Pepper sighed with annoyance as she scrubbed the floors for the millionth time. It was still so filthy and her hands and knee's were sore. Her eyes, half closed, she felt on the verge of passing out. She felt her eyes start to water, but she was far too tough to cry. She sighed, fifteen years old and she still had not been adopted. Many of the others had after Annie was taken in by those millionaires. What was so special about Annie anyway? She was just an irritating ginger. What set her apart from everyone else? Was it her voice? Was it her charm? There were far more adorable and far better singers in the orphanage. Annie just happened to be lucky.
Although, after she was adopted, followed by Molly and a few other girls from the usual crowd, the singing stopped. The orphanage was silent, except for the usual crying and groans. How could annie leave them behind like this? Pepper scrubbed harder, her hands numb. She growled, letting out a moan of displeasure. She was so tired and just wanted a moment to relax. She wanted out of this damn orphanage, but nobody wanted her and they never would. They only wanted the cute and sweet little girls. Not grouchy old Pepper.
After an hour, Pepper began to cry for the first time in what seemed like years. She wasn't a crier, but she couldn't hold it in any longer. She bit her bottem lip and tried silencing her sobs, scrubbing harder and harder until a softer hand stopped her own. Pepper shakilly looked up and met the brown eyes of Kate.
The girl removed the dirty rag from Pepper's blistered hand and examined it with concern. Pepper quickly pulled it away. She wasn't about to look like a weakling in front of anyone. Especially Kate. Kate was the only one who had ever understood her in the orphanage. She was the only one that didn't view her as some monster or bully. Kate knew that there was more to Pepper and for that, she was grateful. Not that she would show it.
"I don't need your help, you hear?" Pepper said, trying to hide her tears.
"Pepper, I can help you." Kate responded, her tone gently. ' what it is.' Thought Pepper bitterly.
"Come off it, Girly." More tears streamed down Pepper's face and she was a bit frightened and comforted when Kate's soft hand brushed them away. Pepper pulled away. "Go away."
"No..." Kate pulled Pepper into her arms and refused to let go until Pepper gave up her struggled and sobbed onto her shoulder.
It felt so nice to know that someone was there and this was the first time that Pepper felt that sensation. She gripped one of Kate's dark braids, softly in her hand and silently prayed that she could hold on to the moment forever. This was the first time in her life, or at least that she could remember, being held in someone's arms.
"kate...I miss the singing..." Pepper admitted. "That we all used to do."
"So do I." Kate whispered, a tear of her own ran down her nose. "I miss it a lot."
The singing was the only thing that kept Pepper going in that place. Without it, she felt lost. It was like, the music was her only shred of hope and without it, she knew that she stood no chance of ever having a true home. It was gone, though. Without Annie or Molly, nobody seemed able to get the music out anymore. All hope was lost.
Pepper allowed Kate to pull her closer, a feeling of comfort arousing within her. She looked into the girls brown eyes and couldn't stop the small smile spreading across her face. Out of all the girls at that orphanage, Kate was the only one who actually seemed to be a real friend. Really, she was the only person that Pepper had. The two had arrived at the orphanage at around the same time and both were growing older, niether seeming to ever have hopes of adoption.
"Thanks." Pepper mumbled to Kate, unsure of what to really say. She looked at her hands awkwardly, not used to thanking people.
"You're welcome." Kate responded in a low voice. She sighed and stood up, offering her hand to Pepper. "Come on. Lets go to bed. We'll finish this tomorrow."
"No, Miss Hannigan'll throw a fit and I'm in no shape for a beating." Pepper declined, "You go to sleep. I'll finish this."
"No. I'll do it." Kate declined, " YOU go sleep."
Pepper gave kate a small glare. "Kate, I said to GO." That's when Kate did something that surprised her. She started to sing.
"Maybe far away... Or maybe real nearby...He may be pouring her coffee, She may be straightning his tie! Maybe in a house... All hidden by a hill... She's sitting playing piano, He's sitting paying a bill!" Kate's elegant voice let a familiar warmth barge back into Pepper's heart in a way that Pepper didn't know was possible. She tried to look annoied, but wasn't able to manage it for very long.
"Betcha they're young Betcha they're smart, Bet they collect things like ashtrays, and art!" Pepper began to sing with a grin at Kate. Her smile began to falter at the next line as she thought of the reality of the situation. Her parents weren't that way at all. They were probably dead or off on the streets, involving themselves with drugs or something. "Betcha they're good - Why shouldn't they be? Their only mistake was giving up me!"
"So maybe now it's time, and maybe when I wake, They'll be there calling me "Baby"... Maybe." Kate sang with all of her heart, making Pepper feel the old joy that she managed to feel in her younger years tha she had hidden so well. The two grinned ear to ear at one another, singing simultaniously. "Betcha he reads,Betcha she sews!" Kate grabbed her signature braids and twirled them as she used to as a child, her smile, not quavering at all as she sang the line, "Maybe she's made me a closet of clothes!
"Maybe they're strictAs straight as a line..." Pepper sang, raising an eyebrow at Kate and crossing her arms. She would never be able to handle that...would she? Pepper wasn't one for rules, but when Kate sang the next line, she realized that maybe she could. "Don't really careAs long as they're mine!"
The girls smiled and sang out the last line together, united in their song. Pepper knew that if she couldn't count on anyone else, Kate was there for her. Her only real friend, but that was enough for her. "So maybe now this prayer's...The last one of it's kind... Won't you please come get your "Baby"?...Maybe..."