“I understand any misgivings, but this is the chance of a lifetime,” Eli said. “You can’t want Tod to stay holed up in his room for days.”
Sunny’s father crossed his arms over his chest. He was a heavyset man with a gray and black beard and eyes like Sunny’s – dark brown. “We don’t want him to…” her father began. “But,” and he lifted his finger, “We also don’t want him to get in trouble. Again.”
“He won’t be in trouble. He’ll have me,” Eli said, then hurriedly added, “And Sunny.”
Sunny rolled her eyes. “We really don’t need to bring him.”
Sunny’s mother gave a little huff and then started to cry slightly, dabbing at her eyes. There were grey streaks in her long blonde hair that she’d put up in a ponytail. She twisted strands of it around her finger, then brushed her hands quickly through it, biting her lip. “Ohh…poor Tod, up there all alone. But I don’t want him to get attacked or hurt again. Especially after a few weeks ago.”
“Besides, does he even want to go with us?” Sunny said, lifting an eyebrow.
Eli shifted toward the stairs. “I’ll ask him.”
He knocked on the door. Tod opened it. He still had a black eye from…well, it was a long story, so he was still wearing sunglasses. Sunny’s sunglasses, pink with way too many rhinestones. He ran a hand through his dark hair and glared. Even though Tod was a foot shorter, Eli still felt slightly intimidated. But he didn’t feel that way for long because after all, Tod looked like an idiot. On top of those stupid glasses on his face, he was wearing a necklace of plastic four-leafed clovers, funny socks with smiley faces on them, a bright red shirt and a backward baseball cap.
“Wow. You again,” Tod said. “You know, I didn’t ask for you to be here.”
Eli scoffed, hurried into the room. “I’m only trying to help you. You know that.”
Tod didn’t answer, just crossed his arms over his chest and looked away.
Eli tried to go into his mind, and Tod’s muscles twitched, then he slammed Eli against the wall. He heard his lucky coins jingling in his pocket. “Stop that. Stop it,” Tod said.
“I know you’re tired of getting attacked all the time. Just – ” He pulled at Tod’s hand, pulling it off his white t-shirt. “Just let me help you.”
“No, I’m not going along with this stupid plan,” he snapped, backing up a step. “You know Sunny doesn’t want me to go.” He sounded dejected by the fact. Sunny was his breaking point. And that was a problem. But if Sunny meant that Todd would go along with it, then Eli was okay. For now, at least.
“No,” Eli protested. “Sunny’s fine with it. And she said that it’s okay as long as you want to come.”
“Oh…” Todd pretended to think about it. “Um, well, I guess in that case…”