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March 22nd, 2011 (7:16 AM).
Oatmeal? Are you CRAZY?!
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: In the middle of nowhere.
Okay! Well, since people are actually reading this, I guess I'll continue!
Belle gently placed the framed picture of herself, Terra, and Daniel at the beach on the nail poking out of the wall, trying not to fall off her stepladder. Her hair was pulled back into the smallest of ponytails—it had been a while since she had had to do this. Her hair was getting longer.
“Try not to fall off your ladder,” Terra said. Belle straightened the picture and stepped down.
“It’s a stepladder,” she corrected her mother.
Terra tucked some bangs behind her ears. The rest of her hair was pulled back in a lengthy ponytail underneath an emerald green bandana. She wore a plain white T-shirt splattered with light green paint and black gym shorts, and her feet were bare, her green toenail polish flashing when it caught the light. It was strange for Belle to realize just how beautiful her mother was—the high cheekbones, the chocolate-colored eyes, the long and thin but strong fingers—and stranger still to realize that she had inherited these features. “What’s the difference, sweetie?” Terra asked, flipping her stubborn bangs out of her eyes with a toss of her head.
“Well, calling it a ladder is like…a narrow-minded cultural assumption.”
Terra smiled and shook her head before turning toward the kitchen. “You’re starting to sound like your father. He said weird stuff like that all the time.” She picked briefly at a speck of paint on her arm; Terra was in the process of painting the front room. She had managed to get the back rooms painted first, since they were smaller, so Belle was decorating them.
Belle folded up her stepladder and leaned it against the wall. “So what’s up with all the green lately?” she asked, following her mom into the kitchen and watching as she began opening cabinet doors.
“I’m trying to get into the Mother Earth theme,” Terra replied, shaking the bangs out of her eyes again. She pulled down a can of vegetables. “After all, I’m now the leader of a Ground-type Gym.”
“So you’re gonna stay here?”
“Certainly. Can you grab a pot for me, please, Belle? And a frying pan? Just stick them on the stove. Why wouldn’t I?” Terra crossed to the stove, vegetables in one hand and a can opener in the other. “Turn the burners on.”
Belle readied the stove before watching her mother opening the can. “I don’t know. Just…from what you told me, it sounds like you only came because you were worried about me.”
“That was my initial reason,” Terra admitted, dumping the vegetables into the pot and moving the pot onto the burner. “But I like being a Gym Leader. I battled two Trainers before you, actually. A boy and a girl—they came together. They were friends. Sweet, really,” she added, moving past Belle to the cabinets again. “Reminded me of me and your dad, before he did that disappearing act in the middle of our journey.”
“Disappearing act?” Belle said, bewildered.
“Mom?” Derek had come into the kitchen. “Mom, are you making dinner?”
“Yes I am,” Terra replied. “Why? You hungry?”
Somehow, Belle didn’t want to inquire about her father’s “disappearing act” with Derek around. She turned to him and grinned. “Hey, buddy! Where’s Charmy?”
Derek returned her grin with enthusiasm. “In the gym! We’re playing—we all are. Oh—how did Poliwhirl get that scar on its back?”
Belle sighed. “In a Gym Leader fight. I was really dumb about that,” she remarked.
“Ooh, tell me!” Derek cried, grabbing her hand. “Mom, is it okay if Belle takes a break?”
“Sure,” Terra replied, now emptying rice into a bowl.
That night, Belle kissed her mother’s forehead at around eleven o’clock, telling her good-night. “Is it that late?” Terra asked. She had lines of tape all around the room; she was going to paint horizontal stripes of different shades of green up the walls, and then sponge the colors together so that it looked like it was fading. Her fingers were covered in paint of varying shades of green, so she tried to brush her bangs out of her eyes with her wrist, which left a small streak of medium green on her forehead.
Belle laughed. “So showering doesn’t get that stuff off?”
“No, it’s oil-based paint,” Terra sighed, putting the roller down. “Did you check on Derrick?”
“Yeah. He’s sleeping with Poliwhirl,” Belle replied. “He really likes my Pokémon.”
“I knew he would,” Terra replied. “He’s gotten bored of all mine. I think he likes Water Pokémon…he used to play with Nix a lot.”
“Funny, because Charizard is his favorite Pokémon.”
“Do you remember the day you left?” Terra asked suddenly, looking up from her place on the floor, where she had been crouching and trying to paint dark green.
“And he gave you his Charizard toy?”
Belle smiled and reached into her pocket, pulling out the toy in question. “Yes. It’s what helped me make the decision.”
Terra smiled. When Belle went to put it back into her pocket, Terra reached out and caught her wrist. “Sweetie,” she said, and Belle looked down. “You do know that…whenever you want to tell me…what happened…I’ll stop what I’m doing and listen.”
Belle felt like a small child again; eight years old, standing up, her mother kneeling and holding her hand, looking her seriously in the eye.
You can talk to me,
she had said then.
I’ll stop what I’m doing and listen.
Of course, then, it had been about her father.
Now, Belle dropped her gaze. “I know,” she said, and she was overwhelmed with de já vu; it was just like all those years ago.
Terra’s hand fell from Belle’s wrist to settle on her own knee. Worry appeared on her face in countless small ways that Belle had learned to recognize over the years—the tightening of the corners of her lips, the softening of the eyes, the slight twitch between the eyebrows as she fought to keep her expression neutral.
“Good night, Mom.” Belle smiled gently and left her mother to her complicated living room walls. She put on her pajamas and slipped gently into the sweet-smelling sheets of her old bed.
The door opened and Charmy came through, bending his long neck to duck under the doorway. He rumbled in his throat as he shut the door behind him.
“Come in,” Belle said quietly. “How’s Derek? Is he sleeping?” She sat up in bed as her Charizard came closer; she could see his tail flame shining brightly.
Charmy rumbled again and stopped beside her bed.
“You can climb in if you want,” Belle said, patting the bed beside her. “It’s…well…small, though. It’s been a while since I slept in this bed,” she added. “Mom brought it from our house in Cherrygrove. You’ve never seen Cherrygrove…but you will. When I visit…home…” She looked down. The shadows on her blankets lengthened as Charmy came closer, bending his neck to plant a dragonish kiss on the top of her head. She looked up at him and smiled. “I’m a big mess, huh, Charmy?”
Growling pleasantly, he folded his wings up as small as they could go and clambered into the bed, stretching out on his stomach and adjusting his tail so that he wouldn’t catch the sheets on fire. Belle laid down too.
“Poliwhirl still with D-D-Derek?” she yawned, pulling the covers up to her chin and closing her eyes. Charmy growled in assurance. “How about Bellosum and Primape? Them too? Dugtrio? Jolteon?”
Belle nodded at Charmy’s answering growls and turned on her side, away from him.
Whenever you want to tell me…what happened…I’ll stop what I’m doing and listen.
Her mother’s voice rang through her head. She still kept that story inside, but if she could tell anyone without it being a major burden, it was her mother. Maybe she’d tell her…tomorrow…
Belle vaguely realized that she hadn’t taken out her ponytail before she dropped off to sleep.
Mom told me all about how you wrote to her, and now she’s the Viridian City Gym Leader. You rascal, you!!
Well, I’m not doing much, just helping Mom decorate the house. It’s looking nice. Mom’s trying to decorate it with “earth tones”, so it’s mostly green, but Derek’s room is red and orange, and mine is blue. Derek really likes Poliwhirl, and Poliwhirl likes him right back. I bet it’s going to be hard for them when I move on.
Poliwhirl’s got a huge scar on his back from the Cinnabar Island Gym, and it’s all my fault. The scar just won’t go away. It doesn’t hurt him anymore, but it looks terrible—like this big dark blue and black gash going right down his back. It kind of reminds me of the scar I got from the stitches when Derrick ran out of the Viridian Forest and scared me.
The Viridian Forest…it’s just ahead. It’s strange to be back here, the first city I came to after getting my first Pokémon. I like to visit Nurse Joy—she’s usually really busy, though. There are a lot of newer Trainers coming through, and it’s weird that they’re just my age. They seem so much younger. Nurse Joy says that usually, kids are at least seventeen when they finish their journey. I guess I just sped through it.
Speaking of, isn’t Alyssa turning seventeen soon? I wish we could be with her for her birthday, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. =/ She’s really moving up in the Ranger world.
Well, I’ll wrap this up.
Love you lots!
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