The girls slowly congregated in my room. I could see the reluctance on their faces. It reminded me of the first day of school and the dreaded getting to know you games. Like those teachers, I practically glared at, I smiled brightly and invited the girls to sit down. Emma and Kylie showed up last.
“Good evening, ladies,” I welcomed them all. “Now, I know you may all know each other, but I do not know you so I hoped to take this time to do that.” Most of the girls nodded, while Jackie glared at the floor. “To help, I thought we would play just one round of never have I ever.”
“What’s that?” Aubree asked.
Before I could reply, Emma spoke up, “Oh I know this game. Everyone shares something they haven’t done but others may have. Right?” She looked at me.
I nodded, “Yes, that is the basic idea. We each start with ten fingers, if someone says something you have done, then you put down one finger. The person who has the most fingers still up at the end wins.”
“What do we win?” Jackie mutters.
I smile, “The knowledge you won?” I suggest as Jackie rolls her eyes. “Actually, what would you want as a reward?” I ask the girls.
“An hour extra before lights out?” Emma suggests.
When no one suggested anything else, I agreed, but added, “But if I win,” I smile, “I get no arguments when lights are out. Agreed?” After they nodded I said, “Okay, everyone hold up your hands with fingers up.”
“Wait,” Melody says, “How will we know if people are being honest?”
“Well,” I say, “I try to trust people I don’t know unless they show me they are untrustworthy.”
Kylie smiled, “Well, since you want to get to know us, how about if you put a finger down you have to share your story behind it?”
“I like that,” I smiled at her, “Does everyone agree?” Again the girls nodded. “Any other questions?” When no spoke up, I said, “Then let’s get started, hands up.”
When everyone raised their hands, I said, “I’ll start, then and we will go around the general circle starting to my left.” Again I waited for nods then said, “Never have I ever eaten s’mores.”
“What?” Emily asked, “Really?”
“Really,” I said and added, “I don’t like marshmallows or thick creamy stuff.” I laughed at the surprised looks on the girls’ faces. “If you have ever had a s’more put down a finger.” Each girl put down a finger.
Emma rolled her eyes, “They give us s’mores for dessert at least once or twice a year here.”
“Is that how you all have had a s’more?” I asked. The girls nodded, so I said, “Okay, now it is your turn, Christina.”
Christina gave a small smile, her face a little red as she said, “Never have I ever left the United States.”
I and four other of the girls put down a finger just as Kylie demanded, “I want to know where you’ve been.”
“I visited Mexico as a child,” I commented.
Emma smiled, “Daddy took me to visit Paris this summer.”
Melody said, “I go to a music festival in Canada each summer.”
Emily said, “I traveled to London a few years ago.”
Liz said, “My parents took me to Japan for my birthday.”
“Cool,” I said, “Your turn Jackie.
Jackie said, “Never have I ever gotten a tattoo.”
Kylie giggled as she put down one finger. Emma swung towards her, “You have a tattoo?”
Kylie nodded, “My parents let me get a small one on my ankle.”
“Let me see.” Emma demanded.
Kylie rolled down her pink sock to show a small pink butterfly. After everyone admired the tattoo I brought them back to the game. “Emily it is your turn.”
Emily bit her lip thinking, “Never have I ever eaten steak.”
“What? Why?” I asked.
She shrugged, “I’ve just never had it.”
I looked around “Has everyone else had steak?” The girls nodded so I said, “Well let’s continue, Aubree?”
“Never have I ever had siblings,” Aubree said.
I laughed, “Okay, so who has siblings.” Six hands went up. “Liz, you are an only child?” I asked.
She nodded. “Okay, well I don’t really want to hear how your siblings came to be.” I paused as the girls alternately groaned and giggled. “Liz, I think it is your turn.”
Liz thought for a moment, saying, “Aubree took mine. Okay, never have I ever owned a pet.”
“I own a cute white kitty named Luna,” Emma said.
Kylie laughed, “And I own a tabby named tiger.”
Melody smiled, “My parents gave me a parrot.”
Jackie said, “I own a snake.”
Christina asked, “Does it count if it’s a family pet?” I nodded and she said, “Okay, my family owns a dog.”
They all looked at me as I smiled, “I once owned a turtle.” Then I frowned, “Then he ran away. I sighed, “Oh well. Melody?” I looked at her.
“Never have I ever met my grandparents.” she said.
“Really?” I asked gently.
She nodded, and explained, “I was a surprise child. My grandparents died before my birth.”
Everyone else put down a finger and I turned to Kylie, “Your turn.”
Kylie smiled, “Never have I ever snuck out of my room.”
I laughed lightly, “Well that’s good to know. Who has?”
Emma flushed, as she said, “I only snuck out once.”
“Why? I asked.
“I went to meet a boy.” she confessed.
Instead of saying anything else I looked around, “Anyone else?”
Christina said, “I left my book in class once and I snuck out to go get it.”
I nodded, “Okay, well let’s avoid sneaking out without telling me, hmm?”
The girls nodded, and I turned to Emma. “Your turn.”
She grinned, “Never have I ever searched for the door.”
“Door?” I asked.
Emma nodded, “Yeah. There’s a story that once a month on the full moon a door appears somewhere in this castle and leads to a great treasure.”
Jackie spoke up, “I went looking once before lights out, but Mr. Leroy caught me and told me to return to my room.”
The girls started talking about where the door could possibly appear and what treasure they would find when I held up a hand.
“Look, I’m the first to admit to having a lot of curiosity, but this sounds like a wild goose chase,” I commented.
Kylie shook her head, “No, Miss Delfian. My older brother said he saw the door once, he and a friend. They even went in and he said they were attacked by the guardian of the door. He never saw the door again.” She shrugged, “Though I don’t think he really looked. When he told me, he warned me not to go looking.”
Jackie spoke up, “I want to find the door. I’m not afraid.”
“Well,” I said before anyone could retort, “I understand the curiosity, so I’ll make you all a deal. If you agree to not sneak out for any reason, I will take anyone that wants to go looking out once a month at the full moon to look for the door. Agreed?” I asked.
They nodded, but I said, “This time I want to hear you say it.”
All of them agreed. At that, I looked at my clock and realized that it was late. “Alright, lights out is almost here so you all better go get ready for bed. Thank you for joining me tonight.” As the girls stood to leave I said, “Remember, I am here to talk if you need anything. Oh and Aubree and Emily won the extra hour. Let me know when you want it.”