Friday, October 21, 2011

Here it is!

The next chapter of my story!

     Chapter 2
“No matter what you may think, people can surprise you.”
-Lela Hayes

Lexy solemnly put on her black dress and slipped into her shoes. After doing her hair, she inspected herself in the mirror. She sighed. What was the point if getting dressed up for a funeral? It was a sad event. Honestly, she didn't want to go. It would force her to acknowledge the fact that her Uncle was dead. She couldn't imagine that he was still fighting in the Philippines. However childish it sounded, she had hoped... Well, it didn't matter now.
“ Lexy? Are you ready?”
After one more look in the mirror, she said, “ Yeah. I'm coming.”
The funeral was classic. Everyone in black. A casket draped in flowers. A dull gray sky to go with it. Their pastor gave the service. He had written it, and it was really nice. He ended with a prayer.  When it was over, the people dispersed. Lexy's aunt took her brood, excluding Jason, home. He had produced two skateboards from the trunk of his mom's car as Lexy got a pair of running shoes out of her trunk, and put them on. Then she grabbed a board, and told her mom that she and Jason were going for a skate. They left, going as fast as they could. They didn't talk. They didn't want to. Lexy followed her cousin who led her down several alleys and through the park. 
Suddenly, Lexy whirled around to see Darik Jones, the school bully, and his little pals. Well, maybe not so little. They were the toughest, meanest kids in school. And they were riding bikes, which were a lot faster. No way out but to talk. Not to mention the fact that the bullies were steering them into an alley, with a dead end.
   “Jason!” she called. “Don't look now, but we have company.”
   “What? Oh, man!” he said, bringing his skateboard to a stop. Lexy did the same.
   “Hey, Hendrix. How are you and your little girlfriend?” Darik taunted, getting off his bike.
   “Number one: she's not my girlfriend. She's my cousin.” he stated. “Number two: I don't want to talk to you.”
   Darik moved towards him. “I want to talk to you, though.”
   “Oh, really? Like civilized human beings, or like a boxer against a civilian?”
   “You think you're smart don't you? Well think again!” Lexy shrank back as Darik shoved Jason to the ground. Jason got up. Before he could gather himself again, Darik punched him in the face. Lexy tried to run forward, blocked her way.
   “Darik, stop it before someone gets hurt.”
   “Lexy, just stay out of it!” Jason shouted at her. Jason tried to run past Darik; but, Darik grabbed him around the neck, putting him in a headlock. Lexy really thought that he was going to choke her cousin.
   “Darik! Please stop! You're going to kill him!” she wailed. Darik did let go of his victim. But shoved him against the alley wall.
   “Are you done, or do you want to 'talk' some more?” he asked. Jason had been done after the first hit. He nodded his head.
   “You sure?”
   “Yes! I've had enough!” Jason said, firmly.
   “Good. Now why don't you take your little 'friend', and get out of here.”
   “With pleasure!” replied Jason. He picked up his skateboard, and walked away, holding his stomach.
The guys holding Lexy let go of her. She also picked up her board, and followed her cousin. Once they were out of ear shot she asked, “What was that all about?”
   “Are you all right?”
   “Yes. I'll be fine.”
   “Jason Aaron Hendrix, Darik doesn't beat people up like that without a reason!” she said. Jason still didn't answer.
   “Jason.” She stopped walking. “Tell me right now why you just got beat up; or, I'm going to tell Aunt Rachel.”
   “Well I figure she'll find out anyway, seeing that I have a black eye.”
   “I was going to see if you wanted to stay at my house tonight.” she said, somewhat grudgingly. “Mom could try to get the swelling on that eye to go down a bit. And if you go to school with me tomorrow; then, you won't have to see your mom until tomorrow night.”
   “Really? That would be great.”
   “If you tell me what just happened!” Lexy insisted.  Jason could see she was not going to let this go easily, so he gave in.
   “Darik was messing with Eric Brice last week on the bus. And not wanting to get into a fight, I told Mr. Jones, the bus driver. So, Darik got suspended from the bus for the rest of the week. He obviously had a grudge on me.”
   “I wondered why he wasn't there, but that's just ridiculous!”
   “I  know. But if you're a bully, you don't have to have a good reason to beat people up.” he said, touching his swollen eye, and wincing.
   Lexy sighed. “ Well, let's get you to my house. Your eye's turning purple! “
   “I think it's fine for you to stay here tonight.”
   “Thanks, Aunt Cathy.” said Jason.
   “You're welcome. But suppose you tell me what happened to your eye. And you've torn your suit. Did you crash?” asked his aunt, getting a cold pack out of the freezer, and handing it to Jason.
   “Not exactly,” he hesitated glancing at Lexy, who nodded. “unless you're counting crashing with the school bully.”
Jason sighed.
   “I stuck up for one of the kids on the bus. So, he got suspended from the bus for the rest of the week.”
   “I see. So he got his revenge. Is that right?”
   “Pretty much.”
   “Hmm. Well, under the circumstances, I think you need to call Rachel to see what she thinks. She may want you at home.” said his aunt. 
   “Alright. I'll call her, if that's okay with you.”
   “Sure. Just use the phone upstairs. The one down here is messed up.”
   “Okay.”  When Jason called, he told his mom that he had gotten beat up on the way home. She was very worried. She told him that she really would rather him come home. Jason could hear the tears in her voice, so he quickly agreed. His aunt drove him home and said goodnight.
   That night Jason lay awake on the bed. The day had not been ideal. Especially getting beat up. He didn't imagine getting beat up as being part of the schedule following his father's funeral. Then again, he hadn't imagined he would be going to his funeral so young. He couldn't help wanting him back. There were things a father taught a boy. Important things. And some of those things his dad would never get to teach him. Why did all this have to happen? Why had God taken away his dad? He just didn't understand. Nothing about this made sense. But, he thought as he drifted off to sleep, God didn't have to.
   “Lexy! Have you seen this?” asked Lela Hayes.
   “Seen what?”
   “This!”  Lexy took the flier that Lela handed to her and looked at it. The paper she held in her hand advertised the fall program.
   “What's wrong with it?” she asked, uncertain what she was looking for.
   “What's wrong with it?” she exclaimed.   “Look at the subject of the play!” The flier advertised that the subject was cults. It included witchcraft, Hindu, and voodoo.
   “I can't believe this! There have to be enough people who are opposed to the idea to stop it!” said Lexy, exasperated.
   “That's why I'm showing it to you.” explained Lela. “Sinse I work with the school newspaper, I get to know about things way ahead of the rest of the school. So, when I saw this, I was appalled. I immediately went to talk to Miss Lanny about a protest. She told me that if I could get enough volunteers to help us; then, she would put it together. Isn't that great?”
   “Yeah. I didn't know that Miss Lanny would stand up for a thing like that.”
   “Well people can surprise you. She's a Christian, you know.”
   “Really? So what has been submitted but not published?” Lexy asked, mischievously.
   “Sorry. But I'm not allowed to tell you!” she teased. “But seriously, would you be interested in participating?”
   “Of course I would be!” she replied, enthusiastically. “What do I need to do?” 
   Lela was beaming. "Talk to everyone you think might be interested, and have them call me if they are.”
   “Great. I think I can start calling people this afternoon. I can ask some of my friends tomorrow.”
   “Okay. I'll talk to you later.” said Lela, as Lexy began to leave. “Oh, and, Lexy? Thanks!”
   “You're welcome.” she said and hurried off to catch her bus.
   Lela opened the door of the school press office to see Eric Brice, the editor of the school paper, typing madly at the keyboard. He was a small, skinny kid, but extremely tech savvy, and an excellent reporter.
   “Hey, Eric.”  He kept on typing. She cleared her throat.
   “Ha-hem. Eric?”  Eric jumped around in his seat.
   “Oh. It's you. Do you need something?”
   “No. I just wanted to get my purse. And I need to get that report I'm assembling against the fall program”
   “Oh. Okay. It's in the filing cabinet under the P's.”
   “Thanks.” she said, and went to the tall cabinet.
   Lela nearly buried herself in the drawer. She was a short blond, and in the 8th grade. Her passion for writing had caught her teachers attention; so, she was put on the staff of the the school newspaper. She thoroughly enjoyed her job. She and Eric had been on several stories together, so they were good friends.
   “Hey, I heard Jason saved you on the bus last week. Is it true?” she said, pulling herself out of the drawer.  Eric turned around and watched Lela come down the step ladder, push in the drawer, take a seat at her cubical and start flipping through the file.
   “Yeah, it's true. Darik was pushing me around. Jason saw it and told Mr. Parker. Darik ended up getting suspended from the bus for the rest of the week.”
   “Well, that's good that he stuck up for you.” she commented, still flipping through various papers.
   “Yeah, but what's not good is what I found out today.”
   Looking up, she asked, “What's that?”
   “Jason got beat up because of what happened,” he answered.  Lela turned in her seat.
   “Did he fight back?”
   “No. He told me that he couldn't do it, even though he really wanted to.”
   “He said that he just couldn't.”
   “Well, good for him. You know how we have been talking about loving our enemies in youth group. I guess that it helped!” Then she sighed, and said, “Did you know that his dad died?”
   “His dad died?”
   “Yeah. I thought you had probably heard. He died in the Philippines.” she said, with remorse. “It really is a shame. Lexy told me he was a great guy, and I saw him a couple times when he was in the states. He would come to church and I liked to talk to him. He was really nice.”
   “Hmm. Well, I guess we should talk to Jason and see if it would be OK to write a story about it.” he said.
   “I can't believe that you would even think of writing a story on the death of his father. Do you realize how distressing that would be to him? No you don't! You can't just do something like that. It just is plain mean!” said Lela, eyes wide, and voice high. Eric sighed. She could be a fireball sometimes. He had been her friend for so long, he had gotten used to her hot temper. 
   “Sorry. And you're right,” he said backing down." As always."
  She smiled at him, and returned to her folder. When she was done she packed up her stuff and started home.  Today had been the last day of school.  She was glad it was over. She was also glad that she had this protest to keep her busy this summer; but, these next two weeks she was going on a mission trip to Mexico. Lexy, Jason, and Eric were going, too. She wondered if Jason and Lexy would still come. When she got home she would call and find out. She thought they probably still would. It would be good for them to get away from everything that was going on at home. When she got home she called Lexy who told her they were still planning on coming.
   “Cool! See you Sunday, Lex!”
   “Alright. See ya'!” Click.

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