Lynn didn’t chatter through breakfast, she didn’t kiss her mother good-bye, and she didn’t bounce out the door and clatter down the front steps. When she saw her friends waiting, she didn’t toss her black curls and smile.
“You have it, don’t you, Lynn?” Mary asked.
“Yeah, I have it.”
“It’ll be great to see Anne’s face when she realizes she’s the only one who wasn’t at the party!” Mary laughed.
Lynn smiled outside, but inside she winced. You’re new in town, she told herself. Don’t blow it!
Lynn, Mary, and Betty walked to school, carrying their show-and-tell items—prizes they’d won at Betty’s birthday party. Everyone in class was bringing one. Anne was the only person in third grade who hadn’t been invited—and she didn’t even know it!
At school, Anne leaned across the aisle to Lynn.
“Hey, Lynn, what did you bring for show and tell?”
Lynn’s heart sank. “Nothing much, just some doll clothes.”
“I’m so excited—I found a cocoon! I’m going to put it in a jar and watch the butterfly come out!”
“That’s great.” Lynn’s voice sounded hollow. She felt awful. But Mary and Betty were the prettiest, most popular girls in class. Anne was, well … different. Not a snob, as Betty’d said—just shy. She was really smart and read a lot of books. And even though her family had money, Anne didn’t even dress in expensive clothes. She cared about books, and nature, and other people. Maybe Betty and Mary are jealous, Lynn thought now.
Jealous? Of Anne? But it kind of made sense. They probably wished that they had all that money—they’d spend it on clothes and stuff. And they probably wished that they were as good in school as Anne.
“Show-and-tell time,” announced Mrs. Sears. Books slapped shut, desk tops squeaked, and kids got out their treasures.
“Tina?” called Mrs. Sears.
Tina rose and went to the front. She looked straight ahead. “I brought this horse, which I won at Betty’s birthday party for pinning the tail on the donkey.”
“How nice,” said Mrs. Sears. “Tim?”
Tim showed his prize from Betty’s party. Lynn glanced sideways at Anne. She looked a little sad. She probably doesn’t really mind, Lynn thought. But her hands started to feel cold and clammy.
One by one, the children showed off their prizes. Now Anne’s chin trembled and her face started to crumple. She bowed her head a little, to hide her face with her blond hair.
Finally it was Anne’s turn.
Anne tossed her head and stood up. The class was completely silent. Lynn thought that Anne was going to be OK, but tears formed in Anne’s eyes. She took a deep breath and said shakily, “Mrs. Sears, I’m sorry—I don’t want to share anything today,” then slumped into her seat.
Lynn looked across the aisle. Anne didn’t look at her. Lynn looked at Mary, who hissed, “Go on!” Taking a deep breath herself, Lynn stood. “Uh, I don’t have anything I want to share today, either.”
Betty glared angrily from her desk.
“Me, either, Mrs. Sears,” Sam said apologetically.
A few more kids took their turns, and Anne still sat looking down. Then it was time for recess.
Outside, Anne sat alone. Lynn slowly walked up to her. “Anne, I’m really sorry.”
“You knew all about it, didn’t you?”
“Yes. I’m really sorry, though. I just wanted to be part of the group. It was dumb.”
“Yeah, well, thanks … for not showing your prize.”
“Did you notice that Sam didn’t do it, either?” Lynn asked.
They looked around the schoolyard until they spotted Sam. He looked over, smiled, and started toward them.
Lynn linked arms with Anne and thought that maybe she would be part of a group—a group she could be truly happy in—after all.