Time for things to go down? (previous)
She reluctantly turned the book to show its cover. “Rick Doyle 2: Detective Boogaloo” it read. I knew the series. The first book was okay, but it all went down-hill from there. I couldn’t tell her that though, so I simply nodded.
‘It’s not very good.’ she said, somewhat to my surprise. ‘I hope it gets better later on.’ The naivety of her hope struck me as familiar. I had walked a similar path not too long ago.
Silence fell, she turned back to her detective. I had to keep the conversation going, but didn’t know what to say. ‘Have you read Crimebusters?’ I blurted out. Stupid move, too direct.
She rested the book on her lap and looked me in the eye. Softly, she spoke, ‘Pip, right? Can you keep a secret?’
‘Uh, I, uh…’ I was tripping on my own thoughts, a coherent sentence seemed impossible to construct.
‘Of course.‘ Charlie said.
‘Of course.’ I mindlessly repeated.
She placed a bookmark at the page she was at and closed the tome. Looking at the ground, she confessed in a hushed voice, ‘I have the missing Crimebusters books.’
I was shocked. She didn’t seem like the type to steal. I didn’t seem like the type she’d confess to. How was I even supposed to respond to that?
‘I want to return them!’ she was quick to say. ‘But… My mom cleaned my room, and now I can’t find them anymore.’
‘Why,’ I started. I had to make sure I chose my words carefully. ‘Why don’t you tell Mister Ronald what happened?’ It was the best advice I could come up with.
‘He’ll just yell at me for losing the books.’ Tears started welling up in her eyes. Was she really that scared of the teacher? Maybe it had to do with her reputation as the perfect student?
‘I shouldn’t need to tell you this, Pip.‘ Charlie said when he noticed I was at a loss for words again. ‘This is where you tell the girl you’ll help her search.‘
A lump formed in my throat. I tried swallowing it, but that didn’t make it go away. I had to say something now. ‘Maybe I could, uh, help you look for the books?’
Aww, ain’t that sweet? (next)