Sorry for the delay in getting Part II of Never Never out to you guys! To make up for it, I’m gonna post two parts today so don’t forget to check them both out!
We walked through the automatic doors and I pulled at my charm bracelet I had gotten from my grandpa. He had gotten it on one of his tours of Paris. Unlike us, grandpa was filthy rich. Or had been until he’d gambled his life away. My eyes swept over the premises. There were two girls about Natalie’s age chatting happily and sipping their iced coffee in the café. There was a mom and her baby looking at the scarfs on the clearance rack and there was a two year old and his older sister looking at the junky dollar section. I was about to jog past them to catch up with Natalie and mom when I caught a glimpse of the girl’s face. She was about my age. I’d seen her before at the Birkham Public Library before. I’d never talked to her or asked her her name before. I’d seen the little boy, too. I slowed down. She turned her head so I quickly flicked my eyes over to a rubber ducky. Trying to make her think I was actually interested in the thing, I fingered it. When she looked away, I dashed off to my mom and Natalie who were browsing in the girl’s clothes section.
“Mom, I see my friends looking at the iPhones, can I PLEASE go with them? I don’t want to be seen with her,” Natalie paused to make a dramatic grimace, “and they asked me. Please?” Mom sighed and nodded. Under her breath I heard her mumble something like, why can’t they just get along? I wondered that sometimes myself. I didn’t have time to think about whether I wanted dark jeans or light jeans before the girl from the library showed up. There was nowhere to hide nonchalantly to I ducked behind the nearest rack of clothes. Soft lilty fabric brushed my ear. I squinted my eyes shut, hoping the girl wouldn’t see me as she walked past. I often tend to have bad luck but I probably have never hoped like this before. Except for maybe the time when grandpa was dying I had hoped with all my heart that he would live. I’m not super religious but I prayed my little heart out. But he died anyway so there’s bad luck for ya.
The girl was above me. She was staring down on me with dark almond eyes. Brushing a stray strand of jet black hair away from her eyes, she stuck out her hand to help me up. I didn’t take it.
“I’m Rose. You seem to be lost?” Asian. That was it. I couldn’t put my finger on it before. Her accent was Chinese but it was buried under American.
“Thalia. I’m not lost. Just dropped my…” I mentally kicked myself. Now what? I’d turned into a lier. pulled a dollar bill out of my pocket and placed it carefully behind me. There. I had dropped something. “Dollar bill. Dropped my dollar bill.” I picked it up from behind me and held it up with a nervous smile on my face. One dark eyebrow climbed on the girl’s face.
“Okay. Bye.” She walked off to the shoe aisle. I blinked. Her little brother wasn’t behind her. I heard the fire alarm go off. I jumped on top of a clothing cart and scanned around. No flames. I knew where the fire alarms were. I knew which ones worked and didn’t work. I heard Rose scream. She must have discovered that her little brother wasn’t behind her. I ran as swiftly as I could to the fire alarm at the back of the building. Closest one that worked. I guess after all these years of running away from Roxy, I got pretty fast. I saw a little boy shrieking, his little hand still on the lever. I kicked the OFF button for false alarms and swooped up the little boy. People were screaming and running out the door. I jogged to the shoe aisle, my hand on the little boy’s head to keep his skull from bouncing around too much. I’d seen this in movies. I’d always assumed I would be the bystander but this time, I was the hero. Rose was clutching a rack and wiping a tear from her eye. When she saw me turn the corner she plucked the toddler out of my arms.
“You found Benjamin!” She beamed at me. “Naughty boy. Don’t run off like that, Benji!” I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, my hands held neatly behind my back. Rose put down Benjamin and wrapped her slender, pale arms around me. “Thanks!” she said and then grabbed Benji’s hand and skipped off. And that was that. No money, no press, just a hug. I had known it from the beginning. I would never be famous.
Mom smiled at me from across our dining room table, I buried my face in my hands. No way. I was NOT starting school in the middle of the week. Uh uh. No way Jose. But yet I was. I would already be three weeks late. I wanted to finish out the week on a good note not a bad note that screams I DON’T BELONG!
Mom had said she’d bought me a new backpack but I’d seen her take it out of Natalie’s closet and washed it in bleach and tie-dyed it. It still looked like Natalie’s back pack though. The purple was shining through, underneath the bleached layer.
“No, no, no, no, no, no! NO.”
“Thalia, honey we think you should start as soon as possible. You’d start on Thursday and have Friday, Saturday and Sunday to hang out with your new pupils.” I shook my head. They weren’t going to budge. My mom would keep bribing me until I said yes and I would never get any of the stuff she promised. Once, when I was in kindergarten, I told her I didn’t want to go to the doctor’s office to get shots and she told me she would get me a pony and we would live in a mansion and now look at us. Stuck in a dump.
“Fine! You want to shove me into a brand new school tomorrow, go ahead. It’s not like I’ll make any friends anyway. Just two more days of misery more that necessary,” mom looked as if I’d slapped her and dad looked as if I’d just told him he couldn’t watch the Super Bowl. I immediately wished I could take back my words. Before either of them could send me up to my room I tromped out the door and up to the second floor. I could hear Natalie giggling at her phone talking about how this guy was cute and that guy was nerdy. I sighed. Bed time. Tomorrow I would have to get up bright and early to go to school.
Thursday morning arrived. I woke up at 6:00 and Natalie started scolding me for sleeping in. I think she did it for the fun of it. Usually she gets up later than this. I put on one of my new itchy t-shirts and my new stiff jeans and my new green tennis shoes that were probably from the boy section. I brushed and brushed and brushed my knotted, shoulder- length strawberry blonde hair until it was so full of static electricity, I felt like a light bulb. Or a poodle. An electro poodle. I grabbed five bucks out of my piggy bank and jumped into bus 2206. I felt like I was going to tip over backwards, I was so heavily loaded down with books and binders and supplies. What if the teacher called me Tha-lee-a (long a and th) instead of Ta-lee-a (short a and no th)? I hate when people do that. The bus arrived at Uptown Middle and Natalie kicked me off. Literally.
School was buzzing with activity. Girls giggling amongst each other and boys high fiving and playing football. I felt WAY weird. Someone pushed me.
“Move already!” I winced and stepped forward. I walked as fast as I could to the nearest hiding place which happened to be a huge oak tree. I rushed to the side facing the field and leaned up against it. I felt relieved but I felt like there was someone within a foot of me. Infact, as I turned, I realized there was someone right next to me.
The boy turned his head.
“Oh, hey! Didn’t see you there! I don’t think I’ve seen you before. You new here?”
I had no idea what to do.
“ Um, yeah. When do classes start?” The boy checked his watch.
“Right now, actually. Do you want me to point you in the right direction?” I nodded and handed him a slip of paper that mom had given me this morning. He smiled and his blue eyes looked into my brown one’s. “You’re in my class for first period! Follow me!” I slid behind the cheerful kid, hoping I looked like a shadow.
Thank you for reading! I really hope you are enjoying this story! Don’t forget to keep checking for more updates and comment if you liked it!
P.S. There might be more stories coming after Never Never!!!