As requested, I’m putting up another serial story! Enjoy!!
He forgot something up in the tower. A pen or a workbook or something of minimal importance. Whatever it was, it clearly didn’t matter, since he forgot it in the first place, and then when he ran back up the steps to the top of the tower, he ended up getting so distracted by the voices and the conversation that he forgot it all over again. But, again, whatever it was didn’t matter. What mattered was that afterward, Cal was the first one to know that something was different. When the three of them came out of the tower and returned to the group, Cal knew that something had changed.
“Ms. Hudson,” Cal had called. The rest of the kids were loitering around the bus while Ms. Hudson searched through her purse for the itinerary. “I left something in the tower. I’ll be right back.”
“Okay, Cal,” Ms. Hudson said, pawing through her bag. “Hurry up, and make sure there’s no one still up there.”
The tower was the tallest part of the astronomy building, on top of Coakley’s Peak. It was shaped like an obelisk, the pyramid-like top made out of glass for the ultimate window of the heavens. Cal and about twenty other sophomores from Polk High School had assembled at dusk that Wednesday evening to view a meteor shower. Or, the plan was to view it. The shower was more like a trickle and Cal wasn’t even convinced the dim flashes in the sky weren’t simply airplanes.
Cal climbed the steps, two at a time to get whatever it was that he’d left behind. With his hand on the doorknob, he heard voices inside, and he paused.
“See? I told you it would be a nice view. It’s better when it’s not so crowded,” a male voice said. Cal recognized it, but couldn’t figure out which of the boys in his class had stayed behind.
“It is nice,” a girl said. “You don’t think we’ll get caught, though?”
Cal recognized that voice: Lindsay Clawe. Cal could pick her out of any crowd, any size.
“It’ll be fine, Linds. Trust me,” the guy said.
“Oh, look,” Lindsay cried. Cal wondered what she was looking at but got his answer soon enough when the tiny stairwell he stood in was filled with light. He peered out a small window and saw the meteor shower, the real one this time. It looked like a thunderstorm of fireflies. Gleams and ribbons of light soared across the sky. Cal held his breath.
“Nick, it’s so pretty,” Lindsay said, sighing.
Nick Tanner. Cal hated him.
“Not as pretty as you are,” Nick replied.
Cal rolled his eyes. Surely, she wasn’t falling for this.
“Really?” Lindsay said. Her voice was sweet and flirty, hopeful.
“Yeah, Linds. I’ve liked you for a long time. I think you’re the prettiest girl in our grade… in our school even,” Nick said.
Cal tried not to gag.
“Wait, do you hear that?” Lindsay said. Cal froze.
“Some kind of buzzing. It was right after you spoke. Like a buzzer on a game show.”
Cal breathed again. It wasn’t him that she heard.
“I didn’t hear anything,” Nick said.
“Hm.” Lindsay sounded distracted.
“Anyway, Linds,” Nick continued. “I just meant that I think you’re really pretty.”
“You’re so sweet,” Lindsay murmured.
“And I think you’re really smart,” Nick said, his voice getting softer.
“Wait, there it is again,” Lindsay said. “Did you hear it that time? It’s so loud.”
Cal leaned his ear against the door. He couldn’t hear the noise.
“No, forget the sound, Lindsay,” Nick said. “Forget about whatever. It’s just you and me up here, with the sky above us.”
“Yeah,” Lindsay said, but her voice sounded unsure.
“I really like you,” Nick said.
“No,” Lindsay replied.
Nick laughed. “What do you mean, ‘No’?”
“No, something’s not right,” Lindsay said.
On his side of the door, a scene flashed across Cal’s brain of Lindsay walking through the door and into the stairwell, and finding Cal there, eavesdropping. He took a step back so that if the door opened, it would conceal him.
“Lindsay, wait,” Nick said. “I just wanted to spend time with you.”
“Yes, I believe that,” Lindsay replied. “Why?”
“Because… I really like you?” Nick said, as though he was testing the words.
“Nope.” she said.
“Wait, where are you going?”
The door flew open and Cal grabbed the doorknob as it swung toward his stomach. He held on, the heavy door as his cover.
He heard light footsteps going down the stairs and he could feel the heaviness of someone standing just on the other side of the door, watching Lindsay leave.
“I see you, Nerd,” Nick said and the door yanked away from Cal. It swung closed, slamming shut. “Did you enjoy the show?”
Cal forced a weak smile. “Hey, Nick. I, uh, left … something … up here.”