"I lived in Miami, but then my dad died so I had to come up here in Illinois with my grandma." She shows no sign of remorse-she must be over it.
"Well, you'll like it here," Maddie sighs. "Bullies all around."
"Well, they really just like to pick on us..." Awkward thing to say, me. I want to smack myself. Tell the nice new girl you're the bully victim.
"Because I'm bubblegum and she's my sister."
"How do you make fun of that? It's like telling someone who can magically make chocolate bars appear they aren't cool."
"I've been lately wondering about how this is possible." Maddie has not told me this. My ears perk up like a dog's. "But I have had some weird dreams involving white coat-wearing people carrying a pink haired baby...I hope it's just my imagination."
"Umm..." I have no idea why I've never thought about this. I just assumed she was...well, I don't know what I assumed. Whatever it was has slipped completely from my mind. Was she a normal baby, then stolen by scientists and experimented on? Does she have real parents that miss her, or did they give her up?
Crap. All of that came out of my mouth.
"You really need to think inside your head, Kate." Maddie laughs. "But what if I am...what if I was normal at one point, then experimented on?"
"Well, probably...not many kids are born with bubble gum hair. Plus, you were adopted. The scientists could have finished the test and gave you away. That's why nobody has, like, called 911 and sent you away. Cause when they did..." I trail off.
"They already know..." Maddie is staring at a wall."The dreams... I've had these dreams for years, of babies with long pink hair and skin, like me, surrounded by test tubes... crying. Crying their heads off."
"Deep. And scary," Cecilia looks like a bomb dropped on top of us, terrified. "And awesome! This could be like a mystery we have to solve. We could be adventurers or something."
"Yes! We will figure out how this is possible!" Maddie stands up, smiling, blowing a bubble.
"Hey girls! Got the shears," says mom, like she wasn't standing in the hall this whole time. She has been trying so hard to get us friends, but with the bullies, and the fact they're the most popular, and they're scared of me. She can't hide the smile on her face. But it fades quickly. "What are we talking about?"
I discreetly cough the words, "SHUT UP" and Maddie stops. "Where you were," she says instead.
"So, what length?" Cecilia asks, like nothing had happened. Like we hadn't just made an incredible breakthrough. Like Maddie wasn't in a daze still, staring at the wall, which is what she did until dinner. Cece, as she told us to call her, told us to come over to her house tomorrow so we could investigate the Internet. I can't wait, honestly. We haven't ever been to someone else's house who isn't related...we haven't ever had friends, either. Except for that one nice toddler at church who loves Maddie. All the church babies love her, actually- she always has gum for them. And they just love gum. Luckily they'll grow up and hopefully tell people making fun of her wasn't nice. Sometimes I imagine Maddie with a man, no-one I've ever seen, getting married, having pink-haired kids. I hope she gets that.