Odd One Out Chapter 13
11 Itchy Collars And A Cup Of Hot Chocolate.
Chapter 10: Itchy Collars and a Cup of Hot Chocolate.
"I am rather ugly, aren't I?"
"I don't think so. You have your own charm."
"I see. Thank you. But it seems some people on the other hand have a much more honest opinion about me."
"Eeyore, what are you talking about?"
"Sigh. It's nothing. It's probably my imagination."
Doll thought it was one of Eeyore's little pessimistic episodes. "Here, Eeyore, a carrot." He said as he slipped a piece under the dining table.
"Oh, thank you. I do very much enjoy eating carrots but not as much as thistles." Said Eeyore as he lay sprawled on Doll's little feet.
A Cab sped through the busy roads with its windows clear and unfoggy despite the chilly weather. It was small and ovoid reminding one of a metallic egg.
As it smooth as its gliding was, the inside was not as calm.
Rik was not sure whether the glass panes were unfogged due to the latest trend of Crystalview panels or because the angry demoness was still boiling hot with anger that the temperature seemed a few degrees much higher than usual.
Two hours earlier, he had come under her assault of fiery breath and ear-twisting pincers. Now, after fending off most of the attacks, they sat quietly in the little metallic egg.
He worried that the Cab would soon explode like and actual egg kept in a microwave oven.
Soon, they reached the orphanage. As they got off, Fer hurriedly checked her system messages, tidied herself and put on a layer of lipstick while her system helped by projecting a mirror image of herself in her mind.
"Hey, would the kid like strawmulberry flavoured candy or avopplecado? I got a few more flavours just in case."
"She's a lot more nervous than me it seems," Rik thought.
Doll was rather suspicious of the recent behaviour of the Head Nun. She seemed to be nicer towards him. Yesterday, he even received a new set of clothes.
"That's a terrible hairstyle," said Eeyore, "just as horrendous as mine."
Doll, who sat dressed to the nines on the chair in the Head Nun's office agreed as he observed his middle parting in the reflection of his cup.
He fidgeted and squirmed in his seat and tugged at his tight collar.
Earlier in the morning, he was dragged out of his bed a whole hour earlier, fed some milk and toast and was rushed to change into his new clothes.
Soon he was ushered into the office where he had the Head Nun fuss over his bed hair. After nearly having his scalp scraped off by a comb, he was sat with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and was left alone and told to be on his best behaviour.
"These flowers are rather tasty," remarked Eeyore who nibbled on the recently blooming plant by the sill, "Do you want some?" He slowly turned to look at a horrified Doll as he chewed on a petal.
"Th-that's Ma'am's favourite flower!"
He hurriedly stood up when the door opened and the Head Nun entered. And behind her were two more people of which he recognised the taller one of them.
Momentarily, he forgot about the very important plant in the room that was dear to the Head Nun and broke into a smile. "Mister Rik!"
The four of them soon settled into their seats. Doll sat at the edge of his seat and kept glancing at Rik with curious eyes. "Is he going to take us on another trip? I hope he stays for a while," he thought.
The adults began their small talk and were offered some water. The pretty lady beside Rik introduced herself as his sister. Doll noticed their resemblance. As her examined her, she too, observed him.
"Hello, what's your name? I'm Fer!" She extended her hand. Doll shyly shook it and withdrew quickly.
"Doll? Wow! You have a nice name." Doll couldn't even say thanks because he felt overwhelmed.
"How old are you, Doll?"
Rik simply smiled at Doll as if to encourage him. His fingers twitched and his hands were cold. He tried to say something too.
"Hey, do you like candy?"
He meekly nodded not sure where this was going. "Are they trying to get some opinions for a survey again?"
"Wow! I love candy!" exclaimed Fer not giving Rik a chance. "Hey, what's your favourite flavour? I really like hydromelon flavours!"
The overly familiar way of speaking somewhat eased him. He turned to the stern lady behind the big desk who nodded at him kindly.
"Me too." he replied softly.
"Nice! We match! Look, Rik! He is on team hydromelon too!"
Fer and Rik kept asking him little questions and the Head Nun also put in a word or two.
A nun came in with some biscuits and laid them out for them to eat.
None of them touched it as they were engrossed with conversing. Doll saw Eeyore trying to sneak onto the table.
He crumpled a document with his clumsy feet, grabbed two cookies and slinked back to his gloomy corner. The adults didn't notice the missing cookies.
Crunch. Crunch. Gulp.
Before long, a strange silence filled the air as the three grownups stared at him.
"Doll, would you like a candy?" Rik intently studied him. The boy who was distracted by the corner focused back at him. "Umm..."
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He proceeded too slightly kneel until he was at the level of the little, hamster-cheeked boy.
"See, I'll show you a magic trick."
He clasped his hands together and asked Doll to blow on it. Then he shook it and brought it back in front of him.
There was a tiny piece of hydromelon candy neatly wrapped in a cute bobrabbit wrapper.
Doll took it happily. He thought that the candy was really pretty. The little bobrabbit was no bigger than his little finger and hugged a little glassy gem that sparkled. He felt it a shame to ruin it.
"Why don't you try it? We have more." Rik encouraged.
Doll didn't want to be rude so he pulled at the sparkly gem to put in his mouth. It was sweet and a bit jiggly. As he twirled it around in his mouth, he checked the wrapper in his hands.
There was something shimmering within it. He opened it a little more and saw a ticket to a new home.
That day, he thought that his happiness that tasted of melon candy was slightly salty.
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