Best Friend Next Door

Best Friend Next Door by Carolyn Mackler Read Free Book Online

Book: Best Friend Next Door by Carolyn Mackler Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carolyn Mackler
the peanut butter thing and we live on the same street and have the same birthday and we both have sandy hair with a slight greenish hue. The only difference, really, is that I’m tall and Emme is tiny. Also, it’s looking like Emme loves ice-skating, which I’m scared of. Not that I’ve told her that. I don’t want her to think I’m a wimp.
    “Are you nervous?” I ask Emme.
    She shakes her head. “Not really. I just focus on one thing during the race, like kicking. What about you?”
    I’m so nervous my teeth are chattering and I’m sitting on my hands to keep from chewing my nails. It doesn’t help that I’m in the first heat. Also, I hate diving off the blocks. I’m always worried I’m going to fall and hit my head. I scan the bleachers. I can’t see my dad and Margo. It was raining hard out, so they dropped us off at the door of the Y and circled for parking. What if they can’t find parking for the whole meet and they miss all my races? I wish they’d get here already.
    Emme snaps the lid onto the Sharpie. “Remember,” she says, “it’s just a pool loop. Get it? Pool loop .”
    “ Pool loop ,” I say, nodding. “Awesome.”
    Coach Missy blows her whistle. “Swimmers, take your places on the blocks.”
    I fit my goggles in place. They’re way too tight. I’m probably going to get a headache.
    “Og,” Emme says to me as she stands up.
    “Og,” I say weakly, and then walk over to lane two.

    The Dolphins place third in the meet, which is awesome. Even more awesome is that Emme and I both get our personal bests—Emme in the two-hundred back and me in the fifty free. Even more awesome is that our medley relay WON! We were five entire seconds ahead of the Thunderbirds.
    After the meet, we all shower and change. All the girls are singing in the locker room and goofing around and celebrating our awesomeness. But then, when we come to the deck for our wrap-up meeting, we fall silent. Coach Missy is crying. She’s holding her phone in one hand and dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
    “I just got a text from my sister,” she explains as we gather around her on the bleachers. “She lives in Deer Park. That’s a few hours north, where I grew up. They’ve been getting even worse rain than we have this fall, and the town has flooded. They’re evacuating hundreds of houses as we speak. People might lose everything.”
    I stare at Coach Missy. I’ve never seen her this upset. I have no idea what to say.
    “Is there anything we can do?” Emme asks. “Like, how can we help?”
    I nod along with a bunch of other girls.
    Coach Missy shakes her head. “For now,” she says, “just be grateful for what you have. You all did some amazing swimming today. I’m proud of all of you.”
    When I come down from the bleachers, my dad and Margo are waiting for me. I give them both hugs. I am grateful for my parents and for everything I have. Even if I do my best to ignore the fact that Margo’s belly is pressing against me as she squeezes me tight.

    On Monday, Mr. Bryce stands at the front of the rug during morning meeting. He’s wearing his checkerboard tie. He’s smiling and holding a big yellow envelope in each hand. They’re labeled TEAM A and TEAM B . We definitely have the coolest fifth-grade teacher. Sometimes Mr. Bryce juggles balls while he’s teaching. One sunny morning last week, when we finally got a break from the rain, he was doing read-aloud on the rug. He was reading Holes . He glanced toward the window and said, “Let’s take this outside.” He ended up reading and walking backward as we strolled from the school to Franklin Street to Southampton Park and back again. I told Emme about it at lunch and she was so jealous. She said Ms. Linhart would never, ever do anything fun like that.
    “Who’s ever heard of a fund-raiser?” Mr. Bryce asks. We’ve finished attendance and this is the part of morning meeting where we talk about current events.
    I lift my hand.
    Mr. Bryce nods toward

Similar Books

The White Father

Julian Mitchell

Touchdown for Tommy

Matt Christopher

Death List

Donald Goines

Unlikely Praise

Carla Rossi

Slow Burn

Cheyenne McCray

Academ's Fury

Jim Butcher