CHAPTER FOUR – Lindsay
I turned around and came face to face with Nick. He was smiling that dangerous smile, the one that got me to stay in the tower with him yesterday. It was this smile that made every girl in our class—including my best friend, Chloe—melt.
Thankfully, before he could open his mouth to speak, the bell rang.
“I’ve gotta get to class,” I said, walking around him. Poor Cal stood there like a zombie, his face all scrunched like he was solving math problems in his head, which, I guess, he was. He snapped to and gave me a slight wave and wandered out of the common area, to wherever his group of friends hung out before classes started.
Nick reached out and grabbed my arm. “Hang on, Lindsay, I really need to talk to you.”
He steered me away from Cal and toward a spot in the commons with fewer people hanging around.
I shoved him away and watched in horror as he went flying to the right, careening into some freshman girls. They giggled as they unwrapped themselves from him.
“Jeez, Linds,” he said, straightening himself and catching up to me. “Are you channeling The Incredible Hulk now?”
His face clouded over and he suddenly looked like he might throw up. “Hey, wait a second,” he said. “Are you… Do you have super-strength or something?”
I turned to face him and hissed, “Don’t say anything here. Something happened yesterday and I don’t want to talk about it now. And especially not with you.”
“But Lindsay,” he said, hands thrust in his pockets. “I thought we had something special.”
I opened my mouth to declare him a liar, but I could tell from the smirk on his face that he meant for me to know he wasn’t for real.
“Leave me alone, Nick,” I said.
“Seriously, Lindsay,” he pled. “Something strange is happening and you’re the only person I can talk to.”
I waited for the buzz but it didn’t come. He was telling the truth. He looked pathetic, like a helpless kitten.
“Candor doesn’t suit you,” I said. His eyes drooped. I sighed. “Meet me and Cal at lunch.”
“Cal? That pasty kid with the shifty eyes?”
“Yeah, Cal,” I said. “He was there, too. In the astronomy building when it happened. That’s why we’re all messed up right now.”
Nick rolled his eyes but agreed. “Fine. Lunch.”
I turned to hurry to my first period class.
“And Linds,” he called after me. “Don’t go throwing people into any walls, okay?”
CHAPTER FIVE – Nick
The first half of the day was torture. Not, like, the usual I-hate-school torture, but a new and different I-keep-getting-distracted-because-I-can-see-through-the-walls torture. First of all, you’d be amazed at how many kids are just walking around the hallways during class. And of course about a half dozen hot senior girls walked by just when Mr. Locke called on me.
I looked away from the beautiful, giggling girls to see my beer-bellied teacher standing with his arms crossed. “Yeah?”
“Is there something particularly exciting about the bulletin board, or were you daydreaming?”
A couple of kids snickered.
“Believe me, Mr. Locke, there is nothing exciting about that bulletin board.”
My “attitude” got me sent to the principal’s office. It was there that I saw the creepy guy. He was greasy and clammy and had these tiny glasses that kept falling down his sweaty nose. Basically, he’s the type of guy that you never want to see in a schoolyard. He was talking to Ms. Duke, the secretary.
I stood off to the side, in the doorway to the office, while the guy spoke.
“I just need a list of the children on the trip,” the guy was saying.
“I’d be happy to help, sir, but we need to know what this is about,” Ms. Duke said. “I’m sure you understand that we can’t give out the names of the children without a good reason.”
“Someone left something,” he said, the words rushed.
“Oh,” Ms. Duke said. “Then you can pass it on to me and I’ll make sure the rightful owner receives it.”
The man huffed and pushed the glasses back up his nose. “I don’t have it with me,” he said.
Ms. Duke shuffled papers around to signify the end of the conversation. “Come back when you do. Thank you, good day.”
She looked past the man to me. “Nicholas Tanner, what is it this time?”
The man turned and walked out of the office, brushing past me. His arm grazed mine and the cold sweat seeped into my skin. I shuddered and wiped my arm off on my jeans. There was something odd, though. It wasn’t like normal sweat, it was chillier and thicker, like he was sweating jell-o. It left a disgusting trail where I’d wiped it onto my jeans.
“Gross,” I said aloud.
“Excuse me?” Ms. Duke said.
I turned my attention to her. “The usual, Ms. Duke. I have a bad attitude. I don’t live up to my potential. If I could use my wits for work instead of a smart-alecky brashness I could really go places in life.”
She pointed me to my usual seat and picked up the phone to call the principal, who promptly showed me into his office. And, just like that, the day seemed normal again.
CHAPTER SIX – Cal
When I entered the cafeteria at lunch, I saw a hand waving around the air. The hand was attached to Lindsay, and it looked like she was waving it at me. I turned around to make sure there wasn’t someone behind me, like maybe Brad Pitt or Justin Timberlake or someone. There was no one there.
“Cal, gosh! Yes, you,” Lindsay said grabbing my arm and pulling me down into the chair beside her. “We need to talk about this thing.”
I settled in for an intimate talk with the girl of my dreams, but then I got a flash in my mind. “Wait a second. Who’s ‘we’?”
Lindsay gave me a look like I must be stupid. “You, me and Nick, duh. We’re the only ones dealing with this.”
“The only ones that we know of,” I pointed out.
Nick slid into a seat across from us and shot me one of those finger gun greetings that my uncle does. “How’s it going, Calc?”
Lindsay rolled her eyes.
“It’s Cal,” I corrected.
Nick smiled. “Right.”
“It’s so strange, you know?” I said. “Like, this morning, I kept getting my flashes all during class and I just knew every answer before anyone else, so I was, like, raising my hand all morning and just answering everything.”
Lindsay giggled and Nick snorted.
“How is that different from any other day, Nerd?” Nick said.
I looked down at my hands.
“Okay,” Nick said, straightening up. “So these flashes… what’s that about?”
I let Lindsay explain the scenes of the future that blazed through my mind and the mathematical equations that ran like a scroll over everything I saw.
“Oh my gosh,” Nick said, sounding impressed. “You really are the biggest geek in the history of all geeks everywhere!”
He laughed, stretching back with his hands behind his head. “I’m totally calling you Calc because you’re, like, for real a math dweeb. Like, literally.”
I bit the inside of my cheek and sneaked a glance at Lindsay. I would have given anything for her to reach over and flick him across the room.
“Anyway,” Lindsay said, changing the topic. “Let’s discuss these … changes, and figure out how to get rid of them.”
My jaw dropped open. “How to get rid of them?”
She nodded, her blue eyes pure and wonderful, staring at me. “Yeah, Cal. I don’t want a perpetual headache for the rest of my life. And the Hulk thing might be cool to someone else, but I’m pretty sure I’ve only hurt people so far.”
“That’s just because you don’t know how to control it yet,” I said.
“I’m with Lindsay,” Nick said, leaning forward again. “This weirdness might be cool to someone else, but it’s just freaking me out.”
I looked over at Lindsay who gave me a slight nod. Nick was telling the truth.
Nick told me and Lindsay about his morning of distraction due to seeing through walls, and ended with his trip to the main office. He started to continue, and I had a quick flash of something important, but I couldn’t grasp it because Lindsay interrupted and changed the course of our conversation.
“Let’s write this stuff down,” she said pulling out a notebook and turning to a clean page. “Let’s make a list of our … abilities.”
She drew three columns with each of our names as headers and started writing. In her column, she wrote, ‘Lie detector’ and ‘Strength’. Under my name she wrote ‘Future flashes’ and ‘Math stuff’. And below Nick’s name she wrote, ‘See through walls’. Then she stared at the words and chewed on the pen cap, thinking hard.
Nick cleared his throat. “Uh, that’s not exactly all of it. I can do more than just see through walls.” He shifted in his chair, as though he was uneasy. Nick Tanner, uncomfortable. I’d never seen that before.
Lindsay’s eyes snapped up and she drew her cardigan sweater tighter around her. “What else, Nick? What else can you see through?”
He chuckled and shifted again. “Don’t worry, Purity Princess, you’re safe. I meant that I don’t just see through walls. I can reach through them, too. Maybe even …” he gulped. “Maybe even walk through them.”
Lindsay gasped and wrote the words down in her notebook.
I stared at the writing on the page and had a sick feeling in my stomach. Nothing flashed to warn me, but I felt on edge, all the same. “Lindsay, if that notebook ever gets out or falls into the wrong hands…”
Lindsay turned a shade paler and said slowly, “It won’t. I promise.”
She looked from me to Nick and repeated, “I promise.”
TO BE CONTINUED…