Some Kind of Wonderful Part-9

Some Kind of Wonderful-
Part Nine


Charlie Sandsmark and his mother, Helena, travel around the world from one archaeological dig to another, looking for evidence of the ancient Amazonian culture. So far they have found nothing, until Charlie discovers something wonderful about himself on a small island in the Aegean Sea.


Author's Note: Here's Nine. Its another transition chapter but I promise that things will pick up again soon. Every once and a while a few of these chapters are needed to help the story breath a bit. I'd like to thank djkauf for the wonderful editing and DC Comics for their wonderful characters.


Chapter Nine:

“Wake up sweetie!”

When I opened my eyes, I was confused because I had no idea where I was. The room around me was unfamiliar, the bed too soft, the frilly pink canopy above me too foreign. At first, I thought I was in a freaky nightmare. That is until I saw my grandmother smiling at me. She was standing near my bedside, waiting patiently for me to get my bearings. I sighed and remembered. The events of the last day or so came flooding back to me. I relaxed a bit, the new protrusions on my chest heaving up and down as I let out a big sigh. I looked down at them and frowned. My new life and new situation came flooding back, too. I wasn’t in Greece anymore; I was back home, my real home. Mom was in the city now, probably stewing over the fact that I grew a pair and finally stood up to her. It is funny that losing my balls made me actually grow some.

“I got confused for a moment,” I mumbled, still clutching the covers to my chest.

My grandma sighed. “Very understandable, dear. You’ve had a busy few days” She looked at the clock on the wall. Then back at me. “Why don’t you take a nice hot shower, I’ll make some breakfast and then you and I can make some plans for the rest of the day.”

I smiled. “That sounds nice.”

“I’ll leave you to it then.”

She turned and left the room. Me, I stayed in bed for a few more minutes, thinking things over. After I had told her everything, I cried for a long time. She held me for a long time, too. It was kinda therapeutic actually, getting everything off my chest. I told her everything, too, not leaving a thing out. She took it surprisingly well, considering that I must have sounded like a lunatic. Unlike Faraday, I trusted my grandmother more than anyone else in the world. I knew if anyone could understand what I was going through, it would definitely be her. I was right, too. She told me that “there are strange things in this world and that anything is possible because of them.” Then she went on to explain that it was actually stories of Ancient Greece and the Amazons that got my mother interested in history in the first place. My grandfather used to tell me similar stories, too. I suppose they had more of an effect on Mom then they did on me.

I threw off the covers and groaned. After talking and a quick dinner---grandma made me go to bed. Not that I could blame her, I was exhausted. Too many time changes and things like that I guess. Before hitting the sack last night, she gave me an oversized shirt that apparently belonged to my grandfather. She told me that young women didn’t sleep in the clothes they wore the day before. So I reluctantly stripped out of my Aunt Vanessa’s old things and pulled the shirt over my head. I think I conked out pretty quickly after that because I don’t remember anything more. Now staring down at the shirt, my new assets tenting it out in front of me, I groaned some more. The shirt was a gift from me. I bought it for him from one of the numerous shops he and I used to frequent on our way to some of our camping trips. It wasn’t much---just some scenic picture of a mountainside. But he liked it. He used to wear it on all our trips after that.

I climbed out of bed, stretched then did some scratching. Not my butt, my chest. It was kinda irritated; apparently, I should have sleep without the bra. I think this girl thing was going to be a lot harder than I thought. I thumped through the room and to the door. Upon opening it, I found a towel and a fluffy pink bathrobe sitting on the chair in the hall. I guess my grandma expected me to use them. I snatched them up without much thought and made my way to the bathroom. Only the master had a built in bath. There were actually three other bathrooms on this floor, the one I was currently in was the largest. It was the one I usually used.

I pulled the oversized shirt over my head and let it drop to the floor. Then I turned to the mirror, she was still there, the new me I mean. She looked a little more bedraggled this morning but she was still as beautiful as ever. For the first time I got a full look at my naked form. I wasn’t one for looking at Playboy magazines or watching porn like some of my other perverted friends. I knew what a naked girl looked like---hell, they showed up all over TV and movies these days---but I didn’t go out of my way to find one. Staring at this naked form---this new body of mine---I half expected to feel something. Every guy, whether they’d admit it or not, got a little stiff looking at naked girls. Now that I wasn’t a guy, I felt no arousal whatsoever. I’m not sure if that was a good thing or a bad one.

I sighed, trying not think about it. I turned on the water, washed my hands, threw some of it into my face then went into the shower. The first thing I noticed as soon as I stepped into the hot stream was how sensitive my new body was. As soon as the water hit me, it sent goose bumps all over my body. Girls were more sensitive in some areas than guys ever were. My chest tingled, my larger nipples got hard and pointy and down below started to tingle. I closed my eyes, trying to block off these sensations as I grabbed the soap and started to wash myself. I kept my eyes closed the entire time I was in the shower, not quite ready to see what I was feeling as I washed.

I was in the shower for about ten minutes. I wash quickly. Afterwards I went pee. I’m not going to give you all the gory details there, suffice to say it was a lot different than before. It wasn’t the first time I’d peed as a girl but it was the first time that I actually had time to think about it. The other few times I was a bit preoccupied with running for my life and all those things. After peeing, I brushed my teeth and washed my hands. I went back to my new room, put on the clothes from before and headed downstairs. At the bottom of which, I could breakfast.

My grandma was in the kitchen, flipping pancakes. I sniffed the air, there was sizzling bacon too, and eggs I think. I smiled, trying to remember the last time I’d had a proper meal. Mom didn’t do much cooking. Not that she had much time to anyway. If she wasn’t teaching, she was at the museum doing research. So most of our meals either consisted of fast food or take out. When we used to live here with grandma, she did all the cooking. It was usually more than one course, too. Before my mother and Aunt Vanessa came around, grandma used to cook at a little diner in the city. But after my mother, she quit to be a full-time mother. Not that she and grandpa really needed the money, but I think she liked to work. She liked to cook too. She always used to say it was therapeutic. I’d have to take her word for it. Though she tried to teach me on countless occasions, I always seemed to screw it up.

My grandma plated the pancakes and carried them to the center of our little table. The kitchen was one of the bigger rooms in the house. It had a lot of counter and cabinet space and an island in the center. It was pretty modern and up-to-date too. Our little table was built into the wall, with long polished wooden benches instead of individual chairs. The big table was in the dining room but we never used it unless we were celebrating a major function like a birthday or holiday. Though my mother didn’t believe in birthdays, my grandma said they were special times to celebrate and cherish. Sometimes I wondered how such a happy and caring woman ever raised my cold and bitter mother.

“Donna called while you were in the shower,” said grandma as she plated the bacon and eggs and brought them over too. “She’s going to take you shopping as soon as breakfast is over.”

She got a couple of plates from the cupboard, handing me one.

“You’re not coming?” I asked as I served myself.

“You don’t want an old thing like me getting in the way,” she said as she sat down, getting some food for herself. “Besides I have some things I want to do around here.”

I couldn’t imagine what. It was winter, so she didn’t have to do gardening---one of her greatest hobbies---and most of the yard work was done by hired hands. After my grandfather died, my grandma paid to have most of the outside housework done. I tried to lend a hand wherever I could but after Mom and I moved out, she was all alone. It always pissed me off that mom did that to her but grandma didn’t mind. She said she liked having some privacy but I think she was only saying that to make me feel better. Looking at her now---sitting there with a big smile on her face---I think she was happy to have me here. I was happy, too. Mom may have given birth to me but this woman sitting across from me was my true mother.

Grandma clicked the TV on. We had a small flat screen in the kitchen, mounted on the wall. We didn’t usually watch it but I guess things changed. On the screen, a pretty blonde anchor appeared. Grandma turned up the volume.

“The country is still mourning the death of great industrialist and entrepreneur Jameson Queen. For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Queen was found dead in his penthouse four nights ago, though the details of his death are still a mystery, Mr. Queen had been ill for some time. Funeral arrangements have been made with a funeral set for tomorrow morning. The future of Queen Industry still remains in the open while some insiders believe that the whole of the company might pass to Mr. Queen’s granddaughter.”

“So tragic” said my grandma with a sigh. “He was a fine man. Did I tell you that he helped fund some of grandfather’s treasure hunts?”

I smiled and nodded. My grandfather and Mr. Queen were old poker buddies back in the day. I didn’t know the specifics but they used to go beating around the bush together in their youth, always looking for the next great adventure. That was before grandpa met grandma of course. I only knew of Queen from grandpa’s stories. I hadn’t heard of his death, which was as grandma said very tragic.

The newscaster switched stories. “And on a more local front, the Black Bandits have struck again.” A grainy image of four, black suited individuals appeared on the screen. “The lithe robbers broke into a Wayne Enterprise warehouse over the weekend, putting four guards in the hospital and making off with thousands of dollars in goods and merchandise. The Chicago police department is asking anyone with information on these dangerous fugitives to please call 555-…”

My grandma muted the TV and shook her head. “That’s all that seems to be on lately. Its either crime or super-heroes.”

I hated being out of the loop but grandma quickly filled me. She told me all about Jade and Terra and that American Dream girl that Agent Faraday mentioned. There might have been a few more but grandma said she wasn’t really following it. We talked a little more about some current events that I wasn’t really up-to-date on. Then the doorbell rang. Grandma excused herself to answer and came back a minute or two later with Donna, the two of them already in conversation. This wasn’t the first time that Donna had been here, she used to eat here all the time and she did about as much work here in the library---yeah, we have one---as Mom did.

Grandma fixed her up and plate as she sat next to me. “Morning, kiddo.”

“Morning” I said cheerfully with a mouth half full of food.

“Manners are the first thing you need to learn, young lady,” said grandma as she handed Donna a plate.

Grandma and Donna laughed, I blushed.

This being a girl thing was going to be a lot harder than I thought.

When they were finished laughing, Donna put a bag on the table. It was a shopping bag, from one of the local boutiques. It was popular with girls my age as I saw a lot of those bags when we went into the city to shop. Looking at the bag and the smile on Donna’s face, I kinda had a feeling what was in there and for whom. She answered my fears when she reached inside and started taking out clothes. I groaned, knowing what was coming.

“I thought the whole purpose for you being here so we could go shopping.”

“It is,” she said, taking all the garments out of the bag. “But you can’t go shopping in clothes that are a few sizes too small. So I stopped by on the way here, got a few things in your size so you wouldn’t look like a complete spaz.”

I groaned again. “You’re having fun with this aren’t you?”

She smiled and tossed a pair of jeans at me. “Oh, yeah! Now go put these on. We have a lot of places to go and very little time to do so.”

I groaned for the third time as she put everything back into the bag and tossed it at me. I finished eating first, there was no way she was going to deny me that. I was starved, too, and ate like I hadn’t in days. I devoured everything, even went back for seconds. Both of them commented on how girls needed to watch their figures but I didn’t care. I ate like a horse. Even after my third helping, I didn’t feel full. After that, there was nothing left so I was forced to leave and change. I dressed in the downstairs bathroom, which was just off to the left of the sitting room next to the kitchen. The girls fit like a glove, a little too good actually. At least they were the right size. The shirt was red and unfortunately had no sleeves. I didn’t like that one bit but seeing as it was the only one, I didn’t have much of a choice. The underwear were white briefs, meant for girls not boys. I put those on first by the way---there was no commando for me. I still wore the sports bra, and the shoes were another pair of sandals.

When I was finished, I came back into the kitchen to find grandma on the phone, talking to someone. There was a white business card in her hand; I recognized it as the one Faraday gave me yesterday. I groaned, forgetting that he told me I was supposed to call that number if I wanted to leave. I hated the fact that I needed a babysitter every time I left the house but I guess it was the only way the government could feel secure about themselves or something.

My grandma hung up the phone. “The Agent will be here in a few minutes then the three of you can leave.”

I could tell by the grandma’s tone that she didn’t like the fact that the government was keeping tabs on me either.


My grandma lived in the village of Schaumburg, which was actually about thirty miles northwest of Chicago. One of its main attractions was the Woodfield Mall. The Mall was our destination for the afternoon. After my grandma made the call, my Agent Babysitter arrived about thirty minutes later in a black SUV similar to the one that dropped me off yesterday. What surprised me most that it was a woman. She introduced herself as Cameron Chase---she didn’t put agent in front of that either, I think she was trying to be casual. She was dressed casually after all in jeans and a black leather jacket over a tan shirt. Her long blonde hair was loose on her shoulders but there was no mistaking that there was nothing casual about her. She had a stern look to her and if I wasn’t mistaken, a slight bulge on her left side where I know she had a gun concealed. She tried to be pleasant, telling us to call her Cameron but there was something about her that put me off. Partly because this woman was here to spy on me but also because she gave me this look. It was like she hated me or something. I’m not sure what the hell was up her ass but the look really annoyed me. Cameron was in the front with the driver; Donna was in the back with me.

After leaving grandma’s, Donna quickly filled me in on what happened when she got back to her apartment. Apparently, she got home to an empty place. Not that Barbara left her or anything but apparently, Donna wasn’t the only one who got to go on an expedition. Barbara left a note, saying that she was invited by her professor to go with him to Africa. I’m not sure if Donna was ecstatic or not about the news. I think after the last few days, all she wanted to do was go home and cuddle in her girlfriend’s arms. Now she’s going to have to wait three or four months until Barbara returns. I felt kinda bad for her, wondering if she wanted to cuddle with me instead.

We arrived at the mall not too long after leaving the house. We pulled up in the parking lot near J. C. Penney’s. The driver stayed with the SUV, Cameron followed us inside. I used to go to Woodfield all the time; it is the place to hang for kids my age after all. Now that it was after Christmas it wasn’t as packed---being the end of January but there were still a lot of people milling about. Looking around brought back a bit of nostalgia. Connor and I used to spend countless hours here, running from toy store to toy store, hitting the arcade. Now most of the kids my age hung out in the food court.

“Miss Sandsmark” said Cameron as we stepped through the doors into the busy and bustling lower floor. “This is for you.”

She was holding a card, waiting for me to take it. I reluctantly did so. “What is this?”

“An incentive program set up by the DEO.”

I took the card; it was a credit card. My name---my new one---was on it. “What’s the DEO?”

“The Department of Extra-normal Operations is a new organization recently set up by the US government. Our job is to monitor those with Metahuman powers and make sure they’re not a threat to the general public. The DMA---the group Agent Faraday and I work for---is a small branch of the DEO.”

I nodded. I don’t think I wanted to know more. “What’s the credit line on this?”

“Five thousand.”

The eyes bulged out of Donna’s head about as far as mine did. I’d never had that much money in my hand in my entire life. Who cares if it was in a little plastic card? It amazed me that the government would willingly hand me that much cash. Ok, it wasn’t really all that much but it was a lot more than Mom and I had to spend. Mom refused to take handouts even though grandma didn’t call them that. I did have a little trust fund set up in my name---well Charlie’s actually---but that was meant for college.

“That stipend is supposed to help you set up a new life, to get the things that you need to live comfortably in said new life” continued Cameron, sounding like some official who was given me a message that she had to memorize.

After giving me the card, Cameron didn’t say much more. Instead, she followed Donna and I as the older girl dragged me about like a little doll. She took me to one trendy store after another. I think we hit every teen fashion store there was. First, Abercrombie & Fitch, then Aéropostale and XXI Forever. There were a lot of others as well. In each shop, Donna loaded my arms with clothes and pushed me toward the changing rooms. I definitely felt like a doll. I’d dress, come out, model for her and then go back in to start the process all over. I was being run rampant and at first, I hated it. I say at first because after a few stores, I sorta got the hang of it. I’m not saying that I like clothes shopping now or anything but I like it a little more than I did before.

Our last stop before lunch was Victoria’s Secret. We were already bogged down with over a dozen bags already and let me tell you, I was kinda avoiding this stop. A couple of years ago---three actually---Connor and I got in trouble in Victoria’s Secret. We were young, puberty was setting in and our hormones were kinda on fire. The two of us didn’t really even go into the store, we were kinda lingering on the outside, we couldn’t help it. There was this girl in there---probably in her twenties---we kinda caught her walking out of the changing room, wearing nothing but her skivvies. Well suffice to say she screamed, the manager called security and I was grounded for two weeks. My Mom was furious; my grandma wasn’t too thrilled either. The two of them gave me a big lecture on women and respecting their privacy.

Connor and I never went anywhere near that place again.

Going in here now, looking at all the lingerie clad mannequins and things like that made me feel wrong somehow. As soon as the three of us walked inside---Cameron lingering between us too---a young woman came out of nowhere. It was possible she materialized from the racks of undies. I jumped, Donna smiled, Cameron showed no emotion.

“How can I help you ladies today?”

Donna spoke up before I could say anything. “My little cousin here has grown a bit since her last visit. She needs to be refitted for a new bra.”

I flushed red in embarrassment. The woman looked at me then looked up and up. Even with her in heels, I still had a good five or six inches on her. There was a flash of something across her face---jealousy maybe---then her fake smile was back.

“Of course, come right this way.”

She took my arm and led me off. I looked back at Donna for help but she had a big smile on her face. She shooed me on, I groaned. The woman was asking me all sorts of questions but all I could do was nod. She led me back to the changing rooms and told me to take off my shirt. I did so. She frowned at the sports bra, telling me to take that off as well. As soon as I did, I felt my pair flop free. It felt kinda good for a second until I realized how heavy they were without a bra. The woman didn’t say anything. Instead, she went about measuring. Her hands were cold and I didn’t like how comfortable she seemed to feel fondling my boobs like she was. In the end, she announced I was a C cup then went off to find me something age appropriate.

I looked at my naked chest in the mirror on the door. For the first time I really saw myself. I was gorgeous. I knew I was pretty but gorgeous, well that was something I never thought I’d use to describe myself. I turned this way and that. Then I grabbed some of my hair, pulling it up on the top of my head. I’d seen what I looked like with a ponytail but this morning I left with it down. I let go of my hair, deciding I liked it better down. As soon as I dropped my hair, the woman came back. She had a few bras with her. She made me try them on one at a time. In the end, I settled for the plainest in the bunch. I’m not sure, if she was happy or not because it was also the cheapest.

She took the tag, making me wear it under my clothes. She also took my sports bra, promising to burn it for me. I put my shirt back on and followed her to the register. She told me to grab a few more bras just like the one I had on. I found them as I walked by, grabbing six or seven. I paid for my purchases, my stomach rumbling. I looked at the clock on the wall, not believing it was already time for lunch.

“I’m starved,” I said as the three of us left the store, me one bag heavier.

“One more stop before we eat” said Donna, grabbing my arm and dragging me toward Claire’s.

In Claire’s she got my ears pierced. It was a lot less painful that I thought t was going to be. I had to wear these little studs in my ears for a while but after that, I could wear whatever I wanted. To celebrate this rite of passage, Donna bought me a pair of earrings. They were dangling red stars, about the size of quarters. They looked kinda ridiculous but according to Donna, they fit me. I reluctantly thanked her as she paid for everything. The earrings and the piercings were her treat. After that, her stomach growled too and we finally made our way to the food court.

There was only one place that I liked to eat at while I was here. It was Sbarro’s, they made the best pizza. I could get it the right way too, New York style. I know I’m a Chicagoan but I’m afraid I’m not much of a fan of deep dish. I like being able to pick up a slice and take a bite. We ordered a large cheese and pepperoni and took it to the court to eat. I was trying not to notice but there were a lot of people staring. I felt just like I did when I was at JFK and O’Hare. A lot of people probably thought I was a giant freak or worse, a model. As Charlie, I didn’t really draw all that much attention. I was the quiet Emo kid with the skater boy haircut and no social skills. I used to walk into a room and fade into the crowd. Now I was Cassie, six foot three and all leg. I was tall, beautiful and blonde. Which unfortunately for me made me very hard to miss?

We found a table away from the crowds. Donna sat on one side of me, Cameron across from me. She hadn’t said much which I think was a good thing. What was there for her to discuss with us anyway? She had to be at least ten years older than Donna and looked kinda out of place following the two of us around. I’m not sure if people thought she was my mother---she was blonde like me and we had the same eye color---or if she was an uncomfortable older person who happened to be hanging out with us. I have to say, she did try too hard to blend in. It was clear that the jeans and leather jacket were not her usual. For some reason I saw her better suited for a pants suit or something.

“Don’t look now but that gorgeous guy over there is staring at you?” said Donna as she slurped on her coke.

I was about to take a bit of my pizza when I froze. Gorgeous guy? My heart beat faster in my chest and my hand trembled a bit. Guys weren’t supposed to find me attractive. I wasn’t supposed to find them attractive either. So at first I tried to ignore what she said. But my beating heart and trembling hands got the better of it. I couldn’t help it; I wanted to see who she thought was gorgeous. Maybe it was someone I knew. I’m not sure what I thought about that but I suppose it was going to have to happen sooner or later. After all, I did grow up around here. I used to come here all the time so I was bound to run into one of my old classmates.

I feigned stretching and finally looked behind me.

My heart skipped a beat. Not in a good way either. Two tables behind us---sitting in a group of six or seven, was my best friend in the whole wide world---Connor Kent. I nearly choked when I saw him, snapping around quickly. My cheeks flushed red and my heart skipped a beat again. It had to be Connor; it just had to be him. I cursed silently, biting my lip. I hadn’t seen him in months, actually. He left about a month before me. I think I might have mentioned that he lived in the city not too far from mom and me. Well, after his Dad left for California and he moved in with his cuz, the two of us became constant companions in our misery. We had something in common, both our parents ignored us. Whereas his Dad was a big time reporter, his Mom was a jet-setting model, maybe you’ve heard of Lana Lang.

“He’s cute,” said Donna, giving me a nudge.

“What” I said, snapping out of my thoughts.

“The dark hair one with the muscles. The one who was staring” said Donna with a laugh. “I think you scared him off with that fake stretch. That was subtle by the way, very flirtatious of you.”

I groaned. “I’m not trying to flirt,” I snapped.

“Well you better quick because here he comes.”

I gulped. Son of a bitch. I only had a few seconds to get myself ready before I saw him. Donna was right, he walking over. He had this stride that I never noticed before. There was also this way about him. When he walked, his muscles bulged more. God he had a lot of those. How come I never noticed that before? And his arms, they were huge, like pistons. His chest was huge too; his black shirt was straining against it. My heart skipped another beat and my palms were all sweaty. I tried to look casual as he came over, running a hand through his cropped black hair. He smiled, trying to not look nervous. But I knew he was, after all, he was my best bud. He had this thing with girls. Even though he was a babe magnet, a total hottie to the whole female population, he was the shyest guy I knew. A lot of girls fell all over him and they thought he was aloof when he ignored them. In truth, he was kinda terrified of them. He didn’t know how to talk to girls. Before moving to Chicago when he was nine, he and his father lived on the family farm in Kansas. His Dad home-schooled him, with the help of his grandmother. He didn’t have much interaction with girls on the farm.

“Hi” he said, clearing his throat. “Umm, my friends and I were wondering if you’d like to come over and talk with us for a few minutes.”

I glanced casually over at his friends. I knew all of them and hated them. They were his football teammates. They hassled me all the time when Connor wasn’t around. All of them were jackasses. Looking at them now---sneering at me like a bunch of pigs---made my skin crawl. These guys were checking me out and I hated every minute of it.

“Cassie, the young man asked you a question” sad Donna, a little too playfully.

I snapped back to the real world. “I’m sorry, what’s your name?”

He smiled weakly, sticking out his hand. “I’m Connor Kent, I live in Chicago. But I still go to high school around here.”

I had to smile. All I asked was his name. Typical Connor.

“I’m Cassie,” I said, confidently taking his hand and shaking.

He had a strong grip but nothing compared to mine.

I looked at Donna and Cameron, hoping that one of them would interfere and tell him to get lost. But the two of them didn’t. Cameron looked indifferent; Donna looked like she was staring at fish in an aquarium. I was so going to get her back later for this. Looking at the two of them, I knew I was on my own. So that being the case, I took a deep breath and spoke.

“I’d really like too but we’re kinda in the middle of a big shopping spree.”

“No we’re not, Cass,” said Donna “I think we can spare a few minutes so you can get to know some of your new classmates.”

“Are you going to Gateway High?”

That was the name Connor and I called the local high school. A lot of the kids there were from the Gates. I think he thought I knew to what he was referring so I nodded.

Donna answered for me. “Cassie just moved her. Her parents are traveling so she’s living with her grandmother in Green Meadows.”

“Hey I used to live there. I have a friend who lives there or he did. He lives in the city now. Have you met Charlie Sandsmark?”

Donna’s eyes got big. I think she know knew why I was trying to avoid my good buddy. She got this evil look. I opened my mouth to say something but she beat me too it. “Cassie and Charlie are cousins.”

Damn bitch. I smiled sweetly at him then pretended to remember him. “Oh, you’re Charlie’s friend Connor.”

He nodded. “Yep. Is he back from Greece yet?”

I shook my head. “No…he’s ummm…”

Donna helped. “Going to live with his Dad for a while.”

Damn her.

“His Dad?” said Connor “I didn’t think he knew who that was?”

“They reconnected,” I said quickly. “He found his Dad in Greece and the two of them hit it off. Charlie and his mom have problems”

Connor nodded. “So Charlie wanted to try living with his Dad for a bit to see how that went.”

Connor looked a little upset. “He’s my best bud, I wish he would have called or emailed or something.”

“He was going to,” I quickly added “But I told him I’d hunt you down and tell you for him.”

Donna smiled. Clearly, she worked another connotation into my term “hunt you down.” I think Connor did too because he smiled real big. Damn me and my stupid mouth.

Then he quickly added. “Hey, I’m riding early tomorrow. Do you want me to swing by and pick you up? It’s the first day of classes after Winter Break, after all.”

I found myself numbly nodding. He smiled big.

“Cool, see ya then.”

“Yeah, see ya.”

Connor turned and walked back over to his table happily. There was some laughter, his football friends slapping him on the back. I looked over at Donna and glared. She smiled sheepishly at me. The rest of our meal I fumed at her and she pretended to be offended. I think she got great pleasure out of seeing me embarrassed like that. Cameron was indifferent again. I think that was the only thing that that woman knew how to be. I only think I heard her speak a few words and that was when we first got here. I understood she was only there to “babysit” me but at least she could have been a little more friendly about it. Her quietness was kinda freaky actually.

But thankfully, I didn’t have to put up with it much longer.

We finished lunch and started to hit some of the other stores. Donna was convinced I needed this and that. I went along with it because frankly I didn’t know what a girl my age needs. Two hours and several stores later, I think all three of us were pretty tired. We were on the bottom floor again, heading toward the entrance where we were parked. It was a good day, I had way more stuff then I wanted but I had fun.

That is until I heard the woman behind us scream. “Help me someone, he took my purse!”

I dropped my bags and instinctively snapped around. I saw the purse snatcher; he was running right for me. I’m not really sure what happened. One minute he was almost passing me and the next, my arm was held straight out.

I clothes lined him.

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