We wondered what James and Diana were like before Bryce came along and drove them apart.
Here’s just one of their adventures. Enjoy!

“Hurry up, Jimmy B! We don’t want your folks or your brothers to catch us with these fireworks! Your ma’ll skin both of us!” Diana hissed as she passed into the woods bordering the picnic area.

“I’m coming, princess,” Jimmy said, catching up with her. “I thought I saw someone.”

The girl shrugged. “Probably just Rory. He’s always following us.”

“That’s the last thing we need, my little brother lurking around when we fire off these babies,” he said, patting the bag he had slung over his shoulder. “He could tattle on us.”

Diana peered back the way they’d come, but the lengthening shadows of a high summer dusk in New Hampshire made for poor visibility. “I don’t see anything. I think we’re safe.”

Jimmy heaved a dramatic sigh. “C’mon, let’s get to that clearing before someone misses us.”

A few minutes later, Diana led them into a clearing a long way from the picnic area where the Cavanaugh clan was celebrating the Fourth of July.

“How about here?” Diana asked, patting the ground in the most central spot she could find.

“Yeah, I guess.” He turned to her. “Give me the matches.”

She produced a handful of kitchen matches from her jeans’ pocket. “You bring the bottle?”

He opened the bag, pulling out the old green Coke bottle and six brightly-colored bottle rockets. After settling the bottle carefully level, Jimmy put one of the rockets into it.

“Move back,” he told Diana. “There’s no telling where this thing will go.”

She stepped back two strides and waited. I finally get to set off some fireworks. Why does it have to be illegal back home? It’s not fair. All my cousins here in New Hampshire brag about setting them off. Well, this year, I get to too. A chill raced down her spine.

Jimmy put a match to the fuse and quickly joined her. Just as the fuse was about to disappear into the rocket, the bottle tipped. Jimmy put out a hand, but Diana caught him by the shoulder.

“No! You’ll get hurt!”


The rocket launched. For a moment, Diana thought it would be okay, then the thing started to arc toward the trees.

“Follow it!” she cried, as she burst into a run, Jimmy right on her heels.

They were close to the fringe of trees when they saw the sparks and stars of the bottle rocket exploding.

“Aaaah!” An inarticulate noise accompanied the blast, one they recognized.

“Crap, it’s hit Rory!” Jimmy shouted, sprinting past her into the woods.

They both skidded to a halt, watching Rory dancing beneath a dead tree. Then they heard the buzzing.

“Hornets!” Rory yelled. “Help me, Jimmy, they won’t leave me alone.”

The hornets swarmed towards Diana and Jimmy. In moments, they were both dancing along with Rory.

As panic set in, Diana shouted, “C’mon! We got to get back to your family!” She turned toward the clearing, then pelted down the path toward the Cavanaugh’s shelter.

The angry insects followed the three children. At the edge of the shelter area, Rory headed for the Cavanaugh’s brown sedan and slammed the door in their faces. Diana heard the loud thunk of the automatic door locks.

After a moment’s hesitation, Diana and Jimmy ran the few feet to the next car. Jimmy yanked open the rear door and they both jumped inside. Only when she heard the solid clack of the door closing did Diana feel safe enough to look around them.

As Jimmy killed the last hornets that had followed them inside, she said, “We are so in trouble. Look where we are.”

Jimmy groaned. “This is Paddy’s police car.” He checked the door locks just to be sure, then sat back. “We’re locked in. We can’t even open the windows.”

“Maybe Rory will—”

Tap, tap.

Jimmy’s little brother stood with his nose almost pressed against the glass. His mouth was moving but they couldn’t understand him. He must have guessed that, because he put his thumbs in his ears, waggled his fingers and stuck his tongue out at them.

Then he ran off toward the firepit where they knew Fergus, Jimmy’s father, was grilling the meat for the supper.

Jimmy said gloomily, “We are so busted.”

It seemed like an eternity to Diana before she saw Jimmy’s mother, father, and uncle stalking their way toward their temporary prison.

Paddy opened the rear door of the patrol car, while Jimmy’s parents stood back, waiting to interrogate them.

“Well?” Fergus demanded.

“Uh,” Jimmy began, “hornets attacked us. In the woods.”

“That’s not what Rory says. He said you had fireworks out in the woods.”

“We were careful,” Diana offered.

“Diana hadn’t ever set off fireworks so I was just showing her—”

“Doesn’t matter,” Jimmy’s ma said.

“Diana, I think you’d better go sit with Vonne. Jimmy’s going to be busy for awhile.”

The last Diana saw was Jimmy’s ma grabbing his ear and leading him away.

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