“He’s gonna kill me!” Derek said to his friend Bobby. He was hiding in Bobby’s tree fort, trying to figure out what he was going to do next.
“That’s it!” he said with a snap of his fingers. “I’ll run away!”
“Where to?” asked Bobby, always the practical one.
“I dunno. I’ll just run away.”
“You can’t do that. You haven’t got any money to buy food,” Bobby said flatly.
“Yes I do!” Derek said, brightening. “I have my birthday money in my piggy bank!”
“Well, if you have money, why don’t you use it to buy Pete a new model kit instead?”
Derek stared at his friend. “I never thought of that. But—I don’t want to spend my birthday money on something for Pete!”
“Well, it’s better than him killing you, isn’t it?”
Derek and Bobby hopped on their bikes and went riding down the street to Derek’s home. They lay their bikes in the grass at the side of the house and sneaked inside, slipping up the stairs as quietly as they could so as not to be seen by Pete or anyone who would report Derek to him.
“Mission accomplished!” whispered Derek as he closed the bedroom door behind him. Now for the piggy bank.
“Five dollars… six… seven… and fifty… sixty… seventy-five cents.”
“That oughtta be enough to buy him a toy car,” stated Bobby helpfully.
Derek’s shoulders slumped. “Now what am I gonna do?”
That question was about to be answered. A deep voice spoke from the doorway, and both boys turned to see a tall young man filling it.
“Pete!” Derek recovered first. “Don’t you knock first before you come barging into my room?”
“And did you knock before you came barging into mine?” asked Pete, holding up several pieces of his broken model airplane.
Derek’s face flooded with colour and he stared shamefaced at the floor.
“Well? What do you have to say for yourself?” demanded Pete.
“I’m sorry,” mumbled the boy.
“Did you say something? I can’t hear you! Look at me when you talk to me!”
“I’m sorry, Pete!” Derek said much louder as he looked his brother in the eye. “I’m really really sorry,” he added a bit more quietly. “And I don’t know what to do about it. I wanted to buy you a new model kit, but I don’t have enough money.” And he indicated the paltry sum on the desk in front of him.
“Derek,” said Pete as he closed the distance between them, “it doesn’t matter how much you give me. I’ll take it, only because you need to learn to be more careful and respectful of others’ belongings. But really, I only wanted to know you are sorry for what you did. You are forgiven, little brother. But… stay out of my room unless I am in there, okay?”
And Derek didn’t mind so much when Pete scooped up the money from his piggy bank and left the room with it. He was just glad his brother was not angry with him.
© Willena Flewelling