“Cybersquad on the air.”
“Surprise from the past.”
By Lucas Harrell
“And that’s the deal, Mr. Babb,” Lucas said, “We want to run the radio station, if it’s not already ran by someone.
“No one is currently running it,” Mr. Babb said, “In fact, no one has in about twenty years.”
“This is too cool,” Bea said, “Can we get it up and running?”
“That’s not a good idea,” Mr. Babb said, “Trust me on this one.”
“This could bring up school morale, sir,” I said.
“I guess that’s probably true,” Mr. Babb said, “It did back when the radio station first started. With me as their main radio announcer, WWFBK 108.8 ruled the airwaves.”
“Right,” Cheryl said, “And we want to do the same. It’ll probably help students around here, to have music to listen to during class and stuff.”
“All right, I’ll talk to the school board about this,” Mr. Babb said, “But, if they agree to this, I have final say on what goes on the air and what music is played, along with having my own time. I’ve been wanting to get back on the airwaves.”
Lucas sighed. “Agreed,” he said, “We’ve yet to make on the air schedules, but we will find you a time slot. Do you mind if we keep it short?”
“Not at all,” Mr. Babb said, “I know students don’t want to hear me a lot. More than usual, at least. Any time slot will do.”
“Thanks, Mr. Babb,” Lucas said, “When will we hear whether or not we can run the radio station?”
“Tomorrow,” Mr. Babb said, “Luckily for you, there’s a school board meeting tonight. I’ll give you their decision tomorrow. If they agree to let you, I’ll show you the building after school tomorrow.”
“Thanks, Mr. Babb,” Lucas said, “We really appreciate this.”
“No problem,” Mr. Babb said. They left his office.
“That was a little too easy, don’t you think?” T.J. asked. We were sitting around the lunch table, about to get something to eat.
“Kind of, I guess,” Lucas said, “But Mr. Babb is a cool guy. He used to let me off all the time in Eastside.”
“Yeah, so we won’t have to worry about the radio station?” Bea said.
“It’s in the bag,” Lucas said, “Now, let’s get some others to help us out, figure out the air times, and get our individual programs ready.”
“Right, boss,” I said, “I bet Curt would be willing to help.”
“Good idea, T.J.,” Lucas said, “I’ll go talk to him, since I’m a bit closer to him than you guys.”
“I know a girl that will probably want to help,” Cheryl said, “She just moved into town, and she’s looking for friends.”
“Great,” Lucas said, “All the help we can get is good. Who is she?”
“Hi, guys,” a familiar voice said. It was a voice none of us had heard in about four years, and Bea had never heard it. I saw Lucas freeze.
Michelle ran over. “It’s so good to see you guys again,” she said, hurriedly giving us hugs. She stopped when she got to Lucas.
‘Oh boy,’ I thought, ‘The two of them had tried to be an item once. Are sparks going to fly again this time?’ Lucas was obviously uncomfortable.
“You must be Michelle,” Bea said, “I’ve heard a lot about you. My name’s Bea Hightower.”
“Oh, Lucas’s girlfriend,” Michelle said. I could almost hear Lucas’s jaw drop.
“How did you know about that?” Bea asked.
“Cheryl’s been writing me, telling me just about everything,” Michelle said, “Good to see you again, Lucas.”
“You too, Michelle,” Lucas said, giving her a quick hug. When she gave him a quick peck on the cheek, he turned red.
I noticed Bea’s crestfallen expression, but decided to wait until a bit later to ask her about it.
“Let’s go get something to eat,” Michelle said, “I’m so hungry, I’m desparate to eat school food.” We all laughed, except Bea. While the others left for the cafeteria, Bea and I lagged behind.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing, T.J.,” she said.
“Don’t give me that,” I said, “I know when something’s bothering you. What is it? Michelle?”
“Not Michelle, at least not directly,” Bea said, “I’m scared I might lose him again, this time for an old flame.”
“Old flame? Give me a break,” I replied, “They liked each other once, true. But that was about four years ago. Lucas does love you, and wouldn’t leave you for anybody, Bea. You two have just gone through too much together for him to do that. Come on, and I’ll buy you a coke from the concession stand afterwards, to wash the horrible flavor of cafeteria food out.”
Bea laughed. “You’re such a good friend, T.J.,” she said, “Where would I be without you?” She gave me a peck on the cheek. Blushing, I followed her to the cafeteria.
Unknown to both of us, Lucas had back tracked to see what was keeping us. He saw her giving me the kiss on the cheek, and assumed the worst.
When he got to the cafeteria, everybody was standing in line. He picked up a tray and scooted over next to Michelle, who was at the end of the line on the right. Bea was on the left line.
“Hey, T.J.,” she said. She nodded to Lucas and Michelle. “I wonder what he’s doing over there, with her?”
“Oh, you know how picky he is,” I said, “The food on that side must be more appealing.”
“T.J., that side has pizza today,” Bea pointed out, “And I know for a fact that he doesn’t like that.”
“Oh, he’s probably just talking to her,” I replied, “You know, catching up. He hasn’t seen her in years, after all.” Even I didn’t believe that, and I could only imagine what was going through Bea’s mind.
When we got to the table, we found Lucas and Michelle already there laughing it up. “And then he says I’m glad people know how to pronounce my last name,” he said, “The guy’s name was Chris Lewinski.” That got Michelle to cracking up. Bea slid in the seat next to Lucas.
“Hi, sweetie,” she said, giving him a kiss. He recoiled slightly. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Lucas said, “Michelle, would you like to be a part of the radio station, if we’re able to run it?”
“I’d love to,” Michelle said, “Count me in.”
“Hey, Michelle. I didn’t know you were back in town.” We all looked up to see Curtis walking up to the table.
“Hey, Curt,” Michelle said, “It’s great to see you again.” She got up and gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Curt sat down beside Michelle. I could see Lucas’s eyes almost flashing with jealousy. Bea could, too, and it looked like she was about to cry. “Lucas,” I said, “Can I talk to you out in the back for a minute?”
“Sure, T.J.,” Lucas said. I could swear that his voice had a cold tone to it. Once he was outside, I let him have it.
“Just what do you think you’re doing? Besides breaking Bea’s heart,” I said.
“Getting payback,” he said, “I saw her giving you a kiss a little while ago. Now, I’m getting revenge.”
“What? Lucas, it was a friendly kiss,” I said, “Like Cheryl would give you. She was worried about something, and I helped her. To repay me, she gave me a friendly kiss on the cheek. She doesn’t deserve you doing this to her. Besides, I think Michelle and Curt might make a good couple. How about you?”
“Yeah, I think so, too,” Lucas replied, “I’m sorry for suspecting you of trying to steal my girl and everything.”
“Ah, already forgotten,” I said, “You just have to worry about Bea forgiving you, and we both know how hard that can be.”
“Yeah, I know,” Lucas said, “Can you go back inside and send her out here? I’d like to get it over as soon as possible.”
“Sure, bro,” I said. I walked back inside and went over to our table. Michelle and Cheryl were talking, but Bea was quiet. “Hey Bea. Lucas wants to talk to you outside.”
“Thanks, T.J.,” she said softly, as she got up and headed for the back door.
Outside, Lucas was waiting for her. “Sit down,” he offered politely, patting the stone step next to him. She did so. “Bea, I’m...”
“Lucas, I think we should break up,” Bea said, “I just can’t compete for your feelings anymore. Michelle is very pretty, and I want you to be happy. If it’s with her, then so be it.” She started to get and go back inside, but he gently caught her arm.
“Bea, look,” he said, “I was a little nervous when I first met her, yeah I’ll admit that. The reason I’ve been hanging around her, seeming to flirt with her, is that I jumped to the wrong conclusion about something.”
“Like what?” Bea asked him.
“I saw you giving T.J. a kiss when you guys hung back a little while ago,” Lucas said, “I thought that the two of you were trying to be an item. I got paranoid and wanted to make you jealous. I’m so very, very sorry. Can you forgive me?” Bea turned her back on him playfully. “Well? Bea?”
She turned back. “Didn’t want to make it easy on you,” she said, playfully punching him in the shoulder. “Of course I forgive you.”
“I wish I could give you a kiss,” Lucas said, “If only it wasn’t against the rules around here.”
“Come on,” Bea said. She took his hand as they both got up. They went out into the main yard of the school and to the old caboose there. “We can kiss in here, and no one would know the difference, as long as we don’t get caught.” Grinning, Lucas climbed up onto the back, then helped her up.
A little while later, they came back out and went to join the rest of us.