This chapter is dedicated to feministkendra.
It was a bright and hot day at Fablehaven in the middle of July. The sun was blistering and just five seconds of being outdoors could cause anyone to melt.
In other words, it was the perfect day for a pool party.
It was Seth who had originally addressed the issue of the pool being horribly underused, seeing as he and Kendra, in the six years they had been at Fablehaven, had only used the pool a couple of times. The other residents agreed that this was practically a crime, and decided to organize a pool party.
In the end, the pool party turned out to be relatively small, since quite a few guest were either vacationing or on a mission. The guest list comprised of Stan, Ruth, Warren, Dale, Vanessa, Seth, Kendra, and Bracken. The group was sad that not everyone could come, but they were still thrilled about the exciting event to come.
When Kendra woke up on Saturday morning, she realized that she was horribly unprepared for the pool. She had somehow lost all of her hair ties! She had hundreds of these things, yet she somehow still lost all of them. But that was fine. She could just wear her hair down. But, even worst, she learned that she had outgrown her only swimsuit! It was a pool party! How could she attend without a bathing suit?
Kendra sighed. She didn't want to do this, but she was going to have to ask Vanessa.
Kendra was not excited about asking Vanessa for a swimsuit. It wasn't like Kendra minded asking her, it's just she wasn't so sure if she would feel comfortable wearing Vanessa's clothes. Her style was much more mature than what Kendra usually wore, not to mention that Vanessa had a tendency to showing off a lot more than what Kendra was comfortable with. Not that showing skin was bad, per say, but she definitely didn't like to show her own skin.
Kendra walked down the hall and knocked on the door. After all, what was the worst thing that could happen?
Vanessa opened the door. "Hey Kendra." Vanessa greeted. "Need something?"
"Um yeah." She said, slightly embarrassed as she knew that their was going to be grief to come. "So... could I please borrow one of your bathing suits?"
Vanessa smiled, her eyes with a somewhat evil glare. "No problem sweetheart. Come in." Before Kendra could protest, Vanessa dragged her into her room, cackling evilly.
Seth was bored. He was sitting in his swim trunks out on the porch, avoiding helping with the preparations for the party.
It was unfair, really. How come Kendra didn't have to help with the preparations? He was younger, so wouldn't that mean that he should be excused from work? Wait, was Kendra getting out of work because she was a girl? That had to be wrong! If he didn't know better he would storm into that room and cause a protest! Unfortunately, he did know better and was aware that if he did, he would be most certainly shot down and forced to actually help.
Seth sighed. Life is so unfair.
That's when he had an idea. He realized that instead of sitting around bored, he could go play with Newel and Doren.
Seth jumped to his feet and ran off into the woods, away from his responsibilities and into freedom.
Bracken was prepared for the upcoming pool party. Well, at least he believed he was prepared. He had never actually been in a pool, none the less been to a party centering a pool. Now, he knew what a pool was, but he just didn't see the point in one. If someone wanted to swim, then why didn't they just go into a lake? It seemed impractical to create a chemical filled, cement water hole when they have a perfectly good lake right by the shrine to swim in. He was certain that he could convince the naiads to behave, or his mother could most certainly command the naiads to leave the residents of Fablehaven alone. Well, maybe he would let them mess with the blix. After all, it would be funny to see her drowning. Now, he wouldn't let her die, but... Actually, it might be a good thing that they aren't having the party in the lake.
Bracken quickly re-examined his bag full of supplies for the party. Swim trunks? Check. Towel? Check. Did he need anything else?
Hmm. Bracken knew that there was something else that he needed, but what? Uggghhh. He couldn't remember. Bracken checked the time, eleven o'clock. He needed to go if he was going to make it on time.
So Bracken left the house, still wondering about what he was missing.
Seth had been in the forest hanging with Doren and Newel for a good hour when he got bored again. When he got there, they were playing tennis, and, to his great displeasure, they were still playing tennis! How could two individuals play tennis for so long? It doesn't make sense! Not to mention that they weren't even trash talking each other! That was the most interesting part!
So Seth then decided to go do his favorite thing: harass Kendra.
And after a short jog to the house, Seth arrived at the house. He had to be sneaky so that he wouldn't get wrapped up in work, because the only thing more boring that tennis with no trash talking was chores.
And so he decided to use his shadow charmer skills. Now, Seth has made a vow that he would only use his powers for a good cause, and what could be a better cause than getting himself out of chores. Besides, the look on Kendra's face after he messes with her would SO be worth it. Plus, it was only fair that she got to be punished, after all, he gushy see her doing any chores.
While Seth was justifying his actions to himself, he entered the house, trying to keep quiet and stay in the shadows. As he was going to the stairs towards the attack, he looked around to see how the decorating was going.
The room was looking pretty good. There were brightly colored streamers hanging from the beige walls, intertwined with a series of neon balloons. Seth saw a large table with a cheap white table cloth on it , but it wasn't the table that drew his interest. It was the piles of snacks on top of it! Seth saw cheese puffs, fresh fruit, sliced up watermelon, multiple brands of chips and sodas, and candy! There was also a salad but honestly, who would eat salad when there were chips and soda and candy? Like, it's a party! Some people just don't know how to live a little...
After looking at the food, Seth continued his journey up the stairs and to the attack. However, on his way up, he heard a discussion coming from Vanessa's guest room. Seth, wanting to hear the conversation, creeped his way too the fort and put his ear on it.
Seth couldn't really hear what they were talking about, but he did understand some parts.
"Crazy... can't..." Kendra's voice.
"Oh please... you... gorgeous!..." And that was Vanessa's voice.
"But... not nearly... exposing..."
Seth then heard laughing. It sounded like Vanessa's? He didn't actually remember hearing her laugh.
"Try..on" Vanessa again.
Seth scrunched his nose. Were they trying on clothes? Gag. Chores would be more interesting. Seth crept back outside, nearly getting stepped on by Tanu in the process.
And so there he was, back on the porch, bored.
After sitting there for another twenty minutes, he decided to go to the Fairy Queen's Shrine to go meet up with Bracken. And just maybe on the way there there might be some creature the would have to save or some adventure waiting for him!
Once Bracken left the Fairy Realm, he saw Seth standing there waiting for him. While this wasn't particularly unusual, it was typically Kendra who who would greet him. And, if he was being honest with himself, he was really looking forward to have Kendra greet him. He just missed her so much!
Pushing his feelings aside with the knowledge that Kendra was only a short walk away, he waved at Seth.
Once Seth noticed him, he quickly hopped into the boat he had gotten and rowed over to pick up Bracken. When he arrived, Seth wrapped him up in a bro hug.
"Dude! It's been WAY to long!" Seth said. Bracken observed that his voice had gotten deeper again and... wait was he taller than him?! Human children grow up so fast...
"Hello...bro?" Bracken still struggled to remember all of the "homie" greetings, as Seth called them.
Bracken and Seth separated. "I should probably leave the island before your mom smites me of something."
Bracken laughed. "My mother would smite you. She turn you into a flower or seeds of some variety."
Seth snorted. "If that's the case I would rather me smitted."
"I think the word your looking for is smote, or maybe smitten?"
Seth scrunched his nose. "Smitted has a better ring to it. Plus, when you correct me on stuff like that, you sound like Kendra."
"And that is a problem?" Bracken said, bemused.
"Um, yeah! How can I hang out with my best bro if he's acting like my sister?"
Bracken chuckled. "I'm sorry."
Seth dramatically sighed. "As long as you don't do it again, I think I'll live."
"But seriously, we do need to go now." Bracken and Seth hopped into the boat and started rowing back to the dock.
"So did you bring the snacks?" Bracken faced palmed.
"I take it from your reaction that the answer is no."
"I'm so sorry! I totally forgot!" Bracken apologized. He KNEW he had forgotten something!
Seth sighed. "Disappointing, But okay."
"I can run back and get them if you want."
"No, it's fine. You probably don't want to keep my sister waiting. After all, I think she's waiting one Vanessa's bathing suits." Bracken felt his face flush and Seth had this creepy lol on his face.
"I do not care what your sister is wearing, as she looks gorgeous is everything. But I suppose it would be impolite to be unpunctual." Bracken didn't care if he was punctual or not. He just wanted to see Kendra.
Seth's creepy smirk widened. "Sure thing buddy. I'll get you there in no time."
Seriously, that face was disturbing.
Kendra didn't know what to do. The bathing suit Vanessa Kendra has chosen from Vanessa was SIGNIFICANTLY more modest than the other options (seriously that girl has NO shame and a crap ton of self confidence), but it was still overwhelming for Kendra.
The swimsuit was a top piece that (thankfully) didn't show off too much cleavage (not that she had any). It was lavender in color with a bunch of pastel butterflies. It had violet straps of medium thickness that tied behind her back. The bottom piece was a typical bikini bottom that was violet in color, but it was surrounded by a cute, ruffley water skirt with a matching pattern.
When Vanessa saw what she had chosen, she looked confused as to where it had even come from as she would never choose that for herself. However, she did think that it looked nice on Kendra so she let her keep it.
Kendra looked at the clock. 11:50. It would be time for the party soon.
Kendra stood up and looked at herself in the mirror. She frowned. Kendra was very self conscience about her looks, and well, compared to all of the beautiful people in her life, she was kind of lacking. She noticed that her stomach wasn't completely flat and stood out a bit (dangshes getting fat. She should probably eat less so it doesn't do that). She also noticed her horrible dark circles (does she ever sleep? These dark circles are SO bad). Kendra's hair was a mess. She had absolutely no curves what so ever. She was as flat as flat could be. She was so short. Like so. Short. Not to mention her body was covered in scars from all of the missions she's been on! And gosh that zit was huge!
Kendra checked the clock behind her. 11:59. She had to head downstairs so that she wouldn't miss the party. She sighed and walked down the stairs.
"Ahhh! Perfect timing! The party was just about to start!" Grandpa Sorenson said.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" Kendra asked.
"Nope we're all about done here. Why don't you hang out with Bracken and Seth. They're sitting out back on the sofa."
"Thank you! I will!" Kendra was so happy! Bracken was here! They could do so much fun stuff together. Then realization hit her. She was completely exposed. Bracken, beautiful, perfect Bracken, was going to see her. In a bikini. If he didn't think she looked bad before, he would most certainly do so now.
Kendra stood outside the door in anticipation. After a few seconds, she opened it.
The pool looked marvelous. There were bright colored fairy lights and streamers overtop the pool, as well as multiple tables full of snacks. There were a few speakers to play music as well as a grill to cook food. There was also a large object that was covered by a small, grey tarp. Weird. When Kendra looked around, she noticed that there were no fairies in the yard, which was probably an order from Bracken.
Suddenly, someone called out to her. "Hey Kendra! Over here!" Kendra whirled around to see Bracken staring at her speechless. Kendra felt her face heat up. She knew it! She knew that he would be bothered by her looks! She covered her face. Bracken was so horrified he couldn't even speak!
Seth loudly coughed. "I'll leaving. Once you guys finish ogling each other you can call me back. But I swear if I see mouth to mouth contact, I will throw up, then get Warren." Kendra rolled her eyes, though no one saw she her hands were still in her face.
After Seth left, Kendra pulled her hands of her face and looked at the floor. Bracken walked up closer to her.
"You look.. wow." Kendra jerked her head up to look at him. So he didn't think she was ugly trash?
"No! Of course not!" Apparently Kendra had said that last bit out loud because Bracken looked horrified.
"Kendra." Bracken gently tilted her head up to look at him. "You are the most genuine, beautiful girl I have ever seen."
"You're just saying that because I feel bad."
"No. I'm saying that because it's true."
"Look at me! Look at the fairies! Looks at the unicorns! Heck, look at Vanessa!"
"And you point is?"
Kendra stared at Bracken incredulously. "My point? I'm so hideous! Ask any of the fairies! Just look at me! I'm not nearly as pretty as any of the other girls listed above.."
"I disagree? Do you know what you have that I find very attractive that very few of the individuals listed above have?"
"A likable personality. The only one above that had one is my mother, but I'm not attracted to her, seeing as she is my mother."
"Great. I have a nice personality. Still doesn't change the fact that I'm ugly."
"Actually, it drastically makes you move attractive. I love girls who smile. I love girls who laugh. I love girls who say kind things to one another. I love girls who are kind. Now tell me, are any of the girls above ANY of those things, excluding my mom?"
"What about your sisters?"
"Please. They're annoying."
"All of this still doesn't change the fact I'm ugly."
"Again I disagree. You are so beautiful Kendra. You look like a goddess with an angelic glow. I only wish you could see what I see. For if you could, you'd be able to see that you are truly gorgeous."
Kendra smiled. "Thank you. I needed to hear that. I still don't think I'm pretty, but I feel better."
"Don't worry. My jobs not done until you feel like the princess you are."
Kendra blushed. "Thank you."
Suddenly, Seth popped up from the bushes. He had leaves in his hair. "So are you two done yet? Warren needs help setting up the water slide!"
"Bracken, you go up the left side, Warren, you go up the right. I'll take the middle."
"And how the heck are you supposed to get up middle? It's already impossible to get up on the sides!" Warren complained.
"Easy, I'll use my shadow charming skills!" Seth said.
Suddenly a great blast of light knocked Seth into the little inflatable waterside pool.
"HEY! WHAT THE HECK KENDRA!" Seth screamed.
"NO USING SHADOW CHARMED SKILLS!" Kendra yelled back.
"SO YOU CAN USE YOUR FAIRY POWERS BUT I CANT USE MY SADOW POWERS?"
"I ONLY USED MINE TO PUNISH YOU! DON'T USE YOUR POWERS AND I WON'T USE MINE!"
"Got a plan B?" Bracken suggested.
Bracken, Seth, And Warren were currently in an intense water slide war with Kendra and Vanessa. The girls where sitting in the top of the slide under the netting, which the water sprayers sprayed out of little tubes. It was the boy's mission to climb up the wet, slippery side of the giant, inflatable slide and kick off the girls. But the girls weren't going down without a fight. Once the boys would reach the top, they would kick them down, pour water on them, or throw them off.
Bracken glanced at the stairs next to the slide. "Why don't we just go up the stairs?"
Warren looked at Bracken like he was a total idiot. "And I though you were supposed to be smart!"
"If we go up the stairs, there's no challenge." Seth said. "Besides, the name of the game is climb the slide not climb the stairs."
"I don't think you used that metaphor correctly, but Seth is correct. Climbing the stairs would defeat the purpose."
"HEY! What's the hold up? Are you three boys to scared?" Vanessa taunted.
"Hey! First off, we're MEN! Secondly, we aren't afraid of you!" Warren yelled back.
"Actually, I'm pretty scared of Vanessa." Seth said.
"Yeah she can totally kill us in our sleep if we aren't carful." Bracken agreed.
Warren playfully scoffed. "Fine! Since you two BOYS are big BABIES I'll guess I'll just have to knock them down myself!"
"Have fun dude."
Seth watched as Warren scampered up the slide, grabbing onto the edges to help him pull himself up. Warren was actually doing pretty good. That was until Kendra and Vanessa looked at each other and grinned.
As they were sitting on the slide, water started to pool around them. The collection was becoming quite large, and when Warren was nearing the top they decided to release it.
Suddenly, a waterfall of water came from the top and sent Warren back down into the collection pool at the bottom.
"DAMN IT! AND I WAS SO CLOSE TO WINNING TOO!"
Seth was laughing. "Dude! You just got taken out by a giant tidal wave of Kendra and Vanessa's butt water!"
"Seth that's disgusting."
"He's correct though." Bracken said. "They were sitting in that water, so therefor their bottoms were in the water."
"Ewwwwwwwww." Warren said.
"Shall I try to summit the slide?" Bracken inquired.
"Sure. I don't know how well you'll do though."
Bracken smiled. "I'll try."
Bracken started to effortlessly scale the large slide. Once Bracken got to the middle, the girls started to shake the slide. The slide went side to side, jerking Bracken around and making him slip onto his stomach, but every still he held on.
The boys were cheering Bracken on. Once the jerking stopped, Bracken continued to climb on his stomach to the netting area. Kendra whispered something in Vanessa's ear. Vanessa nodded her head and she lined herself up so that she was in front of Bracken.
"Hey." Kendra said.
"Wait what are you do-" Bracken was cut of by Kendra slipping down the slide. She crashed into him, latching on, and successfully knocked the two of them off. Warren and Seth booed. Vanessa laughed.
Once they reached the bottom, Kendra started to quickly climb back up.
"Oh no you don't!" Seth yelled and climbed after her.
Kendra continued to climb, and although she stumbled a bit, she managed to make it up to the netting, with Seth following hot on her trail. Once she reached the netting, she struggled to get up and Seth grabbed her foot.
"Vanessa help!" Kendra yelled.
Vanessa graves her arms and pulled up the small girl, as well as Seth.
"HA! LOOK GUYS I MADE IT! I WI-" Vanessa kicked Seth and he was sent down into the collection pool yet again.
"DANG IT!" Vanessa and Kendra nursed our into laughter while Warren and Bracken patted Seth on the back and congratulated him for almost succeeding.
"Hey! We don't give out participation trophies here!" Vanessa yelled at Warren. Kendra burst out laughing.
"Well after that TRAUMATIC experience he's going to going to need some COMFORT!" Warren yelled back.
"Awww!" Vanessa teased. "Well once you're all done being wusses, come try us again!" Kendra stuck her tongue out at the end of Vanessa's response.
"Oh you're SO on!" Seth yelled.
In the end, Vanessa and Kendra won.
After playing on the slide for a few more hours, it was time for the food! Dale has been working hard on the grill, and the burgers that resulted showed.
The patties were cooked to perfection; cook. Some of the patties were plain, while the others had cheese on them. There were tons of condiments to put on the burgers; ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, onions, as well as other toppings.
But of course, Bracken skipped all of that and went straight for the salad. What could he say? He's a vegetarian.
When Bracken went to sit at the small, grey table, he was pestered by the banter that he was receiving from Warren and Seth.
"Dude, there a perfectly good burgers over there! What's with the salad?" Seth teased.
"You know I don't eat meat."
"Realllllllyyyyy?" Warren asked. "Or are you just saying that in order to not eat Dale's cooking?"
"I would never! Dale's cooking seems perfectly fine." Bracken was getting frustrated. Was his diet secretary hurting people's feelings. He did completely walk past the burgers that Dale had spent a long time on.
"Oh ignore them." Kendra said as she sat down next to Bracken. "They're just teasing you. Besides, Dale also made the salad so their argument is invalid."
"Awwwww. You two are soooooo in looooovve." Seth teased. "And it's disgusting! I'm trying to eat here!"
"You better not do anything to her young man!"
Bracken felt his face flush. "I would never!"
"Seriously Warren." Kendra rolled her eyes. "First off, your not my dad. Second off, what exactly do you not want Bracken to do?"
"He knows." Warren said.
"I really don't but I promise I won't." Bracken answered, hoping the conversation would end.
Warren started at Bracken intensely, making him uncomfortable.
"Warren stop. You're making him feel uncomfortable. Only I can do that." Vanessa scolded Warren.
"Sorry." Warren said, sounding disingenuous.
After that, everyone started to eat their meal. Stan, Ruth, and Dale joined after a few minutes. They talked, and joked, and had a good time. Soon, the meal was over.
"Grandpa? What exactly is that thing covered by the tarp?" Kendra asked.
"Oh! I completely forgot about that." Stan walked over to the mysterious object and unveiled it. It was an old, pink, metal box with read buttons on it. It also had a large, metal, bowl like thing on top.
Ruth walked over with pink and blue boxes that said floss sugar and put them down by the machine.
"Oh my god! Is that a cotton candy machine!" Kendra jumped up in excitement.
"Yup." Stan said. Stan walked over and sat down on the bench by the table.
"Earlier, we found it in the attack. We have no idea how or when it got there, but judging but the age of it, I'm assuming it had something to do with Patton." Warren said while walking over to the machine to turn it on.
"Yessss! I LOVE cotton candy!" Seth pumped his fists in the air.
"Ruth, are you sure it's a good idea to get these children hyper on sugar. And by 'these children' I mean Seth." Vanessa asked, remaining in her seat.
"How DARE you! I can handle a little sugar! I'm seventeen, not five." Seth ran over to the Cotten Candy machine.
"You act like you're five." Kendra said while walking over to Seth.
"I'm sure it'll be fine, Vanessa." Ruth said. She sat down next to her husband.
"Let's turn this baby on!" Warren said. "Wait where did Dale go?"
"I think he went back inside." Bracken said looking curiously at the machine.
"Disappointing. I'll be sure to bring him one in a bit."
"So how does it work." Seth was looking into the bowl on top.
"Be careful Seth!" Kendra warned. "That thing becomes really hot! You'll burn yourself!"
"Really Kendra? I know how to not burn myself."
"Whatever loser. Once your face is burning, don't go crying back to me."
"Hey! What did I say about bickering." Warren scolded.
"Don't." The kids answered.
"I've never seen one of these in real life before." Bracken marveled. "On television, yes. But it's a whole different thing in real life!"
"Wait! So you've never had cotton candy?!" Seth asked incredulously.
"Nope. It looks so fluffy and unreal on television. What's it made of."
"Sugar." Kendra said. "It gets really hot and melts down, then the melted sugar shoots through tiny holds and solidifies into soft cotton candy that you then spin on a stick to give it a proper form."
"Geese Kendra." Seth said. "He asked what it was made of, not a step by step tutorial." Kendra stuck her tongue out at him. He returned the gesture.
"Wow Kendra. I'm impressed." Warren said. "Well since you know so much about making cotton candy, why don't you try to make it?"
"Wait, really?" Kendra said excitedly.
"Yup! It's about done heating up, so I'll just pour in the sugar and you can go at it."
Warren poured the pink sugar in and passed Kendra the stick. Almost instantly as the sugar went into the machine, it started to come out, into the bowl in wispy strands. Once Kendra saw the strands, she started to spin the stick, causing the candy to stick to it. As she spun the stick around, the cotton candy grew more and more massive. Soon it was huge.
"Oh my god! Kendra! How big are you gonna make that thing?" Warren asked, amazing by the size of it.
"I'm just about done." After turning it a few more times, she pulled the cotton candy out. It was bigger than her head!
"It's bigger than your head! I didn't know it could get that big!" Seth exclaimed. "Can I have it!"
"No. Bracken get to have it first. It's only fair as he's never had one before." Kendra smiled and handed it to Bracken.
Bracken took a bit. It dissolved in his mouth. It tasted like sugar, which made sense as that was its main ingredient. "It's delicious."
"Okay I get the next one!" Seth yelled.
Kendra spun the stick again and yet again there was a colossal cotton candy.
"Yesssss! All hail the cotton candy QUEEN!" Seth yelled.
"The Queen you say?" Kendra pondered. "Yes, I like that. For now on, I am the Queen of cotton candy!"
Warren laughed. "Yes all hail the queen."
Kendra ended up making eighteen cotton candies. Everyone had at least one. Kendra and Bracken had three, Warren and Vanessa had two, Dale, Stan, and Ruth had one, while Seth had five.
It was about Seven o'clock and everyone had finished taking down the decorations and had left. Seth had gotten a really bad sunburn because he, despite Kendra's best efforts, refused to apply sunscreen.
"I told you to apply sunscreen but nooooooo. Don't listen to the person with reason around here." Kendra was lecturing Seth as she applied aloe to his sun burn.
"But Bracken and Warren didn't apply any. Plus it wasn't even that sunny out." Seth said, wincing as Kendra touched his burns.
"Bracken's a unicorn, he doesn't get sunburned and Warren is in no better condition than you!" Kendra ranted. "Plus what do you mean 'not that sunny out' just because there are a few clouds in the sky does not mean you don't need to put in sunscreen!"
"I get it! I get!" Seth groaned. "Could we please talk about something else?"
Kendra sighed. "Sure. Did you have fun today."
"Well, duh." Seth rolled his eyes.
"Hey you asked to change the conversation." Kendra said. "I liked the part where me and Vanessa kicked your butt on the slide."
"That gams was rigged. I may have no proof now, but one day, I'll expose you for your lies."
"Oh really now Seth." Kendra said incredulously. "Well did you at least like the cotton candy?"
"Yes. That was good." Seth said happily. "Though my stomach hurts from eating so many."
"I told you to not eat so many!"
"I get it 'mom'". Seth said. "God you're so bossy."
"What did you say about me?" Kendra asked in faux anger. "You know I don't have to help you."
"Oh no please help. I take it back."
Kendra laughed. "Good. You better."
Even though the day had started out rough for Kendra, she had a lot of fun thanks to her friends and family.