When Jade Shelton and Summer Block Arrived...

January 7, 2008
When Jade Shelton and Sumner Block arrived at Sumner’s penthouse apartment near Fifth Avenue, she stared up at the marble sign she always stared at. Sumner’s parents were never home. Never ever. Neither were Jade’s, but you’d think at least one would be home. Not in this part of New York.
Sumner dropped his backpack in the coat closet in the corner marked ‘S. Block’. Jade dropped hers in the corner with a plaque marked ‘J. Shelton’. Assigned places are only given to people who come over at least four times a week. And that was Jade.
“Sumner, darling!” A voice called. It was Ms. Glindie, Sumner’s mother. He never called her ‘Mom’, or ‘Mother’, it was always Glindie. And that wasn’t even her name. Her name was Georgia. Even she knew about Jade’s skipping school and all. Jade was closer to Ms. Glindie then to her own mother.

“Hi, Ms. Glindie.” Jade gave her a note from her mother. Even though Sumner had said she wasn’t going to be home, Jade knew in the back of her mind she was.

“Yes, Jade. I know. I heard yesterday. I am so sorry. Will there be other opportunities?”

Jade wasn’t sure how to approach Sumner in this situation. There was never a situation like this one before. It had always been ‘Jade and Sumner’. Not ‘Jade’. Or ‘Sumner’. Jade and Sumner.

“Sumner, please excuse me. I have to..tidy up the guest bedroom,” Ms. Glindie stuttered. She strutted away, before he approached Jade.

Jade was still standing in the exact position she had been standing five minutes ago. Five feet away from the leather sectional.

“Jade…” Sumner began.

“Please. I’ve been meaning to tell you, but it’s been so hard these last couple days to be around you. With your infectious laugh, and your smile.” Sumner blushed. “But I have to tell you. I skipped school every day this week.”

“Well, I knew that.” Sumner laughed again.

“That’s not the point, Sumner. The point is, I’m leaving Diana Walton. For good.”

Sumner sat on his chair. The big white leather one. He spun his chair away from Jade, speechless, and tears welled in his eyes.

“Sumner?” Jade walked toward his big white chair. “Sumner, please. I can’t do anything about it. Headmistress called my mother on her cell while she was in England. She faxed me a note for your mother. I’m leaving, Sumner.”

“But it’s your junior year.”

“Good thing? Want to hear one?”


“I’m staying with you for three weeks until my parents come back. And my mother called Headmistress today and faxed me another note, the one I gave your mother today, and is giving you three weeks vacation starting tomorrow in exchange for two weeks of summer vacation. You’ll be spending three weeks with me until I leave! Isn’t that great?”

Sumner stared at Jade. He started laughing. He laughed hard. He didn’t just laugh, he snorted, and giggled a nasally giggle, and laughed. Jade stared. Sumner stood up from his chair and attempted to stop laughing. “You, leaving, Diana Walton! You, staying, with me! I, vacation! Ha!” He kept laughing.

“Face it. Everything I said is, however, true.”

Sumner stopped laughing.

“I have no record at Diana Walton anymore. I won’t be coming back.”

“What about the three weeks?”

“After three weeks, I’m moving to Westchester.”

“Westchester? Are you serious?”

“I’ll see you three times a month.”

“Why do you have to leave New York City completely? How come you can’t just go to Mark St. Clair?”

“Mark St. Clair is not going to allow me in. My parents bought me a live-in tutor. I won’t need school.”

“Your dream.”

“My dream.”

Sumner, out of complete impulse, hugged Jade. Tightly. It wasn’t Sumner’s nature, however. He kissed her cheek, like he normally did when he was either happy or needed consoling. It wasn’t a ‘big deal’.

“Sumner! Are you happy?”

“Happy? Like usual, I’m happy. For you.” Jade knew Sumner. He wasn’t happy. He needed Jade, or else he would be a spot on the carpet. Like most people that weren’t her at Diana Walton.

Jade walked toward the coffee table. She saw light blue ribbon in the gold cigar box with the clear spotted lid. She lifted the lid and pulled out a Tiffany box.

“Don’t touch that.”


“It’s mine.”

“Then why does it have my name on the ‘to and from’?”

Sumner got frustrated. He knew how sly Jade was when it came to certain things, but that was a special gift to her. It wasn’t meant for now. Not tomorrow. He was considering taking it back, since he was furious at her. And he should be. She didn’t even ask him how he felt. Jade was an ‘on-her-own-terms’ kind of person. Jade this, not Sumner this.

“Sumner, what’s wrong? I’m so sorry you are upset. I didn’t mean to upset you. It wasn’t meant to happen, Sumner. I wanted to ask you, really I did, but my parents are so hung up on this that it wasn’t even worth it to ask you. And anyway, you should be happy! You get a three-week vacation! No homework! With me, your best friend! Come on, Sumner, where is the positive you I always see?” Jade jumped on the leather loveseat like she usually did when she was happy.

“Get off that, Jade.”

Jade stepped off, quietly. She walked into the bathroom and splashed her face. And then Sumner walked in. He sat in the bathtub and pretended to take a bath, like a five year old kid. Jade liked that about him. He was always so positive, and so happy, even after snapping at someone. He could cheer the Devil up.

“Jade, we have to talk. Like people, not like friends. Or anything else. We need to talk,” Sumner said, pretty seriously.

“I understand. Shoot.”

“I have boundaries. When you are staying here, after 11:00, you do not under any circumstances, come into my bathroom, or my room. All that stuff is mine.”

“Got it. Same for me.”

Sumner couldn’t help laughing. He couldn’t stop once he started.

“Sumner! This is serious!”

Sumner didn’t have a serious bone in his body. He would never pass business studies at Diana Walton. Now, we know why. Like they did when they were in ninth grade, Sumner tackled Jade and started tickling her. When she was ever mad, Sumner fixed it.

“Sumner! Jade! Dinner!” Ms. Glindie yelled from the kitchen.

“Ooh, filet mignon!” Jade squealed.

“Your mother left me a sum for you. Good heavens.” Ms. Glindie was hectically running around the kitchen, grabbing plates and throwing dishes at Sumner and Jade. She had a tendency to do this.

“Wonderful, Ms. Glindie.” Ms. Glindie was staring at Jade waiting for her approval.

“Thank you, dearie. Sumner, darling, how is it?” A slight pause. “Sumner?”

Sumner’s face fell into the plate. Ms. Glindie jumped from her chair.

“Sumner Block! Sumner! Sumner, darling! Get up! Stop playing! Sumner!”

“Ms. Glindie, he ain’t playing.”

“Shut up, Jade! Pick his head up, get going! Move his plate, get a pillow! Get me a glass of water!”



Jade ran to the dispenser.

“It’s broken.”

“I don’t care! Use the darn faucet!”

Jade did. “Here!”

Ms. Glindie dumped the water on her face. Jade looked at her ruined makeup. “Get another glass! More water! When will I wake up from this awful dream?”

“Here, Ms. Glindie.”

This time, she dumped the water on Sumner’s face. His eyes blinked, but quickly shut. Ms. Glindie walked to Sumner’s white leather chair and sunk in it. “My Sumner. Mine. Not his father’s, mine. And now he’s gone.”

“Don’t be so negative. He may have just fallen into a coma. A quick coma.”

“Comas aren’t quite better, Jade. You don’t know what it’s like to have a son outlive you. It’s awful.”

Jade took the white pillow and cried into it. She stayed like that for fifteen minutes.

“Ms. Glindie, I’m so sorry. I loved Sumner. You don’t know. We were separated at birth. Are you sure you didn’t have twins?”

“Jade, I’m asking you to do something bigger than your friendship. It’s okay if you don’t…”

“It’s okay. Anything.”

“Kiss my son. Like the fairy tales. Just, please, Jade, please. It may work.” Jade looked almost plastic after Ms. Glindie’s question.

“Ms. Glindie, I…”

“For Sumner. For me. For you. He would have done it for you.”

Jade slowly trotted toward Sumner. His face was covered in the au jus. This would be disgusting, Jade knew. For Ms. Glindie, she kept thinking. He’ll never remember it. She lifted Sumner’s head, and kissed him. Not long, however. Sumner’s eyes opened. He then toppled off the chair.

He laughed.

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