The girl from 2023 didn't show up for maybe another hour and a half.
It was just long enough for Jon to start building false hope that maybe nothing too crazy had actually happened. He'd already done the appropriate amount of freaking out, checked his surroundings, checked his body, made sure his immediate family was okay: so far, nothing drastic. Zoe was shut in her room and playing her punk rock CDs much too loudly as usual, Mikey was doing homework; the only thing that stood out as unusual so far was that his mom was actually doing some proper cooking for once, which, being a single mother working as a paralegal, she didn't usually have time for, but it wasn't weird. In fact, what she was actually cooking was one of Jon's typical favorites, tater tot casserole: it was an easy bake, nothing too fancy, but it was comfort food, something good she could whip up for the family without much muss or fuss when she had time. Maybe it was just one of those days? Or maybe that was the stone's little gift to Jon? He had a feeling it was the former, but regardless he was starting to breathe a little easier. Besides, it smelled good!
"Hey, mom, are you expecting any calls? I wanna call Karyn," he asked, as politely and calmly as he could muster. She just shook her head and gestured to the family phone without taking her attention off what she was doing, adding a quick thanks for asking. Jon dialed the number, said hello to Mrs. Black as per etiquette, and finally got a hold of Karyn.
"Jon, you bonehead, I thought I had already made that mistake for the both of us!" was Karyn's response when Jon finally got to explain the situation to her. "Didn't you say you were going to bury that thing or something?"
"I know, I know, it was dumb, and careless, and yadda yadda yadda," Jon explained, the other hand rubbing the phone cord on his temples. "It's hidden with the rest of my private stuff for now. I'm not touching that thing for the rest of the day, at least until I know what it did. I just wanted to make sure you were okay?"
"Well, I appreciate that, but if the stone works the way I think it does I wouldn't have noticed anything different, would I have? Nobody in my family thinks anything of the blonde, busty streak we have in our photo albums now, for instance."
"It changed the rest of your family, too?" Jon wasn't too surprised, but nonetheless the care carried through the phone line.
"A little bit. Blondeness is a recessive gene, apparently, since not everyone in my family has it, but the genetics are there now. The boob thing is a lot more noticeable, though. Honestly, I've spent most of this afternoon digging through old photo albums so I can figure out just how far-reaching this is. Like, you remember my cousin, Tessa?"
The conversation just went from there. This sort of thing was why his mom had to make it a rule that Jon needed to ask to use the phone; once Jon had Karyn on the phone or vice versa, the two of them would just go on and on and on and on about whatever they felt like for however long they felt like, and if some suit happened to need Ms. Linda Gibson his legal assistant right then, it might be a little friction between Jon and his mom when he inevitably had to hang up on Karyn. He was too awkward to have many friends besides her, so it was always kinda disappointing.
This particular conversation didn't end until the casserole Jon's mom was just starting when he made the wish was out of the oven, cooled off, and ready to eat for a relatively rare proper family supper. Jon definitely wasn't going to miss it; putting aside that he loved the casserole, he also had a full view of the momma bear working to drag his goth little sister of her cave, and didn't want a similar example to be made of him. And anyway, his talk with Karyn was naturally wrapping up by then: he felt a lot better about his apparently ineffectual wish and had the full rundown on hers, gossiped a little, and had a mutual agreement to keep an eye out for anything weird and to compare notes if they saw such a thing. Karyn had also had the idea to have Jon look through Lake Point's old newspapers and watch the evening news to see if anything jumped out at him, and he quickly made up a lie over the dinner table about needing Mom's newspapers for a currents events project for his history class. He also very quickly regretted that lie: no sooner had it passed his lips than the look on his mother's face told him he was going to be hounded about that "project" until she was sure it was done. But whatever, he had access to the papers and could just make up whatever light workload the "homework" needed as he went. He and Zoe got along well, good food was in their bellies, and by the time dinner was over and it was time for the washing up, Jon was in a much better mood than he had been after making his little accident.
And then came a KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK on the front door.
"Jon, honey, would you mind? It's probably just a solicitor, and my hands are full right now," Linda asked while scrubbing bits of old casserole off her good pyrex. Jon obeyed. It was not a solicitor.
"Um, hi?" The girl at the door was about Jon's age, alone, and looked frazzled. She was blonde, busty, had chocolate brown eyes that kinda reminded Jon of Zoe, freckled, dressed in a plain pink T-shirt cut for women and blue jeans that seemed to be cut for men, and had some strange white plastic in her ears. "I need to speak to Jon Gibson. Is he here?"
"You're speaking to him," Jon replied casually.
Her eyes widened. She looked him up and down, as if trying to confirm or deny the awful realization at that fact that he was in fact Jon Gibson.
"Is something wrong?" Jon asked, raising an eyebrow.
"No! ...Well, yes, something is wrong, but it's, it's not easy to explain. Uh... Do you know where Karyn is?"
Jon considered her for a second. After a moment, he gestured her to wait for just a moment, then yelled back inside. "Hey mom? It's not a solicitor, it's a friend from school! I'm gonna walk with her for a little bit, alright?"
"What? You have a school project you're supposed to be working on, mister!" Linda appeared from the kitchen, scrub pad still in hand, and regarded the girl for a moment. "Who is she?"
"I'm Evelyn," she introduced herself quickly, evidently regarding Linda just as curiously or more. "I know Jon pretty well, as a matter of fact. He's a pretty sweet d-, uh, sweet guy, and he's not getting into any trouble, if that's what you're worried about?"
"... I know he knows better than to be up to mischief, sure," Linda replied after a minute. "But he better be home before dark and have his homework done before bed, and not get too carried away if he's going out with you, got it?" she continued, pointing an accusing scrub pad between the two of them.
Jon flushed. "I-I'm not going out with her, mom..."
Evelyn rolled her eyes. "He's in love with Karyn anyway," she retorted, making Jon flush harder and Linda's eyebrows raise. "Look, I'll have him back to you soon, but I need to speak to him alone for at least a little bit, okay? Thanks!" And with that, Jon was quite literally pulled by the hand out of the house and onto that walk with her he'd been asking for.
"Evelyn! What was that!?" Jon asked angrily and more than a little embarrassed after that. "How do you know anything about me and Karyn? Do I even know you!?"
"Not yet..." Evelyn pouted a little bit. "Are you and Karyn even dating yet? I know you have the hots for her!"
"No! And no! We are not dating yet, and I don't like her like that!" His cheeks were burning red. "And you didn't answer my question: how could you know anything about that!? I have good reason to think something epically weird might be going on but I'm not sure what yet, so whatever it is, just shoot your shot!"
"...Okay." She took a breath. "I know it because... because you end up getting married to her. Don't freak out, but I think I'm from, maybe, 20ish years in the future."
Jon just stared. "...20-ish?" he asked.
"Yeah. What day is it now, for you? Yesterday for me it was April of 2023," Evelyn explained, a little relieved Jon was taking her seriously over something so strange.
"It's April of 2003 right now," Jon explained. "And, those things, in your ears, are they your time machine or something?"
"These? No, they're just Airpods," Evelyn explained, taking them out of her ears, giving them to Jon to examine. "Wireless headphones, I mean. They just play music and that's it, really; they're not as impressive as they look."
Nevertheless Jon was turning them about in his hands as if he'd just been given a second magic wishing stone. "So, how did you even get here, then? Does it have to do with, y'know... the Stone?"
"I have no clue! I was just going about my day, listening to music and vibin', y'know, when suddenly something gets in my eye, I'm forced to close it for just a second, and suddenly I don't know where I am and everything's different! My hair turned from red to blonde, my boobs are bigger, I'm not getting signal on any of my devices... I've been spending the past couple hours just trying to figure out what the hell happened to me!"
"...I don't know what you mean by 'vibin' or 'devices' but that definitely sounds like the Stone at work. I guess that's why you came to find me?"
"... No? What's this about a stone, by the way, I don't know anything about this capital-S Stone?"
"I mean, I just assumed, you're from the future, you probably know what happens to the Stone. I only got it a few days ago; do you remember what happens to my life from here?"
"Well, I don't remember it, because I haven't even been born yet. (Christ, that's a weird sentence!) Anyway, I don't think I've ever heard anything about Spring of 2003? I've heard a lot about Summer of 2003: that's when you and Karyn finally confess to each other and spend the rest of senior year dating as official boyfriend and girlfriend. You were both going to go to college together, you were going to pursue Law School with help from grandma, and she was going into Business. Well, that was the plan, before I happened."
"Yeah. I was conceived and I changed everything."
"Look, dad, I'm not just some random stranger to you in the future." Evelyn sighs. "I'm you and Karyn's daughter."