I had just gotten into the door of my house when I heard my phone ring. I ran to pick it up before the answering machine and in the process sent my phone and keys and various other items to the floor. "Hello, this is Michelle." I said.
"Michelle, this is police chief John. We have a situation down here at the office. Can you come in? We really need you." I heard coming from the other side of the line.
"Sure. Just give me a few minutes to take a shower and then I'll be on my way after I grab a bite to eat, of course." I said.
"Thank you. I will see you in a few minutes," came the reply followed by a click. I headed to take a shower, wondering what was so wrong at the office that they needed my help. I thought of all the different things that could possibly have happened. Maybe a prisoner was loose or someone just wanted to talk to me. Whichever one it was, I was unsure about why they wanted me there. None of these would come close to the facts of the situation though.
"I cant wait to get off this bus and show Mommy my good report from Mrs. Bishop for this week." Bethany told her sister.
"Alright already! You've said that about a million times already. Would you quit it!" her irritated sister replied.
"No! This is quite fun annoying you so much."
"Well, if that's how you want to be, then I'll poke you every couple of seconds until you quit saying that."
"No you wont. Anyways, if you do, mom will have a cow when I tell her." came the quick reply from Beth's peeved sister.
"Well, like you said, she would have a cow when you tell her, but you left out one small detail. That's only if mom finds out." Danielle proudly said.
"You wouldn't dare try and stop me from telling her would you?" her sister questioned.
"Maybe I will, but maybe I won't. It depends on what you're going to give me in return."
"I guess I could quit repeating that saying about how I cant wait to get home and show Mommy my report."
"Excellent idea! Now give me your hand and we can shake on it."
So they did. Beth left her sister alone for the rest of the trip home.
I just stepped out of the nice, warm shower when I heard the phone ring. "Hmmm... I wonder who's calling me. It's probably the chief wondering where I'm at." I thought to myself, but I would be wrong yet again. So, I ran to answer it, "I'm sorry chief, but I told you that I would be there in a few minutes. I'm going to grab something to eat and then I'll be there. Ok??? Hello??? Are you there???" I huffed into my phone. Immediately after I asked if someone was there, I heard a click in my ear. "Guess he got my point." I thought to myself. I went back down the hall and continued to get ready.
Meanwhile, Bethany and Danielle reached their house. "Finally! We're home!" Beth exclaimed. She ran from the bus to her front porch and reached it in a few seconds.
"Hurry up and open the door Beth. I have my hands full and cant open it right now." Danielle huffed as she came up behind her sister.
"Alright, give me a minute Mrs. Impatient." she replied. She opened the door and stepped into the entrance way of the house.
"Keep it down. You know mom doesn't like you yelling in the house. All it takes is for you to say 'Mom we're home.'"
"Yeah right, Mom never told me that. You sure that that's not just something you're making up?"
"No, its not. Remember she told us that day she caught us messing around and yelling at each other from other areas of the house. It was that day we were playing marco polo in the house and dad had some important business call he was on." came the reply.
Beth realized that her sister was right and she placed that thought in her mind to make sure she didn't yell again. She could remember the punishment that she and her sister had to deal with and she didn't like it at all. Just thinking of it sent a chill down her spine. "I better let go of this thought" she said to herself. Beth followed her sister into the kitchen and almost burst out with her good news, but caught herself when she realized that her sister was still in the room.
"I'm going to go and put my stuff in my room mom," Danielle said.
"I wish I was old enough to have my own room," thought Beth. Beth had no memories of a time where she had a room without her younger sister Elizabeth in it. It was this reason that she always wanted a room of her own even though she knew that she would probably never get one, at least until Danielle moved out anyway. It still didn't hurt to ask whenever she thought about it. "Hey mom, when can I have my own room like Danielle?" she questioned.
"Maybe in a few years honey. You're just not old enough right now and I'm sure that Elizabeth is quite happy that one of her two big sisters is sharing a room with her. Besides we don't have the space right now for you to have your own room. Not with Danielle and your brother needing their own space. We've already had this conversation before Beth." her mother said in a kind of matter-of-fact way.
"Oh, by the way mom, I have some really good news from school today. Here's the report from Mrs. Bishop. It's really good isn't it?"
"Ummm... let me see the report and then I can tell you whether it's good or bad," Beth's mom said.
Beth handed her mom the piece of paper, she opened it up, and slowly read it.
I hurried to gather all my stuff so I could get out the door. I couldn't quite get rid of the feeling that I was forgetting something when I locked my door. This feeling would later come back to haunt me, when I realized I left my phone. It wasn't until I reached my car that I remembered I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast. "Hmmm... I think I need to gran something to eat." I said to myself. I got into my car and breathed in the fresh scent of Febreeze as I slipped into the driver's side. "Maybe I could stop at the little neighborhood market down the road. I know i'm running a little late, but I think the chief could wait a few more minutes. A full stomach is better than an empty one, isn't it? So, I started my car and backed out of my steep driveway. "I hope that I don't scrape my car on the bottom of my driveway again. I need to talk to someone about getting this thing fixed." I said. Immediately afterwards, I heard the sound of metal scraping the ground. "Darn it! I cant believe I did it again. Im going to park on the side from now on until I get it fixed or something done with it." I rambled on to myself. I continued on my way towards the store thinking of what I was going to get that would satisfy my hunger craving. Little did I know, but a blast from the past was about to turn my life upside down in a way I never expected.
"So what do you think mommy?" came the small little voice from behind the piece of paper. Sandy lifted the piece of paper to look at her daughter, Bethany.
"I think that it is very great sweetie. Where's your sister? Will you go get her and tell her to come in her please? I think that we need to have a little bit of a talk about this." her mother calmly said.
This kind of frightened Beth a little bit. Even though she knew how to read, and had since she was three, she didn't dare touch that note to find out what it was for fear of her mother finding out and punishing her severely, similar to the marco polo game incident. She returned to her mother and told her that Danielle would be in here in a minute. "What's the matter mommy?" Is there something bad in the report?" she questioned.
"No sweetie. I just want to talk with your sister and get her opinion on this too before I tell your teacher my decision. I want this to be a family decision." Sandy replied.
Beth could tell her mother was between anxious and nervous. The lines that had formed from years of worrying on her mother's forehead were furrowed. Beth became a little alarmed, but she quickly calmed herself down by telling herself that there was nothing to worry about. She began to notice that her mother seemed dazed. "She seems like me when I got the wind knocked out of me in gymnastics class." she quietly thought to herself. Then she decided that she would ask her mother a question about the note. "Mommy, is it about me skipping a grade?" she timidly asked, hoping that was it.
"Not exactly. You'll see in a minute what it is when your sister gets in here. Danielle get in her now!" she hollered.
Danielle entered the kitchen a few minutes later. "What? I told Beth that I wasn't coming because I had too much homework to do and she's not supposed to be bothering me anyway." she retorted.
"Danielle Freeman! I know that you did not just tell me that you considered your sister to be bugging you. I sent her in there to get you because we need to have a little discussion as a family," she began to yell.
All three sat down at the kitchen table and began discussing the note from Mrs. Bishop. "So I can only skip a grade ahead if I take one of their tests?" Beth questioned.
"Yes. They say that you're very smart for your age and they would like you to take this test to see if you can skip a grade and do more challenging work." her mother soothed.
"But mom, you wouldn't let me do that. Why are you going to let her do that? It's not fair!" Danielle whined.
"No one said that life was fair. Besides, you weren't chosen for this test. That was another test darling." came the smooth reply from Sandy.
So the discussion continued until Beth and Danielle's mom realized that she hadn't started dinner yet. "Oh my goodness. I haven't started dinner yet and your sister will be home soon and we all know that she loves to eat my dinners." she cried. "I guess we're going to have to go to the store and pick something up. I think that you deserve a treat while we're there, Beth. So you and Danielle can go pick out a treat while I get the stuff for dinner. Now go and get your coats," she told them. They went and got their coats and all three climbed into the car and headed towards the little neighborhood market. None of them knew the danger that lay in store for them when they got there.