“Come on! It’s just over here!” Lea yelled.
Lea was trying to take me to a ‘secret spot’. From what I could see it wasn’t all that secret, but since I’d come Lea was my only friend, and I wanted to make her as happy as she made me.
We reached the corner and started ‘Best Friend Business’
“Do you promise to be best friends forever?” Lea asked me excitedly.
“Yes I do.” I wasn’t as much of a chatterbox as Lea, but she never minded.
“I brought something for you.” I announced shyly.
“A hair ribbon!” Lea burst out. “So I can do my hair just like yours! Oh thank you!”
As Lea tied the ribbon in her hair Faith came up behind us, unnoticed. (See I told you this wasn’t such a secret place!)
“Hello girls.” Faith announced herself. “I have some good news for you.”
“What?” Lea immediately asked.
Faith laughed. “I’m getting there. The good news is that you are going home Isabel.”
For a second I was quiet, then I spoke up. “I’m glad I’m going home but-”
Lea interrupted me. “How could you Isabel? I thought you promised to be best friends forever!” She stared at me for a minute and then ran off.
I walked up to where Faith was. “I was going to say that I’m happy to be going home, but I’ll miss you all very much.
I sat in what used to be my room. Almost everything had been packed, and only a few items remained. The room was going to be a new girl’s room.
Eileen and I were talking. Mainly because I needed someone to talk to, and everyone else was helping one of the other girls going home pack or hiding from me.
Yes, you heard me right. Hiding.
Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. Eileen and I were talking.
“Ever since that scene in the ‘secret place’ Lea won’t talk to me.” I told Eileen. “I want to spend my last moments with her, but I’m afraid she thinks I don’t like her anymore.”
“Why would you not like her anymore?” Eileen asked.
“I don’t know. I guess it might be because I said I was glad to leave. She didn’t hear the rest of the sentence. I said I was glad to leave, but I’ll miss her, all of you, very much.”
As I talked I wasn’t looking at her. My eyes were wandering around the room. It’s a bad habit I have. (In the middle of a serious conversation: “Let me think!” “What are you thinking about?” “Chairs!”) My gaze settled on two skirts I had, neither packed.
I bent over them, remembering when I had received them. When I left home my two home best friends had each given me one without knowing the other was going to. I sighed, missing them. Then I had an idea.
I packed one in a bag along with a note I scribbled and handed it to Eileen. “Would you give this to Lea after I leave?”
I sat down to talk more, but Faith called Eileen, so I was alone.
I went outside to think. I sat in my favorite place: On the bridge, over a usually quiet creek. I loved to hear the rushing of the creek as it went along it’s path.
I went up to my room to grab something, passing the room where Isabel and Eileen were talking.
“I don’t like her anymore.”
I wasn’t meaning to eavesdrop, truly I wasn’t, but I heard Isabel talking, and she said she didn’t like me!
Isabel hadn’t had time for me lately, with all her packing, so I just stayed away, but now I knew she didn’t like me anymore. My worst fear had come true. I ran into the woods.
I went to go sit on the bridge, my favorite place, but I saw Isabel there. I started to back away, but just as I was about to turn and run.
“Wait.” Isabel said. “I know you don’t want to talk to me, but I leave tonight, and I don’t want to leave your enemy.”
“Why not!” I cried. It wasn’t really a question. “I know you don’t like me anymore.”
“Why would you think that?” Isabel asked me.
“Because you said so!”
“When did I say that?”
Oh great. Now I’d have to admit that I was eavesdropping. “You told Eileen that.”
“Oh Lea.” Isabel sighed. “You didn’t hear the whole story. I was afraid you didn’t like me anymore.”
“You haven’t had time for me lately.” I insisted. “With all your packing and stuff, and you saying you wanted to go home…”
“I do want to go home.” Isabel protested. “I haven’t seen my family in a really long time. But I’ll miss you and everyone else who lives here a ton. They have become like family too.”
After that we spent the rest of the day together. I was really sad to leave, but I knew got to go home, and even though we would probably never see each other again we we friends again.
As I ran to catch my train I saw Lea watching me go. I realized that she was wearing that same outfit she wore the day we promised to be friends forever and had been all day. That made me smile.
The train was about to leave, but I ran to give Lea one last hug.
“I’ll miss you.”
It was a teary farewell, but I was also really excited to go home. I gave Lea one last squeeze, and ran to catch the train.
I watched Lea until she was out of sight. I know she did too.
Eileen and I were sitting in Isabel’s room, talking, and waiting for it to be time to leave for a party.
Suddenly Eileen handed me a bag.
“Isabel wanted you to have this. She has one like it. She said to tell you to think of her when you wear it, and she will do the same.”
Inside was the most beautiful teal skirt I have ever seen.
“It’s so pretty!” I exclaimed. “I’m going to go lay it out to wear tomorrow.”
I put it on the end of the bed with my hair ribbon, and a shirt and shrug.
“Lea!” Eileen yelled. “Time to go!”
When the party was over and we came home I was so tired I was going to just flop into my bed and sleep, without even changing my clothes.
But my bed wasn’t empty. Two girls I had never met were in the bed, sleeping.
I started to climb up on the bed and yell at them to get out.
Suddenly Faith appeared behind me.
“Who are they?” I demanded.
“They are your new sisters.” Faith told me. “We were going to bring them here a long time ago, but we had to wait until the other girls left. State rules.”
“So they replaced Isabel?” I gasped. I couldn’t believe it. “Why are they in my bed?” Suddenly I was mad.
“We are working on redoing Isabel’s room for the girls, but it’s not finished yet, so they are in your bed. You will have to sleep on the floor.”
“What?” I sputtered.
“Until they have their own place to stay.” I knew from her tone of voice that arguing was useless. So I had to do it.
I woke up exhausted from sleeping on the floor. ‘Well.’ I thought, ‘At least I’ll get to wear my new skirt.’
But when I looked where I had laid it, it wasn’t there. I looked around, but it was as gone as the older girl in the bed.
I went into the living room. “Hey Faith, have you seen the-”
I stopped, because the older of the two girls was wearing the outfit. The ribbon and everything.
“Why Is SHE wearing my outfit?”
“I told her I was going to lay out an outfit for her, as she doesn’t have anything nice. She must have worn the wrong one. It’s okay, you can wear something else. In fact it would be nice if you let her have it. It looks so good on her.”
“What!!! I’m not giving her my outfit.”
“It would be nice.”
I was close to tears now. “It’s the only thing I have left from Isabel.”
“She doesn’t really have anything at all.”
I ran from the room. “I HATE her! She’s ruining everything. I wish she had never come!”
And with that I flopped down on the bed I could no longer call mine, and cried.
I walked past the room (Isabel’s old room) where the new girl and her sister were. I was wearing a new dress, which obviously was too big for me, and I was trying to make it work.
Suddenly the taller one spilled the cards. They got everywhere. I could have helped pick them up, but I was still too mad.
But when I spilled rubber bands everywhere.
The new girl helped me scoop them up into the container. Even though I wouldn’t help her.
NEW GIRL’S POV
I went to get something out of the room I was going to share with my little sister. Suddenly I saw Lea in the room. The lights were turned out, and she was crying. I wanted to help her, but I knew she would only snap at me if I asked what was wrong.
“Hey Lea!” I called. “Can I do your hair?”
“Are you saying my hair looks bad?” She snapped. So much for not having her snap at me.
“No, not at all. It actually looks quite nice, but I like to do hair, and I thought you might like your hair done.”
“Well, okay.” Lea agreed.
I flipped the lights on and started on her hair.
The new girl wanted to do my hair, and I agreed. She said it looked good, but I knew she was just being nice. I didn’t know why she was being so nice to me after she’d been so mean, but I wasn’t going to complain.
Suddenly the younger one skipped into the room.
“Mail for you Lea!”
It turned out to be from Isabel. She said: ‘I miss you Lea, but I’m glad to be home. I heard about the new girls, but I wanted you to know, I didn’t leave to make room for them. I would have gone anyway. And they would have come even if I hadn’t left. I think you should give them a chance. They probably could use a friend like you. I know I did.’
My anger started to melt away.
Maybe the girls weren’t so bad. Maybe we could even be friends?
NEW GIRL POV
My sister and I were in the kitchen. I don’t really now what we were doing, but I was homesick. I felt like no one here cared about me, except for maybe my sister. It was quite obvious that that other girl, Lea maybe, hated me.
So it was a surprise when Lea walked in the kitchen, carrying two cupcakes (Where did she get them? I thought they kept cupcakes in the kitchen!) and flipped a light switch I hadn’t known about. Light filtered into the room.
Lea started to hand my sister a cupcake, but she wouldn’t take it. “We know you hate us!” she screamed. “Why would you give us cupcakes? Are they poisoned?”
I know Lea was hurt, but she didn’t get mad. “No, they are not poisoned. I know I haven’t been very nice to you, but I want to make it up to you. I was missing my friend, who I thought you had replaced, but that was no reason to be so mean to you.”
“You thought we replaced your friend?” I asked.
Her face turned red. “I did, but now I know better. I was jealous of all the attention you were getting.”
“You, jealous of us?” I asked. “Really? You have friends. People care about you. No one cares about us.”
“My best friend left about the time you came. Lea explained. “We always hung out together, and none of the girls really cared about me.”
Suddenly my sister spoke up. “I can be your friend Lea.”
I took the girls up to the family room. “Why don’t you start with telling me about yourselves?”
The older one spoke. “My name is Gabriela, but everyone used to call me Gabi. This is my sister Kierra. I’m fourteen, and Keirra is nine.”
After that conversation Gabi and I became friends. We did everything together. (Often with Kierra too,) Gabi could never replace Isabel, but she was a friend.
Slowly I started to get over Isabel leaving. I stopped missing her all the time, but I never forgot her.