Paige sat next to Dan at the well-worn, unsteady wooden table in her parent’s basement working on an English project they had signed up for together.
Dan set down his pen and stretched. His long legs bumped against the table leg and caused the table to rock. Paige reached out with both hands to hold everything in place.
“Hey, watch it,” she teased.
“Sorry but I needed to stretch. I feel like I’ve been sitting here for hours.”
“We have been,” Paige told him after she’d looked at the clock on top of the TV.
“I should probably get home,” he said. “We still have school in the morning and we can work on this tomorrow.”
Paige’s stomach rolled with excitement at the prospect and she nodded and stood.
“Before I go though, I have a question to ask you,” Dan said standing in front of her.
Paige’s excited stomach turned to that of a nervous stomach and she swallowed hard, her mouth instantly dry. “Okay,” she whispered.
“Will you please go to the Christmas semi with me?”
Paige’s eyes grew wide but she stopped herself from thinking and just blurted out her answer. “Yes!”
“Thank you,” Dan said and gave her a hug.
Paige felt like she floated up the stairs and she stood there feeling anxious wile Dan pulled on his shoes and coat.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he told her.
“Paige nodded again and watched as he walked down the driveway and out of sight before she closed and locked the door. She had no idea where her mom was. The SUV wasn’t in the driveway but she didn’t care right now. She wanted to be alone with this for a short time and she went back down to the basement. She eyed the machine she had invented sitting in the corner, untouched yet today and she forgot about cleaning up her homework and started working on it instead. She just had to put the finishing touches on it, but hadn’t had much time to do that with other school projects and homework taking priority.
Just as she was picking up her screwdriver, her phone chimed and she looked at it.
Hey, what’s up? Her best friend Addie wanted to know.
Not much right now. Dan finally, officially asked me to the dance. She sent back.
There was no reply and then the house line rang and Paige picked up the basement extension, looked at the caller and smiled.
“The dance is in two days!” Addie shouted.
Paige had to hold the phone away from her ear but she was used to that with Addie. “I know.”
“And you already have your dress!”
“I’m so happy for you though!”
“Oh come on. You are the biggest bookworm and science geek on the entire planet! I’m sure that Neil Armstrong wasn’t even as much of a science geek as you are when he was our age!”
“Are you finished?”
“No but I’ll stop after I tell you there’s more to life than science.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” Paige retorted getting frustrated by her friend.
“Come on. You’re almost done building your own time travel machine…”
“Don’t call it that,” Paige cut her off. She didn’t know if she wanted to call it that.
“Whatever!” Addie was shouting again. “But your seventeen, you’re not supposed to be proficient at building anything like that.”
“Because you’re supposed to be enjoying life now and being inventive when you’re old.”
“Sorry I did things backwards but I have to get out of here, you know that. I’m being smothered.”
“I know, I get that. But what happens if you get transported somewhere and you can’t get back?”
“I don’t know. But does that mean you don’t ever want to travel with me?”
There was silence on the line as Addie thought that over. “I never said that,” she said finally.
Exactly, Paige thought but didn’t say it. “So it’s okay?”
“Yeah, it’s okay. But will you get a life now that it’s almost done?”
Paige thought about that for a moment and smiled. She’d already begun to realize she’d missed out on a lot and had already made a pact with herself to change it. “Yeah I’ll get a life when it’s done. I promise.”
“You and Ned are going to the dance too right?”
“Yup, wouldn’t miss this.”
“Your first date.”
Paige blushed as Addie went on. “See you tomorrow,” Addie said.
They said goodbye and Paige set the phone on the coffee table and collected up her books and homework before she went upstairs to her room, set it on her desk and started working.