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Cricket Lone Wolf Part 08

Cricket Lone Wolf Part 08

Marcia gets news about Naomi and her life changes.

It was the day after Thanksgiving. Marcia wore her new dress the day before in her classes. For her and the school Thanksgiving was just another day, nothing special. She got several comments on her appearance. As she sat at lunch, a somber Hans approached her.

"Excuse me, Cricket. The headmaster requests your appearance in his office, when you finish lunch." Hans said with somber sadness.

"I will be there shortly, Hans, thank you."

Marcia finished lunch and left to join the headmaster. As she walked the hallways, her mind wondered what was wrong. Nothing burst into her mind. Chantel was gone. School was fine. Her grades were the highest on record. Her classmates tried to compete, but fell behind.

She arrived at the office and knocked. The door opened and Marcia saw a somber headmaster. He gestured for her to enter and sit. She sat, the door closed and the headmaster sat in a chair beside her. He cleared his throat, preparing to speak.

"How are you? Your grades and achievements are the highest we ever saw. I am pleased you are here. The reason you are here with me today is a friend of yours is in a crisis. Naomi has been left alone and under the State of New Jersey's care."

"What happened? Where is she? Where is her brother? Please tell me." Marcia grew agitated the more she spoke.

Gustaf patted her hand. "A drunk driver killed her parents two days before Thanksgiving. Naomi's brother is in the hospital. Luckily, Naomi survived without a scratch. Her aunt is with her now, but can only take her brother to live with her. Naomi will go to child protective services into foster care."

Marcia put her face in her hands soft sobs shook her shoulders, "What can be done? How can she be helped?" Marcia stared at the headmaster with a helpless look of loss.

"You did not know this, but Naomi's parents graduated from the Bard school. One of the provisions in the agreement with the school provides education for the surviving children starting in high school through college. As soon as the paperwork clears all the legal hurdles, she will join us here."

As soon as Marcia heard that, her heart beat faster. Her best friend would join her in school. She looked at the headmaster with a broad smile on her face. She wanted to hug him, but wondered if it was appropriate. She practiced some restraint, but still showed her excitement and happiness.

"When do you suspect she will be here?"

"As far as I know, it won't be until the new year. She will get the same treatment you received with one exception. You will be meeting her with her new papers, not me. She will be your roommate. You are assigned as her guide."

"Wow! That is so cool. I missed her badly, but now we will live together. I could not be happier. I guess there is a lot to do."

"There is a lot to do, but it will be a learning chance for you."

"What do you mean a learning chance for me? What will I learn from meeting my best friend?"

"You remember, now you have a Swiss passport, a student visa and identification? All the papers used at customs were yours. Where do you think they originated? A member of the upper class made them all. Now it is your turn to make all of Naomi's papers."

Marcia perked up at the challenge. "Do you think I can do it? I am only just starting my classes. It definitely makes me want to start right now. When do I begin?"

"Not today, Marcia. We have to prepare things and get you some practice at simple things. I strongly feel you will be ready quickly. It is not hard work. It just takes patience, time and a steady hand. I watched you in class and you are ready. Just some more practice and you will produce perfect forgeries."

"This is all so exciting. I can't wait to start."

"Calm down. First things we have to do are, mourn her loss and provide for her, so she can escape foster care. That system can be horrible for a teenage girl. Once those are done, we can arrange for her transport here."

"That does sound like a huge job. What happens with my room? There is only one bed set up for one student. I like my room. I will like sharing it with Naomi."

"There are two choices. We can assign Naomi and you to a regular room or convert your present room to a room for two. I am thinking your current room is best. The reason it is best is that you are away from the other students and can work on special projects and training. As for that training, it will continue, but with a partner now."

Cricket smiled, "That will make this school and training easier for me. Naomi and I work well together. She will be a good student and one of your best."

"I think we have covered enough for today. I plan to go to the church in the village later. Would you like to come with me? I know you have not had much religious training, but I think it should begin now. It is important to have religion in your life. It helps me seek forgiveness for what we do. I am not telling you it is something you must do. It is a suggestion. I will leave just after dinner. Meet me where Hans has the truck."

"I would like that. I have always wanted to live in a village like this. The dress shop owner was very nice. The bakery and restaurant people were friendly too. Going to church will give me a good look at almost the whole village. They will also get to meet 'The American.'" Cricket chided.

They both laughed at Cricket's comment. The headmaster stood. As Cricket stood, she turned to him, as he extended his arms and wrapped them around her. A hug was more to comfort her feeling of loss. She hugged him back and felt very comfortable about it. Their relationship rose to another level. It felt good to Cricket, almost as if he were her grandfather who she never knew.

Cricket returned to class. Daria and Polina saw her somber mood. It was infectious, but they tried to remain happy and cheer Cricket up. After classes ended, Cricket changed into her new dress. She put on a dark blue shawl to remove the chill of the night air. As she left her room, Daria and Polina met her.

"Where are you going," Daria demanded.

"The Headmaster and I are going into the village to church. We want to say a prayer for my best friend Naomi, who lost her parents in an automobile accident."

Daria looked surprised and apologetic. She hugged Cricket and said, "We are so sorry for your friend's loss. I know how tragic that can be."

Cricket wanted to tell the happy news, but felt it was too soon to announce it. She wanted to wait until all the paper work settled and cleared in New Jersey. She could tell them of her special project, but decided to keep that quiet too. It was a big burden, which she gladly carried. She happily walked to meet Gustaf at the Land Rover.

As they drove into the village and parked in the lot next to the church, which contained few cars, snow fell blanketing the village. The village grew quiet and sparkled with reflections of light from the snow. Marcia wrapped the shawl tighter around her shoulders.

When they entered the church, Cricket stopped and looked. The nave was full. The people turned to welcome Cricket and Gustaf. Two young men stepped out and escorted them to a special area down front. The priest stood and welcomed them. The service started and went for about forty-five minutes. At the end, the whole village came forward to meet and greet Cricket. This gesture by the village overwhelmed her. The dress shop owner presented her with a wrapped gift. Several others gave her small gifts.

When they left the church, their arms were full of gifts. Cricket barely made it to the Land Rover, before she dropped the gifts on the back seat. The headmaster pulled a large canvas bag out and filled it with the gifts. He drove back to the school and carried the gifts to her room. Cricket thanked him, as he left her.

When he was gone, Cricket dumped the gifts out on the floor. Her mind swirled with the show of kindness and support from strangers. The outpouring of kindness from the villagers made Cricket happier than she ever was.

Most of the gifts were trinkets for her hair and bracelets. Marcia never wore trinkets or bracelets, but maybe she would start. There were a few books. The woman from the dress shop made a black shawl to match the dress. There was paper, pencils and pens. The gifts were small, but Marcia loved it all. She carefully put it all away. She sat on the floor for a while thinking about her friend. She longed to have Naomi with her soon.

She dressed for bed and fell asleep. As she slept, she thought of Naomi. How she must be feeling alone with no family. It troubled her that she was not there to comfort and help. She dreamed of the last time they were together. It was the day before Marcia left for Switzerland. Marcia was very sad. Naomi could not see the sadness. All she saw was betrayal from her friend.

She tossed and turned all night. When she woke, clouds covered the sun making the gloomy weather match her mood. She went through the motions of dressing. She went to breakfast, sat with her friends and ate quietly listening. All she heard was chatter. She thought more about later, when it was time to make forged documents. That brought a smile to her face.

She got up from the table and went to get her books. She had almost the month of December to make the documents. She would use hers as a model, or so she thought. She wanted the day to go fast. Instead, the day went slow. By lunch, Marcia was cranky and it showed. People kept away from her.

She ate lunch in silence. She just wanted to get out of there and on to forgery class. She finished her lunch and went to her room to exchange her books. Daria and Polina caught up with her.

"Are you ready for class today?" Daria asked.

At that, Marcia perked. "Yes, I am very ready. I have a special project, which I will start today."

Daria looked at Marcia, but decided she would be quiet. They entered the class and sat at their desk. Before class began, the instructor walked up to Marcia.

"Will you follow me please?" Marcia stood and followed the instructor to a small room. His assistant was there waiting. The equipment on the table in front of him appeared new. Marcia looked at it and felt uncomfortable.

The instructor spoke, "These are new tools for forgery. They are now your private property. Use and take care of them well. You will use them for the special project and in your classes until you graduate. My assistant will help you in your project." The instructor turned and left the room.

She reached down and ran her hand over each tool. The assistant told her what each piece was, as her hand felt its weight and heft. When done, the assistant took over. He had a list of documents to work on for Naomi. It contained some practice forms to hone her skills. Those she would do first.

Her heart raced with anticipation, as the assistant listed everything. They started out with a birth certificate for a teen ager. Doing the writing was easy, but aging the document was more difficult. Marcia finally got it on her fourth attempt. Her patience wore thin, but when she succeeded, she felt a lot better.

The next two were easier, a driver's license and a training permit. The major problem with those two required accessing the driver database and adding the new records. That was difficult but not impossible. She finished that task easily.

The practice documents sat on a table. The instructor examined them closely. He proudly exclaimed, "You are ready to work on your friend's documents." Marcia felt elated. The assistant felt good about it too.

It took three weeks to finish the documents with a few false starts. The instructor examined them and found no flaws. He declared them perfect. He praised Marcia's work to be the best he ever saw. Marcia felt better about her abilities.

The school was abuzz with the Christmas Eve concert and mass. Marcia wanted to go and thank the villagers.

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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