Excerpts for Nikki & Deja
Chapter 2 New Neighbors
They settle on Nikki's front porch to watch the happenings on their street. Bear sits on the steps between them. Watching their neighbors on Fulton Street is one of their favorite things to do on Saturday mornings. Mr. Robinson, next door, putters in his yard. Bobby, across the street, washes his car. Vianda, next door to Bobby, practices drill steps with her high school friends. Nikki and Deja even like to watch the mailman make his way up and down their block.
?I bet we could do that," Deja says, pointing to Vianda. ?It's kind of like cheerleading?without the jumping up and down. It looks easy." Nikki watches for a while. It doesn't look easy to her.
Nikki's mother opens the screen door and sticks her head out. ?Nikki, you need to come in and clean your room." ?Can I stay out for fifteen more minutes?" ?Fifteen minutes," she says. ?No more." Nikki watches Deja as she tries to imitate Vianda and her friends. She does a little shuffle and slide. Then she looks at Nikki, seemingly very proud of herself.
But Nikki isn't paying attention. A big green moving van is rumbling down Fulton Street. It pulls up to the empty house three doors down with a loud screech. Deja watches, too.
?New neighbors," they say at the same time and slap palms.
The van's back doors swing open, a ramp clangs to the curb, and one of the moving men rolls down a big blue bureau. Nikki and Deja watch as chairs and tables and sofas and boxes and . . . a dollhouse! . . . are carried into the house. ?Kids," they say together and slap palms again.
Nikki reaches for the special pouch she wears around her neck. She takes out the pad and pencil she keeps inside it and starts to write down what she sees.
Deja glances over at her. Nikki likes making lists.
They watch the movers unload more boxes and a smart pink bedroom set with a canopy bed. Then the movers unload a trampoline! Nikki and Deja stare. They look at each other, speechless. No one they know has a trampoline.
?How do you spell trampoline?" Nikki asks, tapping her notepad with her pencil.
?You're the spelling bee champ," Deja says.
At that point, a big black car pulls up behind the moving van. A man, a lady, and a little girl who looks the same age as Nikki and Deja climb out. Nikki and Deja stare hard at the girl, willing her to look their way. She doesn't. She just fiddles with the tip of her very long braid and stops to peer down into one of the boxes.
?Her hair is long," Deja says.
Nikki leans her head back to make her own two braids look longer. ?Deja, whose hair is longer? Mine or hers?" Deja doesn't even have to look at Nikki. ?Her hair is way longer." Just then, the new girl straightens and glances over at them. Ever so slightly, she rolls her eyes and walks into the house. The door closes behind her.
?Did you see that?" Deja says. ?She rolled her eyes at us!" ?Yeah!" Nikki says. She can't believe that new girl rolled her eyes at them.
?Who cares about her old ugly canopy bed?" Nikki wasn't thinking about the bed.
But now that Deja brings it up, she realizes she did want to see it close up. ?Yeah," she says weakly.
?Let's have a club and make sure that girl is not in it," Deja says. ?Let's make her sorry she rolled her eyes at us!"