Wings of Fortune - Part 4
Sam awoke to his phone ringing.
“Hello?” he said groggily.
“Hey. Do you know if they found those parachutists?” came Matt’s voice on the other end of the line.
“The people who fell into the pond! Do you know if the cops found their bodies?”
“I don’t know. Why?” said Sam, growing more awake by the moment.
“I just… I’ve been feeling weird ever since I touched them.”
“Yeah. I don’t know how to explain it. Just more extreme, I guess. And when I was lifting this morning with the team, I could lift like way more than normal.”
“That is weird. What do you mean by more extreme?” Sam sat up in his bed. Matt had his attention now. Hadn’t Candace said something about feeling strange as well? Maybe their feelings were related...
“Just… nevermind. Anyway, let me know if you find anything out, ‘kay?”
Sam hung up the phone and thought about Matt’s words for a moment. He was feeling strange. So was Candace. Matt said he was stronger too. Maybe that was unrelated. It sure didn’t seem like it would have anything to do with the events at the pond. Candace hadn’t mentioned anything like that.
Sam thought back to two days ago at the pond. When those skydivers had hit the water, there was a static electricity discharge or something in the water. That’s what had stopped Candace’s heart. Or at least he assumed that’s what it was. It had all happened so quickly!
After finishing his chores around the house, Sam looked at his phone. It was 2:00! He had an hour to shower and get ready to see Candace. There were two texts as well. Both from Mara.
Sam smiled. Mara was so awesome. He felt a surge of appreciation for the athletic girl. She was going out of her way to help him with Candace. She always was a bit of a matchmaker, and he guessed that the appeal of finally setting up Candace with someone appealed to her. It was like the ultimate matchmaking challenge. He was just glad she had decided that he was the best candidate! It didn’t hurt, he supposed, that they had been friends since pre-school.
Sam showered, donned his favorite t-shirt and shorts, then sprayed a few puffs of the cologne he’d received as a graduation present. He didn’t want to overdo it, hence the t-shirt and shorts, but he did want to make a good impression.
He walked over to Candace’s house. She didn’t live far away, and he was there in a few minutes.
Sam gathered himself for a moment, smoothing out his shirt and checking his breath before ringing the doorbell.
A moment later, the door practically flew open, a surprised Candace standing in the doorway. She seemed to recover quickly, smiling and moving to the side, motioning for Sam to come in.
“Come in, Sam. I’m glad you could make it,” Candace said. She was wearing a green tank and white short shorts, and she looked amazing.
“Thanks for the invite… unless Mara was making things up…” Sam smiled at her, focused on keeping his eyes on her face… which wasn’t particularly difficult, since her complexion was looking more flawless than usual today. Candace laughed.
“Mara actually said she was sick… but I think she just wants to see Matt. I think those two have been going on runs together or something. She was all thirsty for him this morning after she saw him with his shirt off. Called him ‘Mr. Nummy.’ She’s so funny.”
“Yeah, Mara’s great,” said Sam, laughing as he imagined Mara drooling over Matt.
As they walked into Candace’s bedroom, she closed the door.
“You can sit on the bed if you want.”
Sam did as indicated. Rather than take her desk chair, the only other seating option besides the bed, Candace sat next to him on the bed. Sam felt his pulse begin to race as a long, silky leg touched his.
Candace brushed a lock of her ginger hair behind her ear, shifting slightly toward him.
“I’ve never had a guy in my bedroom before. Especially not one as good-looking as you…” Candace placed her hand on his arm, her eyes finding his.
Sam jumped up from the bed, suddenly uncomfortable. This was so unlike her. It was also too good to be true. He had barely dated in high school. And now the school’s hottie extraordinaire—looking better than ever—was coming on to him? What was going on here?
“Oh my God,” said Candace softly. She looked absolutely mortified, eyes on the floor, crimson circles growing on her cheeks. “I’m so sorry, Sam. I don’t… I-I don’t know what’s getting into me.”
“It’s okay. Believe me, I don’t mind! It’s just…” Sam searched for the right way to say this. “...this doesn’t seem like you. That’s all.”
“I’ve just been feeling weird since the whole thing at the pond.”
Candace rose from the bed and walked over to the window, staring out through the glass, fingertips touching it lightly as she continued to speak.
“I’ve been getting these... urges.” Her voice was so quiet that it was barely above a whisper. With her facing away from him, Sam had to strain to hear her. Clearly, this wasn’t easy for her to say.
“Especially around you…” she gave him a hesitant glance and a brief smile before turning back to the window.
“It’s hard to explain. I just… I feel so grateful. I mean, you saved my life and everything, so it makes sense, right?”
She glanced at him timidly again, seeking confirmation. Sam nodded, eyebrows high.
“And I’ve just been feeling really, um…” She licked her lips. “...sexy lately.”
She circled the bed until she was on the side opposite Sam. Her eyes met his, not looking away this time. There was something vaguely predatory in that look.
“Since the pond, you said?” Sam didn’t know what to say. Those were simply the words that escaped his lips. At least he had said something. He had been worried he might just stand there looking at her dumbly. She had clearly been expecting a response…
Candace seemed both slightly pleased and slightly disappointed at his words.
“Yes. I just feel different in all kinds of ways,” she said, her eyes losing some of their intensity. She clasped her hands in front of her.
“Stronger?” Sam wasn’t sure why he said it. Matt’s words from this morning’s phone call had been percolating in the back of his mind.
Candace’s eyes went wide.
“How did you…?”
Sam thought about telling her that Matt was experiencing the same thing, but he liked his new role as Candace’s confidant. If he told her Matt was going through the same thing, it was likely that would change.
If he were truly being honest with himself, he didn’t want to send her to such a good looking rival for her affections either. Thinking quickly, he managed a different response.
“The door. When you first let me in. You really pulled that thing open hard!”
Candace blushed again.
“I didn’t think it was that obvious!”
“It wasn’t… but your reaction was,” Sam said, smiling.
“Yeah,” she sighed. “I really need to get used to it. I broke my toothbrush handle this morning too!”
There was a knock on her door. Sam heard Candace’s father on the other side.
“Remember, you have a doctor’s appointment, hun. We have to leave in a few minutes.”
“Oh yeah! Thanks, Dad!” Candace called back.
“Sorry, Sam. I forgot all about that! The doctor wants to see me again to go over the results of some of the tests they were doing, I guess.”
“No problem. Talk more later?”
“Sure! I’ll hit you up tonight.” She smiled. A little too widely.
As Candace led Sam out of her room, he noticed her father’s eyes on him. He waved. Her father waved back.
He didn’t smile.