A Secret Friend Part 24

Previous a secret friend part 23.

Barbara came up to her after math. Barbara’s face was wrinkled in distaste, and she said quickly, “Bella wants her things back.”
Adrien blinked, and looked at her without understanding.

“You know her sweater and the eyebrow pencil and the Love’s Fresh Lemon Body Mist.”
“Oh I forgot.”
“Look, that’s all right. I’ll tell her.” Barbara seemed in a hurry to go, but Adrien snapped at her, “Why doesn’t she ask me herself? Why does she have you do her dirty work?”

Barbara tried to smile. It was a weak, unwilling smile and it had a familiar look to it. Of course, it was her old smile, the same unwilling smile she had smiled all the time she and Bella were friends, and Bella made her join n doing things she didn’t want to do.

Helen was in her room when Adrien arrived home after school. This was the day that Mom and Dad were going to Berkeley, and wouldn’t be home until dinnertime. Helen had books and papers all over her desk and hardly answered when Adrien said “Hi”!

Adrien stood in the doorway, studying her sister’s back. It would be good to talk to someone, anyone, even Helen, anyone except Mom. Helen must have felt those eyes on her back because she turned sharply and said, “Well? What do you want?”

“Are you busy?”
“No, I’m just sitting here in this pile books and papers because I like to,” Helen snapped.
“Oh.”
“I have a test in European history tomorrow, and I also have a paper due for my American Novel class,” Helen explained in amore patient voice.
“Oh.”

Helen turned back to her work, but Adrien remained standing there in the doorway, looking at her sister’s back with longing. In a few moments Helen turned again, and said, “What is it, Adrien? Why are you standing there? If you have something to say, spit it out.”

“It’s about friends.”
“Friends?”
“Yes, friends.”
“Well, that’s hardly my department,” said Helen. “Right now I don’t have any time for friends, and even when I do,” she continued ruefully, “They don’t always have time for me.”
“They don’t have time for me either.”

“But what about Bella?”
“We’re not friends any more.”
“That’s good,” said Helen. “I never liked her anyway. So what’s your problem?”
“Well, there are some kids in school I’m thinking about,” Adrien confided. “Who would you pick for a friend between somebody goog looking, somebody smart, and somebody who’s a good kicker?”
“Are you kidding?”
“No.”

Helen burst out laughing, but then she put down her pencil, and turned around completely in her chair so that she was facing Adrien all the way. “As I explained, I’m hardly an except and I’m not sure you know what you’re talking about, but it seems to me that there are some other aspects to friendship besides looks, intelligence, and kicking.”

“Like what?” Adrien came into the room, and sat down on Helen’s bed.
“Well, first of all, it’s not only you picking a friend, somebody has to pick you too. And then friends should have common interests for at least common attitudes. And last but not least, a friend should also support you and help you out when you need help.”

None of which was true in her friendship with Bella. She and Bella hadn’t picked each other for friends. Their mothers had. They certainly didn’t have common attitudes, and Bella often made her feel bad.

“Okay?”
“Okay,” Adrien said with admiration. “You know so much, Helen, I don’t know why you don’t have lots and lots of friends.”
“I guess it’s not so easy to practice what you preach,” Helen sighed. She looked thoughtfully at Adrien and said, “Listen, Drien, I’m sorry if I was mean the other day when I told about you having secrets, and I apologize. But Mom gets me so mad sometimes I say things I’m sorry for later. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, and I’m sorry if I did.
‘That’s all right, Helen. I didn’t really mind. But don’t you love Mom?”
“I guess so, but I don’t love the was she’s always breathing down my neck.”

Next a secret friend part 25.