A Secret Friend Part 29

Previous a secret friend part 28.

The school buses were bright yellow, and inside, the seats were green. For the most part, only the black kids got to ride the buses. But if you were going home with a friend who rode them, then you could ride too.

Bella was going home with Barbara. Adrien could see them laughing together inside the group waiting for the buses to come. Alex Jackson and David Bennett were standing close by playing a noisy game of Rochambeau.

Earlier in the day, Barbara had stood over her desk while she was working on her Indian mask. She was carefully outlining the eyelids with a green marker pen, and Barbara’s breathing bothered her. She looked up, right at Barbara’s chest where no locket was hanging, and felt cheerful.

“Well?”
“That,s really beautiful,” said Barbara.
“Thank you.” Loftily, Adrien returned to her mask. Today, after school, she had decided to take the locket over to Bella’s house and make one final attempt. She picked up her pen, but Barbara was still there, breathing.

“Well?”
“I think it’s Bella.”
“You told me that already, and I told you it wasn’t.”
“It has to be her because she keeps asking around, and everybody says no, it’s not them.”
Adrien knees were trembling, but she managed to say cooly, “Well, you don’t think the person is going to say yes, do you? It is supposed to be a secret, after all.”
“Yess, but she’s asked averybody. You know what? She even asked me.”
Adrien rolled her eyes skyward.

“See what I mean? Now why would she ask me?”
“She must be crazy.”
“No, she knows what she’s going, that girl. She’s trying to make it look like it’s somebody else. She’s not crazy, but she’s mean as a snake, like I told you. She’ll get it to look like somebody else is crazy while she’s the one.

“What’s so crazy,” Adrien asked stiffly, “about somebody wanting to be friends with me?”
“It’s not that.” Barbara waved her hand impatiently. “But what kind of a kid would keep writing notes and never say who it is?”
“Somebody special,” Adrien said softly. “Somebody nice and friendly and not mean.”
“How about the handwriting?”
“It’s always different.”
“See that proves it it has to be Bella. She’d know how to disguise her handwriting. She’d have it all figured out before anybody else.”
“It is not Bella!
Adrien picked up her ink pen and held it poised over the eye on her mask.

Today when she brought over the locket to Bella’s house, ahe had it all planned out. When Bella opened the door, she would quickly hand her the locket, and then, before Bella could shut the door she’d tell her that she had brought all the notes with her and would like to ask Bella’s opinion. Bella might hesitate for a moment, but Adrien knew that Bella was even more curious about the notes than Barbara. And that was how they would make up. She knew, with absolute certainty, that Bella would ask her to come in, would look at all the notes, and would finally come up with an opinion. Now and she was ready the important thing was to act as if everything Bella said made sense. Even though it wasn’t going to. No matter who she said was A.S.F., Adrien should agree. Even if she said it was Barbara. Just agree. Once they were friends again, there would be plenty of time for the truth.

Bella was curious. Bella was always curious, more than anybody else, and that’s why the plan was going to succeed in the end. She would do anything to find out who A.S.F. was. Maybe she had even sent Barbara over to try and find out.

She looked coldly up at Barbara, and said, “I can’t work with you standing over me.”
“Oh!” Barbara’s eyes opened very wide hurt. She said, “Oh!” again, and then quickly moved away.

Angrily, Adrien turned back to her work. Why did Barbara keep bothering her? What a dumb idea that was about Bella writing the notes. It was all she could do to stop herself from laughing out sold. She didn’t mean to hurt Barbara’s feelings, but who asked her to keep butting in?

And now Bella was going home with Barbara, going home on the bright yellow school bus. Helplessly, Adrien stood watching. Her beautiful plan all shot to pieces. That lousy Barbara!

Next a secret friend part 30.