Can the bonds of FRIENDSHIP overcome all odds?
The Code
Breaking Barriers
“I’m late!” Bethany screeched and she pounded down the stairs.
Mrs. Jones turned from the kitchen sink and watched Bethany dash to the refrigerator to grab her lunch. “Have a good day at school, sweetie!” she called as Bethany sprinted out the door, then turned back to the sink to continue washing the dishes.
After she had finished, she rubbed her hands dry on the legs of her pants and leaned against the wall. She looked around the kitchen.
Since they had only moved to Payton City two weeks ago, there hadn’t been time to unpack everything. Boxes were stocked up all over the house, waiting to have their contents spilled and put in their proper place.
The house itself was small but sufficient. The kitchen was only wide enough for two people to fit side by side. The dining room had a square dining table with four chestnut brown chairs surrounding it. The wood floor was polished and shiny, and it reminded Bethany of an ancient ballroom. Sometimes at night, she would push the table to the side of the room and twirl around in her nightgown, imagining herself dancing at a sophisticated party to impress several suitors. Upon seeing this occur, Mrs. Jones would claim that Bethany read too many fairytales, and then go about her business around the house.
Mrs. Jones made her way up the spiraling staircase, balancing a cumbersome laundry basket on her hip. She stepped in Bethany’s room and set the basket on the floor by her feet. She then proceeded to remove all of Bethany’s clothes from the basket and place them on her bed.
After she had made two piles adjacent to one another, Mrs. Jones picked the laundry basket back up and headed towards the door.
Just as she was about to leave, Mrs. Jones noticed something peculiar on Bethany’s dresser. She moved forward to get a better look.
It was a rock. Wasn’t it? Mrs. Jones wasn’t quite sure. It was cold to the touch, but Mrs. Jones could have sworn she felt it pulsating under her fingertips.
She peered down at it. It was placed next to a glass jar of orange sand and a light blue scale of some kind.
Mrs. Jones sighed. That daughter of mine, she thought. Always collecting the oddest of things. She looked again at the rock. She placed the laundry basket down and picked up the cream colored rock. It wasn’t a rock, she decided. It was heavy like one, but it seemed to be too thin. It was almost like a shell.
Suddenly, Mrs. Jones’ eyes grew wide. She knew what it was.
It was an egg.
Mrs. Jones took a step back and held the egg up to the light. Why would Bethany have an egg in her room? Certainly it was not alive, she reassured herself. That couldn’t be. It was probably the dud of the bunch. But what bunch? What animal made an egg like this?
It was too much for Mrs. Jones to think about. She caressed the smooth shell of the egg in her hands. She felt it move under the palms of the hands.
She blinked. No, it couldn’t be.
She waited a minute or two. The egg didn’t move.
She breathed a sigh of relief. She silently scolded herself for letting her mind play tricks on her.
She took a step toward the dresser to place the egg back down, and as she did, she felt the egg jerk in her hands again.
Mrs. Jones shrieked and dropped the egg in a panic. She fled from her daughter’s room, and, sped down the stairs, no intention whatsoever to look back.
Bethany rushed into first hour ten minutes after the starting bell, flushed and out of breath.
Mrs. Benson raised her eyebrow. “Bethany? You’re late.”
Bethany collapsed into her seat and let out a sigh of either exhaustion or relief. It was hard to tell. “Sorry, I overslept,” she explained hastily as she retrieved her class materials from her backpack.
Dylan grinned. It pleased him to see Bethany lacking her typical organization.
Mrs. Benson nodded. “I understand. Just don’t let it happen again.”
Bethany smoothed down her hair and smiled her perfect smile. “Of course not, ma’am.”
Dylan frowned. Well, that was short lived, he thought to himself. He shook it off and turned back to Mrs. Benson. He was missing important notes.
“This racist action angered many Japanese immigrants, and they stormed the Capitol, demanding the United States government apologize for the mistreatment of their people.”
Dylan wrote sloppily, filling in the blanks on his review guide as quickly as he could. He heard a small sneeze from the front of the room. He finished his sentence and glanced up, only to find Bethany’s eyes boring into his own.
Immediately, his face grew warm and he thrust his head back down. Why is she looking at me like that? He thought, becoming furious. I didn’t even do anything.
He slowly brought his head back up, only to meet Bethany’s gaze again.
They held each other’s eyes for a minute or so, faces still and expressionless. And just as Dylan was about to scowl, Bethany smiled. It wasn’t her usual, wide, cheesy grin. This smile was smaller, subtler, and... warmer.
Dylan was bewildered. Why on earth was she smiling at him? He had been nothing but rude to her. He expected her to hold a grudge, to hate him like he hated her. But she didn’t, and that he he couldn’t understand.
Dylan shook away his thoughts and managed a scowl. He brought his eyes back down to his notes and sighed. Girls.
Bethany stared behind her at Dylan hunched over his desk, watching him complete his notes. She drew her eyebrows together. She had tried. She had smiled at him and everything. But he still didn’t like her. She had been trying really hard not to hold a grudge. After all, like her mother always told her: always treat people with kindness, you never know what they could be struggling with.
Bethany tried to imagine what horrible things Dylan must be going through to make him so bitter. Maybe his parents died in a tragic car crash, or maybe he was failing his classes.
She shrugged it off and focused back on Mrs. Benson. Boys.

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