Chapter 14: The Smell of a Hug ACT I of We Love All
Mr. Micheals finishes filling in the attendance sheet, and, as he always does, calls a student to take it down to the office. His gaze hits Ilona and hands it to her.
Ilona strolls into the office and has to wait to hand the sheet in. All because of a tall teenage boy, sporting a wonderful smile, is busy talking with the receptionist.
“Don’t worry Joshua, I will make sure Clara gets her lunch. That girl would forget everything but her cell phone.” The receptionist laughs and pats the brown bag sitting on the counter.
“Oh, that muskrat forgot she owes me five bucks as well, Mrs. Travis,” Josh laughs back.
And Ilona is stunned. Staring.
“You are the world famous Joshua,” she blurts out, and immediately slaps the hand carrying the attendance sheet over her mouth.
“I’m what?” Joshua turns to her and exclaims. “World famous?”
“Maybe she is one of your twitter followers.” Mrs. Travis does a mock exaggerated look.
“I have only 140 followers, and only some of those are real.” Joshua says while glancing at Mrs. Travis.
Ilona slowly lowers her hand, carefully puts the attendance sheet on the counter, and never takes her gaze from Joshua.
“I am Ilona. I am friends with Clara. And Madison. And Cynthia and Susan and Collette.” She starts talking with a very clear delivery, but speeds up towards the end as the butterflies from the presence of the mighty Joshua hits her.
“You are Ilona! I have heard soooo much about you!” Joshua jumps right over to where Ilona is standing, than gives her a massive hug. For the first time ever, not counting her father, Ilona is hugged by a man. And a man who smells as nice as Joshua. She smiles and breathes in his Joshness with all her soul.
Seconds pass and Joshua lets go of Ilona, who really wishes he didn’t.
“Have you finished the first book yet?” He asks, cocking his head to the side and squinting comically at her.
He asked her a question. Ilona did not know how to respond. She knows what the correct answer is. But her thoughts could not function enough to even talk to Joshua.
Mrs. Travis, still behind the counter and looking amused, interrupts.
“If you two want to sit down and talk for a few minutes,” she points to the couch nearby the door “go ahead. I will give you a note for…” she glances at the attendance sheet on the counter and her nose wrinkles “Mr. Micheals as to why you were delayed.” Her voice dips down when she mentions him.
“Thanks Mrs. Travis,” Joshua exclaims as he plops down.
Ilona looks at the empty place beside Joshua, and realizing time is limited, races to sit down as well.
And now they exist on the couch. Sitting together.
“So, the book. Finished the first one yet?” And Joshua smiles at her.
The question, the smile, the sitting, and the spectre of the book, all combine to break out Ilona’s inner Madison. Her mouth opens and what seems like every thought wiping through her head smushes out.
“I finished the book a few days ago and it took me less than a week. Cynthia loaned me the second one. Maddie showed me all the fansites and fanfics online with the library computer. I even signed up to a bunch of sites so I can discuss all the excitement and characters and how cool the author is. We all talk endlessly at recess and lunch and recess and after school about the book.” Ilona takes a deep breathe and collects her thoughts.
“We also talk endlessly about a million other things,” Ilona says while looking at Joshua. “Lots of important, grown up conversations.”
“Well not to many important grown up conversations, I hope. Gotta still have fun when you are young,” Joshua laughs and lightly punches Ilona on the shoulder. “I’m guessing Maddie and Cynthia led the group high five? We invented that. Tracey, Sarah and me.”
Ilona gasps and slaps her hands over her mouth.
“You invented that?” She quietly states while slowly moving her hands away from her face.
“Yep!” Josh looks on proudly. “So how was it?”
With that, Ilona launches again into another non-stop babble.
“It was amazing! We did the group high five and Maddie whacked me so hard that I had a massive red whelt. That was so cool, like a badge of honour! My parents even asked if I had smacked a wall.” Ilona stops for another deep breath, giving Josh a chance to pipe in.
“Parents, eh? They just don’t understand. But they try.” He says, winking at her.
Excited, Ilona jumps back into her story.
“I know! I told them all about the books and the characters and everything! They get so confused and end up laughing and playing with my hair and then ask me more questions about the book. They really are trying to get it.”
“They are Muggles.” Joshua sighs and does an exaggerated shrug.
“I haven’t read those books yet.” Ilona confesses and looks away.
“That’s okay, you can start those next. Those books will really blow your mind.” Josh tilts his head to try to catch Ilona’s eyes. “But one thing you got to remember is to keep up with your schoolwork. Clara started falling behind abit last year because she was just slamming through like a million books, which is fine and all, but her grades came in and our parents went…” Joshua threw his hands in the air “Kaboom!”
“Oh don’t worry, I am still right on top of my homework, even if I hate doing it sometimes. Mr Micheals can be…” Ilona glances over at Mrs. Travis, who is busy filing paperwork some distance away. “a bit of a meanie.”
“Mr. Micheals? If you ever want to get back at the jerk, just remember the acrostic. That was classic. Wish I had thought of that when I had him. I also wish a piano had fallen on him.”
Ilona starts loudly laughing, which brings Mrs. Travis over to them. Josh notices this and gets up.
“Well, I think time might be up now, unfortunately. Here’s your note for Mr. Micheals Ilona. It was good to see you again Joshua. And don’t be such a stranger. I am to old to follow you on twitter.” Mrs. Travis comes around the counter, hands Ilona the slip of paper, than gently hugs Joshua.
“I will stop by more often Mrs. Travis, promise!” Joshua salutes in a pretend manner that makes Ilona giggle.
“And as for you…” he turns to Ilona and sends his beautiful smile to her, “… stay classy!”
And for the second time ever, Joshua who smells so fresh and wonderful, hugs Ilona.
Song For This Chapter: Drove Me Wild by Tegan and Sara
First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.