Kate Wetherall was bored. She hated feeling bored, of all of the feelings in the world, boredom was one of the worst. Definitely in the top 3. She lay on her back with her feet propped up on the wall. The torrential rain and thunder was keeping her prisoner inside, keeping her from everything fun. If the adults weren’t home, she would just go outside and take the risk, but apparently, it was “too dangerous”, and having ‘get struck by lightning’ on your bucket list wasn’t a good enough reason to go outside in a storm.
The rest of her friends were happily curled up under blankets in their respective bedrooms doing their usual “rainy day” activities. Reynie was reading some large, dusty book that bored her from the title alone, Constance was either doing the same or, more likely, trying to levitate things with her mind (a hobby she denied), and Sticky was writing some essay length letter to a book publisher about the historical inaccuracies in some book or rewriting the dictionary or something equally as boring.
She had a book, it was currently sitting on her bedside table, but she couldn’t get through more than 17 pages without getting antsy. She’d already seen how many push-ups she could do (she lost count after 173), how long she could hold a headstand (4 minutes and 6 seconds without being against the wall), and done pull-ups until her arms felt like jelly (she lost count after 134), played about 50 games of solitaire (won 18 of them), cleaned her entire room, and she was running out of activities that could be done inside without causing a disturbance to the meetings going on downstairs. She was about a minute and a half away from running wind sprints in the hallway, disturbance or not, when she heard a knock at her door.
It was Reynie, hair messy and shirt wrinkled. He smiled awkwardly. He was still holding a tattered book. She turned to walk into the room, a silent invitation for him to follow. “If you’re trying to get me to read,” she glanced at the title, “Late Romantic French and English Poetry, dear god Reynie that’s reading for FUN?, I have some bad news for you.”
“Oh, you thought this was for you.” He teased, smiling down at her. He was now taller than she was which was infuriating, and completely unfair. “Cute.”
“I am cute, don’t lie to me.” Kate said with a coy glance over her shoulder. Reynie laughed, setting the book down on the dresser. Thunder rattled outside, almost directly overhead, but not quite strong enough to cause anything other than a feeling deep in your gut.
“How are you enjoying your quiet rainy Thursday? I know rainy days are your favorite.”
Kate huffed “I don’t know why we have to stay upstairs, just because there are interviews and press conferences being done downstairs. I wouldn’t be a disturbance, Number 2 doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
“Last time they did this, you ran into a reporter for the New York Times at full speed while trying to see if you could make it from your room to the kitchen in under 20 seconds.” He laughs, taking a seat on her bed while Kate remained pacing. If that reporter hadn’t gotten in the way she totally would’ve made it too.
“On accident, Reynie, not on purpose.” Reynie laughs, running a hand through his already messy hair. “I wouldn’t do that on purpose, not to the New York Times, a gossip magazine maybe, but not to a legitimate news source. I’m not malicious.” Reynie laughs again, sticking out his hand to her. She takes it, and Reynie pulls her close to him. She lays down with her head in his lap.
“I don’t know, I know some executives that might say otherwise.” He said with the most annoying grin on his face.
“Who gave you permission to give me such sass?” Kate responded.
“Someone needs to keep your ego in check or we’ll be writing another apology letter to the mayor’s office, and Constance isn’t here so the duty falls to me.”
“It wasn’t even that much of a public disturbance, they exaggerated.”
“You threw a massive one-woman show in a public park without permission from the mayor’s office.”
“And it was going swimmingly until that city council member noticed, the public seemed to enjoy it. Who else can juggle while on a tightrope and also performs for free? WITH a FALCON I will remind you, Reynie. They cut me off before I could even light anything on fire, which is just rude.”
“Tragic, absolutely tragic.” Reynie rolled his eyes. More thunder, closer this time, rattled outside, as lightning briefly lit up the walls of the small room.
Kate sat up and stared at Reynie defiantly. “Reynard Muldoon-Parumal you come into my house and sass me like this? I’m hurt.” Reynie open his mouth to say something, but all that came out was laughter. Kate continued her over-dramatic act, with her hand pressed over her heart. “I’m physically hurt, here I am thinking you had my wellbeing at heart but, I must be mistaken…” Now she’s laughing too, and Reynie takes this opportunity to poke her in her sides, which caused her to squirm. “An outrage.” She tries desperately to try and regain her composure, but Reynie keeps poking her which causes her to squirm more. “Unfair! An absolute outrage! I’m appalled! Insulted!” Kate fell to the floor, defeated and sprawled out fighting for breath.
“Consider it a coup.” Reynie says as he pretends to go back to his book, he kept sneaking glances on her on the floor, expecting her to pop up. She just stayed on the floor. “Are you okay.”
“I’ve been kicked out. There was a coup. I am disgraced. I can’t believe you of all people would do this to me Reynie. I was a good ruler, but this is where I belong now.”
Reynie looked down at her, “Is this what happens when you’re trapped inside for too long because I’m about to sneak you out of this house myself.”
“Really?” Kate’s face lit up. “Because I have three escape ideas but I’d need another person to-”
“No, not really.” Kate stuck out her tongue. “Knowing you you’d get struck by lightning and don’t tell me that that’s the point because having ‘get struck by lightning’ on your bucket list is a terrible idea.” Kate just made an ‘L’ on her forehead. “Very mature, I see Constance has been teaching you.”
“You’re just jealous that I thought of it first, so you were stuck with all the boring bucket list items. I was going to let you do it with me but I don’t want to share anymore.” She looked up at him, his hair was a mess and his summer freckles were just beginning to fade. If she had to be overthrown by anyone at least he was cute. “You should join me on the floor.”
“Life is better on the floor, it's very supportive.” Reynie lay next to her on the floor. “The floor is the place for deep thoughts, got any deep thoughts?”
“I refuse to believe that, you are the captain of the deep thoughts ship. The general of the entire fleet.”
“You put me on the spot nothing is coming to mind, it’s a lot of pressure being the general.”
“Oh, really that interesting because-” She poked him in the side, he flinched. She kept poking him. “This is a coup on your coup.” He laughed, rolling around on the floor as she continued to tickle him.
“Okay, okay I concede, you win, you win!” Reynie laughed, just able to catch his breath between words. Kate leaned down over him, smiling down at the laughing boy.
“Rightly so too.” Just then a massive lightning strike lit up the sky as thunder shook the entire house.
“In that case, long live the queen.” She was still perched over him, and her hair was tickling his face. She smiled a softer smile that lit up her entire face and caused her bright eyes to crinkle up. He pretended to tip his cap. “Your grace.” At this point the lights flickered and turned off, finally giving into the storm. The two stayed quiet for a while, revealing in the feeling of being the only two people left on Earth that comes with being alone with someone in the darkness.
“Reynie?” Kate’s voice sounded louder in the darkness when it eventually broke the silence.
“I think I have a deep thought.”
“Well, we are on the floor.” This comment earned him a swift poke in the ribs. “Message received, what is your deep thought?”
“There’s not a word for this, but there should be because I think this feeling is the most human I have ever felt.” She said, as more lightning lit up the window, the storm was directly on top of them now.
“When the electricity outside, matches the electricity inside.”
Kate smiled “You’re telling me that when I do this,” she moved her face so close to Reynie’s that the tips of their noses just touched, “there’s no electricity.” Kate could feel it, she swore she could feel her hair stand on end. Instead of a witty response, Reynie moved his face up just enough so their lips just briefly touched. Electricity coursed through her veins, and spread out of her fingers and toes and spread through her entire nervous system.
“Of course there’s electricity.” Reynie whispered. Kate laughed, a light laugh that filled every dark corner of the room with light.
“Well, I guess it’s about damn time then.” Kate said. Reynie’s laugh was cut short by another light kiss. This one lasted longer, as Kate tangled her fingers in Reynie’s hair, only messing it up more, and she opened her mouth, deepening the kiss. She could feel Reynie smile against her lips.
“I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for that, I feel like...I’ve been struck by lightning…do you feel it?”
“Yes, but firstly, god Reynie you’re such a sap go write some poetry or something,” this remark was punctuated by a light kiss on the cheek as an apology, but she still got pushed off of him, laughing as she toppled to the floor, “and secondly, this does not count as getting struck by lightning, you’re amazing but I don’t know if I’d call you a force of nature quite yet.”
“You’ll just have to kiss me to shut me up then.” You could hear her smirk.
“Maybe I will.”