Every Sunday, Mary Beth Older went to church. If it rained, she skipped through sloppy puddles on the sidewalk on the way to church. If it snowed, she made angels next to the church before church started. No matter the weather or time of year, she had gone to church every Sunday of her whole 13 years . . . except for one. It was the despondent day her parents had been in the train wreck that took their young lives from them. Poor Mary Beth lived with her Aunt Eilidh and Uncle Alastair. They were pleasant people, but simple, like everyone else in the town.
Anyway, Mary Beth went to church every Sunday, and everyone at the cathedral was well-behaved, even the smallest of the children, Rhonwen Moore, who rarely was silent. You seldom heard any scolding, accept for a few times when Gregor Moore was keeping his daughter, Rhonwen, in line. So on the Sunday that you could hear the croaky uproar from Brooksdale Road to Elder Lane was a boisterous event. Mrs. Isla Higgins was explosive as she reprehended her grandson, Harrison.
“Angus Harrison Higgins,” she screamed, “it took me HOURS to iron and fold that coat after I scrubbed it THREADBARE from the last time you soiled it, and what do you do the MOMENT I take my eyes off of you? You go off and ruin it AGAIN with some sludge and dirty snow from the road. You are IMPOSSIBLE!”Mary Beth felt compassionate towards the cowering boy whom Mrs. Isla was telling off. That was, of course, until she thought about his name some more and realized that he was a Higgins’. At which point she shunned herself for inflicting decent feelings toward the boy. She allowed herself then to wonder why he had always been addressed as Harrison in her presence instead of Angus, his given name. Isla Higgins snatched the cuff of Angus’ coat and dragged him toward the door of the chapel.
“I wonder why I’ve never noticed him before,” Mary Beth thought. She shrugged the thought away and sat daintily down in the second pew. To her surprise, Angus plopped down sloppily into the pew next to her and her parents. She giggled at the way he acted like a drunkard, and then became serious again when she saw the look of pure hatred pass through Isla and her parents.
“That tree is nearly half the size of ours, grandmother,” Angus stated as he gestured to the teeming tree at the front of the church.
“Now, Angus,” Isla poke loud enough for the Olders to hear her. “It is not wise of us to boast of our surplus possessions.
“Alastair. Eilidh. Good morning.” She said with a sharp nod in the Olders’direction. Mary Beth attempted to scowl at Angus, but quickly failed, do to his uproarious actions and slouchy posture.
“Angus Higgins. What a pleasure.” said Mary Beth sarcastically, in a subtle try to be mature.
“The pleasure is all mine. Your name?”he said as he kissed her hand, making her blush.
“Mary Beth Older,” she said, sticking her nose up in the air.
“That’s a mouthful. I think I’ll call you MB for short. And please, call me Harry.” At that, Mrs. Higgins turned abruptly toward the two young teenagers with a wild look in her eyes.
“Harrison,” she said, putting emphasis on the use of his full name, “how many times have I told you not to use that unbecoming nickname of yours? A thirteen-year-old boy should have a proper name! It is indecent!”
“Yes, Grandma.” He said with a reluctant look in Mary Beth’s direction.
Mary Beth giggled at him and then turned away at his smug smile. Throughout mass, she tried to sneak glances at him to see if he was looking at her. He wasn’t. As Mary Beth walked home that day, she felt a strong feeling towards Ang—Harry. It wasn’t hate, like she thought it would be. No, it was something along the lines of passion.
P.S. -- If you missed Chapters 1 and 2, you can read them here:
Chapter 1: http://4callingbirds.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-best-tree-of-all-part-i.html
Chapter 2: http://4callingbirds.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-best-tree-of-all-chapter-2.html