Friday, April 1, 2016

What's Wrong with Caleb? - Part 3

Happy first for April, FFFs,

One time April first fell on Friday, I added a little part to the longer story I was posting (part of The Unexpected Request) and "killed off" the main character. I was also gone all day to a homeschool conference, so I couldn't reply to anyone until that evening. Boy, did I have some comments. ;) I did have several people who were suspicious because of how I had done it.
But don't worry, I didn't do anything like that today. This story is exactly how I ended it to begin with.

I did do something different this week. On Wednesday, I was able to go with some friends and a group they had gotten together to help out at Voice of the Martyrs for the day. I spent all day stuffing the large envelopes and getting them ready to mail. So, if you get Voice of the Martyrs, I might have gotten it ready for you. Of course there were still thousands to do, but we did make good progress.

And the other news for this week is that I've finally been able to get a good bit of TCR-6 written. Not as much as I would have liked, but the first chapter is probably done. Last night I did switch stories and write some more about Dylan and Fern. :) Hope you don't mind. ;)

Here is the end of this story. Now just remember I told you I overdid the emotion just because I was trying things out. Enjoy and tell me if your guess was correct.

What's Wrong with Caleb?
Part 3

    Not feeling hungry, Caleb sat fidgeting, shifting around in his seat, picking up imaginary crumbs and putting them on his plate. He tugged at the neckline of his shirt and fumbled with it as though trying to find a button to undo. His eyes darted around the room, carefully avoiding one corner of the counter where the pile of mail still sat.
    When Robert was finished, he spoke. “I’m done now. You want this pizza in a bag?” Caleb gave no reply and Robert touched his arm. “Caleb?”
    Jumping, Caleb whirled around as he sprang to his feet, his breath coming in gasps and his eyes wide. Sweat dotted his forehead. “What?”
    “I said I was done. Are you feeling all right?”
    “What? Oh, yeah. I’m fine. Pizza. Right. I’ll get it put away.”
    Robert didn’t answer,for he had his phone out and was busy with it.
    It wasn’t until the kitchen was clean and the cousins were sitting back at the table that Robert’s phone buzzed. He checked it quickly and sent a reply. “So, what’s been making you so jumpy?”
    Robert looked around the room. “Think I’m talking to myself? Come on, now. Out with it!”
    Caleb’s lips parted, but no sound came out. Only the steady tick, tock, of the clock was heard.
    “I’d start talking, if I were you.” Robert’s voice was quiet. “Dad’s on his way over here.”
    “He shouldn’t come. I haven’t broken any law. I–” Caleb’s eyes darted about the kitchen, almost resting on the mail, but always moving away quickly.
    “How’s work going?”
    “How many yards are you mowing?”
    “I don’t know.” He made a vague motion with his hand.
    “Caleb!” growled Robert with growing exasperation. “Does this have anything to do with your lawn care business?”
    For the first time that evening, Caleb turned and met his cousin’s gaze. “No!”
    “Then what’s going on?”
    “Oh, it’s nothing. Just forget it.” He ran his fingers through his hair again.
    “No, I’m not going to forget it. Caleb, something is going on. You’ve been acting strange all week and I’m not leaving until I find out why. Now–”
    A sharp rap sounded on the back door and Caleb jumped.
    “Relax, it’s just Dad. I’ll get it.” And Robert stepped over to let his dad into the small kitchen.
    “This was not a good idea,” Caleb muttered, backing towards the open doorway leading to the rest of the house, as though meditating flight. Looking at his uncle as he came in, he breathed a sigh of relief; at least he wasn’t in uniform. There was just something about a police uniform that made him clam up.
    “Come back and sit down,” Robert called to him. “You aren’t going anywhere until you’ve spilled everything.”
    Reluctantly, Caleb made his way back to the table and sat down. His uncle was across from him, his arms crossed on the table.
    “What’s going on, Caleb?”
    “I don’t know! I–I just can’t look.”
    “Can’t look at what?” Robert was standing, resting his hands on the back of a chair.
    Caleb didn’t reply. His eyes darted across the room towards the mail before he swallowed and turned his face away.
    Robert had caught the direction of the glance, however, and asked, as with one long stride he closed the distance between the table and the counter, “Something in the mail?” When no answer came, Robert picked up the entire pile and returned to the table. “Don’t tell me you got all this today!”
    “And whatever it is that is bothering you might be in here?” Caleb’s uncle asked, looking keenly at the young face dotted with perspiration.
    “I didn’t look.” Caleb’s voice was almost a whisper and he wiped his arm across his face. “I’m not sure I want to know.”
    Robert, sorting through the mail, gave a snort. “Okay, so what is it you don’t want to know about? Hey, here’s a letter from Missouri Southern; isn’t that the university you applied to?”
    Pulling at the neckline of his shirt, Caleb nodded.
    “Here, check and see,” And Robert tossed the envelope onto the table in front of his cousin.
    Robert exchanged a glance with his father. “Man, is this what’s been eating you? Good grief, Caleb, just open it already and get it over with! They aren’t going to eat you.”
    Caleb’s breathing quickened and he swallowed hard several times. Twice he wiped his palms on his jeans and then shook his head. “I can’t. Someone else has got to. They might have rejected me!”
    Without a word, Caleb’s uncle took up the envelope and opened the flap. He pulled out the letter, read it through rapidly and then said, “You’ve been accepted.”
    “What?” Suddenly Caleb was all attention. “Say that again!”
    “You’ve been accepted. Here, read it for yourself.”
    “Read it to me, Robert,” Caleb begged his cousin. “My hands are shaking so badly I wouldn’t be able to hold the page still.”
    Robert did as he was requested though he didn’t put much animation into the reading of the boring form letter.
    “Wahoo! I’ve really been accepted!” Caleb sprang from the table in his excitement. “I didn’t think I would, but I was! Yes!”
    With a sigh, Robert, ignoring the exuberant celebration of his cousin, turned to his father and said, “He could have saved himself a week of misery, that letter was next to the bottom in the stack.”

The emotion I used was "Agitation" though others would work.
Would you have felt like Robert?
Were you expecting that ending?
Will you be back next week to see what is here? 


Blessing Counter said...

HA! Oh my goodness, I was totally not expecting that ending! To be honest, if I were Caleb I would be dying to find out the answer, not putting it off! :) And yes, I would definitely have shared the same reaction as Robert!

Rebekah said...

I wasn't expecting that ending either, if you want the truth. But it was fun. :)

Jesseca Dawn said...

Oh wow! That was totally not the ending I was expecting! I have to agrees with Blessings, I would be ripping the envelope open when I first got it. No way would I have been able to live through almost a week of not knowing! I really enjoyed this story, thanks for sharing, Rebekah!
I'll definitely be back next week!
Oh, and this is totally changing the subject, but I was wondering how long the 2nd Graham Quartet book is?

Rebekah said...

Glad you enjoyed the story, even if the ending was different, Jesseca. :)

The 2nd Graham Quartet book is 3 chapters longer than the first one. In word count the first one was about 34 thousand words long while the second book is about 41 thousand words. Does that answer your question? :)