20 January 2005

Story: Molly - Chapter 8

Molly - Chapter 8
by Breanna Carter

"Brian!!" Molly called one morning before school. I was sitting at the table sipping on a cup of coffee and reading a newspaper -- typical father stuff, huh? It wasn't exactly what I liked doing before class, but we had to pick out stupid current events for the freshman class I was in, so therefore, I had to read the newspaper.

"What is it, MollyCakes?" I asked, seeing her amble into the kitchen from her room, pitiful look on her face.

"We have volleyball practice after school and I can't find my workout clothes and I forgot that we have a match on Wednesday and I need some money to pay for the fees and to eat and stuff and I forgot about it but I need it today!" she wailed.

"Take it easy," I said, sitting the newspaper down. "Your workout clothes are in the dryer," I began, taking my wallet out, "and here's fifty dollars. Will that be enough?" I was about used to this by now -- seems like every other week Molly was forgetting about an out-of-town match and came to me almost crying. It was $25 for the bus fee, and I figured it'd cost about five to eat lunch, ten to eat dinner, and the other ten was just in case they went to more expensive places. "Just keep onto the extra $25, so you can have it for your trip, okay?"

"Thanks, Brian!" she yelped, hugging me tightly, then scampering towards the dryer to get her workout clothes. I rolled my eyes and shook my head. Cute as a button, that Molly. I loved her to death.

Finally, I finished reading my article and jotted down a short paragraph about it in my notebook. It was perfect timing because that was about the same time Molly escaped from her room, fully dressed, hair fixed, makeup applied -- the works. "I'm ready!" she said, literally hopping towards me.

"You seem happy today?" I said.

She nodded. I can say I was pretty relieved. Since the incident with her running away, I was constantly worried about how she was doing and scared that she wouldn't talk to me. So seeing her in a good mood was a good thing. "Yup, I'm happy.. I'm excited about the game because I think we're going to win!"

They hadn't won a game since they started playing. It was really fun to watch, though, even if they weren't so great. Molly really got into the games, jumping up as high as she could, sprinting to the other end of the net if she had to. Not to mention that the other kids there were nearly as adorable and though some were shy, some weren't... I don't know, it was just cute!

"Really? You think you'll win?"

She nodded. "Yup. I've heard this team sucks lots!"

I rolled my eyes and grabbed my jacket.

"Of course, I reckon they've heard the same thing about us," she said in her best southern accent. Only the British and old rednecks use the word reckon...

"You reckon so, huh?"

She shrugged. "Prolly, since we do suck. But it's only our school's second year playing. Next year, we'll be much better!"

I nodded. "I'm sure you will. Where's the game anyway?" I asked as we arrived at my car.

"Somewhere in the boonies. They haven't won a game this season yet either."

"So whoever wins will be really excited then, huh?"

"Yep! We will!" she shrieked, turning Flogging Molly up as loud as it would go, ignoring the fact that each of us has ear drums that need to stay intact. It didn't bother me that much, though. She was happy as could be and that made it worth it.

I dropped her off at school delivering a slight kiss to her cheek, though she protested to no end. "Brian! I'm twelve, not four!" she exclaimed, but kissed me back anyway. I ruffled her hair and sent her on her way.

I decided to go ahead and go to class, even though I'd be terribly early. I could grab a bite of breakfast in the caf with some of my friends, except I didn't have a meal plan and didn't really care for cafeteria food.

After my breakfast and classes, the day went by slowly and I finally found myself comfortably lying on the couch watching tv when the phone rang and startled me. Yes, startled me because I was dead asleep. Afternoon tv is boring.

"Hello?"

"Hey Brian!!" I heard the shriek on the other line. "It's Molly!"

As if I didn't know. "Hey MollyCakes... what's up?" I grumbled, still groggy from sleep. I was hoping that I hadn't forgotten to pick her up, but when I looked at the clock it was only 2:50 and she didn't get out of practice until about four.

"So we're in gym, right? And we're playing volleyball and my friend Ciara asks me if I want to go with her and some friends to get pizza after practice and then her mom will bring me home. Is that okay? Sorry to wake you up..."

"I wasn't sleeping, just resting my eyes," I said like one of those old men who jump up when you change the tv channel from what they were "watching." "And anyway, yeah it's okay. What time will you be home?"

"I dunno," she said. "Sometime around six or seven I guess.."

"Okay, well call and let me know something," I said, knowing that she had no idea what time she'd be home and really probably hadn't a clue where she was actually going.

"Thanks, Brian!" she yelped, and I heard her cover the phone with her hand to tell her friend that I said yes. "See you later!"

"Bye, Molly. Be careful!" I don't know if she heard my last words or not because she hung up the phone so quickly.

After that there was no way I could go back to sleep, so I fixed a sandwich to eat and began doing some of my homework. None of it was due anytime soon, and I really wasn't feeling up to it, so that lasted about ten minutes before I plopped back down on the couch to see if anything was on tv. Nothing.

I decided that instead of staying home, I'd go to the skating rink and see what was up there. I could work any time I wanted, since I was a manager, but I usually limited it to nights and weekends, since that's when most of the people were there and it would save us the most money. Sometimes, however, I went during the weekdays to see how things were going, catch up on the afternoon gossip, and make sure everyone was doing their job. You'd be surprised at how many people don't do their job when the top manager isn't around. I didn't usually have problems, though.

The skating rink was nearly deserted when I got in there, only a birthday party with a few toddlers and their moms. I don't know why they bring kids so young to the skating rink... it's not like they can skate. They were amusing, though, I'll say that much. I sat up in the DJ stand watching parents skate their kids down the rink. It was mildly entertaining when one of the parents fell and the kids laughed at them.

"How's Molly?" Heidi asked. She's the daytime DJ, a twenty-two year old bartender who played in rockband. Weird, huh? Babysitter by day, hardcore rocker alcoholic by night.

"She's doing okay," I answered, then looked at her. "I don't know what to do about court, though. I don't know if I can get legal custody over her or if they'd put her in a foster home or what."

"Since she's been living with you, they'd probably let her stay there, unless there's someone related that wants her."

I nodded. "I'm just worried. If I can ever get in touch with my friend, I'm going to find out some stuff. But until then, we're just going to wait and see what happens."

"Sounds okay. Just don't get too stressed out, Brian, okay?"

I smiled. "Don't worry, Heidi.. I don't get stressed out."

She rolled her eyes, muttered, "yeah right," under her breath before announcing that the next song was the "chicken dance" and for everyone to follow the ref's lead. Now *that* was an adorable site... watching two and three year olds try to do the chicken dance.

About 3:30 was when things got a little busier. That's because one of the schools has a hockey team and they practice on the rink sometimes. Today wasn't an official practice, but a lot of kids came in anyway to play a little hockey. I told them it was okay, as long as they didn't run over the little kids and if it got too crowded with people who wanted to skate instead of play hockey, they'd have to leave.

Otherwise, things were uneventful. Molly called my cellphone about four o'clock announcing that volleyball practice was over and Ciara had said she'd be back home about eight, they were going to the mall, then for pizza and to watch a movie. I was a little sketchy about letting her stay out so late...

"It's fine, Molly, but you have to do your homework right when you get home, okay?"

"Don't worry.. I'll do it," she promised.

I sighed. "Okay, see you later then."

"See ya!"

So I ended up staying at the skating rink until after the night shift came. Things didn't get much busier, and I finally decided to go home, patting Brad on the back and telling him to have fun with screaming kids.

By the time I got home, it was pitch black dark outside and there were actually some decent shows on tv. I watched some sit-coms, munching on Chinese food leftovers (Molly hated Chinese food, so I didn't have to worry about anyone stealing it!), and waiting for Molly to come home. When I wasn't working, or going to school, I really had a boring life. Oh well. Television was interesting enough, and I even got interested in some of the stupid reality shows on tv.

Molly finally came bouncing in about eight, as promised. "Heyyyyy Brian!" she said, backpack on her shoulders and scampering to her room to sit it down before she talked to me. It was fine with me -- I was watching a dumb reality show and it had my full attention.

She came back in and plopped down next to me. "Eewww, what are you watching?" she asked, and when I didn't answer she hit me on the knee. "Guess what!?"

I looked at her, eyebrows raised. "What?"

"We did super good in practice today!"

"Well," I corrected.

"... whatever. Anyway, we did go-- er, well-- and our coach is really excited and thinks we're going to win! Isn't that awesome!"

I smiled. "That is awesome. I hope you guys do, but I'm sure you'll do fine anyway, even if you don't win."

"Shhhh, don't give us bad luck!" she said.

I rolled my eyes at her. "Did you have fun with Ciara?"

"YES! We went to the mall then had a pizza and watched a scary movie. And guess what? She's going to have a sleepover this weekend and invited me to come! Isn't that so cool!"

"That is cool."

"And guess what else? I talked her into inviting Ali! So Ali can eat pizza and watch scary movies and have girltalk with us all night!"

"Hey, that's really cool."

She nodded matter-of-factly. "When I have my birthday, I want to do a kidnapping sleepover party."

"A... what?"

"It's where all the parents get together and kidnap the kids."

I gave her a confused look.

She sighed, aggravated with having to explain things to me. Sorry, Molly... I'm not a twelve year old girl... "Like you'd talk to Ciara's mom and Ali's dad and tell them that you're going to kidnap them.."

"I think if I did that they'd call the cops on me..."

"No they wouldn't!" she said, not realizing that it was a joke. "That's what you're *supposed* to do. You tell them that it's my birthday and you're going to kidnap the kids. And then they all go to bed a little early, and we get a van and go over there and their parents help you run into the kids room, cover their mouths and blindfold them and throw 'em into the van. And then when they get into the van you can take the blindfold off of em and they're scared to death and then they realize it's only a party!"

"Um, okay."

"And then when we kidnap everyone, they're all in their pjs and we go to IHOP or someplace and eat and we're loud and annoying and stay there til we get kicked out!"

"Uh... I don't know if that's..."

"Just *kidding* Brian!"

I shook my head. "It sounds like fun, Molly," I said, not letting her know if I was up for the idea or not. "And what about homework?"

"It'll be my birthday, I won't have homework," she said.

"No, Molly.. I mean your homework for tonight."

"Oh," she giggled. "I already did it!"

"You.. did?"

"Yeah! Ciara and Kelly and Annie and Joanne all have math with me so we did our homework together, and that's all I had tonight."

I nodded. "Okay, but let me check over it anyway. Did you understand everything okay?"

"Yep.. I'll take a shower while you're checking it." She ran to her room and came back with the paper in her hands. "Here ya go!" she said then scampered off to the shower.

It was cool seeing Molly back to her old hyper, happy self. I can't say honestly how relieved I was. I went ahead and checked over her math homework only to find that there were no errors, which was kind of weird for Molly, since math wasn't her strongest point. But she did say that she'd done it with Ciara and... all those other people that I couldn't remember, so maybe that helped out a little.

She came back minutes later, hair dripping wet, clad in a Lucky Charms T-shirt and some green pj pants. Normal attire for Molly. "How'd I do?"

"You did very well, Molly."

She grinned the biggest grin she could muster, then added, "that's because Ciara's mom checked it for us. But I had you fooled for a few minutes!"

I shook my head, smiling. "That's good that she checked it for you. Come on, watch some tv with me."

"As long as you change it from that crap," she said.

I rolled my eyes and flipped it to Full House. It was a girly show, but both of us liked it, for some reason. We were both sappy at heart.

When the two episodes of Full House and the MTV reality show that Molly just *had* to watch were over, Molly yawned and I suggested it was bedtime. She argued for a minute, but I could tell that she was genuinely tired and she went on to bed anyway. She was only arguing because she felt the need to.

After she went to bed, I watched tv a little longer, catching the news and finally deciding to go to bed. Before I did that, though, I had to get some laundry finished -- like Molly's gym clothes. I wasn't sure if she had practice the next day or not, but either way, it'd be good to have them done.

Molly was sound asleep when I went into her room. I searched for her uniform, but it wasn't on the floor like her school uniform was, along with a few other various clothes. If it wasn't on the floor in plain sight, it was probably in her backpack -- that's where I usually found it. Like I've said before, I don't go through her stuff, it's not right. But this wasn't going through her stuff, this was just getting her volleyball uniform.

As I opened the green backpack and pulled out the white and red uniform, a bag fell out. It read "Hot Topic" which was a store in the mall. I'd wondered why she hadn't shown me what she'd gotten.. until I saw a receipt on the floor that'd fallen out when I pulled out the rest of the stuff. I glanced at it, my heart nearly stopping. It was some kind of skirt that cost $35 and a little bit more, totaling up to over $60. I didn't know if she was good at saving money or not -- but I did know that she didn't get that much money, and probably some of it came from the $50 I had given her for the trip. But I wasn't going to jump to conclusions. I'd just ask her about it in the morning.

I was curious to see what was in the bag that would amount to $60, but instead I just sat it down on the floor next to her backpack and gathered the dirty clothes in my arms. I was a little dizzy.. I didn't like the bad feeling I had about this...

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