Nail in Her Coffin (Devil's Witch Book 1)

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Chapter 18-The After Party

“I don’t know Stella, I think it’s too small,” I mumble, looking down at my too-tight black long-sleeved shirt. The cut of the shirt dips pretty low on my neckline and I don’t think I can pull it off.

My skinny jeans on the other hand, are much comfier.

“Oh lighten up, you look good. Would you rather wear your cloak?” she tells me, knowing how much I despise wearing the coven’s essential clothing piece.

“No...it’s just I don’t want to make it seem like I’m trying too hard. Maybe the eyeliner is too much,” I say while reaching for the makeup remover.

She swats it from my hands. “No! You spent way too long applying that to wash it away. Stop worrying!”

“I’ll try.”

Stella wears a green blouse and black flowy pants that flare out at the bottom. She claps her hands together, then follows me out of my room and away from the makeup and messy pile of clothes on the floor.

It took me a long time to pick out an outfit, it took Stella a while too. So long, I doubt we will make it in time to actually see the parade.

“You have the tickets?” she asks me.

I pull them out of my small leather purse waving them in her face with a goofy grin.

“Good, but you can’t bring that. You’ll quickly be categorized as a mom,” she warns with a frown, pointing at my purse.

Before I can say anything, she snatches the tickets out of my hand and stores them in her sparkling, golden clutch. She snaps the clutch closed then and picks up the car keys on the kitchen counter.

“You ready?” she asks me.

I nod my head, not feeling ready at all as I set my purse on the counter. I kind of feel vulnerable without it, like it was my safety blanket or something.

“Yep!” I chirp, checking the time on my phone as we walk out the front door.

It’s already passed seven at night, the parade ended an hour ago. I wonder if they will still let people in, the fire department isn’t very big.

Once we get in the car, Stella starts the engine and we drive the short mile to the fire department. As soon as the firehouse comes into our view, we find it to indeed be very crowded.

There’s a row of police cars parked right outside it, like a barricade. Around the rest of the perimeter of the building are probably cars belonging to party-goers.

Music booms from the old brick building, so loud we can’t hear our own music on the car radio. Stella rolls up our windows and pulls into a big parking lot across from the firehouse.

The parking lot is packed, but a tight space by the dumpster in the very back is open. Lucky for us, Stella’s car has a rearview camera and we back into the parking space with ease.

She hands me my ticket and then we step out of the car.

“This better be some party. Cost us fifty dollars each!” Stella yells over the music.

We step down from the sidewalk and onto the street. “It’s a fundraiser, I’m sure the families will be grateful. There must be over a hundred people in there,” I say while looking inside the opened brick building.

We pass a fire truck and then walk up to a picnic table that two irritated looking elderly women sit behind. They probably are not enjoying all the noise behind them.

“Tickets,” the lady on the left tells us and we hand her ours. She puts them into a tall glass jar that looks like it’s already full.

“Thank you, you girls have fun,” the other lady on the right adds, she starts picking up a pile of papers in front of her. The other elderly lady picks up the jar and slides it under the table.

Then they continue talking about some of the firemen standing behind us over by their trucks.

“Colin!” Stella beams, seeing the manager of Wally’s.

Colin’s hair is still dyed green like it was ten years ago before I died. It even matches the shade of green on Stella’s shirt and I smile.

Colin wears a black shirt with some kind of anime character on it and white surfer-style shorts and flip-flops. A big difference compared to his professional polo and black slacks he wears as manager at Wally’s.

He always had an interesting style, even at thirty, he looks youthful. Colin is more of a quiet person, but different than most humans. He’s quite interested in witches and Stella too of course.

“You look like you haven’t aged a day Ms. Parway,” Colin says while winking at me.

I smile at the warmth in his hazel eyes.

“You act like you haven’t aged a day!” Stella elbows him while taking a swig of his beer.

I follow them into the crowd. A giant disco ball hangs in the center of the room, they are handing out drinks all the way at the other end of the room. We’ll have to cross a sea of people to get there.

The DJ is set up in the middle of the room and everyone else is dancing around him. I don’t see any kids anywhere, I guess this really must be an adult thing.

I thought they would be playing older music too, but surprisingly the music is fairly modern.

The three of us make it passed the DJ and I continue scanning the crowd to find Will, but with no success.

The smell of alcohol is strong and heavy. By the time we make it to the drink stand, I’m completely parched and I greedily chug down two full cups of the golden liquid.

“Woah, woah. Didn’t know you were a drinker,” I hear Will say from behind me.

Tense, I set the cup down. “H-hey,” I hiccup.

“This here is Valerie Parway, the witch I was telling you about,” Will tells the thin woman next to him. Her dark eyes flick over my outfit, then my face.

“Pleasure to meet you,” she says loudly over the music.

I feel self-conscious in my outfit, fully aware I’m much more chubby in all the areas she isn’t. She’s short and so thin she could be a model. Her hair is raven black, her flawless asian skin is beautiful and practically glows. She must be from up north because she doesn’t have a southern accent like most folks here.

“This is Melissa,” Will introduces her and I smile politely at her.

“Nice to meet you. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the restroom,” I say feeling intimidated by Melissa’s hawk-like gaze.

Funny how a witch could be afraid of a human, assuming that’s what she is.

If she was a witch, I have a feeling Will would have told me. It’s common courtesy for our kind not to point out humans as, well, humans.

I shuffle around several couples as a rock song comes on, the lights dim even more and the disco ball’s light bounces off the high walls.

I walk around a group of firemen and firewomen laughing at someone break dancing in the crowd. Then I push open the light yellow door of the bathroom and lock it behind me. It’s a single-occupancy bathroom. I grip onto the sink, it’s cool to the touch and my sweaty palms relax.

Feeling fat in my tight shirt, I pluck the material away from my skin with a sigh. Looking back up at my face, I stare blankly into my silver eyes.

I can’t just hide in here.

“Really?” I grit in irritation, feeling the hex mark on my stomach flare-up.

The searing heat travels over the mark and I lift up my shirt, just to make sure it really is not on fire. Seeing nothing, but the black demonic symbol, I shove my shirt back down.

Sucking up the pain, I march out of the bathroom and back into the party.

I stay by the wall right outside the bathroom, looking for my friends. I hope Will and his girlfriend aren’t waiting for me still over by the bar.

Sure enough, I spot them dancing next to the DJ when the couple in front of them walks further into the crowd.

Seconds later, another couple moves in front of them blocking my view. I frown, catching myself staring. I exhale slowly, feeling the burning sensation on my stomach increase sharply.

I think I need to sit down. I glance at the sign across from the bathroom. It’s the locker room, even if it’s smelly I bet there’s a bench in there because sadly the seats out here are all occupied.

“Ma’am, I’m goin’ to have ask ya to step away from the bathroom,” a familiar deep voice says behind me.

My heart flutters against my will and I turn around, seeing the same tall policeman who drove me to the McCasters weeks ago. His deep blue eyes don’t look as cheerful like I remember, he looks tired and his dark blonde hair is neatly combed back under his police hat.

He grips his heavy-looking belt with one hand, carrying a very full cup of beer in the other. He has on a bulletproof vest over his black long sleeve collared police shirt. The police must be on edge after learning Darren could be the killer setting houses on fire.

Not sure if he was joking or not, I step away from the bathroom anyway like a frightened rabbit hopping out of the wolf’s way.

He takes a slow sip of his beer, then turns around to glance at the crowd of dancing people. I hadn’t thought the police would be in here partying too, I figured they would be inside their cars just waiting in case something came up.

“Did you come here alone, ma’am?” he asks me softly, then proceeds to chug down his beer to the last drop.

I’m surprised when he just drops it onto the floor instead of throwing it out in the trash can.

“Y-yes,” I hiccup, sounding tipsy. I guess it was pretty obvious with me standing by myself next to the bathroom, probably looking lost.

“You don’t look so good...” the officer says slowly, looking down at me with a strange fondness radiating in his deep blue eyes.

“W-hat do you meaaan?” I slur, wincing against the pain rippling across my stomach.

I can’t even think straight, I knew I shouldn’t have drunk so much. What if he arrests me for being intoxicated in public?

I whimper at the thought and the pain.

“I don’t want to get in any trouble,” I whisper weakly, unaware of the officer’s hand on my back until it wraps around my stomach. His hand lays flat over my stomach.

A ragged breath escapes me and I exhale in ecstasy, accidentally leaning against his side in the process when the pain in my stomach fades away.

The officer keeps his gaze on the crowd.

“Feel better?”

My drunk, traitorous mind appreciates him holding me to keep me from falling over. My foggy head starts to clear though when the officer’s hand withdraws from around me.

The pain in my stomach returns. “No...” I mumble with a grimace.

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