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Sleepover by Toni Roman

Novel By: Toni Roman
Young adult

The problem with an invitation is that you might not get a second. View table of contents...


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Submitted:Mar 21, 2011    Reads: 23    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

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11. Surprise

While the girls ate breakfast, Mrs. McCall hid a secret note (previously written by Beth) in the bottom of each guest's overnight bag.

Cameron thought she would have to walk home so it was nice that Uncle Derek was outside parked at the curb with the other girls' fathers at nine-thirty A.M. that Saturday morning.

Shutting the door, "Good morning. Thanks Uncle Derek. I'll treat you to breakfast sometime since you won't let me make you breakfast at home." She ventured a smile at her cranky uncle.

"Not necessary. What did you learn?" he grunted.

"Can the debrief wait until I get home so that I can tell you and mom once?"


Derek felt like he had come back from a bleak future to the last situation one could expect -- a suburban sitcom. He felt that way because he actually had come back to the past. He was a Tech-Comm officer and now he is chauffeuring a teenage robot -- cyborg, whatever -- as if it is his niece.

"And I'm not your uncle."

"Yes you are. That's our cover story so you are."

Another grunt from Derek. He turned his head away so that Cameron could not see him suppress a laugh at the ludicrous situation.

He drove them home.

When Cameron walked in with Derek, Cameron spoke before Sarah could ask: "They never asked about John."

"Not possible." said Sarah.

"You've taught him since birth to blend in and not be noticed. You've succeeded. At Campo de Cahuenga High School, John is neither the most popular nor the least popular. He is a social zero as you intended. No one notices him."

"Well then, one of the girls must either have a parent working for Skynet Development or will be a future collaborator." said Sarah somewhat bothered by her son being described as a zero. Oh my God! What am I doing to my son?

"None of the girls belongs to a known Collaborator family and no parent works for the Skynet Development Team." said Cameron.

"And they are not Resistance either. I had John run the plates." said Sarah.

"Nothing else to report. Can I go now?" asked Cameron.

"It's up to something, Sarah. We should get rid of it." said Derek. "She didn't kill anyone. I would have heard about that by now. Did she at least learn some manners?" asked Sarah.

As always, Derek was reluctant to say anything good about Cameron but the officer in him caused him to give a verbatim military-style report: "When I returned to the McCall residence this morning to retrieve the machine, it got in my vehicle and said, 'Good morning. Thanks Uncle Derek. I'll treat you to breakfast sometime since you won't let me make you breakfast at home.' The machine then smiled slightly."

"Then what did you do?" asked Sarah.

"I remembered that I hadn't had my morning cup of coffee."

Turning back to Cameron, Sarah asked: "So you're popular at school. How else could you get an invitation?"

"I'm not popular with one girl gang at school. They called me a bitch-whore."

If Sarah hadn't been so surprised, then she might have agreed with the assessment. Cameron was disappointed that, like John, neither adult told her something reassuring like she was pleasant and a good girl and should ignore those troublemakers at school and stick with friends -- like the ones at the sleepover.

"If something happened to me and Derek, could you take care of John?"


"Could you make friends, friends that you could depend on to look after John if something happened to you too?"

"Yes. I mean, yes ma'am."

"Did you have fun? Did you enjoy yourself?"

In a normal family, Cameron would have been asked this first. She saw Sarah reach behind. Sarah always kept a gun in the small of her back, stuck in her jeans, under her top.

Before Cameron could ask which answer would not get her killed, John came out of his room on the way to the kitchen. As he passed: "Mom, Uncle Derek, she's normal. Let it go."

Cameron went to her room, unpacked and found a note:

"It's been great having you sleep over. We've got to do other fun stuff together soon. Thanks for accepting my invitation! -- Beth"


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