Chapter Six Hundred and Forty-seven - How is everyone?
Chapter Six Hundred and Forty-eight - Back to school (part two)

Chapter Six Hundred and Forty-eight - Back to school (part one)

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and FORTY-EIGHT

(part one)

Monday morning — 7:02 a.m.

“I need the bathroom.” Noelle yelled and pounded on the bathroom door in her room.

“I’m using it!” Nash yelled from the bathroom.

“Why don’t you use mine?” Sandy asked from the doorway to Noelle’s room.

“Because my stuff is in there!” Noelle said.

“What stuff?” Sandy asked.

“My makeup and stuff,” Noelle said. “I’m not a child anymore and. . .”

Noelle turned to face Sandy and growled.

Sandy grinned.

“You can shower in our bathroom,” Sandy said soothingly. “I’ll help you with your hair.”

“And makeup,” Noelle said.

“Sure,” Sandy said.

Noelle stomped out of her room and started down the hallway. Sandy followed her close behind.

“Why is he like this?” Noelle asked.

“Who?” Sandy asked.

“Nash,” Noelle said. “It’s not like he has to care what he looks like. He’s a boy!”

Sandy smiled at Noelle’s back. Teddy had spent the last few months in Egypt with his family. While Noelle and Teddy had talked on the phone and Zoomed regularly, this would be the first day Noelle would see him since he’d left.

“Are you trying to look nice for someone in particular?” Sandy asked.

“Shut up!” Noelle said. “Just shut up!”

“Hey! You can’t. . .” Aden started.

Noelle slammed their bathroom door on them. Aden gave Sandy a curious look. Sandy shrugged.

“Teddy?” Aden mouthed.

“I guess so,” Sandy said with a shrug.

“What else could it be?” Aden whispered.

“Remember how anxious she used to get about going to school?” Sandy asked in a soft whisper. “She’s been home all this time. They’ve had a great time and learned a lot. She’s been completely accepted by everyone here. Now, she’s going back to school where she’ll have to deal with people who may not love her.”

“Huh,” Aden snorted.

“That’s what I think,” Sandy said.

“Did you tell her that all of the Fey kids are going to be there?” Aden asked.

“We’d decided that it would be a surprise, remember?” Sandy asked.

“Maybe you should tell her,” Aden said.

“You don’t think that it will put more pressure on her?” Sandy asked. “Girls this age — it’s all about competing with other girls for guys.”

“Gross,” Aden said.

“She has no idea how beautiful she is,” Charlie said, having joined the conversation without invitation.

Aden and Sandy squinted at him. Noelle had always been tall, with an athletic build, and more than a little gangly. Over the course of the last year, she’d worked out with the other teens. A little bit of physical exercise and she’d blossomed into a ravishing young woman. Her hair was now a deep auburn and, with Sandy’s help, not frizzy. Her eyes were clear blue-hazel. The only person who didn’t seem to know what she looked like was Noelle.

“She sees herself as she’s always been,” Sandy said.

“Whatever,” Charlie said with a shrug.

“The problem is that she’s so beautiful,” Sandy said. “The girls treat her like garbage. The boys pant over her. Teddy has been the love of her life as long as she’s known him. He’s been gone.”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...

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