Hey guys! Today I’ll be posting the next part of The Cousins Next Door. If you haven’t read the first part yet, or just want a refresher on what happened, feel free to check it out here.
The next day, after her family came home from church, Rebecca scrambled over the fence and into Janna and Jody’s yard, where she found Janna crouched down on the ground, camera in hand, taking a picture of a purple flower growing on a nearby bush. Cherie stood behind her, watching.
“Hi!” Rebecca exclaimed.
Startled, Janna let out a cry and fell backward onto Cherie’s foot.
“Oh, sorry!” gasped Rebecca. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“That’s all right, Rebecca,” Janna responded, getting to her feet. Cherie helped to brush some dirt off of the back of Janna’s denim jean jacket.
“So you were taking pictures?” Rebecca asked.
Janna nodded. “Yup. I love photography.” She showed Rebecca the pictures she’d taken on her camera that day. When they came to a picture of a growing plant, Janna said, “That’s a tomato plant Cherie started growing at her old house. She brought it with her when we all moved, and now it’s over in Cherie’s yard.”
“Wow, that is so cool!” cried Rebecca, who had never grown anything in her life. “Was it hard to plant, Cherie?”
“No,” Cherie said quietly, her eyes on the ground.
“Hey, at your old house, did you ever have a garden?” Rebecca wondered. “My friend Chris-you’ll meet him at school next week-he has a garden, and he grows eggplant! Isn’t that cool?” She thought that fact would grab Cherie’s attention.
“Wow, eggplant?” Janna exclaimed, raising her eyebrows. “That’s neat.”
“Mm-hm,” Cherie mumbled, her eyes still fixed on the ground.
“Yeah,” said Rebecca. “He’s in charge of a gardening class that meets in the park once a month. You guys should go.”
“It sounds fun,” Janna replied. Cherie didn’t say anything.
After a minute, Rebecca asked brightly, “Hey, Cherie. Think I could go check out your tomato plant now? I’d love to see how it’s coming along.”
Cherie played with the edges of her flowy, pink sleeveless top. “Um, maybe another time,” she said, very softly. “I…have to go.”
She turned towards her house.
“OK,” Rebecca said, trying not to sound disappointed. “I have to go, too. See you girls later!”
As she climbed back over the fence and into her own yard, Rebecca decided that she’d just have to be patient. She’d keep trying with Cherie, no matter how long it took her.
The days passed, and every day after school, Rebecca would go over to Janna and Jody’s yard and hang out with the cousins. Every day, she’d try to make conversation with Cherie, but she never got too far.
That Wednesday night, Rebecca sat on the couch in the living room, deep in thought. She was trying to figure out how to get through to Cherie. She needed to do something drastic, something to really get Cherie to carry on a real conversation with Rebecca.
Rebecca tried to think of things that Cherie seemed to like. She knew Cherie liked music, but that afternoon, Rebecca had asked Cherie what her favorite songs were, and Cherie had barely said a word.
While Rebecca was thinking, her brother, Joel, walked into the room.
“Hey,” he greeted his sister. “What are you doing just sitting there?”
“I’m thinking,” Rebecca replied. She told Joel about Cherie. “I just don’t know how to get her to really start talking to me,” she finished.
Joel perched himself on one arm of the couch and sat in thought for a minute. “You could tell her a joke,” he suggested. “Maybe if she has something to laugh about, Cherie’ll open up.”
“Yeah, maybe,”said Rebecca doubtfully. “But I don’t know, I’m not too good at telling jokes. I always mess up the punch line or…” Suddenly, she sat up straight. An idea had come to her.”Wait a minute. I’ve got it!”
“What is it?” Joel asked his sister.
“Well, I just realized. I haven’t introduced Cherie and the others to our family yet. What if I invited them over tomorrow? Maybe you and Luke could try to make them-and Cherie-laugh. You guys are always joking around,” Rebecca explained.
Luke was Rebecca’s other brother.
“OK,” Joel agreed. “I like it. I’m sure Luke will approve of the plan.”
“Great!” cheered Rebecca. “Let me just ask Mom and Dad if it’s alright.”
As it turned out, Rebecca’s parents were all for the idea. So that night, Rebecca called Janna and invited her and the others to come over the next day.
“I’d love to come,” Janna began. “But Jody, Michael, and I are still fixing up our bedrooms and unpacking from the move, and probably will still be doing that for a while.”
“Oh,” sighed Rebecca. So much for her great idea.
“But wait,” Janna continued. “I think Cherie might be free. She got a super head start on the rest of us and started unpacking almost right away!”
“Oh, that’d be great if she could come!” cried Rebecca. If Cherie just came by herself, it would be so much easier for Rebecca to try and get through to her.
“I’ll call her and ask her, and then I’ll call you back and let you know what Cherie says,” Janna told Rebecca.
“Sure,” Rebecca agreed.
Cherie had said yes to the invitation, so Rebecca went to bed that night feeling pretty excited. However, at the time, she could never have prepared herself for what was to come the next day.
That’s all for now! Stay tuned for part 3 coming soon! 😀