Sleepovers & School Switches
I lay outstretched on the B&B lawn. The sun shone on my face and kept my body warm. Cars passed by and almost all of the them honked. Becca Lou, who was supposed to be watching Mini-Lou, ran around the yard making bubbles with Rachel and Bella. Meanwhile, Mini-Lou threw mud on unsuspecting people.
“Penny for your thoughts,” Leo said laying down next to me.
“I wish summer could last forever,” I whispered.
“I just wasted a penny,” Leo mumbled as he threw a penny on my stomach.
“Jokes on you! I didn’t even feel it!” I shouted.
“Well do you feel THIS?” Leo shouted. He turned over and started tickling me.
“Stop it!” I shouted as we started to roll down the driveway.
“Never!” Leo shouted as he continued to find a feeling spot.
“Aren’t you supposed to say ‘as you wish?’,” I joked.
“Huh?” Leo asked as we landed at the end of the driveway.
“Leo? CHARLLY!” Virginia screamed from down the street.
“Oh no,” Leo mumbled. For the first time ever, Leo actually looked scared of Virginia.
Leo quietly picked me up and carried me back up the driveway to my wheelchair.
“Well aren’t you going to say anything?” Virginia asked sending daggers with her eyes at us.
“What do you want me to say? You’re controlling, bossy, and loud?” Leo asked.
“Excuse me?” Virginia asked outraged.
“Or would you me to say I made a big mistake when I sent you that mushy Valentine?” Leo asked.
Virginia tried to speak, but no words came out of her mouth.
“It’s been fun. No actually, that’s a lie,” Leo said.
“I’m breaking up with you Leopold Logan the Second!” Virginia screamed.
I tried not to laugh at this very tense and serious moment. Leopold?
“I never asked you to be my girlfriend in the first place!” Leo shouted as he walked down the driveway.
Virginia looked at me and then at Leo who was almost out of sight.
“That did not just happen,” Virginia spit. “He did not just break up with me.”
“Virginia, I’m sorry,” I started.
“No, you’re not!” Virginia screamed. “You planed this whole thing! You just stole my boyfriend!”
“What!” I shouted. “I’ve only been here for three weeks!”
“So your plan worked faster than you expected!” Virginia shouted.
“What plan?” I asked.
“Mi Scusi! Excuse me!”
Virginia and I turned. Neither of us had noticed a yellow taxi drive up the driveway or a young man get out of it.
“Can we help you?” Virginia asked.
“Maybe you can,” The young man said with an Italian accent. “I’m looking for an O’Donnell residence.”
“Ms. Shelby O’Donnell?” Virginia asked.
“Yes! She’s my sorella sister,” The man said.
“You’re Giovanni!” Virginia shouted in full drawl. “The Italian half-brother.”
“And you must be Virginia,” Giovanni said. “The girl with the terrible drawl.”
“Ms. O’Donnell doesn’t live in Florida. She lives in North Adams. You’re about twenty minutes away from your destination. Her orchid is the first house on the outskirts of North Adams. If you see a brown barn, you’ve gone too far. That’s the Woods property.”
“Grazie,” Giovanni smiled. He got back into his taxi and it took off.
“Who was that?” Regina asked sneaking up behind us.
“Giovanni Moore,” Virginia said all dreamy.
“Does Leo have competition,” Regina joked.
Virginia stared at Regina. The fire was back in her eyes.
“UGH!” Virginia screamed. “Rachel! We’re going home!”
“No, I’m not!” Rachel shouted back. “I’m staying over for the sleepover.”
“Sleepover? What sleepover?” Virginia asked.
“Becca Lou’s having a Before School Sleepover here tonight,” I said.
“Well, then I’m having a sleepover tonight!” Virginia screamed. She ran into the B&B.
“Virginia’s heartbroken,” Rachel said. “Virginia does crazy things when her heart breaks.”
“Why would a sleepover be crazy?” I asked.
“Charlly!” Mom shouted. “We need to talk to you!”
What had Virginia done?
Actually, Virginia had not uttered a word about my ‘evil’ plan to steal Leo away from her. When I rolled into the B&B, I found Virginia on the phone trying to convince her aunt to let her have a sleepover and Laz, Mom, and Lou sitting on the couch.
“I should go,” Cece Elizabeth said getting up.
Lou almost looked disappointed.
“Charlly, we need to talk about school,” Mom said.
“Ok,” I said. “Are we going to start late or something? I hear that this new CO/OP center for homeschoolers.”
“Charlly, honey, you won’t be homeschooled this year,” Mom said. “Neither will Becca Lou.”
“What! Why?” I asked.
“Charlly, we aren’t going anywhere,” Mom said. Lou and Laz nodded in agreement. “Laz and I have decided to stay in the Berkshires for at least until after Becca Lou’s graduated. We love it here. We love that you guys have made friends so fast. Laz has his family here. I’ve finally found a place I can call home.”
I just stared at them. I thought about the words Natalie had said when she finally realized that Florida was the perfect place for her. Was Florida the perfect place for me? I jumped in my wheelchair as Virginia slammed the door as she left. I had already made an enemy, but even with that the want to go back to Chicago was slowly fading away.
“I’m staying too,” Lou said looking off in the direction Cece Elizabeth went.
“You like her,” I blurted.
Lou’s cheeks turned crimson.
“That’s a discussion for another time,” Lou said.
I winked at him and he winked back.
“So tomorrow I will take you down to the high school and sign you up,” Laz said quickly. He gave Lou a quick stare.
“Charlly!” Natalie shouted rolling into the B&B. “Virginia’s having a sleepover! And I can guarantee it’s gonna be CRAZY!”
Just the sight of chickens, a goat, and a pig told me why a sleepover would be a crazy idea.
“You have to be careful when you’re at Virginia’s house,” Natalie explained. “I almost squashed a chicken once.”
“Note to self. Don’t go out in the yard,” I said.
“Forget the yard,” Natalie said. “There are chickens in the house.”
“Are there goats too?” I asked.
“Nope,” Natalie said, “but I think Rachel keeps one of the baby pigs in her room.”
“Who lives like this?” I asked as Natalie rang the doorbell.
“Farm people,” Natalie said.
A tall boy yanked open the door.
“In the family room and FYI I’m not lifting you girls up the steps,” The boy said with a Massachusetts accent.
“Hi, Andrew,” Natalie said sarcastically.
“What did ya’ll think of that? Leo’s been giving me voice lessons,” Andrew said.
“I think you should do what I did,” Natalie said.
“And that is?” Andrew asked.
“Let it naturally find its way into my accent. I love the way I say ‘car’ now!” Natalie shouted.
“You’re accent is cute. You got a little British, a little Southerner, and dash of Massachusetts. My accent is a big piece of Southern pie,” Andrew said.
“And you want to sound like you’re from Boston?” I asked.
“Why not?” Andrew asked.
“A teacher told Virginia her accent hurt her ears and she only embraced it more. Own who you are!” Natalie shouted.
“Andrew! Stop harassing my friends!” Virginia shouted. “Well my friend.”
“Sorry, Ginny,” Andrew said.
Tears mounted in Virginia’s eyes.
“Just let them in,” Virginia shouted at Andrew. She marched down the hall.
“She was dumped earlier,” Andrew whispered as we rolled in the house. “And she’s pretty sour about it. Frankly, I don’t know what Leo saw in her in the first place.
Natalie rammed him with her wheelchair and left him silently screaming his pain.
“I haven’t seen you in a while,” Jessie-Maria pouted as Natalie rolled into the family room.
“I haven’t seen my brother in a while,” Natalie said. Jessie-Maria blushed.
“So how’s that going away?” Emily pried.
“None of your beeswax!” Jessie-Maria shouted throwing her pillow at Emily. “How’s your relationship with Nelson?”
“It’s officially and that’s all that I’m saying,” Emily smiled. She started to pet a chicken that had just snuggled up under her arm. “How ya doing Aggie?”
“You know the chickens by name?” I asked.
“Yup,” Emily said. “This is Aggie and the one leaving droppings by your wheelchair is Ellen.”
“You don’t have these chickens potty trained?” I asked.
“All but Ellen,” Virginia giggled. “She refuses to poop anywhere but that spot you are sitting in.”
I immediately rolled away from that spot.
“Hey, girls,” Aunt Jane said walking into the family room. She had a chicken on a leash.
“Hi, Aunt Jane. Hi, Alice,” Natalie said.
“Bock!” Alice shouted. She started to run towards Natalie.
“Stop!” Aunt Jane shouted. “I have a flight risk here. She ran out in the middle of the street. Timmy almost ran over her. He was racing Jaci to the clinic. The poor girl had resorted to puking in her purse.”
“Oh no,” Emily said. “My big brother is gonna be a daddy!”
“What’s so horrible about that?” Aunt Jane asked.
“Think about it,” Emily said. “My big brother Timothy-Caleb Stewart raising a child…with his genes.”
“God help us all,” Aunt Jane said.
“Well, we all know he’ll be a better father than Lou,” Virginia said.
Nobody said anything. Natalie and Aunt Jane stared at Virginia in shock that she had just said that.
“Virginia, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say,” Aunt Jane said. “Apologize.”
Virginia looked at me and smirked.
“I’m sorry, Aunt Jane, but I can’t do that,” Virginia said.
“And why can’t you?” Aunt Jane asked folding her arms.
“Because from this moment on, I am never speaking to Charlotte Lily King ever again!” Virginia shouted.
Natalie and I stared at each other. We were both thinking the same thing.