Trix and Riss


Thursday, September 21, 1995

Trixie Belden was exhausted, and it was barely lunchtime.  It was her first day back to school after dealing with a stalker, who had tried to seek his revenge on her from a previous encounter by trying to kill her.  The result of that misadventure had involved a gunshot, a dead stalker, and spending Monday having surgery on her left hand - which was now firmly encased on a bulky cast.  It was also throbbing madly at the moment.  Maybe coming back to school today wasn’t such a good idea.

Trixie tried to shift her backpack, but her cast got in her way.  Instead, she ended up swinging her bag into a person walking by her.  She turned to apologize, but the apology died on her lips upon seeing her accidental victim.

Beth Fleming glared at her.  “Watch it, Belden,” she said.  Almost as an afterthought, she twisted her lips into a condescending smirk.  “You could kill someone with that thing.” 

Trixie’s heart stopped as she stared into Beth’s cold eyes.  She wouldn’t, would she?  Beth’s evil look confirmed it.  Oh, yes, she would.  Beth was deliberately taunting her about killing someone.

Trixie clenched her jaw, turned without saying a word, and walked away.  She made into the girls’ bathroom just inside the cafeteria before allowing a tear to roll down her cheek.  She leaned over the sink, feeling like she was going to be sick.

A toilet flushed and a stall door opened.  Trixie was struggling so hard to calm her roiling stomach that she didn’t even notice until Merrissa Parkman stood right behind her.  She jumped when Riss greeted her: “What’s wrong, Trix?”

Trixie just shook her head and continued taking deep breaths.  Riss watched her closely while she went about washing and drying her hands.  Then she put her arm around her small friend’s shoulders.  “Come on, Trix.  You can tell me.”

“I don’t know why I’m so upset.  I should know better than to let Beth bother me,” Trixie said, totally humiliated by the tears she couldn't stop.

“She must have really hit home, whatever she said,” Riss observed.

Trixie shrugged, then said in a shaky voice, “It was nothing, really.  I bumped her with my backpack, and she told me to be careful.”

Neither girl noticed the bathroom door open silently behind them, nor the raven-haired beauty that stopped just inside the door when she saw them.

Riss frowned and looked sharply at Trixie.  That would not be enough to get you this upset.”

“I know.  It’s just… she said… I could… kill someone with it.” 

By now Trixie was starting to hyperventilate.  Merrissa sat her on the floor and pushed her head down between her legs.  The girl by the door narrowed her eyes angrily and slipped out unnoticed, as Riss rubbed Trixie’s back and calmed her down.

When Trixie was breathing better, Riss said, “I think I know what you need.  After school, since you obviously can’t play ball today, you should come over to my house.  I’ll give you ‘lessons in life with a cast on your arm.’  Chris and Paul can get Bobby after practice, and you can all stay for dinner.”

Trixie snorted.  “Moms’ll go for that,” she said, dripping heavily with sarcasm.

Just then the school nurse came into the room.  “Is everything okay in here, girls?”

Trixie nodded, and Riss said, “Yeah, we’re good.”

The nurse looked closely at Trixie’s pale and tear-streaked face.  She grabbed a handful of paper towels, dampened them with cold water, and wiped Trixie’s cheeks.

Riss grinned at the nurse, “But you know what would make us even better, Mother?”

Mrs. Parkman arched an amused eyebrow at Riss, a twinkle in her eye.  “What would that be, Daughter?”

“If you would convince Mrs. Belden that Trixie should come over for ‘lessons in life with a cast’ after school today.”

Mrs. Parkman sighed dramatically.  “Trixie, if anyone has experience in that area, it’s Riss.  Four different times she’s broken her arm.  It’s a wonder she can still play ball.  Not to mention the fact that one time, it was her right arm, and I had to scribe for her for six weeks.  Ugh!”

Trixie giggled.  Riss and her mother exchanged small smiles.  Mrs. Parkman looked her over again.  “Trixie, you look tired.  How’s your arm?”

Trixie grimaced.  “Throbbing.”

The nurse nodded.  “Lucky for you I have your pain medication in my office.  How about you come to the clinic with me, take a pill, and take a nap?”

The little blonde looked worried.  “What about class?”

Smiling, the nurse reassured her, “I’ll send your teacher a note.  After what you’ve been through this week, a missed class or two is to be expected.  No worries.”

“Mart will freak.”

Riss laughed.  “Leave big brother to me.  Go with Mom.  You’ll feel better.”

Nodding in resignation, Trixie made a move to stand up before realizing how hard it was going to be to get up off the floor.  Mrs. Parkman and Merrissa helped her up, and Mrs. Parkman escorted her away while Riss went to find Mart.





At Trixie’s Locker After School

Diana walked up behind Trixie and grabbed her backpack off her shoulder.  Trixie whirled around to see who was trying to take her bag, only to face a grinning Di.  The blonde rolled her eyes while the raven-haired beauty unzipped the bag and held it up so Trixie could easily repack it with only one hand.

“How are you feeling, Trix?”

“Much better, actually.  I took a pill and napped through French, but Mrs. Parkman let me go back to class after that.”

“After all, we can’t have you slacking off the first day back,” Riss said, appearing at Trixie’s side.  Trixie snorted.  Riss continued, “Hey, Mom said she fixed it with your mom.  You’re mine for the afternoon.”

Trixie looked at Di with a twinkle in her eye.  “That sounds like a threat to me.”

Di twinkled back.  “Most definitely.  If I were you, I’d be worried about coming back alive.”

Honey arrived at the lockers in time to catch Di’s remark.  “Coming back alive from where?”

“My house,” Riss chimed in.  “Oh, by the way, did you hear what happened to Beth?”

“No.  What?” Trixie asked curiously. 

Riss grinned wickedly.  “Apparently, someone soaked her hairbrush in blue ink.  Her lovely blonde tresses have got quite the dye job right now.”

Trixie’s eyes flew wide in shock.  “How awful!  Do they know who did it?”

“No, but Beth thinks you did.  Of course, since you were with Mom when it happened, you’ve already been cleared.”

Trixie leaned her head dejectedly against the locker door.  “As if that will convince her.  I’m doomed.”

Di snorted.  “You are not the only person in this school who can’t stand her.  You’re too nice to do such a thing.  There are lots of people who are more vicious than you are, and who would have reason to get back at her for something or other.”

Riss noticed the gleam in Diana’s eye as she spoke.  She narrowed her eyes in silent query.  Di raised an eyebrow in challenge.  Merrissa winked, agreeing to remain silent.  Di responded with the faint curl of a smile at the corner of her mouth.

This entire exchange went unnoticed by Trixie and Honey.  Honey stopped to ask, “Why would Beth suspect Trixie in the first place?”

Riss grinned.  “She’s jealous because of Chris.”

Trixie sighed.  “We just practice together.  That’s all.”

Eyes rolling dramatically, Diana knocked on Trixie’s head.  “Hello!  Is anyone home in there?  Or are you just blind?  He is so interested in you.”

Riss nodded in agreement.  “I don’t care how well you play basketball, there is no way you’d get as much of his attention as you do unless he was interested.”

Trixie slammed her locker door loudly.  “You guys are all nuts!  But I suppose Beth believes this nonsense even more than you do.”  Sighing heavily, she hefted her backpack with her good arm.  “Come on, Riss.  Let’s get out of here before Miss Head Cheerleader finds me.”




At the Parkman Residence

Trixie slammed her book shut and groaned in frustration.  “I can’t believe I could miss so much in just three days!  It’s only September, for crying out loud!”

Riss laughed.  “You’re doing fine.  We got through all your science, and now you’re caught up.”

Trixie snorted.  “Yeah, with Chemistry.  That only leaves English, Math, Social Studies, Spanish, French and Art.”

Grinning good-naturedly, Riss gave her friend a pat on the shoulder.  “Hey, at least you get a study hall until you’re cleared to go back to gym.”

Groaning again, Trixie lamented, “I can’t believe I have to write a paper for Art.  I couldn’t have missed a drawing lesson.  No.  I have to miss a lecture on the history of Ancient Egyptian art.”

“Wasn’t your mother an art major?”

Startled by the realization, Trixie look at her friend in amazement.  “You’re brilliant!  Moms can help me with that!”

“Good,” Riss nodded.  “So Chemistry and Art are covered.  Didn’t you say you have a study partner for French?”

“Yeah, and he helps me with Math, too.”

Riss raised an eyebrow.  “He?”

“Yes, he.”  Trixie wrinkled her nose at her friend before continuing.  “Most of my friends are guys.  I get along with guys better than girls most of the time.  Comes with being a life-long tomboy, I guess.”

Shaking her head, Riss responded, “So the only girls you hang out with are the prettiest two in the whole school?”

Chuckling ruefully, Trixie nodded.  “Stupid, huh?  I really must want to look like the ugly duckling forever.”

“The Ugly Duckling never was a duckling, nor was she ever ugly.  She just made the mistake of believing someone who told her she was.”  Riss gave Trixie a pointed look.  “Which brings us to our ‘lessons in life with a cast’.”

Trixie knitted her brows in confusion.  “How are the two subjects related?”

Riss grinned.  “Lessons in dressing for a cast – in outfits which also happen to be flattering to the figure.”

Trixie rolled her eyes, then sighed in resignation.  “I agreed to this, didn’t I?”

“You certainly did!”




Dinner at the Parkman’s


During her “lessons in life with a cast” Riss had insisted that the easiest way to dress would be in a tank top, covered with an opened, over-sized blouse.  Riss’ older sister, Kyra, who was away at college, was about Trixie’s size, so they borrowed a tank top of hers.  They used a shirt of Riss’ so that it would be a bit too big.  This was to enable the cast to fit through the sleeve.  Trixie felt that the tank top was cut too low and was too tight, but Riss insisted she looked fine.  She then insisted on working a little on hair and makeup.

When Chris Zack and Paul Andrews arrived with Bobby Belden in tow, Trixie was a bit nervous.  She greeted the boys shyly, and was somewhat embarrassed by the way Chris looked her over.  His appreciative smile, however, completely melted her.

Mrs. Parkman had been quite thoughtful when planning dinner.  The smorgasbord of everyone’s favorite Chinese dishes included plenty of foods that could easily be eaten one-handed.  Nothing needed to be cut.  Even serving the dishes was easy with one hand.  Trixie was tremendously relieved.

As the bowls of beef and broccoli, sweet and sour chicken, sesame chicken, beef Chow Fun, vegetable lo mein, steamed dumplings, crab Rangoon, beef sticks and white rice were being passed, each person present was asked to share a little about their day.  Mr. and Mrs. Parkman had done this with their four children every night since they were small, and when friends were over for dinner they were invited to participate.  Even Kyra participated via Mr. Parkman; he had spoken to her on the phone that afternoon, and he shared part of their conversation.

Bobby was pleased to swap basketball stories with Paul.  Dane Parkman, a freshman, regaled them all with tales of his Biology Lab.  Little Emily Parkman, three-years-old, proudly told everyone, “Today I wearned about owange an’ lellow.”

Chris smiled when it was his turn.  “The most remarkable thing about my day was how much I missed my partner at basketball practice,” he said.  Trixie stared at him in surprise, and he winked at her.  She blushed and became intently interested in her lo mein.

Mr. and Mrs. Parkman smothered smiles while Riss rolled her eyes.  Oh, no, he’s not interested.  Wake up, Trix!

Riss took her turn.  “During the course of my day, I discovered just one more reason to hate Beth Fleming,” she started.  Trixie glared at her and narrowed her eyes warningly.  Riss sighed in exasperation.  “Apparently, however, I’m not supposed to talk about it.”

Mrs. Parkman chimed in.  “Of course not, dear.  We don’t allow cattiness at the dinner table.  Find something else to share.”

A new thought occurred to Riss.  “Well, I discovered someone needs help catching up in Spanish, and she’s being given a study hall second period until her cast is off.  And I know someone else with a study hall second period, who scored a 100 on the Spanish Regents last year.”

Trixie perked up.  “A perfect score on the New York State Regents Exam?  Really?  I didn’t even know that was possible.”

Paul smiled.  “While it’s very difficult, it is possible.  Especially for our overly intelligent friend here,” he said, nodding in Chris’ direction.

Trixie turned to Chris in awe.  He smiled widely.  “I’d be glad to help you with your Spanish, Blue Eyes.”

She swallowed quickly before managing, “Gee, th-that would be great, Chris.  Thanks!”

Riss smiled smugly.  Paul shook his head resignedly.  Neither Trixie nor Chris noticed.

Mr. Parkman cleared his throat.  “Trixie, what was the highlight of your day?”

Trixie looked at him thoughtfully for a moment before replying.  She turned her brightest smile on Merrissa.  “Learning to get by – with a little help from my friends.”

Riss smiled back, and lifted her glass in silent salute.





Author's Notes:

As usual, I must offer my sincerest thanks to April and Kathy.  We are having fun with this, aren't we girls?  And yes, Kathy, the beef Chow Fun and sesame chicken were just for you!




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