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Dating a Denton*
Meghan, Age 14, Vernon, BC

I rang the doorbell, and for a minute I hoped that Denton would open the door, because I was in a very polite mood. I was surprised when, a moment later, the door swung open to reveal…nothing. I stared and then jumped as I felt a sharp tug on my pants. I looked down and stepped quickly back, just managing to avoid a sticky chocolate smeared hand. A small boy, no older than two, with dirty blonde hair and a round face absolutely covered in chocolate stared up at me.

“Hello,” I said tentatively, warily eyeing the cookie clenched in one small, grimy hand.

“Charles,” the boy announced proudly with a grin.

“No. I’m Carrol, but everyone calls me Buck.” I corrected him.

“No.” The boy grinned wider and brandished his cookie. A piece flew off and just narrowly missed hitting my clean white shirt. “My Charles, you Carrot.” He giggled. I sighed. Clearly there was no point in trying to correct him; I had already lost this battle.

“Charles! What have I told you about opening the door! Only Daddy, Mummy or the girls are allowed to open the door.” A woman marched purposefully into view, making a bee-line for the small boy cowering on the step in front of me. She didn’t appear to notice me, so intent was she on her son that she jumped when I tentatively asked, “Mrs. Denton?”

She looked up quickly and the frown on her face was instantly replaced by a huge smile. “You must be Carrol. Oh do come in, we’ve all been expecting you. Evelyn’s just upstairs, I’ll go get her.” Her gaze dropped from me, back to Charles and the smile faded. “If you get back in here right this instant, I’ll forget to tell Daddy that you were outside without me.”

Charles yelped and dashed back in at break-neck speed. I followed at a slightly more sedate pace as she ushered me in. Inside, the house was as quaint as out. I stood in at the end of a long hallway which stretched to a glass door; leading to what I assumed was the backyard. Several doors opened off the hallway and it was into the door on my immediate right that Mrs. Denton led me.

“If you’ll just wait here, I’ll go get her.” She smiled at me and then left the room. I glanced around; the room looked like an old fashioned sitting room. I sat down on the rigid burgundy sofa and waited. I hadn’t been there more than five minutes when the sound of a door slamming, followed by running footsteps reached my ears. A second later, the door burst open and Charles came tearing in, pursued by his mother.

The little boy ran straight for me and leaped onto my lap.

“Evie’s sick, Evie’s sick,” he shouted, screeching with delight. “She can’t go. She can’t go.” He giggled evilly.

“Charles!” his mother said reproachfully. Then she sighed and leaned in the doorway. “I’m afraid he’s right Carrol. It appears that Evelyn has just come down with a bad case of the measles. She won’t be going anywhere tonight. I’m so sorry, but we only just found out.”

“Oh.” I said. It was all I could manage as I watched my brilliant scheme fall apart before my eyes. No date with the beautiful Evelyn, no passing in History and worst of all, no Kathy, for she would never forgive me this. I was doomed.

“However,” said Mrs. Denton and I saw a faint glimmer of hope. Maybe it wasn’t a total disaster. Maybe they needed me to baby-sit Charles. I glanced appraisingly at the boy. Sure, I could handle him.

“However,” said Mrs. Denton, “our other daughter, Molly was supposed to go to a party with some friends but it was unexpectedly cancelled and she would love to go with you.” She paused and added, almost as an afterthought, “She and Evelyn are twins you know.”

Twins! My mind reeled. This must be the luckiest night of my life! I fought to maintain my glee. “That’ll be fine Mrs. Denton, just fine. Is she ready to leave now?” Mrs. Denton nodded and went out into the hall. I followed in time to hear her call Molly and watch as the most beautiful sight I had ever seen came walking up the hall.

Although they were twins, she didn’t look exactly like the photograph of Evelyn I’d seen.  She told me later that although they were twins they weren’t exactly identical. She was and is to this day, still the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. Tall and slim, with long curling red hair that hung past her shoulders, clear green eyes that were always laughing and a gorgeous smile that could break your heart in a second. The funny thing was, she did have braces and glasses, but the way they looked on her, braces and glasses would have been the newest fashion trend.

When she reached the door she flashed that dazzling smile at me and said “Hello, I’m Molly.”

All I could do was to hold out my hand and mumble, “Carrol.” She laughed, a high clear, magical sound and shook my hand. Then grabbing her coat, she headed out the door and I followed in a daze. Once we reached the car I made an effort to clear my fogged head. It’s important to stay alert while driving. As we drove, we chatted. Molly told me all about school, her friends, her classes, where she hung out how she was so excited for her sister, getting to go out with a lacrosse player and then how secretly glad she was when Evelyn had gotten the measles. “It’s not that I wish her ill or anything,” she’d said quickly. “It’s just that she was so lucky to get to go out with you and then mom told me I could go instead, I was over the moon.”

For some reason this simple statement completely floored me. It was such a personal thing but she admitted it just like that. As I got to know her better I discovered that that was Molly, sharp, smart and honest to a fault. She was also the kindest, most caring person you will ever meet. I’ll never forget that night, how I was so intent on our conversation that I missed spotting the broken bottle, lying innocently in the middle of the road. I ran straight over it and a moment later we were sitting on the side of the road with not one, but two flat tires and no spare. What a nightmare!

We sat in silence for a minute, then Molly said “Well, seeing as we’re going to be here for a while, you may as well tell me a bit about yourself.”

“What do you mean?” I asked her cautiously. I’m not big on heart to heart stuff.

“This road is pretty much deserted, I don’t think anyone’s going to be along here anytime soon, so you can tell me all about your classes and friends and stuff. You can say whatever you want to. You don’t have to focus on driving anymore.” She laughed, “so it’s your turn to talk. Tell me about your classes. What are you taking? I know you’re in my dad’s history class. How do you like it?”

It was such a simple question but it was as though she had raised a floodgate. A torrent of words came pouring out of my mouth and I found myself telling her all about how I was failing, everything but math and my horrible scheme. She laughed when I told her how I though her sister would look, “It’s sort of a stereotype.” She told me, “but Evie and I do our best to wreck it.” I even told her all about Kathy and how she would hate me forever. When I said this, she gave me an odd look and said nothing for a minute. Then she shook her head slowly and looked at me.

“Do you have your history textbook?”

I stared at her, flabbergasted. “What?”

“Do you have your history textbook?” She repeated, laughing at my expression. “We’re not doing anything else. I can help you study. I am after all, a history teacher’s daughter.”

I did have my textbook and I pulled it out of my backpack in the backseat. Molly was my saviour, without her I would never have passed those two quizzes. With her help I did pass and not only did I manage to bring my mark up in time for report cards, by the end of the year I was maintaining an ‘A’ average. She also helped me with my Latin, something she, amazingly, was fluent in and I managed to get my mark back to a high ‘B’.  Near the end of the year, she asked me out. We’ve been going steady ever since. As for Kathy, well, I see her around from time to time. She hasn’t spoken to me since the day she showed me Evelyn’s picture, but sometimes I wish she would. I’d like to thank her. After all, without the threat of losing Kathy, I would never have come up with my scheme to raise my grades and without my scheme, I would never have met Denton’s daughter.

          ****
            
*Author's Note: This was an assignment for my English class, to write an alternate ending for the short story, 'Denton's Daughter' by Ellen Lowenberg. The first sentence of my story comes from the original story.

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