Seventeen year old Christine Faucett-Myer lives with her parents and 14 year old brother Blink on Highway 1 two miles outside of Cloverdale. She woke up this morning to find her family’s dining room chairs missing. Her parents were out of town for the weekend on a business trip to Fernwood on the Moor. She was left in charge.
“What happened to the chairs Blink?” she stood in his bedroom door way demanding an answer. Blink was still in bed, pretending to be asleep from all indications. His shoes were coated in fresh mud. “Blink, there isn't much time. Mom and day are coming home this morning on the 11:10 Coastal Express.”
Blink pulled a blanket over his head. “What do you mean?” he asked. Christine could see the blanket quivering. He was clearly laughing, using his pillow to muffle the sound. That, and his muddy shoes were a dead give away of responsibility.
Christine knew it would take half the morning to coax an answer out of him and she didn’t have half a morning . There just had enough time to clean up the house to their mother’s standards. She went into the kitchen, pulled a spray bottle out from under the kitchen and filled it with ice cold water from the refrigerator.
“Blink, you know what I’ve got don’t you?” she spoke in a low, evil tone.
There was a pause. Blink pulled the blanket down and sat up. “Don’t you dare!” he shouted.
“You’ve got until the count of three to start talking or you’re going to be taking an ice cold shower.” She held the bottle in his direction. He dove under the blanket and pulled it tightly around. “TALK!” she shouted.
OK, OK....... look outside at the old oak tree.” Blink answered.
Christine put the spray bottle down on the kitchen table, opened the patio door and stepped outside. The old oak tree stood on the top of a small rise at the back of their yard. To her complete shock she found her mother’s dining room chairs hanging from the tree, each swaying gently in the morning breeze. She was speechless. A moment later, Blink stood beside her in bare feet with his blanket wrapped tightly around his shoulders.
“You did this?” she demanded.
“I only helped.” Blink answered.
“Who’s idea was it?” The questioning started.
“Danny Harts.” Blink spoke the name of the Comprehensive School’s Rugby Captain, probably the most popular 11th year student in the school.
Danny Harts. Captain of the school rugby team. He works for his father during the off season at Cloverdale Motors. He plans on attending Capital City University next year, with Christine at his side.
“He likes you.” Blink interrupted. “He came over late last night with a few of his friends. I let them in. Pretty cool huh?”
Christine’s heart leapt. She had a crush on Danny Harts since they shared a table together in Miss Loosey’s third grade class at Confederacy Elementary School. Of course in third grade Danny had no time for her which was pretty much the case for the last nine years. Suddenly she was in his cross hairs.
Christine needed to play a careful game. She had to play the part of someone really put out, yet not overdue it.
“You call Danny Harts and tell him to get his butt over hear and get those chairs down.”
“He’s already on his way. Look” Blink pointed down Highway 1. Danny’s blue pick up truck was racing down the road flashing its headlights. “He’s going to ask you to homecoming. I can’t believe he’d want to go with you when he can have any girl in the school. I think he’s mental.”
Blink dodged her fist and ran into the house. Christine stepped down from the deck and started walking around the house toward the front lawn. She crossed her arms and worked through several faces until she found the one which best suited the occasion. A face that showed displeasure and forgiveness. The eyes spoke for displeasure, a faint smile for forgiveness.
The pick up turned into the long driveway. She could see Danny’s smile. It brightened her day. Displeasure vanish and forgiveness filled her face. This school year could just well be the happiest in her life.