It's sixty-two degrees outside. The snow has melted. Spring is here! Our whole family is going to the lake this afternoon.
There's an eight-mile path for jogging, biking, and Rollerblading. My Rollerblades are too small, so Eva gave me her old ones. I'm going to race Alex. I bet I beat him.
"Come on, Alex, hurry up," Abby Hayes said to her seven-year old brother. "Shut that thing off."
"What? Oh, okay," Alex said, barely listening. He was playing a new computer game. "I have to beat this level."
"Which one are you on?"
"Seventy-six." The screen lit up. "Yes! I got to seventy-seven!" he yelled.
"Pretty good," Abby said, even though she had no idea what he was talking about. "You have to stop playing now. We're almost ready to leave. Dad's downstairs loading up the car. Are you even dressed?"
It looked like Alex had slept in his clothes. He had probably played the game in his sleep, too.
Abby touched his arm. "Come on, Alex, quit the game."
"Okay," Alex replied, without taking his eyes off the screen. "I'll just save first." Menus appeared and disappeared as Alex clicked the mouse rapidly. Abby couldn't follow what he was doing. Then the screen went blank.
"Finally!" she said. "Now get yourself cleaned up."
With one hand, Alex combed through his tousled hair with his fingers; with the other he shoved his shirt into his sweatpants. If Alex wore all his clothes inside out or even upside down, he would never notice. If he had chocolate smeared on his face or one sneaker and one sandal on his feet, he wouldn't see it, either. His brain was full of math problems, computer games, designs for robots, and science questions.
"Get your Rollerblades," Abby told him. "Or do you want to ride your bike?"
"Rollerblades," Alex answered. He had just gotten new ones.
"I'll race you," Abby said. "The winner buys the loser an ice cream."
"No, if you win, I'll buy you an ice cream," Alex said. "If I win, you have to play chess with me."
Abby made a face. Alex always won at chess. It wasn't fun having a seven-year old genius brother who could beat you no matter what.
"Come on, Abby," Alex begged. "Please!"
"Oh , all right," she grumbled. "Are you sure you'd rather play chess than eat ice cream?"
"Uh-huh." Alex picked up a gym bag from his closet floor.
"Do you have your helmet and pads? Mom said to make sure you had everything."
He pointed to the gym bag. "Yep."
The car horn sounded.
"We're coming!" Abby yelled out the window. They ran down the stairs to the minivan.
"We have a car full of Rollerbladers here," Paul Hayes
said, as they headed for the lake. "Except for your mother
and myself, of course."
Abby's father had put his bike on the roof of the van. Her mother was going to jog alongside him. She always ran, even in the winter. Sometimes she even raced in marathons.
"You should get Rollerblades, Mom and Dad," Eva urged. She pulled her hair back from her face with a plain rubber band. "It's so much fun; you'd love it!"
Abby's older SuperSis, Eva, loved just about every sport imaginable.
She was captain of half a dozen teams and the star of them all.
The number one on the back of her basketball jersey summed it up;
when it came to athletics, Eva ruled.
"It looks like fun," their mother agreed. "But you know how much I love running. If I ever get sick of it, I'll rent Rollerblades and try them out."
"It's easier on your joints, Mom," Isabel said. She was Eva's twin, but no one who knew them ever believed they were related. While Eva spent her time shooting hoops, swimming laps, and pitching shutouts, Isabel was in the library or on the computer doing research. She could tell you about the Hundred Years' War, the War of the Roses, and any other war you didn't want to know about.
The twins looked nothing alike, either. Today both were going to Rollerblade: Eva wore gray sweats, while Isabel wore bright spandex tights and a tank top
"Rollerblading is better for your body," Isabel continued. "Unless you fall, of course."
"That's right," Eva said. "Listen to what Isabel is saying, Mom and Dad."
"You two agree?" Abby said.
Eva and Isabel nodded.
Abby grabbed her journal.