DISC: I DO NOT own any of the characters from TSWOAM. They are to Ken Lipan. I do however own anyone you don't recognize.
A/N: This story takes place after "I Will Always Be with You." I hope everyone likes it!
Annie sat down in her desk chair and sighed. Alex had left a few hours ago and Annie missed her little sister already. She didn't think she'd miss her after only being apart for only a few hours. But she found she was wrong.
Annie knew her little sister would be okay, but she still had to give up control of watching over her and trying to protect her 24/7. It would be hard, but she would try her best.
She figured she would distract herself by studying. She pulled one of her books closer and opened it. To her surprise, she couldn't' concentrate. For the first time if ever, her books weren't providing her the distraction they usually did.
As she was about to close the book, her cell phone rang.
"Hello?" She asked.
"Hey, Annie!" Alex's voice greeted her.
"Hey, my Al. What's up? Are you home yet?"
"Yeah," Alex replied. "I've been grounded for two weeks."
"Well, it could have been worse. You'll be fine. And when you're done being grounded, you're going to come stay with me for a weekend."
"Oh yeah!" Alex said happily. "I forgot about that. I love you, Annie."
"I love you too, Alex. I'm going to go now. I'll talk to you later, okay?"
"Okay," her sister said. "I'll talk to you later. Did you get IM yet?"
"Yeah. My username is puddlesister24."
"All right, my Al, I'll talk to you later."
Annie smiled as she shut her phone off. Even though she missed Alex, she knew her sister would be okay.
Feeling at ease now that she knew Alex was safe at home, she turned her attention back to her book. She opened it and turned the page just as the door opened.
Turning to face who had just come in, Annie found herself gazing into a set of friendly and curious blue eyes. She smiled warmly, despite herself. She was a friendly person, but she was never one to make the first move or extend the branch of friendship first.
"Hi," she greeted. "I'm Annie."
"It's nice to meet you, Annie. I would have been here yesterday, but we had a slight family emergency with my little sister."
"What happened?" She asked before she could stop herself. She blushed when she realized what she had just said. She wasn't normally this outgoing. What was going on with her? "Never mind. I'm sorry. I don't' know where that came from."
"It's okay," the girl replied. "I'm Carly by the way. I should have told you my name earlier. I don't mind talking about it. My little sister, Abby, fell off her bike and broke her arm. We had to take her to the hospital right as we were leaving. She wanted me to stay with her, so that's why I came late. She and I are really close."
"My sister Alex and I are the same way. How old is Abby?"
"She's ten." Carly replied. "She's a sweetheart."
"Alex is fifteen," Annie said. "She didn't' want me to leave either. But she'll be okay. She has our parents and her best friend, Ray and boyfriend, Hunter."
Carly nodded. She made a face when Annie mentioned the word boyfriend, but quickly covered it up with smile.
"Do you need any help unpacking?" Annie asked.
"No. I'm fine," Carly replied. "Thanks anyway."
"Did you eat yet?" Carly asked as she made her bed and set a suitcase on top of it. The suitcase was purple with Hawaiian flowers printed all over it.
Annie watched as Carly dug into it and pulled out a pink teddy bear. It was only when she got a clear view that she realized it was a Care Bear.
"Did Abby give that to you?" She asked, not being able to curb her curiosity.
"Yeah," Carly replied.
"It's cute," Annie commented. "I won Alex a teddy bear when she was three. She still has him. His name is Casper. It's about the only plush she has left. I once threw him out the window when she was five because I had just cleaned my side of the room and Alex hadn't cleaned hers yet."
"Our cousin, Justin, did that to Abby's plush cat when she was five. I had to go rescue it and pull it out of the pond."
"I probably would have done the same for Alex." Annie mused. As she cross the room, she and Carly bumped arms by accident.
As they made contact, Annie felt a strange sensation go through her. She didn't' think much of it though. She just chalked it up to a residual affect of Alex's powers from that morning. She had zapped the toaster to make it work and her zap had hit the floor by accident. Her aim was off due to her still not feeling the best.
"Sorry," Annie apologized.
"It's okay," Carly replied. "It's not a big deal."
Secretly, Carly was smiling inside. SHE knew what the sensation was, but she didn't' want to voice her thoughts aloud for fear of scaring Annie off or making her feel uncomfortable.
"Do you want to go get something to eat?" Annie asked. "I can show you around afterwards."
"Sure," Carly agreed. "Thanks."
"No problem," Annie said. As she watched Carly brush her auburn hair, she saw the sun hit it and smiled to herself. She had to resist the urge to offer to brush it for her.
Before she could stop herself or think about what she was saying, her lips were moving rapidly.
"Um, it's kind of hot out there," Annie said, "you might want to put your hair up."
"You think so? " Carly asked.
"It's your choice, but you would be more comfortable. I've been wearing my hair up since I got here a few days ago."
After Carly had gotten ready, she followed Annie out of their room and they left for the student building.
"Why don't' we have lunch somewhere else? "Carly suggested. 'I saw this little café near the art building. Do you want to go and have coffee?"
"I don't actually drink coffee," Annie admitted.
Carly grinned back.
"Neither do I," she said with a slight giggle. "It tastes like mud."
"Have you ever tasted mud before?" Annie asked.
"Once," Carly admitted. "I was six and my cousin, Alice dared me to."
Annie giggled, despite herself.
"Alex did that when she was six. Her best friend, Ray dared her."
As they walked down the street, they got into a comfortable conversation about their families and past experiences.
Annie learned that Carly's favorite play was "The Sound of Music" and her favorite Disney movie was "Aladdin." She also learned that she loved mysteries and enjoyed listening to classical music and playing the piano.
They had the same taste in music, which was nice.
"My favorite movie is Mary Poppins," Annie said.
"I like that one too!" Carly exclaimed. "What's your favorite song?"
"A Spoonful of Sugar," Annie answered. "Alex loves "Feed the Birds" and Stay Awake."
They had arrived at the coffee shop by this point.
Annie blushed as she stood back, waiting for Carly to go first.
"Oh no," she replied. "You can go first."
Annie shook her head.
"It's okay. Go on," she insisted. "You can go first."
"A-are you sure?" She asked.
"I'm positive," Annie replied.
"Okay," Carly replied. She went forward and she and Annie bumped into each other once again. Carly threw Annie an apologetic look, but the other adult dismissed it.
Once they were inside, they picked a booth in a corner and sat down.
Annie gazed at the menu that was directly above the counter and found something she wanted immediately.
"What do you think you want to get?" Annie asked Carly.
"I'm not sure," Carly replied. "Why don't we split something?"
"Okay," Annie agreed. "Are you allergic to anything?"
"NO," she said.
"I'm just checking. My sister Alex is allergic to horse radish. It makes her. Really sick," she said quickly. She couldn't believe she had almost told her the truth, no pun intended.
She didn't know what it was about Carly, but she felt like she could tell her anything and it would be safe. Even Alex's secret. But she knew that was Alex's call. SHE would leave that one up to her little sister.
"Do you see anything you want?" Carly asked.
"Yeah. How about we split a chocolate sundae and each pick a topping."
"Sounds good to me. I think I'm going to get peanut butter cups."
"I like those too."
Just then, a young man approached their table.
Annie smiled in greeting and introduced herself and Carly. She saw Carly cringe out of the corner of her eye and she found herself wondering what had caused her new friend to do so. Once again, she found herself resisting the urge to reach across the table and squeeze her hand comfortingly.
"Hey ladies, what can I get for you?" He asked.
"We'll have a chocolate sundae with double peanut butter cups and whipped cream please?" Annie ordered for the both of them.
"Coming right up," he said. He wrote down the information and left the two alone so he could fulfill their order…