Shan was helping out with the cookout. Being at Fish's was his home away from home. He was getting used to the baby where he roomed, as well as his housemates.
Shan was busy at the movie theater, too. After all, he'd been bumped up to assistant manager. Honestly, he hadn't seen that coming, but he took it in stride. He knew he could handle it. At the moment though, this was where he wanted to be. And there was no three year old hanging on to Fish, who brought out the hamburger buns.
"So did you hear back from the library?" Shan asked. It had been weeks now since Fish applied for a shelver's position.
"Probably, won't." He shrugged. "I mean, if..if I'd volunteered-"
"Yeah, but you did. You were like a junior friend, weren't you?" Shan winced.
"I just helped out with the summer reading program." Fish sighed as he studied the sizzling burgers. Shan turned them like a pro.
"Like, what? Four years in a row." Shan thought that had to count for something. He squished down the burger a bit, but not a lot. He liked his burgers rare, yet he wasn't so sure Fish's parents would go for that.
"It doesn't matter, I wasn't exactly, shelving, you know." He looked a little sad about it.
"Hey, you still have your Saturdays at the movieplex." Shan reminded him. He slipped the burger patties on the buns then.
"Well, I am getting my driver's license. I'm taking driver's ed, next week." Fish fessed up as he was about to take the platter inside.
"Is this a secret?" Shan let a sly grin slip.
"Yeah." He barely said. He was paying with his own cash. Come to find out, he'd forged his parents' signature. "I need to see if..if can do it."
"I know you can." Shan smiled at him as he watched Fish walk away. He wanted to reach for Fish, but he didn't. He'd promised Fish he'd behave today.
Zac knew he was supposed to be thankful that his Mom was home, even if most of the time she lounged around, clutching to her 'Heart' pillow for comfort. But it was really boring. Sawyer's older brother was there while Sawyer was invited over to Syreeta's for a back yard barbecue. He was hoping Syreeta would be here, instead. He hated to admit he missed her. After all, they hadn't exactly been having band practice like everyone promised.
Maybe after the holiday. Yet, he did have his doubts. He moped around even now with a paper plate of chips and a couple of hot dogs. It felt like the worst 4th ever. But the door bell rang, it was Evy to his surprise and a mini van full of people. They were from the foster home where she lived.
"You want to come to the park?" There would be fireworks and a concert was in full throttle.
Zac suddenly felt nervous. Her family hadn't exactly been the friendliest. They were so loud. But to get away from here might be just what he needed. He checked with his Mom and she said OK.
Evy hung on to him as if he was her's and nobody else could claim him. Zac couldn't help but smile even if maybe she was a little too clingy.
She introduced him to Dean who was driving. Zac didn't remember him from before. There was also a very skinny girl named Vada and of course, their Foster Mom, along for the ride with a couple of little ones she tended too.
It wasn't exactly what he had in mind, but then beggars couldn't be choosers.
Henry was listening to his brother tell him about what happened last year at the park.
"Do you remember what happened to you, last year on the 4th?" Aidan questioned.
"I dunno." Seemed to be his answer for everything. As it was, he was fascinated with the fire flies in the dark. He kept watching them not wanting to be plagued with the past. Why couldn't he just enjoy this? There was music in the park. The river wasn't too fishy as of yet. And there were people. Lots of people.
But he didn't fear anything at the moment. Perhaps, he did have that silly grin on his face.
It had been such a hot day in the sun. He needed his shades during their cookout. His Dad grilled fish. True, they could have gotten ribs where Aidan worked, yet their dad insisted on something more gourmet and upscale. So he'd sat around and watched. Quietly, with a wince for the most part.
The seafood didn't really set well with him. He'd picked at the pasta salad. Maybe he just wasn't feeling well, but as soon as Audrey mentioned the concert at the park, he perked up. There would be people. Maybe people who knew him. That would be fun.
But most chose to stick with their little groups. There were the fireflies to keep him company. So he followed them, as if that was his only mission. Soon enough he was lost near the river bank. He stumbled once on a rock. Actually, it could have been a close call. He could have fallen into the river. He'd have to be careful, he remembered then as he tried not to walk into the river.
And then, he practically walked right on top of them on the blanket. Henry looked down. He knew that person.
"Derrick?" Henry felt kind of funny that the name came so automatic. Of course, he was with some guy who was sitting next to him, looking at something on his iPhone, a music video.
Derrick jumped to his feet, and shook Henry's hand.
"Hey, what are you doing out here? All by your lonesome?" Derrick looked at him as if he might be lost for words.
"Fireflies." After he said it, Henry supposed Derrick must have thought he was mental. He guessed it was time to move on. He hadn't meant to interrupt anything. Derrick introduced him to Mitch, who put his iPhone away.
"Hope, you're OK?" Derrick kept his eye on him. "You're not lost, are you?"
"I don't think so." All he had to do was walk back toward the concert even if the fireflies were more interesting. He turned back, and waved goodbye.
Derrick seemed different than he remembered. A part of Henry felt sad, as if he'd lost him, somewhere along the way, but Henry didn't look back. He walked toward the lights of the stage, and that's when he saw her sitting on an old quilt, practically in the dark.
Actually, he thought he might trip over her. Instead, he made a clumsy move to sit on the quilt. There was room enough.
"You're not drunk, are you?" She looked at him suspiciously, as if she preferred to be alone.
"No, I don't think they'd advise it. Might make me throw up." He shrugged.
She only nodded as she looked toward the band.
"I'm Henry." He offered a handshake, but it took her a good long while to shake his hand.
"I'm Vada." She told him. "Just once, I'd like to be alone. Somewhere quiet, but that never happens where I live."
"I'm sorry. I didn't know." He was about to get up.
"Its OK. Stay. Just be quiet." She stretched out in her denin over-all shorts with the white tank underneath. "I just want to watch the stars." She leaned back on her elbows and looked up.
Henry looked up too, to the heavens. The fireflies were a lot like the stars.