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Chapter 12

I heard the door slide the lock out from where it sat after someone had entered the correct passcode. I dashed to the nearest clock and realized it was four in the afternoon. Charlie pushed the door open and stepped into the house. I cursed and jumped into my closet, searching for anything to hide my hair. I could hear her footsteps drawing nearer as she climbed the steps. I spotted a towel on the floor and wrapped it over my head. She called my name so loudly her voice will ring at the back of my mind forevermore. I fell back with a thump which led her to my location. My heart pounded as I crafted my excuse before she opened the door to my closet. I watched with terror as the knob began to turn. She threw the door open, asking the inevitable question of, “what in the world are you doing on the floor of your closet?” she asked.

I stammered for a moment. “I was… stretching, after my shower,” I said, gesturing to the towel on my head.

“In your closet?”

“Obviously, I mean, where do you go to stretch after a shower?”

“I don’t stretch after I shower, because it’s weird,” she said, holding her hand out to help me to my feet. I took it and thanked her before moving downstairs and asking her about her day.

She avoided each question and instead asked about my day, which I lied about before changing the subject entirely and asking her about football practice. I knew this topic would keep her busy for quite a while.

Footsteps approached the house and I excused myself from Charlie’s story on the time she ended up tripping someone and making a touchdown, at the same time. She found it hilarious, while I was grateful to be away from the juvenile conversation. I looked out the window and realized with excitement that it was Chloe. I opened the door long before she knocked, which left her slightly confused. She shook this off quickly and walked inside. “I can’t believe you get to stay home for so long,” she said, her voice filled with a fit of slight jealousy.

“You’d be surprised how boring it gets.”

She sighed and pulled something from her bag. “For you,” she said, handing me the biggest stack of papers I had ever seen. “It’s everything you’ve missed since you’ve been out of school,” she said. “If you need help, just let me know but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for you.” There was a pause in conversation, before Chloe asked, “have you been working out?”

I looked down at myself, realizing she had a point, I did look more muscular. “Uh…” I said. “Yes, I have been… lifting weights, I said, flexing quickly for effect.

“Cool,” she said excitedly. “I’ll have to join you some time.”

“Yes, that would be lovely,” I said awkwardly, before thanking her and closing the door.

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