as the kids all write their concerns, I’m talking to Eleanor (the redhead) about her situation. I found out that she really is taking care of all these kids by herself, and that she’s proud and pissed off at the world.
Needless to say, I like her a lot. I tell her that Corin and I want to invite her and the kids to live in our home, and she laughs at me. “What’s funny?” I ask her.
“Its you, kid. You’re hilarious. Nobody wants a bunch of unruly little turds destroying their home. The only reason I put up with this lot is because nobody else would do it…but that’s very kind of you to offer.”
She brushes some hair away from her face and tucks it behind her ear.
“I’m serious!” I say, protesting her statement. “We want you to come and stay. Permanently. I mean, you dont have to, of course, but it’s not a joke. We want to help. At least come out to the house and see the place. Have lunch with us. You might change your mind when you’ve been to Greythorn.”
Eleanor looks at me sidelong…unsure if she should keep up the facade of a brave face. After a few moments of looking at the kids climbing on bleachers and fighting over a dolly, she looks at me and smiles.
“Alright, we will come for lunch. But that doesnt mean we’re moving in!”
“Right. Got it. Not moving in.”
I reply, pretending to be very serious…but then I cant help but giggle and smile back at her.
We start to wrangle the kids in preparation to leave the school.
As the meeting comes to an end, I covertly watch Genesis and her friends prepare to leave the school.
I wish I hadn’t fought with her…
I have to stick around and see if anyone needs to talk to me.
A few kids approach, and ask about when the next meeting will be. I tell them I dont know yet, but that I will he sure to come knocking on doors if anything major happens.
One boy, about Wendy’s age, approaches me alone and tells me he lives alone, and would prefer not to be by himself tonight. His name is Cas. I invite him to stay at Graythorn until we can figure out more permanent groups. I tell him the house is big enough for all of us, and if he decides he likes our home, we can discuss that more later on.
I’m glad to discover that he is the only person who seemed to need a different sleeping arrangement immediately.
I see Wendy talking to the redhead and I tell Cas to “wait by the entrance for me while I get my cousin”.
Wendy sees me approaching and steps away from the girl to meet me halfway across the room. She tells me briefly about how their conversation went, and tells me that we will all be having lunch at Graythorn today, so that the girl (Eleanor) can decide on our offer of co-habitation.
Well…it’s not a total rejection of the offer, which makes me feel a little better about my words to Genesis. Knowing that someone really actually did have the problems I imagined makes me feel vindicated…a little anyway.
I still feel like crap about our fight.
Hopefully by tomorrow I will have come up with a way to apologize to her.
Not just “I’m sorry”, but something that will make her understand how much I want and need her support…something that tells her how much she matters to me…
But for now, I just head across the gym with Wendy and introduce myself to Eleanor. She laughs at me, saying “I know who you are, Corin, even if you’ve never been below the clouds long enough to know who I am.”
I’m taken aback by her blunt disposition…but it’s refreshing as well. It reminds me that high school is over, and this is real-life now.
I’m sure I’m blushing in embarrassment when I reply.
“Sorry, I’m sure I was a real jerk. But I’d like to start over, if that’s ok with you?”
I reach out to shake her hand, and she laughs again.
“Ok Corin. That sounds like a plan. Hi. I’m Eleanor. You can call me Ellie for short. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Its nice to meet you too, Ellie. Can I invite you to lunch at our house?” I laugh now too at the charade, and we shake hands. Wendy pipes up “hey guys, this is cute and all, but I’m starving, and it’s a not exactly a short walk to the house…so…” she gestures towards the exit door.
“Ok, ok, let’s go. We have one more joining us for lunch.” As we walk towards the exit, Cas walks over to join us and I introduce him to everone.
We each pick up one of the smaller kids and start the walk to Graythorn. The others keep up, laughing and kicking rocks along the roadway.
It’s a nice walk home, but it takes twice as long with the little kids in tow. By the time we get to the house, we are all much better acquainted and all much hungrier.