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Cricket the Early Years Part 12
By
frogprince

Cricket the Early Years Part 12

Marcia and Naomi meet their next challenge.

Summer arrived with high heat and humidity. Being near the Hudson River did not help with the humidity. To escape the heat most families had places on the Jersey shore where the family stayed all summer. Neither Marcia nor Naomi's family had a place like that. The girls endured the summer heat together.

Almost daily, they went into the woods. The trees provided a canopy, which shadowed the whole area underneath. It was cooler but the humidity accumulated on the leaves and when it got too heavy, it fell to the forest floor like rain. The girls walked in the woods and enjoyed the cool mist.

Every day when they walked through the woods they sought the wolf family that adopted them. Several times, they saw that the family was there but gone for the day. Once they knew the family was there, they visited more frequently. Marcia was anxious to see the pup. Last time they were there, mom recovered from her bullet wound and the pup grew to almost full size.

About two weeks after school ended, Marcia and Naomi sat on the flat rock looking around the small grotto. Suddenly, they heard noises running through the woods. From behind the girls, a big wolf sprang and jumped upon the rock. The wolf ran to Marcia and Naomi and licked their hands and faces. It was the pup, full-grown and happy to see them. He nudged and playfully nipped the girls who laughed and giggled. He finally curled up between them as they petted his soft fur.

Soon the rest of the wolf family joined the girls. Mom jumped up to sit next to Marcia. Dad sat on the ground nearby, ever watchful for danger. He looked at Marcia and tipped his head as if to say hello. Marcia checked mom's hindquarter where she had the bullet wound. The fur covered the area completely and Marcia saw nothing. The wolves felt comfortable with the girls even though it was a while since they visited. It gave Marcia a sense of relief and pride that she made friends with a vanishing species.

Dad's ears perked up and he moved toward the edge of the woods. A low growl came from him, as he stood watching and waiting. Soon, Marcia heard the exuberant banter of boys nearing them. She wanted to warn the boys to stay away, but the voices slowly moved away and dad returned to his original position near the rock. Marcia and Naomi stayed with the family for an hour until the sun started to set.

"It was hot today. Do you think we could go swimming at the new public pool near school? We can go and bring lunch with us. We can just hang out and maybe some of our friends will be there."

"Marcia, that sounds like a good idea. Maybe I can sleep over and we can ride our bikes together tomorrow. I will ask my mom when she picks me up later."

The girls chatted as they walked back to Marcia's house. "Maybe you can call your mom before she comes to get you. Then she can bring your stuff and you will not have to go home and come back."

"Yeah, let's get going so I can get her before she leaves."

The girls hurried, but did not run for fear of tripping on hidden roots. The woods grew dark, but Marcia knew her way. The mist that fell earlier had become a small rain and pelted the girls, as they moved. It was cold and the girl's teeth chattered now as they shivered. The more they moved fast, the more the rain clung to their clothes. The cold rain chilled them to the bone and they slowed from it. Up ahead they saw the opening behind Marcia's house. The sun's remaining light and warmth would feel good.

They burst from the woods shivering and ran for the house. Once inside, they ran to Marcia's room and got out of their wet clothes. Marcia's mom brought them some huge dry towels and wrapped them to warm up. The girls stopped shivering and sat on the floor of Marcia's room. Marcia's mom watched them carefully, before she left the room to heat up some soup. The girls emerged fifteen minutes later dressed in bathrobes.

They sat at the table, as mom served chicken noodle soup and toast to the girls. The girls chatted and ate the soup, as if they had starved for days. Naomi went to the phone and called her mom. When she returned to the table, she nodded that staying over and going to the pool was a good thing. Marcia smiled and hugged her friend. When they finished their soup, they went back to Marcia's room to wait for Naomi's mom.

After Naomi's mom left, the girls got ready for bed and joined the family for dinner. They ate in silence, helped clear the table and did the dishes with mom. They went to join the family and watched a little TV. It was a boring night, but Marcia and Naomi looked forward to the next morning. They said goodnight to the family and went to Marcia's room.

Marcia and Naomi woke early in the morning excited to go to the public pool. They put on their bathing suits underneath their clothes and went to breakfast. They ate quickly and rode their bikes to the pool. Marcia's mom made them sandwiches and fruit for lunch along with juice to drink. They were so happy that they could swim a little and maybe see some of their friends. They locked their bikes in the rack and set their towels inside on the edge of the pool deck near the grass.

The pool was empty and very few people came early in the morning. Marcia looked around and spotted some kids from their school. They sat on and around one of the picnic tables. She wanted to go join them but Naomi suggested it would be a bad idea. Marcia looked at Naomi and decided to stay away from them. They were all older kids and they fooled around a lot.

Marcia and Naomi shed their clothes to get ready for a swim. They piled their clothes under their backpacks. They walked to the edge of the pool and stuck their toes into the water. It was cool, but nice for getting wet and then laying on their towels to dry. Just as they got ready to dive three of the older boys came up to them. The rest of the kids drifted over to hear the conversation.

"Hey Cricket girl, you can't swim here in that get up. You look so ugly and the bathing suit is so old-fashioned. You better just leave here now before they throw you out." The speaker looked at his friends who laughed and pointed at Marcia.

Marcia looked at her feet, but did not move. Naomi hung back a little but stayed with Marcia. "I did not see anything about rules for bathing attire. So, you can just go away and play with your friends. I do not have time for you today. Go away!"

The kid moved closer to Marcia and looked down trying to intimidate her. Marcia looked up at him with a sheepish grin. Her insolence only infuriated him more. He put up his hands to push her. Just as he moved to push her, she stepped aside and he missed her. Everyone watched as he tripped on the pool edge and fell in with a huge splash. He surfaced quickly sputtering.

"You are going to pay for pushing me into the pool, Cricket! You better watch out."

Marcia looked down at him, "I never touched you. You missed pushing me and you fell in by yourself. I would not dream of trying to push you around." She turned her back on him, walked to her towel and sat down with a smirk on her face.

He got out of the pool and started to go after Cricket, but his friends stopped him. He still looked at her scowling as he walked away to his table. When he sat there, he glared at Marcia. He watched her much as Roger Wolfson did earlier in the fourth grade. She saw that and suspected she had not heard the last of this kid. She did not need another stalker again.

Marcia gave up watching him. She rolled over and looked at Naomi. She had a smile on her face. "I liked how you handled that oaf. He deserved to get taken down, but he took himself down with his friends watching."

"Yes, he did, but did you hear him accuse me of pushing him? I just used his lack of control to help him fall into the pool. Now he will have to try to taunt me as Roger did. I hate that thought."

"If he taunts you, then we will deal with it. Remember you have many friends at school. They can be helpful against him. We have to wait and see what happens. Until then, we enjoy our summer."

Marcia shook her head and put it down on her towel. She no longer cared what the boy thought. He was gone and she wanted to have a quiet day with her best friend Naomi. She dozed off and felt at ease. Naomi watched her sleep and felt she should stand guard against the boys. They could be such trouble. She knew because she had a brother who taunted her all the time.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon went quietly. Marcia and Naomi swam a little. A few of their friends came to the pool and joined them. The boys, who taunted her, left with their group of friends. Marcia breathed a sigh of relief. The afternoon was full of laughter with her friends. There was a lot of banter about school and the fifth grade. It was a new adventure for all of them.

Marcia and Naomi spent the rest of the summer with their friends. They went to the pool and a nearby mall. Her encounter with the bullyboy and his friends weighed heavily on her mind. She wanted to forget it, but it popped up daily when she walked by the pool. She hoped that he would forget the incident when school started. She did not need a repeat of her fourth grade year.

Toward the end of summer vacation, Marcia and Naomi went to visit the wolf family. They sat on the rock and waited for them to come. Mom wolf appeared followed by another pup. Dad wolf and the older pup never came. Marcia sensed they were nearby but stayed out of sight. The girls played with the pup and petted mom. It was kind of a sad day for the girls, but the new pup was fun to tease and hug. School started in a week and the visits to the wolf family would become fewer.

About a week before school started, Marcia and Naomi's moms gathered them and shopped for school clothes at the mall. The time spent together was nice, but the bullyboy and his friends were in the food court. As Marcia and Naomi walked by, the boys yelled catcalls and insults at them. Marcia's mom commented on them, but Marcia just pretended she did not hear it. Naomi moved closer to Marcia, in case she did something rash. Marcia walked faster and ignored the taunting scene.

Marcia and her mom went home. While they took the tags off the new clothes and put them away, her mother tried to ask her about the boys in the food court.

"Who were those boys at the food court? Why were they taunting you and Naomi? It was very rude and cruel of them."

"They are some boys from the swimming pool who picked on me one day. The loud one tried to push me in the pool. I stepped out of his way and he fell in instead. He thought I pushed him. Now he taunts me."

"Does he go to your school? Do I have to talk to the principal about his friends and him?"

"No mom, please do not talk to the principal. These boys can't hurt me and if they do, the school will take care of them." What Marcia did not say was that she would handle them herself. She had some ideas to squelch the taunting.

"I will not talk to the principal, but you better let me know if the taunting continues."

"Yes mom."

School started the day after the Labor Day holiday. Marcia walked to school alone. The sun hid behind the clouds, as she got closer to school. Marcia noticed it, but did not think anything of it. When she got close to school, she saw Naomi and a few more of her friends waiting for her. The girls giggled as Marcia approached. They entered the school together and started the new school year as fifth graders.

Marcia and Naomi walked to their lockers and put their lunches and extra school supplies away. They joined their friends and entered their new classroom. The classroom was abuzz with everyone talking about their summer. Marcia sat and listened to her friends. She smiled and was friendly but held back because of the bullyboy.

Things were quiet in class and lunch passed without incident. Marcia felt comfortable and dropped her guarded attitude. No one noticed her holding back. By the end of the day, she felt at ease and joined her friends in the usual banter. She felt that bullyboy would not taunt her anymore. As she walked home with Naomi, she watched cautiously for anyone following them or coming at them.

The girls arrived at Marcia's and worked on their homework while having a small snack. When they finished their homework, the girls watched TV for a while, until Naomi's mom came. After Naomi left, Marcia wandered into the kitchen sat and watched her mom prepare dinner.

"How was the first day back? Was everyone happy to be back? Did those boys come around?"

"No, the boys were not there. I did not see any of them all day. I am still watching for them to appear at some point. When they do I will be careful and not cause them to taunt me."

"Is there anything I can do to help with making dinner?"

"No there isn't. You could get the plates and utensils out for setting the table. That would help."

Marcia felt good about helping and helped clean up when done. Her dad brought home a surprise. His work gave everyone four passes to Six Flags for a Saturday at the end of September. He gave two of them to Marcia and told her to invite a friend. Marcia thought immediately of taking Naomi. That might be a fun outing for the whole family. The pass included all rides and a sit down lunch meal. Also included were two snacks per person. She ran to the phone and called Naomi.

She talked to Naomi and made plans for that Saturday. Both girls giggled at the prospect of spending the day at Six Flags again. When they went with Roger it was fun, but they thought they skipped school. This was far better. Marcia felt better about the day and forgot all about the bullyboy.

The first week of school was uneventful. Marcia was wary of meeting bullyboy, but he kept his distance. She saw him a few times, but he did not see her. She was happy and hoped he forgot about her. Naomi stayed closely by her side, in case something happened.

The second week of fifth grade started with heavy rains and threats of high winds. The school was a safe haven for all the students during the day. Marcia and Naomi got rides to and from school every day. The lunchroom was full of students too. That made Marcia more wary than usual. The table where Roger used to sit was always full. Most of bullyboy's friends hung around there, but bullyboy was absent.

Toward the end of the second week of school, Marcia and Naomi visited the wolf family. When they entered the clearing, the new pub bounded at them from the cave where she lived. She rubbed up against the girls and almost tripped Naomi. Mom wolf came out and jumped up on her perch atop the flat rock. She watched the girls closely and lay quietly. The pup ran to the cave and pushed her big brother out to the girls. When he saw them, he ran to them and sat for attention. Dad wolf was somewhere nearby. Marcia felt he was off hunting or watching from the woods. The girls were happy that the family survived the bad rain and wind.

By the third week of school, Marcia and her friends fell into a pattern of spending their days together. They met outside every morning and walked into school together. They sat in the same seats in class. The table in the lunchroom extended to two tables with the increase in friends. Nothing happened during the day. There were no pranks and things were quiet.

Bullyboy finally showed up in the lunchroom, but he did not see Marcia or her friends. He sat with his back to her and hung out howling and laughing with his friends. One of his friends said something to him and pointed at Marcia. Bullyboy turned in his seat and flashed Marcia with his snarky smile. He pointed at her and laughed.

Marcia's heart slumped and she slumped in her seat, as if trying to hide. She felt so exposed with a target on her chest. Her happy attitude disappeared bullyboy had trashed it thoroughly. She turned sideways to avoid seeing him. She no longer wanted to eat. Naomi saw what happened and tried to shield Marcia from his glaring eyes.

Marcia dragged her body up from the table and slowly left the lunchroom. Naomi followed glancing over her shoulder at the bullyboy. His eyes followed the girls out of the lunchroom. Marcia's friends saw how unhappy and down she was. They tried to console her but it did not work. She knew that her torment would begin soon and she had to be ready for it.

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

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

Posted with permission at storiesspace.com

All other rights reserved.

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