Actions

Work Header

All the Things That Can Change in a Hundred and Four Days

Chapter Text

As the early morning sun slowly rose over the town of Danville, the season of Spring officially drew to a much-anticipated close. The hottest and most carefree part of the year of 2021 was about to begin - from now on, the hours of daylight would gradually increase in number, and the mercury in the thermometers would reach increasingly higher and higher peaks until late into the year.

While most of the town was content to celebrate the changing of the season with a passing glance at the calendar and a perhaps brief remark on the impending hot season, the Flynn-Fletcher children had other ideas. Although for them the days leading up to this summer had been so much like all the ones preceding, finding their most marked difference in the ever-so-slowly increasing ages of the three, that was all destined to change. Indeed, before the sun set for the last time on this summer, things were going to change - some drastically, and some perhaps a little less so. After all, as is said so often, the more certain things change, the more they seem to stay the same. And some things, well, there are some things about every person that neither time nor trial will ever be able to change. But still - it was just one more summer in a long procession of summers before. How much could possibly change?

 

You might be surprised.


"Beep! Beep!"

"I know what we're going to do today!"

"Beep! Beep!"

"I know what we're going to do today!"

"Beep-"

Candace slammed her hand down on the snooze button and rolled over in bed with a groan. Although she loathed the idea of getting up, her eyes still sprang open. That alarm didn't signify the usual 'get up and head off to school' that it had for the past six months. No, for the next one hundred and four days, she was free. The first half of the twelfth grade had drawn to a satisfying conclusion yesterday afternoon, and today marked the first beautiful day of summer vacation.

Twelfth grade - wow! Just a few years ago, it seemed so far off. In retrospect, it hadn't been as bad as she'd expected. Even the most difficult of calculus problems had proven easy - though that might be expected when you were literally able to solve rocket science and quantum mechanics problems in your head, and often did so, on a daily basis.

A subdued knock on her door roused her from her thoughts.

"Candace, are you up yet?" Phineas asked, his voice carrying through her door. "C'mon! We're waiting on you!"

That was all the motivation she needed.

"I'm up, I'm up!" she yelled back, throwing aside the bed covers and springing up. She flung open her closet doors and snatched out the first outfit that hung within. Snagging up her phone from her nightstand, she slid it into her pocket and swung open her door to where her brothers were waiting.

"Alright, let's do this!" she said, rubbing her palms vigorously together. "Having to wait till after school to build things is the worst."

"Well, for the next hundred and four days, we have all day." Phineas responded. "All day, every day, all summer long." He raised his hand into the air.

"Well, what are we waiting for?" she asked, reaching up and high-fiving him. "Let's get this show on the road!"

Ferb merely smiled and gave a thumbs up.

They hurried down the stairs, through the sliding glass door, and into the backyard.

"Aw, yeah!" Candace inhaled the sweet newborn summer air. She smiled. It smelled of motor oil and competence - and overflowing potential. "This is gonna be awesome. I can feel it."

"So." Phineas grinned. "Roller coaster? It is the first day of summer, after all."

"I'm not one to break tradition," she started, watching for her brother's reaction. "But yesterday I got this idea: what if we connected the track to a quantum scrambler and ran it through stuff? Imagine that, why don't you?"

"Ooh, that sounds neat!" Phineas agreed. "And it actually works perfectly with an idea that I had: that we could set up one of those photographic teleporters, and for the very end of the ride, just have the cars fly off into space, only to be teleported back to safety."

"Now that would be a photo finish," Ferb spoke up.

"I know, right?" Phineas nodded enthusiasitcally.

Candace smiled and shook her head, rolling her eyes. "Let's get to it then - all this standing around and talking is making my head itch."

The wooden gate behind them creaked as it swung open, and they turned to face it.

"Hey, Phineas. Whatcha doin'?"

Phineas' eyes lit up at the sight of his lifelong friend.

Candace smiled to herself. Everything about Isabella - from the way her eyes grew wide in his presence, and the fact that her voice always seemed to be about an octave higher when she was talking to him - screamed out that she still hadn't given up in her relentless, yet ultimately useless, efforts to coax romance out of Phineas Flynn. If life was a television show, Candace was sure that Isabella's pupils would have been entirely made of hearts by this point. It was just another part of their annual summer tradition, and, as always, it flew unheeded past her younger brother.

"Hey, Isabella! Ferb and Candace and I were just talking about our new roller coaster. It's gonna be awesome."

"Oh, cool," Isabella assented. Though she was obviously desperate to be considered more than one, she was still Phineas' friend - and Candace could see clearly enough by the way her affected flirtations waned that she was still looking forwards to the day's imminent activity. "I can't wait. I'm sure it'll be awesome."

"Welp. Guess I'll go ahead and call the store," Candace said. "Give me a second."

"Sounds good," Phineas nodded. "We'll get the tools. Come on, guys."

Candace reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. She woke the screen and took a moment to glance over messages from last night that she'd missed; a byproduct of going to bed earlier than normal. It had been worth it to be able to stomach rising so early in the morning, but it had made her miss some late-night messages.

(3 new messages from Stacy 9:02 PM)

Ill see you tomorrow then will it be another rolle coaster

never mind why do i even ask

ill see you tehn

(1 new message from Baby Face Trucking Company 9:05 PM)

Your purchase of 10,000 meters of steel wire has been shipp... swipe for more

(1 new message from Jeremy 9:09 PM)

I'm off at 11 tomorrow, but don't know if I can make to your place until late...swipe for more

(1 new message from Shipment Tracker 10:23 PM)

Your package of serial number #23324 has arrived at a local depot and...swipe for more

She quickly thumbed past the automatic messages, and skimmed over the ones from her friends, stopping to reply only to Jeremy.

 yeah you can totally come over this afternoon I cant wait to see you! :) <3

She closed the messaging app and scrolled through her contacts, at last finding the much-used number for the Super Duper Mega Superstore.

The line rang just two times before clicking and connecting to the other end.

"You've reached the Customer Assistance line for Super Duper Mega Superstore. This is Brandon speaking, how can I help you today?"

"I'd like to make a mobile purchase," she replied, running over the list of things they'd need in her mind. "Can you look up my purchase history for me? I'll need the same things as on this day last year, with juuust a few extras on top."

"I sure can," came the response over the speaker. "Do you have an account with us? If so, just enter your account number with your keypad and I'll get right back to you."

It was time to get this hundred-and-four day long party started. And what better way to do that than with a roller coaster? Not just anything roller coaster, but the best kind: the kind that defied all commonly accepted logic and and flew in the face of sanity for no reason other than that it could. That was truly what separated the good from the best.

The sun arced slowly over Danville as the first day of summer rapidly fell into place to the symphony of trucks, tractors, and construction. The mountains of supplies residing in the yard were quickly assembled, in one way or another, into the coolest roller coaster ever to grace the face of the planet, and perhaps even the galaxy as whole.

It took them the better part of the morning, but once they finished, it stretched from Maple Drive, all along the roads, winding around the interstate overpasses, under a bridge, and slicing through the scattered banks of clouds in the sky. Children and teens and even a few adults from all over Danville were drawn in by the assorted posters scattered thickly about the town. (If you brought a poster with you, you could get on the ride for free!)

As the time passed twelve and began counting hours into the afternoon, a low-flying helicopter, that coincidentally happened to be carrying a super-strong magnet, snagged onto the coaster, forcibly tearing it loose from its foundations and carrying it off into the late afternoon sky.

"Well, it looks like Mom's on her way home," Phineas commented casually. Raising his voice, he continued. "That's all for today, everybody! The Coolest Coaster Ever is officially closed until next year!"

No one heard him beyond the people sitting next to him or in the rows immediately behind. Everyone was too busy focusing on the fact that they were riding a roller coaster train that had no track, that was bouncing and skidding around the world - snagging on the tail of a passing plane, slipping off and rebounding off the side of the (surprisingly stretchy) leaning tower of Pisa. But the Mysterious Force had never let anyone be hurt before, and thus it was Candace wasn't too shocked when the the carts tumbled from the lower boundary of outer space and descended in a shower of flame and debris onto the lone tree in the back yard.

Everyone was pitched out of the crashing carts, but in a series of coincidences too neat to be anything other than the Force, really, the network of branches and leaves that held together the canopy kept everyone unharmed beyond a few minor scratches and abrasions.

Phineas and Ferb slid most through the tree, falling all the way to the ground with a gentle thump, just as Linda Flynn-Fletcher swung open the wooden gate into the backyard. The Force had come through again, as it always did, and always would.

"I'm gonna go put these groceries away," Linda said. "I bought some more baking stuff too, so I can make more pie. It won't be ready for a bit, though." And with that, she disappeared into the house, completely unaware of what her children had been up to.

"Oh, there you are, Perry," Candace remarked, swinging down from the tree and landing on the grass next to her brothers.

The platypus stared at her out of one eye and chittered mindlessly.

"That was awesome, Phineas!" Isabella congratulated. "I'd definitely say it was better than last year's."

"Thanks!" Phineas replied. "Though it wasn't just me - Ferb and Candace and you and Buford and Baljeet helped out too. I think we all did good."

"Thanks," Isabella echoed. "Though I didn't really do much, really."

"Well, you did everything you could!" Phineas responded. "And that's what counts." He heaved a contented breath. "And I think that today was a great day. And tomorrow will be even better!"

Candace felt like jumping to say something but was interrupted before she could get at the chance. The wooden gate creaked again, and everyone in the yard turned to look at the newcomer.

"Hey, Candace!" Stacy said from the gate. "Sorry, I'm late. What'd I miss?"

"Stacy!" she called back. "Oh, not much - only the coolest roller coaster ever to be built by man or teenager."

"Yeah, I saw," Stacy replied. "On my way over here, there was this helicopter way up in the sky, and I'm pretty sure that it was attached to something of that sort. Where do you think it'll end up?"

Candace shrugged. "It's the Mysterious Force," she replied. "Who knows? Where ever it goes, you can be sure that my mom won't ever see it."

"How did it even get carried off?" Stacy asked. "I thought you did, like, loop-de-loops around the interstate overpasses or whatever."

"Roller coaster track very flimsy - highway overpass very sturdy," Candace explained. "No, but seriously, it is just made of wood and metal - probably just breaks on the concrete or something."

"Huh. Well, whatever." Stacy shrugged. "Do you want to go somewhere or do something? I know it's kinda late in the afternoon, but it'll still be fun."

"Ooh." Candace shook her head. "I'd love too - but can we go tomorrow? I'm waiting for Jeremy right now."

"Jeremy?" Stacy echoed. "You are?"

"Yeah?" she repeated, somewhat confused. "He told me he'd be here sometime later in the afternoon. We're gonna do something together - something romantic, I know."

"Sure," Stacy said. "Yeah, about that - there's not anything going on between you two, is there?"

"Going on between us? What do you mean?"

"I don't know, it's just - I haven't seen you really hanging out with him for an awful long time now. Are you sure everything's okay?"

"Oh, pssh. I love him, and he loves me! We're in love! Love doesn't let things like ... uh ... um ..." Candace counted on her fingers for a second. "Five, six, seven ... teen days without seeing your boyfriend get in the way of things! Besides, he's getting ready to go to college at end of the year, and summer vacation's only just started today! You just watch!" Candace was a bit surprised that her friend would even think such things. She and Jeremy were a perfect couple - and nothing could change that. Right?

"Well, whatever you say, I guess," Stacy replied. She still sounded unconvinced, but shrugged again. "I mean, if you're sure, then I guess it's good enough for me. Just seems a bit strange is all."

"Nah," Candace reassured her. "Everything's good. We've just both been so busy is all. School was in all that time, you know."

"Mm. Cool." Stacy glanced around at the backyard, which was now empty except for the two of them. "Where'd everybody else go?" She paused and leaned back on the wooden fence, taking a long deep breath. "No, wait, don't say it. I can smell some sort of dessert already. Is it ... pie?"

"Probably," Candace answered. "Hang on for one second."

She walked from the fence to back of the house and pulled the sliding glass door open.

"Whatcha eatin' in there?" she yelled into the house.

"Candace!" she heard Phineas yell back from the kitchen. "We're having cake! Do you want some? Or Stacy? It's really good."

"Maybe in a bit." she called back, sliding the door shut and returning to her place at the fence.

"So ... cake?" Stacy said. "Way to break from tradition there."

Candace shrugged. "What can I say? We apparently ate all the pie stuff yesterday after school got out. It was a great time anyway."

"Sounds like it. So - oh. It looks like our time is up."

What? Oh! Candace felt her heart rate speed up as if she was about to begin some great causality-defying project. It was Jeremy. He was a bit late, perhaps, having missed the entirety of the new summer coaster again, but that was okay. In Candace's mind, he was perfect - how could she hold missing projects against him?

"Hey, Candace," he greeted. "And Stacy." he added in passing. "How're you doing?"

"I'm doing good," Candace answered, subconsciously lapsing briefly into the same dreamy tone that she'd so often seen Isabella use when talking to Phineas. Stopping to clear her throat, she continued. "Were you able to see our roller coaster from work?"

"I'm just going to - go now," Stacy cut in. "Maybe go get some of that cake, if you don't mind." She smiled, and then turned and disappeared through the sliding glass door into the house.

"Well?" Candace repeated.

"Yeah. Uh, sadly, no." Jeremy frowned slightly. "I was working in the back today. Sorry."

"Oh," she replied. "That sucks - I had this really cool thing set up that you could see from the front of the Slushy Burger." Now he wouldn't get to see it either. She should have taken a picture of it while she'd had the chance.

"Sorry. It's - not really my choice, you know."

"I know," Candace said. "Whatever. You want to do something?"

His eyebrows moved the tiniest bit up his forehead.

"Like what?" he asked, with a strange tinge of nervousness in his voice that Candace couldn't really identify.

"I don't know," she answered. "We can go out for ice cream if you want. Sound good?"

"Ice cream?" He looked thoughtful. "Yeah, that sounds nice." He paused. "Where at?"

"Oh!" Candace exclaimed. "I've got the best idea. We can get the ice cream and then eat it in the hover jet! It'll be such a great view of everything from way up in the sky - and there'll be the sunset. Soooo romantic."

"You have a hover jet?" he asked incredulously. "I mean, I don't even know why I'm surprised, really. I... guess we could do that, but it wouldn't it be just as well to eat it in the park? I mean it, uh, saves gas?"

Candace hesitated for a moment. "I suppose," she relented. "Gas isn't a huge deal, really, but if that's what you want."

"Then it's decided," he replied, heaving a sigh. Why was he worried so much about gas anyway? Oh - maybe he didn't know that the hover jet consumed literal ounces of the stuff?

"If you really that worried about gas," she hastened to explain. "It'd be totally fine for just one outing - I mean, we could take it all the way around the world for like a gallon of the stuff. The engine's super efficient. See, Phineas and Ferb and I, we took proton plasma and -"

"Candace," he said, interrupting her. He reached up to tap his own head. "I've not gonna have any idea what you're talking about. Sorry."

"Oh, yeah, right." she grimaced. "Sorry."

"It's not a big deal," he said. "It's just - well, you know nobody can follow you or your brothers when you start going on about science stuff. You'll have to save it for them."

"Right," she admitted. She knew that - and was still in the process of trying to curb her tendency to ramble on about stuff like that. It was a bad habit from way back in her busting days, with the only difference being the fact that where her friends had been able to follow her impassioned rants about busting her brothers, as nonsensical as they may have been, they could simply not when it came to the science and engineering that she was now involved in. She knew that politeness would dictate that she restrict her talk about such things to her brothers, but sometimes her excitement got the best of her and, well, you got this. Ah, well. It happened to Phineas sometimes too, which helped ease some of the guilt.

"So, should we go?" he asked again, shaking her from her thoughts.

"Hm? Oh, yeah, totally." She stepped forwards and grabbed a hold of the handle of the fence gate. "Let's go."

Everything about this day was going swimmingly, at least as far as Candace thought. Her system was still flush with the excitement of the day's rollercoaster, what with it having been the first major project for almost a week. Summer vacation was just great that way - large projects every day, instead restricted to weekends and half days. None of those puny things hardly deserving of the title 'project' that were put together after school ended on weekdays for the sole purpose of staving off withdrawals. As far as first days of summer went, this one was shaping to up to quite the memorable occasion.

And now it was time to seal the deal: a romantic outing in the park with Jeremy Johnson. Sadly, he'd rejected the idea of the private flight on the hover jet, but that was a small nitpick, although it would have been super romantic. Just the two of them, all alone up above the city... Well, the reason he'd decided against it was because he was worried about her spending too much gasoline to run the jet, which; although he frankly should have known it would not be an issue, was nonetheless endearing and not something she would even think to blame him for.

"So, did anything happen at work today?" she asked as they walked along the sidewalk towards the park.

"Oh, not much," he answered. "Uh, roundabout at nine or so we had a power surge that blacked out the whole restaurant for like five minutes." He paused and glanced back at her. "I'm sure that probably coincided with a certain roller coaster coming online, hm?"

Candace shook her head. "No, we ran the coaster on fusion reactors. It's way more space and energy efficient than electricity and - oh." She stopped to clear her throat. "Continue." He smiled a strange smile, and she briefly wondered just what it meant? But quickly forgot all about it.

"Anyway," he resumed, "All the computers were down for like ten minutes - they all had some weird error message on them, and the manager had to call the company's tech support to figure it out."

"Huh," Candace replied thoughtfully. "Did you ever figure out what happened?"

Jeremy shook his head. "No - but they eventually turned back on by themselves, which was good enough for me and everybody else."

"Hmm," she meditated. "If they didn't turn on for a ten minutes, then rebooted by themselves - just wondering: were the screens off or, like, blue screens of death?"

"Uh." He looked off into the sky. "They were blue-screened? I think? I didn't really pay much attention to them when they were all messed up like that."

"Yeah, I - mm." Candace cut herself off. You'd think that after almost four years of this, she'd have it under control by now. But, no, the mere passage of time was no accurate measuring stick when it came to things like this. She spent a lot of time with her brothers, time in which such topics of conversation were very frequent, and flowed as naturally as any other - and time that was a powerful counteragent to her attempts to keep this specific part of herself from constantly asserting itself when not in their company.

"So... you were saying?" she finally said after another unreasonably long pause.

"Oh, nothing," he responded. "That was pretty much it, actually. Nothing else of note really happened, unless you count the time we ran out mustard?"

Candace didn't reply, instead looking up and down the street to ascertain their exact location, and how much longer it would take to get to the park. Hmm. Baljeet's house was right there, so it wouldn't be much farther now - just on the order of a few minutes. The early evening air was still cool - it was only the first day of summer, after all - and it made the walk pleasant. It was made even more pleasant by the company she was in, but the positively balmy weather definitely didn't hurt.

"Will you be able to make it earlier tomorrow?" she asked. "Early enough to participate in tomorrow's project, I mean. Whatever it is - I've not talked with them about it yet, though I suppose that's nothing a little time travel couldn't fix." She looked over at him and waited in silence for an answer.

"I don't know," he said at last. "I mean, I don't get off till later in the afternoon, but I think my parents might have some stuff that they'll want me to do."

"Like what?" she asked curiously. "Your dad works at the space science lab or whatever, right? I can help with that - or even with anything, really. Do you need to clean your house or something? Because I can totally get that android machine in the garage working again and have it make a bunch of ... "

"No, no, no, it's alright," he said. "There's no need for all of that. I'll do it on my own and just give you call whenever I get done. Does that sound good?"

"Well, sure," she almost immediately relented, unwilling to contradict his wishes. "But you might miss the project - and that would make it ten days in row." Candace loved it when Jeremy came and got see and use the things that she built. It seemed to be happening increasingly rarely though. Confirmation bias, she told herself. You're worrying about nothing.

Jeremy smiled again, and almost instantly, she was comforted. "Well, how about I promise to come to whatever you guys do on the day after tomorrow?" he offered. "I'll try my best for tomorrow, but can't promise anything there."

"Okay." She nodded. "I guess. I mean, I lov - it's fine. I'll see you the day after tomorrow, then?"

"I'm not leaving right now," he pointed out. "We haven't even had our ice cream yet."

Candace perked back up at the thought. Well, of course. As they turned off the sidewalk and into the small grassy stretch that made up the Sycamore Lane Park, she scanned the park until she was able to spy the vendor who frequented the area with his little wheeled cart.

She knew the vendor well enough now from one time in the past where she and her brothers had helped him fix up his ice cream cart after it had been destroyed in a freak accident involving a flying glob of an odd liquid that immediately rendered complex objects into their component parts. The cart had been quite literally laying in pieces scattered across the ground when they'd run into him - something that had they had taken upon themselves to repair, because hey, why not?

"Hey!" she called out to him. "How you doing?"

"Oh, hey!" he called back. "Candace, right? I'm doing just fine. Business's been good today. You?"

"I've been good too," she answered, closing the short distance between them. "How's the new cart?"

"It's great," he said, patting its metal surface. "I've not had to recharge the battery once yet. It's saving me a ton on overhead."

"Well, that's cold fusion for you." She grinned. "I'd loosely guess that it'll run for the next, oh let's see, five hundred years? Around that, at least."

"Well, it's been two weeks now and still going strong." He reached down and tapped the back side of the cart. "My little battery indicator back here hasn't budged from the green zone one bit. So, can I get you anything?"

"Oh, hm. I'll have just a regular plain vanilla cone - actually, no, make that a bowl."

"Alright. And for your friend?"

Candace glanced back over her shoulder at Jeremy.

"I'll just have a cone," he said. "Uh, make it chocolate." He paused for a moment, digging around in his pocket. "How much do I owe you?"

"Nah," the man replied, holding out the food. "Candace and her brothers always get free from me - just my way of saying thanks for their help. Since you're with her, you can just consider this one on the house."

"The fact that you don't know that is proof positive that we don't get out together often enough," Candace said, taking the paper bowl and plastic scoop from the vendor. "How long has it been since we've done this anyway?"

Jeremy frowned briefly as she turned back to say goodbye to the ice cream vendor.

"Well?" she echoed as they walked away, in the general direction of one of the park's scattered picnic tables.

"It's not been that long," he replied. "We've been together without coming here, you know."

Candace dug out a heaping scoopful of ice cream from her bowl and swallowed it.

"Ugh," she said, shivering. "That was stupid. Why did I do that?"

"Brainfreeze?" he asked with amusement. "Why did you do that?"

She took a deep breath as the brief spurt of discomfort slowly faded. "It's ice cream, you know?" she finally replied. "You've just gotta take a huge first bite. And deal with the consequences later, I guess."

They had now reached the nearest table, which squeaked in protest as they took seats on it. This same furniture had been in the park ever since Candace could remember. It was probably high time that somebody replace the picnic furniture out here - the years out under the sun and rain and occasional snow were really catching up to it.

"I here they're planning on doing some maintenance to these parks," Jeremy said, echoing her thoughts. "I saw it on the news last night, I think."

"Oh, really?" she asked. "Huh. It's about time, I guess. This stuff's been here for a really long time."

"Yeah," he continued. "Well, on the TV they said it's been almost twenty years since there was any real work done on them."

"Huh, neat." She took another mouthful of the dessert. "Hmm." Her thoughts flickered back to the official-letter she'd seen addressed to Phineas when she'd brought up the mail early this afternoon. There was a good chance that the city council would try to get them to do it. This wouldn't mark the first time, and although their renovations often got drastically downgraded by the Mysterious Force, they were still pretty much the best in town. Well, maybe not the best, considering the Force's actions affecting the quality of their work, but certainly the fastest - no other landscapers/contractors/construction crews could complete projects of such scale in a single afternoon like they did.

"So, what have you been up to recently?" he asked after a moment.

"Well, not much with school and all," Candace said. "Between that and homework and inventing, there wasn't much time for anything really noteworthy. Oh, last Thursday Stacy and I went shopping at Googolplex again. There was a really great sale, though I didn't actually buy anything because, you know, I couldn't actually afford any of it."

"Hmm. Sounds like you had fun."

"Yeah, it was." Candace said. "But not as much fun as right now."

She could have sworn that Jeremy suddenly got an uncomfortable look on his face for the briefest of moments, but it was gone before she could so much as focus her vision on it. She thought back to her and Stacy's short conversation from earlier. Was something actually going on?

No, she decided. She just put those thoughts in my head, and now I'm seeing things.

"Well, um, yeah, yes. Hm." Candace tripped over her own words. Why was she making this so awkward? She just needed to put those thoughts out of her head. Stacy was wrong, okay? It happened. Time to just forget about it.

"This is good ice cream." she finally said in an effort to resuscitate the fast-dying conversation. She ate another scoopful. "Very good."

"Yes, yes it is." Jeremy agreed, his old laid-back attitude returning.

Silence once more settled down like a blanket, but this time she was comfortable underneath it. What was not to love? She sighed happily and turned her focus more fully on the paper bowl of ice cream on the picnic table.

All around them, the afternoon slowly slipped away, at last gradually fading into evening. The ice cream having long since been eaten, Candace's stomach rumbled with hunger. It was time for her to take her leave at last. They left the park, and walked through the streets until they reached the familiar yellow house, its windows glowing warmly out into the early evening.

"So, I'll see you the day after tomorrow?" she asked.

Jeremy thought for a moment. "Yeah, probably. And if not, then definitely the day after that."

"And you're sure that you don't want any help tomorrow?"

"No, I'm quite sure," he shook his head, chuckling. "It's - it's nothing anyway. Easy chores that'll just take a long time and be super monotonous. I'll be fine."

"It would only take me a a few minutes," she protested. "I don't even know what it is, but I'm confident that Phineas and Ferb and I could ... "

"I'm sure you could," he broke in. "But, I don't think that'll be necessary. You three do whatever you're gonna do tomorrow - don't waste it on my stuff."

Candace frowned. It wouldn't be waste - it would be for Jeremy! That would never be a waste. But he seemed firm, at least for now. At last she relented and dropped the subject. "Well, goodnight then."

"'Night," he replied. "I did have fun today. It's nice to just go out sit in the park, you know."

"Yeah!" she agreed enthusiastically. "And next time, I'm not gonna let you convince me against the hover jet. It's gonna be awesome."

"Oh - yeah. Sure, can't wait." he answered. "Well, I'll see you later."

Candace opened the front door and waved as he stepped down off the porch and strode down the sidewalk away from the house. Wait a second, she realized, we didn't ki-

"Candace!" her mother's voice interrupted her thought. "Don't leave the door hanging open. You can either stay outside or come inside, but don't let all the air conditioning out."

Oh, well. There'll be plenty of time for kissing later - all summer, and all our lives.

She stepped inside and shut the door.