The Christmas Adventure

January 5, 2012
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On Christmas morning, I woke up to the enticing aroma of the vanilla-hazelnut coffee that my mom was preparing. As I walked down the long, brown, carpeted staircase leading to my living room, I could see the present that I had always wanted: a beautiful purple and gold marble composition book. I had always wanted to be a journalist, so a journal would be a necessity. It was waiting for me under my Christmas tree, wrapped in a thin layer of a festive red and green wrapping paper. As I excitedly ran over to unwrap it, I noticed my neighbor through the window asking me to go outside with her.
Peggy Larson was 14 years old, just like me, and had been my neighbor for about as long as I can remember. She was wearing her favorite pink and purple coat that was so weathered that you might have thought she had just wrestled with a polar bear, but she didn't bother with her appearance. On the other hand, I am a meticulous and particularly attractive-looking young girl with long blonde hair. Many people have told me that my eyes are as deep blue as the ocean.
On this Christmas morning, I did not feel like playing with Peggy, but after some lengthy begging by my parents, I finally obliged. When I finished bundling up in my bulky winter gear, I waddled out the door and met up with Peggy. After a short snowball fight, Peggy asked if I wanted to see her mother's journal that she had found earlier that morning. I agreed and, after trudging through the knee-deep snow, entered the home of the lovable Larson family. Since her father was an author, I could barely hear Peggy's chattering over the ever-present sound of clacking typewriter keys. Her mom ran up to us and handed each of us a steaming cup of hot cocoa. After thanking Mrs. Larson for the cocoa, Peggy brought me up to her room to get the journal. The first thing that I noticed when I got up to her room was her well-loved, one-eyed teddy bear which she named Buttons. I chuckled at the name, because the bear ironically had no buttons on it at all. Buttons was stationed on top of a faded patchwork quilt that her grandmother had given her when she was 7 years old. To the direct right of Buttons, I noticed that there was a brown leather-bound journal that began with the line, "I'm so excited!" I asked Peggy if we could look at the journal to see what her mom did as a teenager. She said "yes" and we took the journal into her walk-in closet and turned on the flashlight. When we opened her mom’s journal we read a story:
On January 6th I went with my friend Cathy to the mall without our parents knowing. We were so excited to be going to the mall alone. We felt so free that we started running around. When we got to our favorite store, Lepstyle, we saw a really scary guy who looked like he might have been about 20 years old. He was wearing a large, dirty brown leather jacket and looked like he had hard objects in his jacket. My friend and I started running around him and acting immature. The man then asked us to help him move a TV to his car. Immediately my friend said no and told me we had to run. The man followed us all the way to the parking lot and we had to call our parents to come get us. When they got to the mall the police were right with them and arrested the man. My parents told me if they weren't able to come, the man could have killed us. I will never let my children out of my sight.
I had always been interested in sneaking out of the house with my friends, but now that I read that story, I was starting to realize that I need my parents to keep me safe until I grow up a bit more. When I talked to Peggy about never ditching our parents, she agreed and said, "I would be afraid if I snuck out to go to the mall without my parents knowing. I need them to trust me." I agreed.
After spending the morning with Peggy, I decided that I needed to spend the rest of the day with my family. When I got back to my house, I noticed that my friend Lauren had called; she left me a voicemail asking me to sleep over at her house. Lauren is a tall, 14 year old girl with light brown hair with blonde streaks in it. She is smart and funny, but does not always pay attention to details, like schoolwork. Lauren and I have been best friends since we met in third grade when she moved in from Iowa. I felt happy that my best friend wanted me to come over, because we both now go to different schools. Since we are both really busy and we only get to hang out with each other on vacation weeks or holidays. I ran downstairs giddily to ask my parents if I could sleep over at Lauren’s house. They did not want me to go out on Christmas and asked me to see if Lauren could have me over later in the week, but when I asked Lauren, she said that the only time I could come over was Christmas Day since they were leaving for a vacation to Aruba in the morning and would be gone the rest of the week. My parents finally agreed to let me sleep at Lauren’s house and told me that, if I could pack my bag before 3 pm, I could invite Lauren over for dinner first. I did as they asked, and Lauren came over, dressed in her favorite Boston College sweatshirt, which had gotten faded over the years, and an old pair of jeans that looked like they had been torn apart after being worn for so long. She was acting like her normal, energetic self, but I could tell she had something else on her mind.
After dinner, Lauren’s Mom came by to pick us up in her gold and blue mini van. When I hopped into Lauren's moms van, I started to feel curious, but also nervous. I was not sure why, but I could tell that Lauren was acting suspiciously and I was not sure what she was up to. When we arrived at Lauren’s house, we ran up to her bedroom and, as I jumped on her bed, Lauren shut the door. She whispered secretly that she wanted us to go to a party down the block. It was a neighborhood party, but Lauren knew that there would be some people there that were wild. I was disappointed with this news, because I was hoping that we could just hang out together alone and catch up on the news we missed in each other’s lives. I also told her about Peggy’s Mom’s journal and said that the party could be dangerous, but she replied, “It’ll be fine! It’s not like we are going to New York City by ourselves. Don’t worry so much. Nothing bad is going to happen.” Lauren also said in a disappointed way that it would be boring hanging out at home and that she really wanted to go to this party, because there might be some cute guys coming and she didn’t want to miss out on the fun.
After thinking and thinking about going to the party, I decided to sneak out with Lauren to the party when she said that the boy I had a crush on since second grade might be there. When we arrived at the party, all we could see was people dancing to very loud Lady Gaga music in front of the biggest house on the planet! There were two students who had dressed in tuxedos, which was strange, but they looked good. There were lots of people there, even some handsome seniors from Lauren’s high school. I decided that this party might be OK after all.
At the party we saw a lot of new people including Lauren’s ex-boyfriend. When she saw him, he ran away very quickly, before she could talk to him. There were many cute guys there that Lauren wanted to be with. As we explored the party more, we noticed that it was mostly juniors, and seniors from other schools. We felt special being invited to this party, but I was also a little nervous. We decided to dance for a couple of hours, but then got tired of dancing and went to go meet some boys.
At about ten o’clock, we met this really cute sophomore guy. He had short black hair, and a beautiful face. When we are talking to him, he asked Lauren if she wanted to come into the house with him. After giving Lauren the “please don’t go” look, she decided to go anyway. While she was walking in the house, I yelled that we had to leave in twenty minutes. She just waved and went off with her new crush.
After awkwardly walking around for a couple of hours, I decided that I need to find Lauren. We were supposed to leave two hours ago I kept telling myself. As I searched the house, Lauren was nowhere to be found. All that was in the eerily dark house was other couples, but not the couple I was looking for. I started to panic, because I knew that Lauren was sort of clueless and was easily pressured and tricked into doing crazy things.
As I walked back outside, I saw a car pull up with Lauren and her new boyfriend in it. Lauren seemed to be crying, but I couldn’t tell from where I was standing. As she walked towards me, I saw that she was weeping, and looked hurt. When she got over to me, she jumped to hug me and said that she was so sorry for ditching me, and that she wished that she never did it. She told me that the boy tried to get her to go farther than she wanted to and when she said no, he slapped her and broke up with her. I could see how sad she was, so I comforted her.
Lauren begged me not to tell her mom what had happened. We briskly walked back to Lauren's house, and quietly snuck into the house. Lauren was extremely happy that she was back in the safety of her house with her best friend. As we were falling asleep, Lauren whispered in my ear, "You were right about the party. I never should have left you to be with that guy. I guess I’m too trusting. I thought he was nicer than he was. I'll never leave you like that again." Giggling, I said that it was OK and we agreed to stay as best friends forever. I’m glad that Lauren made me go to the party, because now I have something to write in my very own journal.

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