Tess Williams marched up Highland Avenue on this beautiful spring afternoon, with a few things bothering her normally cheerful self: she did not have a boyfriend, her cell phone was out of power, and two guys in a convertible had just driven by and made some wisecracks about her. Would they move on or come back and cause her more grief?
As Eddie and Tess approached each other, they smiled. They were not friends, yet, but were only a grade apart. They knew each other as schoolmates, but not as classmates.
Just then, the guys in the convertible came back and shouted something rude at Tess. Eddie was already about ten yards past her. He frowned and turned around.
“Shall I walk you home?” he asked.
“Yes, I’d like that.”
“We’re they bothering you?”
“Do you have your cell phone with you, in case you need it?”
“Yes, but the battery is dead.”
“Not good. Not good. I’ve got mine, if we need it.”
The convertible came by a third time, but the two guys were silent. Perhaps they thought that a boy with a baseball bat was not one to be messed with.
“I don’t like this,” Eddie said, “I’m going to call my father.”
“Why? What can he do?”
“He’s on the police force here. He’ll tell us.”
Eddie called his dad and described the situation. Eddie had noticed the kids were drinking something from cans partly hidden in paper bags, and they sounded drunk. His father said not to hang up the phone until he finished walking the girl back to her home.
Just before Tess and Eddie arrived at her house, a police car came up Highland Avenue. The couple did not see where it went.
“This is where I live, Eddie.”
“Nice house. Do you have brothers and sisters?”
“An older brother, Rick, and a younger brother, Tim. How about you?”
“I’m the oldest of three, with two younger sisters.”
“Would you like to come in for something to drink?”
“Not this time. I’m expected at home soon. Why don’t you give me your cell phone number and I’ll give you mine?”
“Good idea.” They exchanged phone numbers and said good-bye.
That evening, Tess excitedly told her parents about Eddie and the kids in the convertible.
Mr. Williams added, “I know Eddie’s father. Good man. I just saw him an hour ago. I wondered why there was a cop car with its flashing lights and a convertible pulled over on Highland Avenue when I came home. I saw Sergeant Gomez talking to two guys in the car. Now I get it.”
“Eddie walked me home. Very nice. I like his looks.”
“Handsome is as handsome does,” her mother said. “You’re welcome to invite him here some time, if you want to.”
“Maybe he’ll ask me on a date.”
“Take your time, young lady. Slow but steady wins the race. What will be, will be.” Her father was in no rush to have Tess start dating.
That night, Tess entered a few sentences about Eddie into her diary. She noted that she and he were more than just schoolmates, they had exchanged cell phone numbers and were now “cell mates.” [Mr. W. would not have liked that term.]
Tess hoped for more. Eddie did, too.
One of our series of 50 instructive short stories for young readers. firstname.lastname@example.org