When Millie was about 12, her dad decided to take the whole family on a vacation from Australia to somewhere in the U.S. After a while of thinking they decided on New Jersey. But our story begins when they first arrived there.
"Mom? Can I go out and collect some shells on the beach?" Millie asked her mother with big puppy dog eyes, her mother just laughed. "Alright dear, just be home by six." She said, Millie grabbed her pale and ran out the door of the beach house her family rented.
Millie ran along the beach collecting different types of shells and shoved them into her bag. She even found a few dried up starfish and some sand dollars too. She continued to skip along the beach when she heard some noise from the distance.
"Ow!" A voice yelled out, Millie ran to the top of a sand dune and looked down to find five boys, three of the boys were laughing at the other two and the other two looked exactly alike. One had glasses and was on the ground while the other one had a band-aid on his cheek staring up at the boys angrily.
"You guys are such losers! One of the boys yelled, he pointed to the one with the glasses while his two friends laughed. "You're a freak, and your brother is a freak too because he's just like you!"
The kid with the band aid on his cheek stomped towards the three bullies and held his fist up as if to punch the middle bully in the face.
"Get lost Crampelter! Or I'll unleash "The Old Girl" on you!" He threatened, the middle bully known as Crampelter just laughed and pushed him to the ground. "Yeah right! What are you going to do short stack! Like I said just now, like I have said many times before: "You are just a dumber, sweatier version of your freak of a brother! See 'ya later Losers!" The three bullies then got on their bikes and rode off.
"H-Hey! Get back here I'm not done threatening you yet!" The kid with the band aid on his cheek yelled out to the bullies, he then ran took off running after them leaving the boy with the glasses by himself. The kid picked himself up and dusted himself off as Millie walked up to him.
"Hey," she said out of nowhere, this startled the boy until he realized who was talking to him. "What were those boys doing to you just now?" She asked, "Oh them? They were just messing with my brother and I." The boy assured her nervously adjusting his glasses, "Messing with you? I saw what they did, they were bullying you." Millie replied, "What? No they weren't we were just joking around like guys do." The boy told her, "Stop it, I know they weren't just messing around. They were calling both you and your brother freaks, that is not just 'fooling around'...Why were they calling you a freak anyway?" She asked, the kid immediately shoved both of his hands in the pockets of his brown jacket and started sweating.
"N-N-No reason." He stuttered, just then the kid with the band-aid on his cheek came running back towards them obviously out of breath but he was also smiling.
"Hey Poindexter! You're not going to believe what I just did! I managed to throw a rock at Crampelter's bike and I managed to put a dent in it and broke off the breaks and kickstand! It's going to be in the shops for a week! Just goes to show you don't mess with the Pines Twins!" It was then he noticed Millie there with them and suddenly got all goofy.
"Hey uh...who's this?" He asked, "I'm Millie," Millie introduced herself, "and you two are?" "I'm Stanley, and this is my twin brother, Stanford. Or as I like to call him: Sixer!" The tougher kid known as Stanley said, Millie looked at Stanford with a confused look. "Sixer? Why does he call you that?" He just began to sweat even more. "Oh! Uh, j-just a silly nickname, that's all." He replied nervously, "I thought the reason we called you Sixer was because you have--." Stanley said, he immediately was slapped on the back of his head by his twin brother who was shooting him a serious look. "Oooohhhh....I see." He whispered, to his brother, "Yeah, I call him that because six is his favorite number." Stanley said, Mille was still confused by the twins' answer but decided not to question it further.
"So anyway, are you new in town because we've never seen you around here before?" Stanford asked, "I'm just here for a week, my family's on vacation here until Saturday, and then we'll be on our way back to Australia." Millie just smiled,
"Well, would you like us to show you around?" Stanford offered, "Really? I would like that very much, thank you." She said.
So for the next week the twins showed Millie around. They showed her the amusement park, their secret cave where they found their sailboat, and their actual sailboat that they named the "Stan O' War", they even met Millie's family.
On Friday night, after showing her around the beach one more time, the three of them were hanging out at the twins' favorite swing set on the beach, the two twins were on the swings while Millie just stood in between them.
"This week has been really fun you guys. Thanks so much." Millie said to the twins, "Of course, Millie." Stanford told her, "Yeah." Stanley said, that was when he noticed his brother looking at Millie.
"You know what? I think I heard our mom calling us so I'm going to just..go and see what she needs, see 'ya inside, poindexter." He said, he hopped off the swing and walked away now just leaving Stanford and Millie. Millie went over and sat in Stanley's swing and began to softly rock back and forth on her heels.
"I can't believe it's been a week already." She finally spoke up, "Yeah, time goes by fast when you're having a good time." Stanford replied, "So uh, you and your brother are going to be adventurers when you grow up, huh?" Millie asked, "Yep! It'll be just the two of us! It'll be beaches, girls, and international treasure hunting for us!" Stanford said excitedly, Millie giggled, "Wow, that sounds like the life." She said, "What are you going to do when you're grown up?" Stanford asked, "Well, I would like to see the world like you and your brother, but my father wants me to do something more serious with my life." Millie finished the sentence by looking at the ground sadly.
"Just because you're dad doesn't approve doesn't mean you can't do what you love, you can do whatever you set your mind to." Stanford said encouragingly, Millie just looked up at the young boy and smiled. "Thanks, Sixer." She said, then something else hit her mind. Why did people call him Sixer? She knew it was probably for a reason much more deep than a favorite number, she knew this was probably against her better judgement but she needed to know the truth.
"Hey Stan? Can I ask you a question?" She asked, "Yeah Millie, anything." He told her, "...Why does everyone call you Sixer? I know it's not because six is your favorite number. What's the real reason?"
Stanford began to sweat, he shoved his hands into his jacket pockets again and just looked at the ground nervous. "It's...It's not something I like to talk about...Everyone I tell laughs at me."
"But you can trust me, Stan. We're friends now, right? I won't laugh at you no matter how ridiculous it is." Millie said, Stanford just looked up at her. "You promise not to laugh?" He asked seriously, Millie held up her hand and crossed her fingers. "I swear I won't laugh." She said, Stanford gulped. "Okay..." He pulled his hands out of his pockets and showed her his left one. It had an extra finger than the original five a normal hand would have which added up to six. Millie looked at his hand closely and her face had a serious look. She examined them for a while not saying thing. This made Stanford even more nervous.
"Six fingers? That's why everyone laughs at you?" Millie finally said, "Yeah, that's why they call me Sixer, that's why they all laugh at me, because I'm a "Six-Fingered Freak"." Stanford replied, Millie didn't reply. He was now really regretting that he showed her his hand.
He pulled his hand away from her. "There, now you know the truth. You can go ahead and laugh at me now." He told her, Millie didn't laugh, that was when he finally had the courage to face her. "What? Aren't you going to laugh at me or something?" He asked, Millie still wasn't laughing, she wasn't even cracking a smile. She was surprised, Stanford couldn't tell if it was because of his outburst or because of his freaky six-fingered hands. Finally Millie responded.
"I'm not going to laugh at you, I don't think your six fingers are something to laugh about. In fact, I too have a weird quirk as well." She pointed to her nose, "See? I have a very small nose. Like your hands it's different from everybody else's. To be honest, I think those bullies are just jealous that you're different. Because if you're different that means you're special."
Stanford perked up at that last word Millie said. "You think I'm special?" He asked her, "Yeah," Millie replied, "We're both special." She said,
"Yo Sixer! Mom said she wants us both inside now!" Stanley called from a distance, both Mille and Stanford got off the swings. "I guess I'd better get going too, we're heading home tomorrow afternoon...Be there to see me off?" She asked, "We promise." Stanford answered for himself an his brother, "Goodnight." Millie said, "Goodnight." Stanford replied, he began walk away and almost tripped and fell over but managed to regain his balance before he could fall flat on his face. "G-Goodnight!" He said again, Millie just giggled at how silly and adorable that was. She headed back to the beach house where her family was staying and turned in for the night.
The next day the twins were hanging out in their bedroom. Stanley was playing with a paddleball while Stanford just played in his top bunk staring at his hand.
"Sixer check this out! I've been hitting this ball on the paddle for over a half an hour straight!" Stanley said to his brother, Stanford didn't respond. Stanley stopped playing with his paddle ball and looked up at his brother bunk, still no response. He climbed the ladder up to his brother's bunk where he saw his brother still staring at his six-fingered hand with a dazed smile on his face.
"Hey! Poindexter! You've been staring at your hand all morning! What gives?!" Stanley demanded, Stanford looked at his brother still wearing that dazed smile.
"I uh...showed Millie my hand last night." He told his brother, "What? Did she make fun of it? Did she call you a freak?" Stanley asked him, "No, she didn't laugh, she said that my six fingers don't make me a freak...but they make me special..." He then held his left hand in his right and a light blush spread across his face.
"Oh man! You're uh...." Stanley began to snap his fingers in front of his face. "What was it that Bambi ended up becoming? What was it, teeter-paddled?" He asked,
"You mean twitter-patted? Stanford said correcting him, "Yeah! That's it!" Stanley then jumped up onto his brother's bunk. "You're twitter-patted over Milie!" Stanford just thought for a moment his face blushing all the while. After a minute he replied, "Yeah, I guess I am. She's the first person I've met besides you, mom and dad that doesn't judge me for being different. She understands me...so yeah, I guess I'm twitter-patted." Suddenly Stanley remembered something and stood up on the bunk. "Wait, didn't Millie say she was leaving for Australia today?" Stanford instantly stood up in front of his brother surprised in realization. "Yeah, she said she was leaving this afternoon. I promised her we'd be there!" He said now panicking, in a swift move Stanley grabbed Stanford's arm and began dragging him towards the latter. "We'll come on! We have to tell her you like her!" He said now panicking too.
The twins raced to the beach house where Millie and her family were staying only to find a "For Rent" sign on the door.
"She's gone. It's hopeless." Stanford said pitifully, Stanley looked at his devastated brother and back at the "For Rent" sign and then grabbed his brother's arm again.
"Come on, we're heading to the bus station! This is you're first crush on a girl who doesn't judge you and I ain't letting you screw this up!" He said,
At the bus station, Millie and her family were boarding the bus. Millie looked around at everyone at the station but could not see the two identical faces she was looking for.
"What's the matter Millie?" Her sister Margaret asked, Millie quietly responded, "They never came to say goodbye..."
"Come on sweetie, time to go." Her mother said taking her hand, Millie boarded the bus with her mother and as she did so, a tear fell from her face.
The twins were running at their fastest through the station trying to get to where Millie's bus was parked. The could see it in the distance, they were getting closer.
Millie fastened her seatbelt and just looked sadly out the window as she heard he bus driver say over the intercom:
"Good afternoon, passengers. I'd like to thank you for choosing "Jersey Ways". We are now departing from "Glass Shard Bus Station" to "Atlantic City International Airport". During the ride it is my duty to ask any of you to refrain from eating, drinking or smoking while on board. Thank you very much and enjoy the ride..."
Millie's mother looked over at her daughter still looking out the window. She put her hand on her daughter's shoulder to console her for her friends not being there to see her off.
The twins were almost there, they only had to get through a crowd of people and they'd be there. They rudely pushed through people earning dirty glances from them as they passed. They ran faster and faster and faster until they were on the platform where the bus was starting to move. They followed alongside the bus and looked in all the windows until they finally found her.
"There she is! We gotta get her attention!" Stanley said in a rushed manner.
Millie was now no longer looking out the window but now just staring down at the bus floor. Margaret peaked out from behind her bus seat wondering why her sister looked so sad.
"Millie, are you still sad about those two boys you met on the beach?" She asked, Millie didn't respond, "What were their names again? Stanley and who was that other one? You know, the freak with the six fingers?" This angered Millie a lot.
"...Stanford..." Millie mumbled under her breath, "Well, I'm sure by this time next week they'll be completely out of your head." Margaret said, she then say back down in her bus seat while Millie just continued to stare at the floor. But then she heard muffled yelling, it sounded like people were calling her name, she looked out the window to find both Stanley and Stanford running alongside the bus yelling out to her. They were shouting so,etching but Millie couldn't hear them very well. She put her finger to her hear and shook her head to signal them that could not hear them very well. Realizing this they began to do hand gestures to show her what they meant. Stanley began pointing at Stanford while Stanford pointed at himself as well. Millie was still confused, until Stanford put his hand to his heart and mouth "I love you." Millie blinked in surprise and a light blush spread across her face. She put her hand to her face to hide the blushing but it was obvious there was no use hiding it. Over the past week she spent with the twins, she had always seen something in Stanford that she didn't see in Stanley. She was able to talk to him better, she felt like herself when he was around, she wasn't ashamed for what she liked, she felt like they both really "clicked" and that must've been what he was feeling too.
After a minute of a failed attempt to hide and stop her blushing, Millie mustered up the courage to face the twins again and in return smiled and put her hand to her heart as well. For three seconds that was all she was doing until she mouth the words: "I love you too." After that the two twins stopped running probably due to the fact that that was where the platform ended, but they watched as Millie's bus continued to roll off. When Millie couldn't see them anymore she began to cry softly as she put her hand over the one still on her chest.
The twins watched her bus leave with heavy hearts. But in a way, they were happy that they were at least able to find another friend.
As Stanford watched the first real love of his life disappear in the distance, his brother put a consoling hand in his shoulder. "Don't worry, bro. We'll see her again someday...I'm sure of it..."