*slides in in her socks*
I'm here! I'm here! It's been a crazy day (work from 10-5, then rehearsal- full run through of the show, scripts in hand, from 6:30-9.) But I was thinking all day about what I wanted to share with you guys. So I've got another snippet from Remembrance, this time from the very beginning of the novel (which is going through some serious changes... I write a new scene, and then I decide that I hate one that's been in the story for eight months. Also, this scene contains a reference to the Nancy Drew books. I really wanted them to be Ruthie's favorite series, and did extensive research on them, and hooray, they came out in the 30's! Then I got my edits back, only to find out that my research hadn't been extensive enough; yes, the books came out in the US in the '30s, but didn't arrive in the UK until the '70s. Not exactly fitting for my '40s story *sigh*)
“Guess what?!” Noah said excitedly as soon as he saw Ruthie, Annie, and Nora emerging from the gates of the upper school. “A boy from my class is missing!”
“Who?” Ruthie asked sharply. She hadn’t meant it to come out so forcefully, but she was put off by Noah’s apparent excitement at the idea that someone was lost.
“His name’s Arthur Henderson. Miss Andrews told us that his building was blown up last night!” Noah ran in circles around the girls, arms out, making airplane and explosion noises. Ruthie grabbed him by his jacket sleeve.
“Stop it!” she said tersely. Noah halted, looking surprised by his sister’s tone of voice.
“Ruthie…” Annie cautioned.
Ruthie looked straight into her brother’s face. “Don’t you understand what it means that Arthur’s missing? He might be lost forever. He could be hurt. He could be -” She stopped. Her brother looked stricken and she suddenly remembered who she was talking to. She let go of his coat and took a step back as if to undo her actions.
“I’m sorry,” she stammered, hoping Noah wouldn’t start to cry. How would she explain that to her parents? Thankfully, Noah did not burst into tears. Instead, he straightened his coat, glared at her, and marched away toward their home.
“Are you all right?” Nora asked, looking at her friend closely.
“Yes,” Ruthie answered automatically as they began walking again, but then she reconsidered. “No. I am really upset about Jimmy.”
“So am I, but we can’t really do anything about it,” Annie consoled. “Though I wish we could.”
Nora brow was furrowed. “But what can we do? Miss Burns said that people are already looking for him, and we can’t get around as fast as they can. Maybe we should just let them try. I’m sure they’ll find him. I mean, where could he have gone?”
Ruthie was still unsure, but by then the girls had reached Annie and Nora’s street. They said their goodbyes and parted ways. Ruthie could no longer see Noah ahead of her and she hoped he had gotten home in one piece. She walked on, still thinking about Jimmy. As she reached the end of the street, a noise tore her attention away from her thoughts. She looked up in time to see the door to Augustine’s Bookshop close, its bell still jingling after the arrival of a customer. That customer, Ruthie could see through the window, was a boy. A boy that looked very familiar…
She knew who it was. It was Jimmy, and relief coursed through her at the realisation. Jimmy wasn’t missing, he had just been playing hooky – again. She almost laughed. She would go into the shop, she decided, and tell him that he had to let everyone know that he was alive and well so people did not have to worry so.
She pushed open the door and her entrance was announced by the cheery tinkling of the bell. Mr. Augustine, the proprietor, was standing behind the counter and smiled at Ruthie when he saw her there. Normally Ruthie would have stopped and asked if he had any new Nancy Drew books in stock, but today she just smiled back and concentrated on the people milling about the shop. Jimmy was nowhere in sight, but the bookshop was lined with shelves, making it hard to survey the entire area in a single glance.
Stepping into the center aisle, Ruthie checked the sections on either side as she made her way toward the back wall. An old woman was skimming a cookbook to her left and the right side was vacant. Another row revealed a girl leaning against the wall with what seemed to be an encyclopedia in her hands. The next two rows were empty, but Ruthie could hear books being shifted around further down the aisle. Following the sound, she came to the sixth row and turned the corner. Two teenage boys sat on the floor poring over comic books, and there was Jimmy’s dark head bent over the bright pictures.
“Jimmy!” Ruthie cried. “Gosh, am I happy to see you! We’ve all been so worried about -” She stopped as the two boys looked up at her. The dark – haired boy, though identical to her classmate from the back, was not, in fact, Jimmy Henderson. Ruthie stared down at the boys. They stared back. Then the second boy, the one with blond hair, leaned over to his friend.
“Who is that?” he asked, barely bothering to lower his voice.
“No clue,” the tawny haired boy replied. He adjusted his glasses and went back to his comic book.
Humiliated, Ruthie backed out of the tight row. She turned and ran past the aisles of books, past the girl with encyclopedia and the woman with the cook book, past Mr. Augustine and out the door, which joyfully jangled her exit.