Word from Fido: Chapter two, ladies and gentlemen! Thank you so much for the support on the first one, it was great. This chapter starts off in Martin's point of view, and shifts into Maddie's about halfway through. I'm introducing the two characters' families, who I enjoy writing very much. Now, without further ado, I give you chapter two (Yay! I can rhyme!) Avec tout mon amour,

Scene in the household

"Richard, are you mad?" Mother screamed.

"Frankly, woman, having this conversation is the only insane thing in this house!"

'And your son's the one that'll go insane if you don't shut up!' I shouted in my head. Obviously, I wasn't dumb enough to do that. They'd probably murder me if I dared pipe a word. And so, I diligently swallowed my mash potatoes, narrowly avoiding suffocation. I bet they wouldn't even have noticed if I did choke… A look towards my sister told me that she was of the exactly same mind.

You see, my parents have argued since I could remember. Why? For whatever reason that so happened to pop in their minds at the moment. That night would have been be the greatest example: they were fighting over Christmas lights. That's right, freaking decorations! Mother wanted them red and blue, while Father wanted them green and yellow. In all honesty, they could have been pink and purple and I wouldn't have complained!

"Richard, you are the biggest idiot on the face of this earth!" Mother screeched.

"I certainly am an idiot for putting up with a wench like you!" Father bellowed back. "I mean, how can you put red and blue outside? That's so…Coke and Pepsi!"

Coke and Pepsi? Wow, never heard that one…

A plate crashed against the wall, right next to Father's head. Luckily, they had switched all our plates to hard plastic, so there was no harm done. Well, except that he was beyond outraged now.


That was my cue to leave. As discreetly as I could, I threw my plate in the sink, grabbed Lyza's hand and tiptoed upstairs to my room. My little sister didn't make a sound. Although I have to admit that I could have brought an elephant in there and they wouldn't have realized a thing. They were clueless like that.

I didn't know why they argued like that. If you asked most kids, they would agree that their parents were somewhat happy before they got divorced, at least. But through all my sixteen years of existence, I couldn't recall once that Father told my Mother that she looked pretty. Or that Mother told Father that she loved him. Never, not once.

Did that make them bad parents, though? Only when they were in the same room. I mean, they absolutely adored us. They spoiled my sister and me, giving us all the new technologies, or buying all the hockey game tickets we could ever have wanted. All we had to do was ask politely, and we'd have it in no time.

It disgusted me. Negligent parents, buying their kids loads of stuff to alleviate their guilt. It really was sickening…

I closed my door and sat on my bed, wishing it could swallow me whole, just like I swallowed those mashed potatoes. Lyza silently lied down next to me, like she always did. I closed my eyes for a moment and tried to drown out the shouts below. Unsurprisingly, to no avail.

"Can you put on some music?" my sister mumbled.

Lazily, I shuffled to my stereo and randomly picked a CD, popping it in and selecting a track. The music blared to my ears so loudly, it almost hurt.

Ah, silence at last.

Apparently satisfied, Lyza began to leaf through magazines she had stacked under my bed a long time ago. Methodically bending the corners of the pages with the prettiest pictures, she brought out white paper and crayons. She had to be the most organized seven year-old ever to walk this earth.

Unconsciously, I dragged my bag to my desk and leafed through my math book. Indeed, M. Traveault was the only teacher snotty enough to give us homework right after a test. I flipped back and forth between the book, my calculator and the lined paper before me. I was quite distressed to admit that it wasn't getting filled up very quickly. As you may have guessed by now, I was not very good at math. Never was, probably never would be. Numbers just floated around my head, teasing me. I could hear them laugh at me, because they knew I would never get control over them. I would never master the art of algebra, I was very sorry to say. Hell, I didn't even know what I was doing in advanced class! If it weren't for Madeleine helping me now and then…

Whoa! Scratch that, Madeleine did NOT help me. Ever! She created debts. Like when I lost my Frisbee over the fence when we were kids. She said she'd get it for me if I sharpened her pencils for the rest of the week. Now, that may sound ridiculous to you, but when you're in second grade, a sharp pencil is the apex of power. And Madeleine just couldn't sharpen a pencil to save her life. Obviously, I could have grabbed the Frisbee and run off. It wasn't like I promised or anything. However, my manly honour demanded that I respect the agreement…

And so, it was like that ever since. With her tempting me with candy and forcing me to do her bidding in exchange.

And how the hell did I go from figuring algebra out to Madeleine? Damn that girl!

Shaking my head, I reverted back to the whining victim of the unrelenting math. Truly, I did despise that subject!

Something was nagging me…

I mean, why the heck would I have to work with maths anyways? I wanted to be a freaking gym teacher! As far as I knew, my gym teacher didn't know heck about math!

Something was still nagging me…

"Martin, I can't draw the bike," Lyza whimpered, bringing the paper to my desk.

I rolled my eyes teasingly before slipping the coloured pencil from her hands. Carefully, I drew the outline of the wheels and handlebars.

"Here you go, twerp," I grumbled, giving it back to her.

She stuck out her tongue at me, apparently forgetting that I had just saved her hours of sniffing over a piece of paper.

What the heck could be nagging me so much?

"It's going to be the best bike ever!" Lyza squealed, lost in child Wonderland.

"You tell yourself that…"

A bike… Madeleine had a bike… One that needed fixing…

Getting up, I shut the music down and listened intently.

"Your sister has better sense than you, woman!"

"My sister's in jail!"

"That's exactly what I mean!"

Yep, still arguing. I turned to my little sister, who was staring at me. A rueful smile is all it took and she was yipping in excitement. Hastily shoving various things under my bed, she fretted about in a singsong voice.

"I get to see Maddie! I get to see Maddie!"

"Would you stop that?" I hissed.

"But I haven't seen Maddie since…forever!" she pouted.

"You've seen her last week when she had to baby-sit you. Now stop making so much noise and go."

Instantly silenced, she crept out my bedroom. We tiptoed all the way downstairs, making sure to dodge the kitchen. I cringed when I noticed that there was way more than one plate on the floor. They were going to have emptied the entire cupboards by the end of the evening, by my estimations.

Slipping on our shoes, we slipped through the front door and hurried outside. Breathing the cool autumn air, we slowly walked across the street. Unable to contain herself any longer, Lyza jumped into a sprint and dashee for the De-La-Tours' door. Shaking my head, I let a disinterested smile tug at my lips and hunched my shoulders, the perfect picture of nonchalance. After all, I was there to fix a bike. That way, she wouldn't be able to bug me about any unpaid debts.

It wasn't like I was there because I wanted to see her. I was just here to fix a bike…

Then why did I get nervous when she opened the door?

I never liked pity. If you ask me, it's a compromising emotion when you can't feel sympathy. In those situations, you pity the person, silently thanking whatever God out there that what that person's going through never happens to you.

Which is why it killed me to admit that I pitied Martin Jones.

It was incredibly hard not to! Especially at that particular moment. According to my observations, he was doing the math homework. Also according to my observations, he was having a lot of trouble doing the math homework. I could practically hear the music booming through his stereo, and I wondered how he could get any work done. I smiled as I spotted Lyza on his bed, diligently drawing. She had to be the cutest kid out there!

"Maddie! Are you hungry yet?"

And without any regards to my privacy, my bedroom door burst open. I rolled my eyes as the woman waltzed in, her pink skirt swishing around herself. Much to my amazement, I saw that she had sunflowers behind her ears and tangled in her hair.

"No, mom, I'm not hungry yet."

"Oh, please, Maddie, call me Sally!"

"There's no way that I'm calling my own mom Sally," I protested.

"Oh, Maddie, you're making me so sad!"

Smiling brightly, she bent down and kissed me soundly before leaving the room as suddenly as she had popped in. I rubbed my temples with a sigh. Truly, my mother was the most exhausting woman out there…

Where did they go? One moment, Martin and Lyza were right there, and the next, they disappeared! My gaze swept to their kitchen, where "Bad parent #1" and "Bad parent #2" were still throwing various appliances at each other.

The doorbell rang.

"I'll get it!" my mother sang in an annoying high pitch.

"No! I got it!" I desperately shouted.

In an amazing show of speed that would have made a NASCAR driver cringe, I slid down the stair banister and rushed to the door. I yanked the door open, spotting my mom from the corner of my eye. With a yelp, I jumped outside, slamming the door behind me and dodging the bewildered Lyza.

Only to collide head first into Martin Jones's chin.

Tears instantly sprang to my eyes at the blinding pain. Why did Martin Jones have to have such a hard chin?

"Do you ever watch where you're going?" he snarled at me, clutching his injured face.

A well-practiced smirk appeared, mocking him, though I was sad to admit that the overall effect might have been more satisfying if I hadn't been crying. Not that it really mattered, because I was quickly submerged by a mouthful of brown hair.

"Maddie! Oh, I've missed you so much, Maddie!" Lyza squealed.

With a laugh, I flung my arms around the little girl, cradling her to my chest.

"Lyza! What're you doing here? Don't tell me your big brother has somewhere to go and is totally ditching you?"

Lyza shook her head, completely ignoring the glare her brother sent our way.

"Nope, not this time," she toothily replied. "Actually, he's the one that wanted to come!"

My head snapped up immediately, my eyes meeting his cold dark ones. It was impossible to tell what he was thinking: he wasn't blushing, nor was he fidgeting. His shoulders didn't straighten, nor did his neck tense. He was just standing there, looking as nonchalant as always, though he was frowning at his sister.

"There's no way I'd ever want to come over here," he calmly claimed.

Usually that would have stung me. A lot. I mean, such a deadpan statement would hurt anyone. Even if it was just Martin Jones.

Except that he shuffled a bit when he said it.

I started to grin, but I quickly caught myself. Instead, I turned it into a hard smile, devoid of warmth.

"Then why do you bother to waste my time?"

"I'm just here to fix a bike," he admitted.

A bike? What bike? As if reading my thoughts, he pulled a piece of paper from his pocket, flashing it to my face. It was the one I had given him during the test.

Oh, that bike…

"Let's get this over with," Jones snorted.

"You don't have to tell me…" I murmured, bending my knees.

Lyza, taking her cue, jumped on my back with an excited yip. Making neighing sounds, I trotted alongside the house, heading for the shed in the back. Jones followed without a word. Reaching the pitiful excuse of a shed, I suddenly broke into a sprint. I circled the whole backyard (which seemed incredibly big at that particular moment), Lyza squealing in childish ecstasy. I had time to see Jones rolling his eyes before he disappeared into the shed. Seconds later, an incredulous shout sent me to a dead stop.

"Oh my god! What did you do to it? Run it over with a sixteen wheeler?"

"It doesn't look that bad…" I pouted, trotting back to the naked building.

"Are you that stupid? Just how did you manage to put the handlebar under the wheel? That should be impossible!"

"Well, Maddie was able to do it!" Lyza shouted.

"You say that like it's a good thing," her brother exasperatedly sighed.

"Well, can you fix it?" I asked, sounding annoyed.

He got out of the shed, already coughing from all the dust that had accumulated over the years.

"Can I fix it?" he incredulously echoed. "No one can fix that!"

He looked almost angry. You see, Martin Jones was the biggest perfectionist out there (besides me, maybe), although you wouldn't have known from just talking to him. I mean, his work was always incredibly sloppy, and he always got things only halfway done. That is, at the exception of fixing things. Martin Jones had a passion for fixing things. So that was how I knew that it irritated him to no end that he couldn't fix my bike. And the fact that he was willing to admit it definitely indicated that my bike was irreversibly screwed.

"That's not true!" Lyza shouted from my shoulder. "Maddie can do anything!"

Both Jones and I stared at her incredulously. Slowly, a sardonic smile stretched across his face. I did love the girl dearly, but sometimes I wished she would shut up.

"She wouldn't be able to nail two pieces of wood together, much less fix a bike like this."

The challenge was sent. The smart thing to do in those situations would have been to act my age. You know, mature, sophisticated, eloquent. Admit that I was the biggest klutz out there and back down from the insurmountable challenge. That would have been the smart thing to do.

If you haven't guessed yet, I was anything but smart when it came to Martin Jones.

"Oh, I can so fix this bike!" I defied.

That annoying smile remained and he shoveed his hands in his pockets, leaning back, playing cool.

"Oh really?"

"You bet I can! I'm not incompetent, unlike you!"

Honestly, that wasn't the smartest thing to say, considering that I was the one that asked him to look at it in the first for the very reason that he was more competent than me.

Alas, the dice were thrown; it was too late to go back.

He moved up to me, staring down from his impressive six-foot height. His normally dull eyes were flashing.

"Prove it," he breathed.

"I don't have to prove anything to you!" I snarled back.

"You're birthday's in two months," he continued, completely ignoring me. "If you've managed to fix the bike by then, I swear that I'll carry you around the whole school, neighing as stupidly as you just did."

Ah, a piggyback ride on the great Martin Jones? Somehow, the whole thing just got incredibly more appealing. However, a dark cloud still loomed over the whole deal.

"And what if I can't fix it?"

His smile widened, promising hours of pain and torture at my expense.

"I'll figure something out…"

My cell phone rang at that precise moment, breaking the tense atmosphere. Apparently satisfied, Jones backed away, grabbing his sister by the waist and throwing her over his shoulder. She screamed in protest at first, but quickly found the whole situation incredibly amusing and broke into a fit of giggles.

"Hey! Wait!" I shouted after him, realizing that there was no way that I was ever going to be able to fix that bike. "Come back here, now!"

"Two months!" he shouted back.

"Bye-bye, Maddie!" Lyza adorably waved from her perch.

Shaking my head, I picked up my phone, snapping it to my ear.

"You better have a good reason for calling!" I seethed into the mouthpiece.

"Maddie, it's me."

My breath hitched into my throat. No, no…he couldn't be calling…not now…


"Yeah, it's been a long time since my last call, hasn't it?"

"I'm kind of happy for that, no offence."

"None taken," he replied with a laugh.

I could almost imagine him, with his silky black hair. He must have been about twenty-six years old by then. I hadn't seen him…since…forever.

"I miss you," I whispered into the mouthpiece.

"I miss you too," he whispered back, and I could almost here his smile.

However, his smile evaporated with the next sentence.

"I have bad news, Maddie."

"Please tell me he didn't get out. Please!" I begged, my voice becoming erratic.

"I'm so sorry, he got one of his buddies to bail him out. I tried to stop it, but you know that I'm just a low-ranking officer. There was nothing I could do."

My throat clogged up, I couldn't breath. It couldn't be happening to me. To us. It was so unfair!

"Listen, Maddie. I didn't tell him where you guys are, okay? He still thinks you guys are in Toronto. There's no way he's going to find you."

"It's only a matter of time, Luke."

"Maddie! You'll be fine," his voice was taking a panicked edge. "Just don't give up, alright? You're going to be okay! I'm tracking him, so I'll make sure that he doesn't get near you guys."

"It's only a matter of time, Luke," I repeated.

"Maddie! Don't say that! Just, stay away from the garage, okay? Promise me you won't go near the garage! You don't need that stuff! Everything's going to be fine. Maddie…"

I hung up, choking on sobs. Tears streaked down my face, only to freeze in the cold wind. I sat next to the shed, leaning against its walls. I slowly wrapped my arms around me.

Everything was going to be all right.

I broke down, engulfing my head between my legs. I couldn't believe that this was happening to me…

Nothing was ever all right. Not for me.

With a last sob, I got up and head for the garage.

Nothing was ever all right.