Weekend at Frank's

Katie was listening to music in her bedroom while getting ready for Girl's Friday Night Out with her friends when he heard her mother call her from the living room. Katie's mom usually didn't disturb her unless it was something important so she walked down the hall to see what she needed. Katie was surprised to see Mrs. Angers standing in the doorway, dressed in a winter's coat and looking flustered.

"Katie, you remember Mrs. Angers, of course," her mother said.

Of course. How could she not remember her? The mother of Frank Angers, her former neighborhood friend although they had drifted apart in recent years.

"Hello, Mrs. Angers," Katie said politely. "Is something wrong?" Katie knew Frank's mother wasn't making a social call at 4:00 on a Friday afternoon of a cold winter's day.

"Yes, something's wrong," she sighed with defeat.

"Mrs. Angers needs your help, Katie," her mother said.

Mrs. Angers and Katie's mom were around the same age but Mrs. Angers looked ten years younger, a professional business woman whereas Katie's mom was a worn out divorcee who worked an exhausting job as an emergency room nurse.

"What's up?" Katie asked, surprised she was part of the conversation.

"I'm on my way out of town for an important business conference," Mrs. Angers explained. "I just can't miss it."

"Okay," Katie said, still not sure what that had to do with her.

"My planned sitter Mrs. Ederman fell and broke her hip this afternoon," Mrs. Angers groaned. "She's going to be okay," she added, hoping to sound sympathetic. "But I'm in a jam. I don't have anybody to watch the kids on such short notice."

"Where's Frank?" Katie asked, trying not to sound bitter.

"Oh, he and Denise are off on a pre-planned skiing weekend," Mrs. Angers said. "I can't even get his cell where he is."

'Stick a knife in my heart why don't you, Mrs. Angers,' Katie thought to herself.

"We were hoping you could pinch hit at the last moment," Katie's mother interjected. "I'd do it but you know I'm all tied up with your Grandmother."

Katie was stunned. Babysit Frank's kid brother and sister? They had to be shitting her.

Frank and Katie used to be close, fun neighborhood pals who hung out and did stuff together. Their parents were friends and the two families shared day trips and other activities together. Katie even thought Frank was going to be her boyfriend when they got older but then his Dad died and her parents divorced and the routine changed. Katie decided to go to St. Anne's Catholic instead of Hillsboro High so she didn't see Frank at school anymore and their weekend social routine started to change too. Frank had his Hillsboro High friends and he wasn't around as much and then he was dating and popular and Katie fell off his radar.

St. Anne's Senior Katie hadn't seen Hillsboro High Senior Frank since Christmas Mass - and that was just a brief glimpse. They'd say hi if they ran into each other around town or at some mutual event but it was obvious that Frank had moved up the social status ladder and developed a whole new life that didn't include Katie or the rest of the neighborhood gang.

"I really need an answer right now, Katie, or I'm going to miss my plane," a desperate Mrs. Angers said frantically.

'No pressure', Katie thought to herself. She could feel her mother's judgmental and expectant eyes boring into her and Mrs. Angers looked like she was going to cry.

"Sure," Katie said boldly. "I'd be glad to help out." It was the last thing she wanted to do, of course. "I'll just need to call Amber and cancel our plans tonight."

"We have to go right now," Mrs. Angers said. "The kids are in the car. I'll drive you home. Get your coat. There's plenty of food and I left instructions on the kitchen table. Here's my business card with all my contact information," she said, handing Katie her card.

Katie's mom had already grabbed her coat and handed it to her. "Go," she ordered. "Call if you need anything. I'll call Amber for you."

Katie barely had time to catch her breath as she threw her coat on and followed the rushing Mrs. Angers out of the house to her late model SUV.

"Thanks for doing this, Katie," Mrs. Angers said as they got into the car. "I know you and Frank don't see each other much anymore so I'm sure this is awkward for you but you're really helping me out here."

"It's okay," Katie said with fake sincerity. "I know you're in a jam."

"You remember Ricky and Nancy?" Mrs. Angers asked hopefully as she started the car.

They were maybe five and six the last time Katie saw them. Now they were like nine and ten and Katie was stunned at how much they had grown. Strangely, while Frank was blonde, both of the younger kids were dark haired.

"You kids remember Katie, don't you?" Mrs. Angers asked. "Frankie's friend?"

"You used to play catch with me," Ricky recalled.

"You let me show you all my dolls," Nancy said.

The Angers lived just around the corner so they were already in the driveway and she already had the SUV in reverse. "Okay, kids, be good for Katie, do what she tells you, and I'll see you Sunday. Love you!"

"Love you too, Mommy," Nancy said. "I'll miss you." She got out of the back seat.

"I'll miss you too, sweetie," Mrs. Angers smiled, blowing her a kiss.

"Bye, Mom," Ricky said, trying to act cool.

"Love you, Rick," his mom said as he got out of the car too.

"I should be home before Frank on Sunday so you don't have to deal with that weirdness," Mrs. Angers said to Katie with understanding as she got out of the car.

"Don't worry about us," Katie replied. "Have a safe trip."

"Thank you so much, Katie," Mrs. Angers said with true relief and appreciation.

And suddenly the car was zooming out of the driveway and bombing down the street at Mrs. Angers sped off in hopes of making her flight.

"It's cold out here," Katie told the two kids. "Let's get inside."

They didn't argue as they ran through the snow and barged through the front door, Katie following after them.

A/N – I lifted the premise of this chapter from another story idea on this site – but I can't find it again to give proper credit by title/author. The fill-in babysitter who knows the missing sibling is the only similarity as the other story goes off in a complete different direction with an entirely different plot.