A soccer ball flew towards Skye, who was reading her favorite geometry textbook, trying some of the advanced challenge problems under the birches, hitting a branch above her head and knocking it down, blocking the page. Skye looked up, searching for the guilty party. When her eyes hit the freckled boy standing twenty feet away, she stopped looking and started glaring, to Jeffery's amusement.
"What was that for?" She huffed. "I was reading that."
"We're playing soccer on the beach. You're coming." He stated, sighing at the stubborn look on Skye's face as she resolutely moved the branch and turned her attention back to her book. A few seconds later, a shadow came over Skye and she flicked her gaze upward, again glaring at Jeffery.
"Skye." He said calmly. "Get up."
"No!" Skye said, momentarily putting her book aside while caught up in her partially pretend anger.
"Yes!" Jeffery exclaimed, half laughing, half frustrated with the girl sitting below him.
"No!" Instead of responding Jeffery grabbed Skye's hands and pulled her up, dragging her to the beach until she finally laughed and pulled away, collapsing on the sand.
"You're coming." He insisted, attempting to pull her back up.
"Nope!" She said, not bothering to pretend to be angry anymore, instead merely relaxing on the beach, enjoying Jeffery's frustration.
"Skye…" He said warningly. "Don't make me tickle you."
And so he tackled her, with him tickling her and her tickling him until she finally threw her hands up in submission.
"Fine, fine! I'll play!" She said, faking (very well) like she was grouchy. She let Jeffery drag her down to the beach where Jane was sitting underneath an improvised goal comprised of brooms, branches, and Batty's dress up scarves, writing in her little blue book.
"Jane," Jeffery called. "I got her." Startled, Jane fell backwards off the soccer ball she was perched on, notebook still in hand. She quickly popped up and flashed a smile.
"Oh good! Let's play!"
They decided that Skye would be goalie, while Jane and Jeffery both tried to score. Skye, though she preferred to play offense, knew her goalie skills weren't up to speed. So she willingly took her place under the scarves and got ready to play.
Jane started off in the lead with two quick goals, and Jeffery only one. As Skye started to get the grove, she began to save the goals shot at her. Finally, with a tie between the two players, and Aunt Claire calling them to wash up before dinner at Alec's, they started a sudden death round. Five shots, whoever makes the most shots wins. Have to start on the "half way mark" (aka a line of seaweed in the sand), and dribble to the goal. No blocking allowed except the goalie. One player on the field.
Jane started. Goal.
If Jeffery made it, he'd win. If he didn't, Skye would. (A special Penderwicks Rule made for situations like this)
Slowly, Jeffery set the ball down on the seaweed line. Breathing calmly, he started down the field, stopping abruptly inches away from Skye. They both froze, nearly nose to nose, both holding their breath, eyes locked. Then Skye smirked and kicked out the ball from underneath Jeffery's foot.
"What? You can't do that!" He yelled, indignant. Instead of responding, Skye pointed at the scarf. He was standing just under the goal line.
"GUYS! You were supposed to wash up! We HAVE TO GO TO ALEC'S!" A distressed Batty broke the informal staring contest between Jeffery and Skye.
"Okay, goofball. We're coming." Jeffery said, hoisting Batty up on to his back.
"Be careful! Don't drop her!" Skye fretted, becoming once again the nervous OAP. Jane rolled her eyes.
"Come on, Skye. We have to get to Alec's or Batty will blow up!" Jane teased.
"Jane!" Skye said crossly, chasing her laughing sister all the way up to Alec's. Jeffery watched the blonde furiously continue her chase and shook his head, laughing. He thought, What have I gotten myself into with this one?
"Jeffery?" Batty said, once again breaking the moment. "Can we move?"
"What? Oh, sorry. Let's go!"