The following week, Mark was doing much better in school. He was doing homework at home, handing his assignments in on time, and paying attention to the teacher. Everything seemed like it was going to be okay, the weekend was coming, and he and Celeste would be back to working together in no time.
But during recess one day, one of the girls in class came over to play with Mark.
“My name’s Zoe,” she said, waving to him.
“I know,” Mark replied. Because, see, Mark had had a crush on Zoe for a while, but had never had the courage to talk to her. But now she was the one talking to him and it was like a dream come true. “My name’s, umm…they call…I, uh….I’m Mark.”
Zoe laughed. “Are you always this good with words?”
And thus began a classic case of puppy dog love. They spent the rest of recess playing catch then Mark walked her home after school. And for the rest of the week, they repeated the same pattern: sitting together at lunch, playing games at recess, and walking each other home. Mark couldn’t stop thinking about Zoe. She was the first thing he thought of when he woke up and the last thing he thought of when he went to bed. She was the coolest, funniest, and prettiest girl he’d ever known. That’s not saying much for a fifth grade boy, but the point is that he was starstruck.
And when the weekend came, Celeste was excited to tell Mark all about what her and the other ideas had been working on while he’d been gone.
“You’ve gotta see this!” she cried, flying into his room. “You’ll never guess where this is going. We’ve got stuff that’s gonna keep you up all day today. C’mon, we’re waiting for you in the other room.”
Mark yawned and stretched in his bed. Then he looked at the clock, the calendar, then at Celeste, floating and grinning from ear to ear.
“I can’t work this weekend, Celeste,” he told her.
Celeste looked at him in confusion. “Why?”
“Zoe and I are going to see a movie today.”
“Who’s Zoe?” Celeste asked.
Mark lay back in his bed and smiled. “The prettiest girl at school.” “But we’re supposed to work today. We always work on the weekends. That was the deal.”
“I know,” Mark replied, climbing out of bed. “And we will. When I get back from the movie. I promise.”
But when Mark came back that night after hanging out with Zoe, his head was in another place. He walked into his room with a dreamy look in his eyes and flopped onto his bed with a happy sigh.
“You’re back!” Celeste cried, hovering over him. “Ready to work?”
But Mark didn’t hear a word she said.
“She’s the most amazing girl I’ve ever met,” he whispered to himself.
The other ideas floated into the room to see what was taking Celeste so long and they pulled on her arm as she watched Mark.
“When are we gonna show him what we’ve got?” they asked.
She looked down at Mark, frowned, then said, “I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”