Immediately, Chloe regretted lying to Remi. She didn’t want to call her parents and explain how reckless she had been and cause them unnecessary worry. Or worse, have them cut their vacation short and hurry home when she was okay. If only she explained that to Remi, tried to make her understand. But of course, she took the hard way, and now she was paying for yet another bad decision. A groan escaped as she stood with her arms at her side and nose, practically touching where the two walls met.
“Hush now, girl” Remi sat watching Chloe clench and unclench her fingers; she could tell the moment regret gripped the girl. Wanting this lesson to sink in, Remi let her stand there for fifteen minutes. She had no problem helping this kid, but she would not put up lying or sass while they were together. Retrieving a wooden spoon from the kitchen, Remi was finally ready to deal with the girl, so she called her over. “Chloe, come here and sit with me. We gotta discuss a few things.”
Chloe hurried over to the couch where Remi was sitting and shyly sat beside her. Then, right away, she began, “Remi, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have lied, I just don’t want them to worry.” The look on Remi’s face was enough to silence her ramblings. Chloe’s gaze fell to her lap, and she stared at her worrying hands.
Reaching over, Remi took hold of the busy hands, waited for them to still before she began. “First of all, apology accepted but we will deal with your lying in a moment. Second, this kidnapping is not something you can sweep under the rug and pretend didn’t happen, you owe your parents a call. But not telling them is lying.” Chloe looked up, shocked, so Remi explained. “Yes it is lying. Imagine when they ask, why you’re staying here? Or about me? Or how are you? If you don’t tell them what’s going on you are essentially lying.”
“I never thought of it like that, Remi I’m sorry. I’ll email them right away.” Chloe made to rise but found herself thwarted by Remi’s arm.
“Yes you will, but we ain’t done yet. Lying is as bad or worse as being rude. So we’re gonna take care of that before you do anything else.” When Chloe returned a questioning look, Remi confirmed. “Yes girl, I intend to give you a good old fashion spanking.”
“Remi No!, That’s not fair, I don’t want a spanking!”
“I’m sure you don’t, that’s besides the point. Now, up and over you git.” Remi wasn’t one for stalling; once she gave instructions, following them was expected. “Move it! Now, girl!”
Chloe jumped but got up and slowly placed herself over Remi’s lap. It took some wiggling before she didn’t feel like she was falling. Remi waited patiently for the girl to settle. “Alright, relax them cheeks.” Chloe tried but in this position, relaxing wasn’t one of her options. After another few seconds, Remi knew this was as good as it was gonna get and began. Her hand swiftly lifted and descended several times before the pain indeed registered to Chloe.
“S~top, p~lease, R~e~mi.” Chloe’s hand flew back only to be caught in a tight grip and held at the base of her spine. The sorry girl wiggled and cried, only to have Remi scold and swat harder. “Re~mi, that h~u~r~t~s.” After several minutes of using her hand, Remi paused. Chloe sighed, believing the worst was over until she felt a painful thump of the wooden spoon.
As Remi brought the wooden spoon down, she added a lecture. “You will not lie, not to me, and not to your parents.” swat, swat, came the spoon landing over and over again. Once Remi was sure she covered every inch of Chloe’s bottom, she put the spoon down. While the girl sobbed over Remi’s lap, Remi massaged some of the stings out of the sore cheeks. Then when the sobs turned to sniffles, Remi lifted the younger girl up and onto her lap.
Although Chloe would admit it out loud, she did feel lighter, like some of the worry lessened. Remi held Chloe until she calmed, giving her reassurance and comfort. After a relaxing cuddle, Chloe looked up at Remi, eye still damp. “Remi, I’m sorry. Are you still mad?”
“Girl, I was never mad, just disappointed you’d lie. You won’t do that again, right?” Receiving a vigorous, yes, Remi continued. “I think it’s time you emailed your folks. While you do that, I’ll call the detective and see if there’s any news.” Chloe got up ever so carefully, afraid of putting any unnecessary pressure on her sore cheeks. She sent a quick email, letting them know where she was and asking them to call. They didn’t always call right away, so she was surprised to hear the phone ring as soon as Remi hung up with the detective.
“Hello, ” “Oh, hi, mom. How’s your vacation? Where are you now?” Chloe listened to her mother, who knew something was wrong, just by hearing her daughter’s voice. “Well, I got myself in a bit of trouble.” She took her time explaining the situation, and in doing so, she cried and listened, then spoke to her dad and cried some more. Once, she convinced each of her parents that she was safe. They then wanted to talk to Remi.
Chloe brought the phone over to Remi and apologetically said. “They want to talk to you.” fully expecting this, Remi took the phone and introduced herself. She reassured them that their little girl was okay and she would stay until they returned, which would take two or three days.
After hanging up, Remi met up with the teary Chloe and wrapped her strong arms securely around the young girl. “You’re okay, girl; I’m proud of you. That was a tough call for you. There’s nothing new from the detective, and your parents won’t be home for a few days. How about we make a nice dinner, choose a movie, preferably a comedy, and relax tonight?”
Later that night, Remi sat on one end of the sectional while Chloe took up the rest. Of course, laying on her tummy seemed like the best option; they chose a light comedy. The following morning, Chloe contacted her boss, explaining her situation; luckily, she was sympathetic and gave her as much time as needed. That same afternoon the detective called. They located the trailer Chloe described; unfortunately, there was no sign of the other girl. However, they did have several leads, along with some fingerprints found in the trailer.
Remi grew concerned watching Chloe’s stress mount and decided they both could use a distraction. “I saw a few bikes in the garage; let’s take them out for a spin.” Chloe groaned, trying to shrug off Remi’s suggestion. The last thing she wanted to sit on a bicycle seat. But of course, Remi wouldn’t allow it. “Up now, girl. We are going for a ride.” The moment Chloe realized Remi was not playing around, she made her way to the garage door.
The ride did them both good, getting Remi the fresh air she needed and temporarily distracting Chloe. They rode through the neighborhood and up to the park, fascinated by the geese swimming in the pond. Finally, they returned home to the ringing of the telephone. Chloe raced through the side door, picking up the receiver just in time. It was the detective, and when she spoke, she was a little more animated, “Ms. Jones, I wanted to let you know they found the other girl. She is on her way by ambulance to the hospital. The information given to me is that her injuries were not life-threatening.”
Chloe gasped at the news and almost dropped the phone; luckily, Remi held onto the girl and took over the call. “Hello there, this is Remi; what’s this about?” The detective relayed the conversation, requesting they stay put a little longer. “Of course, Thank you for the update.” once she hung up the phone, she ushered Chloe to the nearby chair. “You sit right here, girl. I’ll git you some water. Then I’ll fix sandwiches, and we can talk.”
Remi set two plates on the table, then sat across from Chloe and began. “Alright, girl, talk to me. Please tell me what you’re thinking.”
Chloe sat almost too stunned to speak, but she saw Remi’s concern and opened up. “That could have been me. And what if I didn’t get away? Remi, they wouldn’t have found either one of us.”
“You listen to me, girl. You did get away, and because you did, you and that girl are safe. You are both safe.” Remi noticed Chloe wasn’t convinced added, “But if you ever think of accepting a drink from a stranger.”
Chloe cut Remi off before she could elaborate, “No way, never. Wait, what are you saying? Are you coming back with me?” Chloe let her excitement shine through.
“No, I do have to get to the east coast, but when I come back, I’ll be wanting to check up on you.” Now it was Remi showing slight insecurity.
“Oh yes, please. Ah Remi, How did I get so lucky.” Chloe jumped up quickly, wrapping Remi in a tight hug. They’ve known each other for such a short time, but the bond was of a true friendship.
Not one for big displays, Remi shoed Chloe away. “Enough, girl, go sit and eat your lunch before I git the wooden spoon out.” The smirk peeking through the stern words had Chloe smiling as she returned to her seat. For some reason, knowing Remi would be around eased the fear she had of returning home.
They spent two days relaxing, riding bikes, walking; three days later, Chloe’s parents arrived. Remi left the following morning sitting in a confirmed seat, which Chloe’s father insisted on. Chloe was sad to see her go but happy when they exchanged emails, and Remi promised to call if Chloe needed her. There had been no news on the kidnapper; luckily, the second kidnap victim only received minor injuries and was released from the hospital.
Chloe stayed with her parents for another week; her father bought her a new phone and lectured her on safety. Finally, after a week of smothering, not only did she have to get back to work, but she was ready. She was nervous about going back to California, worried because the kidnappers were still at large, plus the few conversations she had with her roommate Carole felt strained. Although they were never very close, they were usually friendly.
Entering her apartment, Chloe was relieved that Carole was out and she had time to be alone. She flung herself on the bed as her mind drifted to her new friend Remi. Smiling, she opened her phone and typed out an email. “Hi Remi, I’ve just now arrived home. It’s peaceful, I don’t know where my roommate is, but I’m happy she’s not here. The last couple times we spoke have been awkward. I was wondering if we could get together once you’re back in town? Hopefully I’ll hear from you soon. Chloe.”
Remi read Chloe’s email and wondered if being interviewed by the police caused the girls’ strain. Well, she’d try to find out later this week; right now, she headed for her seat on the train. After taking care of some financial business on the east coast, Remi was on her way home. She had plenty of money to fly but preferred the rocking and comfort of the train.
Once Remi got herself settled, she took out her new phone, reread Chloe’s email, then began typing. “Yes, Chloe, Let’s get together. I just got on the train and as long as there ain’t no delays I’ll see ya Saturday. If ya want? Sorry to hear things with your roommate are awkward, maybe once you talk in person it’ll be better.”
Chloe’s mood lifted immediately upon reading the response from Remi. Chloe thought to herself; maybe she was crushing on Remi. This thought surprised her because Remi was much older and a lot sterner, not her usual type. She lay on her bed pondering, well, it would work itself out. Finally, after a while, she unpacked the few things she brought from her parent’s house and prepared her clothes for tomorrow. She was a little nervous going back to work after being away for almost two weeks; part of her worried rumors may be circulating.
That evening when she encountered her roommate, there was still tension between them. She attempted a conversation only to be disappointed when Carole remained distant. Finally, Chloe retreated to her own space with no other options, and she decided to seek Remi’s advice the next time they met. Chloe had always been independent, but after the kidnapping fiasco, she had moments of insecurity, and her roommate’s attitude was not helping.