"It Started with a Mulberry"
After supper that night, Chad was about to go upstairs to his bedroom when Mitch said, “Chad, I think you should come look Chase over; he’s not acting himself.”
Chad looked annoyed. “Couldn’t you have asked me before supper?” He sighed. “Come on, let’s go.”
As Mitch followed Chad out of the house he winked at Andi, who grinned back at him.
Wandering into the kitchen, Andi quickly found some ice in the icebox. It’s good we’re in the middle of summer, she thought with a giggle.
Filling a bowl with ice, she crept past the study where Mother, Justin, and Melinda were sitting, and up the stairs to Chad’s bedroom. She tried to open the door with one hand and balance the bowl of ice in the other arm when crash! The bowl slipped from Andi’s grasp and shattered on the floor, making a big mess of glass pieces and ice chunks.
Andi gasped. Oh no! I’m in big trouble now! Before she could think of what to do, Andi heard footsteps and turned around to see Mother, Justin, and Melinda rushing up the stairs.
“What happened?” Mother asked.
Andi stared at the floor.
“What happened?” Mother repeated her question.
Andi hesitated then blurted out, “Chad made me eat a bad mulberry so Mitch gave me the idea of putting ice under his sheets to get him back. I was trying to open the door and . . .” Her voice trailed off.
Mother sighed. “All right, let’s get this mess cleaned up.”
Later, Andi lay in bed, thinking about the smirk Chad gave her when he learned what happened. The more she thought about it, the more determined she became to play a successful prank on Chad; but, try as she might, she couldn’t think of anything.
Finally, after much tossing and turning, she drifted off to sleep.
The next morning at breakfast, whenever Andi looked at Chad, he grinned and winked at her, making her more riled than she already was.
After breakfast, Andi wandered around the yard, looking for something to do. Walking past the mulberry tree, she was once again reminded that she hadn’t thought of any other trick to play on Chad.
“I’ll never live it down if I can’t think of anything to get Chad back with!” she mumbled to herself. “Why, if word gets around that he made a fool of me, I’ll never be able to show my face around the ranch hands again! Hmm. I wonder if Riley would help me. Or maybe Mitch could help me dunk Chad in the water trough... water... that’s it!”
And with a plan forming in her mind, she eagerly awaited the noon meal.
“What’s for dinner? I’m starving!” Chad exclaimed, joining his family at the dinner table. “Thirsty, too.” He lifted his glass to his mouth and nearly emptied it with one large gulp. A strange look appeared on his face, and he swallowed with difficulty.
Andi bit her lip, trying hard not to smile, but failed. Finally she burst out laughing until tears streamed down her face.
“Andi!” Chad gave her a look that said, Watch out, sis, I’m going to get you.
Andi swallowed her laughter and put on a look of sweet innocence. “Why, Chad, it’s only a bit of salt,” she said, then burst out laughing again.
Although the mealtime discussion continued once again, it was several minutes before Andi could get her giggles under control; she couldn’t stop grinning.
After she finished eating and excused herself, Andi dashed outside to her favorite climbing tree. Scrambling up the branches, she made herself comfortable. Chad will never see me up here, she thought. If I could just stay here until supper, there won’t be any chance of him getting back at me! Andi felt very pleased with herself and settled down in the tree to wait.
She soon became bored. I wonder where Riley is? He’s probably off riding Midnight somewhere while I’m stuck in this tree.
Andi waited. And waited some more. She became tired; and soon she nodded off to sleep.
The sound that jolted Andi out of her sleep was footsteps. As she peered out of the leafy branches, she noticed the sun was low in the west.
Then she saw Chad on his way to the house. Hmm. He’ll pass right under this tree.
Andi watched her big brother walk closer and closer. Then, when he was right underneath her, she jumped out of the tree and onto his back.
Chad reached back and pulled Andi over his shoulder then headed for the nearest water trough.
Andi squealed and squirmed, but she couldn’t get out of Chad’s vice-like grip. She felt herself falling, then landed with a splash in the water.
“Truce!” Andi yelled.
“Truce.” Chad grinned and helped Andi out of the trough. “And no more pink mulberries!”