20 years ago

"Molly Grace, get away from that creek before you fall in," Molly Adams' mother said sternly for the fifteenth time that July night. The five year old in question sighed in defeat once again and made her way around the group of adults gathered in her backyard and over to a small group of boys. They took one look at her muddy dress and instantly accepted her into their unoffical brother-club.

"Whatcha doin'?" She asked shyly, hands grasped behind her back as she rocked back and forth on her bare heels. The sandals her mother had put her in before the cookout were long gone by this point.

"Jordan's gonna catch that lightnin' bug," Justin, the one a little bit taller than her announced proudly just as the smallest boy pounced at the bug and landed face-down in the dirt at her feet. The lightning bug flew safely right over their heads. She giggled and bent down beside him, poking his shoulder to see if he had survived the fall or not. He lifted his head up and shook it to get the dust out of his light brown hair before standing back up and dusting his clothes off. A woman not much older than Molly's mother rushed over to them, giving the three boys one of those behave-or-else looks only a mother of three boys could manage.

"Ya'll be nice to Molly," She warned them, sending them once last look before she went back to the group of adults. The boys all sighed. Trust their mother to ruin every bit of fun.

"Watch this," Molly instructed the boys, jumping gracefully into the hair and closing her hand around another of the lightning bugs flying through the night sky. The boys circled around her to see that the bug was, indeed, in the palm of her hand. She giggled at their shocked expressions, delighted in the fact that she had succeeded at something one of them had failed at. "That's how ya catch one," She told Jordan, transfering the still blinking bug into his hand proudly.

"Thanks, you're pretty cool. For a girl," Jordan added, studying the gift in his hand. Both of their mother's herded them over to the picnic tables to watch the 4th of July fireworks. They sat there, all four of them entranced with the noise and the flashing lights, as their mother's watched from behind them, forming a friendship that would last longer than any of them ever expected it would.