She arrived at school a full 45 minutes early and headed to the band hall. She took a seat on the edge of the platform leading into the band hall and waited for Kevin. She took out the book and began reading to pass the time. She got so involved in the story that she almost didn’t notice when Kevin took a seat beside her.
“Good book?” he asked, grinning.
“Yeah, it’s kind of crazy but I’m really enjoying it,” she replied, laughing.
“Well, whoever picked it out has great taste in books,” he said.
She laughed again, tucking the book into her bag. “I agree,” she said, smiling.
“Glad to see you’re enjoying the book, Kate. I picked it out just for you. I thought you might like the change of pace,” he said.
“I can honestly say you’re the first boy to have ever given me a book,” Kate replied.
“Well, the honor is mine,” Kevin said.
“Did you just want to hang out or did you have a specific purpose in mind for inviting me?” Kate asked, curious.
“Oh, I just thought we could spend a little time together,” Kevin said. “I also wanted to ask you if you wanted to go to lunch with me.”
“You paying?” Kate asked. She didn’t have any money, so there was no way she’d be able to afford it otherwise.
“I would never invite you without intending to pay,” Kevin reassured her.
“Lunch sounds good. Where do you want to meet?” she asked.
“We can meet back up here,” Kevin said, “sound good?”
“Sounds great, actually,” Kate said. Lunch with Kevin? She was trying to play things cool, but this was like a dream come true. She wondered how much of his attention was related to the Warriors, but decided that it would be rude to just ask. Maybe once they got to know each other better she would feel comfortable asking him. Maybe once they got to know each other better, she wouldn’t have all these doubts still in her head.
More kids started showing up, and Kevin introduced her to a few of his friends. They seemed to accept her presence without too many questions, and Kate found herself enjoying the company. 10 minutes before the final bell, the band hall doors were unlocked and Kate headed inside to put her instrument in the band lockers. They talked and joked for another 10 minutes until the bell rang, and Kevin even walked her to her first class. So far, this had to have been the best day of her life.
Orchestra was the class right before lunch. It was the only class that demanded all of her attention and gave her no time to give even half a thought to lunch. They were working on learning Toreador from the opera Carmen. It was a complicated but beautiful piece. She was second chair 1st violins, something she had worked hard to attain. The first chair had been playing violin since she was 5 years old, and Kate had only started learning violin in the 5th grade. It made Kate feel good to think that her efforts and practice had allowed her to get this close to catching up with the skills of the 1st chair.
After orchestra, she stored her instrument in the locker, grabbed her bag, and headed outside to meet Kevin. He was already waiting for her when she got out.
“Pick your poison. We have McDonalds, Dairy Queen, or Sergio’s all within walking distance. McDonald’s is a little bit of a hike, but if you want to go that direction I’m open to it,” Kevin said.
Their high school had an open campus for lunches, and most high schoolers flocked to the nearby fast food restaurants during their lunch break. Kate usually just ate in the cafeteria, or headed the few blocks home to eat there. It was nice to be able to go out for a change.
Kate thought it over and decided on Dairy Queen. Sergios was kind of expensive, and she wasn’t sure they’d be able to get in and out in the 45 minutes they were given. Besides, it’d been a long time since she’d eaten and Dairy Queen and she absolutely loved their megaMoo even though she hated the name.
“How about Dairy Queen?” Kate said.
“Sounds good to me,” Kevin replied and the two of them headed down the hill toward 8th street.
“So, when’s the next meeting about the Warriors?” Kate asked as they walked.
“Well, I wasn’t planning on talking about that unless you wanted to, but we usually meet on Saturday nights. The location’s chosen a couple of nights before to reduce the chances of us being found out,” Kevin answered.
“Are you meeting this Saturday night?” Kate asked, curious.
“You planning to join us?” Kevin asked. “After what you said at the park afterwards, I wasn’t sure you would want to,” he finished.
“You still haven’t provided the proof to me that these things are really going on, you know,” Kate said.
“Well, have no fear, Kate. I have it with me. I was going to give it to you after lunch today,” Kevin responded.
“I told you I’d keep an open mind as long as you could provide me some proof,” Kate said, “and I plan to keep my word.”
“Good deal. Any other questions?” Kevin asked.
“Yeah, how did you get wrapped up in something like this? You seem so normal, and all, it’s hard for me to imagine a guy like you getting involved,” Kate said.
“My family’s Catholic, you know. After the government began closing down any churches that spoke out against the things they were doing, we suddenly found ourselves without a church. Father Donovan said that we shouldn’t give up, though. He said that if we stuck together and got organized we could keep things going. A lot of people did give up. The people you saw the other night, that’s all that’s left of our church,” Kevin said.
“Why didn’t I hear anything about this stuff on the news?” Kate asked suspiciously.
“The media doesn’t talk about it because they’re in league with the government. They don’t talk about any of the stuff they don’t want people to know,” Kevin responded.
She found it hard to believe. This kind of stuff wasn’t supposed to happen in America. It was supposed to be the land of the free. What kind of freedom was it if you could be shut down just for speaking your mind?
“I haven’t seen any churches close down around my house,” Kate said, almost defensively. She really didn’t want to believe it was true.
Kevin shook his head, “No, not all the churches are closed down, Kate. Just the ones, like the Catholic Church, that refused to keep quiet about the things the government was doing. People stood with us for a little while, but when the stakes became real and it was their churches facing the government they turned their backs on the truth and did what they thought they needed to get along.”
“Why didn’t the Catholic Church do that? Why fight the government? You can’t seriously think you’re going to win?” Kate asked, not understanding.
“Kate, the Church is responsible for spreading the truth, even when that truth makes other people uncomfortable. Father Donovan says that it’s what you do when you are facing adversity that tells you what it is you really believe,” Kevin said.
“You’re really willing to lose everything for this? To put everything you have on the line?” Kate asked, amazed. She didn’t understand it but part of her her admired him for it.
“Yes, Kate. I’m willing to lose everything to defend what I believe is right,” Kevin said.
“Wow,” was all Kate could say to that. The two walked in silence for a bit as Kate thought it over. She wondered if she would be so willing to lose everything to defend the right things. Kate hoped that Kevin wasn’t disappointed in her.
“So, about this book you got me,” she said, changing the subject. “Where did you find it?”
The change in subjects broke the tone of seriousness as the two of them ordered their food. They chatted about the book as they ate, laughing at some of the funnier bits. Before they knew it, it was time to head back to school. Kevin took a thumbdrive out of his pocket and handed it to her as they got to the band hall.
“That’s the proof. I hope it helps,” Kevin said, smiling. He reached over and took her hand. His was so warm and so big that her tiny hand just seemed lost in it. “I have practice after school, but if you give me your number maybe I could call you later?”
Kate hastily wrote her number on a scrap of notebook paper and handed it to him. “I’d like that. I’d like it a lot,” she said as the bell rang.
Thank you for reading Chapter 6: The Proof. If you enjoyed this, you can continue on to read Chapter 7: Burying Bones from my Nanowrimo novella: The Chosen.
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