“Mom,” Cara Penzo called from the living room. It was Thursday and everything was quiet except the dishwasher in the kitchen.
“What, Cara?” Mrs. Penzo replied as she came out of the bedroom where she had been putting clean sheets on the bed.
“Mom, I have to get ready for Gwyn’s sleepover.”
“It’s not until 4:30pm.”
“I know, but…” Cara stammered.
“If you are so anxious go get dressed,” Mrs. Penzo said going to get the dishes out of the dishwasher. “In all my years, I have never seen a child make such a big deal over a sleepover.”
Cara went up to her room and thumbed through her closet. She wanted the outfit to be perfect since this was her first real sleepover. Camping out in the backyard didn’t count. She also wanted her outfit to be cool since it felt like 120 degrees outside. After trying on three different outfits, she decided on a big, blousy, hot pink shirt with palm trees and toucans splashed all over it and light blue shorts. She looped a green belt around her middle and picked out some exotic flower earrings. Then she brushed her blondish brown hair, pulled it back into a ponytail and put in a clip that looked like a coconut.
She pulled out the purple sleeping bag she had gotten for Christmas last year and packed a small overnight bag.
“Cara,” Mrs. Penzo called. “It’s time to go.”
“All right.” Cara clattered down the stairs. “I’m ready.”
When Mrs. Penzo dropped Cara off at 1330 Woodland Avenue, she said, “Be a good girl.”
“I will, Mom,” Cara said a waved as Mrs. Penzo backed out of the driveway. She rang the doorbell. Natalie, Gwyn’s little sister, answered it.
“Hi, Cara!” She was jumping up and down.
“Come here, Nattie,” Marty, Gwyn’s older brother called. “Come on in,” he told Cara. “Nattie’s just excited about Gwyn’s sleepover. Bet you’d be to if you had an older sis.”
Marty always cut off the end of words like ‘sister’ or ‘brother’. But Cara couldn’t take her eyes off him. He was so cute and good-looking, but Cara wouldn’t mention that to Gwyn who came in the room just then.
“Hi, Cara,” she said. “Now let’s see who else do we have to wait for. Danielle, Elizabeth and, um…”
“Holly,” Nattie replied promptly.
“Nattie, how did you know?” Gwyn asked.
“Marty told me,” Nattie grinned.
“Remember you promised Mom not to bother us.”
“Yes, Miss Gwendolyn,” Marty replied and bowed before her.
“Oh,” groaned Gwyn. “Come on, Cara.”
“I brought my in hailer just in case,” Cara said.
“You have asthma, right?” asked Gwyn as she pulled out her own sleeping bag from underneath her bed.
“Why did you groan when Marty called you Gwendolyn?” Cara wondered. “I think Gwendolyn’s a nice name.”
“You just have to get used to living with a brother. They tease all the time. At least Marty does. So when he calls me Gwendolyn and I groan you’ll know he just trying to get on my nerves,” Gwyn explained.
“Why does he get mad or something?”
“Sometimes. You’ll know by the tone of voice he uses and when he’s mad at me he’ll say Gwendolyn Kay. So he does get mad, but not often.”
“Gwyn, “ Mrs. Watkins called. “Danielle and Elizabeth are here.”
“Hi, gals,” Gwyn greeted them when she and Cara walked in the room.
“I brought my makeup so we can do makeover,” said Liz.
“I brought a movie to watch,” said Danielle. “What did you bring, Cara?”
“Well, nothing except the usual. Was I supposed to bring something?”
“It’s okay of you didn’t bring anything, Cara, “ Gwyn replied quickly. “We…” The doorbell interrupted her. Holly had arrived.
“Hi, “ she said brightly when Gwyn let her in.
“Okay everybody let’s take our stuff to the family room. That’s where we are going to sleep tonight.”
As Gwyn led her guests to the family room, Marty snuck up behind them with his water pistol. As soon and they bent over to put their things on the ground, he fired. Everyone shrieked.
“I’m telling!” Gwyn started.
All of a sudden Marty yelped, “Yow!”
Nattie had just put ice cubes down his pants. Since she was only three feet tall she couldn’t reach the neckline of his shirt. When he tried to grabbed her, she crawled behind the couch and said, “Ha, ha. You can’t get me,” leaving Marty in wet jeans.
When he went to change, Gwyn remarked, “Now, that’s the only good thing about having a little sister.”
“What do you mean by that?” asked Holly. “The only thing?”
“You know how it is,” Gwyn said. “Marty gets to do everything first and everyone thinks Nattie is so cute because she is the baby. What does the middle child get? Nothing.”
For supper they made their own pizzas. Cara and Liz made one with sausage and pepperoni while Gwyn and Holly put mushrooms, ham and pineapple on theirs. Danielle made herself a small all cheese pizza since she was a vegetarian. For dessert Mr. Watkins made them all ice cream sundaes.
After supper, they went on a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood made up by Mr. Watkins. Cara didn’t know how they would ever find everything on the list. But all the neighbors were really nice about it.
Since Mr. and Mrs. Watkins had a heated, screened in pool, Mrs. Watkins told the girls to bring their bathing suits. They had races and water fights. Although they couldn’t dive since the pool was only eight feet deep.
For the rest of the night, they played board games, ate snacks and watched a movie. After everyone else went to bed they did makeovers. Liz didn’t do so well. When she got done, Danielle looked like an alien from some far off planet. She had on some dark blue eye shadow, some light blush and two kinds of lip-gloss. But Holly was the best of all. She tried to match every color. After Danielle wiped off most of her first makeover, Holly did her over. They played Truth or Dare until they all kept falling asleep.
The next morning, Cara was the last one to wake up. When she did, she found out all her friends had taken her things and hid them all over the house. In order to find them she had to go on another scavenger hunt they had made up for her. Cara wasn’t too thrilled.
For breakfast they had cinnamon and blueberry pancakes all except for Liz. She said she didn’t like pancakes. She was the first person Cara knew who didn’t like pancakes.
Holly was the first to leave, then Danielle and Liz. Finally, Mrs. Penzo picked Cara up.
“Did you have a good time?” she asked.
“It was great,” Cara replied. “I can’t wait until Gwyn’s next sleepover.” Cara fell asleep.