Chapter 25: Soul-Sisters
Rainie was acting weird all morning, and then after she went to see her grandma at lunch, she seemed so excited that I thought she might explode.
Did she like Kyle?! I mean her weirdness started after I told her about how I thought he liked her after the way he acted yesterday.
It would be kinda romantic - them getting to know each other because of the fight, then falling for each other after he saved her life from Salvador the Savage Seal! And to think I got them together, because he was picking on me and she stood up to him for me!
“Hhhh,” I sighed internally.
Around two o’clock Chuy took Kyle with him to load the tools we’d separated out yesterday in the van so they could haul them off to the thrift store, and Vickie had Rainie and I sweep out the penguin exhibit.
“Finally! We HAVE to talk!” Rainie exclaimed under her breath as she grabbed my arm, pulling me to the far side of the exhibit.
We were already alone, so I wasn’t sure why we were acting like there were other people around, but it just enhanced my thoughts of what Rainie must be going through in her heart and soul!
“Tell me!” I cooed, smiling like a dork.
“Okay, uh... How do you feel about your mom dating?”
Okay? That’s not what I was expecting her to say! I shook my head to reset my thoughts, trying to figure out where she was coming from.
“Yeah. You told me your dad left and all when you were little, but how would you feel if your mom started dating?”
I smiled, because I knew I teased Mom all the time about hot guys on TV and sometimes in real life. She hadn’t dated anyone since my dad left eight years ago, but I really did want her to be happy. And I wouldn’t mind a really nice guy as a dad for me, too!
“I would be totally excited if he was good-looking and was super nice!”
Rainie seemed to relax a little; obviously, my answer weighed heavily on whatever she was going to say next.
“You know how you said earlier that boys say mean things to a girl if he likes her and doesn’t want to admit it?”
I nodded, figuring we were now taking this conversation back in the direction I had planned - Kyle.
“Well, I went and asked Grandma, like you told me to, and she told me that usually boys do it, but sometimes adults do, too!”
She lost me again. “Okay?”
“Anne! Don’t you see?!”
I didn’t. “What are you talking about, Rainie?”
“My Dad!” She stressed it like I should have caught on a long time ago. “He always has something mean to say about your mom. Well, he doesn’t really say stuff around me, but I’ve heard him talking with Grandma.”
Sure, I’d caught on that Rainie’s dad had some sort of problem with my mom, mainly from how he’d acted towards her at the superintendent’s office when she offered to have Rainie come to the rehab for community service. Their tension had been pretty thick. But I’d only seen him in person that one time, and mom didn’t really talk about him to me.
Hearing Rainie bluntly say that her dad says mean things about my mom behind her back came off a bit harsh, and I blanched.
“Oh. I didn’t know... Well, maybe it’s like Kyle’s dad... He apparently said...”
Rainie cut me off.
“No! It’s NOT the same, Anne!”
I wasn’t sure where she was going with this. I didn’t even know our parents had problems with each other, so that was news! And now she was trying to explain that her dad might like my mom!? I was so lost at this point!
Rainie looked me in the eye, “Anne, Kyle’s dad had gotten fired from the aquarium when it all went under, and in his mind your mom basically stole his job. But he had never met you guys. He would have talked bad about anybody who got a job after he got fired, but not to their face. That’s why Kyle’s parents were so embarrassed. You could tell his mom was embarrassed at the meeting with Mrs. Williams.”
“Okay?” I was still confused.
“My dad doesn’t like the rehab because of what it used to be and how they treated the animals and all. And he probably thought your mom was going to be like the other people who used to work here. But even after he met your mom and he hears all the good things Grandma and I say, and knows she doesn’t hurt the animals, he gets so irritated about her for no good reason. I’m telling you, Anne, I really, really think he likes her and doesn’t want to admit it. And so, he says mean things to hide it!”
I stood there for a moment trying to process what she’d just said, thinking about when I saw them together, and then compared it to when Mom met Kyle’s father and how he acted. Then I thought about my own ideas about how boys reacted to girls they liked in my school in Cincinnati. Could that really be true?! Could Rainie’s dad really like my mom?!
I thought out load, “And maybe he’s mad at himself for liking her?”
I then seriously looked at her, and asked, “Has your dad dated anyone after your mom died?”
She shook her head, “No, never. They were soul mates, and I think he doesn’t want to think that there might be someone else out there besides my mom.”
“OMG! Rainie!” I was suddenly concerned about how Rainie felt about it, so I contained my excitement for a moment. “How do you feel about your dad dating?”
A huge smile crossed Rainie’s face, and she grabbed me by the shoulders, “Anne, if my dad dated your mom, I just know they would be soul mates!”
I knew I could release my own happiness about the idea now that I knew Rainie was just as happy as me, and I squealed, “And if they’re soul mates, what if they got married?! That would make us...”
In unison we screamed, “Soul-Sisters!” Then we hugged each other as we screamed and giggled and jumped and hugged some more!