Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chapter 2



"Psst.  Kay-Lee.  I think they're here."

I cracked the bathroom door and look at Taleetha.  "They're early."

"Then maybe it ain't them but I heard the garage door going up.  That's what woke me."

"Ok.  Just go back to bed."

"Are you scared?"

I pretended not to hear her.

"Hey, are you scared?" she asked again being persistent.

I sighed and shrugged.  "It is what it is.  Go on back to bed and sleep while you can.  Your turn is coming this afternoon."

"Yeah but I'm going to live in a mansion."

"Just make sure you aren't Cinderella."

"Huh?"

"Never mind.  Just stay out of trouble."

"I don't ever get in trouble."

Seeing that is one of the biggest fibs she'd ever told I just rolled my eyes.  She snickered but finally went back to the bedroom and I knew she'd be asleep again in no time.  Taleetha wasn't the type to carry too much baggage around with her.  Lucky her.

I finished tying my ponytail up, covering my hair with a bandana, and had just sat on the commode to buckle the velcro closings on my ankle support when the door opened - without a knock making me jump.  As soon as I saw who it was I calmed down.  Maybe I'd have a few friends where I was going ... at least one anyway.  Tommy Hartford was a sweet guy.

"Hi Tommy."

"Hi Kay-Lee.  Uncle Mark says you better hurry."

"Just finished my shoe."  I grabbed my bag and followed him and we ran into Mr. Brenser and another man who was frowning really hard.  "Thomas," he growled.

"It's ok Uncle Mark.  I told you, I know Kay-Lee.  And she was just doing her shoe thing.  She's got her stuff."

The man was stern and just kept staring at Tommy.  Tommy Hartford.  He was a year older than me and twice my size, but Tommy was Tommy and a little different.  I stepped forward and held my hand out to the older man.  "You must be Mr. Hartford.  How do you do sir?"

My words got a startled blink from the man and he slowly put his hand out and shook mine.  Reluctantly he said, "Yeah.  About that.  Might as well call me Uncle Mark, all the other kids do.  Is that all your stuff?"

"Yes sir."

He nodded.  "We need to get before the sun rises.  I don't want to have to waste time at a check point."

He started walking away and Tommy grabbed my arm.  "I can walk Tommy."

"I know but gentleman are supposed to help ladies."

For the first time in a couple of days I smiled.  "Thank you Tommy.  That's nice.  But I don't want you to get in trouble."

"Oh that's ok.  Guess what?" he asked as Mr. Brenser closed and locked the door behind us without even saying good bye.

Trying to ignore whatever feelings were trying to bubble to the surface I asked, "What?"

"Linda and I got married."

I nearly tripped coming down the porch steps.  I could see his smile in the dark as he said, "See?  Good thing I was holding your arm like a gentleman."

"Yes, yes it was.  Thank you."

Tommy was nice but was short on IQ points.  So was Linda Thorndike.  Neither were stupid people they just were different.  Linda had been abused as a baby before being adopted when we were all in middle school;  what I heard was that she'd had shaken baby syndrome or something like that.  Tommy had nearly drowned and been in a coma for a couple of weeks the summer before he was supposed to start kindergarten.  I knew they'd been boyfriend and girlfriend at school but to hear they'd gotten married really surprised me.

"Congratulations."

"Thanks.  Linda said to tell you hello and that she'd come by to see you on Sunday."

"Oh ... okay."

"Hush up Thomas.  Ain't had time to explain things to her yet."

The man that had asked me to call him Uncle Mark stood uncertainly for a moment looking at his truck and then at me but it was Tommy who made it better.

"Let me be a gentleman and open the door like I'm supposed to then you can grab the hand-strap.  You can step on the runner board like Momma does.  Then sckootch in the back."

And that's what I did until I came face to face with a dog.  I cringed.  "Oh, I forgot," Tommy said.  "But that's just Mooch.  He'll wanna smell you and lick you ... and his farts are silent but deadly ... but he had kibble this morning instead of the wet stuff so it shouldn't be too bad."

"Thomas," the man said in a way that seemed he called Tommy's name on a fairly regular basis.

"Well Uncle Mark she's scared of dogs."

"Why the Sam Hill would anyone be scared of dogs?" the man asked in irritation as I finally made myself slide in, sit down, and tolerate the dog being a dog and checking me out. The man and Tommy climbed up into the truck and the man turned to look at me and asked, "You scared o' dogs?"

The dog Mooch was getting a little personal so I found the courage to push him back a little.  "Not ... not scared.  I mean they're just dogs."

"Sure looks like you're scared from here girl."

"I ... I respect what they're capable of sir."

Tommy broke in to explain.  "Some dogs tried to eat her when she was a little girl.  I remember.  She came to school with her head all shaved and a bunch of stitches."

The man looked from Tommy to me and just uttered one word.  "Explain."

"In second grade I lived a couple of weeks with a family that lived next door to a guy that bred guard dogs.  Only he wasn't very good at it because he thought making them mean made them tough.  And one day when I was doing my chores and taking the garbage to the road a couple of them got out."  I shrugged.  "I went to go live someplace else when I got out of the hospital."

"Hmph," was all he said before pulling out of the Brenser's drive way.

"Lotta dogs up at our place and a couple where you're going.  You might as well set your mind to getting use to them."

All I could say was, "Yes sir."  And wonder what he meant when he said "where you're going."

2 comments:

  1. I already want to know where she is going lol. I love your stories!

    ReplyDelete