I had fallen head-over-heels for Thad Givens. He was the handsomest boy in school. His folks had just moved to Critsville a month before school had started and he didn't know hardly anyone. All the girls thought he was dreamy. All the boys either hated him or wanted to be like him. Imagine my surprise when he sat right behind me in Algebra II.
"Hey, pssst, whatchyer name?"
I turned and looked into his sea-green eyes. I thought I was going to faint. The butterflies in my stomach swarmed in a knot and up into my throat. "Addie." My voice croaked like a bullfrog and a few kids around me laughed.
"Hey, Addie, I'm Thad." His perfect white teeth gleamed in the overhead lighting.
I reached out a trembling hand, offering a welcome. He stared down at it. "I like your nail polish," he said. I blushed.
Mr. Asker, balding, bifocaled and thick New York accent, scowled as I turned my attention to the Power Point presentation. "Was there something you would like to add Miss Adelaide?"
"No, no, sir." I was embarrassed to have attention drawn to me. I was normally shy; a loner, keeping to myself. I scratched the back of my neck. Something was crawling on me. A few seconds later I felt it again. It was crawling down my neck, slowly, deliberately. The crawling-thing worked its way up under the back of my tee-shirt. A bug? A spider? Oh God! A spider!
I jumped from my desk and started dancing in circles, screaming at the top of my lungs and tugging at the back of my shirt. "Get it off! Get if off! Oh, Lord! Holy crap!" I shook my blonde head as tears leaped into my eyes.
The whole class was laughing. I could hear the sounds reverberating in my ears but all I cared about at the moment was getting the creepy-crawly off my skin. Goosebumps had formed up and down my arms as I continued to dance and scream.
"Adelaide! Please, be seated!" Mr. Asker hollered across the room. The class was in an uproar.
Thad stood over me, a good head taller, and grabbed my wrists. "Hey, hey, baby, there's no spider and there's no bug; just this." He held out an ink pen, a bright blue feather glued to its end. "I was just messin' with ya is all."
All in the same instant, relief and anger mixed into my blood. I wanted to kill him. I wanted to hug him. I wanted to kiss him. I'd always heard that if teenage boys teased you it meant they liked you. Did Thad like me? Me?
"Adelaide! Thad! To the principal's office this instant!" Mr. Asker's voice was boomingly serious.
"But, but, sir..." Thad glanced at me and winked. "It wasn't Addie's fault. It was mine. She shouldn't get into trouble."
The Algebra teacher stomped his foot and pointed toward the door. No further words were needed. The rest of the class grew silent.
I gathered my books in my arms as did Thad and we trudged down the long hallway.
"Hey, I'm sorry," Thad apologized. "I didn't mean anything but to have a little fun. I didn't want you upset."
"It's okay," I replied. "I've got an idea." My brain was churning. A plan was unfolding. "Let's skip."
"Skip?" Thad shrugged his shoulders and, with a lilt in his heavy steps, began to skip beside me. His little dance, one foot in front of the other made me laugh. He had a wonderful sense of humor.
"No, silly. I mean walk right out of here. Go do something wild and crazy for the rest of the afternoon. Whadda ya say?"
We both grinned at the same time. We were about to embark on a wild adventure!