This could possible be the worst thing she had ever done. On the same day that she had told him...o, she dared not even think about it. And even if she could, Colleen knew that there was nothing that could shop her from leaving. Sammy was so very smart in some things, but with other matters he was incredibly naive. And in spite of all that had happened to him, he still loved his parents--how could he ever understand what had been done to her? Above all, Colleen loved and treasured his innocence. That at least had to be protected. She could never tell him--he must never know.
"Hey, girl! Where do you think you're going?" It was Sue and...and... Colleen looked up, right into Sammy's brown eyes. She sensed that he wasn't mad, but what was he exactly? Normally he was uncommonly easy to read; if ever anyone lacked a poker face, it was him. But this expression--this vibe--was new. He was looking at her in the same way that he looked at the wooden owl.
Neither one of them would speak. It was one of those times when their heart's feelings were so strong that any word would just fall flat. Sue looked at Sammy, then at Colleen. What was up with these two? She slapped her thigh and broke the empasse.
"Ok, you two. Here's what's going to happen. Right now we're going up to my room. You can hide in my cubby. I will find out what's going on."
Colleen dropped the heavy green duffel bag, ready to object. but the scrapy rasp of wings against the window screen in the stairwell cut her off. Sammy picked up her burden as Sue guided the girl gently but firmly up to the third floor.
In her room, Sue shoved aside the standard issue dresser to reveal a small door in the wall. "Ok then, Sammy," said the older girl, "You get some pillows and a blanket--not the blue one--and take them in here. Oh--I don't know--make a little nest. Yes! A little love-nest. Ha ha! Yes! And while you are doing that, my girl here and I will have a little chat. Well! What are you waiting for?"
As Sue pulled Colleen down the hall, Sammy unlatched the little door. A dry, musty smell tainted with the odor of cigarettes and scented candles wafted out into the room. Sue was a 'lifer,' meaning that she had been sent to Donegal Academy as soon as she could walk. 'Lifers' knew everything, did everything, and helped the 'part-timers,' like Sammy, who had been admitted at the advanced age of seven, to cope with life at the school. But only if they chose to do so. Luckily, Sue had liked Colleen fron the start, and regarded little Sammy with a mild amusement. She knew that her brother teased him relentlessly, so she was willing to balance the scales on her family's name by helping him--this time.
Sammy pushed the duffel bag through the little door, followed by a nice quilted blanket and several of Sue's many pillows. he still did not know quite what to think, but in his heart he felt he could trust Sue, and , in spite of recent events, his faith in Colleen remained unbroken. She had to have a good reason to act this way, and he trusted her judgement. All he could do now was settle into his temporary home and wait.
The two girls soon returned. Once again, Sue had to take charge of the situation. "Ok." she spoke with all the authority she could muster. "I willl go and find out what's up. You two stay in here. Sammy, I will tell my brother to cover for you at curfew--if they even bother to check tonight." Sue sighed again, wondering why had she become so invested in this? "Well then! No objections? In you go then, girl."
Colleen squeezed into the nest. As she turned around, Sue looked directly into her eyes and smiled a wicked smile, forcing a blush out of the nervous girl that seemed oddly inappropriate under the circumstances. Sammy took no notice of this, or if he did, could make no logical sense of it.
Sue pushed the cubby door to, but did not latch it. Then she heaved the dresser back into its place. "Ok, I'm off then." she whsipered, "Be good in there you two."