Chapter 42: Madison Is Fire ACT III of IV of FAMILIES
“And that is how we managed to tie Mr. Micheals shoelaces together!” Lidia howls with laughter as she finishes relating the long ago tale.
Ilona, Cecily and Joy all roar along with Lidia, causing the four girls to almost start rolling around on the playground concrete.
“He so deserved that, especially after what he said to you Lidia!” Ilona sputters out, just barely, as she tries to regain her breathe.
“I know! That man has always been a jerk!” Lidia gasps and dries her eyes from the tears of laughter, “That felt so good to get him back!”
“Indeed,” Joy heaves out, “And on the last day of school as well.”
The foursome have been sitting by the wall for the last hour, having started the joyous reunion of old reading buddies by having introductions go all round, followed by a homemade lunch that Joy and Lidia had brought with them. Time moves the discussions from books to SummerFall to tales of the dreaded Mr. Micheals. Along the way, Joy strides to correct Ilona on some basic facts, “We invented the group high five! Not Josh, Tracey and Sarah!” and “Mrs. Travis is not over forty yet! I have to talk to Clara about that!” Ilona notices the looks Cecily gives her when the bruise on Lidia’s face is not the only one, with some seen on the teen’s arms and a glimpse of one on her upper hip. Her eyes tell the message to the younger girl to not ask, which Cecily understands. Loving approval of Joy’s glittery necklace reveals that Sarah had made it, all to possibly start a business. All this, and more, happened between the friends, until a “Meep Meep” sound shoots from Joy’s backpack.
“Darn! We have to get going in a few minutes,” Joy says as she clicks away on her smartphone, “Have another friend to go see.”
Everyone stands ups and starts getting their things together, making Joy exclaim, “Oh Ilona! You don’t have to leave as well!”
“No, it’s okay,” Ilona replies, ” I still have a whole list of things to do today.”
“And I better get home!” Cecily jumps in, “I think Cynthia might need help with her room!”
“Before you go,” Ilona suddenly remembers, “I am on a quest-”
She is cut off by Lidia joking with Joy, “Owww! A quest! I love quests! Can I be Princess Merida?”
“Sure!” Ilona laughs, “but it’s not a quest involving arrows I’m afraid. I keep asking my friends, and Cecily keeps changing her answer darnit, what their favourite book is.”
“So you want to know my favourite book, little sister?” Joy smiles, “This is an easy one, To Kill A Mockingbird. Hands down.”
“As for me,” Lidia also smiles, showing off her braces and freckles, “any of the Fables graphic novels. But you might want to wait a few years before you try them. They are meant for older readers.”
“And now, before we leave the wall, group hug!” Joy shouts and all the girls smush together. As they break apart, Joy shouts again, “And now, group high five!” Laughing at the fun of the situation, the girls slap hands together loudly.
After Ilona gets on her bike, Joy gives her one last hug. “And now, here is to a new life.” And Ilona smiles.
Minutes later, Ilona and Cecily are on their bikes, heading away from SummerFall and back to Cynthia’s house. Passing them in a car, and giving a quick wave, is Joy and Lidia. A short time later Cecily is safe and sound and maybe even helping with Cynthia’s room redo and Ilona is back onto her mission. A couple of side streets go by before she reaches her newest destination.
Ilona rings the doorbell and is surprised when Josh answers. “I take it from your shocked face, you think you are at the wrong house,” Josh laughs, “but don’t worry. This is Maddie’s place! I’m just visiting!”
Right away Josh grabs Ilona’s hand and pulls her into the house. Holding her hand up in the air, he twirls Ilona around and around, with both giggling every step of the way. “And now introducing, the world famous Ilona!” Josh shouts to no one in particular but the two of them. As if one cue, in some play Ilona has no knowledge of, Tracey wheels in sitting on a chair. “WHEEEEE! ILONA IS HERE! WHEEEEE!” Tracey bellows as she and the chair cruises through the foyer, narrowly missing Ilona, and only stopping with a thump when the wall gets in her way. “Hi!” she quietly giggles, waving her hand in hello, with the teen girl now fully stationary.
“Okay, now that was something completely different,” Josh laughs.
“Hehe, This is an ex-parrot!” Tracey replies while lounging back in the chair, pretending to be dead.
Ilona glances from Tracey to Josh, shrugging her shoulders. “I really don’t get that reference. Is that a reference to something? Is that old Doctor Who?”
“Aaah, someday ye shall learn that one young Jedi,” Josh dips into a deep bow, all to take Ilona’s hand and kiss it, “but for now, I must bid goodbye!” He gives the back of her hand several loud smooches, making Ilona giggle.
“I was just stopping by this day, running errands and such, before our flight to Disneyland. But don’t worry, I will tell Clara you said hello and I will tell Jackson…” Josh finishes his sentence with him and Tracey making kissing noises.
Ilona sighs. “Yes, tell my boyfriend I will miss him and I hope he has fun.” She points at them. “You two are just jealous that I have someone.”
“Most definitely jealous,” Josh says, rolling his eyes, as he stands in the doorway, “Everyone is getting all paired up nowadays. Even my dear old great auntie has met someone. Well, ciao all!” He waves as he closes the door.
“And,” Tracey states, “the cool thing is, his dear old great auntie met this dude because of a book. Imagine how crazy that sounds, Ilona?”
“I have no idea how craz–,” Ilona is interrupted with her sarcastic response by Tracey grabbing her arms and yanking her. In an instant, Ilona is planted in Tracey ‘s lap, with her bulky backpack feeling like it is crushing the teen, who shows no sign of being in pain. Kicking off from the wall, the two travel at what seems like high speed, right out of the foyer and back the way Tracey came, directly into the living room.
“WHEEEEEE! WE ARE HERE TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!” Tracey shouts as they wheel along, turning round and round, before the chair finally stops just short of the couch. Both girls are laughing on every part of the small journey.
“Whew, little buddy, we didn’t crash the Minnow!” Tracey whispers breathlessly.
Before Ilona can say again how she did not get that reference, Tracey opens her mouth wide and lets loose with “MADDDDDDDDDIE! ILONA IS HERE! AND SHE IS A MUGGLE!”
Seconds later, the loud thumping of smashing feet slams down the stairs, bringing with it Madison. “Here comes the sound of thunder!” She shouts as the last few stomps brings her off the stairs.
“Thank you Ray Bradbury!” Tracey says, than kicks off from the couch and aims right for Madison. Putting her feet down at the last moment, the chair stops just short of colliding with the girl. “She’s all yours! Please don’t bury her!” Tracey says while Ilona carefully scrambles off of the chair.
“Thanks for the lift!” Ilona states as she and Madison head up the stairs, and Tracey wheels away, destination unknown.
“Heya Ilona!” Madison punches her on the shoulder, “I gotta show ya something really cool on the net!”
Ilona laughs. “I have learned to be wary of those links.”
Upon entering Madison’s messy room, Ilona wonders again the same thought from the last time she was here. How does her friend find anything in this chaos? As if reading Ilona’s mind, Madison casually states, “Yeah, I started cleaning today, but gave up after the battle of the scrunchies broke out.”
“Battle of the –” Ilona starts to ask.
Madison puts her hand up. “To painful to get into. Many scrunchies gave their lives and I must honour them by spending the day reading and checking out Youtube and planning mischief for Wednesday.” Madison turns her head to a strange angle. “Ya still coming for the epic sleepover on Wednesday, right?”
“Definitely,” Ilona nods. “Can’t wait for the craziness you will unleash that night.”
“Excellent,” Madison replies in a fiendish tone, taping her fingers together in a menacing way, sporting a devilish smile. “But now to the wonderful world wide web.”
Madison plops onto her bed, with Ilona following close behind, and a laptop living between them. “Look at this, Cynthia has been updating her room redo all day. There’s the disaster her room is now, shots of her mom trying to get the bed out the door, another of Cecily helping, that’s one of her idiot brothers making faces, and that newest one–” Madison stops narrating. She and Ilona start twisting their heads at odd angles, staring at the picture on the screen. “–I have no freakin’ idea what that is.”
“A foot? Maybe?” Ilona asks, squinting.
“Who knows? Probably her brother taking goofy pics with the camera again. That is them every other day,” Madison shakes her head. “But enough with the productive people doing good deeds, lets hear about the productive people doing good deeds. How was you day so far? Seen the updates on facebook and text.”
“Well, let’s see,” Ilona says as she takes off her backpack, “as you would say, had fun, did some destruction, and am now on the run from the law.”
“Alright!” Madison exclaims as she high fives Ilona.
“Knew you would like that update,” Ilona goes back to opening her schoolbag, “and now I can return the books you loaned me. Thank you so much Maddie, they were both truly excellent.”
Ilona hands back The Adventures of Superhero Girl and Friends With Boys to Madison, who very carefully reaches over to the very tidy book shelves and puts them away exactly. Ilona rolls her eyes with the fact that the only clean and organized place in this room is where the books are on display. Madison’s finger dance along one shelf, before finding her target and handing it over to Ilona.
“This,” Madison proclaims, “Is what yer gotta read next. And don’t forget yer towel!”
Ilona read the title The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and glances at Madison. “What’s it about? And I need a towel?”
“Ye shall learn young Jedi, ye shall learn,” Madison lectures with a smile. “So what did ya think of Faith Erin Hicks?”
Ilona is thoughtful for a few seconds, than channels her inner Madison. “I know the stories are somewhat autobiographical, so I could see why you would like them.”
“You think I am a superhero girl?” Madison smirks.
“Nooo,” Ilona rolls out, “It’s just that it is very very obvious how much you…” she looks upward, thinking of a word, “lionize, that’s what Cynthia would say. Yes, you lionize Tracey. You go out of your way to be just like her. Wild, crazy and devoted.”
Madison smiles at Ilona. “Cynthia and Clara say the same thing. Another opinion makes it true. Dang!” She plops down onto her pillow. “Is it that obvious?”
“I noticed the first time I was here,” Ilona explains, “I could tell you adore her, want to be just like her, love being in cahoots with her,” she continues, “And, I can also tell, Tracey absolutely loves having you as a sister and a friend,” she finishes. “And a partner in crime,” Ilona quickly adds.
Madison keeps smiling at Ilona. “Y’know that pile of scrunchies over yonder?” They both glance over to a solitary pile of what seems like hundreds of different scrunchies, all nestled in a clump right beside the bookshelves. “A gazilion of them are Tracey’s.” The two friends face each other again and Madison hands a spare pillow over to Ilona, who promptly puts it under her chest as she lies on top of the bed.
“Do ya know how many times at night I creep down the hallway, all to listen to Tracey chatting with Josh and Sarah online?” Madison reveals quietly. “They are so awesome!” She exclaims in a loud whisper. “Sometimes I even make excuses to go into her room, just to try to be a part of it all. The fun! The merriment! The wonderment!” Her face takes on a dreamy quality for several seconds, than lowers her voice even more, “Ya know how many times I have made the excuse of needing a scrunchie? Just to hang out? All the time, as half of that pile will tell ya.”
Ilona glances again from the scrunchie pile to Madison. “I am fairly certain Tracey knows that, because otherwise she would have run out scrunchies a long time ago.”
Madison’s face enters a shocked phase. “SHE KNOWS?” Realizing this came out much louder than expected, Madison quickly slams her hands over her mouth. “She knows?” Madison whispers this time, after carefully lifting her hands up.
Ilona turns to look at the colossal scrunchie pile, than turns back to her friend. “Tracey knows, Madison, and she enjoys it.” Ilona continues, “It is like a mutually agreed upon fiction, all to have an excuse to hang out with the most amazing sister ever.”
“Which one is the most amazing sister ever?” Madison asks quietly with a happy smile.
“Both,” Ilona answers, returning the happy smile.
Madison grabs a third pillow and whacks Ilona with it. “Thanks,” she states after putting the pillow back.
“No problemo,” Ilona says, “Buuut, in my mind you are far cooler than Tracey, because you have been my friend longer, and because you have the power to call down snow.”
“Tis a gift,” Madison shrugs, “years and years of training at Hogwarts.”
“I could tell!” Ilona laughs.
Madison whacks Ilona again with her other pillow. She grabs it from her friend and whacks her back. This begins an hour long odyssey of pillow fights, scavenger hunts for scrunchies, running through the halls screaming that Mars was invading, finding Hermione and the flying her around the house which the cat reacted to by yawning a lot, and finally trying to hide Tracey’s chair in a closet. All this leaves the two tired, but when Tracey realizes where her missing chair is, the ensuing chase scene through the house leaves the three exhausted.
Huffing and puffing and leaning against the wall under the basement stairs, Ilona turns to Madison and Tracey, who are alternating putting each other in headlocks, and laughs as best she can. “This was fun as usual, and almost destructive as usual, but I should probably get going now,” she wheezes out. “I still have one more errand today.”
“Okay dudette,” Madison grunts while slowly crawling out of Tracey’s hold. “I’ll see you out, then come back and teach this cretin a lesson or two.”
“You wish freakazoid!” Tracey wheezes out. “And bye Ilona. Please punch Maddie for me,” she finishes and than collapses in a heap on the floor, chest heaving and out of breath.
Minutes later, Ilona is at the door and ready to go.
“It was great fun to terrorize ya today Ilona,” Madison says as they hug.
“Definitely fun beyond belief Madison, just like always,” Ilona replies as the hug finishes.
Seconds later, Ilona is on her bike and heading off to her last place for today, several streets away. And as she rides along, she notices something on the handlebar. A scrunchie, all nicely wrapped around the metal, and Ilona smiles.
Song For This Chapter: The Good Catches Up by Lawrence Gowan
First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.