A couple of days after the conference fiasco, Carter had settled back into her routine at her new foster home and at school.
"Okay, guys, no homework this weekend from me." Mr. Newell smiled and said after the bell had rung, "Have a good weekend. I'll see you all Monday."
Carter gathered up her things and started for the door. "I hope you have a good weekend, Mr. Newell." Carter told her teacher.
Mr. Newell nodded, "You too, Carter."
Carter quickly left and walked to her locker. She found James waiting for her nearby.
He smiled and waved her over. "Hey, how was your day?"
"It was fine." She answered, opening her locker, "And yours?"
"It was good." He pulled his phone out of his back pocket and checked the time, "I just wanted to tell you that I'm going to have to stay awhile after school today, so I won't be able to walk home with you. I have basketball practice this afternoon."
"Okay, that's fine." Carter shoved a few books into her backpack and heaved it over her shoulder. "I'll see you when you get home later."
James grinned, "Yeah! See you later!" He ran off in the direction of the gym.
Carter laughed and shook her head.
Taking her sweet time as she walked home, she thought about calling Laynie. No, I'm sure she's busy. She'll call me when she gets the chance.
A few minutes later, she walked through the door of the King's house. As she was about to walk upstairs, she heard talking in the kitchen.
"When is she going to be leaving us?" She heard Paul asked.
Are they talking about me? Carter thought nervously.
"If all proceeds correctly, by this time next week. Friday afternoon." Another familiar voice answered.
That's Ms. Wright...
"That's wonderful." Tanya said happily.
They're sending me away... aren't they? Before she could hear anymore, she ran up to her room. Dropping her bag to the floor, she fell face first into her bed, burying her face into her pillow. Should've known it wouldn't last.
She thought they would've heard her come in, but after ten minutes of waiting anxiously she figured they were too engrossed in their conversation with Ms. Wright.
So, to pass the time, she took out her weekend homework and went to work.
Half an hour later, she heard the now familiar shout of, "Mom! I'm home!" It was James' signature greeting when he came home.
Carter was surprised when her door slammed open a few minutes later.
James stood on the other side with a goofy smile. He hopped on the bed beside her. He scrunched up his face up in disgust when he saw her homework. "Homework, already?"
"I had nothing better to do." She shrugged despondently.
James cocked his head in concern, "What's wrong with you?" He then got a wide eyed look, "Is this about your social worker downstairs, are they sending you somewhere else?"
Carter shrugged, "I think so, but I didn't hear the whole conversation, only a little bit when I first came in."
"Well, why don't we go ask?" He asked, already standing up.
"No!" She latched onto his arm, "Please, can we just... not talk about it right now."
James frowned, but nodded, "Yeah, of course." He hesitantly walked out and went to his own room.
After a few seconds of sitting in silence, Carter's door slammed open once more and James stomped in, grabbed her arm and started dragging her to the basement. "I'm not going to let you sit here alone and pout. You can do that downstairs while we play Call of Duty."
Carter huffed, but allowed herself to be pulled downstairs.
Both teens plopped down on the floral couch, controllers in hand.
Carter played with a new found ferocity, throwing grenades here and there, killing with headshots every time she got the chance, James never stood a chance.
James stared blankly at her after losing to her for the sixth round in row. "You're merciless."
"Sorry, I think I went a little overboard."
"You think?" He asked with a scoff.
She set down the controller on the floor and pulled her legs up to her chest.
"Carter, what's wrong?" He looked at her with concern.
"... I'm scared."
"About why Ms. Wright was here, right?" He asked with a gentle smile.
Carter hugged her legs tighter. "What if I get sent somewhere farther away from here? Away from my school, and everything I know."
James wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "It's gonna be okay."
"How do you know that though?!" She asked angrily.
He sighed, "I guess I don't."
She bit her lip and resting her head on her knees. Suddenly, she leant into his one-armed hug.
He looked down surprised, but soon relaxed, wrapping his arm tighter around her.
"For what?" He chuckled.
"For being here. You don't have to be, and I'm thankful for that." Carter sighed, "I appreciate you being so kind to me while I've been here."
James smiled, "It's no problem. We're friends now."
Before anymore could be said between the two, they heard someone say, "James, Carter, are you two down here?"
Tanya and Paul appeared coming down into the basement.
Tanya stopped mid-stride when she saw that Carter was upset. "Carter, what's wrong? Did something happen at school? Was that girl bullying you again?" Tanya spit out the questions rapidly.
"No, no, I'm fine." Carter lied and put on a false smile.
James gave her a disapproving look before turning and explaining to his parents what was wrong, "She was worried when she saw that Ms. Wright was here when she got home."
"Why would you be worried about that?" Paul asked, sitting down in a chair across from them.
"... I heard you three talking about me leaving." She admitted, "Did I do something wrong?" Carter asked nervously.
"Oh no, of course not, sweetie." Tanya reassured her quickly, taking a seat on the other side of her.
"Then why is she leaving?" James asked.
Tanya smiled gently, "It would seem that someone wishes to adopt you, Carter."
"What, me?" Carter furrowed her eyebrows, "But who- wait! It's the Avengers, isn't it?" She asked.
With a laugh, Tanya nodded, "Yes, they spoke with Ms. Wright yesterday afternoon. And then she called us last night, asking if we could meet today to speak about it."
"I told them I didn't want them to.." Carter huffed.
"It's obvious that all of them love you a lot, Carter. I think they'd regret it if they never tried, and something tells me, you would too." Paul said gently.
After a moment's silence, Carter spoke, "You're right. I probably would."
Tanya hugged her gently. "Everything will work out fine. Don't worry, okay?"
"Now, have you two done your homework yet? Or have you been playing video games since you got home?" Tanya asked suspiciously.
"He made me do it!" Carter shouted, pointing accusingly at James and running upstairs to her bedroom.
"How could you betray me like that?" He ran up after her, "I thought we were friends!"