Author: cantstopobsessing PM
A little boy named Adam loves to hang out in his tree house and gets bugged by his neighbor. Years later, two little girls are drawn to the same house, and learns about their connection to Adam.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 4,492 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 05-16-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3023028
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"What are you thinking?" Nichole asked Adam after five minutes of silence.
"What do you care?" Adam snapped back. He turned his head to the right to face her and saw the astonished look on her face. "What?"
"If you didn't want me up here in this stupid tree house of yours, then why did you invite me?" Nichole folded her arms over her chest, looking straight ahead, making a pouting expression.
"I didn't invite you. You climbed up without asking."
"I just came up here because you have no friends."
"I have friends," Adam retorted, with his voice a little firmer than before.
"Oh, yeah? Where are they then?" Nichole challenged. Adam's mouth twisted, looking away from her and faced ahead as she waited for an answer.
"So, what do you want to do, then?"
Nichole smiled. "I just want to sit here."
Adam turned to face Nichole again, swinging his dangling feet in the air. "You don't seem like an average twelve year old."
"Why do you say that?"
"You just want to sit here. To what? Stare at the view all day?"
"What's wrong with that?"
"That's something an old person would say."
"You know what else an 'old' person would say? 'View,' instead of front yard."
Adam didn't respond. Nichole sighed to interrupt the unwelcome silence. "I'm sorry," she said meekly.
"I didn't mean to.. be mean."
Adam laughed. "That wasn't mean. I was just doing what you wanted to do. I was staring at what was in front of us."
"Oh," Nichole was shocked. As long as her memory would allow her, Adam always looked at Nichole as the annoying girl next door. He always let her know it, and he always got annoyed. But, today he seemed different. She thought back to the day before at school. She saw Adam up ahead of her walking home alone when a couple other boys who seemed to be his friends, caught up with him. She couldn't hear what was said but, by the looks of it, they were making fun of his new glasses he had to get and knocked them off his face and ran away laughing. After he picked them off the ground he looked around to see if anyone saw, and Nichole looked down just in time. She didn't have time to hide, but, she could at least take his embarrassment away a little bit by acting like she didn't witness what just happened in front of her.
Nichole then thought back to the comment she made to him earlier about having no friends. She was surprised that he didn't kick her out right there. "I'm sorry about saying you have no friends." She couldn't go without saying that.
"Why are you sorry? It's not true."
She always thought boys were stupid. But, she didn't think they would be stupid enough to hide the truth to stop talking. Her Mom always told her to talk things out because you'll feel better. Ever since she told her that, Nichole has been telling everyone everything. And even trying to get people to talk if she thought they weren't happy. Her Mom always told her that she thinks she would make a good therapist someday. Nichole wasn't sure about that. She enjoys stuff like that now, and, even reading up on it from time to time (she started reading and writing at a very young age). But, she just didn't know how long her interest in it will hold. After all, she was only twelve. Although, she didn't understand why Adam didn't want to talk. She wanted him to feel better. "I saw what happened yesterday with your friends," Nichole said softly.
"I don't know what you mean." Adam started to sound like his usual annoyed self again, as he adjusted his glasses on his nose. He knew exactly what she meant. But, back to her 'boys are stupid' theory, she didn't push it. Instead, she picked up a small rusted old knife that she could only imagine the things he and his friends have done with. And, not to mention, where they got it. She swung her legs away from the edge they were dangling over and walked to the back of the tree house and started carving on the wall. "Hey! What are you doing now? Come on! Don't scratch it all up!" He followed her to the back and sat on the right side of her.
"Oh, don't worry. I'm not going to wreck your tree house. You'll like it, I promise." She grinned at the sound of him sighing, leaning against the side of the wall he was next to, waiting to 'like' what she was carving.
"It better not be any stupid girly thing," Adam warned.
"Don't worry," Nichole stated again. Only this time, more sternly.
Adam sat quietly, slightly amused at how hard it was for her to carve whatever it was that she was carving. His anger dulled by the second. It turned into wonder, of what she was taking so long to write. He didn't register that she was done when he saw her back away and smile happily at her work, because he had been staring at the same spot for what he felt was forever. It wasn't until she announced that he could take a look, when he realized that she had finished.
"Who we are. See, now, who ever comes up here will read that, and know that we were both here."
"Why couldn't you just say that? That 'Adam and Nichole were here,' like everyone else? Why do you have to throw that in there?" Adam asked while pointing to the bulk of what she carved.
"Because, I don't like to be like everyone else."
Adam reread the carving silently. It was different. He'll give her that. "So now I have to keep this showing?"
Nichole shrugged her shoulders. "You can cover it if you like."
Adam studied her, and then looked back at the wall, leaving it alone and saw her smile.
"Who helped you build this tree house?" Nichole inquired while looking around as if seeing it for the first time. Even though she can't count how many times she climbed up here when he was with his friends. She never really got a good look at it before now because of how quickly she got chased away. They shifted their sitting positions from facing the wall to sitting facing the hole that the ladder is attached to, to get up and down, with their feet hanging down.
"My Dad helped me. And my brother."
"Oh, you mean the one that doesn't live here anymore?"
"Yeah. He moved out with his girlfriend. My Mom thinks he'll be back. She doesn't think it's going to last."
"Why does she think that?" Nichole asked with full interest.
"I don't know. I didn't ask." Adam saw that she looked frustrated, but he didn't know why. So he continued with his story. "My brother always wanted one for himself, but my Dad didn't help him. So, about three years ago he told my Dad that I needed one. That it was a good place outside of the house for me and my friends to be in. I guess my brother had a lot of friends over or something because that seemed to convince him."
"How long do you think this tree house will be here?"
"A long time. They put a lot of work into it. Like, if we had kids, our kids, kids, kids, maybe."
"Where do you go thinking we will have kids? I'm not marrying you!" Nichole shrieked.
"I'm not saying we are! I'm saying.. Ugh… Someone our age then. Their kids, kids, kids." Nichole didn't have any reaction to that which told Adam that she took that as a good fix. They both became quiet while looking down, watching their own feet dangling blow them.
"Oh, it's my Mom. I have to go." Nichole sat up to put her foot into the first step of the ladder to get down. "I'll see you later."
"Yeah. See you tomorrow."
Nichole looked up from the ladder she was climbing down to look at him. "Really? Tomorrow?"
"Yeah, we're friends, aren't we?" Adam asked as causally as he could.
"Yes, we're friends," Nichole answered with a smile and started climbing down again. "See you tomorrow," she shouted out when she reached the bottom before running from his yard to hers.
50 years later
"Let's go up there!" Jill told Kate.
"I don't know," Kate answered hesitantly. "Mom told us not to. It's dangerous."
"Oh, what's so dangerous about it? It has a ladder and everything. And I bet you the board is a lot more stable then it looks," Jill was telling her little sister, trying to convince her to do what she wanted. She watched Kate's reaction and saw that even after being told that, she still looked unsure of the idea.
"Fine, you can stay here if you want. I think we're old enough to go up there. And Mom isn't even home to see that we did it. I'm just going to go up there to say that I did it. You can watch me from inside."
Kate watched Jill as she dashed happily over to the door to go into the front yard. She wanted to be able to say that she did it too. "Wait up!" Kate screamed out, moving away from the window and over to Jill's side. "I'm coming too." Jill smiled at Kate and let her walk out the door first, closing it behind them and made sure that it was left unlocked so they could get back in the house. To leave no trace of what they did, if they are back inside, sitting quietly in front of the television when their Mom got back from work.
"I think you should go up first because that way, I'll be behind you and help push you up if you need it."
"Okay," Kate replied quietly, looking a little nervous.
"What's wrong, Kate? Are you scared? Because remember, you don't have to do this," Jill said, giving her another chance to get out.
"I'm not scared!" Kate shoved her left foot into the first step on the ladder, feeling Jill behind her, ready to push her up when she was high enough.
After a long fifteen minute struggle that Jill had helping Kate up, while getting up herself, they were finally there. It looked a lot smaller than it did from down below. There was only enough floorboard for the two of them, barely, to stand on. Kate grasped onto the corner of the wall with her tiny fists, afraid of falling off. Jill saw this and held her other hand. When she did she saw that Kate's knuckles seemed to slowly go back to its original color.
"What does that say, Jill?"
Jill followed Kate's finger and saw that something looked like it was carved into it. She walked over and bent down and squinted to try and make the words out. The only things that seemed clear enough to make out were the words "whoever," "right now," "wondering who," and "we are." She was trying to make out the words surrounding them when two names caught her eye at the bottom. Those were the darkest and easiest to make out. "Adam and Nichole."
"Adam and Nichole?" Jill said out loud.
"What does it say? I can't read it!" Kate screamed.
"Oh, sorry. I can only make out some of it. It doesn't really make sense though. But, whoever wrote it, their names were Adam and Nichole." Jill ran her fingers over the names, while looking at them in awe. Wondering just how far back that went.
"Can we go down now? I don't like being up here," Kate whined.
"Alright," Jill answered while still looking at the names.
"I need help, Jill! You're not helping me!"
Jill forced herself to look away from the carving on the wall to help Kate down. "Alright, this is what we're going to do. You go down a couple of steps on the ladder. Then I'll start coming down. If you're too scared to hold the ladder steps, grab my feet whenever you want."
Kate nodded her head nervously as she lowered herself down the first step. They both made it down safely after a few near tumbles that they stopped from happening. All caused by Kate's last minute freak-out, grabbing onto Jill's foot in mid-step, almost throwing herself and Kate off balance. But, they were on the ground now. And that's all that Kate cared about as she ran inside the front door, leaving Jill out in the front yard. Who was looking back up at the partial tree house that has been up in their tree all her life.
When their Mom came home a couple of hours later, they were both sitting in front of the television like Jill hoped they would be. No signs of anything out of the ordinary. Normally, this would please Jill of the fact that she got away with something without her Mom knowing. This wouldn't be the first time. Only, she couldn't concentrate on what they were watching, because she was still thinking of those two names. And what that could have possibly have said way back when they carved it. She knew she heard those names somewhere before. Way back when Kate was too young to remember. And she knew that her Mom would have the answer. So, after twenty minutes of silence, Jill couldn't think of getting the answer without blabbing, and telling their Mom what they did.
"Yeah, Jill?" Sandra asked while walking into the living room where her girls were.
"Don't get mad at Kate. But, we went onto that tree house today." Jill saw Kate turn away from the television to look at her with horror.
"What? How many times have I told you not to do that? That has been there for a very long time! The wood could be worn out! You two could have fallen down! Jill! What were you-?"
"I know. I'm sorry, Mom. I wanted too. I talked Kate into it. We didn't stay up there long. I just, wanted to say I did it and-"
"Well, I hope you got it out of your system! Because I'm having your Father tear the rest of it down tomorrow so you won't be tempted anymore!"
"No! You can't!" Jill wailed.
"Why not? So you can decide that you need to say you did it a second time? I know how you are, Jill. I thought I could trust you enough-"
"That's not it, Mom!" Jill continued in the same tone.
"Then, what, Jill?"
"Because! There's something carved into the wall. And it was written by somebody who's name I heard before!"
"It said Adam and Nichole!"
Sandra's facial expression turned from anger to shock all in a split second. Jill looked at Kate amazed, while Kate mirrored her look back at her. Sandra walked over to the window and looked up into the tree. "Adam and Nichole?" Sandra repeated, but still looking out the window.
"Yeah," Jill answered back. "Who are they, Mom?"
Sandra walked away from the window and passed Jill, going into the other room. They heard noise and so they both stood there and waited for their Mom to come back. When she did, she held a framed photograph in her hand and handed it to Jill, with Kate running to her side to look at it too.
"They were your Grandparents."
Jill and Kate looked at the faces a little more closely this time. "How come you never talked about them before?" Kate wondered.
"We have. Or, I have, at least. Sometimes it's hard though. While I was growing up I was really close to them. Kate, I think you were too little to remember them. But, Jill, you may have some memory. You were six when they-" Kate and Jill watched as their Mom never finished the sentence and her eyes got wet.
"I think...I think I remember two people coming over. The last time I remember was a Christmas. They came with a lot of candy canes, I think." Jill recalled. She looked at her Mom's eyes and could of sworn she saw them twinkle when she smiled.
"That was them," she answered proudly. Jill looked back down at the smiling couple in her hands.
"What were they like?" Kate asked.
"Yeah. How did they get together?" Jill added.
"Come on, sit on the couch, I'll tell you." Sandra led her girls over to the couch, with Jill bringing the picture with her, and Sandra, taking the chair facing on the right of them.
"Well, first off, they knew each other when they were kids. They were neighbors. They weren't really all that close until they were near their teenage years. If I remember right, they were both about twelve."
"They were a couple when they were twelve?" Kate asked in disbelief. She wasn't all that far from that age. She was only four years off. However, Jill was twelve. She looked over at her sister who had the same look on her face.
"No. They weren't going out. They were friends back then," Sandra explained.
"Oh," they both answered.
"They didn't become a couple until way later. That was just the beginning of their friendship. They both moved out of their parents houses and went off to college. They were about nineteen or so when that happened. They saw each other one last time before they both left, wishing each other luck, and that was it. Until a couple years later. It was a Christmas vacation and they were both coming back to their parents houses for it. Adam, Grandpa, went over to the house to wish everyone a Merry Christmas when Grandma was the one who answered the door. They got to talking and found out that they were going to school not too far from one another."
"They didn't know that before they left?" Jill interrupted.
"No, they didn't. Well, no, I shouldn't say that. They knew. But, what they didn't know is the second college that they were planning on going to were the ones that were close to each other. They were about to start at those schools in a few months."
"People go to two colleges?" Kate asked. She seemed blown away by everything she was hearing so far.
"Yes, some people do. There is a small college, then you continue to a bigger one. It's kind of like how there is middle school, which some people call junior high, then you follow up with high school. These first colleges that they went to were like those. And now, they were both getting ready to go to the big one. What would be like the high school."
Kate seemed to understand now so leaned back on the couch, making herself more comfortable.
"So that Christmas, along with spending time with their families, they spent time with each other. Going out to eat, to the movies, and catching up further with one another. And before they went back to school they exchanged phone numbers and addresses to get in touch when they go to their new schools."
"How long was it before they got together after that?" Jill asked, looking back at the picture that she set in front of her on the coffee table.
"They never told me. But, if I were to guess, it probably wasn't too long after that. Once they got in touch they spent a lot of free time together." Jill smiled, loving hearing about their Grandparent's story. Like Kate, she leaned back on the couch and made herself comfortable. "When they graduated they were already in a serious state in their relationship. They were both living in dorms when they were going to college-"
"What are dorms?" Kate asked.
"They are like little apartments near the campus of the school that you are going to. You share it with someone else at the school most of the time. It's good to be in one because you are close to the school, and never late."
"Oh," Kate answered.
"So, since they weren't in school anymore, they had to leave. To make room for the next students coming in that needed those rooms. Neither of them wanted to move back home, so, they moved into an apartment together."
"What did Grandma and Grandpa do?" Jill asked.
"She did what her Mom always thought she would do. She became a therapist. While Dad, well, he did a lot of odd jobs. He wanted to feel that he was helping financially. And, someone had to be around for us. So, it ended up being him."
"Wait! I have to pee! Don't say anything till I get back!" Kate announced.
"Oh, come on!" Jill called out, watching Kate scoot off the couch.
"I'll be fast!" She shouted behind her when running into the hall way toward the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.
"You want something to drink, sweetie?" Sandra asked the eager Jill thumping her feet against the couch.
"Alright. Can I have some chocolate milk?"
"Yeah. I'll be right back." Sandra got up, leaving Jill alone in the living room.
Five minutes later they were all back, ready to pick up from where they left off. "Where was I? Oh yes. After they moved in together they waited a couple years to get married."
"Why did they wait?" Jill asked.
"Because they wanted to save money for a nice wedding. And then they wanted to have children. They wanted to have a bigger place for that. Saving for all of that takes time." Neither Jill nor Kate said anything, so Sandra went on. "They got married three years later. Then, they bought a house right before your Uncle was born. I came four years later. Your Uncle and I are the same amount of years apart as you two are." Jill and Kate looked at one another, and then back at their Mom.
"Years went by, and we grew up and moved out. Your Grandpa's parents passed away and left him this house, and that's how we got it. He left it to us. And that tree house out there, that was built for your Grandpa when he was younger. His Dad, my Grandpa, and his brother did it for him."
"And, so, this is the house? The one that he grew up in?" Kate asked while sitting up from the cushion she was leaning up against, while looking around the house.
"Then, Grandma's house… is, next door?" Jill questioned wide eyed, putting the pieces of the story together. "Which one is it?" She asked while jumping off the couch, going over to the window.
"It's the one to your left."
"Wow," Jill said with her face pressed to the glass, taking in as much of the house that the window would allow her, fogging it with her breath. "Why isn't that one ours too?"
"Well, when Grandma's Dad passed, her Mom sold it. So, it's not in the family anymore."
"Oh." She turned away from the window to face her Mom again. "Mom?"
"What happened to them? To Grandma and Grandpa?"
"They passed on years ago. The Christmas that you remember was the last one they celebrated." Jill looked down, feeling the loss for the first time. When it happened, she was too young to understand it.
"They went at the same time?" Jill sat back down to look at the picture again.
"Almost. There is this myth that some people believe-"
"Myth?" Kate asked confused.
"Sorry, sweetheart. It's like a story." Kate nodded in understanding.
"That when one person passes in a couple that has been with each other for a long time, it's too much to bear for the one left behind. And then they go soon after. I think that is what happened with Grandma and Grandpa. They both had a long, full life. But, one day, Grandpa didn't wake up. A couple months later, neither did Grandma." Sandra looked down at the floor while Kate and Jill looked again at the picture.
After a few minutes of silence, Jill got up off the couch. "Where are you going, sweetie?"
Jill headed toward a vase of flowers that was on the kitchen table and took two out, and got a knife. "Hey, Jill, be careful with that, what are you doing?" Sandra got up to follow her, not trusting her with the knife in her hand.
"I'm going to do something for Grandma and Grandpa." Kate got off the couch and followed her sister outside the front door, with their Mom trailing behind them.
Kate and Sandra both stood a couple feet away from Jill, watching her place the flowers at the foot of the tree trunk where the rest of the tree house was, and started carving in the tree with the knife. "There," Jill said backing away to look over what she did. Sandra and Kate got closer to read what she carved. "This way, if something happens to the rest of the tree house, everyone who lives here will know this was theirs."
Sandra looked at the tree and saw that Jill carved in "A+N's tree." She squeezed Jill's shoulder, and put her other arm around Kate, smiling at the tree and looked up at the remains of the tree house. "What did the message say on the wall, Jill?" Sandra asked, not taking her eyes off of it.
"I don't know. There were a few words there, but, I couldn't make out the rest. The only thing that was really visible were their names." Sandra smiled up at it, with Jill and Kate's eyes looking up too.
"Come on, kids." Sandra said while turning them around leading them back into the house. "Let's go in and make dinner."