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Cricket Lone Wolf Part 06

Cricket Lone Wolf Part 06

Marcia reads a note from Cal and meets a lovely lady in the village.

Marcia looked back at the school, sensing someone watched her leave. The man watching remembered their meeting in the woods near her house. He took care of the mother wolf after someone shot her with a pellet gun. When they met, he felt an instant link. He knew they would meet again, but the time was still not right. He watched her from afar and waited.

As Marcia approached the forest, she felt more at ease. It reminded her of the woods near her home in New Jersey. There were sounds of crickets and other small creatures. Leaves covered the ground, but there were many more coniferous trees. A small stream flowed out of the forest, down toward the village. Marcia followed the stream and saw it bubbling out of the ground into a small pond.

Larger animals drinking there flattened the grassy area around the pond. Marcia saw paw prints from deer, cougars and wolves. As she looked around the area, she saw a large rock. She thought of home again. It was not a big round rock. It was a protrusion slanting upward from the ground with a flat top. She scrambled up the slant, sat on the top and dangled her feet over the edge.

As she sat there quietly, two does approached the pond and drank. In the distance, she saw the buck, as he watched the does. They drank for a while and munched some of the trampled grass. Some birds flew from the trees and the deer gracefully leapt away toward the buck, which followed the does further into the forest. Marcia looked around to find the source of the birds' scared flight.

As she looked around, a wolf appeared on the other side of the pond. It bounded around the water's edge to the large rock. It put its nose up and sniffed in the air. It smelled Marcia's presence, but vaulted up the rock. Marcia sat quiet and still, as the large male white wolf approached. It sniffed her and sat down. Marcia looked at it, as it lifted a paw and put it in her lap. She rubbed its head and felt a thin collar on its neck.

She examined the collar. It contained what appeared to be a small waterproof container. Marcia opened it and found a roll of paper inside. She unrolled the note and a look of blushing surprise flooded her. The note's address was to her.

The note read, "Dear Marcia, I knew you were going to be a student here, when we first met. Your love of wolves drew us together. I left you this note to greet you. I am an upper classman in the college. Don't try to find me. We will meet much later and it will be miraculous. I treated this wolf for some bad cuts. He is used to humans. He is yours now. Love Cal."

Marcia sat in awe, as she reread the note. She had a man who loved her and she was only fourteen years old. She remembered Cal from her woods. He was handsome, kind and gentle. She smiled at the thought of his being near. She had a kindred spirit who loved wolves at the school. She hugged the wolf tightly, as it licked her hands and face.

She and the wolf sat a bit longer and when she got up, the wolf followed. She walked slowly and carefully down the slanted face of the rock. The wolf followed her and stayed with her. They walked through the forest together until the edge appeared. The wolf stopped and sat. Marcia reached down and rubbed behind its ears. Marcia stood up and walked back to the school. Just before she turned the corner to enter the school, she looked back. The wolf stood. As Marcia waved, it walked back into the forest.

She entered the school and went directly to her room. Dinner started a few minutes earlier and she wanted to get out of her heavy clothes. She quickly shed her clothes and ran to the dining room. Daria and Polina had a place ready for her. They ate quietly and watched what Chantel did at her table. The exams were over and Chantel was quiet about them.

School started for the incoming freshman class. Daria, Polina and Marcia studied together almost every night in Marcia's room. Tonight was going to be different. Marcia would reveal what her assignment was. She needed help from her friends. She thought they would help bring Chantel and her group down. There was plenty of time before the next set of exams began.

Daria always got right to the point, "What is going on Marcia?"

"My dinners with the headmaster are about a cheating scandal in Chantel's class. She and her friends stole an exam and scored better than they should. He wants me to catch them in the act." Marcia replied.

Polina asked, "Won't that be dangerous?"

"It might be, but we will be part of their group. They will accept us and we will be ok. They will try to get us to steal the exams, but if they catch us, it will be fine. All we need do is deliver the exams to them and tell the headmaster. He will do the rest."

Daria smiled, "This is like part of what we train for. It will be good on our grades. Let's do it."

The girls finished their studying and left to let Marcia get ready for bed. Marcia sat cross-legged on her bed and thought about what she did. She wondered if one of her friends would tell Chantel. The next big set of exams was just before Thanksgiving. Chantel and her group would surely want help then. It was time to make the first move.

The next morning at breakfast, Marcia sat at Chantel's table. She waited for her to come and sit. Chantel walked to her table and glared at Marcia. Marcia smiled up at her and with the sweetest voice said, "I am sorry for playing with you during orientation. Can we be friends? If not I will move on." She baited Chantel a bit more.

Chantel's glare turned to a smile, as she replied, "Sure, I knew you had a lot on your mind. Most freshmen do. Feel free to join us at every meal. Bring your friends too."

Marcia smiled, thoughts in her head said, "I've got you now. You are in my trap. Now time to spring it."

"Are you ready for the mid-term exams? I heard they can be pretty difficult."

Chantel glibly replied, "We don't worry about exams. They are pretty easy for us."

Marcia let the subject drop, as her friends joined the table. Breakfast ended with Marcia, Daria and Polina going to their first class of the day. They chatted, as they walked. Marcia smiled easily, when the subject of exams surfaced.

Lunch was quiet, but at dinner, Chantel took Marcia aside. "I need a favor, but it has to be a secret."

"Sure I would do anything for a friend."

"We need a copy of the upcoming mid-term exam. It is in the office of the junior class advisor. Could your friends and you break in and get it?"

"I will ask, but they may balk at the idea. We need something in return."

"Anything you name it." Chantel lied to Marcia. She had no intention to give up anything.

Marci smiled. She had her now. It was time to let the headmaster in on the plot. He wanted to catch Chantel with the exams. Marcia would tell him, when the theft was done. He would wait until Marcia delivered the exams to them. Then his trap would catch Chantel. It was three weeks until exam time.

Marcia needed time away from school and thought a trip to the village would do her good. She wanted to get another look at the dress in the Milliner's shop. A truck from the bakery made a delivery after lunch every day. Marcia thought she could hitch a ride to the village. She went to the truck and waited for the driver.

When he returned, he remembered Marcia from her visit with Hans. They drove back to the bakeshop. Marcia got out and walked to Main Street and to the dress shop. The dress was still in the window. She stood in front of the window ogling the dress.

Marcia's hazel eyes sparkled again, as they did, when she first saw the dress. She smiled with desire at the window. Thanksgiving would soon be upon her and a new dress would be perfect. She thought how the dress looked. Her mind told her about the first time she saw the dress.

"Marcia walked past the millinery store window, when something caught her eye. A magenta ribbon tied around the waist of a dress as a belt. The dress had large alternating teal and turquoise ruffles as the skirt. Magenta lacing edged the base of the skirt. The bodice of the dress tightly fit around the mannequin. The teal overlapped the turquoise, as large billowing sleeves alternated in color. There was a second billowing sleeve of the opposite color. Magenta lace edged the double sleeves."

As the shop door opened, the jangle of bells pulled Marcia from her thoughts. When she looked away from the window, the dress shop clerk stood next to Marcia. They smiled at each other brightly.

"Why don't you come inside and try the dress on, please?" The clerk beamed.

"Ma... ma... may I?" Marcia stammered. The clerk gestured her to enter.

As Marcia entered the shop, the smell of burning sandalwood incense softly touched her nose. She felt relaxed and welcome. While Marcia looked around, the clerk removed the mannequin from the window. The dress easily slipped off the display. The dress was light and airy billowing, as the clerk brought it to her.

Marcia took it into a changing room where she undressed and slipped on the dress. As she tied the magenta ribbon belt, she stepped out into the shop. She spun around and loved how it felt. The clerk stood and watched Marcia's happy reaction. The clerk fluffed the sleeves and skirt. To Marcia it was the ideal outfit, chic and understated, but she did not have the money to pay for it with her.

The clerk spoke to Marcia, "The dress fits magnificently. It appears that they made it for you. Would you like to take it with you today?"

Marcia spoke softly to the clerk, "I don't have any money with me. It looks too expensive for me to own."

The clerk smiled, "You are the American from the school. We heard about your arrival. Welcome to the school. I hope you like it here."

Marcia smiled, "Thank you for the welcome. I love the dress and would love to wear it for Thanksgiving. I will have to go back to school to get the money."

The clerk took the dress, when Marcia came out of the fitting room carrying it carefully. The clerk wrapped the dress in tissue paper and a box. She handed the box to Marcia. A tear came to Marcia's eye. "Why," she asked. "You know I can't pay for it."

The clerk replied, "It is a welcome gift from the shop owner. There is a catch though. I want to use you to model my new creations here in my shop. You are a perfect size. The clothes look splendid on you. Can you agree to that? I will get word to Gustaf, when I need you."

Marcia hugged the store clerk, smiled and thanked her profusely. Marcia was so happy she forgot how she would return to school. As she clutched her precious package, she walked to the post office. The sight of the village church softened her fear. The church was large and formidable. It was the main meeting place for the village and school combined. The church kept her focus. As she turned the corner, she almost knocked over Hans.

"Ah, there you are. Gustaf sent me down here to drive you back to school. Shall we go?"

As they drove by the dress shop, Marcia looked out and saw the owner waving to her. A tear of happiness left her eye and a catch came to her throat in the next breath. She found a new friend and a part-time job.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

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