Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Forty-nine:

Patrick Mackenzie (Evening of September 11, 1994)

Principal Ricci had been full of people. Every other square foot of the place was either being taken up by a classmate of mine or the parent of a classmate. It was a little overwhelming, to be quite honest. Luckily, I was able to spot Zack, from across the room, right away. Although, just as I was about to greet him, I was intercepted by Principal Ricci, himself.

“Woah, what’s the rush? Aren’t you gonna say ‘hi’ to your favorite Principal first?” he said to me with a big smile on his face. He then glanced up at the rest of my family. “Mackenzies, so glad you could make it.”

“That makes two of us,” I heard Pops say behind me. “I thought I’d never get out of that office.”

“Pat, stay here for a bit,” Ma demanded, grabbing onto my shoulder. She must’ve noticed me, trying to sneak off to Zack again.

“Now, let’s see if I can remember this right. We have Jeff, Sue, and Patrick over here,” Ricci said, pointing at the three of us, then turning his head towards Jake. “That must make you Jake, the guy my sweet Priscilla’s been going on and on about.”

“Has she now?” Jake asked, going in to shake Ricci’s hand.

“Yeah, in fact, she should be around here somewhere,” Ricci replied, scanning the room. “She might still be outside. I’ll go check while you guys mingle.”

The moment he exited the living room, I looked back up at Ma. “Now, can I go, Ma?”

“Yes, you can go,” she answered. Although, I was already halfway to Zack by the time she could even finish that sentence.

We filled up on horderves as we discussed the conversation I had with Ma earlier.

“So you told her everything? What if she croaks?” Zack questioned, picking up a bacon-wrapped shrimp.

“She’s not gonna go to the police; she’s my mom,” I told him.

“I mean to my mom.”

“Oh, that she might do. No, actually, she won’t; I made her promise. She hardly ever breaks her—”

There she was, standing in the hallway that connected the living room to the billiard room, behind Zack. Adeline caught one glimpse of me and flashed me that smirk of hers. Her hair looked different; it was black now, like a raven. I wonder what she’s doing here.

“Hello? Pat?” Zack waved his hand in front of my face. He turned to see what I was looking at, but Adeline was already gone.

“I’ll be right back,” I said as I made my way past him. At a safe distance behind, I followed Adeline down said hallway. At the end of the corridor, she had entered a room that looked to be a study. I was about to follow her into it when something else caught my eye.

In the bedroom beside me, on the far end of the bed, lied a large black duffle bag. From far away, it looked to be the same one from yesterday. Although, I couldn’t get a better view of it, due to having the door shut on me by Principal Ricci.

“Forgot to close that,” he uttered, laughing it off. “You know, Patrick, it’s not nice to be parading around in the private parts of someone’s home.”

I watched as he made his way to the office Adeline was waiting in. He gave me one last half-smile before he closed that door too.

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