“Right, you ready?” Alicia looked at me as she tucked the stray strand of hair that fell beside my face behind my ear.
“I am.” I smiled, taking one last look in the full-length mirror on the middle door of my wardrobe.
For the dance, Alicia had brought me a baby blue fifties swing dress with halter neck straps. Small white polka dots littered over the blue, and the skirt and petticoat fell just above my knee. Around the middle sat a black ribbon that matched the black detail of the chest and straps with a thin black choker wrapped around my neck as black Mary Jane shoes with a small hell covered my feet. Alicia had done my hair in a fishtail braid to finish the look off.
Alicia had gone for something similar, only in a blood-red, with sleeves that sat off the shoulders. Her’swas decorated with white, larger dots and a white ribbon around the middle and her chestnut hair brown hair was in the fifties pin updo with a red bandana.
“You sure you fed enough?”
I nodded, “I’m sure, plus you know Emmett.”
“Oh, yes, I do.” She chuckled, her eyes shining in admiration for the man she called her husband, “You look beautiful, sweetheart. I miss this look on you every day; the fifties were such a great time. I’m sorry coming back here turned out so horribly.”
“Mom, it’s okay, honestly. I’m still trying to deal with the fact now I know Zachariah is dead, but I’ll be okay. At least now, I know we did everything we could, and we found all we could, rather than having to keep wondering.”
“You’re so strong and brave, it’s such an honor being your mother, even if it’s just pretend, mostly.”
“It’s not pretend at all. There’s more than one way to be a family.” I spoke with sincerity as I gave her an adoring smile, “Come on; I’ve got to see Masato in a suit!”
“Let’s go join the men downstairs then.” She beamed widely at me as she took my head and led me out of the bedroom.
“Holy mother of-” Emmett gawked as he watched us walk down the staircase.
“God.” Masato finished as he too stared bug-eyed.
I beamed at Masato, stood there in a suit. I loved his typical cool, casual, slightly messy, but equally smart style. However, in a suit that hugged his small muscles in all the right places, he looked amazing. His hair neat and tidy, rather than its general ruffled mess and a little shorter.
“When did you cut your hair?” I asked as I stepped in front of him.
“I snuck out while you two were up there, taking five hours to get ready.” He snickered, pressing a kiss to my lips. “You look amazing.”
“We cannot achieve beauty like this through rushing, Masato.” Alicia smiled.
“Good lord, I feel like we’re in the fifties again. Those were the best years, you both looking like this every day, especially you, dear.” Emmett grasped Alicia and kissed her hungrily as Masato, and I scrunched our noses.
“All right, before Masato and I throw up. Let’s go.” I rolled my eyes, taking Masato’s hand and heading out.
They had decorated the entire town center in various banners, balloons, lights, and bunting. All made to look neat and tidy around the multiple poles, lampposts, trees, and bushes.
A band playing popular music was playing near the stone fountain on a large grass patch in the midst with a few people singing and dancing to the surrounding music.
A handful of pop up food stalls around the edges, serving people an array of dishes that were bustling with other people buy and eating their chosen foods.
More people were talking, laughing in their small groups as others were lined up, waiting to enter the city hall where the main event was being held. I’d never realized just how many people lived here now until I saw almost the entire town congregated in the center.
“Where are the girls’ meeting you?” Emmett asked as he looked around.
“They’re going to meet me inside a little later. Their families insist they hang with them a little before they’re allowed to wander off.”
“Well, let’s have a look around, shall we?” Alicia smiled. We all nodded in agreement and began to look around.
“Thank you, everyone.” Hank Lester, one of the three founding brothers, spoke over the cheers. “Look at all you out there. It’s such a shame Markus is no longer with us to see the turnout this year. I swear every year it gets bigger.”
“We shan’t bore you too long because I know you all hear the same speech every year. We just wanted to take a moment to thank you all so much for making our town a success.” Robert Lester, the youngest brother, so I was told, conversed.
“If it weren’t for all you lovely people, Willow Lake wouldn’t be what it is today.” Hank sighed wistfully. “We may have laid the path for the town, but it is you that have made it what it is. When we found this land, it was nothing, but a wasteland destroyed by a fire.”
“While no one knows exactly when the fire happened, we had it determined a significant amount of time passed before we stumbled across it.”
Hank carried on, talking about something I wasn’t sure of.
As he spoke, I felt a bitter chill again, like I had Thursday and other times before. My skin prickled with goosebumps, and I got that ominous feeling someone was watching me.
My hairs stood up on end as I darted my eyes around the room and focused my hearing away from the two talking men on stage. This was now the fifth time at least I’d had this feeling, and I couldn’t deny it was beginning to freak me out.
However, my ears and eyes only found people watching and listening to the men. My lips thinned as I let out an inaudible hum of skepticism and confusion.
Alicia nudged me softly, bringing my attention back to the men in the room.
“So, we turned this part of the forest into something amazing.” Hank smiled with that kind of smile you knew where he was reminiscing, “It seemed like such a waste to leave it was it was especially when it was evident that it had once been a small village.”
“Hank, Markus and I set out with the task of, well, making it this. As you all know, we found some exciting discoveries and you can view them in the viewing hall to the right of the main room before they’re returned for safekeeping.”
“Whether you believe the articles are genuine, or whether you believe in Witches, it is quite clear every single one of you here are quite magical. So my brothers and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Now please, enjoy the evening.” Hank finished the speech and raised his Champagne flute, along with everyone else in the room.
The whole crowd burst into praise as the two older men bowed and stepped off stage.
“Come on, let’s go see what they did find.” Emmett flicked his head to the right.
We nodded and followed Emmett and Alicia through the crowds of people as we made our way to the viewing hall.