August 1973

“I am not going to Bolivia!”  Sixteen year old Hallie Belden jumped up from the sofa and stamped her foot.  Her blackberry eyes blazed as she looked from one parent to the other.   “I’m not, I’m not, I’m NOT!”  She drew a deep breath and relaxed her fisted hands.

“Young lady, don’t take that tone with me!”  Her father, Harold, rarely got angry with his little girl, but she could tell that he was struggling to control his temper now.   He leaned forward in his chair, resting his elbows on his knees.  “Look here, Halcyon.  You got yourself into this predicament, hanging out with that wild group of girls last year.  You made some poor decisions, very poor.  Now it’s time for you to pay the piper.”

Hallie’s brows drew together in confusion.  “Pay the ...what?”

“Never mind, Halcyon.”  Her mother was speaking now, and Hallie turned to face her.   “Paying the piper means taking the consequences of your decisions.  You decided to break curfew, drive a vehicle without a license, and drink alcohol as a minor.  For all I know, people were smoking pot at that party where you were arrested.”  Eleanor Belden frowned and threw her hands in the air.   “You’re just lucky you didn’t get cited for possession.” 

“Possession!  I never touched that stuff!”  Hallie folded her arms and tossed her black hair.

“It doesn’t matter.”  Eleanor was firm.  “Your father and I have to go to Bolivia to check on the mine there.  We may be gone for several months.”

“Hallie, you’ve shown us that we can’t leave you here,” added her father.  His voice was granite-hard.  “You got yourself into trouble while we were right here.  We can’t trust you to behave while we’re gone, and we can’t allow the staff to take the responsibility of being in charge of you.”     

“Besides, Halcyon, your principal called and said you wouldn’t be able to return to school in the fall.”  Her mother dropped the bomb.  Hallie hadn’t quite expected that one.

“It’s a public school,” she retorted.  “They have to take everyone.”

“No they don’t, Hallie.”  Harold Belden stood.  “The school district has a separate school for kids who don’t fit into the regular classroom.  Discipline problems, legal problems, kids who just don’t feel the rules apply to them.  Surely you’ve known some of the students at the alternative school.”

“A-school?”  She was almost speechless for a minute.  “A-school, where all the juvenile delinquents go?  I can’t go there, they don’t even have basketball for girls!”

“Hallie, it doesn’t matter.  We aren’t sending you to alternative school, because we’re still concerned there’s no one to supervise you after school and on weekends.”  Her mother stood, too.  “There’s a very good boarding school near Pocatello, and we’ve already made inquiries.  They have room for you, and they do have a girls’ basketball team.”

Hallie backed up.  She could feel the walls of the living room closing in on her.  “Boarding school!  That’s worse than A-school.”  Her mind raced, and she frantically tried to think of someone, anyone, she could ask to stay with.  “Why can’t I stay with one of the boys?  Knut has his own apartment and I could go to a regular high school in Pocatello.”

“Halcyon.”  Her father was speaking again.  “Knut is a senior in college.  He has neither the time nor the maturity to take you into his keeping.  You got into trouble here, hanging out with the wrong crowd, and you’d find another group of troublemakers in Pocatello.  You have two choices.  You can come to Bolivia with us—and I’m sure it would be a fabulous opportunity and an experience you’d remember forever—or you can go to Sacred Heart Academy in Pocatello, where you will have close supervision and an opportunity to be seen by basketball scouts for every college west of the Mississippi.”

Once again, she looked from one parent to the other.  She felt like a caged animal, being railroaded into a choice that was no choice at all.  “I hate you!  I hate you!”   She whirled around, screaming once more, “I hate you!” before the hot tears pushed their way out of her eyes.  She ran to the stairs, taking them two at a time.  Upstairs, she jerked open the door of her room and slammed it behind her as she collapsed on the bed, sobbing.

Harold and Eleanor Belden looked at each other after Hallie made her cyclonic exit.  “That went well,” Harold said with an ironic twist to his mouth.

“Yes, didn’t it?”  Eleanor was equally wry.  “Although I didn’t expect anything else, really.  Still, I hoped she’d like the idea of playing basketball at Sacred Heart.”  She sighed.  “I wish I could think of another solution.  There’s just no one around here who could manage Hallie.”

“Yes, it wouldn’t be fair to the staff here to leave her at home,” Harold agreed.  “It would be one thing after another.  Even Mrs. Mills wouldn’t be able to exert any authority over her.  She’s wound all of the staff around her little finger since she was a baby.”    

“The boys aren’t enough older to take her on,” Eleanor said, beginning to pace.  “And they’re too busy with school.  I suppose I could stay here...”

“Ellie, you can’t stay here.”  Harold began pacing as well.  “This mine business is going to take both of us to get straightened out.  And I hate to say it, but you were here last year.  We both were.  Hallie still got into trouble.”  He ran a hand through his dark hair.  “If we send her to Pocatello, she’ll run away from the school.  I’m worried that if we force her to come to Bolivia, she’ll run away from the property and get into some really unsavory activity, even into danger.”

“If only she had some friends who were good role models, with some good, involved parents,” Eleanor fretted.  “We don’t spend enough time with Halcyon ourselves, and all of our friends are equally busy.”

She sank down onto the sofa and rubbed her temples.  “If only Dad was still here!  He could always get Hallie to behave and to do the things she needed to do for school.  Since he… passed away… she’s been like a wild colt.”

“I know.”  Harold patted her shoulder.   “Part of Hallie’s acting out is probably related to her grief about Grandpa.  But that doesn’t change the current situation.”

“What about your brother?” Eleanor asked, looking up at him and dashing a tear from her eye.

“Which one?”  Harold tried to change gears as fast as she had.

“Peter, of course.”  She stood up again and took his arm.  “Peter lives far enough away that Hallie would be in a totally different environment.  He and Helen are very involved with their kids, and Trixie is close to Hallie’s age.  Hallie got along well with Trixie’s friend Diana when she visited Sleepyside.”

“They got along well when Pete’s kids and their friends came here, too,” Harold said thoughtfully.  “They’re all good, hardworking kids.  I’d like Hallie to have a group of friends like them.  The older boys are both in college this year and that frees Helen up a little to spend time with Hallie.”

“It might be good for Hallie to be around their little boy, too.  Somewhere she isn’t the center of attention.”  Eleanor smiled hopefully.  “She’d probably need to take on some responsibility in that house.”

“I expect Bobby can be a handful,” Harold agreed with an answering smile.  “And she’d probably be able to play basketball, too.” 

“Are you willing to call Peter and ask if Hallie can stay with them?”  Eleanor asked.  “At least for the fall semester.  I hope we can get the mine problems squared away before Christmas.”

Harold looked at his watch.  “It’s a little late tonight,” he said.  “I’ll call Peter first thing tomorrow.  We have a week before we have to leave for Bolivia.”

Harold and Eleanor sat in what passed for a nice restaurant in the cluster of buildings near the Halcyon Hopes silver mine.  “Ellie, Peter said he’d have to discuss it with Helen,” Harold said after their waitress took their lunch orders and poured coffee for each of them.

“Did you get any kind of a vibe from him that was favorable?”  Eleanor’s fingers squeezed the heavy mug as she took a sip of coffee.

“I don’t know that I’d call it favorable.”  Harold gave a short laugh.  “I felt obligated to tell him everything.  He and Helen will have their hands full if Hallie gets in with a bad crowd again, and we’ll be far away.  He was pretty quiet by the time I was finished.”

“But he didn’t refuse outright?”  Elleanor’s eyes brightened.

“No, he didn’t.  Pete’s a family kind of guy, and I think he’ll try his best to help us out.”

Hallie sulked and kept to her room during the next two days.  The staff had strict orders to watch her every move and to notify her parents if she set foot outside the house.  But she didn’t try to run away.  She spent hours trying to draw up plans for leaving, without giving up the comforts of home.  Her parents had their nerve, she fumed.  Trying to control her every move, moving her from one place to another like a pawn on a chessboard.  They had something new up their sleeves, she was certain.  Once she found out what it was, she’d be able to make a better plan. 

Harold glanced at his daughter as the three of them sat at the dinner table.  The staff had cleared the table and left them alone with coffee and dessert, and Hallie was toying with her Pavlova, a bored but discontented expression on her face.  He cleared his throat and started the conversation. 

“Halcyon, we’ve made a decision about where you’ll spend the next few months while we’re gone.”

“I love the way you and Mom make decisions without consulting me,” she said, only half under her breath.

“That’s enough of your attitude, Hallie.  We’ve already offered you two choices—Bolivia or Sacred Heart.”  He glared at her and felt the creases in his cheeks deepen with his frown.  “When you’ve shown you have the maturity to make responsible choices for yourself, you’ll be allowed to have a say.  Or, when you can support yourself and live on your own.”

Hallie dropped her fork onto the polished surface of the table with a faint clang.  She slouched in her chair and folded her arms.  “Okay.  Where do I have the privilege of living for the next few months?”

Eleanor spoke up.  “Your Uncle Peter and Aunt Helen have agreed to let you stay at Crabapple Farm.”   She reached out to touch her rebellious daughter’s arm.  Hallie scowled.  “Please, Halcyon.  You’ll be able to play basketball and you’ll be around a wonderful group of young people—your cousins, Diana Lynch and Honey Wheeler.”

“Diana and Honey are all right,” Hallie admitted grudgingly.  “As long as Trixie doesn’t try to boss me around and make me look like a gawky freak, I’ll try to get along with her.  And her bratty little brother.”

“You’ll do more than just try,” Harold growled.  “The first time I hear about you misbehaving, you’ll be clapped into the convent school near Sleepyside.  Our Lady of Mount Carmel, it’s called.  It’s like Sacred Heart, only more strict, and no basketball.  The day starts at six a.m. with Mass—every day—and I hear they have a ten-foot stone wall all around the campus.”   

Hallie rolled her eyes and sighed.  “Fine.  May I be excused?”

“Yes, you may,” her mother replied.  “You might want to go ahead and start choosing what you want to take to Sleepyside with you.  You’re limited to sixty-five pounds in two checked bags, and a small carry-on case or bag.  Your dad bought your ticket today, and your flight leaves in two days.”

Hallie had already taken several steps away from the table, but she spun around at her mother’s last comment.  “Two days!  I won’t have time to see anyone or do anything.  You’re ruining my life!”

“That’s enough, Hallie.”  The granite edge had returned to Harold’s voice.  “You’re grounded, and we wouldn’t let you see any of your so-called friends anyway.  Go upstairs and pack, and spend some time reflecting on the fact you’re lucky to be going to Sleepyside instead of to the Sacred Heart convent school in Pocatello.  Or reform school.”

Two days later, just before the crack of dawn, Hallie took her seat over the wing of the plane that would take her to her uncle’s home in Sleepyside.  Well, it would take her to JFK International Airport.  The Bob-Whites were to meet her there and take her to Crabapple Farm.  A sullen look settled over her Indian-princess features.  Perfect, boring Brian...just like her brother Knut.  Uber-responsible, stick-up-his butt Jim, who worshipped the ground Trixie walked on... Wisecracking, clever Mart, who Diana thought knew everything... everything worth knowing, that is.  Her cousins and Jim interested her very little.  She already had two older brothers and didn’t need any more boys trying to protect her and tell her what to do.  Her pulse quickened as she remembered the fourth male Bob-White, though.  He hadn’t been able to come to Idaho when the others had, and Hallie had only seen him once since the eventful visit when they’d been tied up in the room at the Glen Road Inn.  Had Trixie mentioned if Dan was coming along to the airport?  She tried to recall every word of the brief phone conversation between her and Trixie last night.  I’m almost sure Dan was coming, she decided.  I wonder if he’s still as good-looking as he was then?      

The stewardess was starting her spiel about the oxygen masks and seatbelts.  Barely listening, Hallie buckled herself in and stared out at the expanse of tarmac.  New horizons were about to unfold.

Author’s Notes

2350 words

Many thanks to my super-speedy editors, Ronda, Ryl, and Trish.  Each of them offered great suggestions that improved the story. 

A great big thank you also to Misty, Dana, and Susan for the CWE #3 challenge.  Originally I didn’t feel inspired by any of the pictures, but after several looks, I found two that fit in with a story that had been sitting out on the edge of my mind for awhile. The header graphic was made from picture #9 and the end button from picture #39.

Thank you to all the readers. Your encouragement always motivates me!

This story is a standalone, although it occurs within my (loose) universe.  I don’t know if there will be more of Hallie’s story later.

If Hallie’s parents seem a little disengaged and even react in ways that aren’t the most mature, it’s because they are disengaged and Harold (at least) can sometimes speak before he thinks.  They set high expectations for their kids, but aren’t involved in their daily lives.  That may explain part of the reason Hallie got into trouble.

Some may question whether girls' basketball was played in the 1970s pre-Title IX. It was played in my area, and a cousin of mine (who graduated the same year my Hallie would have) was an early-ish recipient of a college scholarship for basketball in 1975.

My Hallie’s full name is Halcyon Joy, and the Beldens’ silver mine, as well as the town, are named for her.  Halcyon (called Hal) was the name of the younger sister in Rumer Godden’s novel, Peacock Spring, and that was my inspiration for the name.  I’m not 100% sure where I got Eleanor.  I thought it was canon when I first used it in The Mulberry Bush, but suspect it was another name used by CathyP, since I also took Margaret and Ed Lynch’s names from her fanfic.  When I first started reading Trixie fanfic I hadn’t read anything past #15 in the series.  I thought the fanfic authors took those names from canon I didn’t know.  My Eleanor’s maiden name is Knutson and family names were used for their sons:  my Knut is Harold Knutson and Cap is Andrew Capelton.  Capelton may be Eleanor’s mother’s maiden name—I haven’t decided yet!

Time to stop before the Notes are longer than the story!

Disclaimer: Characters from the Trixie Belden series are the property of Random House. They are used without permission, although with a great deal of affection and respect. All other material on these pages copyright 2012 by MaryN/Dianafan. Images from Microsoft Clip art and and manipulated by Mary N in Photoshop. Graphics copyright by Mary N 2012.

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