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Chapter 36

“Ka-thwam!” Nancy calls out when I walk in through the front door. If I remember from the so few times she’s said this, she wants me to entertain her somehow. Hell, she even has a calendar marked for what day, date, and time I’ve entertained her, not to mention what I’ve done to accomplish a menial task.

“No ‘ka-thwam’, Nan,” I say. “I have some homework I need to do.” I brush past her and head up the stairs. My sister attempts to show me what I’m sure is her pouty look, but I don’t look back. “I wasn’t kidding about the homework,” I add.

“This is why I want a puppy,” Nancy says aloud. “That way, I’ll have all the fun I want.”

“Oh, poor you.”

“Yes, poor me! Have some pity, dammit!”

I can’t help but chuckle as I close my bedroom door behind me. I set my backpack down and take out the huge pile of papers I need to shuffle through and pick out the homework in between. As soon as I have the things I need, I sit down on my bed, whip out a pencil, and start writing.

From time to time, I’d look up and see my violin by the corner of the room. I smile to myself; earlier today, Mr. Neven told me that I’ve improved quite a bit at my recital. The other band members grumbled something under their breaths, but I can guess on what they’re saying. And with Randy going back to his college for the rest of the year, there aren’t going to be any more of the violin sessions. Yes, I realize there were so few in the first place.

My phone rings as I’m switching assignments. I blindly reach for it, almost knocking it off the bed.

May: Did you hear about the suspension?!

I chuckle to myself. Trust May to get the latest gossip.

Callie: Why are you in a shouty tone?

May: Jules is suspended! Again! From fighting! Again!

Callie: I know. I was. There when. It happened.

May: There’s no need to mock how I text when I’m shocked.

Callie: You know how long the suspension is?

May: Since it’s her second time, two weeks.

Callie: Two? That doesn’t sound bad.

May: Says the girl who just hooked up with Suspended Girl.

Callie: I did not hook up! It was heavy, awkward kissing. There’s a difference.

May: Sure. See you tomorrow, Lover Girl.

I’d respond to protest about that nickname, but I figure my best friend isn’t going to bother reading it. Placing the phone right next to me, I pick up where I left off in the assignment. There’s not much for me to write about, but hopefully, my teacher can take it and give me a good enough grade.

My laptop dings, and after I’ve written enough facts down, I get my laptop from the edge of the bed and open it. My Facebook reminder button has a little ‘1’ above it. I click on it to find that Dominic has tagged me in a couple of photos. Clicking on the pictures, I can see the tree with the naturally built-in stairs.

“CALLIE TOSH wishing that you’re here right now?” is written above the pictures.

I comment, “Kind of.” Feeling a little satisfied, I shove my laptop aside and continue with homework.

I’ve come back downstairs to raid the pantry. “Now?” Nancy asks from the kitchen island, drawing on one of those huge sketch books I’ve seen at a crafts store.

“Now what?” I respond, picking up Chex Mix. “I’m not sharing this with you,” I add when I catch Nancy eyeing the bag.


I shake my head. “Taking a break.”

“From what, Boring Land?”

I ignore her, instead bringing the bag back up to my room. Well, my feet got tired from going up and down the stairs, so I end up sitting at the top, crunching away. From where I’m at, I can see a little of Nancy swinging her legs back and forth.

“That’s not ‘ka-thwam’-ing!” she calls up to me.

“Do I look like I care?” I call back.

My sister gets off the stool and takes a couple of steps towards me. “Please?” she asks, dragging the word to the point I wince.

“Ugh, fine,” I groan. “I need to finish my homework, though.”

“Okay!” With that, Nancy walks away.

I grab another handful from the bag when I hear a ding from my room. Taking the bag with me (I’m not going to let anything distract me from my snacking), I find that I’ve left my laptop open half an hour ago. “Crap,” I mutter as I look at what’s causing the ding.

From Facebook, I see another ‘1’. I click on it to find a text box-sized message.

“JULES McCALL sent you a Relationship request. Accept?”

Without a second thought, I move the cursor over to the ‘YES’ button. My profile page is instantly updated, and a new post on my timeline says, “CALLIE TOSH is in a relationship with JULES McCALL.”

Smiling, I take a closer look at Jules’ profile picture. It’s changed from the dinosaur to her standing next to Randy with huge smiles on their faces. They’re both wearing their own ties, holding up the fatter ends, to my amusement.

I close the laptop and ditch my homework for the violin. I search for a particular piece I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks, and after rosining my bow and tuning my instrument, I start playing it.

Facebook notifies me yet again about halfway through. I ignore it and continue playing the song. The notes are quick in the right places, and dragged out in time. I remind myself to keep both my wrists steady, like Randy’s taught me in one of our sessions.

When the song ends, I stand in the same place for a moment longer, taking in the peaceful stillness. Before long, I’ve put down the violin and pick up the laptop again. This time, Jules has sent me a private message.

It’s nothing fancy, just a simple little heart. I still smile when I see it.

I notice that Jules sent me the emoji less than five minutes ago. Unsure of what to say (there are a thousand ideas in my head), I instead stare intensely at the screen. All of the sudden, I think up of something better than the thousand ideas. I’m sure Jules will like it. Or at least find it hilarious.

“Are you done yet?” Nancy shouts up the stairs.

“Give me a second!” I yell back.

With nimble fingers, I quickly type out the message. After careful editing, I press send, close the laptop once more, and head downstairs, knowing without a doubt that Jules is nearby a computer and will definitely see my response immediately.

Callie: I call dibs on your heart.

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