Friday, April 9, 2010

Lost in the Woods. (continued) by Tica

Chapter 2 -- Bad News

The girls ran out of the woods and banged opened the door. They ran inside to the kitchen where Lilly’s mother Karen was chopping potatoes to make soup.

“Mom, Mom!!” Lilly yelled. “Look at this! Look what I won!”

“Calm down and no yelling in the house please,” Karen warned. “Now what is it?”

Lilly handed the letter to her mother who slowly unfolded it and began to read. Karen’s eyes moved faster and faster with each line she read. When she finished reading, she let out a long sigh.

“Lilly, that’s really great but don’t get your hopes up,” she said.

“But why!?!” Lilly demanded. “Why shouldn’t I get my hopes up? I mean come on, look at the letter. It is from Sally Jewel herself. She even signed the stupid thing!”

“Lilly,” her mother warned, “If you keep talking to me that way I could call up your dad right now at work, ask him for Ms. Jewel’s number and call myself to tell her that you can’t go.”

Meanwhile, Ellie was sitting uncomfortably on the edge of the piano stool being very, very quiet. She wanted to go over and yell in her cousin’s ear to shut up before she lost the chance to go on this trip. Ellie was desperate to go skiing. She had only been up to the mountains twice this ski season. It was the first year since she had learned to ski that she hadn’t been up to the slopes for at least ten days.

“Okay, okay. I’ll stop being rude. Sorry, Mom,” Lilly said quickly. “But Ms. Jewel….”

“Yes Lilly, I know she signed it,” Karen, said, cutting Lilly off in mid-sentence. “But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a prank. I think that it sounds too good to be true and I’m sure that your dad would say the same thing.”

“But Moooommmmm,” Lilly whined, “Can you please just call and ask or something before you just say “no”?”

“I didn’t just say no. I just want to check first. Like I said earlier, it kind of sounds too good to be true. Now let’s find Ms. Jewel’s phone number, okay?”

“Yeah!” both Lilly and Ellie exclaimed.

“I’m going to have to wait until your dad gets home to get the number from him so you girls will have to wait. Hmmmmm.” She checked her watch. “He’ll be back in about an hour or so.”

“Okay,” the girls said as they bounded up the stairs to Lilly’s room.

For the next hour, the girls hung around Lilly’s room and read magazines. They styled Lilly’s doll’s hair, played with Lilly’s hamster Marley and looked out the window for the family’s red Saab to pull up to the driveway.

Finally at 6 o’clock, they heard the car in the driveway and ran outside to meet it. Lilly’s dad Al, who worked as an executive at REI, was just coming home from work.

“Dad! Dad! Look at this! What is Sally Jewel’s number? Why did you get home so late?” Lilly demanded, peppering her dad with questions.

“Her number is uhh… Let’s see. I think it is (206) 780–2292 or something like that,” Al answered. “But why do you ask?”

The two cousins were already running out to the yurt where Lilly’s mother was saying goodbye to some of her yoga students.

“Mom!” Lilly urged. “Dad’s home and we got the number. Can you pleaaaasssssse call her now?!”

“Okay! Okay! I’ll call! What’s the number?”

“It was (206) 780–2292,” Ellie said. She had already memorized the number.

“Can I call, Mom?” asked Lilly.

“No. Actually, I think it better for me to call since I am your parent” answered Karen as punched in the number in her mobile phone.

“I can’t listen!” Ellie said nervously, stuffing her fingers in her ears as the phone started ringing and then someone picked up on the other end.

After about ten minutes, Lilly’s mom snapped her phone shut and said smiling, “You’re going skiing!”

“YAHOO!!!” the girls shouted in unison as they danced around happily.

“Ms. Jewel said that we should take you to the store tomorrow to find out further details and pick out your clothes.”

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Ellie exclaimed, giving her aunt a hug. “But who is going to go on the trip with us?” Ellie knew that Karen was not a really good skier. She secretly hoped that her Uncle Al would take them. He was a much better skier and knew many of the secret trails that Whistler-Blackcomb was famous for.

“I think that your Uncle Al should take you. He’d enjoy the trip much more than I would. Besides, I have some classes to teach on the days you’ll be gone. I’m happy to stay here and hold down the fort.”

“Yeeesssss!” Ellie said inside her head as she gathered her things for the walk home.

Later that night, Ellie was lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, thinking about all that had happened that day. She was so happy that she was going skiing with her cousin! Meanwhile, a quarter mile away, Lilly was curled up in her bed trying to sleep. She was so excited for tomorrow to go to REI and get new skis. And she’d get to meet Sally Jewel. She had never won anything before -- unless you count that cake that she won at the cakewalk at the local grocery store. Boy was she lucky!

The next morning, the girls were horsing around on the ferry to Seattle, taking funny pictures of each other with Ellie’s camera and playing hockey across the table from each other with a nickel and two toothpicks that they had scrounged from the galley. When the boat arrived at the dock, the girls and Lilly’s dad weaved their way through the crowd on a covered walkway that lead toward the streets of Seattle. They walked up the hill towards REI, past cafes, home furniture stores and skyscrapers.

It was tiring walking up the big hills of downtown and then climbing the flights of stairs to the REI entrance but the girls didn’t stop to rest. They arrived out of breath, heaved open the heavy front doors and ran to where they were going to meet Sally Jewel. Lilly had been going to this store ever since she was a baby and knew every nook and cranny like the back of her hand. With lots of “excuse me’s” and “pardon me’s” and stopping only to wait for Lilly’s father at the top of the stairs, the girls continued on to the conference room where they would meet with Sally Jewel.

“Uncle Al,” Ellie asked her uncle, “What does she look like?”

“Yeah,” Lilly chimed in, “What does she look like and what should we call her?”

“Well, she basically looks like a taller and older version of Ellie,” Al replied. “And you should call her ‘Ms. Jewel’ at first. Knowing Sally though, I bet that she will say you can call her by her first name.”

“Okay,” the girls replied.

The threesome walked down a hallway with doors to the two big conference rooms on the second floor of the store. Inside, they could hear people giving presentations and many people applauding. They waited for a lull in the conversation and opened the door to the smaller room. The ceiling was high, not unlike the hallway outside. There was a stage where a few microphones and random wires and cords sat coiled in little piles. There were tables and chairs all around and the walls were covered with dry erase boards and pictures of mountain lakes, rivers and other things that you would see in the outdoors. All of the chairs in the room were occupied by outdoorsy types and someone on the stage was giving a speech.

An older woman in her late forties was sitting at the head of a table in the corner. She waved and signaled for Al and the girls to wait there until the speech was over. At the same time, she got the speaker’s attention and pointed out the girls. It turns out that the speaker was telling the audience about the drawing that Lilly had just won. The girls were obviously late so the group had decided to start without them.

When the speaker had finally finished, the woman from the corner table approached. She had medium-length, brown hair that was tied back in a braid. She was wearing a long-sleeve green shirt with a puffy black vest over it, khaki pants and Teva sandals. She was very tan, like she spent almost all of her time outside.

“Hey guys,” the woman whispered because the next speaker was approaching the podium. “I’m Sally Jewel, but you may call me Sally if you want.”

“Hi, I’m Lilly,” said Lilly, taking charge. “This is my cousin Ellie who is coming with me on the trip and I think that you know already know my dad Al.”

“Nice to meet you two,” Sally said. “Hi Al. It’s nice to see you. There are a few people who are going to give speeches here, people who donated money and gear to the prize drawing. Come on and sit down.”

Sally, Al and the girls sat town at an empty table and were offered water and snacks. Lilly and Ellie immediately grabbed a couple of cookies and started munching away.

“Sorry that we’re late,” Lilly’s dad said quietly as he poured a glass of water. “We missed the ten o’clock ferry.”

“Oh, that’s no big deal,” Sally replied. “You didn’t miss anything anyway because we had some other business to attend to first. We only just now started talking about the drawing. Actually, you timed your arrival perfectly!”

“So Lilly,” Sally went on, “You obliviously got that letter that told you about all of that stuff that you won, right?”

“Yes I did.” Lilly replied. “I am really excited.”

“Well, these speeches should end soon and then you and I will go up on stage and I will give you a certificate saying that you won the drawing, okay?”

“Okay.” Lilly said happily. “Do I need to make a speech?”

“No big speech needed,” Sally answered. “It would be nice though if you could say thank you and give the members of the audience an idea of how excited you are to go to Whistler.”

“Now,” Sally continued, turning towards the other two. “Al and Ellie, you can stay here during the ceremony and then come up to the stage when we are done. Then I will have to say goodbye to you because I have to go to another meeting. I will leave you with John though. He is one of our employees and he will take the girls to get suited up for the trip. All good?”

“Yep,” they replied and then all fell silent listening to the rest of the speech.

Later that afternoon, the girls were at the check out counter of REI with a cart heaped full of jackets, skis, boots and other stuff for the trip. They were very happy, gleeful even about their new gear. Then they saw someone who brought them back down to earth. It was Lilly’s old nemesis from school, Angela Adams. She was standing right in front of them with a man that Lilly recognized as Angela’s father.

“Dave?” Lilly’s dad asked the man. “Is that you?”

“Al?!” the man responded in a surprised voice. “Oh, it is so good to see you again!”

“Hi!” Al said happily. “It has been such a long time! How are you?”

All three girls, even Angela, had no idea what was going on.

“Are these your daughters, Al?” Dave asked as Lilly and Ellie shot death looks at Angela without the men seeing.

“No, only one of them is mine. This is my daughter Lilly and this is my niece Ellie. Girls, this is Dave. Remember that story I told you about when I my tore my ACL while skiing out of bounds at Crystal Mountain and how the ski patrol had to rescue me? Well, Dave here was that ski patrol! I can’t tell you, Dave, what a hero you were that day. If you hadn’t found me, I’d probably still be there!”

“Oh, no worries,” said Dave. “I was just doing my job. This is my daughter, Angela. Angie, this is Al. He and his family live on Bainbridge Island too. Do you know Lilly and Ellie from school?”

“Yeah, I know them,” said Ally in an uninterested voice.

“Hey Dave,” Al said, “Would you like to go get a coffee somewhere? I’d love to catch up.”

“Yeah sure. That would be great!”

The group headed to a sidewalk café nestled in an alleyway across the street from REI. The men ordered two coffees and three hot chocolates.

“I’m going to go and sit outside,” said Lilly, walking out the door and motioning for her cousin to join her at a sidewalk table.

“Me too,” said Ellie.

“Angie,” Dave said “Why don’t you go join the girls so that Al and I can talk?”

“I’m cold and I don’t want to go outside,” Angela answered grumpily.

“Then put you can put your coat on.” Dave deadpanned. “Come on, you’ll have fun with the girls. You have so much in common! Now run along.”

“Well, that’s likely,” Angela muttered under her breath as she stomped out the door.

The cousins were leaning up against the side of the alleyway drinking their hot chocolates.

“Nice going, Putty Butty!” Ally said in a mean voice as she plopped down at a nearby table. “My dad made come out here to see you. He must think that we are going to socialize or something.”

“Fat chance of that happening!” Ellie muttered under her breath.

“So, Putty Butty and Stick Hair...,” Angela started, pausing afterwards to let the affect of the insults sink in.

“Excuse me,” Ellie demanded angrily, “Is that what you are going to call me now?! Stick hair?! What did I ever do to you?!”

Angela was quiet for a second. Then she said, “I heard that you two are going to Whistler/Blackcomb this weekend. Where are you staying, in some shack down in the village?”

She turned to go back inside and then stopped, turned around and said “Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I saw that you two got some new ski duds. Didn’t anyone ever tell you that orange and blue don’t mix? You guys are going to stick out like a sore thumb on the lifts. I mean really. Get a clue!” She turned around haughtily and walked back inside.

Ellie slid down the wall of the alleyway. “I hate her with all of her snide little comments and name calling! What did we ever do to make her so mean to us?”

“Don’t listen to her, Ellie. She just wants attention,” Lilly said comfortingly. “Come on, let’s go back inside and tell dad that if we don’t leave soon well miss the ferry.”

The girls walked back inside completely ignoring Angela and told Al that they needed to go. As they left they Al asked, “Did Angela tell you that she and her dad are going skiing at Whistler this weekend too? Dave is a ski patrol volunteer up there and Angela is tagging along to see what it is all about. Doesn’t that sound cool?”

Lilly and Ellie just rolled their eyes.

Later that night the two cousins were setting up their skimen on the couch at Ellie’s house. They laid out of all their new ski gear in the shape of a flat man so that they would be sure to not forget anything. When they had finished they packed all of their stuff into separate bags and bid each other good night. They were both very excited to go to skiing the next day, even if it meant that they might see Angela somewhere along the way.


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