Chapter 2Rain drizzled down in bright gray clouds. Maxi was nervous and anxious. She was praying that Monique wouldn't plan anything to make Maxi trip and lose. Maxi knew that she had to win fair and square but she wasn't so sure that Monique will let her win so easily. She watched the rain fall as she rode in the car and hoped she wouldn't slip on the rain slicked track.
"Okay, people. You know the rules, but I'm just going to re-clarify. This is a one-on-one meet. It must be won fair and square. That means no cheating, no hold-ups and no tripping." He counted on his fingers as he went along. "The prize is not a trophy, but money." He lowered his microphone and bent down to Maxi. "How much money was it again, sweetie?" Maxi thought for a moment then whispered into the announcer's ear.
"It's been an 85 race streak, $15 dollars each time, that's 105 dollars." The announcer's mouth hung open for a good full couple minutes before he turned to the audience.
"The winnings will be a full 105 dollars. The winner is going to take the money and the loser has to give up the money. All clear?"
"Yes!" The two girls said, all too hastily. The announcer raised the racing pistol.
"On your marks, get set, GO!" The blank was shot and Maxi and Monique sprinted and they were soon neck-and-neck. Not too soon after, Maxi began to fall behind. She began to pass Monique, yet she took no intention of slowing down.
"You-remember why-we're doing-this, right?" Unable to talk with the strain of running, she nodded, and slowed. The wet wind whipped past and pushed Maxi along. The finish flag loomed ahead and Maxi felt her stomach tighten. She was finally going to win a race! She broke the tape that stretched across the track and heard cheers all around the track. She spun a round of victory cartwheels and heard another round of applause. She heard a soft sob and remembered about Monique. She was walking away – no – sprinting away from the track as fast as she could. Maxi caught up with her and noticed that she was crying. Monique tripped and landed on her knees.
"I spent it!" She cried. "All of it. Right down to the last penny!"
"Whoa, Monique. Come here. Tell me everything." Maxi kneeled next to Monique, trying to be as comforting as she could.
"I was looking forward to buying a beautiful dress for the dance this Friday, and I wanted to look gorgeous for Olex, my date to the dance, so I was keeping my eye on this beautiful dress. It's a blue- aquamarine color to match the theme of the dance, the Ocean Wave Fantasy dance. When I heard I had to give up the money, I thought I had to give… up… the… I didn't want… to…I…
I…" she burst into a fresh wave of tears. Maxi took her into a hug, and started running her hands through her wet hair.
"Ssh… It's okay. You don't have to give up the dress. You can give me a fifteen until you earn the rest…" Monique pushed away.
"No! I don't deserve the dress. I can get the money back." She stood.
"Monique. I don't want the dress. I don't care if you keep the dress. As long as you keep the dress, I'll be happy. I don't like to see people cry, 'cause if you cry, I'll cry."
"Even the worst person you've ever known?" she pushed a sopping strand of hair back, and pulled Maxi to her feet. Her words hit Maxi like a train. A heart-felt apology? From Monique?
"I forgive you."
"But I didn't even…"
"You did. The words you said, said it all." Monique smiled and hugged Maxi. Then they both went to Monique's.