Chapter Ten

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(Eliza is short for Elizabeth.)

Unedited.

"Dad...why did Josh have to leave?" Four and a half year old Sophie asked her Dad. "Well Soybean." Dad said as he kneeled in front of Sophie. His suit pants getting grass stains at the knees.

"When you're out in a field of flowers which do you pick out first?" Mr. Foster asked, as his eyes stung with tears. "The prettiest." Sophie replied holding tight to her dad's hands. "That's right." Clearing his throat, Sophie watched her dad trying hard not to cry. "Well God picks the most beautiful people to go live with him, and Josh was and one of the most beautiful here on earth."

"So he's not coming back?" Sophie asked. Dad shook his head. "No...I'm sorry. I know he was your friend." He said as he pulled Sophie close and hugged her. Sophie's eyes burned but no tears came. The lump in her throat grew but she still managed to rasp out "Okay." Her knees shook but she still managed to stand, her hands shook but she managed to place the white rose on top of the recently turned dirt. Sophie knew black was usually bad...but everyone wore black and cried together, Sophie didn't cry, her muscles were shaky and weak abut she managed to slip away from Dad unnoticed. As he held onto Amy, who had been born a nearly nine months ago. Sophie spotted Mom and another lady clad in black clinging to each other sobbing.

Sophie walked away from all the people, she slipped through the open gates, down the gravel drive, past the resting cars. She could hear voices. Voices she recognized. They were low toned and the voices raspy, "Nick..." She called as she passed a pickup truck. "Nick..." She called again. "Hey kid." Looking up, Sophie found herself staring up at fourteen year old Nick Loskie. He was sitting on the tailgate of the truck. On either side of him were his two best friends, dressed in suits, their ties pulled loose. Nick's voice was raspy and his eyes red.

Staring up at her babysitter Sophie wondered why she had sought him out in the first place. Nick jumped off the tailgate and landed on the gravel, and reached his hands out to her. Sophie took them and he lifted her up and set her on the tailgate, so they were eye to eye. "Are you okay?" He asked. Four year old Sophie frowned. Before shaking her head, hot tears running down her face. "Don't worry Eliza. Everything will be okay." Josh's older brother assured, as one of his friends moved so Nick could sit by Sophie. Sophie wrapped her thin arms around Nick, and cried silently.

~

Sophie gasped sitting up in bed. Her heart pounding, aching and crashing against her rib cage. Sophie swallowed so hard it hurt her throat. Shoving her covers back Sophie swung her feet out of bed. The soft petals under her feet caused her little comfort. Drifting into the bathroom, Sophie turned on the shower before stumbling to her dresser where her school uniform was. Collecting her uniform, Sophie hurried into the steaming bathroom. Turning the water to cold, she let the last memories of the dream away. By the time she stepped out of the shower, the thick smell of cinnamon hung and wafted through the bathroom.

The first time Sophie had tried the shampoo she loved it and insisted on only having cinnamon cleaning products. Quickly dressing, Sophie gathered her homework and pushed it in her bag. Sophie brushed her hair out, taking in deep breaths of the sharp scent that was so easy to pick out. Leaving her hair down, Sophie opened her curtains. Iggy who had been peacefully sleeping grunted as he rolled over on his back, starting his chainsaw snoring. His belly raising and falling with each breath.

His pink tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth and his back paw twitching every so often. Drool from his mouth dripped onto Sophie's pillow case, and as she opened his cage she made a mental note to get her bedding washed. Pulling out Iggy's water bowl, Sophie washed it out in the bathroom sink before refilling it and placing it aside. Sophie went through the routine of cleaning out Iggy's cage, replacing thew dinosaur fluff at the bottom, cleaning the food dish, and filling it up. She left the cage door open for Iggy.

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