Word Count 465
By Anne Nassar
Both the front door and the back door were locked. “Well, great,” Sophie groused, “What are we going to do now?” She was miffed, because she’d reminded Ella several times that it was late and they ought to be getting home. But Ella was talking to a cute boy, and couldn’t tear herself away.
It had been a warm day, but now it was ten at night, and it was chilly. Sophie’s arms were bare. She jumped up and down to keep warm.
“Just hang on,” Ella said. She rapped on the window with her rings. The glass rattled. She kept it up for a couple of minutes. But no one opened the door.
“Maybe she isn’t home,” Sophie said.
“Her car’s in the garage,” Ella pointed out.
“Maybe she’s sleeping?” Sophie said.
“Sophie,” Ella said irritably, “She isn’t sleeping.”
Sophie’s eyes grew big and round, and her lower lip quivered.
“Look,” Ella said, “there’s no point in getting upset. When a person does the same thing over and over again, you ought to expect more of the same. “Sophie nodded.
“How many times do you have to get bit before you understand the nature of the beast?” Sophie put her head down.
Ella was full of ire, and couldn’t swallow it down. Rather than spew out more invective and hurt Sophie, she decided to take a walk through the rose garden. The roses were in full blossom, this being August, and the oceanic breeze blew her hair back. She tried to focus on the scent of the roses and the feel of the wind. It was so hard to do. But after awhile, she found that the tension has dissipated. She noticed that the ladder that the gardener used when trimming the tallest of the rose bushes had been left out on the grass. She set up the ladder next to the house. From the top step, she could reach her bedroom window. She’d left it open.
She crawled in the window headfirst and landed on the bed. She rolled off the bed, ran through the dark house, down the stairs, and to the front door. Sophie was curled up in one of the wicker porch chairs.
“How did you get in?” she asked, surprised.
“Elf magic,” Ella said. She waited for Sophie to get up and come in, but she didn’t.
“Sophie, come on, it’s freezing!” Ella protested.
“I don’t want to,” Sophie said, “I’m not welcome.”
Ella wanted to say, Mom locked the door at ten because she couldn’t wait any longer to have a drink, and then she didn’t answer the door because she doesn’t want us to see her drunk. But she couldn’t. It couldn’t be said. So she said, “I live here. You’re welcome in my house.”