Chapter 4

Hey everyone! I really have no introduction for this post! You know the drill! Enjoy the fourth chapter of my story!

Chapter 4

Lizzie-

Life is so hard. How on Earth will I survive? Of course, not having you here doesn’t exactly help. How is England? Did you see all of the important things yet-Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye? Missing you tons! Wish you were here! Email me soon! Getting lonely around here…

Hugs, Ciara

P.S. The foster girl is here. She’s not all that exciting, though the kids at school seem to think otherwise.

 I close my laptop and sigh. Then I start shivering, because even on warm October days, the winds are still pretty chilly. I’m so busy thinking how lucky Lizzie is to be in England instead of boring old California that I don’t notice the Frisbee coming right at me until it’s too late. Clonk! Right in the head, too. Ouch. “Annabelle!” I shout. “Watch where you’re throwing that thing!” I had thought that after such a stressful week of school (complete with Emily getting more attention than I’ve ever seen directed at one person before, and Prissy Peyton giving me all kinds of unwarranted, unwanted attention) the weekend would be very relaxing. Obviously I am being proven wrong.

“Sorry!” She scrambles up the porch steps and snatches the plastic disc from where it landed on the porch. She hops down the steps again and throws it. “Nice catch!” she shouts to Emily, who is on the other side of the yard.

As soon as she leaves, I lean back in my chair and am once again lost in thought. Lizzie is so lucky. England is way more interesting than here. Since she moved, I haven’t made any new friends, much less someone who could be my new best friend. Roxanne is the only friend I really have now. And even Roxanne is choosing Emily over me, I think gloomily.

After being hit by the Frisbee a total of 6 more times, I decide it isn’t worth it, even to sit outside, and get up. My muscles immediately start protesting from sitting still so long, but I manage to make it inside, where I take up my position on the couch instead.

Fifteen minutes later, Emily and Annabelle decide it’s a good time to come inside for a break. As soon as I go back outside to escape their chatter, they want to resume their game. When I sit back down on the couch, they announce an immediate emergency bathroom break.

When this has been going on for about 20 minutes, I begin to think that I’ll never finish my drawing. The principal, Mr. Cole, announced yesterday that the Halloween parade would be coming up soon. Every year, the judges deem one costume in the parade worthy of the $100 cash prize. I have decided that to really catch the judges’ attention, I am going to design and make my costume myself. I only have a few weeks to come up with the best costume ever to win that contest.

Giving up for now, I put my sketchbook in my backpack, even though I haven’t really come up with any ideas yet. I can tell that, by this time, even my mom, who’s trying to cook in the kitchen, is getting fed up. Each time we all tromp through the kitchen, the expression on her face gets a little bit more irritated, until finally she turns off the stove, sets her spoon down, and turns to look at all of us. I don’t know what my face looks like, but I assume I look like Emily and Annabelle, who are wearing guilty expressions.

“Don’t you all have something better to do on a Saturday afternoon than walk in and out of the house over and over again?” My mother asks us. “I have an idea,” she continues before we can respond. “Why don’t we go to the mall? Emily needs some more clothes and you can all get some ideas for your Halloween costumes from the window displays. Maybe when we’re done, we’ll go to Mimi’s for shakes.” She turns to Emily. “They have the best milkshakes there.” Mom winks at us.

It only takes us a matter of minutes to get ready, as excited as we all are. This time I manage to snag my favorite jacket before Emily does. She frowns slightly, but doesn’t say anything. My mother does, though. “Aren’t you cold, honey?” is out of her mouth as soon as she sees Emily without a coat, and me with my jacket. Giving me The Glare, she tells me to go get another one of my jackets for Emily. I shrug and obey. Then we’re off.

In the mall, my mother and Emily, of course, want to spend ten trillion hours in each of the clothes stores. This would normally be just fine with me, because I love shopping, but today I am on a mission. I need to go check out those window displays my mother was talking about. Hopefully they’ll inspire me and I’ll be able to think of something for the Halloween parade at school.

Finally I manage to convince my mother that I’ll be fine, I’ll keep a close eye on Annabelle, who wants to come too, I’ll text her when I’m done looking at the displays, I’ll check my phone for texts every few minutes, etc. Once I’ve sworn up and down that I’m responsible to keep track of my sister and walk across the mall, and once my mom has asked me at least 10 times if I’m sure (and I have told her 10 times that I am absolutely sure), and we have agreed on a meeting spot (Abercrombie and Fitch, because it’s near the exit), she allows us to go. I grab Annabelle’s hand and practically drag her to the end of the mall that’s decked out for Halloween.

As we walk, Annabelle is chattering on and on, but I’m really not paying attention. I’m focused on the window displays that have started to surround us as we go deeper and deeper into this part of the mall, but I’m pretty sure she mentions something about wanting to be a ladybug for Halloween. I don’t know why anyone would want to be a ladybug for Halloween, but before I can think more about it, the really intricate, extravagant windows come into sight, and then I’m really not paying attention to Annabelle, focused as I am on the displays surrounding me.

After looking around for a few minutes, I’ve seen one display that’s a huge garden (with flower and insect costumes), a window with a tall, 6-tiered cupcake tower (with adorable cupcake costumes), and a jungle display (complete with wild animal costumes), but there’s one gorgeous window that captures my attention longer than all the rest. It’s completely fairy tale-themed, with the silhouette of a beanstalk framed by an orange- and pink-streaked sky in the background. Cinderella’s glass slipper, a spinning wheel, and a genie’s lamp are in the bottom right corner, Rapunzel’s tower takes up the entire left side, and a huge, beautiful castle is right in the center. In the next window over, the usual Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and other fairy tale costumes are displayed. Hmmm…

I stand there so long gazing at the beautiful display that Annabelle loses interest and starts to drift away. I snap a picture of the window with my phone so I’ll remember exactly what it looks like, later. Then I sit down on a bench and start drawing in my sketchbook, which I decided at the last minute to bring, gesturing for Annabelle to sit down beside me. The display has given me a couple of different ideas.

When I finish, I start to lean over to show my drawing to Annabelle, but when I look up, the space beside me on the bench is empty. Where’s Annabelle, where could she be? I think over and over again as my eyes scan the crowd surrounding me. A few minutes ago it hadn’t seemed like that many people at all, but now it seems like there are hundreds. Thousands of people, even. I feel my eyes grow wide and I fight off rising panic as I struggle to admit to myself that I did the one thing my mother stressed I absolutely must not do. Annabelle has disappeared. I have lost my sister.

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