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Chapter 7: Friends
I woke up Sunday bleary-eyed. Yesterday’s memories suddenly come flooding back. Her shock when we shook hands, her kind aunt, etc…I smile and shift under the covers.
I shake my head and throw the covers off, going over to my window where the plinking is coming from. Another pebble hits my window.
I open it and whisper-yell, “Who’s there?”
I hear a quiet giggle. “Me, silly.”
“Me, Abigail.” Her face pops up at my window.
“Are you completely whacko? How did…” I peer out the window and see that she climbed the trellis to get up the side of the house.
She looks down. “I was wondering if you wanted to take a walk through the park. But if you—”
I cut her off. “No I’d love to. Hold on.” I back away from the window and throw on a t-shirt and a zip-up hoodie and the jeans I wore yesterday. Crap. I haven’t had time to gel up my Mohawk, so my hair is in crazy disarray.
I head back over to the window. “Like the hair?”
She giggles. “What happened to it?”
“This is morning hair. If I leave it like this, no one will ever know who you’re walking with.”
“Okay, let’s go.” She jumped down to the ground, sticking her landing gracefully.
I leap out the window and topple beside her. I scramble to my feet and brush my jacket off. “Let’s go.”
She leads the way to the park, which at this hour, is devoid of occupants. “Why did you want to go walking at this hour?”
“Well, I sorta need a favor. The cheerleaders have always liked to play pranks on me…and last night they tee-peed my house.” Her face was clouded with anger. “I want to get rid of it before my dad wakes up.”
“Oh, I see. Okay, who was—holy crap.” Her house was covered in toilet paper, spray paint, broken eggshells, and silly string.
She takes a deep breath. “This was taped to my window.” She pulls a note out of her pocket.
I take it from her and read it. “‘No one likes you anyway, so why don’t you just leave? You’re just going to be hated, and don’t think you’ll get the new kid to be your friend because we can just as easily take him away too.’ That’s awful. Why do they do things like this?”
“I don’t know. I’ve tried for years to be someone’s friend, and it usually never works. I’ve kinda hardened myself away from them, but it still hurts sometimes.” She looks up at the sky, blinking away tears.
“Well, we better get this cleaned up.” I say, taking her elbow and guiding her to the house.
It took us three hours, but we got all the toilet paper unwrapped and scrubbed off the spray paint. There were still a few traces of the paint, but nothing could be done.
“I suppose it’s time to paint the house again.” Abigail sighs. “Hold on, I’m going to the garage.”
She heads off and enters not a garage, but a small storage shed in her backyard. She clatters around for a few moments, then returns with two cans of paint and two wire brushes.
“Here,” she says, handing me a can and a brush. “Let’s cover up the remaining traces before—”
“Hello, Abigail, and who is this? And what are you doing with paint?” Dr. Herbert Chadwick says cheerfully, reaching down and getting the newspaper.
“—Before my dad gets here.” She finishes slowly.
“Abigail, are you painting the house?” Dr. Chadwick says, hands on hips.
“Yes, Dad, we are. The house was tee-peed last night and I got Daniel to help me get it off before you woke up so we wouldn’t trouble you with it.”
“They tee-peed the house again? I take it this time they used some spray paint too?” Her dad says.
“Yeah…and not all of it came off, so I found the paint in the shed and we were about to paint over the remaining spray.” She lowers her eyes.
“Here, let me go get a brush and my old jeans and I’ll be out here to help.”
“Oh, that’s okay, Dad, we can handle it.”
“No, no, this is a chance for me to meet your friend.” He smiles at me, then disappears into the house.
Abigail sighs and flops on the ground, arms crossed on her chest.
I seat myself next to her. “Hey.”
“My dad has actually asked me before, the last time this happened, if I wanted to move. I told him no, that I loved it here and if we moved it would be like cowardice. I’m moving because people pick on me: no way. I won’t do it. I decided to stick it out, and I’m glad I did because I’ve finally found a friend.” She looks at me.
“Glad to be of service,” I say, smiling.
Her dad comes back outside and we jump to our feet. He grabs a brush and begins painting over the spray.
“Here, since you two have done most of the work, why don’t you go have fun or work on a project or something and I’ll do this?”
“Okay, Dad.” She put our supplies away, leaving enough for her dad, then we headed back off to the park.
We talked the whole way to the park and when we got there, we just wandered in circles until we finally just sat down on the lip of the park fountain.
“So how many different places have you lived?” she asks.
“I’ve lived in Oklahoma, South Dakota, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, and finally here. You?”
“I’ve lived here forever. I’ve visited relatives in Canada and France, but I’ve always lived here.”
“So your family is French, then?”
“Yes, my family is French on both sides. Both of my parents are first generation French-Americans. I’m second generation. My great-aunt is a naturalized citizen, but she was born in Quebec, Canada.”
“I guess that explains you.”
She looks at me, puzzled. “What do you mean, that explains me?”
“You’re a French beauty.”
She nudges me, blushing. “Oh, stop it.”
I nudge her back. She elbows back. I return the elbow jab. She eyes me with a mischievous look in her eye. Suddenly her hand reaches into the fountain and splashes me.
“Oh, you did not just do that!” I exclaim, laughing.
She laughs, then gasps when I splash her back. She shakes the water out of her eyes and splashes me again.
Soon it is a full fledged water fight, both of us soaked and laughing, splashing water everywhere.
Suddenly she stops and I follow her lead. A cheerleader is facing her down, perfect in her impeccability.
“Why, Abigail, are we playing in the water fountain?” she sneers.
“Because, Carmen, that’s what friends do. Friends like to have fun and they don’t care at all what others think.” Abigail shoots back.
“Friends? What friends do you have, loser?” Carmen laughs.
I come around the other side of the fountain. “How about me? Don’t I count?”
“Oh. You.” Carmen looks down on me with disgust.
“By the way, Carmen, I’d love to thank you for the wonderful gift you and your friends left me last night. We had so much fun cleaning it up.”
“Oh, no problem, loser. Anytime.”
“This can come at anytime too. Are you ready?” She looks over at me. I nod.
“Am I ready for what?” Carmen snorts.
Abigail and I dip our hands into the fountain and splash her like crazy. Carmen doesn’t make a sound, just stands there dripping wet.
“Well, I hope you had fun—doing that…” she stammers, wiping mascara streaks off her face.
“Oh, it was no big deal. Anytime.” Abigail smiles as Carmen stalks off with squishing steps.
Abigail and I slap high-fives.
“I better get home before my parents think someone abducted me,” I say.
“Yeah, my dad will wonder why I’ve been so long in getting home and why I’m wet.” She laughs and heads off toward her house.
When I arrive at my house, my mom is pacing the living room. Oops.
“Where have you been, Daniel Peter?”
“Mom, I was with Abigail!”
“Why, young man? I want the full story right now!” she stamps her foot.
“The cheerleaders tee-peed her house so I went over there to help her get it off then her dad started helping and told us to go have fun so we went to the park and were talking—did you know she was French?—and then we played around in the fountain splashing each other and then we splashed a mean cheerleader and then I came home.” I say breathlessly.
“Oh my. They tee-peed her house? Do all the kids here hate her?” My mom says, massaging her temples.