A/N: Here is chapter two of Chicken Calling. The Berenstain Bears belong to Stan and Jan Berenstain. tw for shouting and implied violence. Thanks to everyone for reading and reviewing I really appreciate it.
You've been funny since home room what's up?" Freddie murmured, wary of his classmates. If they heard their favorite cub wasn't doing alright there would be a cluster of are you okay brother? and brother would probably clamp up tighter and force an assurance.
"Guess I'm just worried about kids like Too Tall," Brother honestly replied, looking up from his yearbook.
"Well, it's true that this is the last year they have a reign over the school," Freddie pointed out, " but I remind you Brother they're big kids, bigger than you and I. Shouldn't you be worried for us too?"
"You saw Lenny slink out, and if too tall goes to junior high with no friends then he'll probably lash out and bump heads with the other big kids. At least we have each other,"
"Gee brother you're about as sappy as honey," Freddie patted his friend, "you're right I guess. But there's nothing we can do for cubs like too tall or Smirk or Scuzz or even Lenny. There's only us and the way we decide to treat others. You're a good friend Brother, don't worry so much!"
Brother smiled and patted Freddie back.
"We'd better get to class then."
It was in Brothers best interest that his curiousity was as insatiable as Too Tall's wonderful imagination.
The rest of the class was abuzz with yearbooks which gave the gang an opportunity to launch spitballs. It was something too tall relished, but gears were clicking inside the cub's head.
First part, brother was way too interested in his drool worthy summer. Brother would be out and about every day having fun.
And here's where the pig twists it's leg, too tall muses, why would brother care about his favorite hiking spot? Maybe he was just being polite- or worst case scenario the high and mighty brother found his spot. Maybe he was the twig snapper.
Too tall paused, mid chewing the spitball.
Alright so if brother was the twig snapper, then how much did he see? It would make him the most likely culprit since farmer bens manure field was a reasonable walking distance from his spot.
He choked down the spitball because it wasn't worth attacking another hapless cub. Setting down his straw, he glanced towards brother bear.
He was chatting with Freddie but the cubs eyes were settled on the window. Freddie kept chatting because that cub could chat and chat away but Too Tall knew that he was trying to distract Brother Bear.
Freddie knew too, Too Tall concluded. He balled his hands into fists. Rumors would be spreading before their last recess because now two of the popular cubs knew his secret spot.
It wasn't fair. Why did it have to be those two? At least with Scuzz and Smirk he could cover the truth of his spot.
But he didn't want to have to do that. He wanted his spot to stay a secret. Something to look forward to in the summer. Somewhere to go and be himself.
Brother Bear's gaze met his. Too Tall narrowed his eyes and scowled. Brother Bear gulped and looked away instantly, but he had been caught.
Class was taking too long. Too Tall needed to end this rumor before it spread. He'd have to take care of Freddie and Brother.
The school day went by slower, almost as if Brother were in an hour glass and he could feel each grain of sand pelting him.
Too Tall knew.
Brother Bear didn't know what to do. He hadn't anticipated being caught. He had only wanted to share a watermelon and get his yearbook signed. He wanted to be a better friend.
He felt the opposite. He had no right to be there. He had no right to question what Too Tall did or didn't do.
Too Tall was going to pummel him.
"Brother, BROTHER!" Freddie whispered, "have you been listening? Teacher Bob just told us some important stuff or next year. Write it down while it's still on the board!"
Brother Bear weakly nodded and began scribbling into notebook. Freddie was not a good friend for nothing, but even he knew when it was time to leave Brother Bear to his thoughts.
The school bell dinged and the cubs couldn't gather their books fast enough.
"Remember class," Teacher Bob yelled, "these last few days are important in attendance!" Most cubs had already high-tailed it to the bus stop or playground to hear him.
Brother Bear was packing his bag. He methodically organized his books from biggest to smallest. He placed his pencil pouch in the front compartment of his bag. He took out his lunch bag and discarded it in the trashcan.
"Alright Mr. Clean I think you're done packing your bag," Too Tall called from the front of the class. He turned to Freddie and said, "me and Brother agreed to talk to Farmer Ben about last weekend. It's kinda of our thing."
"Are you sure?" Freddie asked Brother, "I don't mind walking to Farmer Ben's." Brother nodded and picked up his bag.
"Yeah me and Too Tall," Brother Bear replied, "we gotta talk to Farmer Ben. I'll see if Mama will give us a ride to the ice cream shop tonight 'k?"
Freddie shrugged and shouldered his backpack. He wanted to ask if this was really about sister's jump rope or about sixth grade. Whatever it was, Brother looked unprepared, although he spent the entire day lost in thought. Freddie decided to go to Brother's house, and see if his Mama or sister knew anything. He walked out of the classroom and towards the bus stop, where Sister and Lizzy were flagging him down.
"Well boys, I don't mean to kick you out, but I've gotta close up the classroom. We teachers have a meeting in about five minutes. Work never ends around here," Teacher Bob chuckled.
Too Tall, hands in his pocket, walked out of the classroom and towards the back route to Farmer Ben's. Brother sighed before jogging to catch up.
Each step grew heavier as the school was out of their view. The trees thickened, yet the dirt path was worn. It wasn't cross country season yet, or this path would have been full of cubs like them. Except those cubs had not angered Too Tall or had to face him.
It was Too Tall who sighed this time. His paw curled into a fist and uncurled.
"Who else knows?"
That was it? He wasn't going to try and beat him up? They were going to talk. They were friends.
"No one knows."
"But you saw me at the creek."
"Yes, I did. But I left."
Too Tall scratched his chin. So Brother was not a threat. He never was one to begin him he supposed. He had left. He didn't snitch. Or make fun of him. Brother just didn't care.
"That's all I have to talk about this," Too Tall rushed, "you never saw me at the creek. Forget about this. If you snitch on me I will find a way to make you regret you did. You understand Brother?" He raised his fist to Brother.
"You don't scare me," Brother spoke up, "I'm not your enemy Too Tall. I'm your friend. If you say I didn't see anything, then I didn't see anything. I don't need a bully as a friend." He raised his hands to show he meant peace.
He was more thankful that Too Tall let it go. Brother wanted to keep his friends. If Too Tall wanted to remain as they were, he would accept. He couldn't meet the Too Tall by the creek and it was better this way.
But was it better? It was kind of lonely to have to be pretend to be a bully. Too Tall had friends but for how long?
Too Tall was surprised. He was classmates with Brother. They were teammates when they played football. But friends? It just sounded weird. He had friends already. He didn't need a goody two-shoe friend like Brother.
"Whatever," Too Tall shrugged, "as long as you can keep quiet and forget. That's all I want. I don't care what you think of me."
"I think you do," Brother challenged, "we are friends. So what? It doesn't change anything. I'm still gonna say hi to you and play sports with you and I'm still gonna stand up to you when you're wrong. This just proves we are friends more than you like to admit."
"You don't know me," Too Tall blurted, "so just leave me alone. I'm done." He quickened his pace as he saw the back route to his house. No one would be home at this hour and that's how he liked it.
No sister chattering on the phone as her paw twisted the phone cord. No father to turn the tv to a mediocre channel playing a canned sitcom. No mother to…
"Then you don't know me either! I'm trying to be a good friend and understand you! My Mama and Papa say I have to give every cub and bear I meet a chance to know them. But you don't let me get to know you." Brother caught his breath. He was seeing red and he could taste copper in the roof of his mouth.
"You think I'm a bad friend who is going to tell everyone I saw you smile and be peaceful. You weren't doing anything wrong. I wasn't either. I shouldn't have to apologize and you don't have to threaten or push me away. I am a good friend."
"Shut up loser! I wasn't smiling. I wasn't acting like you say I was! You don't know any better!" Too Tall ran into the dirt path towards his home. Brother Bear, mouth agape, was rooted to the dirt path. What had he tried to prove? Oh right, he was a good friend.