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The Bus Ride

On the bus ride.

Rikki, Suzy, Luuk, Jaylen, Cass, Aoi, and Lotus were all in their group. They were able to sit together on the bus as the seats were aligned inside in a restaurant booth style with four seats two on each side of a small table facing each other. Ms. McCracken was walking along the bus writing down the group names and members on her phone. She also got the cell phone number from the group leader. She then came up to Rikki and them.

"Who is in the group?" she asked.

"Us seven Rikki said."

"Alright. Who have you elected group leader?" They all just remembered that they hadn't elected a group leader.

"Rikki," Suzy said quickly. "He's the leader."

"O-kay. Rikki what's your number?" Rikki gave her his cell number. "Alright, thank you." She said with a small smile and she continued on.

"Was I elected leader?" Rikki asked.

"Yeah," Aoi said.

"But we didn't discuss it."

"Yes we did," Suzy said with a laugh. "It was only half a second, but we discussed it."

"Yeah," Cass said from behind him.

"Well, I promise to be a great leader," Rikki said in a mocking king-like manner with his right hand raised. They all laughed.

"So, Rikki, are you going to buy anything?" Suzy asked him.

"I'm not sure. I've just been thinking about-"

"-paying me back," Aoi finished his sentence.

"Yeah. How much was it?"

"The dog was listed at $750 but I was able to sweet-talk the kid into selling it for $450," she said with a devious grin.

"Wow, how'd you'd you do that?" Cass asked her.

"Oh, I have my ways." She looked at Rikki who was already filing through his wallet. He stopped and sighed.

"I have $325," he said. She clicked her tongue.

"You're still $125 off," she said with a mockingly disappointed tone.

"I'll get what I can," Rikki said handing her the stack of money.

"Wow, you guys have a lot of money," Cass said seeing the cash.

"Actually it's not as much as you think," Lotus said.

"Well, that's because you're used to... pounds," Jaylen said. "right?"

"Yes. And besides," she said rubbing Cass's hair, "we are members of the working class and we have jobs that pay wages and salaries."

"And I'm only 11, so I don't have a paying job yet," Cass said.

"But I'm sure you'll get one," Luuk told her.

"Naw, if anything, it's waiting until you're old enough to drive," Rikki said.

"So which is better, getting a license or a job?" Cass asked.

"It's getting a license. There's nothing better than the feeling of freedom." He sighed contently. "God, I miss those times. The feeling of driving down the road with nothing stopping you. Pure ecstasy."

"What?" she asked almost genuinely confused.

"It means it never gets old."

"Wow, I'm almost scared now," she said with a laugh. The others laughed too, but Suzy could tell, the way the light shone in Rikki's eyes, that he really did miss those times. They then noticed that the bus took an exit off of the highway that didn't really seem to go anywhere. At first it looked like they were following an animal path carved into the hill side. The path then seemed to turn into an asphalt road. Then, off in the distance, they saw that the horizon was no longer rolling hills, but instead it sort of leveled out and they saw large towers in the distance. They had arrived in Secret City.

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