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

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

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and FORTY-EIGHT

(part two)

“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.”

Charlie shrugged.

“She’s got nothing to worry about,” Charlie said. “She’s too good for any of those losers.”

Sandy gave him a worried nod.

“I’m going to go in,” Sandy said.

“Good luck,” Aden said.

Sandy tapped on the door and called Noelle’s name.

“Can I come in?” Sandy asked.

Noelle said something that was garbled by the door. Sandy opened the door a crack.

“I wanted to check to see if you were okay,” Sandy said.

When Noelle didn’t say anything, Sandy moved the shower curtain a bit to see her. Noelle was sobbing under the stream from the shower.

“I. . .I. . .” Noelle wept.

Sandy reached under the water to stroke Noelle’s back.

“I can’t do it,” Noelle said. “I mean. . .”

“We weren’t going to tell you but the Fey kids are coming to school this term,” Sandy said.

“Oh,” Noelle said.

She stopped crying but looked even more worried.

“I thought you’d be excited to see your friends,” Sandy said. “You love Grace and Hope. The three of you were inseparable this summer.”

Noelle’s head turned to look at Sandy.

“Everything I have to wear is wrong!” Noelle said. “I have to hurry and pick something else. The girls always look great and. . .”

“Remember, this is a new school for them,” Sandy said.

Noelle nodded.

“And you have to wear your uniform,” Sandy said.

“What do you mean?” Noelle whined. “Valerie picked out some great clothes for me. We went together. And we had them tailored and. . . I look really cute!”

Knowing Noelle, Sandy didn’t respond for a moment. She waited for reason to seep into the girl’s panicked brain.

“Oh, thank God,” Noelle said. “Okay. I’m okay. Can you check my uniform? We got a new one because I’m taller, but. . .”

“I’ll go check,” Sandy said. “Just breathe, honey. Everyone’s pretty freaked out about going back to life now.”

“Did you get the matching masks?” Noelle asked.

“The school has masks for everyone,” Sandy said. “Valerie had them designed by one of her famous designers. You’ll see. They are pretty great.”

“Okay,” Noelle said. “GO!”

Chuckling to herself, Sandy left the bedroom to go check on Noelle’s uniform. When she got to the living room, she found Nash ironing Noelle’s shirt.

“I had to do mine,” Nash said with a shrug. “Why is she so freaked out?”

“I think everyone’s a little freaked out,” Sandy said, repeating herself. “You’re not?”

“Not really,” Nash said. “It’s just school. The more I go the faster I’m done and on to having a real life.”

“Global pandemic? Ironing? That seems pretty real life to me,” Sandy said. “But I know what you mean.”

Nash nodded and continued ironing Noelle’s white shirt. This year, they wore white button down shirts and, either, blue pants or a blue skirt. The girls could wear the skirt as long or short as they wanted. Noelle preferred hers right around her knees.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...

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