A Secret Friend Part 20

Previous a secret friend part 19.

She lumbered up the hill and hesitated in front of the stairs that led up to the library itself. I guess I’ll just wait out here for a while, she decided, and settled herself down on one of the stone ledges surrounding the stairs.

From where she sat, she could look up the street, and down the secret. No one in sight. She also couldn’t help looking across the street at Bella’s house. When they were friends, it was fun having the library so close. Sometimes, they’d bring home armfuls of books, and spend a marathon reading afternoon.

They were up there now, the two of them, in Bella’s room. She could see backs. They were sitting in the big window seat, maybe playing hearts. Well, who cared! She fingered her poison locket, and thought about Barbara, silly, stupid Barbara, wearing Bella’s poison locket. But maybe Bella just loaned her the locket. Maybe she said, “You can wear it for a week, then you have to give it back.” Lots of times, she and Bella had traded clothes or jewelry. But never their poison lockets. She felt her throat tightening, and she also knew, without exactly seeing, that they were watching her from the window.

Quickly she pulled out one of the notes, and looked up and down the block in an exaggerated way. Out of the corner of her eye, she was aware of movement at the window, of faces peering at her. She leaned forward, and concentrated deeply on a figure moving up the hill. If only it could be Alex but, no, it turned out to be a young boy, chewing gum.

More movement at the window. Now what if that window opened, and Bella leaned out and called her. Well, she’d have to prented she hadn’t known ther were there, act surprised, astonished. And what if Bella was smiling, and looking friendly? Why, she guessed she could smile too, but she didn’t have to look all that friendly at first. And what if Bella said, “Come on up, Drien, and we’ll all play hearts or Monopoly.” What then? Well, she might tell them she was waiting for a friend or she might not. But what if Bella kept begging her, “Come on, Drien, don’t she be like that. We really need you.” What if.

She could sense a quietness suddenly at the window, and she stole a quick look. The window shade was drawn. Bella had pulled down the shade and closed her out.

She pulled out her two notes, and pretended to be engrossed in them. Her cheeks burned, and she had to breathe deeply a couple of times to keep from crying. How mean they were especially Bella! No not Bella! It was Barbara. How she hated Barbara!

Think about Alex, she told herself. Where was he, anyway? Would he come? Have a look inside. No point in sitting outside any longer. Well, did she really think she was going to find Alex inside? It was all beginning to cave in around her when she saw Barbara come out of Bella’s house and head across the street toward her.

Barbara was smiling but not exactly smiling. At least, she wasn’t smiling at Adrien. Her eyes were floating around in every other direction except in Adrien’s, and the smile seemed lost and uncertain.

Adrien flung a fierce, hating look at her. Although Barbara’s eyes were still roaming, she must have felt the force of that look because she stopped and hesitated.

“Well?” Adrien hissed. “What do you want/”
Barbara stood on one leg. Down the front of her shirt hung the poison locket. She reached up a finger and nervously poked at it. “Hi, Adrien,” she said weakly. For one moment her eyes met Adrien’s and then, quickly, she looked away.

“What do you want?” Adrien demanded.
“Well…I…Bella sent me.”
“What does she want?” A faint stirring of hope began rising inside Adrien.
“She says… look, Adrien, this was her idea not mine… but she says you should stop spying on her.”
“Well…” Adrien had to stop for a moment to choke back her anger. Then it all came out anyway in a fierce, painful rush. “You… you must feel really proud of yourself taking away my friend, and making fun of me, and pulling down the shade, and saying all those mean things about me behind my back. It must make you feel great.!”

“No, no, I didn’t, said Barbara, looking earnestly at her and moving slowly closer.
Adrien sniffed, and the tears began falling.

Next a secret friend part 21.