Lea had finished packing in ten minutes. Most of her belongings had fit inside the messenger bag anyway so she didn’t have much to leave behind. At night, she would leave. She just had to survive through the rest of the day.
But, there was just one more thing she had to – sneak some food.
Lea peeked through the crack of the door to the kitchen after lunch.
Grace was busy baking, dressed in her baking outfit of baby blue, light pink, and black. She hummed to herself as she squeezed purple, blackberry batter out of a piping bag on a lined baking pan. With a flourish, she whipped up the bag, creating a perfect circle of batter with a swirl on top. As she moved to the next one, the swirl flattened, finishing the shape of a perfect macaron. Lea thought she looked like an artist as she worked. She forgot what she was doing, and spent a few minutes watching Grace. Suddenly, Grace set down the now-empty piping bag and picked up the baking pan.
Then she slammed it down on top of the counter. Lea jumped. Again, and again, she pounded it.
Lea realized that if she acted normal, maybe Grace wouldn’t know her actual plan. It wasn’t like her to intrude on others, her being shy, and all, but this was something she needed to do. It was vital to her survival.
So Lea mustered her courage and swept open the door. Grace stopped pounding the pan and looked up. “Hi Lea!” She said with a smile. “What’s up?”
“Oh, nothing really…” Lea said, trying to act like herself. Why is it so hard to act like myself when I actually want to? She wondered, beginning to sweat.
“Do you want to help?” Grace asked, hoping Lea would want to join her.
Lea shook her head. “Um, not – not really.” She stuttered. She is definitely on to me! Lea wanted to run from the room, but her feet wouldn’t move. She felt like a child with her hand caught in the cookie jar.
Grace peered at her strangely. Then she shrugged, and began pounding the pan on the table again.
How can she stand that noise? Lea thought, but focused on her mission. “Grace?”
Grace stopped pounding again. “Yeah?”
Lea swallowed. “Do you have any…uh…snacks? I’m kinda hungry.” She hoped she sounded convincing.
Pointing to the shelf behind her, Grace said, “Sure, help yourself to whatever you want.” Then she resumed her pounding. “I’m trying to get the air bubbles out of the macarons… If you were wondering.”
“Oh.” Lea said. She had never seen a macaron in her life, so she didn’t know what in the world Grace was talking about.
Lea studied the shelf of food before her. She needed something that wouldn’t spoil… Granola bars?
She scanned each shelf quickly, and spotted a pile of them on the middle one. Lea grabbed a handful of them, and stuffed them into her messenger bag. The wrappers crinkled as she handled them, but Grace didn’t notice over her pounding. Lea spotted some bottled water so she snuck that too. She would need a lot, so she took 5 bottles.
Her bag was almost bursting with her belongings and her food in it, so Lea knew she would have to leave some items behind. But she wouldn’t sacrifice the water. It was essential.
Lea also picked up a bag of trail mix and stuffed it in her bag as she felt a strange feeling her stomach. She felt guilty stealing from her new sisters, but she didn’t have a choice. I’m doing it for their own good, she reminded herself.
She turned around and tried to calmly walk out the door unnoticed. Grace had quit pounding by then and just watched Lea leave.
Safe in the hall, Lea wiped her sweaty forehead. Mission complete.
Stay tuned for Part 10!