Chapter 5A Chapter by Laura Ann
Francie changed clothes in the bathroom, since her bedroom wasn't ready, and was about to put on her dark green windbreaker and her white tennis shoes when the doorbell rang.
"I'll get it!" she yelled, running for the door.
She opened the door and found a girl standing there. The girl was about Francie's height. She had dark brown hair that went up to her chin and bangs that went just below her eyebrows. Her dark brown eyes looked directly into Francie's hazel ones.
"Hi," the girl said. "My name is Claira. I saw your moving truck parked in the driveway"--she pointed to the semi--"and I figured that you were new and I just wanted to meet you."
"Oh, uh, hi, Claira," Francie replied. "I'm Francie--and yes, I did just move in--this morning to be exact."
"That's cool," Claira said. "So, do you like it here?"
"Yeah, kinda, it's not as warm as Florida though," Francie told her.
Claira's gorgeous chocolate eyes widened. "You came all the way from FLORIDA?!" she asked in disbelief.
Francie nodded. "Yup." She realized it was rude to leave Claira standing there, so she said, "You can come in if you want."
"Nah," Claira objected, shaking her head. "I'm just fine out here."
"Well then, I guess I'll have to join you if you won't join me," Francie teased. She stepped outside and closed the door behind her.
"Hey, do you wanna go on a bike ride or something?" Claira suggested. "I mean, it must be pretty boring being cooped up inside all day."
"I...um..." Francie stared at the ground and her cheeks reddened. "I'd love to, but you see, I don't exactly have a bike."
"Wow, that sucks," Claira said. "I couldn't survive without a bike. Good thing I have an extra one in my garage!"
"You'd let me borrow it?" Francie asked.
"Of course!" Claira answered, like it was no big deal. "Here, let me go get it. You can tell your folks that we're leaving, 'kay? See ya in a few." She jogged across the street and into her garage.
Francie stared after her in bewilderment. Claira was very outgoing, that was obvious. And she was nice, too. "Maybe I will make new friends," Francie thought as she walked inside her house to tell her mom where she was going.
"Hey, Mom, I'm going to go on a bike ride with this girl named Claira from across the street, okay?" she told Mrs. Peterson as she approached her.
Her mother looked surprised. "But we don't have bikes."
"That's okay, Claira has an extra and she'll let me use it." Francie smiled.
"Well, I don't see why not," her mom replied. "But be back by six for dinner."
"I will, call my cell phone if you need me!" Francie yelled as she walked out the door.
Claira was already there, sitting on top of a bike and holding onto one next to her. "Okay, so we're good? We can leave now?"
"Yep," Francie said, getting on the second bike.
"Just follow me," Claira instructed. "I'll show you my secret hiding place."
Francie didn't see how Claira could keep a secret since her mouth would never stop running, but she did as Claira told her and followed behind on her bike.
A few minutes later they approached a series of alleys. Claira knew the way through the maze. It was very confusing to Francie, and she knew that if Claira wasn't with her, she would definitely be lost right now.
At last, Claira made a right turn past a dumpster and reached her "secret hiding place". It was a small area that was surrounded by a circle of palm trees. In the middle was a bunch of old furniture and a TV that Claira had probably picked up from the streets. Still, Francie had to admit that it was pretty cool-looking.
Claira parked her bike by a weird metal pole and put her bike lock through her tire and around the pole, then clicked it shut. Francie just leaned her bike against the pole, unsure of what to do.
"Have a seat," Claira said, gesturing to the beaten up couch. Francie cautiously sat down, but Claira eagerly bounced onto the cushions.
"Nice hideout," Francie complimented.
"Thanks," Claira replied. She leaned in closer to Francie. "So, Francie, tell me about Florida. What did you leave behind? Anything good?"
Claira looked confused, but for once, was silent.
Francie expected Stacey to pick up right away, but to her surprise, Stacey never picked up and it went to the answering machine. Francie didn't bother to leave a message. She just hung up and looked out into the distance, tears filling her eyes.
"Is anything wrong?" Claira asked, concerned. She put her hand on top of Francie's.
Francie took a deep breath and prepared to tell Claira everything.
© 2010 Laura Ann
Book 1: Changes Can Be Good
About"But your happiness? Let us weigh up the gain and the loss involved in calling heads that God exists. Let us assess the two cases: if you win you win everything, if you lose you lose nothing. Do not h.. more..