To Thorn: Thank you very much for your review :) Of course I am not mad at all. Everything you said is true. I can't believe I haven't thought of that. Of course it's illegal to hold a minor to Horizon against her will. In Chapter 3 I said Peter called the authorities and concerned people to explain the situation. But I should have said that before he "kidnapped" her on the bridge and brought her back to Horizon. I'll try to be more careful about details in my next stories. Thank you again for taking the time to read and review :)
And thank you to the other reviewers (is that a word? Sorry, English isn't my language) as well!
About an hour later Nicky and Juliette came out of the dorm. Peter and Sophie looked from a distance. Nicky seemed a little bit more relaxed, less angry.
"She seems to be better," Sophie said with a smile.
"Yes, and she seems to be talking to Juliette. At least she's not given the silent treatment," he said.
"Give her a chance, Peter, she'll open up to you soon I'm sure," Sophie replied.
"I hope so," Peter sighed.
Scott walked up to Juliette and Nicky while Daisy and Shelby were hanging out together a few feet away. But Shelby wouldn't keep her eyes off Scott. She didn't like the fact that he seemed to be interested in the new girl even though Daisy tried to tell her that he was just being friendly.
"How's it going?" Scott asked looking at Nicky.
"We're fine," Juliette replied with her usual smile.
"What did Peter decide we do today?" Juliette asked as she was getting curious.
"Actually we still have no idea."
"Right, he asked ME what I wanted to do," Nicky finally said.
Shelby and Daisy walked up behind them.
"Wow, she speaks now!" Shelby started to make fun of Nicky again. "So, what's it gonna be, blondie?" she asked.
"Shelby, please," Scott complained.
"Come over here," Daisy took her friend away for a minute.
"What are you doing?" Shelby asked annoyed.
"Are you kidding me? Peter is right there looking at us, do you want more chores?"
"Oh, you're right, but I still don't like it!" Shelby complained again. "What does she have that I don't?"
Daisy didn't reply.
"The list is long," Juliette, who'd heard everything, replied to get back at Shelby.
Shelby shot her a killing look. She was ready to open her dirty mouth again but quickly shut up as she noticed that Peter was walking over.
Peter decided not to annoy Nicky anymore and let her make the first move and talk to him about anything she wanted when she felt like it. He would try to avoid pressuring her. It was sometimes hard because he just wanted to know what was going on, what was bothering her, or anyone else, and try to help any way he could.
"So, Peter, what are we doing today?" Daisy asked.
Shelby stared at Nicky again and Peter quickly made her stop. He didn't want Nicky to feel uncomfortable all over again.
To everyone's surprise Nicky opened her mouth.
"I know it's dumb but I'd like to learn to play poker," she shyly said.
"It's not dumb at all," Peter said with a smile.
He was happy that Nicky spoke. She chose what they were going to do today. Not the entire day, of course, but for a few hours. It was a start.
"Yay, let's play poker," Juliette said in a very happy mood.
They all went inside and sat around a table. Peter was really glad that Nicky had finally spoken and decided what to do. Every step, as little as it was, was a step in the right direction.
"First things first! Who knows how to play poker and who doesn't?" Peter asked.
"I know," Scott said.
"Me, too," Daisy said.
"Me, three," Ezra said and everyone laughed just a little bit.
The tension seemed to be gone, for now anyway. Everyone seemed relaxed.
"I knew how to play but haven't for a while," Auggie said.
"Don't worry it'll come back fast enough," Peter replied.
"I also know how to play," Kat said.
"Good, so then we're plenty to teach Nicky, Shelby and Juliette," Peter said with a smile.
They started to play very slowly, explaining every step of the game so everyone could understand and follow.
Peter was looking at Nicky's cards while explaining so he could help see what cards to keep and what cards to change. Scott with Shelby and Auggie with Juliette.
"So, when can we take out our money?" Ezra asked.
Of course, the guys wanted to gamble and even though it seemed clear they would play for money Ezra still had to ask.
"Umm how about never?" Peter replied.
"Oh c'mon, it'd be fun," Scott said.
"How is it fun to lose money?" Peter asked.
"Well, not fun to lose but a lot of fun to win, and I know the game pretty well," Scott smirked.
"So, how fun is it to take your friends' money? Do you think it's fun to them?" Peter asked.
"I'll buy new friends with the money I'll make," Scott teased.
"Haha, very funny," Juliette said.
Out of nowhere Auggie put a 5 dollar note on the table. Of course, Peter quickly noticed and didn't appreciate the joke.
"C'mon, Peter, it's just 5 dollars, let's play the real thing for one game," Auggie tried.
Scott and Ezra smiled and were ready to reach for their wallet as well when Peter decided the joke was over.
"A week of kitchen, how does that sound?" he asked Auggie.
"Umm, tempting, but no thanks," Auggie said as he put the money back in his wallet.
"There, that's better," Peter said and flashed a smile.
They kept playing for around an hour and the girls who didn't know how to play before were starting to get the game. No more tensions, just fun, real fun, like normal teenagers members of a same team. Now Nicky seemed ready to join the group. Peter decided it was his chance to get her to make another decision.
"Nicky, as you know I called the authorities and all the people concerned to let them know you were here," he started to explain as he looked at her.
Nicky was obviously starting to get uncomfortable again.
"The question is, do you want to go back in foster care?" he asked hoping she would say no.
She didn't say a thing.
"You would have to go back to the last family you were staying with before they figure out if it's a fit or not and possibly find another family."
Peter could see the panic in Nicky's eyes.
"NO! Please, don't send me back there," she said as she fought back the tears.
Peter knew there was something going on. And he also knew not to pressure her by asking tons of questions now. The time would come.
"Or you could stay with us and be an official student here. Of course, you would have chores like everyone else; and you have to attend classes, group, do your homework…" Peter went on and on and kept looking at Nicky the whole time to see her reaction.
"It's not camp," he finally added.
"Geez you really know how to sell the place," Shelby teased.
"C'mon, stay with us," Juliette asked.
"Yeah, we're good people," Scott said.
"Speak for yourself," Auggie joked. "No, seriously, we're kinda nice," he said with a smile.
"It's not all bright," Shelby said to try to get Nicky to go back to where she came from.
Peter once again shot her that look.
Everyone waited for Nicky to finally say something. After a few minutes she opened her mouth.
"Okay," she said.
"Okay, what?" Peter wanted her to say it.
"Okay, I'm… I'm staying," Nicky said.
"Yay," Juliette said clapping her hands like a child who'd just won something big.
"Welcome to Horizon, then," Peter said smiling. "We're happy to have you here with us!"
Shelby sighed. She was not happy. Daisy calmed her down before she could say something she'd regret, again.
"Where's the cake?" Juliette joked.
"Why? So you can give it back in the bathroom?" Shelby spat.
"Not funny!" Juliette complained.
"Shelby, that's enough," Peter said.
He then turned to Nicky again.
"As in every school there are rules here," Peter said and waited to be sure to get her full attention.
"The rules here are real simple. There's no drugs, there's no sex, there's no inappropriate touching and there's no violence," Peter said.
He paused and Nicky nodded that she understood.
"The key to Horizon is that it's a safe place, it's a sanctuary," most of the kids said together just as Peter was about to say so.
"See, everyone knows the rules by heart," Peter teased.
They had all been given the same speech when they first came in so they knew it all.
"So, what now?" Ezra asked.
"Now, it's time for Auggie and Juliette to go help in the kitchen as they're on kitchen duty," Peter replied.
"Right," Juliette sighed as she got up.
"For a minute there I thought you forgot," she added.
"Keep this in mind… I never forget anything," Peter teased.
"Oh yeah, we know," Scott said.
"But… there's always a first time…" Shelby said.
"Having that dream again?" Peter smiled.
THANK YOU FOR READING SO FAR. More chapters soon.