[Fiction] Friday Challenge #144 for 26th February, 2010
The bag was empty except for a smudged, slip of paper which said, “Sorry.”
Josh scooped up his mobile from his bedside and scrawled through the text messages from the night before. He stopped at the one that read, “Thnx 4 talking last nite. C U at skool on Mon. Katie.” His heart skipped a beat. He remembered her black hair pulled back into a single roped plait that hung over her shoulder and the sapphire earrings that dangled when she laughed. They had spent most of the night at the edge of the party, caught up in each other’s company.
He spent the morning catching up on homework and headed downstairs for lunch. His younger sister Caitlin was diving into a peanut butter sandwich while his Dad read the paper.
“How was last night?” his mother asked from the bench. “Would you like a sandwich?”
“Yes please. Cheese thanks. Last night was good. Had fun.”
“Didn’t hear you come in. Were you late?”
“Nah, I was home by curfew.”
Caitlin popped her thirteen year old nose into the conversation, “I know something you don’t know. Josh spent all night talking to a girl. Emma’s sister was at the party and told her all about it and Emma told me.”
“Oh, that’s nice dear. What’s her name?”
“No one in particular,” mumbled Josh.
“Mum, Katie Byrne isn’t just anybody,” chimed Caitlin.
“Shut up, Caitlin,” Josh hissed as his face reddened.
“She’s lovely,” his mum said.
His father kept reading but threw his son a wink over the paper.
Josh took his sandwich and excused himself, saying he had more homework to complete. He was having a hard enough time getting through Year 12 studies without having his sister point out his fledgling love life to his parents.
Sitting in his room, Josh looked again at Katie’s text and began to devise a plan to find another way to talk to her again on Monday. He needed something tangible to help him open the conversation. He had no idea how the two of them got talking in the first place. The thought of approaching Katie made him nervous but he needed to speak with her again.
Scooting through the myriad movie clichés in his mind, he narrowed it down to chocolate. A reconnaissance of the kitchen yielded the last two Tim Tams in the packet. He carefully wrapped them in plastic film and hid them in a paper bag. His plan was formed. He wanted the courage of Marty McFly’s dad to approach the object of his desire; he just didn’t want to come out sounding like an idiot.
“You are my density,” he mimicked.
The buzz on the train to school the next morning was all about the party and Josh and Katie’s liaison had not gone unnoticed. Josh skimmed his timetable and was thankful Katie was not in his morning classes. Recess would be his opportunity, although when it came, his stomach felt more like a writhing pile of snakes.
He rummaged through his school bag looking for his present. Nothing. Gone. Disappeared. Vanished. At the bottom he found the crumpled paper bag that had held his treasure. No matter how much he looked in the bag, it did not contain the two wrapped Tim Tams. The bag was empty except for a smudged slip of paper which said, “Sorry.” Josh was dumbfounded but it gave way to fury when he saw the smiley face scrawled in pink highlighter. Caitlin.
“What’s up?” Derek asked.
“My sneak of a sister flogged my biscuits and left me a note just to rub it in.”
Josh felt deflated; his plan amounting to nothing but crumbs and an empty bag. He felt gutted and flopped down against the wall.
“Have you lost something?” Even dressed in the sack of a school uniform Katie was appealing.
“I was wondering if you would like to share a choc chip biscuit,” she said offering her hand forward.