there's a gleam in your eye
 

Chapter 19: When Questions Asked Are Unreplied

August 15, 1957

"Getting out of Manhattan would be good." Regan agreed with the suggestion Harvey had made. "There is more to New York than just this island, after all."

"And if it means leaving those crooks behind, all the better!" Di was definitely in agreement with them, as well.

The twelve teenagers and their two chaperones were standing outside their apartment building trying to decide on their plans for the day. Dan didn't think that was such a great idea. Tony and Blinky would be hanging around somewhere, he was sure of it.

"Great." Neil looked around at the group. "Should we cut through Central Park?"

Dan shuddered involuntarily. "No."

"No." Regan's voice had echoed his own, but Regan's had been louder. "Absolutely not," his uncle added. He had been filled in about what had happened there the previous night.

Neil shrugged one shoulder. "Around it is."

"Let's get going. Which way do we head?" Miss Trask was joining them.

"This way." Neil led the group down the sidewalk toward Columbus Circle. "There's this park near our old neighborhood; Prospect Park. It has a zoo and a botanical garden."

Mart put his thumb in the air, indicating his approval of the plan as well. "We went to the zoo in Central Park already, but I don't mind going to another."

"And not all of us got to go to the Central Park Zoo." Trixie pointed to her knee as she walked.

"That's right," Barbara said loyally. "Quite a few of you missed out on it."

"And don't they have a laboratory at the botanic garden where they study herbs and such? I'd be keen to check that out," Brian added.

Harvey nodded. "I think they do. There's a lot to check out in Prospect Park. It may not be quite as big as Central Park, but it's still nice."

"I know that park pretty well. I actually lived there for a couple of months last year. The lake's not the best for bathing, but there's a boathouse—" Dan stopped short, suddenly embarrassed.

For a moment the only sound was their footsteps on the sidewalk, a cacophony of the thumps of rubber soles and clicking heels against the concrete.

"Prospect Park is in Brooklyn, right?" Honey asked, breaking the silence.

"Yes! Brooklyn!" Bob almost shouted.

"What's the deal with you and Brooklyn?" Barbara shook her head at her twin.

"The Dodgers! Jackie Robinson! Duke Snider!!" Bob stopped walking. He swung an invisible bat through the air, then put his hand over his eyes as he imagined following the ball as it flew out of the unseen ballpark.

Jim chuckled at the boy's antics. "You do know Jackie Robinson doesn't play for the Dodgers anymore, right?"

"He retired last year. I think because of his diabetes," Brian added.

Harvey had also laughed at Bob's pantomime. "Ebbets Field is just a few blocks from Prospect Park. I don't think the Dodgers are playing there this year, though."

"Do you really think the owner will move the Dodgers to Los Angeles?" Mart asked. His hands were stuffed in his pockets, and Dan noticed his eyes were darting back and forth as they made their way down the sidewalk.

"I don't know. I doubt it, though," Jim said. "I just can't see O'Malley going through with that. Can you imagine how upset the fans will be if he moves the team across country?"

"I think he might, though," Brian remarked. "They can't really stay at Ebbets; it's too small. And the chances of him agreeing to a deal in Queens seems pretty slim from what I've read."

Dan walked closer to Mart, nudging him with his elbow. Mart was about to say something, but Dan put his finger to his lips. "Do you see anyone?" he whispered, making his voice as low as possible.

Mart shook his head. "No, not yet. But I have this feeling we're being watched all the same."

Dan nodded. "We really shouldn't be talking about our plans so loudly." If Tony and his pals were following them and eavesdropping, they might have already heard about them going to Prospect Park. He started paying attention to the conversation again, relieved they were just talking about baseball in general and not about any specific places they were heading.

"My favorite team is the Milwaukee Braves," Ned announced. "Have you seen their pitcher, Warren Spahn?"

"How come you guys don't root for Iowa teams?" Di asked, confused by the boys' interest in other cities.

Ned let out a low laugh. "Iowa has no baseball teams. Not Major League anyway. We have no home team to root for."

Dan listened quietly to the baseball talk as the group headed to the subway station on 57th Street. It would probably take them a little longer than a half an hour to get to the park.

 

Dan felt relaxed. He hadn't seen any sign of anyone following them and was starting to think he and Mart had just been imagining things.

The rhythm of the train was like chicken soup to his soul; the sounds and the movement had a calming and comforting effect. Next to him, Honey was also relaxed. He had his arm stretched out across the top of the seat, almost as if it were around her shoulders. He didn't dare lower it to do just that because Miss Trask and Regan were sitting directly across from them.

"Did you really live in Prospect Park?" Honey's hazel eyes looked gray in the dim light of the train car. "Like actually live there?"

"Mm-hmm." Dan wasn't sure why he had let that slip out, but everyone in their group already knew he had lived on the streets, so he hadn't worried too much about revealing how he knew Prospect Park.

"What did you do at night?" Honey looked at him curiously, and then she blushed. "I'm sorry. I probably shouldn't be asking you all these questions."

"Ask me anything." Dan hoped he meant that. He wasn't sure if he could answer everything she might ask. "I had a blanket, and an old sweatshirt for a pillow." Dan thought back on his lonely existence the previous summer. "Most nights were warm enough that I usually just slept on top of the blanket, outside, under the trees. But when it rained or there were thunderstorms, I would break into the boathouse and stay dry there."

"Oh." Honey leaned back against the seat and looked out the window.

He was seriously tempted to run his fingers through the ends of her hair. "Can I ask you a question?"

She looked up at him and gave him a faintly-dimpled smile. "I guess that would only be fair."

Dan thought for a moment. There were so many things he wanted to ask her that he suddenly wasn't sure what to ask. He wanted to know what, or rather who, had been so awful at Saint Elizabeth's, but every time he brought it up, she would change the subject. He looked at the seat across from him where Miss Trask was sitting and had a different idea. "Did you have any friends at Saint Elizabeth's?"

Honey turned around to face him again, startled by the question, and then looked back out the window. "No, I told you last night; hardly anyone liked me."

Hardly anyone meant there was someone. He put his head down closer to her ear. "There wasn't anyone who was nice to you?"

She frowned. "There was this one girl at the beginning. Betty. She wasn't really my friend; she was about three years older than me. She was nice to me, I guess. And it's not like everyone was mean to me. But most of the other girls just minded their own business."

"How was Betty nice to you, then?" Dan started to feel some sympathy for Neil. His older brother always complained it was near impossible to get any real information out of him.

"You've asked two questions already. It's my turn now." Honey gazed out the window for a second before looking at him. "Where did you live before you went to Prospect Park?"

Dan shifted in his seat, causing Honey to sink into him a little bit. That result had been unintended but he found it a pleasant change.

Across from them, Regan coughed loudly to get their attention. He glared at them sternly, green eyes blazing. He put his hands together and then pulled them apart, indicating that they shouldn't be sitting so close. Honey blushed, but obediently scooted to the side and smoothed out her skirt. She left two inches of empty seat between them. Dan reluctantly took his arm off the back of the plastic chairs.

"She's only fourteen," his uncle mouthed at him, not making a sound.

Dan frowned with one side of his mouth.

Miss Trask smiled at them, her blue eyes twinkling. As a former school teacher, she had probably seen young teenagers do more than just sit next to each other. All the same, she didn't say anything to counter Regan's decision to move them apart.

"Before I went to Prospect Park, I was living in the warehouse with the gang, the Cowhands. Those were some of the worst months." Dan reflected back on those days.

"In Manhattan?" Honey scrunched up her face in that adorable way she had. "So we could have been living in Manhattan at the same time?"

"Yeah, I'm sure we were." He smiled at the thought.

Honey leaned the other way, against the window, so she could face him better. "So, where exactly was this warehouse?"

Dan shook a finger in her face, playfully. "Uh-uh. My turn again."

"Very well." She let out an exaggerated sigh. "Go ahead."

He was going to ask about Betty some more, but something made him change his mind. "What were you the most scared of when you were at Saint Elizabeth's?"

"Everything." Honey snorted.

"That's no answer." Dan wasn't letting her get away with that. "You mentioned bees, spiders, and snakes. And not being liked."

She turned away to stare out the window, making her voice harder to hear. "Suffocating. I was most afraid of suffocating."

He puzzled over the answer. He was about to ask her to explain, when the train jolted hard and unexpectedly. Honey slid back on the seat toward him. He caught her to steady her, and she smiled gratefully. All Dan could think was how beautiful she was and how he wanted to kiss her.

He must have started leaning in to do just that when his uncle stood up, grabbed him, and sat him back down in his uncle's now-vacant seat, across from her. Regan glared at him intensely. "Watch yourself."

Honey looked rather flustered, but tried her best to act as if nothing unusual had happened. "My turn?" she asked.

Dan faced her again, as his uncle took his former seat next to her. He wished she'd gone into more detail when answering his question, but she had answered it and he didn't want to push her. "Okay. Shoot."

She glanced at Regan and then winked at Dan. "Was your mom as hot-tempered as Regan is?"

He thought Miss Trask had laughed, but when he glanced over at her, she had her lips pressed shut, though her eyes were definitely twinkling in amusement.

Dan snorted. "Yes, definitely."

He was about to ask his next question when Jim walked up the aisle and stood next to Regan. He had a small half-grin on his face. Regan looked over at him. "Why do I have a feeling you have something bad to tell me?"

"Not bad." Jim was holding a newspaper and he looked down at it. "It's just that we found this newspaper here and we checked out the sports section." He passed the folded paper to Regan, pointing to a section of the page that listed the day's events. "You know how Bob was all excited about the Brooklyn Dodgers?"

"Mm-hmm," Regan mumbled.

Jim smiled widely. "Well, they aren't playing today, but the Yankees are playing this afternoon, a home game."

Miss Trask smiled back at him. "And you boys would like to go to the baseball game, I take it?"

Jim nodded. "Not just the two of us, but Ned and Barbara and the Beldens and Harvey. All of us thought it would be neat."

"I'm game," Honey stated, and then giggled. "I'm game for a game!"

"Sounds like you guys have already decided, and since the majority of you want to go, I'm okay with it." Regan shrugged.

Dan looked over at Jim. Yankee stadium was in the opposite direction of where they were heading. They had just left Canal Street and they were on the express line; the next stop wouldn't be for another eight or nine minutes. On the other hand, changing direction and going somewhere unexpected would help thwart Tony and Blinky if they did happen to know of their current plans. "What time is the game?"

Jim's expression became somewhat sheepish. "That's the thing. The game starts at one. And it's already just past ten now."

"So, we have time to get there." Miss Trask looked confused. "What's the trouble?"

Dan snorted. "The trouble is that Yankee Stadium is in the Bronx. It will take a little over an hour to get back that way."

"That's what I was afraid of." Jim grinned lopsidedly at the two chaperones. "And if the first pitch is at one, we should probably get there around twelve thirty so we can get seats and buy some popcorn and peanuts and hot dogs. Please, can we go?"

"If everyone else is okay with it, I don't see why not." Miss Trask was being sensible as usual. "We won't have time to go to the zoo at Prospect Park, though. And we may not even be able to see much of the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens."

"Which Brian and Neil both really want to see, especially if the research laboratory is open to the public." Jim grinned widely.

Honey giggled again. "Those pre-pre-med boys and their research ...."

"And?" Regan prompted, knowing that Jim wasn't quite finished.

"And Bob really wants to see Ebbets Field." Jim glanced back at the other teens. "Since we don't have much time before we'll have to turn around and head to Yankee Stadium, we were wondering if we could split up into two groups? Please?" Jim gave his most charming smile to the two chaperones.

"You're lucky both of us could come along today or that would be out of the question, especially with everything that's been going on." Regan looked over at Miss Trask.

Miss Trask nodded. "I guess it would be okay. I can go to the Botanic Gardens, unless you had your heart set on that, Regan?" Her blue eyes twinkled mischievously.

Regan snorted. "No, that's fine by me. I'll take the Ebbets Field group."

"Thanks! You guys are the greatest!" Jim turned around and hollered back to the others. "They said it's okay!"

Dan looked at Honey and quietly asked, "So, which group do you want to go with?"

"The gardens," Honey answered. "But you don't have to come with me if you'd rather go to the ball park."

Dan wasn't sure if that meant that she didn't want him to come ... or if it just meant that she wouldn't mind if he didn't join her.

"Oh, and that makes it my turn again to ask you a question." Honey raised her eyebrows playfully and grinned.

"No fair! That wasn't a question question." Dan shook his head but grinned back at her all the same.


chapter 20: say that I'm a fool