34 - Where They Meet Someone

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         Leaving the youth hostel was an awkward situation. Mrs. Lynn was a little too teary and dramatic for Jacoby’s liking, and mine, for that matter, and she wouldn’t let us walk away in peace.

         “Come visit again!” she called, her shoes clickety- clacketying down concrete steps as she rushed towards us with her extended farewell.

         “Er, yeah, of course, Mrs. Lynn,” I said uncomfortably. Jacoby merely stared at her like she was deranged. “But we’ve got to get going. It’s already…nine in the morning, and we’ve got a full day of sight-seeing ahead of us.” I linked my arm with Jacoby’s. “Right?”

         He forced a smile, physically exerting himself from the effort. “Yup,” he called. “Thank you.” I could see his mouth experiencing spastic attacks as he tried to smile.

         “Oh, that’s no problem, Jacoby. Aloha!” She flapped her hand in a wave.

         Zzzt. I risked a glance down at Jacoby’s feet and found his purple plug flowers.

         “Uh, aloha.”

         “Enjoy the rest of your trip, dearies!”

         “Yup, thanks Mrs. Lynn!” I said, and turned swiftly before she could run after us and do something ridiculous, like scoop Jacoby and I into a bear hug.

         We both chose not to comment on the unnecessarily flamboyant good-byes.

         I wasn’t sure about Jacoby, but my mind had already meandered its way over to the apartments. I felt the same burst of disappointment; for a second there, yesterday, I really thought we could find Sandra.

         Our route to the bus was halfway to the apartments. As we waited at the stop, I couldn’t help but glance at the towering buildings.

         “Maybe,” said Jacoby, his mouth curved into a sheepish smile, “we could circle around to um, see if Sandra’s taking a morning stroll?” He pushed back his hair and squinted at the buildings, then back at me.

         I nodded. I knew what he was implying, and there certainly wasn’t any harm in checking again.

         Third time’s the charm? I thought, the warm honey-yellow rays of hope (also known as the sun) dripping onto the sidewalk and houses.

         Neither of us spoke a word as we walked. Today would be our last chance. Really our last chance. We couldn’t afford to wait around anymore. Yesterday, when we walked away, we’d still had the option of coming back today, which, surprise, surprise, we were really doing.

         Jacoby threw out an arm and caught me in the midsection when we were about ten metres from the area. “Careful. I think we can just stand further back a bit,” he said. Despite his self-assured manner yesterday while he was dealing with the security guard, he looked at the apartment entrance with worried eyes.

         I could relate. I didn’t want to get thrown out, even if we were leaving Caston today. I wondered whether word had gotten out yet that two kids had gone missing from Portsdale.

         I decided to bring the topic up with Jacoby. “Think we should wear disguises from now on?” I asked.

         He thought for a moment, though his eyes never left the apartment entrance. “We should. But there’s not much we can do if our faces appear in the newspaper, or on television.”

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