It Comes Back At You


Chapter 3


Dan dropped Trixie off at the Farm.  She greeted her parents, who were both on their way out to their own previous engagements for the evening.  They congratulated her about the tournament and asked her a few questions.

Finally they were gone, and she was alone.  She sank wearily onto her bed, and instantly fell into a deep slumber.

Trixie woke up an hour and a half later.  It was still early, only 8:00.  She felt rested, and restless.  She wanted to go over her day with someone, but everyone else was busy.

She went into the hall, sat in the window seat at the end, and stared at the phone.  What would a college freshman be doing at 8:00 on a Friday night?  Not sitting in their dorm, bored and waiting for the phone to ring!  She snorted at the thought.  But she knew she had to try anyway.

She dialed the long-distance number, expecting to get the answering machine.  On the second ring a deep, male voice answered, “Boston University Asylum.”

Trixie grinned widely.  “Hey, College Man.  I thought I was the only one who made you crazy!”

Jim Frayne laughed out loud.  “This is a completely different kind of crazy, Trix.  I miss your craziness, though.  What are you doing calling now, anyway?  I thought Honey said you guys were going to the movies tonight.”

“Yeah, well, I bailed.  Then I took a nap.  Now I’m bored, so I thought I would check in on you guys.  Of course, at this hour on a Friday, I actually expected to get the answering machine.”

Jim chuckled.  “It’s just early.  My plans tonight don’t start until nine.”

Trixie grinned.  “So, now that the bird has flown the coop, he’s transformed from a Bob-White to a Night Owl?”

Jim laughed.  “That’s the nature of the beast here.”

“So, do you like it?” Trixie asked.  “I can’t believe you’ve been gone two weeks, and I haven’t talked to you at all!  Tell me how it’s going.”

For the next hour, Jim regaled Trixie with stories about life on campus, adjusting to college, meeting new people, and getting along with the other roommates he and Brian had in their 4-man suite.  He talked about how nervous he’d been the first day of school.  He told her how much he missed everyone at home, but was adjusting better than he thought he would.  He admitted he even felt a little guilty about how easy it seemed to be to settle in, and she assured him that he shouldn’t.  He told her how many times his mother had called him the first week and that she was driving him crazy.  He talked about the friends he’d made at the first mixer, and the girls that had asked him out.  They were both surprised that the conversation wasn’t awkward when he told her about the one date he had gone on a few nights before.

Just as he finished a particularly amusing story about how his first date had ended in a mud puddle, and he was going out with her again tonight to make it up to her, Brian walked in.  Brian looked at the clock, then at his best friend chatting away on the phone with no regard for the time.  He grinned.  He could guess who was on the other end of the line.

Brian cleared his throat.  “Uh, Jim, I thought you had a date tonight.”

Jim looked at the clock, and his eyes widened in surprise.  “Oh, heck, Trixie, I lost track of the time.  I’ve really got to go.”

Trixie looked at her watch.  “You did say you had plans at nine.  I hope I haven’t taken up too much of your time.”

“I always have time for you.  But for now, I’m going to pass off the phone to your big brother, and I’ll talk to you later.  Bye.”  With that, Jim practically threw the phone at Brian and ran out the door.

As Brian picked up the phone he could hear his sister’s laughter.  He was relieved that she wasn’t upset that she’d been cut off so Jim could meet up with a college girl for a date.  He smiled and said, “So, am I an acceptable substitute for this phone conversation?”

“Oh, Brian, it is so good to hear your voice,” Trixie gushed.  “I miss you!  And as for an acceptable substitute, that’s what Jim was.  I really called to talk to you.”

“Uh huh, and just where are you trying to get with all this flattery?”  Brian chuckled.

Trixie laughed.  “Well, what I need is to tell you about my day.  Then maybe you can help me figure my way out of the rabbit hole I obviously jumped down.”

Brian settled back comfortably on his bunk with a grin.  He had a feeling this was going to be a long story.  “Okay, Alice, fire away.”



By the time Dan had gotten back to Wimpy’s, the Croton guys had been gone and the Bob-Whites were anxious to leave for the Cameo.  Honey was a little perturbed that Trixie had gone home without even talking to her, and she sulked until the movie started.

They had gone for the early show and stayed for the second feature.  By the time the second movie ended, everyone’s good spirits had returned.  The group made their way across the town square to say hello to Hoppy and enjoy a walk in the warm air of late summer.  It was still too early in September to really consider it fall, and it was nearly seventy degrees, despite the late hour.  They had nearly gotten back to the car when Dan spotted the Croton boys.  They were hanging around the Bob-White station wagon, reading the enamel letters on the side.

“Bob-Whites of the Glen!  Hey, Buck, aren’t they those goody-two-shoes from Sleepyside High that sent your cousin to jail?  Wasn’t that little bit of a girl you barreled into earlier their leader or something?”

The one called Buck laughed derisively.  “That little chit needs to grow up.  I bet I could teach her a thing or two about being a woman,” he leered.

The Bob-Whites stopped in their tracks.  They were still a few yards away from the boys, but they could make out every word quite clearly.  Mart’s blue eyes burned with fury.  His hands balled into fists.  He was livid.  Dan was perhaps even angrier, as evidenced by the way he became dangerously still.  His eyes narrowed, and he assessed the enemy.

Honey and Di looked at each other in terror.  They knew the boys could not let that comment go.  Then the first boy’s words registered in Honey’s mind.  ‘Sent your cousin to jail?’  Who was his cousin?

Honey might as well have spoken out loud, judging by the looks on her friends’ faces.  They looked at each other, then back at Buck.  Who was he?  Who was his cousin?  And why were they hanging around Sleepyside?

Just then, Sergeant Molinson walked around the corner.  The Croton boys spotted him and took off.  Molinson noted the tension amongst the Bob-Whites, and looked at the fleeing figures.

Turning to Mart, Molinson asked, “Now what has your sister gotten herself into?”

Mart’s temper flared.  “Trixie didn’t do anything!  Why don’t you give her the benefit of the doubt once in a while, for God’s sake!”

Molinson coolly regarded the young man.  His face was flushed, his jaw set, and his blue eyes blazed.  But the anger there wasn’t really directed at the policeman.  And there was something else in his eyes: worry.  In a calm, non-confrontational tone, Molinson tried again.  “Mart, maybe you had better tell me what’s going on here.”

Mart’s expression became anxious.  “I wish I knew, Sergeant.  I wish I knew.”

The four Bob-Whites related their brief contact with the Croton boys.  Dan shared the story of Buck’s deliberately knocking into Trixie in Wimpy’s.  Mart hadn’t seen that, and he got angry all over again.  They gave Molinson a good description of the boys, concentrating on Buck.  His brow had furrowed over the comment about sending the cousin to jail.  He promised to see if he could figure out who the cousin was.  Of course, there was quite a long list of people Trixie had sent to prison.  Narrowing it down could take a while.


Trixie had spent the last two hours detailing the events of her week for Brian.  She had shared her enthusiasm for school, her concerns about Honey’s attitude toward their schedules, Mart’s disapproval of her study date with Tad, and all the excitement of the basketball tournament.  She told him about Chris Zack, and her evening at Wimpy’s.  Brian had listened attentively, only commenting or questioning occasionally.  That had been fine with Trixie, because she wanted to tell her story.

Now that she was done, however, she wanted more feedback.  “Okay, Bri, tell me the truth.  Did I make a complete fool out of myself today?”

Brian had known she wanted to discuss how she felt about her week, but that question took him completely by surprise.  Did she still have that little self-esteem?  How could she possibly think she’d made a fool out of herself?

“Trixie, of course not.  Personally, I’m proud of you.  You did great!” Brian said.  “Why would you think that?”

Trixie hesitated.  “Well, I was watching people at Wimpy’s.  I could tell what some of them were thinking.  Some of the guys think I was being an arrogant show-off.  Most of the cheerleaders think I was just trying to make a play for the attentions of the varsity boys.  And several of them were more than a little upset about Chris’ invitation, especially Beth Fleming.”

Brian remembered Beth Fleming.  He snorted.  “Trix, Beth thinks that her position as head cheerleader gives her the right to be the girlfriend of the captain of the basketball team.  She doesn’t view dating as a relationship, or a boy’s attention as an honor or a privilege.  She thinks these things are just her reward for being pretty.  Don’t give her opinion another thought.  Quite frankly, Beth is just an uppity bitch.”

Trixie giggled.  That description was a little harsher than she was used to hearing from Brian, but it was certainly true.  In fact, it must be an understatement if that was how strongly Brian was willing to speak.

“Okay, I’ll ignore her.  But what about Chris?  I mean, I was flattered.  I said yes.  But what have I gotten myself into?”

“All he asked was for you to practice with him.  You like to play basketball.  If Merrissa Parkman wants to play with you, maybe you should go out for the girls’ team,” Brian encouraged.  “As for what you’ve gotten into, that’s it so far.  If Chris is interested in more, he’ll let you know.  If you are, you’ll let him know.  And if you’re not, you’ll make it loud and clear, right?”

Brian’s tone was teasing, and Trixie laughed.  But they both knew what else had been said.  Brian was letting Trixie spread her wings.  She was a big girl and could make her own decisions, and he wouldn’t get in her way.  But if anyone hurt her, Brian would make them sorry.  Trixie found this very reassuring.

“Thanks, Brian.  Now tell me what to do about Honey and Mart.”

Brian exhaled slowly.  “Well, any relationship, any friendship, takes work.  Just like you and I have to make the time to call or write, so we can stay close while I’m away, you have to do the same with other friendships.  You and Honey don’t have classes together, and now you have basketball and studying with Tad.  If you are going to stay best friends with Honey, you need to be diligent about making time for her.  If you put the effort into it, I’m sure things will work out.

“And as for Mart, ignore him.  He’s flexing his muscles in the big brother role, now that I’m not in his way.  He’ll get over it; if he doesn’t, let me know.  I’ll come home and beat him to a pulp to remind him who the big brother really is,” Brian’s wide grin could be heard in his voice.

Trixie felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders.  Talking with Brian didn’t change her world, but it helped her to see things more clearly, and his encouragement meant the world to her.

Hearing her mother coming in the house, Trixie looked at her watch.  “Oh, my gosh, Brian, it’s after midnight!  I have been on the phone for four hours!  Moms and Dad are going to kill me!”  Trixie could hear Moms coming up the stairs and knew she should hang up, but she didn’t want to let go of this moment.

Brian was feeling the same, but he didn’t want to get his sister in trouble.  He also caught the fact that she’s said four hours, when he’d only been speaking to her for three.  She talked to Jim for an entire hour, huh?

“Trix, what are you doing next Friday night?”

Trixie blinked.  Where was Brian going with this?  “Uhh, nothing that I know of.”

"How about I call you next Friday?  Believe it or not, this is a great way to spend Friday night.”

 Trixie grinned.  “Really, Brian?  You could find yourself some hot chick between now and next Friday, you know.”  They both laughed.

 Helen stopped at the top of the stairs.  Although she had been surprised to see Trixie on the phone at this hour, she relaxed when she realized it was Brian.  Now she was watching her daughter, studying the emotions flying over her very expressive face.

 Brian quickly assured Trixie, “Due to my class schedule, I have decided to relegate my social life to Saturdays and Sundays.  I have very late classes on Fridays; in fact, I had just gotten out of class when I got home tonight.  And I have no morning classes on Mondays, so I can be out late on Sundays.  It seemed like a sensible plan, and I am nothing if not sensible.”

 Laughing together again, Trixie agreed.  “I would love to spend my Friday night on the phone with the most handsome freshman at Boston University.  You’ll call me around nine?”

 “Yes, Trix, nine o’clock.”

 “It’s a date!”

 “That’s it, little sister.  Now you can say you have a date on Friday with a college boy!”  They laughed again.  “I guess I’d better let you go now,” Brian continued reluctantly.

 Trixie sighed.  “This was great Brian.  You have no idea how much this helped.  Thank you so much.”

 “Anytime, Princess,” Brian said softly.  “I love you.”

 “I love you, too.  I’ll talk to you Friday.”

 As Trixie said goodbye and hung up the phone, Helen sighed in relief.  She had been so worried about Trixie and Brian.  She knew Brian’s going away to college had been hard on Trixie, and she knew Brian was worried about his sister.  If spending Friday nights on the phone with each other could ease the tension and keep the siblings close, it was worth the price of long-distance.  In fact, it was worth a lot more than that.

 Trixie continued to sit in the window seat, staring out the window at the stars.  Helen came over and stood beside her.  She put her arm around her daughter’s shoulder, and kissed the top of her head.  Then she gave her a quick squeeze and said, “If you don’t want to deal with the other big brother tonight, you’d better hurry off to bed.  He’ll be home any minute.”

 Smiling at her mother, Trixie silently thanked her for understanding, and for always being there.  She gave Moms a quick hug and went wordlessly off to bed.

 In the shadows of the moonlight, a silent figure stared up at Trixie’s bedroom window.




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