It was a Monday afternoon in May. Kimi Finster and her friends were spending Study Hall in the courtyard of Jim Jr. Junior High.
"Aaah! Springtime!" Tommy said with a happy sigh.
"Aren't the flowers beautiful?" Lil asked.
"Yeah, but I'm probably allergic to most of them," said Chuckie, making sure he had rememebered his inhaler.
"Next year, Dil will be able to join us outside," spoke up Phil.
As much as he wanted to join his brother and his friends outside for study hall, Dil couldn't, because the fifth graders were on a totally different schedule. That was one thing about school that Dil loved to complain about.
"But we won't ever all be able to spend study hall together," said Kimi.
That's when everybody remembered that next year, they would be split up not
just by grades, but by schools. Susie and Angelica were going to graduate from
middle school at the end of the year. Next year, they would be in 9th grade
at Calvin N. Hobbes High School. At one time, everybody had dreaded Angelica
like the plague, but now she wasn't so bad.
Suddenly, Kimi had a thought that nearly made her faint. In just two short years, her own brother would be attending Calvin N. Hobbes High School! She and Chuckie would be in different schools.
Just then, the warning bell rang.
"See you after school!" Kimi called to her friends as she headed for class.
At the end of the day, Kimi skipped out to the bus stop, happy as can be. Her day had been perfect.
Then she heard someone yell, "Hey, Kimi!" Kimi looked around and saw Bethany Shane. Beth's older sister, Samantha, was Angelica's best friend.
"Hi, Beth," said Kimi.
"Say, Kimi, I've been noticing that you're quite a tough girl. How'd you like to quit hanging around your baby friends and start hangin' with me instead?" asked Beth.
Kimi couldn't believe it. Like her sister Samantha, Beth was very picky about who her friends were. Only the coolest girls got to be Beth's friends.
"Sure!" Kimi said.
So Kimi went to Beth's house, after yelling to Chuckie to tell their parents where she'd gone.
Before long, Beth had a nickname for herself and Kimi, "The Daredevils". The girls performed lots of tricky, dangerous stunts, and Beth gave Kimi a make-over.
When Kimi got home that night, Chazz and Kira almost fainted.
"Kimi, what did you do to yourself?" asked Chazz.
"My new friend Beth gave me a makeover so I could look more cool!" Kimi said proudly.
A faraway look came into Kira's eyes. Then she shook her head and snapped out of it.
"Just be careful, Kimi," Kira said.
The next day, Kimi refused to spend study hall with her friends.
"No way! Totally uncool! Hanging out in the courtyard is for squares!" she said.
"Wow! Kimi has changed!" Tommy said.
"I don't like it. I don't like it at all!" Chuckie said.
Kimi avoided her friends the whole week.
On Friday, when they asked her why that was so, she responded, "Oh, please! Like I'd hang out with such juveniles!"
"Angelica, she's turned into Angelica!" said Chuckie.
Phil, Lil, and Tommy nodded. Dil couldn't even make a joke.
Then, on Beth announced that on Saturday, the Daredevils were going to do their trickest stunt yet. They were going to bike up "the cliff", the steepest mountain in the area. There really was a cliff at the end of the hill, though it only dropped down about five feet.
"Beth, I don't know. It sounds awfually dangerous," Kimi said.
"That's the idea!" said Beth.
In the end, she convinced Kimi. Kimi, did, however, insist that Chuckie come along to watch. That way, somebody would be there should something happened.
So, early Saturday morning, the biking began. Faster and faster went the daredevils.
"I'm flying!" Kimi yelled happily. Then, all at once, Kimi really was flying. Her bike hit a rock at the edge of the cliff and flew up over the cliff. Then Kimi was falling. Beth shook her head and stormed off in anger. Chuckie ran home as fast as his legs could carry him.
When he got there, he found that Chazz and Kira were both out. Barely stopping for breath, Chuckie ran to the Pickles.
"Chuckie, what in the world?" Didi gasped.
"It's Kimi! She fell off the cliff! And mom and dad aren't home!" Chuckie said.
Didi sprang into action.
"Stu, call 911, then call Chazz and Kira's cell phone! Tommy, Dil, run to the cliff to be ready to meet the paramedics! Chuckie, run across the street to the Carmichaels and see if Susie is ready to watch Tommy and Dil if we aren't able to get hold of your parents!"
Everybody did as they were told.
When Chuckie told the Carmichaels what had happened, Lucy ran out the front door yelling, "I'm on my way!"
Chuckie began to cry.
"Don't worry. Kimi will be fine," said Susie.
"Susie, doctors can't always save people!" Chuckie snapped.
Then he turned away from her. It took Susie a few moments to understand what Chuckie was talking about. Then suddenly, she remembered.
Meanwhile, Kimi was unaware of all that had just happened. All she was aware of was that she was about six months old, and she was living in Paris. She was sitting on her father's lap.
"I call this one A Memory For Kimi. Kira, should something happen to me, I want you to give these things to Kimi whenever you feel the time is right. That way, even if she cannot see me, she can at least have a memory," Kimi's father said suddenly, holding up his latest painting, along with a letter.
Kimi and her dad were super close. Kira worked at EuroReptarland, so she was gone past supper time most days. But Kimi's father, Jean Pierre, stayed at home with her. He was an artist and Kimi was the subject of many of his paintings. He had even made Kimi's Superthing doll.
Then, one morning, when Kimi was one year old, she woke up to find her grandmother,
Kyoki, standing by her crib. Kimi was usally overjoyed to see her grandma, but
this time she knew something was wrong. Kyoki looked very, very sad. Kimi was
confused. She knew Kira was at work,
but where was Jean Pierre?
At that time, Kimi spoke her first words -- "Dadda! Dadda!"
Kyoki looked like she wanted to cry. She took Kimi out of her crib. Kimi began to cry.
"Dadda!" she shrieked over and over.
Just then, the front door open. Kimi could hear her grandfather Kyoto's voice saying, "She's in good hands, Kira. You just go on to bed. Kyoki and I will take care of her."
"Okay, dad. But first I need to spend some time with my Kimi-Chan," said Kira.
Then Kira came into Kimi's room. Kyoki handed Kimi to Kira and then, at Kyoto's beckoning, left the room, closing the door behind her. Kira sat down in the rocking chair.
"Dadda! Dadda!" Kimi shrieked.
"Oh, Kimi, my Kimi-Chan. Your daddy is dead. That means we'll never see him again," said Kira.
"DADDA!" Kimi shrieked at the top of her little lungs. Then she burst into tears.
"I know Kimi, I know. It's the saddest thing," said Kira.
"DADDA!" shrieked Kimi.
"Kimi?" asked Kira.
"DADDA!" shrieked Kimi.
"Kimi!" Kira said.
"DADDA!" was Kimi's response.
"Kimi!" said Kira.
By this time, Kira was beginning to sound a lot like Chuckie.
"Kimi!" Kira called again.
Suddenly, Kimi's eyes fluttered open. She found herself staring into Chuckie's face. Then she looked around and saw Chazz, Kira, and Dr. Lucy.
"Kimi, you're awake!" Kira said.
"What's going on?" Kimi asked.
"You knocked yourself out cold. You have a broken leg and your spleen was ruptured and had to be removed. Thank goodness you don't have any head injuries," Chazz said.
"Oh, Kimi- Chan! I was afraid I was going to lose you!" Kira cried.
Then she sighed and reached into her purse. She pulled out a rolled up piece of paper with an envelope attached to it.
"Kimi, this is for you. I think now is the right time to give it to you," said Kira.
Kimi unrolled the paper and found a painting of herself pretty much as looked right then. She opened the letter. This is what it said.
My Dearest Kimi,
This is a painting of how I imagine you to look at eleven years old. I hope I'm around to see for myself how accurate the painting was, but if I'm not, I want you to have the painting to remember me by.
You were my pride and joy, my sweet only daughter. If you're reading this, I obvisly haven't been around to watch you grow up. I wonder what your life is like as you're reading this. Whatever it's like, I hope it's full of happiness.
My Love Now and Always,
"Kimi, one thing your father didn't mention in his letter is that he was every bit as much a daredevil as you are now. In fact, we first met after he took a nasty fall at EuroReptar!" Kira said.
"Well, I don't know what dad's fall taught him, but I do know that mine taught me not to such a daredevil all the time. I can promise you that I will never hang out with Beth again," Kimi said. "When I got hurt, she abandoned me; I could've died."
"Oh Kimi, my Kimi-Chan," said Kira as she and Kimi hugged.
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