Audrey Burke, Ella Johnson, Maddie Wall, Simone Worth, and Tristan Ream sat quietly, gathered and seated around a table in their local library. As it happened to be the first day of summer vacation, Tristan and Simone would never have voluntarily found themselves surrounded by books; although Ella, Maddie, and Audrey would be happily browsing the shelves. However, that wasn't exactly why the girls were there.
"We all understand that we can't share this with anyone," Ella spoke seriously, leaning towards the middle of the table so that all four of her friends could hear.
"Of course," Maddie nodded.
"Well, I'm certainly never going to say anything about this," Simone scoffed.
"Yeah, Simone's got a point. Even if we wanted to let the secret slip, who'd believe that we'd fallen into a fountain, transferred to a magical dimension of fairytales, and somehow became princesses destined to save the place?" Tristan asked rhetorically, with one eyebrow raised.
"They'd think we were crazy," Audrey mumbled.
Ella shrugged, figuring Tristan was right; even if all of what she'd just said was actually true. That's correct; they'd fallen into a fountain, been transferred to a magical dimension of fairytales, and somehow became princesses destined to save the place. It had confused the girls as well; but luckily, once they'd tumbled through a forest in pestering ball gowns and pinching slippers, managed to get themselves whisked away to a castle, and met with the Queen, she'd been able to help. Yes, the Queen was their only hope; and they, the kingdom's. That's why the Queen had ordered the girls to return tonight.
"Still, it will become more difficult to hide this secret if the Queen keeps ordering us to return," Ella whispered to the girls.
"Then let's forget about the Queen," Simone retaliated a bit too loudly. The librarian scowled from behind her desk and hushed her.
"I thought you were the Queen, anyway," Tristan laughed, nudging Ella's shoulder. It was an inside joke of the girls. Ella was known for a few things; her constant need for things to be perfectly in line, her habit of wanting things to be under her control, and her surprising ability of mustering so much anger into one tiny person such as herself. Yes, she was a bit short too; but not shorter than Simone. Therefore, she'd dubbed herself the Queen. The other girls had their own traits too, but they didn't have time to think of anything else. Right now, they were focused on their current predicament.
"Well, I am the Queen," Ella snickered, batting her eyelashes. "But, we have to listen to Queen Number Two, also. You heard her; the kingdom's fate resides with us!"
"As does the fate of all fairytales ever written. If we don't do as Queen Number Two says, fairytales may cease to exist. So might the society we live in today. You have no clue how much small things have impacted us," Maddie sided with Ella.
"I feel like I'm getting lectured by Mr. Helm," Tristan rolled her eyes and gave a collective sigh.
"We're serious," Audrey said, deciding to support Maddie and Ella.
"Well, I'm not being left out. If you're in, I'm in," Simone shrugged. She laid her hand out into the middle of the table, and soon, each and every one of the girls' hands rested in one pile, except for Tristan's. Her friends stared up into her reluctant eyes and begged for her to join them.
"Fine, whatever," Tristan rolled her eyes once again. She hesitantly placed her hand into the center of the table.
"No matter what, we keep our promises; to keep this all a secret, to obey the Queen's orders and help save the kingdom, and to stick together," Ella said, creating the pact right there and then. All five girls mumbled their promises, clenching each others' hands.
"Okay," Audrey breathed out, "So now, we meet at Ballwin Park tonight."
"Right. The Queen said we should be there around midnight," Ella remembered.
"The real question is if we'll all be able to sneak out and get to Ballwin Park on time?" Tristan asked. "I mean, I'll be fine. I have to cable tower," she said. The girls smiled as they remembered the very day Tristan had shown them that particular cable tower. It towered just above the Ream's house, and right outside Tristan's bedroom's window. Tristan had somehow convinced them to climb the tower up to the roof, and although they got into trouble that day, they'd discovered the ultimate uses of that cable tower. It would be the perfect way for Tristan to escape straight from her bedroom.
"My parents won't be home tonight. Miranda will be watching us," Maddie said, referring to her oldest sister. Maddie was the middle child. "I know Miranda will care less," she scoffed.
"Okay, so two of us can make it," Tristan said. "How about the rest of you?"
"With my mother out with Norman, and as long as Nicholas doesn't get nosy, I should be fine," Audrey complained at the thought of her mother with her boyfriend, Norman, whom the girls liked to call Potato; when combining his wrinkles, baldness, and old age, he often resembled one. Then, there was her pesky younger brother, Nicholas.
"My mom and dad won't even care," Simone replied casually. The girls chuckled at the honesty in Simone's statement. Her parents were very laid back.
"That leaves me," Ella sighed. Her parents would kill her if they discovered her escaping into the night. "I'll find a way. I always do," she gave a half-hearted smile.
"Okay, I guess we're settled then," Tristan grinned. "I'll see you girls at midnight."