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“Do ya wanna ask your sisters to come play with us?” Charlie didn’t really want to play with all four of Billy’s sisters, but his mother said it was the polite thing to do since Charlie had been invited to spend the day at their house. There were just so many of them, and he could never tell the twins apart.
Being an only child, Charlie wasn’t used to having so many people around, especially girls, and he wondered how Billy stood it. They had just one bathroom in their house, like Charlie and his parents, and Charlie thought maybe Billy didn’t get much chance to use it because he was always peeing on the trees in the woods.
Charlie peed on one of the trees in his own back yard once. His mother saw him through the kitchen window. He’d never seen her move so fast. Armed with a wooden spoon, she was out the door and across the yard before he could even blink.
After the tanning he got, he never did that again.
At least, not at home where his mother could see him.
Charlie realized Billy was staring at the girls and hadn’t answered him yet. “Do ya, Billy?”
“Do I what?” Billy asked, obviously distracted.
The girls were all sitting on the floor, surrounded by about a thousand dolls, stuffed ponies, and little dogs. Or maybe they were wolves. Charlie had heard some of the magic wolf legends. It was then he noticed there was another little girl with them.
“That’s Sarah,” Connie said, looking up from dressing her doll.
Or maybe it was Jennie. Charlie couldn’t tell.
Sarah peeked up at them from behind the twins, clutching a fuzzy wolf to her chest. She gave the boys a shy smile.
“Sarah’s younger than me,” the oldest girl, Nora, informed them. “I’m going to be in third grade, and Sarah’s going to be in kindergarten with Jennie and Connie. Emmie can’t go to school yet. She’s too little.”
“I not little!” Emmie squawked, scowling and flinging a brown pony at her oldest sister.
“Girls! Girls! Don’t throw things in the house!” Billy’s mother, Judith, appeared behind the boys and rested her hands on their shoulders. “Emmie, you’ll be starting school soon. Sarah, Billy and Charlie are going to be in second grade.” She patted the boys’ shoulders.
“But Charlie won’t get to go to our school.” Nora sadly shook her head from side to side. “He lives in Forks so he has to go to their school.”
Emmie stood up from the rug, crossed her arms, and stamped her foot. “I want to go to school!”
Judith sighed and lightly squeezed the boy’s shoulders. “Why don’t you two young men go on outside? I’ll call you when it’s lunch time. Remember, Charlie’s mom brought us two loaves of bread she made.”
Charlie grinned up at her. “Mrs. Black, can we have alphabet soup, too?”
“I got it special for you, Charlie.”
“Yeah! C’mon, Billy.” Charlie started for the back door and quickly realized his friend wasn’t beside him. When he turned back, he saw the boy giving a cautious wave to a blushing Sarah. Though relieved he wouldn’t be stuck in the house with all the girls, he frowned, grabbed Billy by the elbow, and yanked him toward the door. He was acting like he’d never seen a girl before and he was surrounded by them! “Billy, quit foolin’ around. C’mon! We gotta work on that fort!”
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