What about the Titanic?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers
Drew and Billie discover a mutual interest in Lego. They become best friends – until they face a disturbing revelation on Billie’s birthday.

Submitted: June 17, 2019

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Submitted: June 17, 2019

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Drew gazed with envy at the magnificent model of the Titanic in the shop window. It must have taken hours for someone to construct a model that big. He wished he could afford enough Lego to build something like that.

A passing stranger stopped by Drew to admire the window display. The window reflected the image of a smartly dressed boy about his own age. He had a warm friendly look that made Drew want to be friends with him.

‘Hi,’ said Drew.

‘Hello,’ said the stranger.

‘Do you like working with Lego?’ Drew asked.

‘I certainly do,’ said the stranger. ‘I have loads of Lego. My father spoils me rotten, but I don’t see him that much. He owns a factory near here.’

‘Lucky you,’ said Drew.

‘Not really. I’d rather see more of my father than his money, but I do enjoy working with Lego.’

‘Me too,’ said Drew, ‘but I haven’t got much. Its pretty expensive. My pocket money doesn’t go far.’

‘Oh, that’s such a shame. What is your name?’

‘Drew Connolly. What’s yours?’

‘Billie Corbett. I haven’t seen you around. Are you new in town?’

‘Yeah. My dad got transferred here for his work. I didn’t wanna come, but ... you know ... it’s his job. I miss the city, though, and all the friends I had to leave behind. This place sucks. It ain’t much bigger than a village.’

‘It’s really quite a nice little town once you get used to it,’ said Billie. ‘Do you have any brothers or sisters?’

‘Nah, just me and my mum and dad. I don’t know many kids here yet.’ Drew turned to face his new companion. ‘I haven’t seen you at school.’

‘I go to a private school out of town.’

‘That figures.’

‘How so?’

‘You talk posh. And you’re dressed better’n me. Those jeans must’ve cost a packet. Not like mine.’ Drew glanced down at his own well worn denims.

Billie frowned. ‘Do you have a problem with the way I talk and dress?’

‘Jeeze, no. I was just sayin’.

‘That’s alright then.’

‘Yeah, well. It’s been nice meetin’ ya, Bill. I gotta get home now.’

‘Billie.’

‘Eh?’

‘My name is Billie.’

‘Sure, OK ... Billie.’ Drew thought that Bill sounded better, but didn’t want to offend his new friend by saying so.

‘I say,’ said Billie ‘would you like to come to my place tomorrow and help me build something with my Lego? None of my friends have much interest in creative hobbies.’

‘For real? Sure, that’d be great.’

‘We have a rather large garage. Father had some of his men erect partitions to make a hobby room for me. Bags of room to work with my Lego. I’ve got my railway layout set up in there too.’

‘A train set too?’ said Drew. ‘Awesome!’

***

Drew thought Billie’s hobby room was the next best thing to heaven. Maybe even better.

‘What say we have a crack at making our own model of the Titanic?’ said Billie.

‘Nah,’ replied Drew. ‘We’d never get it finished today.’

‘We don’t need to. We can leave everything out and come back to it as often as we like until it is finished.’

I really love this guy, thought Drew. ‘We can do that?’

‘Sure. It’s my hobby room. Mother never comes in here and Father’s never home, so there’s nobody to bawl me out for leaving it in a mess.’

‘That’s awesome. I wish I had a hobby room.’

‘You can use this one whenever you like. We’re pals now, aren’t we?’

‘Best friends forever,’ declared Drew with unrestrained enthusiasm.

Billie dragged some boxes of Lego onto a large table that stood at one end of the room. An elaborate model railway dominated the centre of the room. The far wall was lined with shelves laden with all manner of interesting things that Drew longed to explore.

‘Did you ever play with dolls?’ Billie asked as he started sorting Lego pieces.

‘Not likely,’ replied Drew. ‘But I had a ... never mind.’

‘Had what?’

‘Nothing’.

‘Come on, tell me. Best friends, remember?’

‘It’s nothing really. I had a teddy bear, that’s all. I’ve still got it.’

‘Have you really?’ Billie laughed.

‘That’s not funny,’ growled Drew. ‘I’ll kill you if you tell anyone.’

‘I’m not laughing at you. It’s just that I’ve got a teddy bear too. I’m very much afraid we’ll have to kill each other to keep our respective secrets.’

Drew grinned. ‘Let’s get the Titanic finished first, shall we?’

‘Good idea,’ said Billie. ‘I could have had just about any toy I wanted, but I’ve always liked mechanical toys and construction sets best. I want to be an engineer one day.’

‘Awesome. I dunno what I want to be yet.’

The hull of the Titanic began to take shape as they talked.

‘Do you know what the Titanic should look like?’ asked Billie.

‘Sort of,’ replied Drew. ‘I know it had four funnels. Doesn’t matter, really. Let’s just make a big ship. We can pretend it’s the Titanic.’

They worked in silence for a while, and then Billie announced, ‘It’s my birthday on Saturday’.

‘Yeah? Cool. How old will you be?’

‘Twelve.’

‘Me too. I turned twelve a few months ago. We’ll both be teenagers soon.’

‘Do you want to come to my party?’ said Billie. ‘I’ve got a few friends from school coming, but they aren’t as much fun as you.’

‘Sure, I’d like that. What time?’

‘Around two-ish if you like. My other friends will be here by then. You’ll like them.’

‘I s’pose they’re all a bit posh.’

‘A little bit, perhaps, but they’re not snobs. We’ll have fun.’

‘OK. I can always walk out if I don’t like them.’

‘And they can throw you out if they don’t like you,’ laughed Billie.

‘Would they really do that?’

‘Of course not, silly.’

‘Oh. I just wondered. I don’t often mix with rich kids.’

‘Two o’clock then – and dress nicely. Mother treats our birthdays as social occasions. She’ll go bananas if we don’t dress appropriately.’

‘Don’t worry. My fairy godmother will see me right. Failing that, I’ve got these neat animal onesies ...’

‘I hardly think ...’

‘Hey, I’m just kidding, right? I’ve got decent glad rags for parties and stuff. Your mater will swoon with delight when she sees me,’ he added with dramatic flair.

‘Just as long as it’s nice.’

‘No worries.’

***

At a little after two o’clock on Saturday afternoon, Drew rang the Corbett’s front door bell. He got the shock of his life when Billie answered the door wearing a layered taffeta and organza party dress. ‘Billie!’ Drew cried. ‘You’re wearing a dress!’

‘Drew!’ countered Billie. ‘You’re not wearing a dress?’

‘Of course I’m not wearing a dress. What do you take me for?’ said Drew.

‘Didn’t I tell you that Mother expects us all to be dressed for the occasion?’

‘You said to dress nicely. These are my best duds. What made you think I’d come to your party in a freakin’ dress? Jeeze, Billie!’

‘But ... but ... it’s a social occasion. I always wear a dress for social occasions. Don’t you?’

Drew stared at Billie like something he had seen crawling out from under a damp rock. ‘You’re weird, Billie!’ he exclaimed. ‘Your whole family is weird.’ He turned and stalked back down the path.

‘Drew, wait,’ called Billie. ‘I don’t understand. Did I offend you somehow? Please ... come back!’

Drew stopped. Was Billie almost crying? He didn’t turn around.

‘What about best friends forever?’ Billie called. ‘What about the Titanic?’

Drew turned around slowly and looked sadly at his erstwhile friend. ‘It sank!’ he said. With that, he turned on his heel and walked away, and then broke into a run. He didn’t look back.

‘I don’t understand,’ sobbed Billie.

Mrs Corbett came to the door and stood behind her daughter. ‘What on earth did you say to that nice Connelly boy to make him run off like that?’

‘Did you say boy? Drew is a boy!? OH MY GOD. I thought she ... he ... was a girl – a tomboy – like me.’

‘And he must have thought that you were a real boy – like him. Goodness knows what he thought when he saw you in your party dress.’

‘I didn’t know! We just ... got on so well together. He said his name was Drew. I just assumed ...’

Drew’s a boy’s name too, Billie. I hope this will be a lesson to you my girl. You should really start wearing clothes that are not so ... masculine.

‘I suppose you’re right, Mumsey.’ Billie turned her tear streaked face to her mother. ‘But I still want to be an engineer one day.’

‘Of course you do, dear. Girls can do anything – but they don’t have to stop being girls.’

The End


© Copyright 2019 Joe Stuart. All rights reserved.

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