Chapter Thirteen

Zac groaned.

"I feel, like, bloated... How 'bout going for an ice-cream or something?"

Isaac sighed and laughed.

"You're hopeless. You're not supposed to eat insanely until you're Taylor's age."

"Pff. Taylor eats at least three times as much as I do," Zac said, upon which Taylor inflated his cheeks, making Dusk laugh.

"Yeah, it seems the exact same way with all guys. My brother's chronic. He walks through the kitchen, doesn't even look at the fridge, and the next time you open it, it's completely empty. And he's a stick too, just like you. It's not fair."

She pretended to throw the ketchup bottle at him.

"Why don't we go over to your place?"

They agreed, and headed off, forgetting about their plates and leaving them in the sink.


Dusk was half heartedly nursing the last spoonfuls of ice cream in her bowl.

"Oh, right. Could I make a phone call from here? Local."

"Um, yeah, I can't see why not," Isaac said, sitting up straight to make room for her to pass.

"I'll be right back. There was a phone in the hall, right?"

He nodded, and she left as Taylor got up to check the freezer for any hiding ice cream.

She got a piece of paper out of a pocket and unfolded it, and then dialed, leaning against the wall while she waited for someone on the other end to pick up. After a few rings, someone did.


Dusk laughed.

"Hi Corky. It's Dusk. I'm here now."

"Oh gosh! Now I'm all excited and stuff! Wowee."

"You do realize I am fully able to hang up, don't you? Anyway. Feel like getting together?"

"Sure, why not. How 'bout going for some ice cream?"

"Ugh... Not really in the mood. But you feel free. Where?"

"Center of town. I'll find you."

"'Kay. In... an hour."

"Sure. Oh! D'ya bring your blades?"

"You're getting senile, Cork... My dad won't let me blade, remember?"

"We'll rent some."

Dusk groaned.

"I can't very well get on TV with all them broken bones. I did it with cracked ribs, but that didn't take a cast!"

"No. You're not weaseling out of it. We're going blading."

"I don't want to go blading!" Dusk whined. "But I do accept bribes..."



She hung up and got back to the kitchen.

"You don't blade?" Zac said. "I'm in shock."

"You little eavesdropper!" Dusk said, sitting down. "No, I don't. My dad' against it. I just barely managed to get to snowboard. I've rollerskated a little, and I iceskate every winter, but that's it."

Zac rubbed his palms together.

"Well, we'll teach you then. You can use one of Taylor's outgrown pairs."

She looked at him skeptically.


"Come on. You've got an hour to perfect it."


Whizzing along confidently, Dusk made a left turn to avoid running off the asphalt into the grassy part of the back yard.

"Okay," Isaac said. "Now stop."

Well, technically, she did stop. Maybe if you're picky, you should be upright when you're done. That's where she didn't quite qualify.

The boys laughed as she sat up on the grass. Isaac pushed off and stopped in front of her, his hand out.

"Come on. Up you go."

She took his hand, and pushed off with the other hand. Normally, she would have gotten up, not even needing his help, just holding his hand for balance and the look of it. But her feet, in rollerblades, were still on the asphalt. They slipped away from under her, and she toppled backwards heavily, pulling Isaac down with her. He landed, his torso on hers, legs sprawled to the side.

He managed to get up on all four and then to his knees, sitting back. Dusk was wheezing, trying to breathe, terror in her eyes.

Taylor and Zac came up, concerned.

"You okay?"

She gasped, her breath calming slowly.

"I... I'm okay. I just really hate having the wind knocked out of me."

"Yeah, it's horrible," Isaac said, as she sat up on her elbows.

"I think I do know how to stop though. That was just bad luck."

"Okay. You'll be off in," Taylor checked his watch, "five or ten minutes. We'll go with you, at least part of the way."

Chapter Twelve