When Monday morning rolled around, Jimmy was feeling very confident about his plan.
It's brilliant! Some delicious chicken, hearty conversation and pretty soon we'll be like one big happy family. Not his family mind you; the Neutron clan tended to be great big ball of crazy, but you get the picture.
He walked into his fourth period history class and saw Cindy in her usual seat in front of his. That's strange; I usually get here before her. She seemed tense and was tapping her fingers on the desk in a jittery fashion. As soon as he sat down, she whirled around to face him.
"Quick, disagree with me about something."
"I need to argue with someone to settle my nerves."
He almost chuckled until he realized she was serious. "What's up?"
"I've been thinking about the plan and I'm not sure it's such a good idea."
"Oh please, what's the worst that could happen?"
"Alphabetically or in order of likelihood?" She pulled two pieces of paper from her binder. "Seriously, I made a list for each."
"Cindy, just relax. Everything will be fine." She smiled, but her face still showed doubt. "I promise you, everything will be ok."
"Alright hooligans," their teacher, Mrs. Isbell called out. Cindy turned back around in her seat. "I want to get 'World War II' finished before the break. I know I certainly won't be thinking about it during, so we're going to try to have the test Thursday. There will be a mock Free Response question like those on the AP exam, so you'll need to know the material well enough to write something decent."
"Well I really hope things go well Saturday," Cindy whispered, "Because you'll need something to cheer you up after the crushing defeat you'll suffer during the test."
"Obviously you're not that upset, although it disturbs me that your mind has become so delusional."
She chuckled. "Bring it on, brain-boy."
I'm pretty sure normal people's relationships are not like this Hmm, too bad for them.
Cindy walked into her house after school and was greeted by the usual shriek of her mother.
"Cynthia, shoes! Remove your shoes. It is muddy out and my carpet is clean."
She kicked her flats off and picked them up by the heels. "Of course!" She muttered. "If I don't get reminded twice a day, I might forget."
She walked into the kitchen. "Is it ok if I make a sandwich now? I need to get Aikido early today."
Mrs. Vortex looked up from behind her laptop. "Something interesting happened today, Cynthia."
"Ok, so is that a yes to the sandwich?"
"My book club met today. I mentioned to Mrs. Neutron that her pound cake seemed less dry than last time and somehow that led to her inviting our family to dinner Saturday evening."
"Oh. Well, isn't that…um, nice. What a polite and neighborly thing to do." She chuckled nervously. Keep it together! She'll see right through you.
"Yes, well, social protocol required me to accept." She scoffed. "Just how I wanted to spend my evening: mediocre dinner and possible explosions."
"Mom, that's not nice. Besides it's been at least two years since one of Jimmy's inventions exploded."
She shot Cindy a quizzical glance. "Since when do you call him that?"
Crap. "Call him what; his name?
They eyed each other for a beat. "Whatever, Cynthia. I'll alert your father of our obligation when he gets home from work. Now, school. What assignments have you received?"
After a few minutes, Cindy escaped the interrogation with enough time to finish her pre-cal homework and leave by 4 o'clock. As she started her car, anxiety filled her.
Great, this day has just gone all awry. I'll only have half an hour after class to do my English, mom's already snippy about the dinner, and I never got my sandwich. 'Everything will be just fine Cindy.' Oh please!
That moron has no idea the chaos he's creating. Idiot! He's just lucky I like him so much.
'Milky Way to Proxima Centauri. Come in Proxima Centauri."
'How many times do I have to tell you, we are NOT using code names?"
'But it adds to the experience!'
'Is there a purpose to this conversation? I'm very tired and have psychology flash cards to finish.'
Cindy sat at her desk, trying to finish the remains of her homework. Leave it to Neutron to decide to text her at 10:30 at night.
'Did Karate run late again?'
'Kinda. Sensei Mako was apologizing again for having to cancel the trip to Israel. I tried to tell him it was alright, but he would not stop talking. I didn't leave there until almost nine. Mom was super ticked.'
'Alas, the world will have to wait for another black belt in Krav Maga;) Speaking of your mom, did she say anything about…you know?'
'We might go this summer, so there's it'll be a short wait.' She hesitated before typing the rest. 'Yeah she seemed' … 'interested.'
'Ok, she was rather uppity about it. To be fair though, she's uppity about most things.'
'Well she agreed to it. That's a victory for now.'
'I suppose. Well, I have to go. See you in the morning, "Milky Way".'
'Goodnight, Proxima Centauri.'
She set down the black communicator. Leave it to Jimmy to give them code names based on neighboring galaxies. They are kind of fitting: relatively close, yet so far apart.
Geez, do you hear yourself? This isn't cheesy romance novel; get it together! You need to focus on school right now. Unnecessary distractions such as this are part of the reason why mother doesn't want you to date. Of course, that wasn't entirely true. She didn't object to…
She pushed the thought to the back of her mind. If she hoped to get any sleep tonight, she needed to finish these stupid vocabulary words.
And I'm going to need my wits about me this week.