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Life in Middleton was never exciting. And the day Cody MacGregor and Erin Fletcher were separated it was downright devastating. The two of them were only three years apart in age. They met when Erin was four years old, and from then on they became inseparable. They were the best of friends who spent practically every hour of every day together.
Cody was the braver of the two, and was always the hero in Erin’s eyes. Cody was also the stronger one, but that may have been because of her height. She was tall for only being seven years old, and continued to be taller than all of the other kids her age throughout the years.
Cody used to feel lucky for the name given her, because she knew she couldn’t stand girlie names or anything else girlie for that matter. Except for Erin. Yes, Erin could be as girlie as she wanted to be and it was okay for Cody. In fact she liked it. So, Cody made it a point every Thanksgiving holiday, to thank her father for naming her the way he did.
Cody was close to her dad. He was the only one she had around besides Erin. He was the one who took her fishing and taught her how to work on a car. Cody never knew her mom, on account that she died in a terrible car accident when she was nine months pregnant with Cody. Mr. MacGregor would hug Cody fiercely on her birthday every year, and thank the heavens out loud for leaving him with something to remember his beloved wife by.
Erin lived two houses down from her best friend. Her brother, Michael was Cody’s age, but he didn’t really hang out with them. Only when it was time for softball, and Cody joined their team —- of course, only after winning a fist fight against John Rogers, who said girls can’t play softball they only know how to cook and sew —– did Michael spend time with them. And Erin was there at every game cheering on her brother and her best friend.
Erin used to wait every morning for Cody to come get her so they can walk to school together, and every day Cody made sure Erin got home safely no matter where they were after school. Even when Erin had to attend summer school one year because she was having trouble with math, Cody was right there to walk with her and pick her up afterwards.
Erin never got tired of Cody. She could tell her best friend anything and know she would never be put down or rejected. Erin knew there was something special between her and Cody. She used to believe it was a magical rope that connected them. She said they were fashioned out of the same mold in heaven before it accidentally fell and broke.
Erin’s mom used to chastise her for her foolish thoughts and for always spending time with Cody. Her mother was disappointed that Erin didn’t try to make other friends, but for Erin, Cody was all she wanted. On the days when Erin’s mom and pop fought, Erin would stay at Cody’s and on many occasions spend the night. Together they would help Mr. MacGregor cook dinner or set the table and then all three would play a board game together. Erin and Cody would sleep on the living room floor in sleeping bags or out in the back yard in Cody’s tent on summer nights.
Yeah, life for these two girls was simple and fun — the way childhood should be for all. But one summer day changed everything for them forever.
Cody just turned thirteen years old. It was two weeks after her birthday that she woke up to find there was something very different going on. She felt different. So she stared into the huge brightly-lit bathroom mirror after her shower, and was dumbfounded to find these small round mounds of flesh where her flat chest used to be. “Oh no, this can’t be happening.” She whispered to no one. Tentatively raising a hand to poke at the fleshy lump, a tear threatened to spill over her cheeks. Far in the back of her mind, she knew that one day she would get these “things”, but had hoped that maybe the gods would bless her in not having any.
Throwing on her T-shirt, she ran out of the bathroom in search of her father. She knocked into him in the laundry room, and hugged him tightly about the waist.
“Hey, Lil’ Bit, what’s wrong?” He asked in wonder as she just held onto him. “Uhh…you’re squeezing your pa’s breakfast out of him.” He pried her arms away, and looked into her stormy blue eyes. Quickly noticing that her shirt didn’t fit just right, he chuckled. “You’re startin’ to grow up Lil’ Bit. And here I was beginnin’ to think adolescence would pass you by.” He hoisted her up onto the dryer, and crossed his burly thick arms across his broad chest.
“I don’t wanna have breasts, pa.” She stated vehemently.
“Aw, sweetie, its part of nature.” He scratched at his thick bushy black and peppered gray beard with his massive paw of a hand before continuing, “Now you know this also means you’re going start your period soon.”
“Noooo.” She grabbed at her raven hair in anger.
“Now Cody,” He took her hands in his. “We’ve had this talk, and it’s a good thing we did.” Raising her chin to meet her eyes, he lovingly casino şirketleri said, “Honey, if I could change things for you, I would. I’d like to always keep you at ten years old as my feisty tomboy, but that’s not how life works.”
She couldn’t help but cry, so he pulled her into a hug. “I wish your ma was here to help with all this. She would know how to make you feel better.” He brushed a thick hand through her long hair. “But I’m tryin’ the best I can Lil’ Bit.”
Cody wiped at her face. “I know pa.”
“Hey, when I get home from work, we’ll go to Wal-Mart and get you a couple of training bras, and maybe some other…umm…feminine products so that we’re not completely caught by surprise when your period does come.”
She rolled her eyes, and smacked a hand to her forehead. “I really hate this.”
“I know.” He cupped her cheeks, and gave her a smile. “But you’ll be okay.”
Erin ran from the kitchen table and out into the bright sunshine outside. Grabbing her favorite purple baseball cap on the way out, the one with Winnie the Pooh eating a jar of honey, that Cody gave her a year ago, she skipped her way over to her best friend’s place.
She always started her search for Cody in the backyard because she knew her favorite friend enjoyed spending every summer day outside. Expecting to find Cody playing with her chameleon on the back porch, she was surprised there was no sign of her so she took a seat on the steps and waited a few moments. Suddenly she heard a sniffle coming from the tent in the middle of yard. Hopping up and over in that direction, she unzipped the flap, and tackled Cody onto her back with a big hug. “Hey you, how come you’re in here all alone?”
Erin looked into her favorite blue eyes and noticed the tear stained face. “What’s wrong Cody? What happened?”
Cody remained silent and just wiped at her face with the back of her hand.
“Come on C-o-d-y. You never cry. P-l-e-a-s-e talk to me, I’m your best friend. We tell each other everything.”
Ocean blue eyes looked into sea green. “I’m… growing up.”
Erin gave her a goofy smile. “Whaddya mean silly?”
“I’m… um… I’m getting breasts.”
Excitedly Erin questioned, “Really?” She clapped her hands in joy. “Yaaayy, you’re so lucky. I’m going to be so happy when I start to grow up and have breasts.”
“But I don’t want them. I’m not glad I have them.” Cody hung her head in anger.
Erin bit her bottom lip, and wondered what to say to help her friend. “I’m sorry you don’t want them. I wish you could give them to me. It would be so nice.”
Cody chuckled. “You’re such a girl.”
“I like being a girl. Don’t you like me being a girl?”
“You know I do.”
Erin gave her a huge grin, and a giggle. “So… can I see them?”
Cody’s black eyebrow arched up under her bangs. “You’re kidding… right?”
“P-l-e-a-s-e?” Erin asked sweetly.
Cody sighed heavily, and then proceeded to unbutton her shirt. “You know, I have to wear two shirts now so that they don’t show so much.” She then pulled up her T-shirt.
Erin stared in fascination. “Wow, I think they’re pretty. Are they going to get bigger?”
“God, I hope not.” Cody complained and yanked her shirt back down.
“You know this means you’ll need a bathing suit to go swimming now.” Erin giggled again at her friend’s predicament.
“Awww hell, I hadn’t thought of that. This is horrible — just horrible. I want them gone.”
“No. No, it’s not. Maybe you’ll grow to like them one day.” She commented with another giggle, but stifled it quickly when Cody just stared with arms crossed over her chest. “Okay, anyway, come on, we have things to do. You promised to show me the baby bunnies you found yesterday.” Erin said as she exited the tent.
They walked through the neighborhood and all the way down to Mr. Jamison’s farm. Out around back where the chickens gathered to stay out of the hot sun, Cody led Erin to a large and leafy bush.
“This is where I saw them,” she whispered carefully. “We have to be quiet and be slow with our movements. We don’t want to scare them.”
“Okay.” Erin whispered in return.
Lying down onto their stomachs, Erin followed Cody’s exact movements. Under the thick foliage, very near to the trunk of the bush was a leafy bed with four bunnies napping on top.
Cody watched Erin’s eyes light up, and she couldn’t help to have a huge grin on her face to see her friend’s excitement at the newborns.
“I want to hold one of them.” Erin commented in a very low voice.
Cody shook her head and rolled blue eyes. Tugging on Erin’s shirt sleeve, she motioned for her to crawl back out.
As they dusted off, Cody began to explain. “We can’t touch the bunnies cause if the mother smells that her babies have been touched, she might very well reject them. It’s kind of like our body scent will get left on the bunny and casino firmaları the bunny will be considered umm…tainted. So the mother will abandon them.”
“That’s terrible that she would do such a thing.” Erin interjected.
“I know it seems that way to us, but that’s how it is in the animal kingdom.”
“You’re so smart Cody.”
“Nah. Come on, let’s go fishing.”
“You mean, you’ll go fishing. But I’ll help you collect worms. Ugh, I can’t stand touching fish.” Erin commented in passing.
The rest of the morning was spent down by the old pond. Cody fished to her heart’s content as she listened to her best friend’s thoughts on anything and everything. Erin could sure talk up a storm, if given the opportunity.
Erin came home for dinner to the sound of mom and dad arguing again. She quickly went upstairs to Michael’s room. Plopping down onto his bed, she pulled the pillow up over her head.
He watched her from his perch on the window sill. He knew she hated what was going on downstairs. He hated it too.
Late that night Erin ran to Cody’s house in tears. She found her friend roasting marshmallows in the small charcoal grill, and fell to her knees at Cody’s feet.
“Erin, what’s wrong?”
Erin could not speak immediately. She just clutched her friend about the waist and sobbed.
Cody moved to hold her, and tried to calm her down. “Whatever it is, we’ll fix it. Tell me why you’re crying.”
“Pa… came home… and they… started… fighting again. I… overheard…” She sobbed harder as she clutched Cody tighter. “Ma… is taking… us to… grandma’s. We’re… not… coming back.” She cried louder.
Mr. MacGregor came out wondering what all the commotion was about. “Lil’ Bit, what’s going on?”
“I don’t know everything right now, Pa. But I’ll tell you when I do.”
“Alright. I’ll be in the living room if you need me.”
He returned indoors, and Cody tried to coax Erin into explaining.
“Come on, let’s sit down.” Cody commented, and then began to help wipe the tears from Erin’s face. “Can you explain to me from the beginning what is going on?”
Erin nodded as she sniffled for the tenth time. “After Pa left the house, sometime later Ma called us downstairs. I got scared cause I knew it was going to be something bad. I grabbed Michael’s hand and we sat on the couch. Ma tried to explain to us that she and Pa were getting a divorce. She said that we had to pack up all of our things because we were going to live with her, and that we were all leaving for grandma’s house in two days. I started to cry and I screamed that I didn’t want to leave. She grabbed me and slapped me, and that’s when I ran over here.”
Cody could not believe what she was hearing. Never before had she given it any thought that the two of them would be separated. She became angry at Mrs. Fletcher and blamed her for taking Erin away.
They each cried their tears, and when Cody felt she could go in and convey to her Pa what the situation was, she got up and carried out the task. Mr. MacGregor had a long talk with them once he heard the news. He had informed them that they were lucky to have known each other for so long and to have such a great friendship. He also told them that if they want to see each other again, they could. They just needed to believe they would, and it would happen. He was saddened by the situation, because he knew this would change the girls forever, and he didn’t want them to grow up bitter.
Both girls lay in each other’s embrace inside Cody’s tent. They cried for half the night together. Neither of them wanted to be separated but they knew they couldn’t stop what was happening.
Morning found them still in each other’s arms with tired and worn faces. They got up and silently had breakfast together. Cody walked with Erin over to her house to help with the packing. The next couple of days proved to be very difficult for them. Erin wanted to talk and reminisce on the times they’ve had together these past several years. But Cody didn’t want to talk much at all because she felt like there was nothing that could be said to change what was going to occur.
When the final hour came, they held onto one another as long as they could.
“I love you Cody.”
Stormy blue eyes gazed into sea green. “I love you too, Erin.” She hugged her fiercely as she continued, “I want you to listen to me. When we’re old enough, no one will be able to tell us what to do or where to live. We’ll be able to be together forever. I want you to remember that I will come for you. No matter where you are, I’ll find you.” Cody looked into her emerald green eyes again filled with tears. Softly, she said, “I love you Erin Fletcher, and I… want to marry you.”
A wide-eyed Erin dropped her jaw in disbelief. She had never considered that before even though she and Cody used to always play “house” with Erin’s dolls, and Cody always played the daddy. “Really? When güvenilir casino we’re grown up, can we really get married and live happily ever after?”
“Sure we can. Just you wait and see. When we’re the right age, we’ll marry and do whatever we want.”
“Oh Cody, when? How old do I have to be?” She desperately asked.
Cody thought about it for a moment. She bit her bottom lip as she counted out the years. “When you’re twenty-one, I’ll come for you.”
“But that’s so far away.”
Cody tried to wipe at her own tears. “I know it’s far. And I wish it could be sooner, but it can’t.”
Suddenly they both heard the familiar honking of Mrs. Fletcher impatiently waiting outside.
“I promise you Erin. No matter what, I will come for you. Don’t ever forget that, and don’t forget I love you.”
They hugged fiercely one last time before Erin quickly kissed her on the cheek and ran out of the house.
Mr. MacGregor walked up behind his daughter, and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder as he wiped away his own stray tear with a free hand. He was so surprised at the exchange of words between the girls, and he knew that deep down in his heart that nothing would keep these two from being together one day.
“I’m gonna miss her bad pa,” Cody choked out.
“I know Lil’ Bit. I know.”
Twelve years have passed, and Erin found herself back in Middleton. Nothing really changed in this small town except for some of the town’s folks. Erin and Michael decided to return to Middleton nine months ago. He bought a house, where they agreed to live together. They were only there for three months before Michael fell in love with Kathy Jenkins. Kathy never left Middleton, and she remembered the siblings from when they were all in school together. Soon, Kathy became Michael’s fiancée, and moved in with them.
Erin worked as manager of the local Laundromat. She hated it, but knew she didn’t have the college education to do something better. Michael got lucky with some college education and his knack for computers. He got himself a computer-programming job at the HP branch just outside of town.
Erin made it a point to walk past Cody’s old house everyday on her way to work, even though it was out of her way, and as she passed it, she wondered what happened to her best friend. During her free time, she re-visited all of their old hang outs and also spent much time out at the softball field where kids still gathered to play. She found herself crying on many occasions as she remembered those last words that Cody promised to her. ‘I’ll come for you. No matter where you are, I’ll find you —– when you’re twenty-one.’
Erin wiped the tears from her cheeks for the umpteenth time. “What ever happened to you Cody MacGregor? Where have you gone? And why have I never heard from you?” She got up from her spot on the bleachers. It was time she returned to work, and she wasn’t much excited about it.
The roar of a shiny black and chrome Harley made its way into town. The mysterious black leather clad figure was unidentifiable to those who stood staring. The bike came to a halt at the Cozy Diner — a place that’s been around for decades.
The tall figure dismounted and removed the equally black full face helmet with darkened visor. Long knuckled fingers brushed through short raven hair. Hooking the helmet onto the handlebars, the figure stepped into the diner. Up at the counter, a question was posed to the waitress. “Good afternoon. I just got into town and was hoping you may help me.”
The older woman just looked at her with her mouth hung open. She was still new in town and hadn’t learned the names of the local dining folks yet. She felt intimidated by the tall person with piercing sapphire eyes. Finally finding her voice, she said, “Wha…what can I do for you?”
“Well, I’m looking for someone who lived here many years ago. Her name is Erin Fletcher.”
The waitress began to relax as she noticed how polite and beautiful this person’s voice is. “I’m sorry, I didn’t grow up here. I’m originally from Lakewood and just moved here about five years ago.”
Disappointed, the figure said, “Oh. Well, do you happen to know of anyone who lived here for more than ten years?”
The patrons of the diner were silencing their conversations from the moment that the mysterious stranger had entered their establishment. A few whispers passed amongst the tables as many wondered who this individual wanted with someone from their little town.
Suddenly, a bold man in his thirties decided to have a little fun at the expense of someone else. “You looking for Erin?” He questioned as he turned around on the stool.
“Yeah.” The stranger responded.
“And who are you?” The man asked with a sneer on his face.
“Why do you need to know?” Was the response given to him.
He looked at her and wondered if this person was really a ‘she’ or ‘he’. He scratched an imaginary itch along his five o’clock shadow, as if in thought. “Ah, well… Erin… yeah Erin died a couple of months ago. Yeah, apparently her husband went looney and killed her.”
The figure didn’t budge or respond. She didn’t want to believe him.
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