Rachel and Madison

Chapter One

Eight year old Madison and fifteen year old Rachel are two sisters who live together in the middle of a lush forest. They love each other very much and they're usually quite happy, but that's not always the case. One Saturday morning early in the summer, Madison woke up feeling a little down. She stared out the window of the bedroom that the two of them shared and sighed.

"What's wrong, sis?" asked Rachel.

"I miss my animal friends." said Madison. "Mrs. Kangaroo, Tigger and Rabbit are all away on vacation and don't return until the end of next month so I can't play with them."

"I take it that's the reason you're sad." said Rachel. Madison nodded her head.

"I'll tell you what." said Rachel. "I'll play with you."

"Oh Rachel, thank you!" cried Madison. She ran over to her sister and gave her a hug.

"You're welcome." said Rachel. "However, I don't think we can play together in our pajamas. We should get dressed first."

"That would probably be a good idea." said Madison. "What are we going to wear, though?"

"It just so happens that I have the perfect outfits for us to wear today." said Rachel. She opened up the closet and pulled out two bright blue hand smocked puff sleeve dresses with a white Peter Pan collar, two pairs of white cotton tights and two pairs of black Mary Jane dress shoes. The shoes were still brand new as Rachel had just bought them a month ago. Both dresses had horizontal stripes that ran from the waist all the way down to the bottom of the skirts of the dresses.

"We're going to wear these today." said Rachel. They changed out of their pajamas and into the dresses, tights and shoes. They pulled their hair into ponytails, buckled up the straps on their shoes and looked at themselves in the mirror.

"What do you think?" asked Rachel.

"I think we look very pretty." said Madison.

"I think so too." said Rachel. Then Madison noticed something just below the waist of her sister's dress.

"What's that you have there, Rachel?" she asked.

"It's a kangaroo sized pouch." said Rachel.

"You're not a kangaroo, though." said Madison.

"I know." said Rachel. "But when I bought us these dresses earlier this year, I had mine customized to include a pouch."

"I didn't know that." said Madison.

"Well now you do." said Rachel and the two of them proceeded to the kitchen to have their breakfast.

"What do you want to eat?" asked Rachel.

"I'll have some cereal, please." said Madison.

"You got it." said Rachel. She made a bowl of Cheerios cereal with a tall glass of milk for her sister and two pieces of buttered toast with orange juice for herself. Once they had finished eating and cleaned up their dishes, they headed outside into the forest.

"All right Madison, what do you want to do?" asked Rachel.

"I like jumping. Can we do that?" said Madison.

"Sure." said Rachel. "I never told you this, but I like jumping myself."

"You do?" said Madison.

"Of course." said Rachel. "I'm pretty good too. By the way, do you have your jump rope on you?"

"No I don't." said Madison.

"Go and get your rope please." Rachel ordered. Madison hurried inside and up to the bedroom. She grabbed the rope from the closet and quickly made her way back to where Rachel was.

"Thank you." said Rachel. She took the rope and placed it inside her pouch.

"What do you need my rope for, anyway?" asked Madison.

"You'll find out later, now let's go." said Rachel. The two of them jumped away into the forest and their hair bobbed up and down with each jump they made. As Madison jumped, she watched her sister carefully.

"Wow Rachel, that's really good." said Madison.

"See, I told you." said Rachel and the two girls jumped onward. A short distance later, they came across a group of trees. Madison wanted to climb one, but Rachel wouldn't let her.

"We came out here to jump, not to climb trees." she said.

"Tree climbing is part of playing too." said Madison.

"I know that, but you said you wanted to go jumping so that's all we're doing." said Rachel and they continued on their way. They smiled as they jumped because they were both having so much fun. Shortly after they had passed the trees, Madison had a question.

"Is there an actual reason you didn't want me climbing any of those trees back there?" she asked.

"Well actually, there is." said Rachel. "I got hurt trying to climb one of those trees when I was ten years old."

"What happened?" asked Madison.

"I was climbing the middle tree in the group that we passed and got about halfway up when I lost my balance and fell to the ground." said Rachel. "I ended up breaking my arm and had to stay in a cast for eight weeks."

"Ouch." said Madison.

"Being in that cast wasn't fun." said Rachel. "I don't want what happened to me to happen to you, so you have to promise me that you'll never climb any trees."

"Okay Rachel, I promise." said Madison.

"That's a good girl." said Rachel and they went on. A little while later, they came to a wide open field.

"Look at these flowers, Rachel." said Madison. "Aren't they the prettiest flowers you've ever seen?"

"They do look pretty nice." said Rachel. "But please try to remember that we're out here to jump. We can pick flowers another time."

"All right." said Madison. They smiled as they jumped past the field and made their way deeper into the forest. A little while later, however, Madison heard a rustling noise from behind a bush.

"What's making that noise?" she asked.

"I don't know." said Rachel. "I wouldn't worry about it, though." They continued onward past the bush and then the rustling noise stopped.

"See, I told you there was nothing to worry about." said Rachel. "Come on, let's keep jumping." They continued to jump onward, and luckily for Madison, none of the other bushes made noise. Shortly afterward, they came to a bridge. Madison liked playing games on the bridge whenever she had the chance and she almost asked if they could make a small stop. However, she chose not to do that because although Rachel was usually a nice sister, she had a habit of being strict some of the time. So they jumped onward past the bridge and continued down the path. A half hour later, an idea popped into Madison's head.

"I just thought of something." said Madison. "You and I should go jumping together every Saturday for the rest of the summer. What do you think?"

"That sounds like a terrific idea." said Rachel. "Plus, we'd get out of the house more."

"That's true too." said Madison.

"If we're going to do that, then I'd like to propose something." said Rachel. "I think we should both wear a dress on days where we go jumping."

"That's fine with me." said Madison and they continued on their way. For a while, neither girl said anything as they were both focused on their jumping. After another hour had passed, Madison had another question.

"When did you learn to jump?" she asked.

"That's a good question." said Rachel. "Believe it or not, I didn't learn to jump until I was nine years old. I know that sounds ridiculous, but not everyone learns everything at the same age. Anyway, Mom was supposed to teach me but she wasn't feeling well so Mrs. Kangaroo ended up teaching me instead. I learned how to jump up and down as well as both short and long jumps. After a few lessons, I got so good that I was able to jump on my own. Now I'm one of the best jumpers in this entire forest."

"You've certainly come a long way from those initial lessons." said Madison.

"Yes I have." said Rachel. "Then last year after Mom had to move away from the forest because of her job, I used the same lessons I had learned to teach you how to jump. And I must say that you're a pretty good little jumper yourself."

"Thanks." said Madison. "I wish my jumping was as good as yours, though."

"Don't worry, you'll get better as you get older." said Rachel assuringly and they continued on. They had been jumping for a while now and Madison was now feeling a little more confident because of what Rachel had just said. A half hour later, Madison spoke again.

"I bet you could beat Mrs. Kangaroo in a jumping contest." she said.

"Oh, I don't know about that." said Rachel. "I know I'm good, but beating a kangaroo in a jumping contest might be tough because they're known to be really strong jumpers."

"Well you're not wrong." said Madison. "You'd probably be able to beat me, though."

"You might be right about that." said Rachel. "In fact, I have an idea. You and I will have a jumping contest later on. What do you say?"

"You're on." said Madison. "But to make this more interesting, we should make a friendly bet."

"What kind of bet did you have in mind?" asked Rachel.

"If I win, you have to play whatever I want with me for an entire week." said Madison.

"Okay, but if I win, you have to do all the chores for the entire week." said Rachel.

"That sounds fair." said Madison.

"Then it's a bet." said Rachel and they jumped onward. They were both having a good time because they were doing an activity that they both enjoyed and that was important because once you start doing something you really like, it's hard to stop. At this point, the girls had been jumping for almost three hours and they hadn't stopped once. They didn't mind, however, because all the jumping was giving them a good workout. A little while later, they came up to another field. However, this one had just plain grass and no flowers.

"We've been jumping for a long time." said Madison. "I think it's time to stop and take a break."

"That's a good idea." said Rachel and she let out a yawn. "Besides, I'm getting a little tired." They made their way to a spot in the middle of the field and lay down on the grass.

"We'll have our jumping contest after we finish our nap." said Rachel. They rolled onto their sides, closed their eyes and fell asleep. While they slept, they both dreamed that they were jumping up and down in a big bounce castle and having the time of their lives. When they woke up two hours later, they felt very refreshed.

"That was a nice nap." said Madison. "I think I've definitely got my energy back."

"In that case, are you ready for our jumping contest?" asked Rachel.

"Yes I am." said Madison proudly.

"All right." said Rachel. "The first part of this contest is about speed. You see that tree stump near the path we were on before?"

"Yes." said Madison.

"Whichever one of us can jump there and back first the fastest wins." said Rachel. "On our marks, get set, go." The girls jumped away, with Madison taking an early lead. She was enjoying this contest and she was ahead at the halfway point. It looked like she would win, but Rachel caught up to her and got back to their rest spot just ahead of her sister.

"That was a close race." said Madison.

"Yeah, you almost had me on that." said Rachel. "All right, the next part involves seeing who can jump up and down the most times in thirty seconds."

"How does this part work?" asked Madison.

"It's simple. Whichever one of us can make the most jumps within the time limit wins." said Rachel. "You go first and I'll time you." Madison took a deep breath and started jumping. Rachel kept track of the time in her head and once the thirty seconds were up, she yelled time which meant that Madison had to stop jumping.

"How much was that?" she asked.

"You got in about twenty two jumps. That's not bad." said Rachel. "Now it's my turn to jump and your turn to time me." She let out a deep breath and then started her jumps. During most of her time limit, it looked like Madison might win this time. However, Rachel managed to surpass her sister's count right as the time expired.

"Twenty three jumps for me, so I win that one." said Rachel.

"You're really good at these, Rachel." said Madison.

"That's because I've been jumping longer than you." said Rachel. "Now for this next part, we need to use your jump rope. That's why I asked you to bring it." She took the rope out of her pouch and gave it to Madison.

"I'm guessing that we're having a jump rope contest next?" asked Madison.

"That's right." said Rachel. "Whoever can make the most jumps without tripping over the rope wins. I must warn you, though, that you have to win this in order to stay alive. Are you ready?"

"I'm ready." said Madison.

"Then here we go." said Rachel. "You can have the first turn." Madison untangled the rope and began to jump. Fortunately for Madison, jump rope was one thing she was very good at and it showed as she managed to make three hundred jumps before making a mistake.

"Three hundred's going to be a tough number to beat." said Rachel and she took her turn. Although she had never touched a jump rope before, she still managed to do pretty decently. She made it past one fifty easily, but then tripped over the rope after one hundred and sixty five jumps, which made Madison the winner.

"Looks like you won that round." said Rachel and she placed the rope on the ground in a straight line. "I'm still ahead two to one, though. Now for the next contest, we're going to see who can jump over the rope the most without stepping on it. You have to win this in order to force a tiebreaker. Are you ready for this?"

"Yes I am." said Madison.

"Here we go." said Rachel. She went first since she had lost the previous round. She managed to make thirty jumps over the rope before stepping on it.

"Now it's my turn." said Madison. She was much more successful as she was able to make seventy jumps over the rope before stepping on it.

"Looks like we're even now." said Madison.

"That we are." said Rachel and she put the rope away in her pouch. "There's still one contest left, though. For this last one, we're going to see who can jump the furthest within five jumps. Whoever wins this one wins the contest overall. Ready?" Madison nodded and off they went. Although Madison managed to cover a good distance within her five jumps, Rachel was able to get a little bit farther due to the fact that she had more experience.

"I win again." she said. "That makes the score three to two and that makes me the jumping champion."

"Congratulations, Rachel." said Madison, shaking her sister's hand. "Even though I didn't win, I still had fun.

"I'm pleased with how well you did." said Rachel. "You almost had me a couple of times."

"Maybe I'll be able to beat you next time whether it's a jumping contest or a different game." said Madison.

"Well I'll tell you right now that we're not going to have any more jumping contests for a while." said Rachel. "The jumping we do the rest of the summer is just going to be for fun. Now, do you remember the best we made?"

"I do." said Madison. "Since I lost, I have to do the chores for the next week."

"That's right." said Rachel. "However, since you were a gracious loser, I'll let you have tonight off. Now then, let's go home." The two girls made their way back to the path and started jumping back toward their house. Now normally whenever Madison lost at something, she got a bit upset. That wasn't the case this time, however. Even though she had lost the contest, she was still happy because she had gotten an opportunity to play with her big sister and that was all that mattered to her. Three hours later, they made it back to their house.

"What do you want for dinner tonight?" Rachel asked when they got inside.

"You can decide." said Madison.

"All right." said Rachel. She took the rope back out of her pouch and handed it to Madison. "Here's your rope back, by the way."

"Thanks." said Madison. "I'm going to practice my jumping outside."

"All right." said Rachel. "I'll let you know when it's time to eat. Oh, and make sure you stay in the yard."

"I will." said Madison and she hurried out the door with her jump rope in hand. She positioned herself carefully so that she wasn't too close to the door and started jumping. She was able to make six hundred successful jumps before making a mistake.

"Six hundred jumps is really good." said Madison. She started again and did better the second time, managing to make nine hundred jumps before making a mistake. While she was pleased with both numbers, they were short of her goal of one thousand so she tried again. She managed to get to eleven hundred jumps before making a mistake.

"Twenty six hundred jumps total is really good." she said. She decided to practice jumping over the rope next so she placed it on the grass and started jumping. She was able to make it over the rope a hundred and fifty times before stepping on it.

"That's pretty good." said Madison. She started again, and did even better on her next attempt, jumping over the rope four hundred times before stepping on it. Next, she decided to practice jumping up and down in place. She took a deep breath and started to jump when she heard Rachel open the door.

"You have a phone call." she said.

"Who is it?" asked Madison.

"It's Mom." said Rachel. She handed Madison the phone, picked up the rope and went back inside.

"Hi, Mommy." said Madison excitedly as she jumped up and down.

"Hi, honey." said Mom. "How are you and Rachel doing?"

"We're doing fine." said Madison. "It's been a while since I've talked to you."

"I know." said Mom. "We haven't talked to each other since I had to move away from you girls. Anyway, how did your day go?"

"It went really well." said Madison. "Rachel and I went jumping today."

"Yes, she told me about that." said Mom. "She also told me about the jumping contest you two had."

"I guess she also told you that she won the contest, didn't she?" asked Madison.

"Yes she did." said Mom. "But winning two out of five events is still pretty good for your first time so you should be proud of yourself."

"I'm very proud." said Madison. "What do you think of my jumping?"

"Well I can't see it over the phone." said Mom. "I'll have to actually see you jump when I visit you two so that I can make an accurate judgement."

"That reminds me, when are you going to come and visit us?" asked Madison.

"I'm not sure." said Mom. "That really depends on when I can get some free time. I'll try and visit you girls before the end of the summer, though."

"All right." said Madison.

"So what else have you and Rachel been up to?" asked Mom.

"Not too much. Just spending time with each other." said Madison.

"That's good to hear." said Mom. They continued to talk for a good twenty minutes before Rachel opened the door.

"Dinner's ready." she said.

"Okay." said Madison. "I have to go now, Mommy."

"All right, honey. You take care." said Mom.

"I will." said Madison. She handed the phone back to Rachel and followed her into the kitchen.

"I made us some spaghetti and meatballs for dinner." said Rachel.

"That's one of my favorites." said Madison.

"I know, which is why I made it for us." said Rachel and they sat down at the table to eat.

"What happened to your dress?" asked Madison as she took a bite.

"What do you mean?" asked Rachel.

"There's some meat sauce on it." said Madison.

"Oh, I guess some of it spilled onto the top just below the collar while I was cooking." said Rachel.

"You should wear an apron next time." said Madison.

"I don't wear aprons when I cook." said Rachel. "I'll have to be more careful, though. Now while you were outside practicing your jumps, I placed an order for something."

"What did you order?" wondered Madison as she took another bite of her food.

"You may find this hard to believe, but in the six years I've been jumping, I've never had a jump rope of my own." said Rachel. "I know it sounds crazy that a teenager like me wants a jump rope, but you're never too old for something that you love. And I really love jumping just like you do."

"When is the rope supposed to get here?" asked Madison.

"The sales person on the phone told me that it would arrive either Thursday or Friday." said Rachel. "By the way, do you know how many times we jumped today?"

"No I don't." said Madison.

"Including the jumps we made when we had our little contest earlier, the two of us jumped a combined total of thirty five thousand four hundred and fifty times." said Rachel.

"That's a lot." said Madison.

"I'll say." said Rachel. They ate the rest of their dinner without saying anything and as they were cleaning up the dishes, Rachel got an idea.

"Do you want to play a game when we're finished in here?" she asked.

"Sure." said Madison. "What kind of game did you have in mind?"

"I was thinking either Pictionary or Clue or something like that." said Rachel.

"I think I'd rather play Clue." said Madison. "I don't like Pictionary."

"Clue it is, then." said Rachel. When all the dishes were cleaned up, Rachel got out the game and set it up on the kitchen table. Madison had only played the game once before and that had been before the girls' mother was forced to move away from them so Rachel refreshed Madison on the rules and they started playing. The first game didn't go too well as Madison went for an early accusation and got it wrong. The second time went significantly better but she still lost due to a wrong guess. The third game was her best one yet, but it wasn't enough as Rachel won again. The fourth and final game came down to the wire, but Madison finally pulled through for a win. Right after that game finished, however, she let out a yawn.

"I guess all that jumping today really tired you out, didn't it?" asked Rachel as she put everything back in the game box. Madison sleepily nodded her head.

"You know something, I'm actually pretty tired from all of that jumping myself." said Rachel. "I think it's time we both went to bed. What do you say?" Madison was too tired to say anything so she nodded her head in agreement. Rachel put the game away and the girls made their way up to their bedroom. They took off their shoes and tights and changed into their pajamas.

"Thanks for taking me jumping today, Rachel." said Madison as they got into their beds.

"You're welcome." said Rachel. "But don't forget, you still have to do the chores for the next few days as part of our agreement from our bet." She turned off the light and both girls went to sleep.