Honey wanted to straighten things out with Trixie
before leaving on the weekend trip with her mother.
She and Maddie had planned to leave that evening for New York, and
then travel on to Boston; but Honey felt badly about leaving her best
friend with hard feelings between them.
Mrs. Belden had some trouble convincing the
distraught girl that a visit with her brother would give Trixie time to
calm down; eventually Honey agreed to go, with assurances from Helen that
everything would be worked out by the time she returned home on Monday.
Mart, Dan and Di were convinced to have dinner at
Wimpy’s and go to the show at the Cameo, but only after a loud, angry
argument between Mart and Peter. In
fact, Mart was ordered to spend the night at Mr. Maypenny’s with
Dan. They dropped Bobby off
at the Lynches’ to sleep over on their way into town.
Finally, Trixie and her parents were the only ones
left at home. They had a
quiet dinner, then Trixie went to her room to do homework.
At 7:30 the phone rang. Knowing
it was much too early to be Brian, Trixie ignored it.
A minute later, however, her mother called up the stairs.
“Trixie, telephone,” Helen said.
“I don’t want to talk to anyone!” Trixie
“Is that really what you want me to tell Jim?” she asked.
Instantly, Helen heard footsteps running for the
hall extension. “I’ve got
it!” Trixie called to her mother, and Helen hung up the living room
She heard Jim chuckling.
“Dare I ask whose calls you’re avoiding?” he asked.
“Listen, College Man, the only reason I’m
talking to you is that you’re in Boston.
And you’re my best friend. And
you aren’t part of the local conspiracy to make my life miserable.
And you don’t attend Sleepyside High.”
Jim laughed out loud.
“Is that all it takes to get an audience with your majesty
“That, and the admission price of Tales of
College Life. I’d much
rather hear about that than anything in this traitorous town.”
It was clear that Trixie was irritated about
something, and seemed to think that listening to Jim’s stories would
take her mind off her problems. Jim
knew her well enough to know that she wasn’t ready to talk, and if he
pushed, he’d only set off her temper.
If he talked long enough to relax her, maybe he could get her to
tell him about whatever was bothering her.
He talked for quite a while about his week, his
classes, his friends, and a party he’d attended.
She listened, asked questions, and made comments.
She relaxed, and he felt better than he had in days.
He had missed her terribly this week.
He loved talking to Trixie, and sharing everything with her.
Then she asked how his date had gone the previous
Friday. He hesitated before
telling her about it. After
he told her the story, he asked why she’d wanted to know.
“Well, I’m sure you remember how good I am at
opening my mouth for the sole purpose of changing feet,” she said, and
he laughed. “I did that
last Saturday. When Honey got
off the phone with you, I asked her how your date went.
And then the whole gang became intensely interested in how I’d
known you had a date. I owe you an apology, too, because I sounded
like you brushed me off to go rushing off to your date.
When I realized how I sounded, I didn’t bother to correct the
impression, because I didn’t want a long discussion with the whole gang
about how I felt about your date.”
He sobered, and the conversation took a serious
turn. “How do you
feel about it?” he asked quietly.
“Trix, that’s all I ever want there to be
between us – total honesty.”
Slowly she said, “Jim, you’re there, and I’m here.”
“If you were here, how would you feel?”
He held his breath, waiting for her answer.
This was it – the moment of truth.
They could spend the rest of their lives dancing around each other
and pretending to be just friends, or they could have a moment of
soul-baring honesty. Could
she do this?
“I’ll give you two hints – Dot Murray and
Jim was startled by her answer.
He laughed. Trust
Trixie to find the way to say it all without saying anything.
“Is that your way of saying you’d be insanely jealous?”
It was Trixie’s turn to hold her breath. The silence that hung between them intensified every feeling.
Finally she answered simply, “Yes.”
One word. Three
letters. Volumes spoken.
“Trixie, I wish you were here,” Jim said
Tears slowly made their way down her face. “Jim, in my perfect world we are always together.
But real life isn’t perfect, and you’re there, and I’m
say it. Don’t make
promises. You’re there, and
I’m here,” she said again. “And
that’s the way it will be for at least three years.
Three very long years.”
The silence stretched on.
Hearts were breaking. Tears
Sniffling, Trixie continued, “I told you to enjoy
college and have fun. Dating
is a part of that life. You
are my best friend, and I want you always to have the best of everything. Have fun.”
“Trix, you are the best of everything.”
As if she hadn’t heard him, she kept going,
“Dating is a part of life in high school, too.”
He felt his heart stop.
He wasn’t sure he wanted the answer to his next question.
“Are you?” he croaked.
She wanted to tell him she would never be
interested in anyone but him. She
wanted to beg him to come home to her.
She wanted… but she couldn’t have everything she wanted.
Wiping her eyes with the palm of her hand, then rubbing her hand on
her jeans, she decided it was time to lighten the tone of the
conversation. “That depends on whether you listen to me or the Sleepyside
Rumor Mill,” she said lightly.
He realized what she was trying to do, and he let
her. “That mill is
full of lies, innuendoes, misrepresentations, half-truths and exaggerations,” he
snorted. “We promised each
other total honesty. I'll
always believe you.”
She smiled softly, and it shone in her voice. “That is one of many reasons you are my best friend, Jim
He responded in the same tone, “And you are mine,
Trixie Belden. Always and
“No matter what?”
“Nothing will ever change that, Trix.
We won’t let it.”
His words reminded her of her conversation with
Brian the night before he left for college.
I understand the difference between physical distance and emotional
distance. And I am not afraid of the miles between here and Boston.
But I am terrified of how far away you are going.”
allow it,” he said simply.
Nothing would ever come between Trixie Belden and
Jim Frayne. They simply would
not allow it.
He restored the light conversation.
“So, what tortures have the Sleepyside Rumor Mill created for
you, young lady?”
She groaned. “According
to the latest reports, I am dating both Tad Webster and Chris Zack,
stringing them along and pitting them against each other, because I'm a
“A vicious wench?” he chortled.
“Yeah, right. Okay,
so they’ve turned study dates and basketball dates into hot
and heavy dates. Is that
She bit her lip before replying.
“Well… I’ve sort of helped matters along the last couple of
He raised an eyebrow, trying to ignore the jolt of
jealousy. “How so?”
“I’ve been sitting with Tad on the bus and with
Chris in the cafeteria.” She
paused, then hurried to explain, “It’s not that I was trying to work
the Rumor Mill or create romantic entanglements.
It’s just that I’m not speaking to the Bob-Whites.”
He let out a low whistle.
“So, we finally get to the heart of the matter.”
“So what happened with the Bob-Whites?”
She snorted. “Oh,
you’re just gonna love this story,” she drawled sarcastically.
She looked at her watch.
It was already nine o’clock.
“Listen, Jim, do you have a speaker feature on your phone?”
He knitted his brow in confusion over the apparent
change of topic. “Yeah, I
do, but why?”
“Cause it’s kind of a long story, and you and
Brian both need to hear it, and I really don’t want to have to
tell it twice.”
Jim didn’t like the sound of this one bit. He looked at the clock.
Brian should arrive any minute.
“Okay, Trix. It
sounds serious, though.”
She exhaled shakily.
Jim turned as Brian entered the room.
He frowned and indicated Brian should sit. “Hold on, Trix. Brian
just got here.”
Jim turned on the speakerphone and replaced the
handset. Then he called out,
“Okay, you’re on speaker. Now
“Hi, Sis. What’s
“How was your week?”
“Trix, quit stalling,” Jim snapped.
Brian frowned at the redhead across from him. “Trixie, is there a problem?” he asked quietly.
A loud sigh emanated from the speaker.
“Understatement, to say the least.
First things first, though. You
two have to make me a promise.”
“Like what?” Brian asked his sister.
“When I’m done telling my story, you will not
jump in the car and drive yourselves here.
Anxious green eyes met very worried brown eyes.
Then the green eyes twinkled as Jim wrote a quick note on a nearby
pad of paper: WE’LL JUST
HAVE MY MOTHER DRIVE US.
Brian smiled and nodded.
“Okay, Trix. We
promise not to drive ourselves down there.”
He fought to keep the smirk out of his voice.
“Now, what’s going on?”
Trixie closed her eyes and leaned her head back
against the wall. She
couldn’t postpone this conversation any longer.
“Well, the good news is that my parents are mad
at everyone except me. Even
Sergeant Molinson is on Dad’s shit list.
Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to say that.”
“How did that happen?” Brian asked, ignoring
her slip of the tongue.
“Well, you know how everyone is always telling me
to inform the police when I find something?
Apparently that’s a one-way street.
Molinson doesn’t feel the need to inform me when I’m the
“Did you ever think turnabout is fair play?”
“Laugh all you want, College Man.
You won’t think it’s funny once I tell you what they were
So Trixie told the boys the details of all the
goings-on since the incident at Wimpy’s the previous Friday.
the time she finished, Jim was pacing the small dorm room, grabbing at his
hair. Brian, ever steady, was
sitting still, but his voice betrayed his agitation.
“Trix, who’s home right now?”
it comes, she thought,
rolling her eyes. “Brian, I'm not alone. Moms and Daddy
are downstairs. Bobby is
sleeping over with the Lynches. Honey
is on her way to Boston. My
goony brother and his loony friend took Lady Di to the movies.
Moms decided I was right to want them out of the house when I
talked to you, so she made them go. Mart
was furious, because he decided he should be the one guarding me
all night. Daddy said he was
perfectly capable of watching over his only daughter.
then launched into a tirade of every time I had snuck out or gone off
alone that Daddy didn’t know about and I had to be rescued by a
Bob-White male. Daddy acted
like Mart was trying to insult his manhood, and started yelling at him.
Moms finally threw Mart out and told him to sleep at Dan’s
furrowed his brow. “Trix,
Mart’s just worried.”
right,” she snorted. “If
he was so darned worried about me he should have let me know to watch out.
Instead, I’ve got some psycho following me, and I don’t even
know it.” Her voice started
to lose its anger, which was quickly replaced by fear.
“I just don’t understand why,” she said quietly.
tone in her voice tore at Jim’s heart.
Trixie Belden was fearless - she wasn’t even afraid when she ought
to be. Right now, however, she sounded scared and alone.
He wanted to gather her in his arms and hold her, and promise her
no one would ever hurt her.
laughed ruefully. Brian
looked at him like he was nuts. Trixie’s
confusion was evident in her softly spoken, “Jim?”
just goes to show how well you know us, Trix.
My car keys are in my hand. I
want to come home now. I
know Brian feels the same.”
chuckled as well. “I
don’t have another class until Monday at noon.”
sighed. “I want your help and your advice. I really do. Right
now, I probably would feel better if you were here.
BUT,” she emphasized her point, “if you come running every time
I get in trouble, you might as well move home.
You’ll never get through college, and I’ll never grow up.”
all knew she was right, but no one really wanted to admit it.
I’m going to be careful,” she continue.
“And believe it or not, I’m going to let Molinson do his job.
And I’m going to stick close to my parents for a change. The stalker is not the problem I need your help with right
now. I need your advice on
what to do about the Bob-Whites.”
spoke first. “Unless you're leaving out a lot of details, I think
you’re being way too hard on Honey and Di.”
agreed. “I don’t think
they were trying to keep things from you.
They probably didn’t give that guy at Wimpy’s much more
thought. And it doesn’t
sound like they knew anything about the rest of it.”
thought about the meeting in Principal Stratton’s office.
“You know, I think Honey was furious with Molinson for making her
go first. It was almost like
he was trying to make her out to be a traitor.”
there you go,” Brian said. “Make
up with Honey and Di. Let
Mart and Dan stew a few more days. Then
grinned. “Okay, that sounds like a plan I can live with.
Oh, no, wait! Honey went to see you guys!”
said, “Well, make up with Di tomorrow morning.
We’ll talk to Honey tomorrow, and after dinner we’ll have her
call you. Sound good?”
I mention that you guys are the best?
Cause you are, you know. The
looked at his watch. It was
almost ten-thirty. “I’m
going to take off and meet Pete and Shelly, and give you a chance to talk
to Brian. But Trix, if you need anything, or change your mind about us
coming home, you just call. I’ll
drop everything in a heartbeat. Just
say the word.”
back tears, Trixie choked, “I know you will.
left and Brian picked up the handset – the conversation seemed more
personal that way.
tell me, Sis – who called whom?”
called me. Why?”
there something I should know about?”
I am so talked out. And last
week I did all the talking, too. I
don’t even know what’s going on with you.
How about if you tell me about your week, okay?”
Translation: I’m so confused I can’t talk right now,
Brian thought. Luckily, I'm a very patient man, Little Sister.
And I will interrogate my roommate later.
his thoughts to himself, Brian gave in to Trixie’s request.
“You mean, you want to know if I’m just as boring here as I was
in Sleepyside?” he began. She
laughed, and he started to tell her everything she wanted to know but was
afraid to ask.
Peter and Helen went to bed, Trixie waved goodnight and kept on talking.
In their room, Peter looked at Helen.
“We should put an extension in her room.
Or get a private line for her.”
looked at him in astonishment. “Don’t
you think that’s a bit extravagant?
Not to mention that Mart would want one as well.”
doesn’t spend that much time on the phone.
But I suppose you’re right.
Tomorrow, though, I’m going to replace that phone with a
portable. She can at least
take it to her room on Fridays.”
chuckled. “Nothing’s too good for your princess, is it?”
grinned. “Of course not!”
was not quite so pleasant at three a.m. when he poked his head out into
Trix! Go to bed,” Peter ordered loudly and grumpily.
looked up at him in surprise, then looked at her watch.
She blushed and said, “Sorry, Dad.”
she turned back to the phone. “Brian,
I’m in hot water. I gotta
looked at his alarm clock. His
eyebrows shot to the top of his head.
“Oh, my God! Dad
will have my hide. Listen,
I’ll call you in a couple of days for an update, okay?”
morning, Trix,” he replied with a laugh as they hung up.