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CHAPTER ONE: CONNOR AND KIRA

ANGEL GROVE
FEBRUARY 6, 2004
3:00

DING-DONG

How did I get hear again? Connor thought to himself. Oh yeah…

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"You want me to WHAT?!"

Kira sighed.

"You're not deaf Connor," she said putting her hands on her hips and looking in the general direction of the ceiling.

"No, but you do want me to baby-sit a deaf kid-which I refuse to do! I hate kids! Or at least baby-sitting them…especially when they speak a different language"

"It's still english, just…not." Kira replied. "Besides, they have a huge backyard and he totally rules at soccer. At least for a 9 year-old. And even i know that you don't need to talk to kick a ball back and forth with a 9 year-old. "

"NINE?! But that's even worse! Nine year-olds are such pests!"

"He's not a pest!"

"He's realated to you! As far as I'm concerned-he's a pest!"

"I am NOT a PEST!"

"Maybe not to Dr. O, but he's your teacher."

"What the heck is that supposed to mean?"

"You kinda sorta have to respect him. Me, on the other hand…"

"You what?"

"Well, I'm your friend-"

"Teammate-and nothing more!"

"-And friends don't have to respect eachother if they're at least being honest which is what friends are supposed to be and if I'm not your friend," he continued, spotting a way out of this, "then I don't have to go baby-sit your little cousins with you!"

Silence.

"Wait-what's that noise?" Said Ethan, who had just uncovered his ears.

"Me pondering what the loser tomato just said," Kira muttered, crossing her arms across her chest.

"I don't hear anything," Connor said, ignoring Kira (I've only got two stripes of red on this shirt!) and seriously contemplating what to do if Elsa broke through the roof above their heads.

"Exactly," Ethan said, tapping the air in Conner's direction, indicating he was right.

"And let's keep it that way…oh look," came Dr. O's voice from the doorway. "It's Connor McKnight's chapter 9 science test. And look whose is right behind his! Kira Ford's!"

Ethan snickered, but quickly stopped and looked down when Dr. O gave him a 'look'

"Are you black-mailing us, Dr. O?" asked Connor.

"YES!" Dr. Oliver screamed. Hayley jumped in her chair. "NOW SHUT UP!"

The three teens and their technical assistant stared at his retreating back.

"Wow," commented Hayley. "I haven't heard him yell like that since…actually, that was the first time."

"Anyway," Kira said after a minute. "Will you do it?"

Connor groaned.

"Why can't Trent? Count it as your date for the weekend."

"McKnight…"

"All right, all right! But I better be getting paid for this!"

"Don't worry," Kira sighed. "I talked to my uncle last night and he said he'd be more than happy to accommodate two people."

"Accommodate?"

"His word-not mine."

"Whatever. How much?"

She sighed. Again. And after rolling her eyes at the ceiling…"Fifteen an hour"

Ethan's handheld computer game clattered to the floor.

"Fifteen?" Connor practically whispered.

"Fifteen."

Ethan jumped up. "I'll do it!"

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This is so not worth fifteen dollars an hour. Unless it was a lot of hours. Connor was now thinking to himself, as 'Uncle Colin' explained when and how to feed the new baby and 'Auntie Kim' finished getting ready and Kira comforted the screaming baby in the next room and the 6 and 9 year olds pounded around upstairs.

Probably killing eachother. And isn't Kira a little old to be calling people Auntie?

"…So, we'll be back at about 12, they go to bed at 10 -but we're going to tell them 9 so it gives you an hour's leeway to wrestle and argue with them-10:30 at the absolute latest-Cormac's got a game tomorrow morning-and just watch TV for the rest of the night, raid the kitchen, steal what you want-wait… don't do that…"

Three hours with sleeping kids? Ok, maybe this wasn't going to be so bad after a-HOLD ON! 12 AM?! That's like, 9 hours! What's that times fifteen? Ugh. Where's Ethan when you need him?

"And what ever you do-Do. Not. Yell. At. Cormac. I know it sounds weird, but he obviously can't hear you and he'll only make it harder for you if he knows you two can't understand eachother. And he will be able to tell from your face whether or not you're yelling…it's some weird deaf people thing…they have really good eyesight to compensate I guess…" He trailed off, lost in thought. "Well," he said suddenly, making Connor jump. "The number of the people's house is on the fridge along with cell phones and emergency numbers. Actually, if there is an emergency, just call 911. Honestly, I don't get why they always have you list 20 people's names and relation and day and nighttime phone numbers. If my son were to get mauled by a bear while on a field trip to the zoo, I'd want them to call 911-not open the fat binder and search alphabetically through all the kid's names and emergency contact forms looking for my next door neighbor's daytime phone number. And my next door neighbor travels through the city all day, so a hell of a lot of good that would do…"

Wait…what?!

"Language," came a woman's voice.

Aah. Connor thought. Auntie Kim. Sure doesn't look like she had a baby 2 weeks ago. Must be one of those crazy diet and exercise things women are always on.

"I don't want our kids picking up any words like that or they'll end up like you," Mrs. Ford said. "Save it for the party when you're drunk and can't admit to sanely cursing."

Well, there goes any hope that she's not like her slightly crazy husband. What the heck is 'admitting to sanely cursing' anyhow…sounds like admitting to some deadly crime. Actually, it is in my house…Aah! Concentrate! Wait-what about feeding them dinner???

"…aha! Here it is," Mrs. Ford said, holding up a cut out article for a pizza place. "Cormac loves this place."

Delivery pizza. I can do delivery pizza.

"Well, it think that's everything," said Kira from the doorway, holding a bundle of pink blanket.

Bundle of blanket? Isn't it bundle of blankets? Cut it out McKnight! It's Friday night! Screw English class!

"Oh-want us gone, do ya Kira?" teased Mr. Ford.

"Hey-don't torment the messenger!" Kira said, tilting her head, indicating behind them.

Suddenly, something hit Connor on the back of the head. He spun around to see a short boy standing behind him, a soccer ball rolling away across the floor. He had the palms of his hands together in front of his chest and he was looking at the ceiling with a slight smile on his face.

"Well aren't you a little angel?" Conner muttered. "Pun intended."

Seriously, who names their kid 'Cormac Angel'. Totally a girl's name. He's going to be bullied once the kids at school find out.

The boy-Cormac-laughed and pointed at him. At least, Connor thought it was a laugh. It was more like an enthusiastic grunt.

And can't he, like, not hear me?

"So when do we call Harry Potter?" Connor muttered, walking up to Kira as his parents talked and at the same time 'talked' to their son. "'Cause I don't speak troll…"

Kira hit him.

"Ow! Hold the baby! Sheesh"

"She's 13 days old-not that heavy," replied Kira, slightly readjusting the blanket. Blankets. Whatever!!! You know, I should get extra credit in English for this!

"And why are they talking at the same time?"

"So he has a better understanding of what they're saying," Kira replied patiently. She knew there were going to be more questions like this as the night progressed. And not all of those questions were going to be as reasonable as this one.

Next he'll probably be asking what's with the lumpy beige thing on the side of his head, she thought.

"And why is his ear so lumpy? Is that why he's deaf?"

Who called it! Sorta called it anyway.

Kira decided to prolong her answer to really make him look stupid. She enjoyed the effect of that.

So she stared at him, with her eyebrow raised and her mouth hanging slightly open.

"What?"

"That's his hearing aid you bonehead."

"Oh. I knew that."

"Yeah, after I told you."

"I never said when I knew," Connor said slyly.

Kira stared at him again, but this time it was for real. Connor recognized that he had made a point. He smiled and looked toward the silent speakers.

I can't believe I just got had by Connor McKnight. I should probably keep an eye out for flying pigs tonight. No, cuz if pigs are flying then that means Trent wouldn't have that whole evil half thing going on and we could be a normal teenage couple. Wait…that's a good thing…sorta. Dr. O would also kill me. But he had a girlfriend after he was evil. Yeah, and look how great that tuned out Kira-she broke his heart. But neither of us are gymnasts, so that's not exactly gonna happen. But it could happen after my first world tour. And I am actually having a conversation with myself…I blame you Trent! Yeah, cuz he can hear me. KIRA! STOP! Okay, fine.

"Kira! Your tios are leaving!" Connor's voice snapped her back to reality.

"My what?"

Connor sighed. "Your aunt and uncle. Honestly, don't tell me I just showed you up twice in a row- and once in a foreign language! Thank you very much!" He gave a slight bow toward a make-believe audience in front of the refrigerator. Little Cormac stared at his madman baby-sitter his favorite cousin found for him. Soon to be EX favorite cousin if this guy was as much of a clown as he appeared.

"And exactly what foreign language was that?"

"Huh? Oh…uh, Spanish. Spanish? Yeah-Spanish!"

Kira shook her head. "You are so dumb." She walked toward the exit of the kitchen and Cormac followed her, while Connor pondered what exactly what he was so dumb about. She turned the corner, then turned around and stuck her head back in "And I'm in French."

Score one for the normal baby-sitter, she thought, as she reassured her tios-whatever those are…-that she remembered enough sign language to ask her favorite cousin Cormac what kind of pizza he wanted. If I forget how to say 'junk', at least I know the alphabet. Probably should've taught that to Connor the tomato…nah. It'll be funny if he tries to yell…