“Uh, thanks,” I say, as the other girl with curly hair hugs me. After the blonde does as well, Natalie comes back downstairs.
“How about we make some popcorn,” Natalie suggests.
“Sounds good!” Christie, the one with straight brown hair, says enthusiastically. Catherine nods. So do I. Mary and one of Natalie’s younger sisters head to the kitchen. Natalie leads the rest of us upstairs to her room. Sleeping bags are strewn all over the floor, bird nest style. One of Natalie’s brothers sits on her bed, eating candy.
“Hey!” Natalie exclaims, shooing him from the room. “That’s for us!” He giggles, but flees.
Christie surveys the sleeping bags. “This reminds me of what we did at youth group,” she says. “When the power went out halfway through the movie, so we all huddled together and played cards.
“You play games at youth group?” I ask. I had always imagined youth group to be where you talk a little and pray a lot with some adults who has no experience with teens.
“Yeah, we do every time,” Catherine says, pushing her curly hair behind her ear. “Then we head over to church for a few minutes.”
“Sounds cool,” I say.
Natalie hops off her bed and says, “You should totally come next Sunday. It’ll be so fun. We’re going to talk about vocations and how we can serve God with the talents he gave us.”
I huff a humorless laugh. Yeah right. I don’t have talents.
Mary glances as me as she comes in with the popcorn in a huge pink bowl. “God gave everyone something.”
This conservation is not going in a comfortable direction, so I make a meager attempt to change it. “Yeah, I’ll bet so. Hey, this is great popcorn,” I say, grabbing a handful.
Christie laughs. “You really should come to youth group. It’s loads of fun.”
I sigh dramatically. What would Ares think if he knew what I was about to do? “Fine, maybe I will sometime.”
“Great!” Natalie pulls a scrap of paper off of her desk’s bulletin board. Did she have it prepared for me? “Here’s the address to the church.”
“Thanks,” I say, and grab some more popcorn so I won’t have to keep talking.After talking about how hard it is to find clothes modest enough for the other girls’ private school--a conversation in which I find myself tugging my own black shirt higher--we watch a movie.