“There’s my best friend!”
I smile wide as I hear Sakasu yell over the crowd of students waiting to leave school for the weekend. I run over to her and my sister, holding my backpack over my shoulder and my pompoms in my free hand.
“So I take it you liked our performance at the pep rally?” I ask.
“Girl, you killed it out there,” Sakasu gives me her classic finger guns with a wink and smile. “I’m so freaking proud of you! My best friend, captain of the cheer squad, and probably the kindest person in this whole damn school.”
“Thanks, ’Kasu.” My cheeks heat up as my smile widens.
“Not gonna lie, the pep rallies here are overrated,” My sister interjects, “But you did alright.”
I look over to my sister, tilting my head as the waves in my hair bounce in its ponytail. As I narrow my eyes, I let out a giggle at Violet’s comment.
“Haha, very funny, Violetta.”
“Can we go home?” Violet groans. “I’m hungry.”
“Didn’t you eat lunch?” Sakasu looks at my sister with a grin.
“I did, but that was like, three and a half hours ago!” My sister whines out loud. Despite a few students looking at her from her little outburst, she decides to start tugging on my arm. “Come on, Amai! You have the keys to the car. Let’s go!”
“Okay, okay!” I laugh.
Violet, Sakasu, and I all start to walk out of the building together. As the three of us walk towards the parking lot, I look over to my best friend.
“Are you still planning on spending the night?” I ask.
“Are you kidding?!” The green-eyed girl grins. “Of course I am! You said your parents are okay with it, yeah?”
“Mhm!” I smile at her. “Momma’s even making her cheese tortellini that you love.”
Sakasu’s eyes light up as I mention what’s on the menu for dinner. “Yes! I love your mom so much. She’s so freaking talented. Oooooh, will there be garlic bread, too? I love your mom’s garlic bread.”
We approach the car, I notice Violet and Sakasu running towards the front. Both of them are laughing as they look at each other.
“Shotgun!” Violet shouts. “I get dibs because I’m the little sister!”
“No, I’m the best friend,” Sakasu responds. “I get to sit next to the cheer queen!”
I laugh at the two, going to put my backpack in the trunk. “Violet, you sat shotgun on the way here this morning. Let Sakasu sit with me.”
Violet crosses her arms. “No fair.”
Sakasu playfully sticks her tongue out at my sister, then jumps into the front passenger seat. Violet reluctantly scoots into the back, crossing her arms as I get into the driver’s seat. The radio turns on as the car starts, and suddenly Violet’s mood gets better.
“Finally, some music I can vibe with.” She laughs, letting her bad mood go. “Let’s go home!”
I sigh with relief before starting to drive home. Everything is good.
“Mom! Ren! We’re home!” I call as the three of us enter through the door.
“Just a minute, Mai!”
I take off my shoes, giggling to myself. Violet runs towards the kitchen. I glance at Sakasu.
“Are you hungry?”
My best friend and I follow Violet into the kitchen. There, we witnessed my little sister breaking into the box of Twinkies. The two of us laugh at the scene unfolding, and I see Sakasu shake her head.
“Violet, come on.” Sakasu is nearly breathless from how hard she was laughing. “Leave some for us!”
“I got here first!”
Violet sticks out her tongue before taking two Twinkies out of the box. She throws whatever is left inside the box at Sakasu, who catches it without fail. My friend shakes her head again with a laugh, holding out the box to me after taking a look.
“There’s one left.” Sakasu sighs. “You want it?”
“Nah,” The waves of my hair bounce as I shake my head. “I got something better than that.”
“Oh?” She raises an eyebrow. “What did the girl genius bake this time?”
“Something special,” I say as I walk over to the microwave. I open it to grab a plate with homemade cinnamon rolls, safely protected by saran wrap. As I smile, I put the plate down and pick the plastic wrap off the pastries. “Just a little sweetness rolled into biteable goodness.”
“Girl, you outdid yourself,” Sakasu walks over. “Look at those rolls! Oh, they’re beautiful.” She goes to pick one up off the plate, taking a bite. “Wait, are you sure that you didn’t bake Heaven? You totally just replicated Heaven with these!”
My cheeks heat up again. “’Kasu…”
“No, I’m serious!”
“Breaking into the cinnamon rolls?”
Sakasu and I look over to notice my mom walking into the room. Mom’s blonde hair is tied into a messy bun. There’s a warm grin on her face as she puts a hand on her hip.
“Hi Mama Winter!” Sakasu smiles again when she sees my mother. She waves to her with her free hand.
“Welcome back, Sakasu,” My mom nods to her. “How are you, sweetie?”
“Doing as well as I can at this moment. How about you, Mama Winter?”
“Oh, I’ve been alright.” Mom walks over to the two of us. She picks up a cinnamon roll, giving me a wink as she takes a bite of the pastry. A small hum comes from her as she walks over to one of the pantries. “Was school alright? Violet told me you had that pep rally today.”
“We did,” I nod in answer, “The cheer squad performed for the school.”
“Yeah, and you were the best one in the bunch!” Sakasu suddenly hugs me after finishing her roll. “Amai’s the charm of the whole squad- ain’t nobody holding a candle to your beauty.”
My mother laughs with us, smiling at our interaction. She leans on the counter behind her, watching us some more. “Well, I’m sure you two had fun.” She reaches into a cupboard to grab some cooking wares. “Be sure not to eat too many cinnamon rolls. I’m going to start making dinner.”
“Yeah, thanks Mama Winter!”
Before Sakasu and I leave, I notice my friend looking at my mother. She purses her lips for a second, then glances at me.
“Hey,” She grabs my arm and pulls me close in order to whisper. “Do you think I could talk to your Mom about something for a second?”
“Yeah, of course.” I nod, realizing that Sakasu is asking for some privacy. “I gotta detangle my hair out of this ponytail anyway. Cheer messed that up pretty good.”
I quickly leave the kitchen so Sakasu can have her privacy, but I purse my lips. I’m hoping my friend is alright, but I know she’ll be okay. Besides, she’s in my mama’s hands.
Mama always knows best.
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