12: Milo And Francesca- Laughing in the Rain – Milo and Francesca

Please Go Here for the beginning of the story.

Milo saw Francesca raise her eyebrows and shake her head. “You don’t know why you are running away? But what did you do?”

“Nothing!” protested Milo. “I didn’t even know about any of this until Jerry met me earlier this evening. It’s something he must have done, but I have no idea what it is.”

Francesca laughed. “That’s nuts!”

Milo leaned forward into the falling rain and peered around the edge of the mansard to look for Jerry, but he couldn’t see him. He leaned back and smiled wanly at Francesca. “I don’t know, I always seem to be bailing Jerry out of scrapes.”

“Have you known him a long time?” asked Francesca.

Milo laughed. “You can say that. He’s my younger brother,” said Milo.

“Your brother! No! You’re like night and day!” exclaimed Francesca. “He doesn’t even really look like you.”

“No one said a brother has to be like you, right?” Milo said. “He’s pretty different from me.”

Francesca hugged her knees and stared up at the rain. “I’ve always wanted a brother or a sister.”

“Don’t you have one?” asked Milo.

“No, my father died and my mother was always away traveling after that. I spent more time with my Uncle Barnaby than with my mother.”

“Sounds lonely,” said Milo.

Francesca nodded, but smiled, too. “Yeah, sometimes. But Uncle Barnaby is a lot of fun and I never really felt lonely around him.” She threw back her head and laughed. “Oh, the times we’ve had! You wouldn’t believe the way he can make anything into a lot of fun!”

“Sounds like a wonderful person,” said Milo.

Their eyes met and for a moment they held each others’ gaze. Then suddenly they both broke it off and burst out laughing in embarrassment. Milo picked up a rusted nail from beside him and tossed it out across the roof. “I wonder what’s keeping Jerry?” he asked.

“For someone who hates the rain he sure is sitting there a long time!” Francesca said, laughing.

They laughed together again, hugging their knees and rocking back against the wall of the mansard.

Milo glanced sideways at Francesca and quietly said, “Thanks so much for helping us tonight. I know that there was no reason for you to trust us. It was kind and brave of you to do that.”

“Well,” said Francesca, “I still don’t know if I trust you or not, you know! We’ve only just got started on this mad adventure!”

“Still,” insisted Milo, “I honestly want to thank you.”

Francesca looked down at her lap, rolling the hem of her raincoat between her fingers. “No problem,” she said. “Glad to help.”

“I wonder if we were supposed to meet?” asked Milo. “When I saw you in the window of the store earlier, I was sure…”

But at that moment Jerry stepped around the corner, letting out a groan. “Oh, there you are!” he said. “I was wondering where you two got off to.”