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Chapter Four La Push and Taylor gives a clue
That night, Kristen had a dream. She was in bed asleep, dreaming about Robert, when she woke gasping. She looked over at her chest of drawers to see Robert standing there. She got part of the way up, looked at her bedside table, turned the lamp on and looked quickly at her chest of drawers. Robert wasn’t there. Kristen leaned back on the pillow with her arm on top of her head thinking. She laughed softly and placed her hand on her forehead. She sat up and ran her fingers through her hair. “And that was the first night I dreamt of Robert Simon” she thought.
The next morning, Mr. Morgan was taking them on a field trip to a greenhouse. “I need everybody’s permission slips, ok? Sammy, please collect them” he said. “Yeah” said a boy. “Guys, let’s go. Come on, get in. In. Let’s go!” said Mr. Morgan. Kristen was parked in the exact same place, she had been yesterday. She was standing next to her truck thinking. She saw the dent in the back of the truck and her mind went back to yesterday evening. I her mind, she saw Robert pulling her from the ground and pushing the van away with his hand. She looked up and saw Robert, Ashley and Jackson coming towards the buses. Kristen kept her eyes on Robert until Michael came in front of her. “Look at you, huh? You’re alive” said Michael. Kristen looked down for a second, looked back up and made a face. “I know, yeah. False alarm, I guess” said Kristen. “Yeah. Now, I wanted to ask you, you know, if, you know, it’s like days away, but...” said Michael. He laughed nervously. “Do you wanna go to the dance with me?” asked Michel. But Kristen was paying attention. She was looking at Robert and he was looking at her. “So, what do you think?” asked Michael. Kristen snapped out of it. “About what?” she asked, looking at Michael. “Do you want to go? To the dance? With me?” asked Michael. Michael laughed nervously and Kristen understood what he was saying. “Oh! I... Dance. Dancing. Not such a good idea for me. I have something that weekend anyway. I’m going to Jacksonville that weekend” she said. “You can’t go another weekend?” asked Michael. “Non-refundable ticket. You should ask Anna. I know she wants to go with you” replied Kristen. They both looked at Anna, who was standing next to Mr. Morgan and a girl. “All right. All right” said Mr. Morgan. Anna saw them looking at her, smiled and waved at them. Michael looked at Kristen and smiled. “Yo, yo, yo. Hey, guys, come on. We gotta go. We gotta go. Green is what? Good. Let’s go. Guys, come on” said Mr. Morgan. Kristen and Michael looked each other walked towards the buses. Robert smiled at Ashley and Jackson and walked towards the buses as well. “Other bus, other bus. Let’s go” said Mr. Morgan and to the other bus.
At the greenhouse, they walked around and Mr. Morgan asked Justin to help him with a machine. “Egg shells, carrot tops. Compost is cool. Now, stuff that in there, Justin” said Mr. Morgan. “Yes, sir. Yes, sir” said Justin. “Very good, very good” said Mr. Morgan, taking a glass out of the machine. “Now, I am going to make a steaming cup of compost tea. Ok” said Mr. Morgan, getting it from a tap in the machine and holding it up for everyone to see. “Give me that” said Gregory, taking it from Mr. Morgan. “Yeah. This is recycling in its most basic form, guys. Don’t drink it! It’s for the plants” said Mr. Morgan. Kristen saw that Robert had stopped in front of her. She was prepared to ignore him, if he started. She walked right past him. “What’s in Jacksonville?” asked Robert. Kristen turned and looked at him for a second and then looked away. He walked behind her. “How did you know about that?” asked Kristen. She looked quickly back at him and then away. “You didn’t answer my question” said Robert. “You don’t answer any of mine, so... I mean, you don’t even say hi to me” said Kristen. “Hi” said Robert. “Are you gonna tell me how you stopped the van?” asked Kristen. “Yeah. I had an adrenaline rush. It’s very common. You can Google it” replied Robert. Kristen didn’t believe him, but decided to play along. “Floridians. That’s what’s in Jacksonville” she said. Just then, she slipped on something and Robert caught her under the arm and pulled her up. “Can you at least watch where you walk?” asked Robert, angrily. Kristen felt angry and started to walk away. “Look, I’m sorry I’m being rude all the time. I just think it’s the best way” said Robert. Kristen looked at him. “Kristen! Guess you just asked me to the dance” said Anna, coming up to them. Robert walked away. “Who?” asked Kristen looking at Anna. “Yeah, I actually totally thought that Michael was gonna ask you” replied Anna, as they started walking again. “It’s not gonna be weird, though, right?” asked Anna. “No. Zero weirdness. You guys are great together” replied Kristen. “I know, right?” asked Anna.
Later when it was almost time to go, everyone was going outside, looking it the compost heap in a tin tub. Justin, Michael and Gregory were poking them with sticks. Christian and Anna were watching them. The boys were hooting as Kristen came out. “Gregory...” said a girl jumping backwards. “Gross” said a boy. Justin looked around with something on the end of his stick and saw Kristen walking close to them. “Kristen, look. It’s a worm” he said holding up to Kristen’s face. Kristen cringed away from it. Justin guffawed. “It’s a worm” he said. As she walked, she could tell that Robert was walking fast to catch up with her. She looked over her shoulder to see him only a few inches behind her. “Kristen, we shouldn’t be friends” said Robert. They walked slowly to the bus. “You really should’ve figured that out a little earlier. I mean, why didn’t you just let the van crush me and save your all this regret?” asked Kristen angrily. They stopped and Robert looked at her. “What, you think I regret saving you?” asked Robert. “I can see that you do. I just... I don’t know why” replied Kristen. “You don’t know anything” said Robert. While they were talking, they didn’t notice Ashley and Jackson coming up to them. Ashley came right up to Robert and Kristen, but Jackson held back. “Hi. Are you gonna be riding with us?” asked Ashley. “No, our bus is full” replied Robert, before Kristen could see anything. He turned, banged on the bus door and got on. Kristen moved aside so Ashley and Jackson could get on, she shot another look at Robert.
Billy was sitting at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper when Kristen got home. He looked up as she came in carrying her coat over her arm and her rucksack on one shoulder. She dumped them on the other chair and her rucksack fell to the floor. She left it there. “You mom called. Again” said Billy. Billy hadn’t cleaned up after eating, Kristen picked up his plate and looked into a crisp packet. “Well, that’s your fault. You shouldn’t have told her about the “almost” accident. You finished?” asked Kristen. “Yeah” replied Billy, as Kristen took his plate to the sink and placed it in there. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right. She always did know how to worry. Kristen took a glass and filled it with water. “She seems different” said Billy as Kristen took a drink. “She seems happy. Ty sounds like an all right guy” said Billy as Kristen tipped the rest of the water down the drain. “Yeah, he is” said Kristen turning around and leaning on the sink for a moment. She cleared her throat and looked down as she stood there. She sighed and walked out of the room. “All right” said Billy looking after her.
The next day at lunch time, Kristen was standing by the table she was going to sit at with Justin, Christian, Michael, Anna and Gregory. “No, you need the mitts. You need them” said Justin. Kristen looked over her shoulder at Robert’s table. He was sitting there with his brother, sister, foster brother and foster sister. Robert was holding a piece of cookie in his hand. “No, why do you keep arguing with me? You just need them” said Justin. Robert then looked up and saw Kristen, then he looked down at the piece of cookie. Jackson was looking at her now. “You’re gonna get frostbite!” said Justin. Kristen even heard Robert say something. “I don’t even know” he said, dropping the piece of cookie back on the tray. Kristen looked away and went to sit down, but remained standing up. Everyone looked at her. “Yeah. Hey! La Push, baby. You in” asked Justin. “Should I know what that means?” asked Kristen. “La Push Beach down at the Quileute Rez. We’re all going tomorrow” said Michael. “Yeah, there’s a big swell coming in” said Anna. “And don’t just surf the Internet” said Justin standing up. Michael stood up and did a surf pose until Gregory pulled him back down. “Justin you stood up once, and it was a foam board” said Anna. “But there’s whale watching, too. Come with us” said Christian. “La Push, baby. It’s La Push” said Justin, as Kristen took a bite of salad. “Ok, I’ll go if you stop saying that, ok?” said Kristen with her mouth full. She then looked down and smiled. “Seriously, dude. It’s creepy, man” said Michael. Kristen walked off to the salad bar. “What? That’s what it’s called” said Justin. “So...” said Anna.
While Kristen was at the salad bar, she was distracted thinking about something. “Edible art?” came Robert’s voice. Kristen jumped and knocked an apple off her tray. Robert bounced the apple up on his foot and caught it in both hands. Kristen looked up at him and he looked back. “Kristen” he said smiling. He handed her the apple. “Thanks. You know, your mood swings are kind of giving me whiplash” said Kristen, moving around to the other side. Robert followed her. “I only said it’d be better if we weren’t friends, not that I didn’t wanna be” said Robert. “What does that mean?” asked Kristen. “It means if you were smart, you’d stay away from me” replied Robert. Kristen wasn’t having this. “Ok, well, let’s say for argument’s sake that I’m not smart. Would you tell me the truth?” she asked. “No, probably not” replied Robert. Kristen looked away. “I’d rather hear your theories” said Robert. Justin, Christian, Michael, Anna and Gregory were watching them from their table, so was Robert’s family from theirs. “I have considered radioactive spiders and Kryptonite” said Kristen, keeping her head down. “That’s all superhero stuff, right?” asked Robert. Kristen looked up. “What if I’m not the hero? What if I’m the bad guy” asked Robert. “You’re not” replied Kristen shaking her head. Robert looked at her. “I can see what you’re trying to put off, but I can see that it’s just to keep people away from you. It’s a mask” said Kristen. Robert still looked at her. Kristen looked down for a moment, thinking. “Why don’t we just hang out?” she asked. Robert smiled, liking the idea. “Everybody’s going to the beach. Come. I mean, have fun” said Kristen. Robert looked down for a moment thinking. “Which beach?” he asked. “La Push” replied Kristen. “I don’t know. I just...” said Robert, putting his hand on the top of the salad bar. “Is there something wrong with that beach?” asked Kristen. Robert looked away for a minute. “It’s just a little crowded” he replied.
The next day Kristen, Justin, Christian, Michael, Anna and Gregory went to La Push. It was cloudy, cold and very windy. The beach wasn’t anything like the beaches, Kristen was used to in California and Arizona. It wasn’t a sandy beach. It was stony with drift woods logs by the ocean. There were a couple of surfers already out there. Justin, Michael, Anna and Gregory were surfing while Kristen and Christian sat in Gregory’s van. “Hey, it’s freezing” said Michael as he looked out to sea. “I’m paddling out, Coates” said Gregory with his wet suit on and holding his surf board. Justin, Michael and Anna were still getting changed. “I don’t know if it’s worth it anymore” said Justin. “We drove all the way out here. I’m at least paddling out” said Anna. “Yeah” said Justin. “She’s right” said Michael. “You guys are babies” said Anna. “So I keep thinking that Justin’s gonna ask me to the dance, and then he just doesn’t” said Christian. “You should ask him” said Kristen after thinking about it. Christian looked down at her and shook her head. Kristen turned to look at her. “Take control. You’re a strong, independent woman” she said. “I am?” asked Christian. “Yes” replied Kristen. They were still looking at each other when Anna came over. “Hey, will you do me up?” she asked, turning around. “Yeah” replied Christian and did her zip up. Just then, three sixteen year old boys with black hair, brown eyes and light brown skin came over. Kristen recognized the only with the short hair, but the other two had long hair and she didn’t know they. “Kristen!” said Taylor. “Hi, Taylor” said Kristen. She looked at the others. “Guys, this is Taylor” she said. “Hey, guys. How you doing?” asked Taylor. “Hi” said Anna. “Hi” said Christian. Taylor introduced his two friends (Krys and Solomon) and Kristen introduced Justin, Christian, Michael and Anna (she told them Gregory was already surfing). Taylor sat in the van next to Kristen. “What are you, like, stalking me?” asked Kristen. Taylor looked at her and scoffed. “You’re on my rez, remember? Are you surfing?” he asked. Kristen had been looking down and looked up at him. “Definitely not” she replied, smiling and holding up a red vine for Taylor. “Thanks” he said taking it from her. “You guys should keep Kristen company. Her date bailed” said Anna. “What date?” asked Justin. “She invited Robert” replied Anna. Kristen looked down, embarrassed. “To be polite, that’s it” she said without looking up. “I think it’s nice she invited him. Nobody ever does” said Christian. “Yeah, ‘cause Simon’s a freak” said Michael. “You got that right” said the one named Solomon. Kristen looked up quickly. “You guys know him?” she asked. “The Simons don’t come here” replied Solomon. Krys looked like him knew something. Taylor glared at them and took a bite from his red vine. Kristen looked at them stunned.
Later, Taylor took Kristen for a walk along the beach. This part of the beach was sandy, but wet. It was raining, so they had their hoods up. Krys and Solomon stayed in the parking lot. “What did your friends mean about, you know, “The Simons don’t come here” ?” asked Kristen. “You caught that, huh?” asked Taylor. Kristen looked at him. “I’m not really supposed to say anything about it?” said Taylor. “Hey, I can keep a secret” said Kristen. Taylor laughed. “Really it’s like an old scary story” he said. “Well, I want to know” said Kristen. Taylor explained that a lot of the Quileutes believe the story and a handful (including himself, Krys, Solomon and four others) didn’t. Kristen glared at him and he caved in. “Ok, did you know Quileutes are supposedly descended from wolves?” asked Taylor. “What? Like, wolves?” asked Kristen. “Yeah” replied Taylor. “Like, real wolves?” asked Kristen. “Well, that’s the legend of our tribe” said Taylor. “Ok. So what the story about the Simons?” asked Kristen. “Well, they’re supposedly descended from this, like, enemy clan. My great grandfather, the chief, found them hunting on our land. But they claimed be something different, so we made a treaty with them. If they promised to stay off Quileute lands, then we wouldn’t expose what they really were to the palefaces” replied Taylor. Kristen felt very confused. “I thought they just moved here” she said. “Or just moved back” said Taylor. “Right” said Kristen and Taylor looked away. Suddenly they heard Christian scream. They stopped and looked behind them. Christian was running and Justin was chasing her holding something long at arm’s length in his hand. “It touched my hand. A snake! Stop!” shouted Christian. Kristen and Taylor turned back to one another. “Well, what are they really?” asked Kristen. “It’s just a story, Kristen. Come on, let’s go” replied Taylor. They walked away. Christian’s screams continued. “A snake! A snake!” shouted Christian.