Chapter Eleven

“Bonjour, et bienvenue a Montreal. Aujourd’hui est lundi, le vingt-six de juli.”
Zac poked Wind.
“You’re fluent…what does that mean?”
Wind smiled slightly.
“Hello, and welcome to Montreal. Today is Monday, the twenty-six of July.”
Zac grinned.
“Okay, just checking. I have no patience for French.”
Wind shrugged.
“I’m not fluent. They’ve been teaching it to me since grade one, and I still don’t know enough.” She paused a little. “Mais, je parle une peu de francais. Pas de beaucoup, mais, une peu. Ce n’est pas une necessite de mon vie.” She shrugged. “C’est la vie.”
Zac looked completely confused.
“But I speak a little French. Not a lot, but a little. It’s not a necessity of my life. That’s life.”
Sarah turned around.
“Unlike underprivileged Wind, I’ve been in French emmersion since grade three and that was horrible grammar and direct translation.”
Zac grunted.
“Fuck you, Sarah.”

Montreal not being very interesting, Charlottetown certainly made up for it.
“OH MY GOSH,” Wind exclaimed when they stepped off the bus. “Look at how pretty this place is! My GAWD!”
Diana burst out laughing at Wind’s gushing about the country side. It was very beautiful…much like Tulsa, only…more flowery. And oceany.
“Wind, you’re Canadian…somehow, I didn’t expect you to do that at the sight of Prince Edward Island.”
Wind giggled, and inhaled deeply.
“Oh, smell that air! I missed that air so much!”
Everyone laughed at her, but good-naturedly, and they all began to pull bags and backpacks from the storage space under the bus. Aries came bounding off the bus.
“Oh my GOD I feel so patriotic suddenly!” She burst into song, and Wind soon joined her.
“Ohhhh Canadaaaa…our home and native land….true, patriot love, with all our son’s command…with glowing hearts we see the rise, the true north strong and free…from far and wide, Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee…”
The two burst into a fit of giggles at the looks on the Hanson family’s faces.
“Don’t worry,” Wind assured them. “I’m not that bad, I know more of the words to The Star-Spangled Banner than I do Oh Canada.”

A group of girls lay sleeping in front of the door the next morning, sleeping on a single sleeping bag unzipped and spread out. Wind came down the hall from getting some coffee and muffins from the ambassador breakfast on the floor below, and stopped at the sight.
“Uh, guys?”
One girl woke up and scrambled out of the way. In a thick Cape Breton accent, she mumbled,
“Oh, I’m sorry…we’ll leave…we just…”
“Wanted some autographs?”
The girl shook her head, and the others started to stir.
“No…we’re…uh…well, we live in the back alley, and heard that Hanson were coming, so we thought maybe we could see them here, because we can’t get tickets to the concert, obviously…”
Wind softened.
“Oh…I’m so sorry…” she looked at them, so skinny, with bags under their eyes and messy hair. The sleeping bag itself was worn and fraying, and they all had backpacks beside them. They were all wearing jeans ripped right to the seam at the knees, and too-small tank tops.
“You guys haven’t eaten in ages, have you?”
“No,” they all chorused. Wind smiled.
“Okay, stay here for a second. I have an idea.”

So twenty minutes later, the three girls had moved their stuff into the room so as not to raise suspicion from the hotel management, and they sat in a row on the couch stuffing food into their faces from room service. Zac, Taylor, and Wind were sitting on the counter with their plates, Aries on the floor with Isaac, and Sarah still asleep.
“So, guys,” Taylor inquired gently, “how do you get around?”
One looked up. She had a very tattered leather bracelet that read, “Nuala.”
“Well,” she started, swallowing her eggs. “We’re musical. We sing in coffeeshops. I’ve got a guitar on permanent loan from a coffeehouse down the street, Ffiona sings most of the songs, and Chloe plays the flute. She’s got her own, our Da gave it to her for her twelfth birthday ages ago.”
Taylor nodded. That sounded like some fun, save sleeping in an alleyway. Ffiona stood up.
“I think we better get going before the management notices us.”
Wind and Aries stood up.
“Guys, wait…um…here.” Aries went into her open suitcase in the corner and pulled out some clothes. A pair of jeans, two shirts, and some socks. Wind did the same.
“Yeah, me too…We kind of figured you didn’t have much to wear, and it’s not like we NEED these…so you can have them.” Wind took out a blue slipdress that she had two of, a pair of jeans, and a few of her shirts, too. Chloe’s eyes grew huge.
“Oh, we can’t take those…”
Wind and Aries shook their heads.
“No, we’re serious,” Aries said. “Just as a present.”
Nuala smiled, getting a little misty.
“Oh, thank you…so much…this means a lot. Thank you very much…”
Zac stood up as well, beside Wind.
“And we have something, too…me and Tay and Ike, anyway.” He reached into his jeans and pulled out twenty dollars…his allowance for that week. Taylor handed his to Zac, and Ike followed in suit.
“No, no, please, we can’t take that, that’s too much,” Nuala stated, though she knew they wouldn’t take no for an answer. “God bless you,” she mumbled, putting the bills in pocket. Aries started laughing. “Those are American twenties…if you get those exchanged at a bank they’ll be worth about $80…”
The three girls looked so ready to cry, but so happy at the same time, that everyone in the room knew they’d done their angel job for the day.
“That’s almost enough to get us home to our Da,” Chloe mumbled.
“Did you guys run away or something?” Wind asked softly. Ffiona shook her head.
“No, nothing like that…it was…we live in Nova Scotia. Our Da doesn’t have enough money to come get us, but…we ran away from our mother. She kind of…kidnapped us, when she didn’t get the custody arrangement she wanted, and we ran away…we’re trying to get home, and this’ll just about get us there. Thank you so much…bless you all…”
Zac shrugged. “When you do get home, make sure you call us, okay, and let us know.” He handed over a small slip of paper with their number on it. “Call collect. Anytime.”
The three nodded, smiling so wide their lips nearly fell off their faces, and gathered their things up. They left quickly, leaving a lasting warmth on all of them.
“C’est la vie,” Wind whispered, kissing Zac’s cheek and going to get dressed as though nothing had happened.

"Okay, you can't just walk by when I ask you to come downstairs to talk to me, that's not fair..."
"But I wasn't walking that fast, you could've caught up to me!"
"It doesn't matter, Adam! You can't just walk by!"
"Well, yeah, I guess you're right..."

- A good-natured fight between Adam and Sky

Chapter Ten
Chapter Twelve