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Bravery part 2
That was a year before, when Aimie was ten. Not much had changed, except now she was eleven and she never saw Jackson or Zachary much anymore. Today was sunny and few clouds dotted the eye-blinking blue sky. The air smelled crisp and cold, but the chill didn’t bother her. Aimie happily walked home from school at three thirty, her nose turning red in the early March air. Her backpack was heavy with textbooks, notebooks, and everything else that she had to lug back and forth everyday, so she was forced to sway back and forth under it as she walked. Even so, she gazed at the tiny, white, cotton clouds dancing across the sky and imagined herself on one of them, twirling happily and free, in a whole world in the sky. Just like one of her favorite Broadway songs from Les Miserables, ‘Castle on a Cloud’. She began to hum and drifted off into her own world. CRASH.
She sat on the ground. “Ow…” she mumbled. She turned her head to see a kid about her age sitting on the ground next to her rubbing his head. He had shaggy red hair and freckles, and looked like a real-life version of Peter Pan from the Disney movie. A blue bike was next to him. He looked up and saw her.
“I am SO sorry, I didn’t mean to-“
“It’s okay, really. I’m fine.”
He helped her up, and she helped him put his bike upright.
“Oh, the gears are all messed up. And I can’t fix them by myself, my dad has to fix them for me.”
“Then go find him.”
“He’s never home.”
There was a pause. “I know how you feel.” She looked up. “There’s a bike shop by my apartment that would help you. Want me to show you where it is?”
“That’s perfect! Thanks, uh…”
As they walked to the bike shop, they found out that they didn’t live very far from each other. They just lived on the other side of the school district cut-off line from each other, so that’s why they had never seen each other at school before. For the next few days after school they met each other on the same corner they saw each other for the first time. They had become best friends. In a way he completed her. She was shy and he was loud and outgoing, she was afraid and he was brave. He always asked her how her singing practice for the tri-school talent show was going, and she always asked him how his bike races were going. She longed to be like him. The thing she liked best about him was that he reminded her of Luke.
One day after school they decided to go to central park, and spend the afternoon there. Aimie called her brother from Eddie’s cell phone to tell him where she was.
“Hi, Luke. I won’t be home until dinner.”
“Where are you?”
“Central Park. By the boathouse. “
“Who are you with? That Eddie kid again? What’s his last name?”
“Aimie, I’d feel better if you came home sooner.”
Aimie stopped. Her brother had never told her he would ‘feel better’ if she didn’t do something. She wasn’t doing anything bad. Taken by surprise, she only answered, “alright.”
“Be home in twenty minutes, okay?”
Aimie said good-bye to Eddie and started home.
The door creaked as she stepped into her apartment. Luke was in the kitchen. It smelled of Chinese takeout. Luke never ordered Chinese takeout unless he was worried about something, it was his comfort food. “Big test coming up?” She asked, dropping her backpack on a chair as she walked in.
Aimie looked at him, searching for an answer in his pursed eyebrows and his long gaze out the window. She took a plate out of the cupboard and dug some noodles out of the carton on the counter. “Why did you want me home so early? Something happen at Central Park that worries you?”
“No, Central Park is fine.” He lowered his gaze. His laptop was open on the kitchen table.
“What are you doing on your laptop?”
Luke just kept looking at the screen. Aimie lowered her gaze. Only one thing caught her eye: An old, familiar name she hadn’t thought about in months. Jackson Weistley.