Jim huffed, staring out the window and purposefully ignoring the chatter of his mom. It didn’t matter what she said, he didn’t want to move and he wasn’t going to accept it. He may not have loved living in Riverside but it was home. Nowhere, Georgia was not. He was really annoyed at his mom for not consulting him before they moved, instead just packing up their belongings and strapping him in the car without listening to his protests. He hated being 6. No one listened to anything he said. He also hated Georgia.
“Oh, Jimmy, you really need to stop pouting. You’ll end up losing your good looks.”
Jim didn’t bother responding but he did pull his face into a less stressed shape – he didn’t want to stop looking like his dad.
Outside the window, fields went past but they weren’t the same as the ones in Iowa. Everything here seemed so much greener.
“Doesn’t it all look so inviting, Jimmy? I was right; we’re going to be really happy here.”
Jim just continued to sulk. He’d had to leave all of his friends behind in Riverside and wasn’t looking forward to having to try and make new ones. He usually liked meeting new people and charming them into being friends with him but this was different. He would be the new kid in the middle of the school year, knowing absolutely no one. He’d spend the rest of his life alone!
Huffing again, he supposed he was being a bit silly. He was good at making people like him. If he tried he could easily make some friends. That wasn’t the point though. He shouldn’t have to make new friends; he’d been perfectly happy with his old ones. But his mom had decided that they needed a new start and that Georgia was the place for it.
“Look Jimmy! That’s our house up ahead.”
Jim looked up and lost all thoughts of being grumpy. The house was big, far bigger than their old one, and had a porch and there were trees leading down the side of the house, and he could see a perfectly circular window right at the top of the house that must be the attic.
“Okay,” he said, finally turning to his mom. “I guess this’ll do.”
“No problem, Jimmy. Let’s go check it out.”
Jim waited for his mom to let him out and then ran straight for the porch. There was space for him to run up and down, even when his mom joined him to open the dark red door. Inside the air was cool but inviting and Jim ran in, rushing from room to room. He stopped just outside one of the bedrooms, staring in. It had a large window which overlooked the backyard and the orchard beyond it. The room was bright and had plenty of wall space for all of his space posters.
“I take it you want this room then?”
Jim turned to see his mom now standing behind him, also looking around the room.
“The orchard belongs to the house behind it. They’re our closest neighbours so we’ll go and say hello tomorrow. I’ll have all your stuff moved in here, yeah?”
“Yes, please. Thanks mom. I’m gonna go see the backyard.”
“Alright. You’re going to be okay here, then?”
“Mom, I’m still not happy about having been forced to move but I’ll get used to it.”
“Get out of here then.”
Jim took her words to heart and darted from the house, straight for the backyard. There was a fence that separated their garden from the orchard but there was a gate built into it. Jim tried the handle and was pleasantly surprised to find it turn under his hand. He looked back at the house. His mom would be busy for hours moving everything inside so he had plenty of time to explore. Grinning, he opened the gate and ran through, letting it swing shut behind him.
He weaved in and out of the trees, laughing as he tried to race around every one. He made sure he didn’t run to far from the fence but curiosity got the better of him when he heard rustling coming from a little further in. He walked carefully, trying to be silent as he searched for the source of the noise. He was just starting to think he had imagined it when he heard a yell followed by a crash. He started running again, heading towards where he could hear whimpers.
He came around one of the trees to find a boy, a few years older than himself, sitting on the floor and holding his arm close to his chest as tears ran down his chest and he tried to hold in his cries of pain. Jim ran right over and dropped to the floor beside him.
“Are you okay? Can I help?”
“Who’re you kid?” The boy’s accent drawled thickly with pain but Jim still thought it sounded pretty.
“My name’s Jim. And I’m not a kid. What hurts?”
“My arm. I think I mighta broke it.”
“Do you need me to kiss it better?” Jim asked sincerely but the older boy just stared at him like he was crazy.
“Are you an idiot? You can’t kiss bones better.”
“I bet I can kiss bones better,” Jim replied defiantly, and swiftly dropped a kiss on the boy’s arm. The boy looked from him to his arm and back again while Jim beamed.
“See, you stopped crying. I told you I can kiss bones better.”
“Guess you can,” the boy said weakly. “My name’s Leonard. Can you help me up? My daddy’s the doctor so he’ll fix this up.”
“Okay, but I helped fixed you,” Jim said stubbornly as he reached out to pull Leonard up.
“Sure thing, Jim,” Leonard agreed, an actual smile making its way onto his face. Jim grinned back and wrapped an arm around his waist causing Leonard to raise an eyebrow at him.
“I’m helping you to your dad. They do this in movies; heroes put their arms around the girls they rescue.”
“I’m not a girl,” Leonard snorted indignantly.
“No, you’re not. But I am rescuing you.”
Leonard just looked at him strangely then accepted his behaviour, leaning against Jim as they walked down a path through the orchard. Jim could see a house up ahead that looked slightly bigger than his own new one.
“I’m glad we’re neighbours, Bones,” Jim said happily. “I was sad because I didn’t think I’d have any friends.”
“Why’re you calling me Bones? And who said we’re going to be friends?”
Jim looked at him like it was obvious before he answered in the most honest voice possible.
“I kissed your bones better. So your nickname should be Bones. And of course we’re going to be friends. We live right next to each other. And I saved your life. Heroes make friends with the people they save.”
Leonard didn’t seem to have an answer to his logic, or perhaps his arm was really hurting despite Jim’s kiss. So Jim gave the arm another kiss and when Bones gave him a look he just smiled and continued to lead him towards the house. They were so going to be best friends forever. How could they not be?