Author's Note: Hey guys, sorry it's been so long since I've posted. Gotta love finals, right? Here's my next chapter, hope you enjoy it! Also, I'm always looking for feedback, good and bad, so please review!

Chapter 5

It's weird, not having Annie around. It's like this big hole in our room where she usually is. Ain't like that kid's quiet when she's here, so when she's gone, you really notice, and we ain't used to losing her more than a couple hours every time she runs away. Now we gotta get through a whole week. An' it ain't like I'm gonna tell anybody, but I'm starting to miss that carrot stick.

At the same time, nobody ever stops talking about her. I guess it's cause nothing interesting ever happens around here, but seems like all anybody thinks about is what Annie's maybe up to now.

"You think she's got her own room?" Duffy asks. We're all sitting in our room 'cause we got the dresses done early and Miss Hannigan's too tired to come up with something else for us to do.

I snort. "Didn't we already decide she did?"

They all ignore me. "What do you think she's doing right now?" Kate asks.

"Maybe she's shopping!" Duffy says. "I bet they got her lots of nice clothes."

"You think they're gonna take her to the zoo?" Molly asks.

"I bet they do," answers Kate. "And the movies, too! She'd be the first one to see a movie, can you imagine?"

"Pepper's seen a movie," Tessie says, knitting her brow.

July snorts. "No she ain't, she was making it up."

"You callin' me a liar?"

"Maybe I am," she retorts. "You ain't seen a movie an' you know it. Everybody knows your folks were poor as dirt an' besides, you'd be too little to remember anyway."

I stand up. "Don't you say a word about my folks, you hear? I was five years old when I got here, so that ain't too little to remember at all. I'm tellin' you they took me to a movie and that's all there is to it."

"Yeah? What movie? Bet you don't even remember."

"I do, it was 'The Great Gatsby'."

"You made that up!"

"I didn't either!" I shout. "It was 'The Great Gatsby' an' it was about a ton of rich people in fancy clothes an' maybe my folks never had that but they took me to a movie an' I ain't hearing you say they didn't!"

I march out of the room. I dunno where I'm going, but I ain't staying in that room another second. They don't have to believe me. I know half of them don't. I do lie a lot. I gotta, since nobody likes me much anyway and I'm one of the few that remembers their folks. But this time I ain't lying, I swear. I sit down on the staircase.

It was real cold that day. We walked forever, but I didn't mind. This was my treat. Mother was always saving, an' finally Dad stayed sober long enough to afford three movie tickets. I was frozen through by the time we got there, but we went inside an' it was warm an' the prettiest place I'd ever seen. The sign said "The Great Gatsby" in real big letters. I wanted to get popcorn, but Mother said the tickets cost enough an' we couldn't have popcorn too, so we went in and sat down. I dunno what the movie was about, but they all wore real nice clothes. I asked Mother if I could have a dress like the one the lady in the movie wore. I wanted one for Christmas. She told me maybe. I didn't get one, but by Christmas I didn't expect one.

"What do you think you're doing?"

I jolt and look up. Miss Hannigan's standing over me, glaring. I pretend I ain't scared.

"I'm sitting," I tell her. "Is that a crime?"

"I thought I told you all to stay in your rooms, didn't I?"

"Yeah, but you didn't say we hadda stay locked in," I retort.

She grabs the front of my sweater and hauls me to my feet. "You get back to your room, unless you want a trip to the paddle closet," she says, her face inches from mine. "Now, what do you say?"

I smile sweetly. "I love you, Miss Hannigan."


She lets go of my shirt and I stomp hard on her foot. She shrieks and makes a grab for me, but I'm already sprinting up the stairs as fast as I can. That never gets old.