A/N. Before you all start screaming and demanding another chapter of 'Little Hollow' (JK. Although I'd be flattered), I was given permission by XeroPrime to write this one-shot. Besides, it's been in my head for a few days now and I'll be able to concentrate on LH better. Anyway, it's obviously a one-shot of the story James tells in chapter 19 of 'Little Hollow'. I hope you enjoy it!
When the word 'Minnesota' is brought up in a conversation, a lot of people think of two things: Cold and hockey. Minnesota is known for it's extreme winters. From October to April, temperatures seem to be stuck below the seventy degree mark. And fifty inches of snow annually is a lot of snow. As for hockey, everyone learns to skate as soon as they can walk.
But there's more to Minnesota than cold and hockey. The springs and summers are gorgeous. Their only drawback is the rain, because just because it's not cold, doesn't mean that there is an unusually amount of moisture in the air. The fickle Minnesota weather also frequently throws tornadoes and nasty thunderstorms into the mix too. So at first glance, it's understandable that people often assume that Minnesota always has lousy weather. But that's a bit of a stretch. Because the beautiful days in Minnesota are well worth the wait.
July is the hottest month in the state. Temperatures hover around an average of eighty-three degrees Fahrenheit. For people from non-northern states, this is tame weather for the middle of the summer and it can be a relief from the sweltering nineties and one hundreds.
But today, July second, was different. Locals in Atwater, Minnesota for example were shocked when their thermometers rose to an unbelievable one hundred degrees. Not even Mr. Rivers, the owner of the small grocery store in the center of town, could not remember ever reaching triple digits before. And he had lived in the small town for all of his ninety seven years.
So that was why fourteen-year-old Logan Mitchell was laying flat out on his wood floor with the unused AC blasting and his ceiling fan on high. He stared up at the whirring blades and wondered why anyone would put a fan in their house while living in Minnesota. But whatever the reason, which he was convinced was strange, Logan was grateful for the previous owner's consideration.
It was cool in his bedroom and it was only 7:30 on a lazy Saturday morning. Logan had woken up sweating like crazy an hour ago and hadn't been able to go back to sleep. He finally pulled out all the stops. Since heat rose, he lay on his floor. He had removed the rug from the middle of the floor because the wood would definitely be cooler. As for the AC and the fan well, it was obvious. He wore boxer shorts and a light-weight T-shirt and had even soaked a rag with cold water to put on his forehead.
Logan yawned, tired after the early start to his day. He gave his math textbook a glance but shoved it aside after a few minutes. Even square roots didn't seem exciting to him today. He wanted to sleep for the rest of the day and not wake up until the weather was back to normal.
A sharp knock on his bedroom window jolted Logan awake just as he had started to drift back to sleep. Groaning, he stumbled to his feet and across the floor to the offending sound. Peering through heavily lidded eyes, Logan was surprised to see one of his best friends, James Diamond perched on the large tree limb set conveniently right outside of Logan's room in his second story home.
"James?" He asked in disbelief. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. He hadn't known who or what to expect when he looked out his window but it certainly hadn't been any of his friends. James was still there so he shoved open his window. A blast of heat hit him and Logan practically dragged James into his room.
"I have a door you know." He informed James as he quickly shut his window.
"I know." James responded with a grin. "But you also have a tree and trees are pretty fun to climb."
Logan shook his head and rolled his eyes. "You've been hanging around Carlos too much." He said, referring to another quarter of their group. The final quarter was Kendall Knight, the oldest of the group. Next was James, then Logan himself, and finally Carlos Garcia was the "baby" of the four friends.
"If I've been hanging around Carlos too much, then so have you." James was quick to point out. The four boys were nearly all together at one time. It was rare that it was just two or even three of them with one another. The only times that happened was if someone was sick, grounded, or out of town.
"What are you doing out so early?" Logan asked, changing the subject.
"Let's go fishing!" James burst out with an infectious grin.
"Fishing?" Logan repeated. "You're kidding, right? How, where, and most importantly, why in this heat?"
"Because we can go swimming later." James answered as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "Besides, you're just laying around studying math. It's summer, Logan. Summer." He said, dramatically. "You're supposed to be taking a break from the books. Anyway, as to how and where, that's easy. The lake near your house and in our canoe."
"James, we need to ask an adult." Logan began sensibly. "And I have a feeling your parents won't go for it until they see that our canoe is actually water safe. We can't ask my dad because he's away on a business trip."
"Again?" James asked before he could stop himself. "I thought he just got back."
Logan shrugged, his face blank. "He's been really busy lately."
"Your dad is always really busy." James thought bitterly. Logan's father had never had much time for his son ever since his wife and Logan's mother died in a car accident when the boys were all six. He didn't voice his thoughts aloud though and instead went back to convincing Logan to go fishing. "Okay, then what he doesn't know won't hurt him. My parents too. They left to pick my grandparents from the airport and won't be back until the afternoon."
"James!" Logan exclaimed. "Are you serious? Go fishing without asking anyone?"
"Logan, come on." James pleaded. "Look, it's a small lake and we both know how to swim. And that's if something happens to the canoe. Nothing's going to happen to that boat, Logan. It's about as solid as a canoe could get."
"What about Kendall or Carlos?" Logan suggested hopefully. "We could ask their parents." At James' pointed look, he frowned. "Oh yeah, I forgot. They're both out of town for the fourth."
"Come on, Logan." James pestered. "What better why to celebrate the fourth of July then hanging out with one of your best friends, and fishing in an awesome boat that you both had a hand in building?"
Logan sighed. "Fine." He said reluctantly. He put a hand up before James could celebrate. "But if anything happens, this wasn't my idea."
"It never is, Logan." James assured him. With a whoop that caused the neighbor's dog to start barking James turned and left the house via Logan's window.
Logan cringed at the combined racket of James and the Great Dane. "I need new friends." He said to himself before leaving his room and then walking out of his house.
James greeted him with a shove. "Man, you're no fun. Where's your sense of adventure? The window is always the best to go."
"Carlos is a bad influence on you." Logan responded and shoved James back. "Come on, we may as well do this thing." He shook his head. "If anything happens-"
"Logan, will you quit worrying?" James groaned. "You're like an old man. Nothing is going to happen."
"You always say that and then something happens." Logan accused.
"I'm not going to argue with that." James admitted. "But what's the worst that can happen? Never mind, don't answer that. Let's just go."
The two boys reached the lake in ten minutes and immediately readied their boat. When Logan deemed it sea worthy, he climbed in and let James shove off and then climb in himself. The lake was placid and quiet. Perfect fishing conditions. Everything would have been fine if James hadn't become bored thirty minutes later.
"This is boring." James said, dropping his fishing pole on the bottom of the boat. "We haven't caught one fish."
"Shhh." Logan scolded. "And we aren't going to catch any at all if you keep talking so loudly. You're scaring the fish away."
"Fish can't hear." James rolled his eyes and slumped lazily to the side.
"Actually they can." Logan countered. "See, they have a special organ that helps them pick up vibrations and-"
"Right." James snorted. "I still don't think they can hear. Where are their ears?"
"They can't have ears outside of their bodies because that would mess up their streamlined build. They wouldn't be able to swim as fast as they do. See- what are you doing?" Logan grabbed the side of the canoe as James suddenly stood up.
"I'm going to attract fish by dancing. I still don't think they can hear but I bet they'll come when they see me dancing."
"James, don't be stupid. You can't dance now. Not here." Logan glared at his friend.
"Why not?" James asked genuinely confused. "You can dance anywhere at anytime. Same with singing. Look, if they don't come to my dancing then I'll sing. And if they come then, that means you're right and I'm a fish whisperer."
"A fish whisperer?" Logan stared at his rambunctious friend. "James, seriously. Just sit down. You can't dance in a canoe. Sit down and stop acting so ridiculously."
"Look, I'll do the Moonwalk." James brushed off his friend's protest and kicked his fishing pole out of the way.
"James, seriously." Logan pleaded. "Can't we just row back and you can Moonwalk while it's on the shore? We can go swimming too. Stop it, James. What if we tip?" He gripped the sides firmly as James started sliding across the boat.
"We're not going to-" But James was cut off as his foot slipped. The canoe rocked wildly as he waved his arms in a struggle to regain his balance. The last thing he heard before he hit the water was Logan shouting, "I told you!"
The water was surprisingly cold. Cold enough to take James' breath away. He plunged into the murky dark lake and spiraled downwards. When he finally stopped sinking, James went to push off of the bottom. But he only went a few inches before he felt something catch and pull around his ankle. He panicked and kicked wildly but only managed to tangle the old fishing net even more.
Now James was really freaked. He could not get loose no matter what he did. He even tried untying the net with his hands but it was strong and he couldn't get a good grip on it anyway. His lungs ached for air and his vision, already impaired by the murky water, was beginning to blur. James felt his body weakening as he struggled to keep from swallowing water that would finish him for sure. His head spun and his wild movements slowed. Fuzzy black spots danced in front of him and James was certain he couldn't last any longer when a hand grabbed his arm.
Logan gasped as the water hit him. It was cold. Not freezing but shocking all the same after sitting in the hot sun. To his dismay it was a total flip and even his head went underwater. He swam easily to the surface and clung to the upset canoe.
"Man, James I told you not to dance. What the heck, dude?" Logan considered himself a patient person but it really bothered him when all of his cautious warnings were ignored like this. James was really asking for it.
"James?" Logan did a quick scan of the still lake. An eerie silence had settled over the water and the surrounding area. Not even the birds were singing. "James, this isn't funny." Logan warned, hating the high pitch in his voice that happened when he was scared. "James? Come on, man."
An uneasy feeling formed in the pit of his stomach and Logan treaded water listening uneasily. In a pointlessly hopeful move, he ducked under the canoe to see if his friend was waiting to scare him. No James.
Now Logan was starting to panic. James was nowhere in sight. Something had obviously happened to him when the canoe capsized. What if he hit his head? James was an excellent athlete. Swimming was second nature to him, but that wouldn't do him any good if he wasn't conscious.
Logan dove under the water and swam around feeling desperately for his friend. He searched until his lungs protested and then kicked off the bottom. He broke the surface and took a breath of air. A quick glance showed no sign of James and he ducked back under.
The carefully subdued panic had risen to a lump of cold fear in Logan's chest. James was drowning. He was dying. They were alone. Kendall and Carlos weren't there to help Logan search frantically or run off for help. Not that there was time anyway. James could hold his breath underwater for an impressive two minutes but Logan was positive that his time was running out.
Suddenly his foot hit something hard. Logan's heart pounded wildly as hoped surged through him. He felt around wildly and finally gripped a limp arm. It wasn't long before he detected the source of the problem. A fishing line was wound tightly around James' left ankle holding him tightly to the bottom of the lake. Logan pulled at it desperately. It wouldn't budge. Suddenly, he remembered that he had used James pocket knife to cut his own line. He didn't remember giving it back and he shoved his hand in his shorts pocket. His fingers closed around the tiny object and Logan yanked it. With trembling fingers, Logan sawed at the line. To his relief, it broke rather easily. Wrapping his arms around James' waist, he pushed off of the sandy lake floor. His lungs were burning when the two finally broke the surface.
Logan didn't pause to celebrate. James was a dead weight in his arms. He wasn't breathing. Logan had known CPR since he was nine but he couldn't very do it in the middle of a lake. In sheer desperation, he whacked James hard in the chest. He almost cried when James started coughing up what seemed gallons of dirty lake water. Logan took a firmer grip on James and started to swim back to the shore.
He hadn't factored in the fact that James was a good deal heavier than him. Logan was scrawny but James was all muscle. The added weight from both of their clothes and Logan's weariness caught the smaller boy off guard. He struggled to keep James head above water while swimming. Although James was breathing again, he was clearly far too weak to swim himself. Logan sputtered as his head dipped underwater.
"James." He choked out. "James, can you help me a little?" To his relief, James muttered a reply than kicked feebly. It was just enough to get them to shore. As soon as Logan's feet hit the shallow bottom he allowed himself to relax a little. James was recovering fairly quickly but Logan refused to loosen his grip until the boys were completely out of the water.
Logan's shaking legs gave out from under him and he collapsed in exhaustion. He welcomed the beating sun as he lay sprawled on solid ground. He kept his gaze on James just in case a rogue wave would take him away. Logan knew he was being paranoid. There was no way that the wind would blow strong enough to conjure up a wave of that size but he didn't care.
James took in huge lung fulls of air. His whole body was shaking violently whether from the cool temperature of the water or his near death experience he couldn't tell. Probably both. To his right, Logan brought himself to a sitting position. "Logan." He wheezed out. "You saved my life." Logan didn't respond and James frowned. He couldn't see Logan very well from his position. Slowly, he managed to sit up himself. Logan had his arms wrapped around his legs, his forehead resting on his knees. "Logan?"
Logan raised his head and stared across the lake. "You should lay back down." He advised so quietly that James could barely hear him.
"Logan, are you okay?" James scooted closer to his friend, and looked him over. He didn't appear to be hurt. But he was shaking even more than James and his face was a deathly pale color. "Logan, answer me." He pleaded when his friend didn't respond. He put his hand on Logan's shoulder and was even more frightened when Logan flinched like he had hit him. "Logan?"
Suddenly, Logan spun around to face James. His normally friendly brown eyes were dark with fear and rage. He pulled away from James and stood up on shaking legs. "I told you this was a bad idea, James. I told you that we shouldn't have come today. It was just the two of us. But no, you had to go fishing today. And when we got here, you had to be an idiot. I told you not to stand up. I knew we'd capsize. But you not only stood up, you danced!"
James could only watch his friend and he paced back and forth. His voice rose with every sentence until he was actually yelling at James. Logan never yelled.
"Why don't you guys ever listen to me? I just knew that something like this would happen one day. You're all so. . ."
"Stupid?" James guessed quietly.
"Yes! No! I don't know." Logan sighed and stopped his tirade. He let himself fall back on the ground. He looked at James. "I'm sorry, James." He said, quieter this time. "I just. . ." He ran a hand through his damp hair. "I was so scared, James. You could have died." He choked on the last word and brushed a tear from his cheek.
"Logan, you saved my life." James said, his voice shaking slightly. The full impact of what had just transpired hit him and he was suddenly close to tears himself. "I don't know how to thank you. I would have died if you weren't here."
Logan shuddered at the thought. He closed his eyes. "I almost didn't find you in time." He whispered. "And what if I didn't have your knife with me?"
"But you did find me in time. And you did have my knife." James said gently.
"Not anymore." Logan laughed weakly. He found it slightly ironic that James was comforting him and he struggled to regain his composure. He looked at James, who appeared to only be shaken up. "Are you okay? Or are you hurt?"
James shook his head quickly and stood up slowly. "See?" He forced a shaky smile to his face. "I'm good. What about you?" At Logan's nod of assurance, he stuck his hand out. Logan grasped it and he pulled his friend to his feet and then, into a quick hug. "Thanks, Logan."
Logan laughed shakily. "What are friends for?" He sobered then. "Just don't do it again, okay?" He kicked off his shoes and peeled his wet socks off. He shoved his socks into the shoes and picked them up. "You can walk right?" When James nodded he continued. "Okay. Let's go to my house and change. All three of you still have some of your clothes from when you slept over last week. We'll find you something."
The walk back took twice as long because both of them were exhausted from their ordeal. When they reached Logan's house, James gladly exchanged the tree for the door and the two boys walked in. When they reached the kitchen though, Logan stopped so fast that James ran into him from behind.
"D-ad!" Logan stammered.
Mr. Mitchell started at the sound of his son's voice. "Logan, hi." He looked at James. "Hello, Kendall?" He asked hesitantly.
"No, dad. This is James." Logan said quickly, his face flushing red.
"Oh, I'm sorry boys." Mr. Mitchell said distractedly. An awkward silence filled the kitchen before he finally cleared his throat. "Well, I have to get to work. It turns out they didn't need me in Minneapolis." He explained. "But I still have to go to the office."
"Okay." Logan murmured. "See ya, dad." He pulled James away from the kitchen and upstairs. "Here." He said, handing James a pile of clothes. "These are yours, right?"
James nodded, taking the clothes. "He didn't even ask why we were wet." He said.
Logan shrugged. "Yeah. I know. He's kinda unobservant. Like how he called you Kendall. He knows who Carlos is though" He grinned. "I guess it's pretty hard to confuse any of us white boys with Carlos." He laughed weakly.
"Unobservant?" James frowned. "What's that mean? If you got mugged, would he have noticed?"
Flinching slightly, Logan gave his friend a half-hearted glare. "He's not that bad, James."
James snorted. "Right."
"James, please?" Logan begged. "Let's just drop it, all right? I'm used it it. It's not a big deal anymore."
"Fine." James said reluctantly. He smiled for Logan's sake because his friend was clearly upset. "But only because you saved my life today."
"Don't tell anyone what happened, okay?" Logan asked. "We'll just get in trouble."
To his relief, James was nodding. "I guess you're right. But at least we can tell Kendall and Carlos, right?"
Logan surprised him by shaking his head firmly. "Kendall would tell. I just know it. He'd freak out and tell his mom. And his mom would tell your parents and my dad and-"
"Okay." James sighed. As usual, Logan was right. If any parents found out, their canoe would be taken away, and they'd be grounded forever. It was summer. Summer was not the time to be grounded. And Kendall really would freak out and tell his mom. As the oldest, and the unspoken leader of the four boys, he was really protective over the other boys and if anything put them in danger, that was the end. Even if it ended up getting them in trouble. But James still wished he could tell someone that Logan Mitchell was a hero.
A/N. Meh. I really don't like the way this ended. Kind of abruptly. But it's after 3 so. . . Oh, and some of you are probably wondering why James and Logan never told anyone (especially Carlos and Kendall) what happened. My explanation is that they were fourteen and I can just easily imagine it happening. Yeah. All right, I really hoped that you liked this. Review if you did please and let me know I didn't waste my time writing this. LOL. I liked it. Hope you did!