“Jessica is hosting a perfectly calm birthday sleepover at her house until her mother hears ‘Ahhhh!’ She gets nervous, so she quickly runs upstairs to us.”
Jessica is hosting a perfectly calm birthday sleepover at her house until her mother hears “Ahhhh!” She gets nervous, so she quickly runs upstairs to us.
“What happened?” Jessica’s mom questions us.
“Nothing,” Jessica and I say at the same time.
“Okay, but where is Bella?” Jessica’s mother, Ms. Jada, asks.
“In the bathroom,” Jessica quickly answers.
Then her mother stares at us suspiciously as she walks out of the door. We think that she leaves, but she is actually still standing by the door eavesdropping.
“Do you think we should tell someone?” I say.
“Someone like who?” Jessica replies.
“What are you two hiding?” Jessica’s mother says in a really serious voice as she sticks her head in the door.
“Nothing,” we say at the same time again.
“Tell me now, or I will send Olivia and Bella home and never ever let you have a sleepover or a playdate again,” Jada says as she crosses her arms.
Jessica and I stare at each other and don’t talk. But after a while, we stare at each other again and nod.
“The news we are going to share to you is good and bad,” Jessica says in a serious voice. But finally after a silent moment, Jessica blurts out really fast, “The bad news is that we dared Bella to do Bloody Mary in the bathroom, and when we went back in there to check on her, she was not there.”
“What?” Jessica’s mom yells.
“But the good news is that we found on the mirror a note written with lipstick that said Kiss Your Friend Goodbye.”
“That is not good news!” Ms. Jada shouts at me.
After Olivia finishes sharing her “Good News” to my mom, she rushes quickly into the bathroom and sees the red letters and starts to panic. Bella is a really good friend of mine, but she is not as close to me as Olivia. Olivia and I have been friends since we were three years old, eight years ago, and I met Bella when I was 10, last year. The only reason that I dared Bella to do Bloody Mary is because before she went missing we were playing truth or dare, and I dared Bella to do Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary basically is a folklore legend consisting of a ghost, phantom, or spirit conjured to reveal the future. She is said to appear in a mirror when her name is chanted repeatedly. At first I am a little mad at myself for daring Bella to do Bloody Mary. But at the same time, I am dying on the inside. I am dying because my mother is having a dramatic seizure panic attack thing. For the past like 10 minutes, Olivia and I have been exchanging weirdly confused looks.
After a while of no one talking, Olivia speaks up and says, “Should I go home?”
And before I even get to answer, my mom comes out of her panic attack, grabs Olivia’s arm, and yells no.
After another ten minutes of not talking, my mom says, “We have to write a note back to whoever took Bella.”
“What?” Olivia and I shout.
“What do you mean by ‘what’? You got yourself into this mess, and you’re lucky I am trying to get you out of it,” my mom yells.
“But this is not our fault,” I say to my mom.
“Oh, yes it is,” my mom snaps.
Then I look over at Olivia and ask, “This isn’t our fault, right?”
But all Olivia does is look down on the ground and doesn’t say anything.
But after one minute of silence, Olivia speaks up and says, “It is our fault.”
Then I yell out, “What?!”
And from out of nowhere, my mom says, “What did I tell you?”
“Cut it out. Right now all we need to do is find Bella. Am I right?” Olivia says.
Then my mom and I look at each other, nod, and say, “Yes” at the same time.
Jessica, Ms. Jada, and I sit in a circle on the carpet in the living room and brainstorm what could have happened to Bella.
Before anyone can speak, I say, “Maybe she is just pranking us.”
“No she isn’t,” Jessica replies.
“How do you know that she isn’t pranking us?” I respond.
“How do you know that she is?” Jessica questions back to me.
“Girls, I think that is enough. We should go back to brainstorming,” Ms. Jada says.
Then Jessica walks over to the sofa and turns the news on, and on the news is a big muscly man on TV, and the headline is Criminal Released out of Wisconsin Jail after several months of incarceration.
“O-M-G, I think I know what happened to Bella!” Jessica yells.
“What?” Ms. Jada and I say at the same time.
“Olivia, do you remember when Bella told us about her father and how he is a criminal,” Jessica says to me.
“Yeah,” I say.
“Well, maybe he was the one who took Bella!” Jessica yells.
So Bella told Olivia and I that her dad got arrested a few months back for robbing people, and he would be released some time late October, and it is late October! She says that she and her mom moved from Wisconsin to California so they could hide from Bella’s dad. Bella loves her dad even though he is a criminal. She says that she misses him so much sometimes. And they have been getting lots of voicemails saying, “I know where you live,” and stuff like that.
O-M-G! I am so freaked out. A big muscly man with a mask on grabs me by the neck and jumps out of the window with his hand over my mouth. I do not get hurt because there is a mattress that these other men with masks are holding. But right now I am in the back on a black van yelling and screaming for help with my hands and feet tied together, and one of the men hops in the back. He puts tape on my mouth and puts a blindfold on my eyes. After a while the van stops, and all I hear is the backdoor of the van opening and someone hopping into the back, which makes the van rumble and shake a bit. Then this person takes the blindfold off of me, and all I see is a man with a black mask and cut out patches where his eyes are. But then he takes off his mask, and I recognize this face. While I am staring deeply at this person, he is untying my hands and arms.
After five minutes, I shout out, “Dad, is that you?”
And my dad nods. I am just so shocked and filled with questions, but all I do is hug him.
Jada (Jessica’s Mom)
To be honest, I am not worried about Bella being missing because anyone who would take that girl will return her the next minute. She is cute and all, but her attitude isn’t. Her mother is a pretty nice person, but she gets on my nerves when she gives me that fake smile of hers. When Jessica showed me that guy on TV who was Bella’s dad, what I said in my head was, No surprise that Bella’s mom would marry a criminal.
“Hey, Jessica, can you pass me the phone?” I ask Jessica.
“Sure,” Jessica replies and hands me the phone.
Then I hold the phone in my hand and ask Jessica, “What is the number of Bella’s not so good, fake smiling, no good taste in men mother?”
“Well, Mom, stop being rude, and by the way, here’s her number.”
Then I enter the number and press call. Then Bella’s mom answers the phone.
“Hey, Jada, how are you and the girls doing?”
“I am doing good.”
“And the girls?”
“Olivia and Jessica are good.”
“What about Bella?”
“Sooo… Bella technically went missing, and the girls think her father took her, and by the way, you have no good taste in men. Bye,” I say, then hang up the phone.
Caroline (Bella’s Mom)
Right now I am literally freaking out! I am taking a cab over to Jada’s house. Oh that… rat is going to get what she deserves. She will never ever be able to watch Bella, and Bella will never be able to be friends with Jessica. The kid is a nice girl, it’s just her mother. I never really liked Jada, but I let Bella go because I do want her to make some new friends, and I do not want to get in her way. I know that Bella’s only friend is Jessica, and I really don’t want to break their friendship. Then, there’s this other girl named Olivia who’s always trying to take Jessica away from Bella. Bella tries to tell me that they’ve been friends for a while and they can talk, but that’s not what I think. When Jada first told me Bella went missing, my heart jumped. Bella is my only child, and I really do not want to lose her. And if her father took her, and I catch him, I’m going to give him a piece of my mind. When I first found out that Bella’s father was a criminal, I was shocked, because at home he was the most caring husband. I would not have thought that he would ever do that. But ever since we moved away from Bella’s dad, Bella has felt like not having two parents in her life is the worst thing in the world. I always tell her that it isn’t, but I know that Bella and her father have always had a strong relationship that I never wanted to end, but I could never trust someone who was a thief around my child. That is just a bad influence.
Alex (Bella’s Father)
Bella, Caroline, and I have always had a strong relationship. But ever since they found out that I was stealing, they started feeling uncomfortable around me, I guess. I get why they would feel uncomfortable, but it broke my heart. The only reason why I was stealing is because there’s an agency, and I used to work for this guy named Jeffrey Siegel, and basically he paid people $100 a week for every five items we stole. I stole many things, but I never told Caroline or Bella the reason why. Bella and I have always had a really close relationship. Even Caroline and I had one too, but Bella is a forgiving person. But on the other hand, Bella’s mother, Caroline, is not. Once, I accidentally broke one of her favorite hair accessories, and she wouldn’t talk to me the whole day. I even offered to buy her a new one, but she refused. And once, I broke one of Bella’s squishy foam balls, and she forgave me and said I didn’t have to buy her a new one. There’s a big difference between Bella and her mother, but I still love them both equally. I’m not sure if I already mentioned this, but Bella’s mother is a drama queen. She just wants to make everything she says a big deal, around me at least. I regret taking Bella, but if I had told Bella to come with me, I just know she would have refused. After all the stealing I’ve done, I probably lost her trust. All the people who helped me “kidnap” Bella had told me that if I do this, I will lose her trust even more, but I told them I desperately wanted to see my daughter.
I just remember that I had my phone in my back pocket, so I ask my dad if I can call my mom.
“No! Please, no! She is going to get really pissed off, like really really pissed off!”
“But what if she’s worried about where I am?”
Then I quickly pull my phone out of my pocket and call my mom. Before I dial my mom’s number, I see that there are 27 missed calls from her. I know that she is definitely worried about me. Then she picks up.
“Bella, is that you?”
“Yeah, Mom. Were you worried about me?”
“Yes, absolutely. Where are you?”
“I… actually don’t know.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“What I mean by that is, long story short, Dad kidnapped me when I was in the bathroom at Jessica’s house, and he put me in the back of a van, put a blindfold on me, and now he’s here with me in the middle of nowhere with his crew.”
“What?!” Mom shouts. “Pass the phone to your dad right now!”
Then I take the phone off of my ear, cover the microphone, and I mouth to my dad, “She wants to talk to you.”
My dad takes a deep breath and grabs the phone out of my hands. “Hi, sweetie,” my dad says over the phone in a scared voice.
“Who you calling sweetie, ‘cause I know you’re not talking to me!”
“I’m so sorry for what I did to Bella.”
“One, you should not be apologizing to me, and two, why would you do it?”
“I only did it because I knew that if I asked your permission to spend time with Bella, you would say no, so the only way I could get Bella is to kidnap her.”
“Seriously? You had to kidnap her? I would’ve let you spend time with Bella if you just asked, because I know that Bella has missed you over the years.”
“I am very, very, very sorry, and I hope you and Bella forgive me.”
“I do forgive you. I just have one question. How did you find out that Bella was having a sleepover with Jessica?”
Right now I just love this moment but hate this moment. I love how my dad is apologizing and being all nice, but I hate how my mom is just asking so many questions, and she seems very annoyed. I really hope that will change later on in the conversation.
“Well, there’s a guy who lives around there, and I asked him if he saw a girl around there with long brown hair and hazel eyes, and he said yes.”
“Are you serious? You did all of this just to find out where Bella is?”
“Yes, I’ll do anything to see my daughter again.”
“Well you did not have to kidnap her.
“Well I kind — ”
Then my mom interrupts before my dad could finish and says, “Well you kind of what?”
“Well I kind of think your face is… pretty?”
“My face being pretty should not be something you kind of think. It should be a true fact for you. Bye.”
Then my dad hands over the phone to me and mouths the word “crazy” to me.
Jada’s Chapter (Jessica’s Mom)
I suddenly hear a ring coming from my door.
“Who is it?” I shout.
“It’s Bella’s mom, Caroline,” she says in an angry voice.
Then I yell back, “Before you come in my house, you have to lose that tone!”
“Fine,” Caroline says, sounding annoyed.
“I still need you to fix that tone.”
“Okay,” Caroline says in a sweet voice.
The first thing Caroline does when she walks in is roll her eyes.
I hate it when people roll their eyes at me, so I say, “Keep rolling your eyes, and maybe you’ll find a brain.”
Then she fires back and says, “Excuse me? I don’t even want to be here. I’m just here because you lost my daughter,” she says while pointing her finger directly at my face.
I slap her finger out of my face and say, “I didn’t even want your daughter to be here. Jessica did.”
Then she moves one step closer to me, and this time her face is two inches away from mine. She starts screaming stuff at me like, “I trusted you with my daughter!” Blah blah blah. And all I do is cover my nose because her breath really stinks.
“It’s not my fault your daughter got kidnapped. You think I’m going to expect her to get kidnapped while she’s in the bathroom? No. Not my problem.”
We suddenly hear a knock on the door, and I yell, “Who is it?
The answer is, “Bella and my dad, Alex.”
Caroline runs to the door, opens the door, and picks Bella up and kisses her all around. For Alex, she just gives him a glare.
He goes in for a hug, and she responds. “I never thought I’d see you again, Caroline.”
Then they reach in for another hug, but I push them out the door and yell, “Go home!”
Then she says, “Bella, come on, let’s go!”
Bella gives Jessica and Olivia a hug and runs out the door. On her way out, she yells, “Thank you, Ms. Jada, for letting me come over!”
“You’re welcome, Bella.”
Part of Book Two
One year later…
Jessica, Olivia, and I are at school. My mom has been dead for a few months now. She died from breast cancer, and the doctors said she was going to make it but… she didn’t. This is our first day back. I really hate school. We are sitting at a smallish rectangle table in science class. James, an annoying boy in our class, keeps on throwing wet paper balls of paper at our heads. Right now we are doing an experiment to see what is more dense between cold and hot water. Jessica and Olivia tell me that they hate science (like me), so Olivia is slouching down on the table with her long light brown hair over her face. One of her eyes is closed, and the other one of her hazel eyes is open. And Jessica is lying her head down on the table with her black hair beside her shoulder, and there are bags under her blue eyes. Sometimes I wish I could just be homeschooled because there is no getting in trouble by your principal, no learning with annoying kids, and no getting snitched on, but unfortunately my dad can’t afford it. Suddenly, my very old science teacher falls to the ground.
Ten minutes later…
Right now all I see are doctors, and all I hear are sirens.
I also see Principal Lee on her knees by the door wailing and crying, “No, not you too Uncle Stanley.”
I am just so confused right now, and I bet Olivia and Jessica are too. The expression on theirs face are saying that they are very confused.
One hour later…
Right now this lady with tall heels and a blood red dress walks in, and a man with a suit walk in too.
“Mom!” Jessica yells.
“Yes,” Ms. Jada says.
“Dad!” I yell.
“Hi, Bella. Jada and I will be your new science teachers,” my dad says as he holds Jada by the waist.
“What?!” Jessica and I yell simultaneously.
“Dad, can we talk outside privately?” I say to my dad.
“Can no be the answer?” he responds.
“No, oh my god you are so annoying!” I yell on my way to the door.
“That is no way to talk to your dad. You are very disrespectful just like your mother was,” Jada says to me right before I open the door.
Then I turn around and say, “Excuse me.”
Then Jada says, “Yes, you heard me.”
“First of all, you can’t tell me what to do, and second of all, you are not my mom, and you never will be, and third of all, never put words in your mouth about my mother again.”
My dad says, “About that… I have something important to tell you outside real quick, Bella and Jessica. Jada, come on.”
Then we all step out of the room, and my dad is the first one to speak. “Jada and I have been thinking about it, and we want to get married.”