Befriending Vinny (Short Story P2)

Be sure to read part one!

This is a backstory piece I wrote for Mystical Warriors. The main characters, Mara, James, Vinny, and Drake, are probably about seven. This takes place after “Thief!”

It was almost time for the Kitumas to come over. The Williamsons had finished making their food, and James’ family had come over after preparing theirs, and Drake’s family was on their way over.

“Mara,” Mrs. Williamson called from the kitchen.

“Yes, mom!” Mara said, running downstairs.

“You can go with James to take the Kitumas that the food is almost ready,” Mrs. Williamson said.

“How did you react when Dellie told you you were having a potluck for the new neighbors?” Mr. Richards, James’ dad asked Mr. Williamson.

“I wasn’t surprised, really. Think about what we did when the Meltzins moved in!” Mr. Williamson said. “It could have been way more of a hassle.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Mrs. Richards said laughing. “Lara, why don’t you go with James and Mara.”

“I don’t wanna. I want to wait for Patty to come,” Lara said.

“Okay,” Mrs. Richards said. “She thinks she’s–”

Mara and James ran out the door, oblivious to the adult’s conversation happening as they left.

“Mr. Kituma! Mrs. Kituma! Vinny!” James yelled when they reached the door, and before Mara had rung the bell.

Ding, dong!

“Yes?” Mrs. Kituma asked.

“The food’s almost ready!” Mara said.

“And you can meet my family and Drake’s!” James said.

Mrs. Kituma was shocked. “So it’s a party now?” she asked.

“Kind of. It’s to welcome you to the neighborhood!” Mara said.

She softened. “Well thank you very much. We’ll be right over.”

“okay! See you soon!” Mara and James said.

**Mara and James ran back to Mara’s house.

“They’ll be here soon!” They cried, interrupting the adult’s conversation mercilessly.

“Thanks. Why don’t you play for a few minutes until they and Drake’s family come over?” Mr. Richards asked.

“But!” James said. “They’ll be here in just a minute!” Mara said.

“Okay, okay.” Mr. Richards conceded.

“Mara, it was rude of you to interrupt our conversation,” Mrs. Williamson chided.

“I’m sorry,” Mara hung her head.

“Thank you.” Mrs. Williamson said.

“Anyways–” Mara and James tuned out the conversation and talked about whatever came to mind, from toys, to the new neighbors, to what was taking everyone so long, to being hungry, to school, to the new neighbors, to Vinny specifically, to siblings, back to the neighbors, and did they mention they were hungry?

It was, in reality, only about five minutes before The Meltzins arrived, and two minutes after that for the Kitumas, but Mara and James were excited enough that time passed in milliseconds that they could perceive. Forget minutes, they experience milliseconds.

Lara scoffed. “Why do you care so much?” she asked.

“They’re the new neighbors and they have a girl our age!” Mara exclaimed.

“That means new friends!” James said.

“So what?” Patty, Drake’s older sister asked.

“Why are you so rude?” Drake asked. “We just like to have fun!”

Patty stuck her tongue out at her younger brother.

“Mom! Patty stuck her tongue out at me!” he said.

Patty glared at him. “Did not!” she said before Mrs. Meltzin could respond.

“Patty, don’t stick your tongue out at people, it’s rude,” Mrs. Meltzin said.

“Okay,” she said, sulking.

Ding, dong!

Mara, James, and Drake sprint for the door.

“Hi!” Zmara said. “Come on in!”

“Hello!” James said.

“Hi, we’re so glad you’re here!” Drake said.

Mr. and Mrs. Kituma smile.

“Thanks,” Mr. Kituma said.

“We’re glad to be here,” Mrs. Kituma said.

Vinny hides behind her parents, silently watching the others.

“Vinny, why don’t you say hi,” Mrs. Kituma asked.

“Hi,” Vinny mumbled.

“Hi, Vinny!” Mara said. “Everyone’s in the kitchen,” she continued, gesturing and leading them into that part of the house.

Mrs. Williamson stood up from her seat. “Hello, I’m Dellie,” she said. “You must be the Kitumas.”

Mr. and Mrs. Kituma smiled.

“Yes,” he said. “You can call me Bill. This is my wife, Lou.”

Lou waved.

Everyone introduced themselves.

Mr. and Mrs. Williamson or Dellie and Erik were Mara’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Richards or Lloyd and Margie were James’ parents, and Mr. and Mrs. Meltzin or Gregory and Kalen were Drake’s parents.

Patty and Lara introduced themselves to Vinny, after being asked to do so.

Vinny forced a wave and said, “Hi,” after her parents told her to because she was being rude.

“Can we eat now?” James asked.

“Yeah, I’m hungry!” Drake said.

“We’ve been smelling the food for hours!” Mara said.

The Kitumas laughed, but the other parents chided their children.

“It’s fine, really. You all worked hard to make all this for us, and they were very excited to meet us and invite us here,” Mr. Kituma said.

“Yes, it is all quite a lot, and we really appreciate it,” Lou said.

“I’m hungry too,” Vinny mumbled.

“Okay, then we can start!” Dellie said. She passed out plates to the children, first, and the parents helped them with what they couldn’t reach so they wouldn’t make a mess.

After they went through the potluck choices, the kids were made to sit at the kitchen table, while the adults would sit in the living room for lack of space.

~~~

Time passed, and mara, James, and Drake repeatedly tried to convince Vinny to come out and play with them. Each time, they were soundly rejected.

“Vinny, why won’t you play with them at least once?” Mrs. Kituma asked.

“I don’t wanna,” she said.

“Please, today if they come to the door, go out and play with them,” Mrs. Kituma said.

“Fine,” she mumbled.

“Thank you.”

Sure enough, later that day, the doorbell rang, and it was Mara.

“Hey, is Vinny home?” she asked.

Mrs. Kituma smiled. “Yes. Vinny, Mara’s here to see you!”

Vinny came to the door. “Hi.”

“Do you want to come play at my house?” she asked.

“Um… I guess so,” she said.

“Cool!” Mara said.

Vinny put on her shoes and a jacket and followed Mara over to her house. “Is it just us?” she asked.

“Yeah, James is sick and Drake had a birthday party to go to,” Mara said. “We can play whatever you want. I have dolls.”

“Okay,” Vinny said. She thought about it. She hadn’t played with anyone since she moved in, not even at school. She played by herself or read a book, even outside on the playground. Was she lonely? She would never say so if she was.

“And my mom said we could have a snack if you want,” Mara said.

“Okay,” she said. “What kind of snack?”

“Whatever is fine. We have lots of choices. Fruit snacks, cookies, real fruit,” Mara said, listing a few things off the top of her head.

“Okay.”

They walked into Mara’s house.

“I’m back!” Mara called. “Vinny’s with me, we’ll be in my room!”

Mrs. Williamson peaked out of the kitchen. “Okay. Hello, Vinny, it’s nice to see you.”

**”Thanks,” she said. She followed Mara upstairs to her room.

The walls were a muted pink, and there were a variety of toys, from dolls and action figures to stuffed animals to books to electronics.

“What do you want to do?” Mara asked.

“Um… I don’t know… Dolls?” Vinny said.

“Okay. I have loads to choose from, but I don’t have any houses or anything. We can use this shoebox structure I made, though,” Mara said. She pulled out a bin from a shelf against the wall. It was overflowing with dolls and what would be called action figures, really just “boy dolls,” but they were all the same to Mara.

“Wow, that is a lot,” Vinny said. “What are these?” she asked, pulling out some of the more oddly shaped ones, which were army men or superheroes or other figurines that sold more to boys than girls.

“They’re dolls too,” Mara said. “I think they’re supposed to be boy dolls, but they’re cool.”

“Oh, okay. I want to be this one,” Vinny said, pulling out a doll with braided blond hair.

“Okay. I’ll be this one,” Mara pulled out a doll with short cropped, jagged hair that was a ghastly shade of green.

“What happened to her hair?” Vinny asked, astonished.

“I tried to give her the same haircut as my mom, but it didn’t work out. Then I wanted to dye her hair green with fruit juice mix, which my mom has done to y hair once, but it didn’t work either,” Mara explained.

“Oh.” Vinny looked at the doll kind of sideways. “It doesn’t look too bad,” she said.

“You don’t have to say that, it’s bad,” Mara said, grinning. “I don’t care though, she’s still my favorite.”

They played dolls for a while until Mrs. Williamson knocked on the door.

Mara jumped up to open it. “hey, Mom. We’re playing dolls.”

“That’s wonderful. Would you like to come downstairs for a few minutes and have a snack?” she asked.

Mara looked to Vinny. “Do you want to?” she asked.

“Sure,” Vinny said.

“Okay. Thanks, mom.”

They went downstairs and Mrs. Williamson helped them get their snack.

“Vinny, I’m glad you decided to come over and play with Mara. Are you having fun?” Mrs. Williamson asked.

“Yeah,” Vinny said. She smiled.

Mrs. Williamson smiled. “That’s good. Do you think you’ll play with Mara some other time?”

Vinny nodded.

~~~

It took a long time, but Mara, James, and Drake didn’t give up on befriending Vinny. They kept trying, and eventually, she decided to be friends with them.

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