26

As the ride was stopping, I kept watching as Phoebe got off her little yellow horse, and how her blue coat was jumping up and down while she skipped over to me. The very second she got close to me she jumped up and hugged me as if she hadn't seen me in years, she wasn't really behaving like herself but it was actually really nice.

With nothing else left to do, I got up from the bench, took Phoebe's hand and started walking down the street, we looked like idiots holding hands, since she was so small, but it was alright, it felt so good having her there. If she weren't so smart, and young I would've probably let her go away with me, she would be in the little cottage, while I worked at the gas station and we would live together, along with my deaf-mute wife, and she would find someone she really liked and go away with that nice guy, maybe come and visit me and my wife for the holidays. I would've ran away the very second, or at least tell her about my plan although the smile she had on, every time she looked at me was just too much to ignore and ruin by running away.

The thing is we were just walking down the street while it was raining like a bastard and we were just pretending it to be a nice sunny day with two siblings walking down the street holding hands, boy that sounded wrong, but as bad as it looked it was amazing. I felt like a different person with Phoebe around. We went down a couple of blocks, and Phoebe saw this hat in a store, it didn't look like some big shot or anything but Phoebe begged me to go inside and get it. Only when we went inside the store I saw why she wanted it so badly, it was dark blue, but that wasn't the reason, it looked just like my red hunting hat. Phoebe was almost on her knees begging me to get it for her; I didn't want to spend any more of her Christmas dough but the way she was asking, boy it was so hard not to do what she wanted you to do. Once she wants something, she would do anything to get it, she did that a lot when we were younger and went shopping with our mom, she would see a doll she really wanted and almost start screaming and crying if she didn't get it. I bought the hat, and she put it on, she looked amazing with it, even with her wet hair the hat looked so good on her, I just had to get it for her.

As we were walking towards our house, I kept thinking what I was going to tell my parents, they wouldn't get the letter until Wednesday so I had time to make up something before they found out I got the axe again, or at least prepare them for the news, so they wouldn't be so mad at me or send me to the military school, I would have a chance to start again with another school who knows maybe one without so many phonies. It was a good plan, I would, just as I walk inside the house with Phoebe, tell them that we were let out early, and once they calm down I would give it to them slowly.

We were just heading right on our street when I saw mother's car on the other side, going into the garage. That's when I remembered that it was way too early for Phoebe to come home.

"Hey Phoebe, do you want go and get something to eat, you know until 3 when you should be getting home from school?"

"Mommy's going to find out anyways that I didn't go to school, and she won't be that mad after she hears your story, come on Holden, you're in enough trouble as you are already, don't give daddy another reason to kill you!"

"They're never going to find out; it's going to be fun, come on!"

"Daddy's going to kill you!"

"He won't find out, now come on!"

She didn't say anything but she followed me anyways, we stopped at this very nice place, it didn't look to expensive, so I wouldn't spend all of Phoebe's dough therefore we went there. It was a place called Freddy's, it wasn't too big, and it didn't look too expensive after all I didn't want to spend all her dough on food. We went inside and each of us had a doughnut and a cup of tea. Phoebe was still in her own thoughts, not talking to me. Boy how I hated that. She did now even more than she used to before. After both of us finished our doughnuts, we went outside, it was starting to get warmer now but it didn't make much of a difference. We kept walking down the street and I decided since we had a couple of hours free we could go and watch a movie, it sounded like a reasonable thing to do and it would occupy a lot of our time. We went over to this cinema; I hadn't been there before maybe because it was such a small place. I was supposed to go there once, about 2 years ago, with Barnie, a boy from Princeton. He was quite a nice guy, especially when you would talk to him he would just stand there and listen to you like you were telling him the best story in the world or something, but he was a real bastard who wanted nothing but attention, he would only talk to you if you were very popular or if there was no one around. I didn't go here with him after all because the very same weekend, he got pneumonia and therefore couldn't go out anymore.

There were only a couple of movies on at the moment, so the choice wasn't that big, in the end we went to this movie Phoebe wanted to watch, it was called "The Turning Tables". It sounded so phony; if Phoebe wasn't there I probably would have never gone in there to watch it. The story wasn't any better either, some guy from Switzerland is sent on a mission over in Italy, where he has to stay for a couple of years and he falls in love with this lady who works in a shop, and which is bombed, she loses a leg and such things, if I kept telling you the rest I would probably puke. In the end nothing special happens they just go back to Switzerland and get married and live happily ever after. The movie was quite long actually, so we lost a lot of time there, Phoebe's school usually ends at around this time so we set for home. I wasn't really looking forward to getting home but I promised old Phoebe I'll be there for her and mother. And even if I did run away my mother would probably have a shock or something since she would lose another child and so on and she would start talking about Allie and there was also Phoebe. I'll just have to stay home and get over everything. Even if they do send me to the military, I would be there for Phoebe.

As we got on our street again, we went straight for our building, Phoebe was almost running to get home for some reason, like if she didn't get there I'll just disappear but, whatever, we just started running down our street but I stopped the moment we were in front of our house door. I would've gone in but I kept wondering, and Phoebe seemed to understand my deep thought since she didn't ring the bell or go in either. She just sat there next to me as I was trying to figure out what I was going to say. We stood there for a couple of minutes, after which Phoebe decided to ring the doorbell. We stood there in the very same position for another couple of seconds until mother answered the door.

"Holden, what are you doing home so early? You shouldn't be here until Wednesday."