Go ask Alice
"Alright, who wants to go on a special trip?" Jack asked a classroom full of orphans. All nervously stuck their hands in the air. Some were bursting to get out of their seats. He glanced at a few, knowing they would be best for the 4-5-6. "Okay, you." He pointed to one. "And you" pointing to another. He continued until he had eleven. He looked to two students sitting next to each other. One was a girl about 13 and was on the throes of puberty. The other was a nervous 12 year old. They must have been friends considering how they were sitting so close. Jack frowned, both were a little older but the boy looked like he hadn't had any signs of puberty yet. The girl had breast buds growing and she looked like she was in the middle of a growth spurt.
He turned to the teacher. "Does she have family?" He whispered behind a folder. "Yes, her mother visits once a year." The teacher answered. Jack nodded. She would be missed, unlike her friend.
"Okay, the boy there." Clement stood up, looking to his friend who looked dejected at the prospect of her friend going without her.
"Can Iris come with me?" Clement asked Jack. Jack looked to the girl, who looked like more and more suspicious of what Jack was doing. "No, only 12 can come laddie. We'll leave tonight." He said, patting Clement on the back.
"Where are you guys going anyway?" Iris Peters asked, sitting across the orphanage library to talk to Clement. "Not sure, but it must be good. Boy, you were mad when that man didn't pick you." Iris said nothing, going back to her homework. "I think you have the hots for him." Iris kicked Clement under the table. "I do not. I was just-" "I'll tell him you like him." Clement teased.
"You will not." Iris yelled, making a nun look up. "Children, this is a library!" She hissed. Iris and Clement lowered their heads. Ever since Clement came to the orphanage after his mother's death, he and Iris had become the best of friends. Iris had taught him everything, having been in the orphanage since birth. They left the library, looking to the infirmary nearby. They heard a woman's muffled scream, an unwed mother who was going to leave her child there. That's what Iris' mother had done, a village girl who found herself in a 'bad way' after a sweet 16 birthday gift from her boyfriend. Iris' mother visited on Iris' birthday when she remembered, buying little presents for the girl. But the visits were more hurried as she now had a family of her own with the boyfriend who was Iris' father. Though they continued to claim they'd come for her every year, it never happened.
"Clement." Both children looked up. A nun was standing there with that man. "It's time to come with me." Clement and Iris embraced. "Be good Clem." Iris ordered. "Don't talk to strangers and no nose-picking." Clement rolled his eyes. "Okay." Iris looked to the man, who was signing papers for the nun. Iris gasped. "Clem, I think he wants to adopt all of you." Clement brightened with joy. "Then I can convince him to come back for you." Both of them hugged each other.
"Goodbye!" Clement said, ready to go. "Wait, Clem." Iris went up to him, giving him a quick kiss, making the younger boy blush. "If we never see each other again, I wanted you to remember me." Clement smiled, going to the van. As Clement and the other orphans got on, Jack watched Iris watch the van. She was suspicious, but she wanted to hide it from the other kids. She was staring at Jack, wondering what he was planning. Jack averted his eyes as he started the van. As much as she made him uncomfortable, he wanted to watch for her.