Linda was panting. “So… what’s your name?”
“Rachel…. yours?” replied the girl with the ponytail. She was also out of breath.
“Linda…. Thanks for the hat.” Linda pulled off the pink beanie to reveal the hacked hair due that Ming and Kelp had forced on her, leaving her with a patchwork of uneven hair. Linda offered it back to Rachel.
“Nah, keep it, you need it more than me.”
“Thanks,” Linda pulled the hat back on. “So, where are we anyway?” From the looks of it, Linda knew that they were in the back of some restaurant or diner. A cook wasn’t too far away, getting out an order. When they first entered, Rachel had spoke to a man who rushed out to get someone.
Rachel leaned on her softball bat. “This is my uncle’s diner. He owns it. I figured it would be the best place to hide from those bullies.”
“Rachel? What cha doing here?” A large man with a bushy mustache approached them. His hair was the same color as Rachel’s. “Didn’t you say you had softball practice today?”
“I did, Uncle Wallace,” said Rachel. “But I met Linda and there were bullies and…”
Uncle Wallace noticed Linda behind Rachel and gasped. Her knelt down and reached out to touch her cheek but Linda backed off defensively. “I’m not gonna hurt cha. I just wanna get a better look at that bruise on your cheek.”
“It’s okay, Linda. He’s just my uncle.”
Linda paused and then nodded. Uncle Wallace inspected the injury. “Yup, that’s gonna swell. Be right back.” Uncle Wallace returned with ice wrapped up in a rag. “Here you go. Keep that on your cheek.”
Linda held the rag to her face and frowned. “It’s cold.”
“It’s supposed to be. Now,” Uncle Wallace sat on a turned over bucket. “Linda, who did this to you?”
Linda didn’t respond.
“Linda, this is serious, did someone do this to you.”
Linda didn’t respond.
Uncle Wallace sighed. “Well, I have to get to work… are you two hungry?”
“Yes!” shouted Rachel. “Are you hungry, Linda? Huh?”
Linda’s eyes glowed with desire. She nodded eagerly at the idea of food.
“Haha, well at least your hungry,” he pointed behind him. “Go ahead and hop into one of the booths, girls, just pick whatever you want off the menu.”
Linda was still in shock when Rachel passed her the menu. “I can have, anything here? For free?”
Rachel giggled. “That’s what my uncle said.”
Linda read over the menu at least three times and then pointed. “I want, that… and that…. this…. and this too…. Please?”
Rachel munched on a grilled cheese sandwich with fries while Linda drooled over her Peanut butter and banana sandwich, cup of chili, a large chocolate milk shake and a pile of onion rings.
“Are you really gonna eat all that?” asked Rachel.
Linda, mouth full, nodded happily. “I’ve never had so much good food in my life!”
“Really? Not even on Thanksgiving? Or Christmas?”
Linda paused and swallowed her food. “I’ve never had one.”
“Oh….” Rachel was quiet for a moment. “Linda… can I asked you a question?”
“Why where those kids beating you up? And cutting your hair?”
Linda rubbed her arm. Mentioning Ming and Kelp’s assault reminded her how sore she was. “You wouldn’t believe me.”
“Why not? I don’t have a reason not to.”
Linda paused. “Why did you help me? You didn’t have to stick your neck out for me like that.”
“I know,” said Rachel as she took a sip of her lemonade, “But you needed help.”
Rachel looked at Linda with a simple yet serious face. “So you help people who need help, if you can.”
Linda rubbed the back of her neck, not because it hurt but because she didn’t know what to do. Her hand brushed up against the beanie she was wearing. She thought about it. “They were after my powers.”
“That’s why they cut my hair… to cut me off from my magic.”
“I got them angry, and they thought they should teach me a lesson…” Linda didn’t look at Rachel. She probably thought Linda was a freak or a weirdo or something. “You don’t have to believe me- it’s just-“
“YOU’RE MAGIC!?” Rachel’s eye’s were wide with wonder. “THAT’S AMAZING!”