9 hours before the final bomb
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“It will be fun, Nat. Last year you said you wanted to go, and then you flaked out. Just go with us this year, pleeease.” I watched my best friend Katie pout and look at me with sad eyes.
She held her pout as I put my books in my locker and then shut the door.
Turning to face her I stated, “I don’t know Katie, my family has plans already for tonight, I am supposed to take the twins trick-or-treating around our neighborhood.” I sighed, hoping Katie would just drop the idea of going to the town’s “haunted” house.
“At midnight?” Katie scowled, “Look Nat, if you don’t want to go, then just say so. It’s ok if you are scared.”
I sighed again, “Katie, I am not scared. I just don’t like that house. It gives me the creeps every time I look at it. Plus, my dad said that place is scheduled to be torn down in a couple of days because it is falling apart. It’s not safe.”
Katie scoffed, “Nat, come on. Then this is the last year we can go! Please go with us!” She grabbed my hand and started bouncing up and down while tugging on my arm.
“Katie…” I started to answer when he walked up.
“Hey Katie, hi Natalie.”
My face grew warm and I looked down at my shoes. I had been locker neighbors with Jayson since the beginning of the school year, but every time he walked by me or talked to me my head swum and I forgot how to speak.
“Uh…um…hi,” I mumbled at the carpet.
Looking from me to Jayson, Katie smiled an evil smile and then stated, “Hey Jayson, are you doing anything tonight? Nat and I are going to the haunted house to look around at midnight. Want to join in?”
I nearly melted into a puddle right then and there. Seriously Katie, I had not even said I would go yet. But if Jayson was going to go; maybe, just maybe I would consider going.
“Well,” Jayson thought for a moment, “My friends and I did have some plans for tonight…”
“Oh,” I sadly said out loud, before I realized what I had said. I looked at Jayson wild-eyed and quickly covered my mouth.
He grinned and then continued, “But I am sure the guys will be cool if I ditch for a while. Are you meeting at the house or somewhere else?”
As Katie relayed the plans for the night to Jayson, I was working on slowing my pounding heart and collecting my thoughts again.
“Sounds good,” Jayson smiled right at me this time, “I will see you both at Katie’s house at 11:30. See you later Natalie.”
“Bye!” I managed to say before he walked away.
Katie stood there grinning at me for a few moments.
“What,” I half angrily stated as I began to walk towards the school’s back exit.
She followed me continuing to grin in that obnoxious way, “So are you coming now?”
I rolled my eyes and then nodded. Katie pumped a fist in the air in celebration. I knew that my best friend had won this round, plus hanging out with Jayson, even if it was at a haunted house sounded ok.
“Just be at my house at 11.” Katie danced around grinning like the Cheshire cat.
“Wait, but you told Jayson 11:30.”
“Seriously, do you want to just wear normal clothes for your first date with Jayson? You have to dress up girl!”
I felt my face turning red again and my ears started burning. I pushed the exit door open a little harder than needed and it squealed on its hinges. As I stepped outside, I was temporarily blinded by the hot Arizona sun. It had been an especially hot summer and it looked like fall and winter were going to be just as warm.
“Katie,” I continued after blinking away the green spots in my vision, “it’s not a date, you are going to be there and so is Nick and his friend. Plus it’s Halloween, I have a costume already picked out for today.”
“Really?” Katie said apprehensively, “don’t tell me it’s one of those animated show characters. You gotta glam out tonight for Jayson, not hide behind a papier-mâché mask.”
I rolled my eyes. Katie and I had very different tastes in not only the arts but in pretty much everything. If we had not grown up as next-door neighbors, I am not sure Katie and I would have ever been friends. She is outgoing, adventurous, loves to dress up, and she flirts with every guy. While I preferred to stay at home, read books, watch anime, and bemoan my inability to talk to guys I like.
“It’s not papier-mâché, it’s actually a pretty cool 3D printed mask which is a replica of….”
Katie held up her hand, “Look Nat, this may be your only chance to hook up with Jayson. You should be dressed to impress!”
Ignoring Katie’s interruption I continued, “of The Great Lady of the Lake’s mask. Katie, I worked on this mask for months, I am not going to just not wear it because you want me to dress up for Jayson.”
Katie glared at me and I glared back, this was one fight I was not going to let her win.
Finally, Katie threw her hands in the air and announced, “Fine Nat, but don’t come crying to me if Jayson is weirded out by all that geeky stuff you are wearing. Just be at my house at 11:00 so I can get ready.”
“Fine.” I responded while turning to walk away from Katie so I could grab my bike.
Katie watched me walk away for a moment and then headed towards the school bus.
I had decided to ride my bike to school today instead of taking the bus because I had one last part I needed to get to complete my costume. And that last part was at the craft store near my school.
As I peddled away from the school, I reviewed what had just happened in my head. Slowly, I started grinning. I was impressed by my best friend’s ability to get Jayson and me to join in on her adventure. Maybe tonight would not be so bad after all.
Royalty free sounds from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgqCiM98j6Q
Sounds title: HIGH SCHOOL HALLWAY AMBIENCE // SOUND EFFECT
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_HzoVeEzCUsHJtHCemb9sg