Raine is lost and alone. Will the helping hands of strangers get her back on her feet?
Raine woke to a very loud and shrill alarm clock that was followed by “Mofuckin fuck! Turn that fuckin shit off Stacie!” Followed by a pillow flying through the air. The room became silent as Stacie turned it off. “I’m sorry, I have work today and my old alarm clock broke so Gwen gave me this one, just go back to sleep Isabelle, you still have an hour before your bus comes. Sorry Raine, I’ll get a new one with my savings today.” Stacie said as she got out of bed and stretched and yawned at the same time. “It’s alright Stacie; I’m used to waking up early in the morning. My dad made me get up to make his breakfast a lot when I was little before he lost his job.” Raine propped herself up on her elbow and looked around the dim room filled with shadows. “That’s a nice sob story girl but I’m trying to get some damn sleep over here before class today.” With that Isabelle turned over with a loud huff and covered her head with the blanket. Stacie chuckled a little, grabbed her toiletries and clothes and headed for the bathroom. Isabelle mumbled in her sleep something incoherent and her body jerked a little. Raine got up slowly, stretched and walked towards the door. If it was this early she might get the kitchen to herself and be able to have a few seconds alone before she had to meet and greet everyone once again. She made it almost to the end of the hall before a door opened and someone emerged. It was either Tina or Bess wobbling towards her from the opposite direction. “Hey Raine, why up so early? I’m usually the first one awake. The baby won’t let me sleep past 6 anymore. She or he is very hungry all the time.” She smiled at Raine and headed down the stairs with her. “So when are you due…err…Bess?” “It’s Tina and I’m due in about a month or so. I couldn’t give an exact date of when I became pregnant because me and my guy had been sleeping together for almost a month when I found out I was pregnant. Now my guy is in prison up on some drug charges and my mom and dad still think I’m a hoe. Great day to be alive isn’t it?” She laughed as she wobbled off the last step and towards the kitchen.
About 30 minutes later, more groggy girls appeared at the doorway to the kitchen. Isabelle, Gretchen, Laurie, and Sylvie gobbled down eggs and toast before they all left on a bus for an alternative school. Stacie, Margaret, Tamara, and Samantha stumbled out the door for work after guzzling down as much coffee as possible. After they left, Gwen, Raine, River, Bess and Tina were sitting at the kitchen table talking idly until it was time for Bess’s doctor’s appointment and the shopping spree that Gwen was taking Raine on. Tina and River were staying home to work on their GED’s. Every now and then Raine would catch River staring at her out of the corners of her eyes. When she was washing dishes she felt as though someone was staring holes in the back of her head. It sent chills down her spin and the hair on the nap of her neck to stand at attention. She didn’t feel threatened but felt like she was dancing at the tip of a pen. She felt awkward in front of River and couldn’t figure out why.
After they dropped Bess at the office building for her appointment, the taxi drove Gwen and Raine to the Salvation Army where she found 2 pairs of girl’s jeans that barely fit her slender hips and a pair of boy’s jeans that fit her perfectly though they were a bit baggy in the legs. Gwen insisted on her buying 3 pairs of shoes, work shoes, sneakers and something to wear around the house and also a couple of t-shirts and one or two girly tops that fit snug against her body and made sure to shoe that she wasn’t wearing a bra. After the shopping spree they picked up a beaming Bess at the office building and listened to her talk about how the doctor says that she is going to be giving birth to a healthy baby boy in a couple of weeks and to have a bag ready by her bed incase she goes into labor in the middle of the night. Gwen was smiling and chatting about the baby with Bess excitedly while Raine tried to figure out how she was going to get her GED or if she could even get her GED, did it cost money?
When they reached home, River was sprawled out on the couch asleep with her English notebook strewn across her chest and Tina was rocking in a chair sewing what looked to be a baby’s booty. Gwen went to wake River up and Bess ran to Tina to tell her the good news. Raine smiled at the interesting family that was in front of her and slowly walked up the stairs to put up her new clothes. She was smiling as she walked into her room and found the drawer that was set aside for her. It had her name imprinted on the handle. Gwen had put the label on it this morning before they left so Raine would have something all to herself other than the bed. It made her feel so special. She had never had her own drawer, she always shared one with her sister and the extra clothes were always in cardboard boxes or milk cartons when there was one to spare. Humming to herself she put up her clothes slowly running her fingers over the embroidered patterns on one of the pants legs. While she was putting away her clothes her hair kept slipping out of the knot that she had tied it in, she blew it out of her face, tucked it behind her ears. She tried to remember when the last time she had gotten her hair cut but couldn’t. And that’s when she got this bright idea. She was going to cut her hair. She put away the rest of the clothes and went straight for the bathroom.
Raine stood gawking at herself in the mirror. After searching through drawers and finding some very out of place garden shears she got very carried away with cutting her hair. It had never been the short. It was a little uneven and it came to her chin. She stood there for what seemed like hours trying to figure out how to get the hair that littered the bathroom floor back on her head when a knock at the door brought her back to reality. “Hey Raine? I need to get in there, are you almost done?” It was River. O God, it was River. She began to lose it. She didn’t want River to see her, didn’t want her to see this lopsided hair cut that seemed like such a good idea a moment ago. “Hey Raine, you ok in there?” River began to turn the knob to the bathroom door and it began to creak open slowly. “Raine?” She was now visible to the one girl in the world she would like to be invisible to at this one moment. River took in the site with a very confused eye. She looked at Raine, then at the hair strewn across the floor and back at Raine. Tears welled up in Raines eyes and she began to sob. “Oh, Raine, its ok hun, it doesn’t look bad.” She stepped into the bathroom and put her arm around Raines shoulders, enfolding her into a long hug. “I can make it more even if you would like.” Raine began to shake with the sobs and her knees buckled. In one fast move the Puppet Master let loose of the strings causing Raine to go weak all over and slip to the floor. River went with her making the fall soft and she found a place in Rivers lap and continued to cry.