“And so, the valence electrons are the what?” Mr. Howard asked the class. Jonathan’s hand, along with several other students, shot into the air. “Mr. Calbino?”
“Special electrons in elements that are involved in chemical bonding. Each element has from 1 to 8 valence electrons. Group 1, the Alkali metals, have one valence electron. Group 2, the Earth Alkaline metals, have two valence electrons. Group 18, the Noble Gases, have eight valence electrons,” Jonathan answered.
“Good, good, Mr. Calbino!” Mr. Howard said. “Now, we have five more minutes of this class left, so pack up. And don’t forget about your homework due next class.” Mr. Howard went back to his desk.
“Wow? Already? This class went by fast!” Marguerite said, clearly shocked.
“Oh, I know, right?” Katherine said. She and Marguerite laughed over it.
“I really don’t want to be in this class, honestly,” Erik said to Jonathan.
“Neither do I, but if I wanna go to college, this is the way to go,” Jonathan responded. Erik nodded. At last, the bell rang and the class left the school. Jonathan, Katherine, Marguerite, Erik and Genevieve were walking home, since they all lived in the same neighborhood.
“We should arrange like, a study group!” Genevieve said as they turned down Shady Glenn.
“Why do we need a study group, Gen?” Marguerite asked her. Genevieve shrugged. They came to three different streets, the one on the left named Shady Glenn Drive, the one in the middle named Sunset Boulevard, and the one on the right named Beachwood Road. Katherine and Marguerite turned down Beachwood Road. Erik and Genevieve went down Shady Glenn Drive. Jonathan, alone, went down Sunset Boulevard. He didn’t hate the class, he just didn’t like being there. Down Sunset Boulevard to the house he lived in. He grabbed the mail, unlocked the door and went inside.
“Oh, Jonathan! Jonathan, sweetie, I need you to watch Elise!” Jonathan’s mother told him in a rush.
“But Mom!” Jonathan pleaded.
“Jonathan Robert Calbino, you do what I say or your grounded! Understood?” his mother snapped. Jonathan knew when she used his full name that she was mad.
“Fine, I’ll watch her!” Jonathan gave in. He hated watching Elise, but what other choice did he have?
“Okay, she’s in the living room watching TV. Make sure she gets in the bath by 7:30 and in bed by 8:00. Understood?” his mother asked him.
“Yes,” Jonathan said, getting a little annoyed.
“All right, bye-bye now. I’ll be back by 10:00,” she said, kissing him on the head and rushing out the door. Jonathan rolled his eyes and walked into the living room.
“C’mon, bratface, time to go to bed,” he said in an irritated voice.
“What did mommy tell you about calling me ‘bratface’?” Elise said to him. “And it’s only 4:30! I don’t have to be in bed until 8:00.”
“Whatever. Just leave me alone, all right?” Jonathan said, going upstairs.
“If you don’t get me in the bath by 7:30 and in bed by 8:00, mommy’s going to ground you!” Elise shouted. Jonathan totally ignored her, went into his room, laid down on his bed and closed his eyes.
“Jonathan Robert Calbino! Wake up right now!” came a voice. Jonathan opened his eyes and saw his angry mother.
“Mom? What are you doing home so early?” he asked through a yawn.
“It isn’t early. It’s 10:00 at night. Elise did NOT have her bath, nor did she go to bed at 8:00! You are grounded!” his mother shouted. Jonathan jumped out of bed.
“But Mom! I was really tired and I fell asleep and I forgot to set my phone alarm to wake me up at 7:30!” Jonathan pleaded, but his mother wasn’t having it.
“You’re grounded for a week, young man!” she shouted. She stormed out of his room and slammed the door. Jonathan laid back down on his bed and closed his eyes.
The next day at school, he was very annoyed with anyone who talked to him. Even with Katherine. Marguerite, who’s normally a very cheerful girl, was even hurt by his words.
“Hi, Jonathan!” Marguerite said cheerfully to him.
“Go away,” he said glumly.
“Why?” she asked.
“Because I’m not in a good mood! That’s why! Gosh!” Jonathan shouted. He stormed off to Homeroom.
“Someone’s got their little friend!” Marguerite said in a sing-song voice.
Soon, the soccer seasons ended. The weather began to get cold, the days began to get shorter. Katherine, Jonathan and Eddie had each received 2 more trophies, one from the school team, and one from the recreational team.
“I can’t wait for the holidays!” Eddie sang while he, Jonathan and Katherine were at his house decorating his tree. They’d already done Katherine’s and Jonathan’s.
“Eddie, please don’t sing,” Jonathan pleaded.
“Why?” Eddie asked.
“Cause you suck at singing,” Katherine said.
“Oh, hush!” Eddie shouted at her. Katherine laughed. Soon, one of her favorite songs came on the radio.
“And I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know. Make my wish come true. Baby, All I Want For Christmas Is You,” she sang along.
“You know, you aren’t that bad of a singer, Kat,” Eddie said to her.
“Aw, thanks, E!” she said cheerfully.
“Hey, any plans on what you guys want for Christmas?” Eddie asked. Jonathan shrugged.
“Well… I was… I was kind of hoping for… you see, I have this special charm and all it needs is the golden chain, so… I was kind of hoping for the golden chain. The charm is very valuable and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. And the golden chain would be perfect,” Katherine said. Eddie and Jonathan looked at her.
“Anything in our budget?” Jonathan asked. Katherine smiled.
“No, not really,” she said.
“Well, I guess what I really want is a special ornamental case for my golden egg. You see, it was passed down to me by my father, and his father, and his father, and his father before. It’s been in my family forever,” Jonathan said. “But it, too, is very expensive.”
“Oh…” Katherine and Eddie said together.
“Well, anyway, we should get back to the decorating,” Eddie said. Katherine and Jonathan nodded, each grabbing an ornament and placing it on the tree.
“Deck the halls with boughs and holly! Fa la la la la la la la la!” Eddie sang.
“Eddie, STOP SINGING!” Jonathan shouted at him.
“No! We wish you a merry Christmas! We wish you a merry Christmas! We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!” Eddie sang. Jonathan pulled out his phone and texted something to Eddie. Eddie opened it up and read it. “That wasn’t very nice….”
“Whatever keeps you quiet, E,” Jonathan said, placing an ornament on the tree.