This is a backstory piece I wrote for Mystical Warriors. The main characters, Mara, James, Vinny, and Drake, are probably about seven. This takes place after “Thief!”
This is rather long for a single blog post, so the second half will be out tomorrow.
It was a bright, sunny day in Connilville when a moving truck pulled into the neighborhood. Mara and James stared.
“Who do you think it is?” Mara asked.
“Do you think they’ll have kids?” James asked excitedly.
I hope so!” Mara said. She ran to her front door and inside the house. “Mom, Mom! We’re getting new neighbors!”
Mrs. Williamson smiled. “Do you want to make them cookies and we can take them over later?”
Mara clapped. “Yes!” She ran outside and told James, “We’re going to make cookies for them! Come on!”
They sprinted back into the house, Mrs. Williamson slightly surprised.
“Hello, James. Are you here to help us make cookies for the new neighbors?” she asked.
“Yeah! Let’s make chocolate chip!” he said.
Mrs. Williamson smiled. “Of course. I should have some in the pantry.”
She helped them gather the ingredients and prepare the cookies. When the cookies were finished baking, they placed them on a paper plate and took them to the house with the moving truck in the driveway.
James ran up to the door and Mara followed more slowly, carrying the cookies for them. James knocked on the door. “We have cookies!” he shouted before the door opened.
A middle-aged Asian man answered the door. “Hello.”
“Hi! We’re your neighbors now! We have cookies for you!” James said.
Mara presented the cookies.
“Thank you,” the man said. He took the plate of cookies, then called into the house. “Vinny, there are some kids here who would like to meet you!”
A young girl, probably a year younger than Mara, came to the door. She wrapped her arms around her father’s leg, peering at them shyly.
“Hi, I’m Mara!”
“And I’m James!”
“We’re your new neighbors!” they said together.
“I’m Mr. Kituma, and this is my daughter, Vinny. They brought us cookies,” the man said. “Wasn’t that nice?”
Vinny nodded. “Thanks for the cookies.”
“Do you want to take a break from unpacking and play with them for a bit?”
Vinny shook her head. “Not right now,” she mumbled.
Mara frowned. “Okay, well it was nice to meet you, Vinny!”
“Bye, see you!” James said, following Mara away from the house.
Vinny watched them go. They had wanted to play with her. They had even brought over cookies. “Can I have a cookie?” she asked her dad.
“Sure.” He lowered the plate and let her take one. “Why don’t you want to go play with them? They seemed nice.”
“What if they’re like Lilly?” she whispered. “What if they’re not nice?”
“If you go play with them, and they do anything that’s not nice, you can come right back home and tell us about it,” he promised.
“Maybe later,” she said.
James and Mara went back to Mara’s house, sitting in the front yard.
“Why do you think she didn’t want to play?” James asked.
Mara shrugged. “I don’t know. We might have to try again later. Do you think Drake can play now?”
“He said three o’clock. Let’s see what time it is.”
They went into Mara’s house.
“How did it go?” Mrs. Williamson asked them.
“We gave them cookies and they have a daughter, but she didn’t want to play,” Mara said.
“Yeah, I really wanted to get to know her,” James said. “There’s only the four of us kids.”
“There’s your older sister, James, and Drake’s older sister too,” Mrs. Williamson pointed out.
“They never want to play with us,” Mara said.
“What time is it?” James asked, changing the subject.
Mrs. Williamson pointed to the clock. “The little hand is almost to the 3, and the big hand is at the 9.”
“So… two forty-five?” Mara asked.
Mrs. Williamson nodded.
“Thanks, Mrs. Williamson!” James said.
Mara and James went back outside.
“Just fifteen minutes til Drake can play!” James said excitedly.
“Maybe he can play now,” Mara said. “Look, he’s outside!”
James looked across the street to Drake’s house. His best friend, a tall black haired boy a year younger than he was, closed his front door and waved.
“Can you play?” James yelled.
“Yeah!” Drake said, looking both ways before barreling across the street to Mara’s front yard.
“We met the new neighbor girl,” Mara said.
“We gave her family cookies, too. You missed out, we made the cookies ourselves! It was so fun,” James said.
“Was she not able to come play?” Drake asked.
“She didn’t want to,” Mara said, shoulders sagging.
“Yeah, I don’t know why, but she seemed nervous,” James said.
Drake thought for a minute. “Maybe she’s shy.”
Mara nodded thoughtfully. “Hey, Mom!” she called suddenly.
“Yes?” Mrs. Williamson asked, pushing aside a curtain from the window.
“Can we make something else to take to the new neighbors?” she asked.
Mrs. Williamson smiled. “I don’t see why not. What do you want to make?”
“What if we made dinner and invited them over?” Mara asked.
“That’s a lovely idea. James, Drake, would you like to help too?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Drake said.
“Yeah! Can we eat dinner with you, too?” James asked.
Mrs. Williamson nodded. “Of course. Do you want to go invite them over for dinner? They might want a heads up.”
“Okay! Thanks, Mom!” Mara said, turning and running across the lawn toward the Kituma’s house.
“Yeah, we’ll be back soon!” James said, running after her.
“Thanks!” Drake said, following James and Mara.
Once they were all together on the Kituma’s porch, Mara rang the doorbell.
“Coming!” a female voice called. “Hello?” an Asian woman, presumably Mrs. Kituma asked once she’d opened the door.
“Hi! We were wondering if you wanted to come over for dinner since you’re new to the neighborhood!” Mara said.
“Bill, are these the kids that came here earlier?” she yelled into the house.
Mr. Kituma appeared behind the woman. “Yes, they are. James and Mara. And who’s your friend?”
“I’m Drake,” he said, offering his hand.
Mr. Kituma shook his hand. “How can I help you?”
“They invited us to dinner,” Mrs. Kituma said.
“How lovely. What do you say, Lou, shall we accept their invitation?” he asked.
“Sure. Do your parents know about this?” she asked.
Mara nodded. “Yeah, my mom said we could!”
“Which house is yours?” Mr. Kituma asked.
“It’s two down, number 15,” Mara said.
“What time should we be there?” Mrs. Kituma asked.
“Uh… Mrs. Williamson didn’t tell us… she just asked us to invite you,” James said.
“Okay,” Mr. Kituma smiled. “Just let us know when it’s almost ready, then.”
“Okay!” Mara said.
“See you later, Mr. Kituma!” James said.
“Bye!” Drake said.
After the Kitumas closed the door, Vinny spoke from behind them.
“So we’re eating dinner with them?” she asked.
“Yes, sweetheart. It will be a good opportunity to get to know them and their parents,” Lou said.
“Okay,” she said.
Outside, Mara, James, and Drake ran back to Mara’s house.
“They’re coming for dinner!” Mara yelled as she ran into the house.
“Awesome. What do you want to make for them?” Mrs. Williamson asked.
“I don’t know,” James said.
“We should have asked what they liked to eat!” Drake said.
“Yeah, why didn’t we?” Mara asked.
“I’d soy go asked them but you already rang their doorbell twice in about fifteen minutes, so that might not be a good plan,” Mrs. Williamson said.
“Okay… we could make one of our favorite foods!” Mara said.
“What if all our families came over and brought lots of food, like a party!” James said.
“Yeah! Then they can eat whatever they want and we don’t have to worry about it!” Drake said.
Mrs. WIlliamson smiled. “Okay, James, Drake, how about you go invite your parents over for an impromptu potluck dinner with the new neighbors. What were their names?” she asked.
“Mr. and Mrs. Kituma, or Bill and Lou they called each other, and Vinny,” Mara recited.
James and Drake nodded.
“Okay, tell your parents to come over for a welcome dinner for the new neighbors the Kitumas and to bring food!” Mrs. Williamson said.
“Okay!” James and Drake said, running out the door and to their respective houses.
“What do you want to make for dinner?” Mrs. Williamson asked Mara.
“Can we make mac ‘n’ cheese?” she asked excitedly. “It’s my favorite and maybe Vinny will like it too!”
“That’s a great idea,” she said. “do you want to make anything else?”
“How about smokies wrapped in bacon?”
“Yeah, that’d be better!” Mara said.
“Anything else?” Mrs. Williamon asked. “Do you know of anything you think they’d like?”
“Um… well they looked Chinese…” Mara said thoughtfully.
“So they’re Asain,” Mrs. Williamson said. “We could make rice.”
“Yeah, we should do that!” Mara said.
“Okay, I think we’ll make that and then see what James and Drake’s families are bringing,” she said.
~to be continued~