“Um, Dizelde?” A small girl with pastel pink pigtails looked up at me shyly. “Are you going to do something? I thought you were supposed to be doing something.”
The dirty-faced boy beside her nodded. “And we’re bored,” he drew the words out, rolling his eyes.
There were five others, two girls and three boys, and they were watching me expectantly. Well, all of them except for the boy with strawberry-blonde hair and freckles. He was watching the deck of Luke’s house where Garth, Larkin and a group of young adults I didn’t know were standing around chatting and drinking beer, and the boy had this look on his face which told me that if I didn’t entertain him soon, he would entertain himself. His mischievous expression was cute but worrying.
I looked back to the eager faces. What the hell was I supposed to do? They were looking at me shrewdly and I was scared that whatever I did, I would be laughed at. I had no idea why I so badly wanted to impress the kids I’d been forced to ‘babysit’ but I didn’t want to look like an idiot in their eyes. I thought back to Larkin’s advice. Did he really want me to teach them the types of things I’d learnt at the complex?
“Ah, well, what are your names?” I asked, stalling while I thought of something.
The boy with the dirt smudged on his cheek grinned widely at me, revealing a gap where he’d lost a tooth. “I’m Marcus! I’m learning to become a cheetah so that I can-”
A dark haired boy stepped forward and nudged Marcus in the ribs. “Don’t tell her, she’ll tell the adults.” He looked up at me with solemn brown eyes. “I’m Harue, a cheetah also.”
I nodded. Didn’t they find it strange? Normal people didn’t learn to become another animal as they grew up.
“I’m Anka,” said the pink-haired girl with a small smile. She had an accent different to the others, it wasn’t very strong but it sounded like Polish. “And that is my twin brother, Andros.” She pointed to the quiet boy with pale skin who was staring up at me from his seated position, his pale blue eyes curious.
“My name is Shelley,” said the girl wearing the blue overalls, lying on the grass. “This is seriously boring. I hate coming here!”
“Yeah, but what did you expect? It’s not like the Lion’s gonna hire us an acrobat or nothing.” The hazel-eyed girl sitting next to Shelley sneered up at me. “I’m Casey, anyway,” she added with a snort.
“I bet she could do flips.”
All the kids turned to look at the boy sitting a little away from the rest of the group, the boy with the freckles and worrying expression. He was looking at me now, grinning openly as if he knew he was helping me out with the restless group.
“She’s a girl though…” Marcus glanced at me, wrinkling his nose.
“I think Dexter’s right,” Andros finally spoke, his voice soft. “She walks kind of springily.”
Casey huffed. “I bet you she can’t.” She directed it at Andros but her attention was on the freckled boy, Dexter, like she wanted to impress him.
“I bet you I can,” I said lowly. I took a few steps forward and inhaled deeply. The technique of somersaulting and cartwheeling had been drilled into me, I just hoped that my muscle mass hadn’t depleted.
I let the breath out and bent my knees before using my arms and legs to give me momentum. I started with a back handspring, repeated it to gain speed and then finished with a piked backflip. I landed in a position that looked like I was bowing. Perfect. At least, it had felt perfect. Morse probably would’ve picked out something to improve.