Young Hearts (Chapter 4, page 3 of 4)

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Chapter 4

Her eyes flew open when she felt hands kneading the muscles in her shoulders. She found Wendell standing behind her with a shy smile on his face. "How's that?" he asked.

"That feels nice," Samantha said. She closed her eyes and let Wendell's hands massage the soreness out of her shoulders. When her eyes opened again, she found herself lying on the deck with Wendell and Prudence standing over her, arguing.

"She was my friend first. You can't take her away," Prudence said. She pushed Wendell, who stumbled and fell on top of Samantha. "You're a stupid little weasel. I don't know why she let you come."

"I'm the one who built this boat," Wendell said. "What'd you do other than sew a couple sheets together?"

"You didn't build anything. The other boys did all the work because you're too weak to do anything except whittle some sticks. You should have stayed home, Wendy."

Wendell jumped to his feet and stabbed Prudence in the chest with one finger. "Don't call me that!" he screamed.

"Why, what are you going to do? You can't hurt me."

"That's because you're protected by all that fat."

"Why you little-" Samantha got between them before Prudence could wrap her hands around Wendell's throat.

"Knock it off you two," Samantha said. "Wendell, go get some rest. Prudence and I will row."

"She started it. She called me a pervert."

"You were touching her."

"He gave me a massage, that's all," Samantha said. "The two of you stop fighting or we'll turn around and I'll get someone else to help me. Understand?"

Prudence and Wendell looked down at the deck with shame. They nodded in unison and then Wendell slunk back to the stern to sleep. Samantha and Prudence took the oars and continued to row. "You shouldn't have let him come," Prudence said.

"He said the same thing. You two have a lot in common." Samantha winked at Prudence. "Don't you think he's cute?"

"Wendell? He's a sissy."

"Then who do you like? I bet it's David."

Prudence's face turned red again and to Samantha's surprise Prudence began to cry. "What difference does it make if I like anyone? No one will ever like me."

"That's not true. I'm sure plenty of boys will like you when they get more mature."

Prudence shook her head. "None of them will ever like me. I'm not like you or Helena. The skinny girls."

"Come on, Prudence, don't start that again. You're going through a phase, that's all. When you get older-"

"I'll be even fatter. You don't understand. How could you? You've always been skinny."

"You don't have to be fat if you don't want to. You can fight against it."

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