Lost in a Good Book- A Child's Tale

"Hey mom?" Rebecca called from the far reaches of the back seat. She was straining against her safety belt, and talking loud to compete with her brothers who were rough housing in the car, and the music her mother had cranked so she could ignore it. "Mom?!"

"Boys! Stop it!" her mother snapped in annoyance, and when they subsided into angry glares turned to Rebecca. She didn't bother turning down the music, why would she? Rebecca wouldn't have much to say, or at least nothing important. "What is it Becca?"

Rebecca felt her face burn as her brother's shot mad glances her direction. She had ruined their fun, or that was their perception. Even though three times already Edward had hit her in the stomach, and twice in the chin- by accident he claimed. She felt tears burn her eyes as she looked away from the hatred she saw in their eyes.

Under normal circumstances, Rebecca would have dropped the subject. She would have let the boys continue fighting, and her mother could pretend she didn't have three children. Today however, it was important, she had been paying attention, they weren't going the right direction to get to Dad's house. She needed to know why.

"Dad's house is the other way."

"You didn't tell her?" Mom looked accusingly at her oldest brother Marcus who in turn sank a little lower in his seat. "I ask you to do one simple thing for me Marcus, just one! You couldn't pass along a message to your sister? What's wrong with you?"

Rebecca was glad she couldn't see Marc's face he hated it when their mother blamed him for not taking care of her. Becca's eyes fell to the floor, where her feet lightly brushed against the overnight gear she had packed into her pink backpack. She felt something hit her on the left side, jabbing at her ribs. Edward was mouthing nasty mean comments to her.

"Look Becca," her mother said finally turning down the music she had been blasting, "Dad called, and he's too busy this week to take you like he promised. He also waited well beyond the last reasonable moment to say so. He's with that woman."

Mother could spit the word "woman" farther and with more passion than Marcus could spit a watermelon seed. She made it sound like a bad word, and Rebecca had learned not to ask about the woman in question. In fact, she pretty much didn't ask anything these days. Survival of the fittest and all- she had remained fit by fading into the background.
"I can't take you kids to work," her mother continued. "So, I've decided to drop you off at the library. Marcus will be in charge, and he will watch you. I won't be back until five, but I'm sure they have a story time or snack time or something. You'll be fine. Marc has money for lunch, there's a fast food joint just a few hundred feet away. I apologize, I'm sorry your father isn't worth two cents."

Rebecca felt tears sting her eyes she hated the way her mother spoke of her father. Two years ago they had never behaved that way with one another. They had been loving and nurturing, and then everything had changed. She didn't really understand it, she couldn't understand.

"Aww Beccs, don't cry love." Her mother said in a softer voice, realizing she had crossed the line. "Daddy and I aren't friends right now, but I'm sure he loves you. I'm sure he wishes he could take you this week. You'll have fun. Cheer up Buttercup."

Rebecca forced a smile that didn't reach her eyes, but it was enough for her mother. All she had really wanted was to make sure Becca didn't break down. A fake smile meant the child had control.

The car came to a stop in front of a huge brick building. The children poured out as their mother intended. Rebecca pulled her backpack with her, she had stuffed a small box of animal crackers in the bottom, and she had a feeling she'd need it. Marcus put a protective hand on Rebecca's shoulder, and waved with his other hand at their mother as she sped off to work.

Rebecca watched the car fade into the distance. The hand at her shoulder pushed hard, and she had to take a big step forward to keep from falling. Rebecca caught her balance and turned back to look accusingly at Marc.

"Yeah, good job Loser," Marc growled, "now she'll be worried all day, and I got in trouble. Why can't you just keep your mouth closed?"

Rebecca opened her mouth an apology on the tip of her tongue. Edward walked toward her and pushed against her with his shoulder on his way to the door. They hated her, she knew – had known for the past year. Everyone blamed her for the "divorce."

"Come on," Marcus grabbed her backpack and jerked it from her hand. Rebecca didn't fight him. He led her to a brightly colored room with what seemed like hundreds of rows of shelves twice her heights. He dropped the bag in a chair, and looked at her coldly. "Stay in this room."