I looked where Abby was staring, and my mouth dropped open. “Unbelievable!” I whispered to Abby.
She grinned. “C’mon.”
I hung back as she started easing her way into the aisle. “Wait, Abby. Everyone else here knows him too. Don’t make a big scene!”
“Oh yeah, I forgot,” she grinned. “You might want to talk to him alone first, right?”
I rolled my eyes. “Really, Abby? I’m coming already!” This time I joined her in the mass of teens all moving toward the door. Thankfully it was less than three minutes before we got off the bus. Even more importantly, he was still there. Abby and I casually strolled in his direction, but his back was turned and he didn’t see us.
“Okay, I give up,” I muttered to my faithful side-kick when we were still far enough away that it would look awkward to call to him. “Run for it!”
She laughed at me as we both took off, running for our lives, and quickly covered the remaining distance before crashing into him with the appropriately named “tackle-hug”.
He was startled since, blind as he was, he still hadn’t seen us coming, but as soon as he saw who we were, he broke out in a huge smile and hugged us back fiercely. “Jess! Abby! Where’d you guys come from?”
“The bus,” Abby answered flippantly as if this were just another conversation instead of being the first time we’d seen our friend in months.
It was Chad.
Abby was talking as if her voice box had gotten stuck at “on”. “Hey, if I didn’t know any better, I’d accuse you and Jess and God of conspiracy, but Jess didn’t know either, so I guess that ruins that theory. You didn’t know, did you, Jessie? No, I could totally tell you couldn’t because of the look on your face when you saw who it was. Besides, you said it was unbelievable, and that was really funny because you’d just finished telling me about how you trusted God to bring Chad back. Then he did, and you couldn’t believe it! Oh, that was the funniest thing I’d ever seen! But where have you been all this time, Chad? Did you not have reception, because Jessie sent you a ton of texts. Or maybe you were just busy, but I don’t think you could be that busy, especially with what good friends you and Jessie are. You guys are still friends, right? What am I saying? Of course you’re still friends! Jessie, I wish you’d stop me. I think I’ve just blown poor Chad’s mind just by how fast I’ve been talking. We’re actually pretty good friends now, you know. I guess that’s one good thing that happened since you left. Actually, it’s the only good thing, but Jess will fill you in on that I’m sure. What brings you here? Are we ever going to see you again after this week? You are staying for the week right? You aren’t, like, leaving are you?” She stopped short, thankfully, because I was getting dizzy just trying to keep up with her.
Chad shook his head violently. “Nice to see you, Abby! How have you been? And you, Jess?”
I grinned as well as I could. “Fine, I guess. What about you?”
He shrugged. “Long story, you know?” I made a face while I nodded. “Let me guess; that look means you’re nodding, but you don’t really know.”
“Not to sound like my sister, but it’s hard to understand anything about your life over that past year when I haven’t heard from you.”
“Yeah, about that. We can talk later,” he said apologetically.
He looked really sorry, like it wasn’t really his fault, and I forgave him on the spot. I think my face sort of reflected my internal decision, because he smiled happily, and Abby frowned like she was disappointed.
“So, you are here for the week?” I asked after an awkward pause. He grinned and nodded.
“And, at the end of the week,” he was starting to say when the rest of his youth group caught sight of us and made a lot of noise as they stampeded across the parking lot.
I frowned now as Abby and I stepped back to make room for the crowd. “He better finish that sentence,” I threatened no one in particular. Abby grinned.
“Or what? You’ll send him back where he came from?”
“Never!” I exclaimed. “This kid isn’t getting away from me again, ever!”
“I thought so,” Abby said, looking satisfied. Too satisfied.
“Abby, why are you so happy about that?” I asked suspiciously.
Her blush didn’t change my suspicion at all. “You know, because it would be nice to have him around again!”
I pursed my lips. “I thought so.”
*NOTE: All characters and events portrayed in this story are purely fictitious. Any resemblance to actual people or events is entirely coincidental.*
Next part next Thursday! Suggestions, names for various characters, or other questions, comments, or concerns can be left below, or you can e-mail me at the address on my contact page.
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