Hi everyone! It's been awhile! Seems like I barely have time to write anymore.
Jamie Bennett considered himself to be a generally mild-tempered person. He was pretty easy-going, and he didn't anger easily. Most things he could just brush off with a laugh or a witty comeback, and so bullies tended to leave him alone for the most part. It was no fun for them to pick on someone who didn't rise to the bait.
Being an older brother with a little sister, he had a higher tolerance than most when it came to being annoyed constantly. He liked being around Sophie and she adored him, but as a boy fast becoming a teenager she got on his nerves sometimes when she followed him around everywhere and butted in on the time he would prefer to spend with just him and his friends. Even if he did get upset with her sometimes, however, he always apologized and she always forgave him.
She was his little sister, after all, and his big brother instinct trumped teenage annoyance every time.
But if there was one thing Jamie couldn't stand, it was insults to his friends. Bullies didn't scare him, not anymore. He had stared the Boogeyman in the face and walked away unharmed, and compared to that some middle school bully was somewhat of a joke to him. He always stood up for his friends, whether they were being directly harassed or merely gossiped about. Bullies were cowards, he found; once you confronted them once, they almost always left you alone afterwards. Bullies were just kids whose own power and strength went to their heads, and all you had to do to take them down was just point out that they weren't as powerful as they liked to believe.
Jamie always stood up for his friends, no matter what the severity of the insult. But sometimes, people didn't even know they were being insulting- because Jamie considered an insult to winter a direct insult to Jack, and people just loved to complain about winter.
Winter had always been Jamie's favorite season, even before he had met Jack. Knowing Jack just made it that much better. Most people didn't understand why he loved winter so much. They saw it as a time where you had to bundle up and either muscle your way through or hunker down and wait it out until the first breath of spring.
There was just something about the season that Jamie absolutely loved. The biting wind whipping through the pines, the first sunlight of morning glittering off the surface of fresh, untouched snow, the cold brightness of the moon and stars in the utter silence of the night, the warm clouds of air that puffed out of his mouth with every exhale, the joy of an unexpected day off school, the warm, peaceful feeling of a fire and a hot cup of cocoa while a blizzard raged outside, the frigid air that slapped him across the face and just made him feel so very, very alive… he could go on and on. So of course he was offended when people thought otherwise.
One summer, a new family moved to his neighborhood. They had a son his age, who went to his school. His name was Ethan, and he was from Texas. Jamie didn't mind Ethan, not really. He wasn't the nicest person he'd ever met and he was a bit of a whiner, but he was pretty harmless. They weren't friends, but they were civil to each other.
The thing was, Ethan was not used to the cold. Being from Texas, he had never even seen snow in person. It was a shock for him to go from a town where the temperature seldom dipped below fifty degrees to Burgess, famous for getting the worst winters in all of Pennsylvania and the surrounding states. Ethan was excited at first to see snow and to experience winter for the first time, but once the novelty wore off he turned to his favorite pastime: complaining.
For all of January his constant grumbling grated on Jamie's nerves, until one study hall in homeroom the day after the city had gotten a fresh flurry of snow when he decided he'd had enough. He sat directly in front of Ethan, and had to listen to his griping the whole time. Eventually he gave up on trying to finish his math homework and spun around to face him.
"Ethan, you live in Burgess," he snapped. "Get used to winter, because that's about the only season we get from November to April."
Ethan groaned. "I hate this season."
"Why?" Jamie asked. "What's so terrible about it?"
Ethan glared at him. "What's so terrible about it?" he repeated. "I'll tell you what's so terrible about it. It's cold, and it's dark, and it's never, ever, going to end."
By this time some other people had noticed the argument and were turning to watch. The teacher who was supposed to be supervising the study hall had left some minutes ago just like he always did, presumably to go meet with the art teacher that everyone whispered he was secretly going out with. He wouldn't be back for a while.
"It's not that bad," Jamie retorted. "Why don't you just try and enjoy it? You never got winter down in Texas!"
"Yeah, because it was practically like summer year round! That was perfect."
Another kid chimed in. "That sounds really awesome…" he said wistfully.
"It was," Ethan told him. "The weather was always perfect there."
"I wish it could be summer all the time here," one girl said.
There was a chorus of murmurs as several others agreed.
"C'mon guys, winter's great!" This was spoken by a new voice, and Jamie looked up and saw it was Pippa. "I mean, there's Christmas and sledding and snow days… I bet you never got snow days in Texas!"
"Well, no," Ethan conceded. "But sometimes there were days we got off because of extreme heat."
"You can't have snowball fights in extreme heat," another of Jamie's friends- Caleb this time- pointed out. "You can't go outside at all."
"I'd still much rather be really hot than really cold," another person put in. "Summer's my favorite."
"Guys, guys, just hang on a second," a new voice spoke up. Everyone turned to look at the speaker, and she smiled. "I think we all know that spring is the best season."
"She's right," another guy said. "I mean, in spring there's Easter. Free candy, guys! And it's like the world comes back to life."
"And then there's the flowers!" a girl said. "And the new baby animals, and all the plants start to bloom again."
"You're all wrong," another boy interjected. "Fall is the best. Football and Halloween- how can you go wrong?"
"It's the best season for sports!" agreed one girl. "And the leaves turn the prettiest colors!"
Jamie noticed that everyone in the classroom began taking sides, dividing into groups to defend each of the four seasons.
"You don't have to go to school during summer," a summer boy said.
"There's Christmas break in winter!" a winter boy retorted.
"You get to wear costumes on Halloween," said a fall girl.
"The end of the school year is in the spring!" shouted a spring boy.
Voices rose as things began to escalate, people shouting out their favorite parts of each season.
"Easter egg hunts!"
"The Fourth of July!"
"Going to the beach!"
"Playing in the snow!"
"Planting new flowers!"
On and on the arguing went, and Jamie marveled that no teachers in the nearby classrooms had noticed. Suddenly, though, everyone stopped as a voice louder than the others coincided with a burst of cold wind.
Everyone turned and saw Claude standing by the open door that led outside.
"I think we all know how to settle this," he declared.
They stared at him for a second as a shower of snowflakes entered the room on a gust of wind. Then, simultaneously they all stood and cried out,
They flooded out into the snowy schoolyard, not bothering to grab hats or gloves or anything. Jamie scooped up a handful of snow as he went, quickly forming it into a ball. He was smacked in the face with a big clump of snow just as he threw it, and went down. He looked up and saw snowballs flying everywhere, and laughed as he rejoined the fight.
It was over relatively quickly; not surprisingly, Jamie and his friends came out on top, pelting everyone else with snow before they even had a chance to retaliate. The other kids never had a chance; after all, Jamie had learned from the best.
Ethan was covered in snow and shivering violently, but he was laughing and smiling just like everyone else. Jamie went over to him.
Ethan looked slightly sheepish. "…Yeah. Yeah, it was."
"And that," he said, "Is why winter is the best season."
Caleb came up to his side. "Um, Jamie?"
Caleb pointed to the windows where the faces of a few students were watching them, and though no teachers appeared to have noticed the chaos just outside their classrooms Jamie knew they would soon. They hurried back into their own classroom, brushing snow off their clothes and out of their hair.
Just moments after they had all returned to their seats the teacher arrived back at the classroom. Jamie stifled a chuckle as he noticed traces of lipstick on his cheek. The teacher looked around at them all working quietly with suspicion, then went back to his desk.
"It's cold in here," he said after a minute. "Did someone open a window?"
A chorus of "no"s and "it feels fine to me"s filled the room, and the teacher simply shrugged and went back to his work. Jamie smiled to himself.
"Hey, Jamie," he heard Ethan whisper to him quietly.
He looked behind him and gave him a questioning look.
"I'm sorry if I was bugging you before," he said hesitantly. "I guess… I guess I'm just homesick. But… that was a lot of fun."
Jamie nodded. "I know." He raised an eyebrow and said teasingly, "So winter isn't so terrible after all?"
Ethan laughed guiltily. "No, man, you were right."
Jamie paused thoughtfully. "Hey, do you want to come over after school today?"
Ethan looked surprised. "Oh! Yeah, okay."
"Great." Jamie grinned at him. "There's someone I think you would really like to meet."
I just noticed that this story was added to the Rise of the Drabbles community. So thank you for that, Little Miss Winter Mischief!