During the night, Maddie wakes up because Claire is pouring pee on her. Predictably, Polly sticks up for Claire, saying she’s only trying to be friends. At that, Patti blows up and yells at Miss Polly before helping Maddie get cleaned up.
“She didn’t break your back,” Craig said angrily. “You’re too damn lively. Get up.”
Claire had to struggle up on her own.
“I’ll decide what to do with you in the morning,” Craig said quietly. He headed out, leading his wife behind him.
“Everyone else, back to bed,” Leslie said, asserting himself for the first time.
Miraculously, even the girls listened to him. The boys gathered up Patti and Maddie’s belongings and carried them to a small room next door to theirs. None of the adults commented. Maddie’s sleeping bag would need washing, but they found some beanbag chairs in what must be the nursery room, and laid them out. There was a stack of clean sheets and blankets. They pulled out some of these for Maddie’s bed. Admiring the makeshift bed, they did their complicated handshake. When the girls returned, they told them the news.
“Dad is really pissed,” Daniel said. “I don’t think I’ve seen him that mad in awhile.”
“He seemed pretty calm to me,” Brad replied.
“That’s when he’s the deadliest. When he’s yelling, that’s no big thing. When he gets quiet like that, it’s bad. I’d way rather have him yell.”
Feeling safe in their new room, the girls thanked the guys and settled on the beanbags. It was a little lumpy, but pretty comfortable. They fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning, Claire wasn’t at breakfast and neither was Polly. They had decided to eat up in the bedroom instead of joining the others. Maddie didn’t want to see Claire or Polly anyway, so that suited her just fine. She was confined to the room until Craig decided what to do with her.
“Dad wants to send her home,” Daniel confided on the sly. “But Mom’s sticking up for her. I have no idea why.”
“Can you imagine how much trouble she could get in for being sent home from the youth trip?” Richard said, gleefully.
“Not nearly enough,” Brad said. “I’d get a new asshole,” he replied.
“You wouldn’t act like that anyway,” Patti said.
A few minutes later, Jose arrived to get them started on their work project.
“Today, we’re working on a playhouse for the school. It’s a replica of one of the walled city buildings, the torreón or turret. Some of the other groups have built the actual structure with adobe bricks. We’re going to plaster it, also with adobe. I’ll show you how to mix the plaster and put it on. To help me, I brought some experienced adobe artists.” He gestured behind them.
Gabe and Luis saluted them. They were dressed in tank tops, jeans, work boots and straw cowboy hats. Their faces and shoulders were tan. They wore sunglasses and bandanas tied around their necks.
Maddie thought they were two of the best looking guys she’d ever seen. Not that the boys with them weren’t handsome, they were, but she’d grown up with them. They were more like goofy cousins than anything. Gabe and Luis, on the other hand, were different, full of secrets and seemed vastly more mature.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes