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.

Chapter 3

Hi everyone! This post really doesn’t need much of an introduction! Here’s the third chapter of my story! I hope you enjoy it!

Chapter 3

Breathless from running (and hopping up the stairs two at a time), I check my watch, and, seeing that I have four minutes to get to class, I run to my locker. After quickly grabbing what I need for the day, I rush to my first period class and slide into my seat just as the bell rings. Whew! That was close.

My history teacher is talking about today’s lesson, and I know I’m supposed to be following along in the textbook, but I can’t help it, my mind starts to wander. I’m thinking about any old thing that pops into my head when an interruption startles me back into reality.

Mrs. Billen is talking to the principal, who is holding the door open for someone. When I see the principal, Mr. Cole, I sit up straighter, but immediately slump back down again when I notice who he’s holding the door open for.

Arghh! Emily’s already living with us! Does she really need to be in my history class too? Of course, as soon as she introduces Emily to the class as a new student, Mrs. Billen directs her to a seat near mine, and then ASKS ME TO SHOW EMILY AROUND TODAY. I sigh and slump down a little further. It’s going to be a long day.

As soon as the bell rings to signal the beginning of break, I stumble into the hallway, being shoved along by the flood of junior high students eager to escape the stifling classroom. I can barely make out Emily in the crowd, up ahead of me, so I start shoving my way through. I guess I am supposed to show her around. It’s only when I get closer to her that I hear people starting to notice. “Who’s the new girl?”

Here are all the numbers for you: My junior high is small. It has only about 150 students total, and a little less than a third of those are sixth graders. That means there are only about 50 sixth graders in the whole school. So whenever there’s a new student, which isn’t very often, it’s fairly big news among us sixth graders.

I try my best to ignore the stares and whispers that are pointed Emily’s direction, especially the many comments about her (my) cute jacket. When I catch up, I greet her, “Hey.”

No response. I glance at her. Only then does she acknowledge me with a quick dip of her head.

For the whole day until the dismissal bell, Emily barely glances my way, even though I’m supposed to be “showing her around.” I manage to keep up with her as she strides through the hallway from class to class. Somehow, she ends up in almost all of the same classes as me. The only classes I have that she’s not in are P.E. and art.

In order for me to make it through the day, I have to keep replaying my exchange with my art teacher this morning. She’s by far my youngest, coolest, prettiest teacher. She’s also my favorite teacher, if you didn’t already come to that conclusion.

In art, she must have noticed my glum expression, because while all of the other kids were working on their projects, she came over to me.

Speaking quietly, she asked me what was wrong. And though I didn’t want to say anything, it all came tumbling out. She had sat looking thoughtful for a few seconds afterward. Then she looked at me and spoke only a few sentences. “People are not always what they seem at first, or even second, glance. Emily might just surprise you.”

It seemed highly unlikely, but I was willing to hope. After that, Ms. Cherry (that was her first name, not her last, and she insisted we call her it) had smiled at me and promptly moved on, which I was grateful for. I wasn’t sure if I could spend another second of my day talking about or to Emily. Ms. Cherry helped me with my art project, an unusual abstract piece, for the rest of class.

At the end of the day, I hurry across the hallway back to my locker, eager to go home and, even though she lived with me, spend some time away from Emily. But instead of getting my books from my locker, I got sidetracked. Why? Because standing in front of my locker is my near-nemesis. Peyton and her wannabe group of “friends” (more like followers) are blocking the way to my locker.

Peyton (I call her Miss Prissy Peyton Popular, but not to her face) is the most well-known girl, if not in the whole school, then definitely in the sixth grade. Her mother used to be a famous actor/model, and her father was just plain rich. He had inherited some money from some person in their family tree a while ago. I’ve heard it all before. Multiple times. Yawn.

Peyton and her friends are murmuring about something when I show up. They stop as soon as they see me, but I caught some of it as I was walking over.

“Her hair is really cute.”

“And that jacket. Sheesh.”

“Where do you think she got it?”

Of course. They were talking about Emily. I roll my eyes. Middle school students are so predictable.

I paste a smile on, but I’m careful not to let my guard down. Peyton and I aren’t exactly the best of friends.

Peyton smiles a syrupy fake smile that makes me sick to my stomach. She puts one tanned arm around me. “I saw you were sitting with Emily at lunch today. How do you know her?”

This is just getting weirder by the second. I step away from Peyton, but she continues to smile at me. “She’s sort of…um,” How do I explain this? I fake a cough, stalling for time. “Well, she’s sort of staying with us for a while.”

Peyton’s smile gets even wider and more syrupy and fake, if that’s even physically possible. “So, Ciara. What can you tell me about Emily?”

Chapter 2

Hey everyone!! I’m so excited to share with you the second chapter of the story I’m writing right now! I like to write, so I do it a lot in my free time, but I explained all of that in my post Chapter 1. As you can probably guess, it has the first chapter of my story. If you haven’t read it, you should check it out before reading the rest of this post! Or you can reread it, if you’ve already seen it, to refresh your memory. The story will definitely make a lot more sense if you do! So without further ado…(drumroll, please)…the second chapter of my story! (I haven’t decided what I’m going to title the story yet, but I’m open to suggestions!) Comment and tell me what you think of this chapter!

Chapter 2

I wake up and groggily sit up. For a minute I can’t remember what happened, but then it all comes flooding back. In the first ten minutes of her being here, I managed to insult Emily and get on her bad side. How’s that for efficient? I came into my room and must’ve fallen asleep.

With a start I glance at the other side of the room and realize that I am not alone. The bed that has remained empty for months is now filled, and Emily is snoring peacefully. As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I can see that she is wearing my pajamas. Already what’s mine is…well, not mine anymore.

My light-up alarm clock reads 6:30. I might as well get up. Soon I’ll have to start getting ready for school, anyway. This is probably the only peace and quiet I’ll get for a long time.

I stumble in the darkness, but manage to cross the room without making too much noise. I quietly tiptoe out the door and close it behind me. Strolling into the kitchen, I don’t notice Buddy sleeping on the floor until it’s too late.

I go sprawling, and my elbow catches the edge of a pan sitting on the counter. A huge CLANK! resounds through the house. For a moment all is still, and I sit on the kitchen floor, barely daring to believe that I got away with that. Then the light switch clicks on upstairs and I can hear the feet pounding down the stairs and the voices wondering what happened.

I sigh and prepare to explain exactly why I’m sitting on the floor of the kitchen in the dark at 6:30 a.m. with my drooling dog at my feet. So much for peace and quiet.

Once my family is finished interrogating me, we all go our separate ways, Emily, Annabelle, and me to get ready for school, and my mom and dad to get ready for work.

I decide to try and avoid everyone, especially since I am currently not speaking to my parents, so when Emily heads toward our (my) room, I go to the bathroom first, washing my face and brushing my teeth.

After I’m finished in the bathroom I glance at the clock, and, seeing that the bus will be at my house in less than 20 minutes, hurry to my room. Annabelle is so lucky. She’s allowed to sleep for an extra hour or so. Kindergarten doesn’t start until 9. Fortunately, I decided what I was going to wear last night.

After a few minutes of searching, I am wearing my jeans and new polka-dotted shirt, but I can’t find my favorite jacket. It’s beige but not boring, and totally adorable. The jacket is cropped. It has a little bit of fringe, not too much, not too little, and to top it off, a row of chunky, supercute buttons. I just got it recently, and have hardly taken it off since.

I decide to go through everything in my closet one last time, but after looking carefully at each item of clothing I own, the jacket is still nowhere to be found. Arghhh! It would have perfectly completed my outfit! I heave a sigh and grab my jean jacket off its hanger instead. I guess I’ll just have to settle for this.

“Ciara!” my mom shouts from the kitchen. “Breakfast is ready!”

“Coming, Mom.” I reply, then scan my closet one last time before shutting the door as I back out of my room.

After scarfing down my breakfast of bacon and eggs, I grab my backpack and start to race out the door, but my mother’s hand on my shoulder stops me.

“Ciara,” she starts. Her eyes are telling me that I had better listen to her, and do exactly what she says. “Why don’t you walk Emily out to the school bus? And maybe you can show her around at school too?” I groan inwardly, but the tone of my mother’s voice clearly lets me know that it’s not a question. It’s an order. “Remember, it’s her first day at a new school, and that can be very nerve racking.” She steers me towards the back door and directs me to wait on the porch while she calls Emily’s name.

Finally, after what seems like forever, Emily strolls out onto the porch. I am surprised to see that her blonde hair is wavy, not straight like it was last night. I can’t decide if it’s naturally wavy and she straightened it yesterday, or if it’s naturally straight and she curled it this morning. She also has a new (well not really, since it used to be mine) backpack, probably filled with school supplies. My mom must have gotten her some clothes late last night, because the ones she’s wearing are definitely not mine. For one thing, they fit her really well, and mine would be much too big on her. For another thing, they’re totally not my style.

But what makes my mouth drop open and my blood boil is the jacket. Not just any jacket. My jacket. My favorite new jacket, which I searched for a long time this morning. The jacket that I spent weeks’ worth of allowance on. And to make matters worse, the jacket looks much better on her than it ever did on me. I can’t help noticing how the tan of the jacket makes the bright blue in her eyes really pop. Frankly, she looks adorable. She looks adorable! In my jacket! Is nothing in this world fair?

I stand there on the porch seething, willing myself to shout at her, or to do something, but my mom is standing right there, shooting me a glare that says, “What are you waiting for? Take her to the curb and wait for the bus. Now.” I can’t do anything with her here, so I just open and close my mouth like a fish, until Emily hops off the porch and walks down the sidewalk.

I can hear the bus approaching, so I have no choice but to trail behind her. I stomp onto the bus, not caring if she follows. My friend Roxanne is waving and pointing wildly. What is she doing? She makes some hand gestures that I don’t quite catch, but apparently Emily understands them perfectly, because she steps around me and seats herself next to Roxanne. Roxanne’s been hearing about Emily for a few days now, as I whined to her about how unfair it was that Emily (then referred to as the foster girl) was going to live with us, so she knows who Emily is, but still. Seriously, people! Hasn’t anyone ever heard of loyalty??? Roxanne shoots me an apologetic glance, shrugs, and motions for me to sit down across from them, but she must not be too sorry, because during the whole bus ride, she laughs and nods along with everything Emily says, so I slump down in my seat and wallow in self-pity alone.

Emily is extremely caught up in whatever conversation she is having with my best friend, so I must imagine the extremely brief look of concern flash in her eyes. When the bus pulls up to the curb at school, I race off as if my hair were on fire. And I don’t look back once.

Chapter 1

I really like to write. Sometimes I write stories for fun in my free time. Recently, in my post God calling…, I told you all about how my family fosters children. Also recently, I started working on a story about foster care. It is from the perspective of a girl in a family who is going to foster a child, which she is not exactly thrilled about. Here’s the first chapter (and the prologue) of my story.

Prologue

I am thirsty. So thirsty. But I am in my room, and I refuse to come out, refuse to talk to anyone. Especially them. My parents. After what they did, I may never talk to them again. I may be forced to live the rest of my life until I die of starvation, in this room, cut off from civilization. That’s probably just as well, since I’m grounded for yelling at my parents and the only civilization I would be seeing is them again. So now I’m back where I started, so thirsty but not coming out. At least not anytime soon. Maybe not ever.

“Ciara! Dinner!” I guess I will come out, because today’s dinner is spaghetti. My favorite. “Ciara! Now!

I groan, sit up, and trudge across my room to the door. Before I flip the light switch, I take one last long glance at the room, that after today, will no longer be mine. Why? Because after today, I will have to share it. With her. The girl. The foster girl.

Chapter 1

Tick, tick, tick. The clock’s insistent counting seems not its usual cheerful self. Instead, on this day, it seems to be the ticking of a time bomb, counting down to doom time. Of course, my sister isn’t getting that vibe. Annabelle is dancing around the room, chanting, “We’re going to get a sister, we’re going to get a sister.” All I’m getting is a headache.

My parents heard about foster care a long time ago, and apparently they’ve always wanted to give it a try. But they didn’t even think to ask me what I thought. Of course Annabelle absolutely loves the idea of having a sister. But then again, she’s not the one who has to share a room. There’s some kind of rule that says two children can’t share a room unless they’re less than five years apart in age. Ugh. Annabelle is, of course, too young. So I am the only one in this house that fits the bill. Lucky me.

Finally I can hear my dad’s key turn in the keyhole and the front door open. I stand up and walk to the entryway, where Annabelle and my mom are already standing. As much as I am completely against this idea, I’m still curious. And I definitely want to get a good look at the person I will have to share my room with for the next…I don’t even know how long.

My dad comes into the house, trailing a girl who looks about eight or so. I do some quick math in my head. If she is eight, then that means that if she had been two years younger, I wouldn’t be able to share a room with her. So not fair!

My parents start doing introductions, but it’s pretty late, so I can tell they’re trying to speed things along. My mind starts to wander. I don’t even pay attention until my mom says something that snaps me back into reality.

“…The same age! It works out perfectly!”

Hold on. Back up. Did she just say the words “same” and “age” together in one sentence? Well, Annabelle’s five. They can’t possibly be the same age, can they? If they were, then they would be sharing a room. So that must mean…oh no. My jaw drops. This tiny girl is the same age as me? How is that possible? I’m so busy thinking about ages and heights that, once again, I stop paying attention. That is, until my mom starts talking again.

“…Oh, that’s all right. I’m sure Ciara has some clothes that would fit you.”

What? For the second time in one day, I can feel my jaw hit the floor. That must be a record.

“But…but…” is all I manage to stammer for a few seconds. Then I regain my voice. “That’s not fair!” Then quieter, “She’s probably closer to Annabelle’s size anyway.” Now I’m grumbling under my breath, but somehow my mom still hears me.

She gasps and turns to the girl, “Emily, I’m so sorry!”

Well I’m not. Now the girl, oh excuse me, Emily is glaring at me from underneath her bangs. Now would be a good time to escape to my room, while it’s still mine. I heave a dramatic sigh and tromp up the stairs.

Behind me, I can hear my mom apologizing profusely for me. I glance backwards. Emily is still glaring at the spot where I was standing, looking like she wishes that lasers would shoot out of her eyes and incinerate me, even though I am no longer in the room. Apparently height is a sore subject for her.

We are off to a great start.

What do you think of my story so far? Comment and tell me what you think!

P.S. Here’s the first link I ripped off of my chain that I made in the post Sunny Days Ahead! I ripped this link off after school on Friday. As you can see, I’m thankful for the beach!