Chapter 15

July 5, 1997

Early the next morning the phone rang.

"OK," Mrs. Garrett said. "Thanks for calling, I'll see you later."

Mrs. Garrett hung up the phone as Blair walked down the stairs. Blair noticed a sad look on Mrs. Garrett's face.

"What's wrong?" Blair asked. "Who was that on the phone?"

"Honey, come here and sit down," Mrs. Garrett said.

Blair walked over to the couch and sat next to Mrs. Garrett.

"What's going on?" Blair asked.

"That was Jo, on the phone," Mrs. Garrett said. "There's been an accident."

"Annie, I better not get any calls about you starting fights at camp again this year," Natalie said.

Natalie and Annie were in their apartment. Annie was in the living room watching television and only half paying attention to her mother.

"Annie," Natalie said picking up the remote and muting the television. "Are you listening to me?"

"Yeah," Annie said. "I'm trying to watch this.

Natalie turned to the television to see what Annie was watching. On the screen, a blonde teenage girl had just sat in a tray of paint.

"Did you hear what I said?" Natalie asked.

"Yeah, I'll try my best not to get into any fights," Annie said watching the blonde girl paint a brunette girl's face with a paint roller. "Can I watch this now?"

"Are you all packed?" Natalie asked.

"Yes," Annie said watching the two girls on screen paint another girl, while another girl wearing green overall shorts tried to leave the room. "Mom, please turn the sound back on."

Natalie put the volume back up on the TV as the four girls on screen threw paint at each other.

"What are you watching anyway?" Natalie asked.

Annie shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know, it was just on," Annie said, "I thought it looked interesting."

Soon the show was over and Annie turned the television off.

"Mom, promise me you won't send me any letters at camp," Annie said. "I don't want to have to kiss the moose."

"Only if you promise to send me some," Natalie said.

"Deal," Annie said. "Are you and Dad going to be here when I get back from camp?"

"I think so," Natalie said. "Dad has to drive his truck to California and I'm going on my book tour, but I should be back the same day you get back from camp."

"I don't want to go to camp," Tisha whined. "I want to go with you."

Tootie was helping Tisha back her bag for camp. Tisha wasn't really helping though and Tootie was doing most of the work.

"You had fun at camp last year and you'll have fun this year," Tootie said. "Besides you can't go with me, you'll be bored."

"Why are you leaving anyway?" Tisha asked.

"I told you I'm filming a pilot for a new television show," Tootie said. "I'll be back before you get back from camp."

"Can't I stay home with Daddy then?" Tisha asked.

"No, Daddy has to work," Tootie said. "Jamie, Kelsey, and Annie are going; if you stay home you won't have anyone to play with."

"Will you write to me every day?" Tisha asked hopefully.

"Of course," Tootie said picking up a brown teddy bear. "Do you want to bring Butterscotch?"

"I'm all packed," Jamie announced.

"Are you sure?" Rick asked. "Mommy's going to check before you go. Did you pack clothes?"

"Um," Jamie said. "Maybe I'll double check."

"Yeah, I thought so," Rick said.

"Where is Mommy, anyway?" Jamie asked.

"She had to go to work at the police station," Rick said.

"Oh," Jamie said. "Is she going to be back soon?"

Just then Jo walked in the door.

"You look beat," Rick said. "Tough day?"

"You could say that," Jo said. "Are you all packed, Jamie?"

"Dad doesn't think so," Jamie said.

"Go finish then," Jo said. "I'll be there in a minute."

Jamie went to her room to finish packing. Jo turned to Rick.

"Did something happen today at work?" Rick asked. "Your acting like someone died."

"There was an accident on the freeway this morning; a semi-truck ran a car into the median." Jo said. "The driver of the car didn't make it."

"Was it someone we know?" Rick asked.

"Yeah, Jordan," Jo said sadly. "I talked to Casey at the center; he told me Jordan was going home to her parents. She was going to go back to school and stop throwing her life away."

Ever since Jo and Rick had moved back to Peekskill, they had both been volunteering at the community center in their spare time. The Warner Foundation still owned the place, but it wasn't Blair signing the checks anymore. Blair's father had taken over that duty when he thought she and Tad had died in the plane crash.

"Did you tell Blair?" Rick asked.

"Mrs. G told her this morning," Jo said. "She wants to go to the funeral; I think we should go too. We'll have to postpone our vacation for a few days though."

"That's fine," Rick said.

"Mommy, I think I'm done," Jamie said as she entered the living room with her duffel bag.

"Alright let's see," Jo said opening the bag. "Jamie, you can't bring the Gameboy."

"But Mommy," Jamie said.

"I don't see very many clothes in here," Jo said pulling out a motorcycle magazine. "You won't need a screwdriver at camp either."

"Can I least bring the magazine?" Jamie asked.

"Yeah, you can bring the magazine," Jo said. "I'm going to help you finish packing later. We better get over to Mrs. G's for dinner; it's our turn to set the table."

The next day, every one met at the bus to camp to send the kids off. Jamie, Tisha, and Annie had one bag besides their sleeping bags and a pillow. Kelsey on the other hand had three pieces of luggage and a pillow.

"Typical Blair," Jo muttered.

"What?" Blair asked. "Oh and I suppose Jamie brought tools and a case of Pennzoil."

"I suppose you packed Kelsey a make-up case and a backup hair dryer," Jo said. "And where's her sleeping bag?"

"Kelsey doesn't need a sleeping bag, I packed her sheets." Blair said. "And a blanket."

"I suppose they're satin ones too," Jo said.

"Maybe," Blair said.

"Princess," Jo teased.

"Neanderthal," Blair teased back.

Soon all the bags were loaded on the bus and all the kids piled in and hung out the windows to wave to their parents.

"I want you to behave," Natalie said.

"I'll miss you," Tootie said.

"I'll send you letters every day," Jo said.

"I love you and I'll see you when you get back," Blair said.

"Have fun!" They all said.

"I plan to," Annie said to herself. "I am going to have so much fun this summer."

The End

What mischief will Annie make at camp? Find out in "The Gold Locket," the sequel to "The Pink Rose." Coming Soon!