there's a gleam in your eye
 

Chapter 16: It's a Wondrous Sight To See

August 14, 1957

"Let's just walk to Lionel Trains; we can go down 5th Avenue." Di grabbed Barbara's arm. "And please don't tell me how spectacular the rooftop was." She shuddered faintly.

"But it was wonderful!" Barbara's eyes lit up as she spoke. "It seemed like you could see the whole world. Or all of New York, anyway."

"And New Jersey." Harvey looked at the others. "I'm okay with walking. It's probably only another twenty minutes or so."

"Walking it is," Regan agreed. "I prefer walking over the subway any day."

"Then how come we couldn't walk to the United Nations?" Trixie crossed her arms. "That was only a forty minute walk."

"And your knee was still hurting." Brian tousled Trixie's hair. "It's all better now, right?"

"Yep. Good as new!" Trixie skipped ahead down the sidewalk for a few steps.

Dan smiled as Jim grabbed her to stop her from skipping away.

"Wow, look at that beautiful church!" Bob stared in amazement at a huge cathedral. "I don't remember seeing that from the observation roof."

"That's Saint Patrick's Cathedral. You weren't up there very long," Honey commented. "Maybe you didn't go to this side?"

"That's true. We didn't get to go around to all four sides of the roof." Neil admired the architecture of the building as well.

Dan gazed at the church. The two tall turrets and the stained glass windows, especially the large round one between the two turrets, were quite stunning.

"Do you think we'd be allowed to go inside?" Barbara asked.

"I don't see why not." Mart waited for the traffic light to change, and the large group crossed the street and headed up the stairs of the cathedral.

Bob glanced at Neil, walking ahead of he and Dan, and then over at Harvey. "Are you guys allowed to go inside?"

Harvey looked at him, puzzled. "Oh, because we're Jewish?" He smiled. "We're Reform , so according to our Rabbi, sure, we can go inside. But only as long as we're just going in to admire the architecture. We can't pray or worship there, and should probably avoid any mass or service."

Dan glanced at Harvey, a little surprised. "So if you were Orthodox, you wouldn't be allowed to go in here?" He pointed at the front doors of the cathedral.

Harvey nodded. "I don't think so, but I could be wrong. It really depends on which Rabbi you follow. Some say yes, some say no." He looked up and down the street. "There's a pretty impressive synagogue not too far from here, if you're interested."

"Really? That would be neat to see. Would we be allowed inside there?" Bob seemed eager to learn about the synagogue.

"Of course. I've never even been inside it myself." Harvey looked up at Neil, who was in conversation with Brian. From the words that floated back to them, it had to do something with medicine. "I think Neil may have gone there once or twice though. Hey, Neil!"

"He and I both have." Dan glanced around the neighborhood. "But I don't remember exactly where it is from here."

Neil turned around and waited. "What?"

"How far is Central Synagogue from here? It's pretty close, right?" Harvey asked.

"About ten minutes, I guess. It's over on Lexington and then up a few blocks." Neil looked at his brother curiously, squinting his eyes. "Why? You don't have to go in the church, you know."

Harvey chuckled and looked up at the sky, shaking his head. "That's not it at all," he said, turning back to Neil. "It was Bob that asked about it. Well, after I mentioned that there was one nearby."

Neil grinned at the Iowan visitor. "Really? Sure, we can go there."

The boys entered the cathedral and Dan left them behind. He went over to the prayer candles and hesitantly lit two of them, silently praying for peace for his mom and his dad. Regan came up beside him and also lit two candles. Dan figured one was for his mom, but he wondered who the second one was for.

Dan saw Jim, Honey, and Di already seated in one of the pews, and he and his uncle joined them. He and Regan each made the sign of the cross as they walked in the path of the cross behind the pulpit. He looked around the church, admiring the tall columns throughout the cathedral and the way the strong lines in the design of the walls and the ceiling were complemented by the stained glass windows.

After a few minutes of gazing at his surroundings, he knelt and prayed earnestly. He prayed that Trixie and all of them would be safe, that they would somehow solve the mystery of that little idol, and that, at the end of it all, Tony would be in jail.

After the cathedral, they wandered leisurely over to the synagogue where they were equally impressed with the architecture. For everyone but Neil, Harvey, and Dan, it had been their first time in a synagogue. A large round stained glass window with a beautiful ten-pointed star design was situated above a massive organ. The diamond-patterned aisle through the center of the sanctuary was also beautiful, and sections of the ceiling above were painted a brilliant blue decorated with small stars.

From there, Di insisted on walking back to Fifth Avenue so she could show Barbara some of the famous department stores. Di had pointed out Saks Fifth Avenue to her earlier, right next to the cathedral, and wanted to return to it. But after one look at the price tags, all four girls high-tailed it out of that store. Even though Honey and Di could both afford those things, neither of them thought a scarf could ever be worth fifteen dollars, no matter how fine the silk was, and a pair of shoes costing more than twenty dollars was out of the question. After that experience, they were content to just gaze through the windows at the expensive wares in all the boutiques as they walked down the avenue.

As they passed the New York Public Library, Dan and Neil exchanged glances. There was a likelihood of running into some of his old gang there; it had happened once before. They stopped briefly, all the same. Ned wanted to see what the inside looked like, but Dan and his uncle waited outside with the stone lions, along with Neil and Harvey. "Neil's actually allergic to libraries," Harvey teased.

When the others came back out, Neil pointed out that they were only a few blocks from Grand Central Terminal, where they had seen the rocket on their first day of sight-seeing. They stopped for some lunch at a deli that offered kosher food for Harvey, and then continued on to Lionel Trains.

While the boys admired all the train sets, even the girls delighted in wearing the engineering caps and watching the trains travelling around the tracks. From there, they walked past the Empire State Building and over to Macy's. Barbara thought it was wonderful, being the setting of one of her favorite holiday shows. "I really do need to come back in December," she announced.

When they had finished looking around the huge department store, it was too early to head back to the Empire State Building, something they wanted to do at night. It was also late enough that they did not want to go back to the apartment either.

"We could go back to the library," Jim suggested. "It looked like there was a pretty decent park just on the other side, and we could relax there for a while."

Dan wasn't so sure "pretty decent" were the right words to describe that park; it was known for the drug dealers and other villains that hung out in that part of town. "I don't think that's such a good idea. Bryant Park is where … a lot of …." Dan slumped his shoulders. No reason to beat around the bush. "A lot of drug dealers do their business there. Including the Cowhands."

"Oh." Brian looked at him curiously.

Harvey glared at him. "Really? You could have warned Neil and me of that when we were here last time."

"What about Madison Square Park, then?" Honey asked, smoothly. "We can walk down Broadway, and it's only about ten or fifteen minutes from here."

Dan smiled at her, grateful that she had taken the attention away from his past.

Regan checked his watch. "It's only half past six o'clock now. We should probably head back to the Empire State around seven-thirty. We told Miss Trask we would meet her there by then."

Bob agreed amenably. "I don't mind hanging out at the park until then."

"Does anyone want to eat dinner first?" Ned asked.

"I'm still full from lunch," Trixie admitted.

"Is anyone hungry?" Regan asked the group.

Ned raised his hand, but he was the only one.

"What, Mart, not even you?" Ned looked disappointedly at the boy known for his appetite.

Mart shrugged one shoulder. "Sorry, chum. But remember, I did have two sandwiches at lunch."

"We can stop at an automat," Honey offered. "There should be a Horn and Hardart on the way."

The group walked down Broadway. They did stop at an automat, allowing Ned to get a sandwich to tide him over until later. Many of them also decided to get a slice of pie while they were there. Once they reached the park, they sat in a large circle on the grassy lawn.

Dan felt himself relax as the group just sat and chatted.

"Do you think we'll have any trouble with that scar-faced guy at the Empire State Building?" Barbara asked.

"I don't think so," Trixie replied. She reached into her purse and pulled out the two pieces of paper that held the prophecy's translation.

"Read it all from the beginning, again," Mart requested. "I think there was something about the rooftop in there."

Trixie nodded, and the entire group listened quietly as she read:

Hard-headed man, blinking eye,
a horse cries on a shaded street.

Listen to the foreign words;
be careful! Lurks close an enormous danger.

When guitars play, thieves remain,
but they are not found.

Strangers approaching, past secrets are revealed,
but are the secrets that are no longer needed.

Thieves and murderers are everywhere:
in home, on the island, in the place of dead beasts,
on the rooftops, on the stairs.

Do not be fooled by the fun of the day.
It never stops, the work of a villain.

Glowing pistol, a lonely journey.
Silly girl, what have you done?
Don't be afraid.

Hard-headed man lying mouth down,
a rock flashes brilliantly behind the eye.

But when you think the adventure has ended,
the mystery has truly started.

A mobile rack, steel rails;
a room hidden behind the books;
musical riddles are still unclear …

For some time.

"We already decided what the first two verses refer to." Trixie looked at the paper.

"And the two verses after that?" Jim peered over Trixie's shoulder. "The part about the guitars playing and the thieves 'not found'?"

Di bit her lower lip. "Dan and I both thought we sensed someone there, but can't be sure."

"And we won't dwell on the whole secrets revealed verse." Brian glanced at Dan.

"Go back to that 'thieves and murderers' verse," Bob requested. "We know now that 'in home' was likely when one of those scoundrels posed as Trixie's uncle."

Honey nodded. "And the island probably meant when we ran into him after the statue of Liberty, and the place of the dead beasts was the museum."

"Right." Neil nodded. "And on the rooftops had to mean what happened at Rockefeller Center. And the stairs could be part of that, too, since he had been hanging around the stairs and then ran down them when Jim scared him away."

Di smiled hopefully. "It sounds like you guys already ran into the villain at Rockefeller Center, and nothing seems to point to the Empire State Building. I'm feeling better already."

Dan was, too. He lay back on the grass, putting his hands behind his head like a pillow. Above, clouds were gathering together, threatening a thunder storm, but the threat was far off. He let his mind drift off to pleasant thoughts … holding Honey's hand, kissing her lips. Right at that moment, he almost felt like a normal fifteen-year-old boy.

 

"It's beautiful up here, isn't it?" Honey sighed happily. She was looking out at the city from the observatory on the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building.

Dan reached for her hand. "Yes, it certainly is. But I like the lower floor better."

"You're not scared of heights, too, are you?" She looked at him sympathetically.

"Oh, no, it's not that at all. It's just that I like the open air better." Dan looked around the room where most of the others were pressed as close to the windows as they could manage. Regan was still on the ground floor, having refused to go up. Di and Trixie should be on the 86th floor; somehow she had convinced Di to go in the elevator. Even though it was higher than the Rockefeller Center rooftop, it was also mostly enclosed and that might have been what persuaded Di to come along.

"I'm really glad you could spend this week with us." Honey turned to him with a smile. "I mean, you and Neil and Harvey, too, of course."

"Mm-hmm." Dan winked at the beautiful girl. "I was kind of hoping Neil and Harvey would have to work at the store or something."

Honey giggled. "What else were you hoping?"

Dan grinned impishly. "Let's see; maybe that your three friends from Iowa wouldn't make it, Di would have to go do something with her family, and the Beldens would be off somewhere with their uncle again." He ticked each of his so-called wishes off on his fingers.

"So, just you and me, with my big brother and two chaperones?" Honey laughed loudly.

"Oh, no, Jim and Regan would have something horse-related to be doing this week, and Miss Trask would be busy with her sister." He smiled at her. "Would that work?"

"Never." Honey shook her head, her hazel eyes twinkling. "All that would have happened then is that I would be stuck in Sleepyside, alone, and you would be stuck working at the Diamond's store, right?"

Dan nodded, still grinning. It was nice just talking and joking around with her. He hadn't felt this relaxed in a long time. "Probably. I don't think Pops would have let me come here if it was just you, even with Miss Trask around."

Honey giggled. "I think you're what they would call a 'bad boy' at my old school." She suddenly sobered. "I mean, it's not like you really are though. Not anymore."

Dan thought it was sweet how she got flustered. He knew she didn't mean to refer to his days in the gang. He winked at her. "Don't be so sure." He placed his hand under her chin, tilted her head up to his, and then quickly turned his head to kiss her on the cheek. "Maybe you're right," he teased. "I'm not much of a bad boy anymore."

"I can't believe you just did that." Honey laughed, still blushing.

Dan laughed with her. "I'd kiss you properly, Miss Wheeler, but I'm not sure where everyone is, and I'm not sure who I'm afraid of most."

"You mean between Jim and Miss Trask?" Honey put her finger on the side of her lip in a thinking pose.

"Actually, I meant between Jim and Brian." Dan winked at her, glad she wasn't upset with him for the small kiss. "I kind of forgot about Miss Trask."

"Brian? Why would he care whether you kiss me or not?" Honey's cheeks flushed an even darker red. "He just thinks of me as another sister."

"Exactly. And he's got years more experience at being an older brother than Jim does." Dan remembered his first visit to Sleepyside. "He's already threatened to injure me if I ever hurt you."

Honey shook her head. "Well, he's not my brother, but that was—" she paused, apparently searching for the right word, "—kind of sweet of him. I guess I'm not used to having a brother at all, let alone two."

"I think you have three. Or four, if you count Bobby." Dan grinned some more. He couldn't seem to stop smiling.

Honey laughed. "Trixie may complain about that little imp, but I adore him. I'll happily consider him a fourth brother. Mart, on the other hand …." She winked. Dan knew she liked Mart as much as any of the other Belden boys.

"Yeah, I'm still getting used to having brothers myself. It can be good, really good, and it can be … annoying." He leaned over and whispered to her. "Just, please, don't ever think of me as a brother."

Honey blushed suddenly, making him wonder what she was thinking. He knew his own thoughts were probably making him blush, too. He quickly reminded himself that they were surrounded by lots of other people who would very likely smack him if he did anything even remotely inappropriate, but would kissing her here, on the lips, really be inappropriate? He shook his head. "Can we go back down to the 86th floor?" He definitely needed some fresh, cool air.

She smiled. "I think so. Why?"

He was about to answer, but some of the boys from their group were walking toward them.

"No fair. You get a girl, and ours are downstairs." Mart winked at his friend.

"At least he has a girl here. Mine is back in Sleepyside, and she won't even go out with me." Brian frowned.

"So she's not really your girl, then." Harvey smirked. "You've got to work on changing that."

Brian sighed heavily. "I'm trying, Harv. I'm trying."

"Are you my girl?" Dan whispered to Honey.

Honey only blushed in response. "Oh, look, there's Barbara. Barbara!" She called out to the other girl and began walking away toward her, letting go of Dan's hand in the process.

Dan sighed and watched her cross the room.

Jim shook his head. "I don't know whether to hit you or just accept it. I'm not used to this brothering stuff."

Mart reached over and patted Jim on the back a couple of times. "There, there. You'll get used to it. For now, just accept it. When you need to hit him, you'll know."

Jim let out a small laugh. "How?"

Brian's face turned serious and he looked over at Honey, her head close to Barbara's as they spoke. She was smiling, and a small dimple decorated her cheek. "When she's crying instead of happy, that's when you punch him." He winked at Dan. "But not until after I do."

Harvey shook his head. "Remind me to only go out with girls that don't have older brothers."

Dan turned to look at him. "Don't worry, Harvey. If you end up with a girl who doesn't have older brothers, Neil and I will step in to keep you in line."

"Great." Harvey pretended to pout.

"By the way, Jim, I saw you holding hands with Trixie again earlier." Dan grinned at the red-head. "Have you kissed her yet?"

Jim's cheeks flushed as Brian and Mart both turned to face him.

"Have you?" Brian asked, his brown eyes narrowing.

"Do you want to be punched?" Jim asked Dan, before turning to answer Brian. He raised his hands up, palms out, as if to defend himself. "No. No kissing."

Mart shook his head, apparently disappointed. "If you don't kiss her soon, she's going to give up on you, and who knows? She might end up going out with Tad or something."

Dan laughed as Brian's jaw dropped open. "Oh, no, no, no." Brian shook his head. "We cannot have Trixie going out with that skirt chaser."

Jim's face turned as red as his hair, but he managed to respond. "Are you saying you want me to kiss your sister? Because, I could do that."

Brian shook his head. "Betrayed by my own brother. I thought you were supposed to be protecting Trixie along with me?"

"And what better way to protect her than have her going steady with Mr. Honorable himself?" Mart's blue eyes twinkled mischievously.

Dan and Harvey were both laughing now, causing other people to turn around and see what was so funny.

"Speaking of girls, though, the whole point of us interrupting you two was to ask if you were ready to head back downstairs and meet up with Trixie and Di." Mart turned toward the elevator that had just opened, admitting a new group of tourists to the floor.

Dan smirked. "I was actually just asking Honey the same thing when you bozos interrupted us, but all the way downstairs or just back to the lower observation deck?"

"I guess that would be up to Miss Trask." Brian looked over at the woman who was standing by the window admiring the city lights.

Jim shook his head. "She'll leave it up to us, you know. I say stay on the 86th a bit longer. Apparently I need to go kiss Trixie, and what more romantic setting could there be?—Ow!"

The "ow" had been because Brian had bonked him on the top of his head. "You make it sound like a chore. I don't think my sister would appreciate that."

Mart grinned widely. "It is romantic, isn't it? Or do we all just think that because of the movie we saw last month at the Cameo?"

"What movie?" Harvey asked.

Brian rolled his eyes. "It was An Affair to Remember. The girls were all swooning over Cary Grant."

"I'll go get Miss Trask," Mart said, whistling as he walked over to her.

"And I'll get Neil and the other two." Harvey pointed with his thumb at the other three boys.

Dan wandered over to Honey and Barbara. "We're going back down to eighty-six," he said softly. "If you're ready to go, that is."

"Sure." Barbara linked arms with Honey, but Honey linked her other arm through Dan's.

"Shouldn't the gentleman be in the middle?" Dan winked at Barbara and offered his other arm to her.

Barbara giggled and switched to Dan's side. They waited for the others and then descended to the 86th floor.


chapter 17: why can't we run