Molly – Chapter 7
by Breanna Carter
I panicked. I mean, literally. My heart began pounding so quickly that I felt my head begin to spin, and finally, I had to sit myself down on the chair so I wouldn’t pass out. That’s when it caught my eye — on the computer screen was the website ” and it showed the cost for a ticket from Atlanta, Georgia, to Dublin, Ireland.
“Shit,” I muttered to myself, tilting my head back as if I were praying to a God. “She can’t be gone,” I was saying.. “she doesn’t have the money, doesn’t even have a way to get to Atlanta. Oh please, Molly, don’t go..”
I sat like that for a few minutes and finally decided that I had to try and find her. Atlanta was a few miles away. By car, you could get there within about an hour. Unless Molly had hitchhiked, which I seriously hoped she wouldn’t, she’d either take a bus, taxi, or walk. I hoped for the latter as I grabbed my jacket. I dialed my friend’s number — you know, the one who doesn’t ask questions.
“Jason, it’s Brian. Remember Molly? She’s gone,” I said in one quick breath, trying to hurry the conversation along so I could go look for her already!
“Whoa, Bri, take it easy. What happened?”
“She left. I got up this morning and she wasn’t here… she’s going to Ireland.”
He was silent, probably confused with my latest statement. “Ireland? Did she tell you that or what?”
“No, I saw it on the computer, and I need help finding her!”
“Just because it’s on the computer doesn’t mean anything. Have you tried calling any of her friends?”
I paused. Hadn’t thought of that… “… no,” I said stupidly.
“Well, try that before you jump to conclusions about stuff. I’ll be over there in a few minutes. Find her friends’ numbers and call some of them, see if they’ve heard from her.”
I nodded. “Thanks, Jason,” I murmured, then hung up the phone.
Call her friends… why hadn’t I thought of that? I picked up my address book that lay on top of the counter. I flipped towards the back where Molly had scribbled down various telephone numbers of her friends. Every time she wanted to go to someone’s house, I’d have to make sure that I knew their phone number first, just in case. Molly didn’t really mind much… she just pouted that adorable little pout she had and then wrote down the number of every possible person she knew…
The thought of that made me want to cry. Why had I punished my babycakes so harshly?? So much where she’d want to run away to Ireland!
I must have called over two dozen people by the time Jason arrived in my apartment. It was basically the same monotonous story each call — “no, haven’t talked to her.. no, she didn’t mention going anywhere… yes, I’ll let you know if I hear from her.”
“Any luck?” Jason asked.
“None,” I replied, throwing the pen down that I’d been doodling with while talking to the obnoxious pre-teens on the telephone.
“How many people have you called?”
“Are those all the numbers you have?”
Jason walked past me towards Molly’s room, motioning for me to follow. He sat down on the chair in front of the computer. “She really left this up?” he asked.
I nodded, running my fingers through my hair and sitting on the bed, elbows on my knees, head propped up on my hands.
“Weird,” he commented.
“Yeah, because, if she was really going to Ireland and really didn’t want you to know, she wouldn’t have left it up. She’s gotta be either at a friend’s house or wandering around town trying to find the Atlanta airport.”
I digested this, concentrating on it for a minute. He did have a point. Molly wasn’t careless at all… with her privacy, I mean. It’s not like I searched through her stuff or anything… in fact, if I saw her diary lying on the couch, the thought of reading it wouldn’t even pass through my mind. But the thing is, her diary was never lying on the couch, or anywhere visible for that matter. She had told me once that she kept a pack of cigarettes in the house, “just in case.” But she never left them lying around either… never left them anywhere I could see them. So how could she be so careless as to leaving a website up? It’d have to be purposely!
“Hey, what are you doing?” I asked when I realized that Jason was checking out her email. That was a no-no..
“Just looking to see if she gave anyone any clues as to where she was going… Relax, Bri, I’m not going to read anything that wasn’t sent late last night or early this morning — which is nothing.”
I exhaled, burying my face in my hands. How could all of this happen? I thought things had been going so well with Molly… I thought we were getting super close.
“Are you ready?” he asked, leaving the computer as it had been when I’d gotten there earlier.
He escorted me out of the room, knowing I was on the verge of a panic attack. If you’ve never had one of those, believe me, you don’t want to. My hands were shaking and my pulse racing, my head all distorted. I was so nervous… so scared for Molly.
Jason drove — surprise! I don’t think I could have made it out of the damn parking lot without having a wreck. He was listening to classical music — Haydn, that’s the only composer he really liked. When you’re stressed, Haydn isn’t the best music to listen to.. it’s not good for your nerves. I was on edge enough as it was.
We drove for hours. Every time we passed someone walking on the street I started shrieking, thinking that it was Molly. We took every route possible to get to Atlanta. No sign of Molly.
I was about to give up. I was about to throw my hands in the air and tell Jason that Molly was gone for good… gone to Ireland, to never come back. Then I saw her — a petite girl, red hair, a little past her shoulders, wearing a green backpack and a black hoodie. Her jeans were so long and baggy that I couldn’t see her shoes. It took me a minute, but I realized it was Molly, and this time, my shrieking was genuine.
“JASON! JASON!” I yelped like a crazed teenybopper who was seeing her idol. “It’s her! It’s Molly!!” I nearly jumped out of the car before it stopped and ran over to her. “Molly!”
She looked up, face tear-stained. I tackled her in a hug, and she didn’t resist, just hugged back as much as I, if that’s possible. We were both crying like crazy. “Ohmygosh you came, you actually came,” she sputtered through the tears, face buried in my chest where her words were muffled. “I was so scared… Ohmygosh, I’m so sorry.”
“Shhhh, Molly, it’s okay,” I cooed, stroking her hair and squeezing her tighter. “It’s okay, Babygirl. I missed you. I’m sorry for upsetting you. Pleaseee don’t run away again!” I begged.
“I won’t, I won’t. Don’t worry.”
We stayed on the side of the road forever.. I know the people who drove by probably thought we were psycho, but they were the farthest thing from my mind at the time. All I wanted was a happy twelve year old who would allow me to adore her as I did.
Finally, Jason dragged us away from each other. “Come on, guys, there’s time for that when you get home. It’s cold out here…”
I shivered, remembering that it was a bit chilly, and with night falling on us, it’d be getting super cold soon. I took Molly’s hand in mine and lead her to the car.
“I’m so sorry,” she kept saying.
“Take it easy, babygirl. You’re okay. We’re okay now.”
She nodded, easing herself down onto the seat in the car. I knew she was probably still in pain from the previous night’s events… In fact, I was certain she was. “You’re not mad at me?” she whispered.
“No, baby, I’m not mad. I was just worried.” I sniffled a little and wiped my eyes. I hated crying in the first place, much less in front of other people. But I was just so glad to see her I couldn’t help it. “I thought I’d lost you forever,” I told her.
“I didn’t mean to worry you,” she said as Jason started the car up and we headed back to home.
We didn’t say much more on the ride home, probably because neither of us felt too comfortable with Jason there. He was a good friend, after all, but we needed some time alone to discuss everything that’d happened.
He finally pulled into the parking lot and stopped the car, not even bothering to park.
“Thanks, man,” I said, patting him on the shoulder.
“No problem. Anytime.” He smiled. “See ya later, Molly.”
Molly smiled through the tears that were still falling. “Later, Jace.”
Both of us opened our doors and I put my arm around her shoulder, as if shielding her from everything outside — not just the cold. We walked side-by-side into my apartment.
She sat down on the couch as if she were an actor in a movie and knew that was her cue. I mean, she didn’t really have to sit down there… she could’ve gone to her room and played on the computer or something.. but I figured that she wanted this talk as much as I did. That’s why she went ahead and sat down.
I took off my jacket and threw it on one of the bar. There were still two plates full of food sitting on the table. It’s a wonder that there weren’t any ants in them or anything. I went ahead and dumped them out — I didn’t want to attract any ants — then fixed two mugs of hot chocolate.
I plopped down next to her on the sofa, handing her a mug. “What’s up, Molly? What happened?” I asked, not wanting to break down and start crying again.
She looked away from me, averting her eyes to the ground. “I- I don’t know, honestly,” she answered. “I guess I’ve just been so mad and stuff. Like… it’s hard to explain… but when I met Ali, it kinda hit me that my mom left me… my dad left me… everybody’s left me… and I…” she paused.
Spit it out, Molly, I wanted to say.
“I dunno,” she said.
That wasn’t quite spitting it out. “What is it, Molly? You can tell me..”
She shrugged, looking back up at me, the tears threatening to fall once again. “I figured I wasn’t that great, and you… well… you’d prolly leave me, too.”
There, she’d said it.
I wasn’t shocked — I guess I was kind of expecting it. I just didn’t know how she could think that I’d leave her, too. How had I given her that impression?
“I mean… it’s just that… I’m scared that it’s my fault everyone leaves me, and maybe if I go to Ireland, I can live on my own and I’ll be okay…”
“Aww, babycakes…” I said, hugging her tightly. “I’ll never leave you! I promise. And your dad didn’t leave — he passed away. You know, death is a part of life… everyone has to go sometimes, right?”
She nodded. “It’s so hard, though,” she said.
“I know it is. It’s super hard… and it always will be. But your dad still loves you, more than anything.” I wished that I could add some words of Christian encouragement, but my faith, or lack thereof, wouldn’t allow it. “And I love you, too. And plenty of other people! You’re a great kid, Molly.”
She shrugged. “That’s why I’d left that website up, so you could find me. And I was getting scared that you didn’t care and really did want me to go to Ireland.”
“Nooo, I don’t want that,” I promised, just squeezing her tighter. “I want you to stay right here with me. You’re the best kid ever and I love you tons. I wanna keep you forever, okies?”
“But… what about legal stuff?” she asked.
I raised my eyebrows.
“I mean, I overheard you talking to someone on the phone the other night… and you were talking about how the school probably wouldn’t believe for much longer that I was just staying with you while my mom was out of town and that you’ll need to go to court to get full legal rights over me. What about that? I don’t want to live with a foster family!” With that last statement, she almost began wailing.
“Don’t worry about that, baby,” I said, keeping her close to me. “We’ll go see about that one day. I won’t let them put you in a foster home… I’ll research into it — one of my friends is in law school.. I’m sure she can tell me some stuff.”
She nodded weakly. “So you’re not going to leave me?” she asked after a few minutes of silence.
“No, I’m not going to leave you.”
“Are you going to spank me again for running off like I did?”
I had to smile slightly at that one. “No, baby, I’m not going to spank you. But pleaseee don’t do this to me again? If you’re ever scared or sad or lonely, I’m here for you to talk to, okay? And if you don’t feel comfortable talking to me, there’s plenty of other people.” I was sort of hinting around to a counselor, but most kids don’t feel comfortable talking to them anyway, and I didn’t want her to think that I thought she was crazy, so I wasn’t going to suggest one.
She nodded. “I promise I’ll talk to you next time instead of running away. I was scared. I didn’t know where I was and cars kept slowing down asking me if I was okay. I cried all day wishing that you’d hurry up and find me.”
“Well, I found you, and you’re okay. But I trust you know how dangerous what you did today was?”
“I wouldn’t want anyone to kidnap you, and with you staying with me and everything, it’d probably be best if you didn’t get into any trouble with the law. No telling what would happen then.”
She nodded again.
“But nothing happened and we’re okay now, right?”
She grinned slightly and looked into my eyes. “Right,” she said, hugging me tightly. My arms had been around her the whole time, but this was the first time that she’d hugged me as well. “I’m hungry, though.”
“Me too. How ’bout some pizza rolls and we can watch ‘Friends’? Hm? That sound okay?”
“Matthew Perry and pizza rolls? You know I’m in for it!” she said, grinning from ear to ear.
I rolled my eyes.
“But you gotta go to work soon, so hurry up!”
“How come you know my work schedule better than me?” I asked.
“Because I’m smarter, duh!” she giggled.
I raised my eyebrows. “Smarter, eh? We’ll see about that,” I teased and began tickling her like crazy. She giggled and squirmed, trying to kick me away, to no avail.
“Okay! Okay!” she squealed, still giggling. “You’re smarter, you’re smarter!”
I giggled myself and stopped tickling, planting a kiss on her forehead. “You’re sweet, MollyCakes.”
“You are, too, Brian…Salad?” She shrugged.
“Cute, Molly… BrianSalad.”
“I know,” She said, sticking her tongue out at me and setting the tv up to watch “Friends.” I’d bought her the fifth season on dvd and we’d watched about half of it. “Now, get to cookin’ those pizza rolls!”