Chapter two part two – Bonding, part two
It felt awkward letting Wyatt into my room. I took a good look around and was suddenly a bit ashamed of all the plush animals and toys lined up everywhere. But at least it wasn’t a mess, like Thomas’ room.
‘You have a nice room,’ Wyatt said, trying to break the awkward silence.
‘Umm… thanks. So… what was it you wanted to talk about…?’ I muttered.
‘Ah, well, yes. Could I sleep with you here tonight?’
‘What?!’ I said, shocked.
‘I don’t mean anything weird!’ Wyatt quickly said, waving his arms around. ‘I just need a place to sleep! Don’t think anything weird of it!’
‘What do you mean… something weird?’ I asked, curiously.
‘Never mind,’ Wyatt said quickly. ‘But really. I know it’s much to ask, and we don’t really know each other that well yet, but could I sleep here? Just for tonight?’
‘You can’t go home?’ I muttered. Wyatt’s eyes darkened for a bit.
‘No, I can’t.’
I hesitated for a bit. Mum and dad wouldn’t allow it for sure. Not unless an appointment to stay over had been made. They’d call up his home and ask why Wyatt wanted to stay here… and that probably was why he didn’t want me to tell them.
‘Okay,’ I finally said. ‘You can stay. But there’s no other bed, so you’ll have to lie on the floor.’
‘That’s all right,’ Wyatt smiled. ‘Thank you for letting me stay.’
‘Are you sure you’re okay with just a sleeping bag?’
Wyatt was sitting on the floor next to my bed. I took a sleeping bag for him out of the attic, but it couldn’t be comfortable lying on the ground like that.
‘I’ll be fine,’ Wyatt said again. ‘I’m the one staying over all of a sudden, I’m not going to complain because of a sleeping bag.’
I guess he was right.
I climbed into bed and pulled the blanket over my legs. I was really curious… why didn’t he want to go home? Did something happen? Where did Wyatt live, anyway? And… why did he come to me?
‘Well, umm… good night,’ I muttered instead.
‘Good night,’ Wyatt responded, wiggling himself in the sleeping bag. ‘Sleep tight.’
‘Hey… Natalia? Are you still awake?’
‘Yeah,’ I whispered. ‘What is it?’
‘I’m sorry I didn’t want to tell you what happened.’
‘That’s all right.’
When Wyatt stayed silent, I began to talk instead. Softly, so that mum, dad and Thomas wouldn’t wake up from the noise.
‘We got Robin a big tree branch to sit on, you know.’
‘He already flew to every room in the house. I think we shouldn’t open the windows all the way anymore, or he’ll fly out.’
‘Yeah… I’m sure we’ll be good owners,’ Wyatt whispered.
Another silence fell.
‘I would like to tell you what happened now.’
I opened my eyes a little and looked out of the window. My guardian dragon was watching over the street, as he always did. There was not a single car in sight.
When you and Robin went inside, I headed back home, too. The sun was already setting by the time I got there. It’s always a long walk from your house, you see. Ah, not that I’m at your house often, but I play by the beach a lot and, one day, I saw you getting home. That’s how I know where you lived, Natalia.
When I arrived at the orphanage, our caretaker was already waiting. She looked really pleased with herself, as if she’d just made a great deal with someone.
‘There you are! I’ve been looking all over for you. Don’t you know you need to come straight home after school and tell me where you’re going?’
‘I was just playing,’ I said grumpily.
‘Oh, well. No matter. Listen, Wyatt, I’ve got some great news for you. You’ve been selected for adoption!’
‘The family will be here right after dinner,’ she continued. ‘Now, you need to be at your best, because this is a big chance for you. If they like you, you’ll have a new mummy and daddy by the end of the week. I want you to go straight inside and take a shower, after which we’ll-‘
‘I’m not going.’
‘Excuse me? May I remind you, Wyatt, of the fact that this might be your only chance at a new family-‘
‘I DON’T WANT A NEW FAMILY!’
The caretaker jumped back out of fright at my sudden outburst. ‘Woah! Now now, let’s just calm down, and-‘
‘A new family!’ I spat. ‘As if you could just replace the old one! They’re just going to reject me anyway, like every couple you’ve sent to adopt me! I don’t want a new family! And they don’t really want me!’
‘Wyatt, calm down and listen to me-‘
‘NO! My old family didn’t care to raise me, SO I DON’T NEED A NEW ONE EITHER!’
I turned around and ran.
‘WYATT! YOUNG MAN, YOU GET BACK HERE THIS INSTANT!’
I never once slowed down.
‘And, well… that’s what happened,’ Wyatt concluded. ‘I didn’t know where to go… so I ran straight back here.’
During his story, I’d gotten up and now I was looking down on him. He looked sad, even with his eyes closed.
‘I see…’ I whispered.
‘Did the other kids at school tell you about me?’ Wyatt asked, after another short silence.
‘No,’ I responded. ‘I don’t really talk to them…’
‘Apparently I got abandoned when I was still a baby. I was dumped in a bag next to the highway. People found me after a whole day and I’ve been an orphan ever since.’
‘You never knew your parents?’
‘No,’ Wyatt whispered. ‘And I don’t want to. If they left me all by myself, they’re no parents of mine.’
I wiggled my toes around and kept looking at him in silence. The way he spoke sounded so sad… I didn’t know what it was like, growing up without family. I’d always been spoiled by mum, and Thomas and dad protected me wherever I went. How hard had it been for him, all on his own?
‘You’re a good listener, Natalia,’ Wyatt whispered.
‘I’m happy you told me,’ I muttered in response.
‘No problem. You’re a friend, after all.’
Friend… the word made me feel very strange in my chest. It was a nice feeling. Wyatt… he was my very first friend.
‘I know one thing. I’m never going to let myself get adopted,’ Wyatt said fiercely. ‘I’m not going to get new parents, and I’m not going to let anyone tell me what to do.’
‘You’re strong. So much more than me,’ I muttered, hoping he didn’t hear me. But he did.
‘That’s because you hide. You’re too shy, you know?’ Wyatt said suddenly. ‘You know me for only a few weeks now, but I’ve never seen you play with anyone else.’
‘I don’t like strangers very much…’ I muttered shyly.
‘I know. You’re like a little caterpillar. You just hide behind your hair and hope people don’t notice you. Sims walk right past you on the street without even seeing you’re there when you’re like that. But, you know…’
‘If you look closely … you have some really beautiful eyes.’
I felt something wet drip down my cheek and quickly wiped it off with my sleeve.
‘Natalia? Are you all right?’
I was crying.
His words made me cry.
Eventually I lowered myself onto the pillow again. My heart felt like it was glowing. I’d never felt like this before.
‘Natalia? Let’s stay friends forever, okay?’