27 October 2004

Story: Molly - Chapter 3

Molly - Chapter 3
by Breanna Carter

I saw the tears welling up in my Molly’s eyes. “Oh Mollycakes,” I murmured, extending my arms. “Come here, babygirl.” She did as told and fell into my hug, sitting on my lap with her head lying on my shoulder and allowing me to rock her back and forth. She cried softly and silently, not speaking a word, just letting those tears stream down her face. I rubbed her back and stroked her hair, wanting to ease the pain she was feeling and knowing this would be the best way to do so. The poor girl... my heart ached for her. Her blue eyes were glossy and her face red and she was sniffling. Shawn Mullins was still playing in the background... “Everything’s gonna be all right, rockabye,” he sang, and I think the words made her cry even more.

We sat like that for at least thirty minutes until I finally spoke. “Molly,” I began, clearing my throat because I, too, had been crying. “I--” I found it hard to say what I was about to say. I wasn’t sure what she would think of me. Maybe think I was a weirdo rapist or pedophile or something. But I knew that she needed someone, needed something more than she had. She needed someone to be there for her when she was hurting, needed someone to hold her when she cried, needed someone she could trust. She didn’t need a pathetic mother who drank her own problems away only to add to her daughter’s. “I think that... it would be best... if you stayed here for a while,” I said, then added quickly so she couldn’t object, “at least for a week or so, even if your mom is back. She needs to get some help for her problem and it’s not good for you to be over there.”

The statement made her cry even more. At that point, I was lost at what to do. “I...” she began, “don’t know what to say.”

I nodded. “Why don’t you take a shower and then we’ll head off to the rink, okay? I’ll take you by your house tonight and see if your mom’s around, and if she isn’t, you can get some stuff you want, even Bonkers, and we’ll head back here. If she is home... well, I need to talk to her.”

Molly thought about it for a minute. “Okay,” she finally said, and I think she was relieved that I offered her a place in my home. “I’ll stay... but can ya take it easy on the rules?”

I rolled my eyes. “We’ll discuss rules later.. now’s not the time.”

She sighed, knowing that my answer was no, I couldn’t take it easy on any rules. She gave me a big hug and wiped her eyes. “Thanks, Brian,” she muttered, and hopped off my lap, ambling towards my room. A few minutes later I heard the shower running.

I sighed deeply and ran my fingers through my hair. I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into... How would I be able to raise a twelve year old girl on my own? I could barely take care of myself. Of course, I knew that wasn’t true. I was totally capable of raising a twelve year old, seeing as I’d practically raised my younger sister for a few years. Besides, I didn’t work that often, and I would be in school at the same time as Molly, so that wasn’t a problem either. And I’d taken plenty of psychology classes in college, because at one point in time that was my declared major. So I knew a lot about different stuff and could probably help her out sometimes. But I was still unsure. I guess you’re always unsure of stuff that’s new to you.

Molly finished her shower and I took mine and we headed towards the skating rink with Flogging Molly blaring loudly, much to my objection. Of course, I didn’t object much because Molly has the cutest puppy face and it made her happy to listen to it... and, well, I’m a pushover sometimes and the loud music doesn’t bother me so much, so I let her do it. I was glad when we got there because she seemed in much better spirits than when we left the house. I was also glad because she got some of her sadness out which is something I assumed that she didn’t do very often.

The night at the skating rink went by uneventful, and Molly waited for me outside with one of her friends while I finished closing. I came outside and set the alarm, thanked her friend, and said goodbye to Brad, then headed towards my car.

“We’re going by my house?” she asked.

“Yeah. You can get some more clothes and stuff. It’ll be good.”

She nodded, not speaking and turning the volume up on her cd. I assumed she was a little tired from the overwhelming emotions, but maybe she just didn’t feel like talking for the time being.

We pulled into her driveway and there was still no one in site. I thought she was going to start bawling again and I wondered what I could do to keep her from it. But she was okay as she got out of the car and shuffled towards her house, unlocking the door and shoving it open, only to be greeted by Bonkers with a loud “Meow?”

“BONKERS!” she squealed, falling to her knees and scooping him into her arms. “I missed you, kitten!” She hugged him tightly and I just stood there with a grin on my face, watching her smush the poor fellow. “Mamakins hasn’t come home yet? It’s oties... Brian said we could stay with him. Isn’t that awesome? He said we could have a huuuuuge party!” She giggled in spite of herself and I rolled my eyes. “Anyway, Ima get some stuff from my room then I’ll be back, okay?”

Bonkers meowed again as if he actually knew what she was talking about. Maybe he did.

She let him back down on the floor and stood, nearly tripping over her baggy pants, but regaining herself and grabbing my hand. “You can sit on the couch while I get my stuff, okay?”

I raised my eyebrows. “Why?” I asked, not that I really cared, but she had to have some kind of reason.

“Because I have to get girl stuff!” she yelped, sighing and looking at the ceiling. “Here, hold Bonkers,” she ordered and threw him in my lap.

I shook my head at her, smiling. She skipped to her bedroom and I patted Bonkers on the head. “Crazy girl,” I told him, then realized that I was talking to a cat. That didn’t stop me, though. “She’s a great kid, though, ya know?” Then I realized that if somebody saw me talking to a damn cat I’d be locked up in an institution. So I stopped talking to him. Bonkers purred and nestled himself in my lap, shutting his green eyes from being so comfortable. Cats had it so easy... they could be as lazy as they wanted and had no worries. I wondered how many times Molly had wished she was a cat.

Within minutes my precious kiddo came skipping back into the living room with her backpack and two bags thrown over her shoulders. I didn’t know whether to think she was a light packer or not... I wasn’t sure how long she was going to stay with me. “I’m ready!” she giggled.

I patted Bonkers on the head again then stood up, he in my arms. “Me, too,” I answered, and led her out the door while she turned off all the lights and shut the door.

“Should I leave a note?” she asked.

My first thought was to say, ‘did she leave you one?’, but then I saw the hurt in Molly’s eyes and said, “Yeah, just tell her you’re staying with a friend and you’ll call her later.”

Molly nodded and plopped her stuff down on the porch, then took a sheet of paper and scribbled something down, leaving it on the table. “Oties... NOW I’m ready,” she said, taking Bonkers and letting me carry her bags.

We ordered a pizza for dinner and watched a movie that she’d picked out... Finding Nemo. It wasn’t on the top of my list of movies I wanted to see, but it was cute anyway, so I dealt with it. It was really cute because she rested her head on my shoulder with Bonkers in her lap and watched the movie as intently as a three year old. It was late by the time the movie was over.

“It’s probably time to go to bed,” I suggested.

She gave me a puppy face. “Already?”

I nodded. “Yeah, it’s after one and we have to get up early on Monday and if we sleep too late tomorrow we won’t go to bed tomorrow night,” I said, though I didn’t exactly want to go to sleep either.

“Awwww, but can’t we watch a little tv?”

I sighed.

She poked out her bottom lip.

“Okay, okay, we can, but only for a little while, okay?”

She grinned. “Otay!” she said, then turned the channel to Cartoon Network. She couldn’t have been a normal preteen that liked to watch MTV or something... she had to watch cartoons. Oh well, it wasn’t so bad.

I guess I was as enthralled in cartoons as Molly had been in Finding Nemo... I didn’t even notice that her body was limp and she had fallen asleep. I guess between such an exhausting day and lying down on my lap with me stroking her hair was too much for her tiny body to handle, and she drifted off into a sleep.

I slowly moved out from under her, then cradled her in my arms and carried her to my bedroom. She groaned a little, but otherwise didn’t stir, and I tucked her into bed giving her a final kiss on the forehead before leaving the room. I was startled to hear her mutter, “thanks, Brian.” I smiled though.

“You’re welcome, Mollycakes.”

Sunday was a lazy day, like always. The two of us lounged around my apartment in our pajamas and watched tv all day, eating junk food. It was great. I enjoyed having a little sister around the house. It brought out the kid in me.

“I’ll drive you to school tomorrow,” I told Molly about eight-thirty.

“Are you sure? I can walk, or take the city bus.”

I rolled my eyes. “Of course I’m sure! It’s too far for you to walk and the city bus is too much money. Besides, it’s on my way to school.” I didn’t mention that my first class wasn’t until ten o’clock.

“If you say so, Brian.”

“Did you have any homework you needed to get finished?”

She shook her head. “Nopers, no homework.”

I raised my eyebrows, sensing a lie. “Honestly?” I asked, hoping that she’d come clean.

“Honestly,” she answered, still not looking me in the eyes.

I didn’t push it. I had no proof that she was lying, so I couldn’t say anything. “Okay, well, do I need to let your teachers know that you’re staying we me a while? We could tell them that your mom went on vacation and I’m an old family friend..”

She shook her head. “It’s fine, don’t worry about it.”

“Well.. I’ll at least call them tomorrow, in case something happens at school... if you get sick or something and need to come home. And you have my cell number right? If you need me?”

She rolled her eyes. “Stop freaking out, Brian... Everything’s going to be fine.”

“Hey, I’m not freaking out!” I said defensively.

“Whatever! And anyway, yeah I have your number. So stop worrying about stuff.”

I shook my head at her, grinning. “You’re something else, Molly,” I said, ruffling her hair. “Well if you don’t have any homework, then you can do mine, because I have to start writing this paper or I’ll never graduate.”

She gave a fake yawn. “Nope, too sleepy. You’ll hafta do it yourself.”

I groaned. “Okay, well I better get started then,” I told her and gave her a playful punch as I headed to the kitchen table.

I worked on my paper while she watched tv for about an hour. “Hey, kiddo, about time to go to sleep, don’tcha think?” I asked.

She pouted. “Noooo.”

I mock pouted. “Yessss.”

“Ar.. fine. Not like anything good is on tv anyway.”

I smiled.

She hopped over to where I was seated and gave me a hug. “Goodnight, Brian. See ya in the morning!”

I hugged her back. “Night, kiddo,” I said and patted her on the head, sending her off.

I sat at the table working on my paper for about an hour before I decided that I could hear the couch calling my name. Kinda scary when you think about it. As I sunk into the comfy sofa all I could think of was that I hoped Bonkers wouldn’t need to use the litter box before morning...

The loud beeping alarm clock echoed through my tiny apartment at an hour that I only saw a few times a year. But I knew I’d have to be up early enough to wake Molly, seeing as I didn’t know how long it would take her to get ready for school, and I’d have to make some breakfast. I figured in time she would eat poptarts for breakfast and I could sleep an extra two hours while she got ready, but for now this seemed appropriate.

“Mollycakes,” I said, giving a soft knock on my bedroom door and peeking inside. “It’s some god-awful time in the morning... I don’t know how long it takes you to get ready and stuff,” I murmured.

She groaned. “Five minutes.”

I raised my eyebrows. Very doubtful. “Come on, Mollycakes,” I said, moving inside and giving her a slight shake. “It’s time to get up. If you’re anything like my sister it’ll take you at least an hour to get ready.”

“I don’t have a sister,” she muttered.

I smiled. “I do. And she’s a brat, just like you.”

“That rhymes,” Molly pointed out.

“Yep, it sure does.” I sat down on the bed next to her. “You gotta take a shower and eat breakfast and do all that girly stuff..”

“Sleeeeep.”

“Nahhh, no more sleep.”

Finally Molly stretched out and yawned, opening her eyes.

I smiled. “What do you want for breakfast?”

She looked away and thought about it for a while finally coming up with, “Pancakes!”

I sighed. I had no clue as how to make pancakes from scratch. “Are waffles okay?” I asked, remembering that I had some in the freezer.

“I’ll make do,” she answered and sat up, her hair all messed up. She stretched out again and rolled out of the bed. “Geeze, it’s after six! I hafta hurry!” she squealed, grabbing some clothes from her bag and running to the bathroom.

Seeing that it was “after six”, I assumed that it took her quite a while to get ready, else she wouldn’t have spazed out about it so much. I threw on some clothes and fixed a pot of coffee, then drank it while watching the morning news. I figured Molly wouldn’t want to eat until about 7:15 or so, and I had at least thirty minutes before I needed to start cooking.

It’s been way too long since I’ve lived with a little sister. I had no idea how hectic things were in the morning. Molly ran through the house, from the bathroom to my bedroom then back to the bedroom, whining about losing something. When I noticed that it was nearing seven o’clock and Molly was getting closer to being finished, I decided to get my lazy self up and cook something. I fried some bacon to have with the waffles and set the table for the two of us.

“Molly! Hurry up... breakfast is nearly ready!”

“I’m hurryin’!” she yelped and appeared by the table seconds later.

I nearly dropped the butter I was carrying when I saw her. There was Molly, looking more adorable than ever, and also very revealing. She was going for the schoolgirl look, but more like a Britney Spears schoolgirl.. She was wearing knee-high boots and a plaid skirt... and if I said that the skirt was short, well, it’d be an understatement. The shirt she was wearing wasn’t as bad as it was longsleeved and tucked in. And finally, her hair was in braided pigtails again and she was wearing no makeup, so I could see the adorable freckles scattered across her cheeks.

Then I realized she was only twelve and going to school like this! “Molly!” I said in a scolding tone. “You can’t wear that to school!”

She plopped down in the chair and began eating. “Sure I can,” she answered.

I was still standing. “No you can’t! I know that skirt is against dress code.”

“So? Not like anyone cares..”

“I care!”

She sighed loudly.

I sat down in the chair next to her, trying to calm myself. “I want you to change before you go.”

She threw her fork down. “This is ridiculous,” she muttered, then got up and walked off.

What have I done? I thought to myself. Now Molly was going to hate me and I was pushing her away, simply because I wouldn’t let her wear a skirt to school.

She’ll get over it, the other voice in my head told me. And I knew she would. My younger sister always had.

She came back into the room wearing a baggy pair of khakies and the same white shirt, tucked in with a belt. School uniform, I imagined. I’d never seen her wear khakies any other time. She plopped herself back down in the seat and began eating, almost instantly getting over her anger with me. I’d known that she’d eventually get over it.

When we both finished eating she skipped to the bathroom to brush her teeth, then grabbed her backpack and said, “ready?”

“Sure am,” I answered after putting the dishes in the sink and grabbing my keys. “Let’s go.”

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