His touch was warm and loving, and his forest green rain coat smelled of laundry soap and old campfire smoke. She took a deep, determined breath. El let go a little and used her powers to raise herself into the air enough to kiss him softly on the lips. El’s head raised a bit more and lightly hit the branches and drips of water came falling on them both. Mike’s freckled cheeks became pink and El giggled as she lowered herself to the ground. They started to hear Lucas, Dustin, Will and Max splashing again as they came back to the real world. Max looked over at the couple and yelled playfully, “Hey lovebirds, get over here so we can all have a puddle splashing contest!” Mike and El simultaneously yelled back, “Okay!” And they looked at each other and started to walk over, hands still intertwined.
They were at it again, this time in Karen and Darren’s bed. They thought that Karen would never find out, but she sure did.
A few clothes that were slightly too rumpled in the back of the closet. Karen knew what to look for to find evidence of an affair, she was so used to it after all.
It was a long fight that ensued.
Karen kicked Daisy out, screaming her head off. She threw vases, ripped paintings, and even threw out some of Darren’s most expensive suits.
Clarissa and Lauren huddled together in Lauren’s room, there hadn’t been a fight like this in years, probably not since they were 10. Clarissa was crying her eyes out, she was terrified that Karen would hurt someone. Even though Lauren didn’t like her sister, she cared about her enough to know that she needed support, so she held her tightly, rocking her back and forth to try and calm her.
Lauren was used to screaming like this, but Clarissa tended to be out of the house when the worst fights happened, it was Karen’s cruel way of creating a bigger rift between the two, because it made Clarissa distrust Lauren’s point of view.