Case 10 - Katie's First Case
It was the beginning of a new school year; the eighth grade for me. On the Monday of the second week of school, Sheryl Holmes declared, "We need new members!"
She wasn't wrong. After all, there was only the three of us in the After-School Detectives.
Strangely (well, not really, considering what happened over summer vacation), the last member of our small club, Samantha, hadn't shown up yet.
"Let's wait for Sam-"
As soon as I began to utter her name, Samantha popped into the room.
"Sorry I'm late...," she said, devoid of her usual bubbly energy. Instead, it was replaced with an awkwardness as soon as she noticed me. And as it had been for the whole week, she avoided eye contact with me.
What was going on between Samantha and I? Well, it all started when Sheryl's older brother, Mike, took the three of us to the beach, along with his girlfriend, three weeks ago during summer vacation.
We went through the usual. Got to the beach, changed into our swimming clothes. I blushed when Sheryl and Samantha came out with their swimsuits. We swam, we built sandcastles, we tossed a beach ball around. Standard beach stuff.
Then, near the end of the day, Samantha approached me as I was putting together the finishing touches on a sandcastle.
"Hi James," she said.
"Hey Samantha," I had said, still focused on my sandcastle. "What's up?"
She held out a gift-wrapped box and looked away, blushing, "I got you a present. For your birthday."
I turned and looked at Samantha for a few moments, before I had the heart to said, "Uh, thanks, Samantha, but my birthday isn't until next month."
Samantha's face turned red, then, she ran off away from me. Unfortunately, before she could get far, she tripped on a rock and fell down.
"Samantha, are you okay?" I ran up to her.
"Ouch...," she muttered. She tried to stand up and walk, but she fell again, after yelling out in pain. I noticed that her knee was bleeding.
"Here, let me help," I said, as I knelt down next to her.
She put her hand across my back and held onto my shoulder. Then, I held her by the waist as we got up, side by side. Like that, we hobbled back to the car.
Luckily, Mike was nearby, and he helped me bandage Samantha's knee with a first aid kit that he had in his car.
During the car ride back, things were awkward between Samantha and I, and then we didn't see each other again until the school year started. For the whole week after that, we were awkward with each other.
Back in the present, Sheryl said, "Oh, don't worry, Samantha. As I was saying, we need new members! We need to expand our club and ensure that it will stay after we graduate!"
Right after Sheryl had said that, there was a knock on the door and a girl walked in. "Is this the After-School Detectives?"
Excited, Sheryl said, "Yep!"
Breaking out into a huge smile, and with an excitement that could match Sheryl's, the girl introduced herself, "Hi, I'm Katie Wong. I am new at the school this year, but I heard about you guys and I would really like to join the club!"
Sheryl, Samantha, and I exchanged looks of amazement.
"Well, that was easy." I mused.
Recovering from shock, Sheryl proclaimed, "Welcome to the club! You're in!"
"Really? That easy?" Katie asked.
"Yeah, that easy!" Sheryl extend her hand.
"Oh thank you!" Katie said, happily shaking Sheryl's hand. "Please teach me what you can about being a detective!"
Sheryl gave Katie a thumbs up, "Of course!"
Pointing to me, Sheryl said, "This is James, he's a detective too!"
I chuckled to myself at the thought of being called that. If I recalled correctly, I had to be dragged into this club at the beginning of last year.
Pointing to Samantha, Sheryl introduce her as well, "And this is Samantha, she keeps a record of our cases."
Samantha smiled, and gave Katie a wave, which was completely unlike her.
***The four of us had barely gotten settled into our seats in the clubroom the next day when a boy burst into the room, "You guys have to help me!"
"Oh hey, it's Nadir!" Katie smiled and stood up, "How are you?"
"You know him?" I asked Katie.
"Yeah, he's in my homeroom."
"So, what's wrong, Nadir?" Sheryl asked.
"I lost my backpack!" He said, pointing to the backpack that he had with him.
I raised my eyebrow at Nadir, "Uh, you're pointing at it."
"No!" Nadir explained, "This is someone else's bag. My bag looks exactly the same! It must have gotten swapped with someone else's by accident!"
"Well," Katie said, "Why don't you just look inside and find out whose bag it is, and see if there's some way of communicating with him or her?"
Nadir looked at Katie for a moment to digest that. Then, sheepishly, he said, "Right..."
We managed to easily find a day planner with the owner's name and phone number. Nadir dialed the number just as someone knocked on and open the door. A boy and a girl entered. The boy started to introduce themselves, "I am Marlowe, and this is Marlene, do you-"
A phone began to rang in the Marlene's direction. We all looked towards her direction and saw that she had the same bag that Nadir had.
"You have my bag!" Nadir and Marlene both said at the same time.
***Nadir and the Marlene walked out of the room, satisfied with their returned bags.
"Looks like you guys aren't too shabby either," Marlowe said, "We'll have to call this one a draw."
"What?" Sheryl asked, puzzled as to what he was talking about.
"Marlene was my client. I first decided to check the lost and found for her lost bag, then, obviously, the next step was you guys. Whoever had Marlene's bag would obviously be looking for theirs as well, and this is the only detective club at school."
"You're a detective too?" Sheryl leapt up excitedly at the revelation.
"Let's team up! Why don't you join the After-School Detectives?"
Marlowe smiled a little, but he said, "Nah, I'm my own man."
He turned around and waved his hand once, "Pleasure meeting you all."
Then he walked out of the room.
I looked at Sheryl, expecting her to be pouting at the rejection. Instead, she had a twinkle of admiration in her eyes and she said, "Well, he was kinda cool."
Turning back to Katie, Sheryl asked, "So, that was your first case, Katie, what did you think?"
I looked at Katie, thinking that she would be disappointed with how it turned out. After all, we barely did anything this time.
Instead, Katie broke out into a big grin and said, "That was great!"
***Samantha and I were alone in the clubroom now. Sheryl and Katie had already gone home for the day, and I was taking advantage of the room to get some homework done. Samantha was typing away on the laptop, probably writing up today's case.
After a while, she stood up, and started packing up. Then she took out a present and held it out to me. In a shy voice, she said, "Happy Birthday, James."
Surprised that she remembered my birthday, I took the present from her and said, "Thank you, Samantha."
Embarrassed, she said, "I'll- I'll see you tomorrow then."
Before she left though, I called out to her, "Wait!"
She turned around to face me.
Great, now I was the one being shy. "Do- do you want to go to a movie with me sometime?"
It took a moment before she said anything. Then, with her usual bubbly energy, she said, "Sure!"