At 4:00 the next afternoon, the family’s doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it!” cried Rebecca, and raced to open the door. There was Cherie, with a shy smile on her face.
“Hi,” she said quietly.
“Hi, Cherie,” said Rebecca. “Come on in.”
Cherie stepped into the house, and Rebecca led her to the living room. Cherie sat down on the couch, and Rebecca joined her. She asked her guest how her day had gone so far.
“Fine. Just fine,” Cherie replied shyly.
“Would you like to see my room?” Rebecca asked Cherie after a minute of silence.
“Um, sure,” replied Cherie, who was currently looking at the family pictures displayed on one wall of the living room. The girl seemed to have a look of pain in her eyes as she studied the pictures.
“All right then,” said Rebecca, as she stood up and led Cherie to her bedroom.
Cherie didn’t say much while she looked around Rebecca’s room, but she did seem to be enjoying herself. She gave Honey, who was sitting at the edge of Rebecca’s bed, a few pats on the head.
“Your dog is so cute,” she murmured.
Rebecca was pleased that Cherie was saying more than she had the other day. “Thanks,” she replied. “Honey sure is adorable. Right, Honey?”
Honey just wagged her tail and gave Rebecca a big, doggie grin.
The girls were leaving Rebecca’s room not long after this, and were headed to the kitchen for a snack, when Joel and Luke came heading down the hall towards them.
“Oh, good!” Rebecca exclaimed. “Cherie, you can meet my brothers.”
When the boys came closer, she introduced Cherie to Joel and Luke, then Joel and Luke to Cherie.
Cherie seemed pleased to meet Rebecca’s brothers, and Joel and Luke were happy to meet Cherie, too.
Cherie still seemed a little shy, so Joel and Luke decided to be funny, and spoke in different accents. At first, Cherie just giggled at the impressions, but as the boys’ imitations got more creative, Cherie really started laughing hard.
Rebecca laughed, too, even though she’d heard her brothers speak like this a million other times. She was mostly laughing because she was so relieved that Cherie was having a good time. Little by little, she seemed to be breaking out of her shell.
Once Rebecca and Cherie (and Joel and Luke, who had decided to join them) had finished their snack of graham crackers and milk, they all sat around the kitchen table and talked for a few minutes. They had just started a discussion about cats when Rebecca’s parents walked in.
“Oh!” Rebecca cried, leaping out of her chair to stand behind Cherie’s seat. “Mom, Dad, this is Cherie. Cherie, this is my mom and dad.”
Rebecca’s parents were very happy to meet Cherie, and Cherie seemed to be happy, too, although now she started to act super shy again. Rebecca wondered why that was.
When Rebecca’s parents left the room, Rebecca turned to Cherie and asked, “Aren’t they nice?”
Cherie managed a tiny smile and gave a nod.
“You know, Cherie,” Rebecca went on, “I’m sure your parents are just as nice as mine. Do you think I could meet them sometime?”
Cherie just stared at Rebecca for a minute, a grief-stricken look on her face. Then, sobbing quietly, she leaped out of her chair and hurried out the back door.
Rebecca just stood there for a minute in shock. Then she turned to her brothers. “What did I say?” she gasped.
Both boys shrugged. “Nothing,” responded Luke. “You’d better go check on Cherie, though.”
“Yeah, make sure she’s okay,” Joel agreed.
Rebecca nodded. “I’ll be back,” she promised, and hurried out the kitchen door.
Dun, dun, dun!!!! The suspense!!! You’ll have to wait until part 4 to find out what happens! But…while you’re waiting…why do you think Cherie’s upset? If you have a guess as to why, let me know in the comments. 😉