Susannah opened her eyes and rubbed away the sleep. It was a beautiful July day and the birds were already awake and singing. She kicked off her pink princess sheets and jumped out of bed. She raced to her window and pulled back the white lacy drapes. She smiled broadly when she saw it and squealed with delight.
She threw on a pair of pink shorts and a white tank top and threw her blonde hair into a pony tail before she headed downstairs for breakfast. Her dad was at work already and her mom wasn't very good at cooking so it would be a toss up between cereal or over done toast.
"Morning Mom." She said as she skipped into the kitchen. Her mother stood at the sink washing up a bowl that 8 month old David had used for his breakfast. She tickled his socked feet as she sat in the chair next to his highchair. He smiled a big toothy grin at her while he rubbed the left over cereal in his short red hair.
"What would you like for breakfast, Susie?" her mom asked turning to look at her. She was still in her yellow cotton pjs and her blonde hair was wild from last nights sleep, but to Susannah she was beautiful.
"Cereal's fine Mom." She answered and her mother smiled at her. She took out a box of Honey Nut Cheerios and a box of Frosted Flakes.
"Which would you prefer?" Her mother asked and Susannah squinted at the boxes pretending that it was a tough decision.
"Sounds good." She said and poured them into a bowl. She handed Susannah the bowl of cheerios and milk and wiped down David's hands and face. "What a mess mister!" Her mother said with a sigh and David squirmed to get away from the cloth. "So what are you doing today?" Her mother asked her and Susannah shrugged and smiled.
"Well…the tree-" She was cut off by a loud thud in the hallway.
"What in Heaven's name was that?" her mother shouted.
"Sorry Mom." Jake's head appeared in the kitchen doorway. "Brad fell down the stairs."
"Did not! Jake pushed me!" Brad said pushing past Jake. At 12 Jake was the tallest in his class and very thin. His light brown hair flopped in his face and covered his bright blue eyes. He was funny yet serious and he always defended Susannah against Brad.
At 10½ Brad was tall for his age, yet still very chubby. He wined about everything and always teased Susannah. His hair was always cut short and he wore the same blue Roots sweater everyday.
The boys wrestled with each other to get their cereal and then sat at the table. Jake smiled at Susannah and Brad scowled at her.
"So, that's a pretty sweet set up out back." Jake said to her. Susannah's face it up and she stammered trying to get all her thoughts out at once.
"We…today…to try it…"
"Think before you speak stupid." Brad snapped and Jake punched him in the arm. As their mother scolded them for fighting the door bell rang and Susannah jumped up to get it.
"Oh la la…Looks like your BOYFRIEND'S here." Brad teased and Susannah blushed, which only made him laugh more and made Jake chuckle too.
"He's not my boyfriend!" She screeched over her shoulder.
"Susie's got a boyfriend! Susie's got a boyfriend." She heard Brad chant. She sighed with frustration and pulled open the 8 ft mahogany door.
Her face broke into an uncontrollable smile when she saw him. Jesse De Silva, her best friend and neighbour stood at her door. His dark brown hair was wild and he still had food in his mouth from breakfast. His bright green eyes flashed with excitement and unspoken words.
"Mom let me have one of her old flower boxes!" He said after he had swallowed what looked like toast. He smiled brightly and then his face went serious and he pointed at her. "But that's it! No more girly stuff! No PINK!"
"What…what about the flowers? What if they're pink?" She asked as she tied up her sneakers. He looked at her suspiciously and then sighed.
"Alright fine, but only pink flowers." He turned and headed down the front steps. "Come on slow poke." And with that he disappeared around the other side of his house.
"Bye Mom, going to Jesse's house." She shouted as she closed the door and chased after him.
She stopped at the white gate leading to Jesse's backyard and struggled with the lock. After what seemed like years, she opened the door and raced to the edge of the yard.
"Isn't she a beauty?" Jesse called down from a window and Susannah smiled up at him. The tree house was beautiful. It was high up in an old oak tree, with steps, or wooden planks, nailed into the tree trunk. The walls were painted bright yellow and the roof had real roof shillings on it. There was a large window in each of the 4 walls and each window had a white frame. In the middle on the floor there was a small hole that they climbed through to enter the house. The best part about it was that they had built it together, with a little help from their dads.
"Come one, Susie! We need to get the stuff up here." Jesse said impatiently. She shook her head and scrambled up the tree. She inhaled deeply as her head popped into the tree house and smiled. She loved the smell of the new tree house. It was like a different world up here. Jesse's mom had given them an old, round coffee table and a small book shelf from his attic. Susannah's mom had bought a yellow rug and big soft cushions for them to sit on. They moved Jesse's old toy box into the tree house and Susannah's tea set, for snack purposes only. They tacked a map of Europe on the wall and sat down exhausted from all the moving.
"So where are we going to go first?" he asked her.
"Well lets start in England because my family's from there." Susannah said picking up a little green flag and sticking in on the map.
"But what about my family?" Jesse whined.
"Well…we can stop in Spain and see your family too. But we'll do that at the end, because it's at the bottom." She said with a shrug and he continued pouting. "We can stay there the longest." She said with a smile and he smiled back. She put a red flag on Spain and stood back. "We've got a lot of places to go too." Jesse nodded an agreement and all of a sudden the cow bell that hung just below the tree house began to ring.
"Doorbell." They said smiling at each other. They laid on their stomachs and crawled towards the hole.
"Is anyone up there? Oh! I was started to wonder if there was anyone home." Jesse's mother said smiling up at them. Her short brown hair was curled around her face and she was wearing a peach coloured top with a white skirt and red apron. She had a long tray in her hands with a plate of cookie, peanut butter sandwiches with the crusts cut off and 2 water bottles. They looked down at her curiously and she shrugged. "I just wanted to welcome you to the neighbour hood." Susannah looked at Jesse and he pulled back away from the hole.
"Do you think it's a trap?" He asked her in a whisper and she squinted her eyes thinking seriously. All of a sudden his stomach grumbled and they giggled quietly.
"I think its ok…but how will we get it up here?" She asked.
"I know." Jesse said as he crawled towards the book shelf and found an old basket on the bottom shelf. He tied an extra rope around the handle and lowered it down to his mother.
"Put the food in there." He commanded.
"Excuse me?" His mother said with an amused yet agitated tone.
"Sorry Mom. We're playing a game." Jesse said.
"We're hiding from the aliens who look like regular people." Susannah explained.
"Oh well in that case." His mother took the basket and carefully placed each item in it and then lifted it. "Be careful of those dad-like aliens. There the worst kind." She said with a wink and they kids chuckled and watched her walk away. When Jesse had finally pulled the basket up he took a deep sniff.
"Yup I think its all clear!" He said and dragged the basket to the table. He sat on the blue cushion and she sat on the yellow one (no pink remember). He set the sandwiches and cookies on the table and they two of them ate hungrily. After lunch they collapsed on the floor, in opposite directions with their heads side by side.
"This is so cool!" Susannah said.
"Yea! Good idea Susie." Jesse said with a yawn.
"It's our own place, only we get to come into the tree house." Susannah suggested.
"Only us!" Jesse agreed and Susannah yawned this time. "Susie?"
"Do you think…we'll be friends forever?"
"Course!" She looked at him. "You're my bestest friend."
"I'm your only friend." He said and they both laughed.
"Well then you're my only BESTEST friend and you always will be!" She said with a nod and Jesse smiled back at her.