My pancakes were burning.
But in my defense, they would have come out great if the eggs on the next burner hadn’t exploded. It had all started out so innocently. Helena, will you watch my eggs while I conveniently leave? Why, yes Janet, I’d be happy too. What dish are you making? Oh, I just call it Egg Surprise. Ciao!
Not good surprise. Not good at all.
How one manages to make explosive eggs, I don’t know and don’t care to.
But the eggs had exploded, and now I was trying to bat down the flames with a wet washcloth while people pointed and yelled.
“Move, Helena!” A guy pushed me to the side. He had an extinguisher which he used to its full potential when he got the stove off.
My pancakes were not saved. Neither was my composure. My face felt so red that I probably looked like a cherry.
Leo stepped back to survey the damage.
“Wow, when you screw up, you don’t do it small, do you?” He said, grinning. That didn’t help, I felt even worse.
“What’s going on here?” Bellowed Mrs. Cortal. I groaned inwardly. The woman has something against me somehow, I think. She always jumps to the conclusion that the problems that occur are all of my fault, and to be fair, I do cause my fair share of trouble, being born with my mother’s vices in cooking, only in different areas. I’m sure mother doesn’t explode eggs, or doesn’t when I’m around.
Mrs. Cortal glared at the large black and foamy dirty white mess on the stove. “Helena Harrick? What happened?!”
“The eggs exploded.” I muttered, barely loud enough for her to hear. But somehow everyone in class heard and broke into titters.
“I’m not entirely sure, Ma’am. The eggs aren’t mine, they’re Janet’s.”
“Janet? Well, we’ll see about that. I certainly hope you’re not trying to shift the blame. Are you?”
Why do teacher’s ask that question? Who, honestly, will answer that question truthfully if they are? What am I going to say, ‘Yeah, teach, I’m trying to shift the blame, just wanted you to know?’
“No ma’am.” I sighed.
“Clean this mess up! I’ll talk with Janet when she comes back.” She walked off.
“Bet she gets off with a slap on the wrist.” I grumbled as I went for a spatula.
“Don’t bet on it, eggs rarely explode unless provoked.” Leo said in a tone of voice that was way too happy for a guy that was a senior. He had already put up the extinguisher in the time I was being scolded for the eggs.
“So says you.” I muttered as I attacked the mess on the stove with malice. The exploding eggs had jumped out of the pan and landed on the stove, where they were putting up little resistance to spatula and cloth.
“Were these your pancakes?” He put the frying pan under my nose, where some round circles had been covered in white foam. His voice had all the seriousness of a private investigator.
“Yes, but they seem to have met an unfortunate demise.” I said, considerably happier when I realized it would take me under ten minutes to clean the mess.
“It’s so sad when that happens to innocent bystanders.” He scraped the food off into the trash and put the pan in the sink. “Looks like you won’t be sampling chow this time.”
“I worked hard on those pancakes too.”
“You’re worrying about pancakes.” He was laughing. “Those are one of the easiest things to make!”
“You don’t know my lineage.” I shot back, almost done.
“True, I don’t.” He agreed.
Leo Falldera. Dark tanned skin, dark hair, and taller than me by almost two feet, he was considered a heartthrob. To me, well, he’s off limits, for one, having a girlfriend, but he’s also a fairly good guy to hang out with. And one of the only people I have brought myself to call friend. I’ve been here for almost a month and a half and I just can’t seem to settle enough around people to make friends.
Well, tall, dark, and fairly handsome Leo Falldera also has a great sense of humor, along with the (shocking) ability to cook. So, as he gets finished with his assignments so easily, he wanders over to my station to bug me. Not that I mind. It keeps me form taking myself too seriously.
When the stove was clean again, I started on the dishes.
“You know, some of the other cooks think you’re a jinx.”
“Surprise! Oh wait, I already had one of those.” I said a little crossly.
“Moody, aren’t you? Anyway, they’ve been saying that class hasn’t been so fun without you doing something to mess up. That whole flour incident was the first one all year, and with you there’s one a week!”
“I can’t help it if everyone decided to be stupid around me.” I protested as I put away a large dish to dry.
Leo opened his mouth to say something but the bell cut him off.
“Man. That things rings early in all my cool classes. Well, see ya, troublemaker!” He left as I finished cleaning the fourth to the last dish.
Kitchen rules say I couldn’t leave until everything was cleaned. I was going to be late for my next class.
“Put your elbows into it, girl!” Mrs. Cortal snapped as she walked past my station. I sighed and began washing harder.
“Saturday School? Helena….” Mom looked at me disapprovingly.
“Mom, I swear I didn’t do it on purpose. In fact, it wasn’t even my fault, this girl, her eggs exploded, and she never came back to class, and I had to clean the station, and I was late to class for the fifth time, and—”
“Okay, okay, fine. Don’t go through yourself, honey. I wish you would have picked some other weekend though. Your father is coming back this Saturday!”
I looked down guiltily at the floor. Mom was really into going out with the entire family, and I messed up one of her days. I make my jokes and roll my eyes, but I don’t actually mean anything by it.
“Well, Saturday School is only about four hours, maybe we can go see a movie or something. Alright, sweetie, go upstairs and get your homework done.” She shooed me in the direction of the stairs. I went up them like a shot.
I opened the attic door carefully, just in case there was a feline behind it. When I saw he was sitting on the dresser, I opened it all the way and shut it behind me, leaving my bag near the dresser.
“Hard day, sweetie?” He mimicked my mother’s voice. I shot him a look and plopped onto my bed. “Oh come now, don’t be like that, darling. You’ve been absolutely don in the dumps for the last week. You’re off grounding now, you should be happy!”
“I have Saturday School.”
“And all of the good feeling I’ve promoted goes into a nosedive and bursts into flames.” He jumped off the dresser and scampered over to where my face was about to fall off the edge of the bed. “Well, cheer up. It could be worse!”
“You could have it with Pe—mrher!” My hand clamped over his muzzle, preventing him from saying the last word or words.
“Don’t say anything. At all. You know, the worst jinx a person could have is if someone says it could be worse and follows it up with how. That ‘how’ always comes true.”
“Then why did you ask?” He asked when he pushed my hand away.
“I figured it would be something that could never happen. But that is still possible.” I said severely. “Never, ever does the ‘how’ get to be possible. Understand?”
He snorted. “You put a lot of stock in superstition for someone who likes to look at the facts.”
“Never hurt anyone, as long as you keep a level head about it.” I muttered as I rolled onto my back.
I felt Boston climb onto the bed, and a second later, two blinking green eyes hovered above mine. “Something bothering you? You seem a little more agitated than usual.”
“Dad’s coming this Saturday.”
“And you feel guilty.”
“Well, like you said, it wasn’t your fault.” He said, tilting his head. His black earring waved dangerously above my brows.
I didn’t ask him how he knew that. I had long ago accepted that his hearing was better than he let on.
“Hmm.” I said in agreement.
“Can I come?”
“Can. I. Come?” He said every word separately and carefully.
“Why would you want too?”
“I’ve never been to school before. Besides, you need someone to talk to if there is no one you know!”
“Yes, and they’ll think I’ve lost the Fruit Loops in my cereal bowl if I start having a one sided conversation with my necklace.”
“They say that the truly intelligent and always with a bit of insanity.”
“You butter me up, but I’m still leaning towards ‘nope’.” I closed my eyes.
Boston moved around the bed, and I felt his whiskers tickle my nose. I opened one eye and saw him, drooping ears and whiskers, looking pathetically back at me. I quickly closed my eye again.
“Please Helen? I won’t cause any trouble…well, I won’t lie, I’ll try not to cause trouble. And you can’t say it will be boring!”
“And I can be great company! Helen, I’m always stuck in your room. I want to see more people than the little monsters next door and your mother, and I want to see other things than the never changing scenery of the five streets you haunt on the weekend and this room. Please?”
I sighed. “Alright, okay, I’ll take you with me. But you cause trouble and I am never taking you anywhere again, got it?”