MS. Phoenix

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Chapter 5

“Girls please go get dressed, we have to get going to school.” I said as I went towards the kitchen for breakfast.

“Sofia can we go to sleep?” Summer asked with a pouty face.

“Did they not let you sleep?” I swear to god if they didn’t-

“They said we could, but you didn’t tuck us in.” June stated. I smiled, a sad smile.

“Oh girls, you can’t skip school. I got work and so does Livia. - I poked them both on the nose - but you can take a nap after school, ok?” They nodded and went to change. The toothpick stood in the corner, not sure what to do.

“Hey toothpick, you better have fed them both.” He looked at me scared.

“They should have, it’s part of their rights.” I rolled my eyes.

“Ya, ‘they should have’ is the answer I want to hear.” He looked at the ground, making himself one with the corner. Slightly chuckling at him I went to make breakfast. The healthiest, cheap, cereal money can buy at 7/11.

“Little people, food!” The girls came waltzing down the hallway, Summer in a Peppa Pig dress with polka dot sweatpants and June in a LOL doll shirt with a zebra stripped skirt. (Not that she knew such expensive dolls existed) There smiles could light-up the whole world. It just makes me want to smile as well, but cry at the same time. The clearance sections of so many stores mashed together was what they were wearing. It’s not like the other kids at school looked any better by choice, but still.

“Livia! Pick up spoon, place in mouth, chew, swallow, repeat.” Livia turned her head from the couch and bewildered, looked at me. Rolling my eyes, “Food.” She gets up and starts eating. Honestly!

I run to get ready in the bathroom. I smile at what the girls are wearing, but I am normally not much better. It’s really a random pick with a blind eye. Today it seems to be a random camp shirt I got for a dollar at a thrift store and leggings. No time for a shower I brush my teeth and grab my and the girls things to get going.

“Ready guys?”

“Yes!” They say in unison, rushing toward the door.

“Forget something?” I smugly ask them. They run back to the table, put their dishes in the sink and grab their backpacks from me. They make me chuckle everyday.

“Livia, leave. for. work.” She just looked at me blankly. Rolling my eyes I escort the girls out of the apartment, down the skinny hallways that have uneven floors. Not bothering with the ancient elevator and going straight for the stairs.

Once out of the building I reach for the pepper spray in my bag, just so I have it. Nothing has happened here, I don’t think, but there are always going to be shady people. Anytime the girls and I go anywhere I make us all hold hands. I don’t trust the city, not in the slightest.


Patrick POV

I don’t belong here. Sofia made that plainly obvious. If it wasn’t on a neon billboard, it was written in red writing on her face. They had a system, which I was just messing up.

All of them held hands, while walking through the city. That’s a point right? I am no good at this. Why would Ross put me up to this?

I found it funny they were all family. Could they be adopted? Their mother had dark tan skin, straight dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. Sofia looked African American with dark skin, curly brown hair and dark brown eyes. The little girls looked Asian with their straight jet black hair, slanted dark brown eyes and light skin, much unlike their mother and sister. Some would find it funny, to me it was just confusing.

Walking toward the school it didn’t look like the public school near the police station.

“This isn’t the public school.” Sofia scoffed.

“You think I am going to let them go to the beep show called the public school’s here?”

“Beep show?”

“She is pretending to be a car!” Summer chimed in. Sofia smiled,

“Yes, definitely not a TV after a certain hour.” She winked at me and I got the message. She was cursing, but kid friendly.

“Ok, bye guys!” The little girls ran off toward the front door and Sofia smiled the whole time. She had a nice smile. I guess I was staring at her because as soon as she turned around she said,

“What the heck you think your looking at?” My head returned toward the ground. She didn’t smile for the rest of our trip.

After awhile I gained the courage to ask a question that had been bothering me.

“Why not public school?” Sofia raised an eyebrow.

“You aren’t from the city.” Was that a question?

“Yes?” Did I answer it correctly? She scoffed again. Guess not.

“Suburb guy right? Middle class. Mom, Dad and a sibling or two. Always had As and Bs and went on vacation in the summer. - she gave me a look. - Am I wrong?”

“N no.” She let out a huff.

“Let’s just say that there are more than 20 desks in a classroom and a teacher feels accomplished if they can convince more than 1/4 to stay in the room.”

“I i” Stammering to find a response not only because it was shocking, but just, you have met me. Trying to regain my confidence, I asked another question.

“Don’t you need that money?”

“Yes, but, well... To keep the story short, I love my sisters. I want them to live a good life that many people don’t get to live.” Her pace had quickened and I was jogging to keep up, which was difficult with all the people. I waited for more, but nothing came. Which made me want to ask more questions, but I knew better than to do that.

We arrived at a large warehouse that seemed to be bustling with people. I am a little nervous and Sofia is expressionless.

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