What most people don't know is that when you have an accent, you can feel it sliding up your throat like a burp. You know that that long "a" sound is actually going to come out as "ah" even if you try not to. At least, that's the way it seemed to me. I wasn't sure about the others, but all I knew was that every single last syllable seemed to hang on my tongue as if mocking that I couldn't speak like everyone else in the room. That no matter how hard I tried to make it come out right, it just… wouldn't.
"Hey, Vash," my best friend, Ross was saying, "You coming over to my house, after school, today for a James Bond marathon?" even though we were both already heading over to his house.
"Of course." I chuckled, trying to ignore the difference between his perfect accent and my annoying Swiss accent.
"It's a good thing Kaia is out." Ross chuckled, "Could you imagine having her around the entire time?"
I playfully grimaced, "Something like what happened when we had an Alien/Predator marathon?"
A few months ago, the two of us had had a marathon of all the Alien and Predator movies. Every five minutes, Ross's little sister, Kaia wandered in and out, looking for hairbrushes, or books, or earrings or whatever the hell it was that girls needed. She did it merely to annoy us, and all his parents would do is chuckle whenever we complained. But before you go all hater on them, let me just say that they also do that whenever we try annoy her and her friends. Call them what you want, but they at least didn't pick favorites-they both hated their children the same amount (their words).
My eyes traveled over to the dark brown house that sat next to Ross's house on instinct.
"Neighbors not home?" I asked.
Usually, there were five punks sitting on the porch of Ross's neighbor's house. The girl who lived next door to him was a part of a gang, and they would usually be hanging out there when we got home-even though their school didn't get out until an hour after ours-fiddling with their pocket knives, or smoking cigarettes or drinking beer or whatever.
Ross shrugged, "Who knows? Who cares?"
"Your mother probably does." his mother was semi-friends with the mother of the girl next door. According to Ross, they used to be so close they would hang out all day, but it had eventually dwindled down to just a phone call every other month or so. Still, I didn't have much of a doubt that she probably knew, seeing as Mrs. Griffen was known for knowing everything.
Ross shrugged, again, "Well, then that's her problem. Right now, I'm just happy that I won't have to deal with them throwing beer cans at our heads. Let's just hope that wherever they went, they're going to stay there for a long time."
"You're a jackass, you know that?" I raised an eyebrow over at him, as we made our way up to his front door.
Ross gave me the evil eye, "Yeah, and you talk weird."
I narrowed my eyes at him-he knew that I was sensitive about my accent. Of course, that never stopped him from making fun of it, anyway. I suppose that was how you knew the difference between friends and best friends. Friends knew when you were sensitive about something, so avoided it, but best friends pointed it out every second they got simply because they wanted to make you miserable.
"Mother!" I called out, the second we entered the house, "We're home!"
Ross rolled his eyes as his mother stuck her head out of the kitchen. She glanced at me, before sighing. That confused me-I thought that Mrs. Griffen liked me! Why did she look so upset to see that I was here?
"Oh," she sighed, "Ross, I forgot you were bringing Vash over after school, today." she must've seen the slightly hurt but mostly confused look on my face, for she jumped, and started waving her hands around, nervously, "Oh, Vash, I didn't mean it like that! It's just something has come up and…." she trailed off.
"What's wrong?" Ross's eyebrows furrowed together in confusion at the same time I said, "Oh, is it a family thing? I'm sorry, I'll leave."
Mrs. Griffen sighed, shaking her head, "No, you'll probably find out, anyway seeing as how close you and Ross are." she motioned for us to follow her as she made her way into the dining room, "Just follow me."
We did as we were told, and allowed her to lead us into the dining room where a person was sitting. It was a girl with shortish pink hair and white bangs that fell over one eye. She had a fake stud in the eyebrow that wasn't covered, a lip ring, piercing running down up and down her ears, and rings on every last one of her fingers. She was also wearing a bluish-green sweater like belly shirt with shorts so short they were almost a belt, and knee high black boots. This was Rashel Montague, Ross's neighbor. Though why she was sitting in his dining room completely escaped me.
"Mom," Ross turned to his mother, "What is she doing here?"
"Well, when I got home for my lunch break, I found a message from Tanya saying that she ran away and leaving Rashel in our care."
Ross's eyes grew wide, "What?"
Mrs. Griffen moved over to their answering machine, "See for yourself." and pressed a button.
Almost immediately, a voice that sounded deep and scratchy as if it'd been chain smoking for the past twenty years came from it.
"Hey, Marion," the voice was saying, "I'm sorry for throwing this on you, but I just can't handle this, right now. I'm going away to find myself-could you please watch over Rashel for me until I return? I don't know when that'll be, but I hope it'll be soon. So sorry about this. I hope in the future you can all bring yourselves to forgive me." and then the machine beeped, signaling the end of the message.
Ross was silent for a second, before turning to his mother, his mouth gaping open, "Mother," he gasped, "This can't be serious."
Mrs. Griffen shook her head, solemnly, "I wish it were. But I went to check the house and all of Tanya's stuff is gone. All that was left was three garbage bags filled with Rashel's clothes."
"But, mom, we have to go to the police." Ross continued to argue. "This is abandonment! We can't just keep this a secret!"
Mrs. Griffen crossed her arms, "I know. I considered that, but Rashel started freaking out whenever I mentioned it, and think about it, if we do call the police, what is going to happen to her? She's going to end up in an orphanage and how is that any better for her? She's already so messed up as it is."
"Um, mom," Ross pointed to the pink and white haired girl, "She's right there."
Mrs. Griffen glanced over at her, before biting her lip, "Maybe we should wait for your father to get home."
"Well, what does Rashel think about all this?" I decided to jump in.
Mrs. Griffen shook her head, "I don't know. She won't speak to me." she shot me a hopeful look, "I was hoping she would talk to you seeing as you guys are closer to her age."
"Yes, but we're boys." Ross rolled his eyes, "What makes you think she'd open up to us?"
Mrs. Griffen shrugged, "I figured it was worth a try."
Ross raised an eyebrow, "Did you try to get ahold of her mother?"
Mrs. Griffen nodded, "Her cell phone has been disconnected."
"Well, did you try 411?" I jumped in, again.
Mrs. Griffen nodded, again, "Well, you see, that's where it gets kind of scary."
Ross raised an eyebrow, "What do you mean by that?"
Mrs. Griffen sighed, "They don't have any listing of Tanya Montague anywhere. Or a Rashel Montague, for that matter."
Ross's eyes grew wide, "So… you're saying that we have way to find her?" he turned to Rashel, "Does she know what their real last name is?"
Mrs. Griffen shook her head, "I think it seems we're stuck with her for now."